When I was diagnosed, these are some of the stories I was told about diabetes:
Your grandfather had Type 2. He was diagnosed young (like my cousin and I). He put it down to drinking too much Coke, which he did when he owned a corner shop. He used insulin, and travelled with it in a cooler bag. He always ate a sandwich just before he went to bed.
WHAT WAS NOT SAID: Your grandfather died from a stroke and jaundice. The doctors thought it was all related to his diabetes. You shouldn’t have drank so much Coke.
WHAT I THOUGHT: I’m really sad I didn’t get to go to my grandfather’s funeral. I always felt a connection to him, and now that I have D too it feels stronger. I know Coke doesn’t cause diabetes.
A family friend had Type 2. She eats normally, and takes insulin. She had Christmas dinner with us one year, and after eating she lifted up her shirt and injected herself.
WHAT WAS NOT SAID: Why can’t you eat normally like her?
WHAT I THOUGHT: She died all alone. Her maid was supposed to take care of her and the house, but she got away with murder. I bet her confusion had a lot to do with her D.
The lady in the Post Office told me about her husband. He has D, and developed a foot ulcer. They couldn’t get it to heal. Eventually he had to have it amputated. He is now in a wheelchair, and sometimes the local supermarket hires him to work for them for short periods. You really need to watch out for your feet.
WHAT WAS NOT SAID: Nothing, it was all quite blatant.
WHAT I THOUGHT: I’ve only had diabetes a month, and this is too scary to contemplate right now. Will that happen to me? Maybe his blood sugar was out of control, and mine will never get that way.