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Darlene Housing-Perkins

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Member Since: Jun, 2008

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By Darlene Housing-Perkins
Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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This is the story of the death of my mother and the effects of diabetes.


Diabetes is an insidious disease that results in many deaths annually. This disease is often undiagnosed even though the symptoms are present. This global epidemic is destroying the quality of life for millions of people plagued with this horrific disease. 
Diabetes testing is readily available yet in many patients it goes undiagnosed until damage to the major organs, nerves and even tissue occurs. A simple fasting glucose test from your primary physician can save your life or allow you to maintain a quality life. 
It has been my observation that even patients who are diagnosed with diabetes deny the mandatory maintenance program that will allow them to live productive lives. A common myth is that diabetics can’t consume raw sugar. First of all, sugar is in almost all edible items. Carbohydrates break down into sugar to provide energy to fuel the body’s cells. Moderation is the key not denying oneself of certain foods.
Thankfully, I don’t have diabetes but my mother, son, and two of my sisters have been diagnosed so far.    My mother lived with diagnosed diabetes for approximately 15 years. She probably had the disease long before she was diagnosed. 
After my mother was diagnosed she continued consuming whatever she pleased, playing Russian roulette with this monster called diabetes. First her heart went bad and she required quadruple bypass surgery. She made a remarkable recovery!
This did not deter her poor eating habits and as she continued to consume toxic foods her health continued to gradually decline. Then her kidneys failed and she was put on dialysis for 3.5 hours per day, 3 times per week. Kidney failure is an extremely complicated illness because it affects the entire body. The human body has levels of potassium, phosphorous and other levels that must be maintained almost precisely. Too much potassium can result in cardiac arrest. Too much phosphorous will cause bone loss to the point of appendages literally falling off the body. Yet this was still not a wake up call!
Her circulation rapidly decreased leading to gangrene in left leg. Consequently, her leg was amputated below the knee. Now she took heed…right? WRONG! She continued on her path to destruction.
One year later she lost her right leg all the way to the hip. Because her leg wouldn’t heal the flesh began to rot and this required debridement. Eventually, there wasn’t much left to debride so they wanted to put her in a hyperbaric chamber in an attempt to get rid of the infection. Being claustrophobic she was mentally unable to withstand this treatment. The alternative was a medication that had a side effect of hearing loss. There weren’t many options besides continual amputation leading up to and possibly including her gluteus. She agreed and lost approximately 50% of her hearing in both ears.
Still, her desire to consume toxic foods continued but she was on so much medication her appetite waned. Her taste buds became numb as the bitter after-taste of meds lingered in her parched mouth. You see because she was in renal failure she was very limited to the amount of fluids she could consume. This was not negotiable based on her thirst which is common in diabetics. Too much fluid could lead to cardiac arrest.
The massive amount of meds also resulted in extreme constipation and she required manual removal of her bowels.   Enemas usually didn’t work and she was also limited to the amount of enemas she could have because of her kidney failure. She suffered what appeared to resemble labor pains in her rectum. I can’t even begin to describe the anguish of seeing my elderly mother appear to be in labor almost weekly. The fear that accompanied anticipation of this procedure was nearly as awful as the procedure itself.
Diabetes slows the healing process when there is infection or injury. So when she developed a large cyst type growth on her inner thigh in an attempt to remove the infected portion of tissue, they removed a portion of her leg the size of a baseball. 
Finally an abdominal hernia that she ignored for years swelled. Because of her heart condition the cardiologist preferred to take the wait and see approach warning us that she probably wouldn’t survive the surgery. The hernia continued to swell to the nearly the size of a beach ball (no exaggeration) perforating her bowel. This pressed on her intestine and perforated her intestine and this lead to a colostomy. This in turn spilled poisonous toxins into her bloodstream. I am merely providing a condensed yet graphic version of all the problems that plagued her as a result of ignoring the severity of diabetes. 
Refusing to acknowledge that we have diabetes exacerbates the problem because while diabetes is not curable it is treatable. Many people live productive lives if they chose take an active role in their treatment. This includes regular monitoring of glucose levels, maintaining a proper diet and incorporating exercise into their daily activities. These three changes in lifestyle can not only prolong the lives of diabetics, it can also allow them to live quality lives. 
Diabetes is not a disease that you can ignore and survive. If you do not take this disease seriously, first it will whisper that it’s taking over your life. Then, it will shout that it is taking over your life. You can die suddenly or can linger on suffering years as did my dear mother. 
At her funeral I had no desire to brag about what a terrific mother she was. I had no desire to outline her achievements. Instead, I chose to speak about diabetes, the monster that stole my mother long before she perished. The sad part is now I have a son barely 30 years old that has diabetes. He eats what he pleases and doesn’t even monitor his glucose levels. Just when I thought my nightmare was over I realize it has only just begun. 

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Reviewed by Randall Barfield 6/30/2008
Please place this article for others on a regular basis. I'm a new diabetic and have been making serious changes in my eating habits. As you say, the "goal" or aim of one is to continue living with a fair degree of quality.
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 6/29/2008
My Mom died of diabetes complications; she had the brittle form. I don't have it - yet. Keep watch on it, though. I'm so sorry for your loss - you may have saved lives today with this one. Excellent.

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Reviewed by Mary Lacey, Desertrat 6/27/2008
Both of my parents died from diabetes complications. They died of heart complications. Right now, I'd like my son to read this. He's only 33 and has diabetes. He doesn't take his medicine, because "it's too much trouble", plus he has epilepsy and has to take medicine for that. He's getting better at his diet, but not much. When his blood sugar hit 500 the other day, it woke him up..a little. It's back in the high 100s which is still bad but more better. Thank you for writing this. I'm sorry about your family, but you may have saved countless lives today.

Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 6/26/2008
Diabetes is a cruel monster that must be dealt with and stopped. I lost my mom to diabetes; thank God I don't have it, but I still worry about getting it.

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :(

I am sorry for your loss!

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