November is a time at which we all celebrate the things for which we are thankful, but as it turns it out it is also diabetes awareness month and the month in which my late brother (who lived for 20 years with diabetes) was born. Originally, I was going to touch on each of these in separate posts but when I sat down to start writing, my thoughts on the three subjects invariably ran together. The end result is a list of things (no specific order) I’m thankful for about my brother’s life that hopefully also will give someone the kick in the pants they need to start taking diabetes seriously.
6 Reasons I’m Thankful For The Life My Brother Lived
- I’m thankful that my brother was on this earth for as long as he was (33 years). Looking back, there where several close encounters where we could’ve lost him way sooner than we did
- My first year away at boarding school, my brother was the only person that could come for family weekend. We were close already but this gave us a chance to bond like we never really had in the past
- My brother’s love of music and art ignited the same passions within me. I’ve fallen off on the playing music and drawing cartoons, but there are still times when I hear a new song and my instinct is to want to call him
- Even in death, my brother brought the whole family (and a lot of other people too) together in a way that nobody else could, retelling his stories, reminiscing on the way he would never miss an opportunity to crack a joke on ANYONE who opened himself up to it
- As much as I didn’t want to see my brother lying in that casket, I’m thankful I had the opportunity to see him one last time
- I have the opportunity to educate others on the dangers of diabetes after seeing it firsthand and doing significant research on the topic over the years
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease where the pancreas has a limited or no ability to break down sugars (glucose) to convert to energy. The best treatment for this is a disciplined diet but insulin injections may also be necessary. Thanksgiving is the most dangerous day of the year for anyone struggling with diabetes. Especially in cultures where celebration is synonymous with large quantities of “whoa foods” (my daughter learned this phrase in school this year) that are high in sugar everywhere you turn.
Dealing with this disease is a group effort, requiring the support and understanding of everyone in the diabetic’s community. The fact of the matter is if diabetes goes unchecked, it can kill you. Even when you have diabetes under control, it only takes one mistake regulating your glucose and you could go into a coma and/or die, not to mention any of the other conditions (e.g. heart disease and kidney failure) you become susceptible to once you have diabetes.
What Can You Do To Learn More About Diabetes?
According to the American Diabetes Association:
Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms seem so harmless.
Recent studies indicate that the early detection of diabetes symptoms and treatment can decrease the chance of developing the complications of diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
- Frequent urination
- Unusual thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Unusual weight loss
- Extreme fatigue and Irritability
Type 2 Diabetes
- Any of the type 1 symptoms
- Frequent infections
- Blurred vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Tingling/numbness in the hands/feet
- Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
If you have one or more of these diabetes symptoms, see your doctor right away.