19 years ago I sat in a hospital room holding my Granny’s hand. She was dying. I did not want to let her go, but I knew that the end was inevitable. Years of living with T2 diabetes had taken their toll on her, she was suffering greatly. We sat in the hospital room, alone, and talked. She gave me advice, told me to work hard, told me to find someone who loved me for who I was someday. She told me she was sorry for not being able to see me graduate, or get married or have children.
We cried together on that cold February night. Her biggest concern for me was my health. She looked at me and said “don’t get diabetes.” I told her that I would get healthy.
Somedays I feel as though I failed my Granny. It was a few years after her death that I would find out I had type 2 diabetes. After I was diagnosed, things only became worse, my weight sky rocketed to somewhere near 450 pounds, my t2 diabetes was out of control, I had neuropathy in my legs, and it was starting in my eyes. I was on 13+ medications, tons of insulin. I was sick, tired, depressed and I wanted it to all be over. At the worst of it, I understood why my Granny stopped all diabetes treatment. I understood the pain, and the thought that it would just be a lot easier not to live any longer. Easier on myself, easier on the ones who loved me. Thankfully, I found the answer before it was too late for me. There is not a day that goes by that I wish I could have found the answer before my Granny passed away.
My life would have been so much different with her in it than with her not in it. It was a senseless death, one that did not need to happen. Much like the 1000′s of others who die from the disease, T2 diabetes does not have to be something we see in our society, it does not have to be a disease that progresses, and it does not have to be a disease that takes away people you love far too early. Watching my Granny suffer and die from T2 diabetes is what pushes me each day to get the word out: Type 2 diabetes does not have to take lives. I almost let it take my life, and I feel like I was given a huge second chance to get the message out.
Is it hard? It might seem like it at first. But I promise you that having T2 diabetes or another preventable disease is MUCH harder than changing the way you eat. I cannot think of one meal or food that is worth the suffering, the agony and the pain that having a preventable disease causes. I am still very much on this journey. I will never give up, and I will keep fighting. I hope you will do the same, I hope that you will discover that you are well worth any effort that you need to put forth in order for you not to suffer, needlessly. I think you are worth it, and hope you do as well. For those of you who have not heart my story, I was a severe out of control T2 diabetic, facing partial amputation of my leg if I did not turn things around. Thankfully, I turned things around. Today I am medicine free and down over 200 pounds. Do I still have work to do? Of course, I do not think that will ever stop. However, I now look forward to each day of my life, and I can’t wait to see where I go from here.
The above photo is me around the time when I started (though, not at my heaviest weight)
This photo is me currently, with the 2 people who saved my life. Dr. Neal Barnard on the right, who wrote “Program for Reversing Diabetes” and of course, you all know Rip