A family ravaged by diabetes

Mom’s younger brother suffered a heart attack while at the polling place in the Philippines on May 13th – Election Day. Already a quadriplegic, the wheelchair gave him some mobility. Like my late mother, Uncle Pedy suffered diabetes and his amputation and heart attack were but manifestations of the disease.

Meanwhile my sister will be traveling to Manila from her home province to meet with my brother who’s eyesight is fast fading away. I was told his eyes suddenly got swollen and then he couldn’t see. He too has diabetes so I strongly suspect diabetic retinopathy. He was told he needs immediate eye surgery or he might totally lose his chance to see again at 38.

Like many of the men in the Philippines, they hate seeing a doctor. Like visiting one would diminish their macho character, they think they are invisible to any ailments so much so that when they are stricken, it is almost always too late to cure or to remedy.

We gave him means to measure his blood glucose but claims he couldn’t stand the sight of blood. And that is just a pin prick. For a year now, he’s reduced his carbohydrate intake but his job involves a lot of occasions where he’s invited for a drink. I told him alcohol is worst than eating rice. Also, failing to continue taking his maintenance medicine dooms him. With no comprehensive health insurance in the country and expensive, their health is not their priority.

My sister and I carry the disease too and am just grateful that I have a longer walk to/from the office that serves as my exercise. I have been borderline for more than ten years now but with what happened to my uncle and brother, they are grim reminders of the diseases that diabetes can punish you if left unchecked.

My Mom was born to a family of 13 children but I heard one set of twins died very young. But the ones I have known from my childhood – most of them died from the side effects of diabetes.

Mom’s mother passed away when she was 84 and my eldest aunt, who is relatively healthy is about of the same age. But out of 13, only five of them have survived.

Mom would have been a good candidate to fight her diabetes. She lives in the US, educated and had access to medical care, she watched what she ate, exercised – she did everything right. But in the end it was not her diabetes that killed her, it was liver cancer which I can only surmise was brought on by her diabetes.

I have gained so much weight from the time I took care of mother, I blamed it on stress or eating all the extra food I prepared and not wanting to waste them, while she tried to find an appetite but I know it is time for me to take control of my health. I love food too but through the years, I have learned to cut down on sweets. A major challenge is rice which I enjoy dinner time but if I moderate it, it should work.

Otherwise, I might just add myself to the statistics and I certainly won’t be able to blame anyone but me.

This entry was posted in Battling the bulge. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A family ravaged by diabetes

  1. LolaWi says:

    So sorry about your Uncle Pedy, B. hugs.

    Like

  2. bebs1 says:

    Thank you. I will miss him, he’s got such a big heart. When Mom was in Baguio, she sent his wife, Auntie Melba, to Baguio for long periods of time to keep her company, along with all my Mom’s favorite things to eat. All that despite the fact that he himself needs care. Auntie Melba would go home only during the holidays and pretty soon she’d be back.

    Like

  3. I’m sorry for the toll this disease has taken on your family. I wish you all the best on your own journey to stay healthy.

    Like

  4. viveka says:

    There is so many people that has diabetes … it’s a welfare illness, we are living too good.
    Have many friends …. has it. So sorry to hear about your uncle. If you are afraid to get it yourself … walk a lot every day and take cod liver capsular, one every morning. Great of you .. to raise awareness.

    Like

  5. bebs1 says:

    I think if we take responsibility of our own health we can all lead a long life and that goes for everyone. Thank you Photography.

    Like

  6. bebs1 says:

    I have been telling that again and again to my brother’s children but they don’t listen. It would be nice if they could take care their illness financially too but they can’t and as a family we’re saddled with the responsibility. The advantage of taking public transportation is the exercise that comes with it. And I monitor my glucose. It is no joke having diabetes.

    Like

  7. I always feel strange when I LIKE posts like this. Sending positive thoughts and best wishes from San Diego, California.

    Like

  8. bebs1 says:

    Thank you Russel. Hope everything is well in sunny SD.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s