Living Carefree as a Diabetic
Are you a diabetic or maybe you're the caregiver to a diabetic watching them live a carefree lifestyle.
Take note: these are our experiences as a diabetic and diabetic caregiver witnessing my husband live like he was "normal". Maybe you can relate to our story and the road you're traveling down.
In the beginning of diabetes after diagnosis, he tried to manage his diabetes. But, after awhile my husband felt he was invincible, like diabetes was no "biggie" and it wouldn't affect him. He used to be so strong and healthy, that I can see why he felt this way.
We were constantly hanging out with our friends and partying, living a "normal" life with the disease.
A disease that was taking him silently down a dangerous path but it was hidden to the naked eye.
His sugar levels were never regular. Most days, they were above 300. Over 500 wasn't out of the ordinary. He continued to eat whatever he wanted, dismissing the advice of his doctor. Because he was young and vibrant.
What happened to my husband, is your same story if you don't manage your diabetes. However, when I got him on board to manage it - Type 1 diabetes also manages you.
Over the years of not controlling his sugar levels he has went into DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) more times than I can even count at this point. DKA is very serious, life threatening. Read up on it (here). It has landed him into hospital stays for up to weeks at a time. He was in and out of the hospital so many times. Seriously, the number is unbelievable to normal people.
To the point I'd wrap our kids up at night in the car and literally drop him off at the ER doors.
Some became to think I was insensitive, but we, as parents decided it was best for our children not to spend the entire night in the ER, again.. Especially if they had school the next day. But this became our normal.
From extremities of high and low blood sugar levels. I'm talking one minute it was 50 and within an hour it was 500. Or vise versa.
Once diabetes starts taking it's toll and causing damage, reversing the effects is impossible. But managing your sugar levels can slow down and reduce the inevitable.
Diabetes is known as:
The silent killer
My husband started loosing eyesight. He has undergone 2 cataract surgeries, 1 in each eye. And he gets routine shots in his eyes to reduce swelling and slow down the process of total blindness. These shots are so expensive, like, $1000 a piece, for each eye expensive. As of today, 2 years post-double transplant, his pancreas received has not rejected unlike his kidney - so his eyes are not getting worse, he has not had to get shots in his eyes for his last 2 appointments! Milestone for us that his eyes are not changing. However, if he was still diabetic - we probably would not be celebrating this success.
If you have any wounds - get them taken care of by a physician.
Months before his transplant, he kept battling a sore on his heal. This small sore to begin with continued to grow larger and kept getting infected, you see as a diabetic, their body has a hard time fighting wounds. The summer before his transplant, he had an intense surgery where the doctor scraped his wound to the bone. Placing him with a wound vac and with a home health nurse coming in 3 times a week to change his wound vac. A wound vac, in layman's terms - sucks the infection and puss out of the wound, around the clock for a quicker healing time. My son and I would physically carry my husband to the bathroom to reduce him walking on it.
He had a to have a chest catheter surgically put in, where we had to inject saline and antibiotics to speed up healing. Wound treatment didn't stop for us after the would vac came off.
Diabetes doesn't just effect the diabetic, but their family as a whole.
Finally! We had received the news we had been praying for, my husband was on the transplant list.
But sadly, it seemed through out our entire journey, set backs always seem to haunt us.
He had another infection causing his big toe to be amputated. Our celebration of being on the list so many dream about were further away, again. See, when your on the most important list of your entire life - you can't be on any antibiotics due to the risk of your receiving organs rejecting. It always felt like we experienced a lot of set backs and disappointments over the years. Still currently to this day, we feel them everyday.
So, you see, I have only skimmed over the real deal of what diabetes can do you.
Blindness - his eyes had gotten so bad, he could barely see to drive us around safely.
Wounds can become infected and your risk of losing limbs is very high.
DKA is extremely serious.
Managing your diabetes for yourself, your wife/husband, your children. It's not just your life that you are affecting but other lives as well. They are praying for YOU, that YOU manage your diabetes and take it seriously.
Your choices don't impact just your own life.