by Amber Perez
March 12, 2019
Living with Diabetes
When hearing the term “diabetes”, some people imagine an illness for people who are overweight, and that it couldn’t be caught if they stayed healthy. Those people couldn’t be more wrong.
Mary, who is a mother of four, always knew that diabetes ran in the family, but she never imagined she be living with it. She was not only diagnosed once, but three times with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes usually gets worse over time. Making some lifestyle changes, such as adjusting one’s diet and taking more exercise, may help control their blood sugar levels at first.
But that may not be enough in the long term, and that seems to be the case with Mary.
She knew after the third time, it was time to take her health seriously. Mary was diagnosed with bi polar disorder and manic depression, so she tends to have a lot of mood swings.
When depressed, people deal with it differently. Mary eats and sleeps. The very first time she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, she was 28 years old. “I was overweight after my first kid, so I maintained my weight and it went away. Then in 1996, I was pregnant to my 3rd child, and the diabetes came back, this time it was Gestational Diabetes.” Mary said.
“After I gave birth to my son, it went away. But 3 years ago, when I turned 53, I was diagnosed once again with type 2 diabetes.”
This time it wasn’t easy for Mary. She states that she went through a serious depression for 3 years after she got the news. “I was very emotional when I found out, I didn’t want to get out of bed, and go anywhere. I would always send my kids to the store for me because I was too ashamed to go outside.” Mary would always eat sweets and greasy foods and it got to the point where her kids started worrying about her. She was well aware that if she didn’t take care of it, things would only get worse. At that moment she was too depressed to care.
When her kids were told, they tried to be strong for her and not show any weakness or fear. “I remember they all hugged me and just kept saying ‘you’re going to be okay ma, you’ll get through this.’ They were a lot stronger than I am when it came to this.”
As mentioned before, diabetes runs in Mary’s family. Mary says that her mother was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and later on passed away from it. Her aunt was also diabetic. 3 years ago, she passed away too.
For the past three years, Mary tried to pretend that there was nothing wrong. She claims that she hates having to go to the doctors, which is why she refused to go, no matter how much her kids begged her to. “I’m so afraid of hearing that something might be wrong with me. I lost both of my parents due to illness, it’s scary you know?”
In August of 2018, she finally got a wakeup call. “I woke up and I could not get out of bed, everything was spinning. Everything.” Her oldest daughter suggested that they call the ambulance but Mary was hesitate.
“I begged her to give it a couple more hours to see if it was maybe a fever or something. A couple hours passed by and I still couldn’t get out of bed. She was the one who decided that the ambulance should be called.” Mary explained.
“When I got to the hospital, they took my sugar; 600. My sugar has never been so high.” The doctor told Mary’s oldest daughter that if she didn’t get her there when she did, her mother could’ve gone into a diabetic coma.
“From that day on, I realized how precious life is, and how important I am to my kids. I can’t imagine leaving them so early, I knew it was time to take care of myself.”
Today, Mary lives everyday like its her last, appreciating who and what she has. Watching what she eats and taking her medication. “It wasn’t easy at first, but now I don’t even want to eat anything with sugar or grease in it. I take my medication everyday and go for my monthly check ups. I even lost weight, and actually enjoy going outside.”
This horrific moment really opened Mary eyes and help her see how beautiful life is. She has lost 50 pounds since that day and is proud of the progress she’s made. “Life is great, I couldn’t be any happier.”
Amber is a sophomore in college who is studying to be a journalist.
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