Part 2—Becoming a Health Nazi…

My Mother’s Journey of Healing From Diabetes

At first I turned to printed literature to read all I could about diabetes. I didn’t find much. The literature I found was only about managing diabetes.

We went to appointments with different medical specialists in Kansas to have her health evaluated. I asked question after question seeking the whole picture. Mom and I followed the suggestions of the internist, the podiatrist, and the endocrinologist. What we heard from each doctor was “Your mom has diabetes. It is controllable, not curable. Here are the steps I want you to take.” Thus began the blood sugar readings multiple times during the day, watching the diet, and checking the feet for sores.

However, a feeling I had told me there was more to learn. In 1999 I recalled an article in prevention magazine about a man, in his forties, who was diagnosed with diabetes. In shock he went home and sat in his living room comfy chair to process this news. His eyes fell upon a waste basket next to his chair filled with six empty cans of cola, the sugar kind. I guess when you are in your forties, and have a serious health shock, it’s easier to make major life-style changes to improve your health. He immediately gave up all forms of soda, started a walking regime, and took his diabetic medicines. Over a span of two years he’d lost fifty pounds, watched his diet more carefully, and was no longer on medication for diabetes. The article said he no longer had diabetes.

Could this approach work for my mother?

I turned into a Health Nazi, motivated by fear and love. I feared I’d kill my mother by doing something wrong which would upset the delicate balance of diabetes control. I also feared another diabetic coma from her missing a meal or not eating the appropriate foods. I loved my mother. I wanted to share more time with her. I wanted her to live!

For the next two years I reworked my mother’s life with her compliance. She was grieving the loss of her life long companion of almost fifty-five years. Living in a new place, without friends, and unable to drive, she trusted me as we both struggled to begin a new life without dad.

At seventy-six years of age she was barely able to walk, was majorly overweight, and what most people would label out-of-shape. Her doctors and medical prescriptions were numerous.

However, she agreed she would try to get healthy. Did I push too much change upon her? I don’t know. I do know that the next two years changed us both as we navigated change upon change from her old life to her new one now in Kansas.

Some of the changes we made follow in blog post part 3.

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