I got a call last night from my sister, telling me that my younger brother, Don, has only six months or less to live. He was diagnosed with Type Two ten years ago and never took care of himself. He ate whatever he wanted, didn’t exercise, and didn’t take his meds. His diabetes progressed and he required insulin, which he said he couldn’t afford and therefore didn’t use.
His kidneys failed and he requires dialysis three times a week. He weighs 80 pounds and is nearly blind. He can’t move around without help and is now living in a hospice. He is only 52 years old. Much of this could have been prevented or delayed if he'd only cared enough about himself to take care of himself. I’ve already lost my mother, who had Type One and was 47 when she died and my older brother, Doug, who had Type One and was 37 when he died. Now I’m losing another brother to diabetes.
If you have Type One, more than likely you are well aware of the devastating effects of diabetes. If you have Type Two, you may think that only these serious complications affect people with Type One. If you have diabetes, you are at risk for all the serious complications. There are 21 million people in the United States who have diabetes. 16 million people have pre-diabetes, which means they are at risk for developing diabetes--if they don’t take care of themselves. Diabetes kills more people each year than AIDS and breast cancer combined. In ten years, there won’t be enough dialysis machines to keep all the people who require this treatment alive.
My brother doesn’t want to die. He says he wishes with all his heart that he had taken his diabetes seriously and had taken much better care of himself. Please, I implore you, if you have diabetes, care enough to take care of yourself. Many of the serious complications can be prevented or delayed. Ten years down the road, please don’t wish with all your heart that you had taken better care of yourself. Please take care of yourself now.