Think It Through Thursday: Historical Contexts – My Family History (Maternal Side)
I’ve been doing a lot of researching, thinking, reading, and all out knowledge-seeking on the low/high blood sugar issues I’ve mentioned here a few times. Although never fully diagnosed (I’m almost too scared to really know) as a hypo-glycemic, I have all of the classic symptoms plus have the added bonus of being related to two people who had full-blown Type 2 diabetes with ugly side-effects, one being death.
Since reaching about the age of 38 I’ve seen a lot of bloating and fat storage on my body. It has been the bane of my existence for about 2.5 years now and I’m getting fed up with it. There must be an answer and before I resort to being tested for parasites and other nasty things, I’m going to look to my family history first to perhaps give me some clues to what exactly it is that I am dealing with.
On my Mom’s side of the family I had two wonderful grandparents – My Grandpa and Grammy as I called them for many years. By the time I could really think and act like a fully aware human being, they had long-since been diagnosed with diabetes. I believe my Grandpa was first, but it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that I remember a long row of boxes, bags full of needles, refrigerated Rx items and other paraphernalia around the kitchen counters. That was just what my Grandparents kitchen looked like; although a little scary and not fully understood, this is a memory of them that I will always have. (Do you want to be remembered this way?)
They were NOT fat. That’s right. My Grammy was quite thin and skeletal (5’7″, 108 pounds). I have often asked my Mom what my Grammy ate and she always says “Well you were there. The normal foods old people eat I guess.” I remember boxes of cereal, bacon ( a HUGE memory), fruit – mostly bananas for cereal, canned soups, hot dogs with white buns, going out to Mexican food, etc. Nothing too crazy….or was it?
Let’s get to the good part. I have these terrorizing memories of my Grandpa going into dramatic episodes of low blood sugar attacks. One’s in which he writhed on the floor like a snake and couldn’t even say his name or address when asked. The entire Fire Department of the town would show up at 2 am and haul him off to the hospital while I cowered in a corner of the guest room near my two sisters in the bed. It was the most frightening thing to witness and most of it was seen and heard through a distorted view of my hands-covered face. I knew that my Grandparents always stocked candies all over the house and glove compartment of their Buick “just in case.” There was also a giant bottle of orange juice stocked for that same purpose waiting in the fridge. My Grammy never had these types of fits. But later on, her toll was taken in a different way. She got glaucoma in her left eye and looked like a crazy homeless person. She developed mad dementia and had gangrene in her toe. In the bedroom I sleep in today, I held her hand while she was laying down crying and screaming that she couldn’t feel her legs. Shall I go on?
Recently I asked my Mom what type of diabetes they had. She said Type 2. That’s the adult on-set variety. The kind that everyone all over the nation is getting by eating all their processed/fast foods with no exercise. The kind that is being touted that one can “beat” with healthier nutritional choices. WHAT??? You mean that my Grandparents could have had a better handle on this and may have lived a bit longer with less hellish health problems if they ate better? That is the scary truth, which is why I am so concerned about myself and want answers before I ever get to their level. I won’t even go into my hatred of the way doctor’s “treat” these types of patients. “Don’t eat excess sugar” is usually part of the prescription. Along with “Just eat normal meals but supplement with some bottled insulin.”
Oh-My-God. I don’t know what else to say…
Maybe later. I need to keep thinking about it as it relates to me.