Tuesday, June 09, 2009


When I dropped Riley off at my mom’s this morning she told me that she had gotten a call that one of my relatives with Type 2 diabetes was in the hospital and was going to have his foot amputated today. This same relative had his other foot removed a few years ago, but due to some problems ended up with a below the knee amputation a little while later. He now walks with the aide of a cane and prosthesis.

Anytime I hear of someone with diabetes losing a limb a small knot forms in the pit of my stomach. I pray every day that Riley will be spared of complications and that he will continue on the same responsible path on which he has started.

On the day Riley was diagnosed there was a long one hour ride to the doctor’s office. I’m a nurse and the only people with diabetes I had ever dealt with had Type 2 diabetes. And, to be honest, 9 out 10 of them had some form of complication, be it blindness, amputations, or kidney disease. All the way to the doctor that is all I could picture for my little boy. I could only imagine what complications would face him since he was diagnosed at such an early age.

I’ve learned a lot over the past 3 ½ years. I’ve “met” many, many people who have lived with Type 1 diabetes for 20+ years with nary a complication. And, most of them were diagnosed when insulin therapy was primitive to say the least. There was no carb counting and there were no blood sugar machines. And, yet, they stand, on their own two feet, complication-free. They’ve lived long, happy lives. Many of them are not only parents, but grandparents as well.

Still, hearing of a PWD developing complication brings up those fears I’ve tucked way back in the back of my mind. And, it makes me long for a cure more than ever before.


Wendy said...

Oh, I feel your pain!!!

I'm a nurse too...I've often said that NOTHING in nursing school prepared me for this!!!!

I had to leave the ER because it seemed like everything bad somehow had a connection to the BIG D. I just couldn't keep running those codes...seeing the garbage...young people with shunts...

I would see my little girl's face and worry that this was her future. So, I left the ER. It's been 4 years. Haven't been back yet...but strangely miss it at the same time.

Scott K. Johnson said...

I agree, it is scary stuff to think about. But like you mention, there are many long-timers out there who grew up with much more primitive tools, and are doing fine.

Amber-Bams said...

I also feel your pain! I remember growing up being told horror stories, "If you don't do this now...then you'll loose a limb, kidney, your vision" all of it. It is terrifying to have that constant fear.

I've had T1 diabetes for 17.5 years and am complication free thus far. My kidneys work well, my eyes are good, my feet heal if I develop a blister or cut on them. There were set backs, there always are. Perfection isn't possible with this disease. The key isn't to strive to achieve perfect numbers all day every day. Its figuring out how to accept whats happening and try to keep working at keeping it in check even when you don't want to.

With your love and support I am sure Riley will manage just fine and live a long, healthy, happy life.

Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

Not a nurse, but I do know it often takes years before someone with Type 2 is diagnosed. Unfortunately, they may have complications or are well on their way to complications at the time of diagnosis. Type 1 is diagnosed fairly quickly. I think, by the time these kids have had D for 10 years, there are going to be major advancements which will help them stay in very good control. I do not see complications in our future. I just don't see it.