I’m a day late and two posts behind (sorry Karen!) since I was at the Diabetes Sisters Weekend for Women conference in Raleigh this weekend but this is a great topic and I also didn’t want to miss the grand finale of Diabetes Blog Week. Day 7’s topic is this: “Let’s end our week on a high note and blog about our “Diabetes Hero”. It can be anyone you’d like to recognize or admire, someone you know personally or not, someone with diabetes or maybe a Type 3. It might be a fabulous endo or CDE. It could be a d-celebrity or role-model. It could be another DOC member. It’s up to you – who is your Diabetes Hero??”
There are many, many people in the diabetes community that I admire and look up to. The parents of children with diabetes. The athletes. The mothers with diabetes. So many others wo do not fall into these categories but are awesome just the same. However, my diabetes hero is, and always will be, my father.
Plain and simple a good part of his life sucked because of diabetes. He had gastroparesis that interfered with his digestion. He had retinopathy that took most of his vision. He had heart disease which caused him to have multiple heart attacks and congestive heart failure. He had neuropathy that lead to the amputation of one his legs. He had kidney disease that lead him to a short period of dialysis. All of these things ultimately lead to him losing his life from diabetes. But not without a fight.
Sure he struggled with a great deal of depression and negative viewpoint. He also blamed himself for my diagnosis. I couldn’t begin to imagine how guilt like that feels. But he didn’t want me to have the same attitude. I have no doubt that my diabetes life would not be the same if it weren’t for him. Maybe even unknowingly, he paved the way for me to stay positive.
It may have taken me a while, but I live with diabetes better because of him. I take care of myself knowing what could happen but doesn’t have to happen. The empty spot in my heart that has been there since he passed away is also full of admiration for him. For the way he fought against all those complications he endured. He will always be a hero in my eyes.