Diabetes-you can lose

Two years ago all my mom had to do was take her insulin, but she didn’t. “Ay, I don’t want to poke myself” was her standard response when I asked why she wouldn’t. Today, my mom has become one of the thousands of Americans that had to have multiple toes amputated due to a non-healing diabetic wound. A wound she sustained as a result of a toe stub while walking barefoot in her apartment.

My mom spent the first six months of her retirement in emergency rooms and visits to her wound care specialist, pain doctor, podiatrist, primary care physician, endocrinologist, cardiologist, vascular surgeon and underwent over thirty hyperbaric treatments. Today, she has gained back some of her independence but still requires medical equipment to move around, is undergoing extensive physical therapy and is disabled, she is 63.

My mom suffered a massive heart attack at age 39 on New Year’s Eve, I was there as it was happening, she collapsed on the kitchen floor clutching her chest and grasping for air. Growing up, she cooked for my brother and I, but we were also a TV dinner and snack food family. The 70’s & 80’s were all about Pepsi, pork chops and a pack of Kool cigarettes (she smoked for 30 years) the Jane Fonda movement did not move my mom. Post-heart attack she didn’t change her diet or exercise. She’d often say “I’m going to die at some point, might as well eat what I want”. This type of self-sabotage is not unusual, but it placed a heavy burden on our family and finances. Her journey, in pictures:

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