I think that it’s safe to say that none of us were happy when we first found out that we had diabetes. The words “you’re a diabetic” or “you have diabetes” can sound like a death sentence and while we sometimes take the news hard, our loved ones can take the news even harder. After all, diabetes falls into the same life-threatening category as heart disease, obesity, high-blood pressure, or cancer. Those that care about us want to see us live long, healthy lives and are often counting on us to do what it takes to manage our diabetes properly.
Riding bikes, running, and taking my son hunting are just some of my dreams, but I realize that I can’t do any of these things if I am out of commission due to diabetes. As a diabetic, I acknowledge the fact that I am at risk of dying or being disabled by a diabetic related condition, such as kidney failure, blindness, or amputation of a lower limb. This alone serves as motivation to keep my diabetes under control.
Childhood memories are important to kids, and it is my desire to leave my children with positive memories of me playing and being active, instead of as a broken down, decrepit dad with diabetes. Small kids don’t know what diabetes is, but teenagers do and while teenagers may not come out and tell you that they are concerned about your health, they are. So instead of indulging in pizza eating contests with my 16-year-old daughter like I used to, I now tap out after a slice or two. In later years, she may not remember the pizza eating contests, but she would remember if a poor diet of high carb. foods, such as pizza, contributed to my death.
The possibility that I may die before the kids learn critical life skills serves as a daily reminder of why I need to keep my diabetes in check. After all, it’s no secret that we live in uncertain times. None of us know what the future will hold; but as a parent and a son, I want to make sure that I’m around 10 or 30 years from now to help my loved ones with whatever curveball life may throw them. This requires that I be in good health.
At the end of the day, how we manage our diabetes affects not just us but those around us. Unlike some diseases that we cannot fight, we do have a chance in the fight against diabetes and our loved ones are counting on us to win.