My Mother’s Battle Against Diabetes: The Invisible Illness
My mother was diagnosed when she was around the age of three years old. So almost 60 years ago. Back then, they didn’t really know a lot about diabetes.
School was hard for my mother. Kids wouldn’t share food, toys or other items with her because they thought they would catch diabetes.
She wasn’t expected to live past her early thirties, so her parents made a lot of concessions for her, including giving her their blessing (reluctantly) to marry my father at the age of 19.
My parents had divorced by the time I was three years old and my mother was 26. I remember many stays in the hospital when my mother went into comas.
Her comas caught attention of child services and my brother and I were removed from her care and
placed into foster homes as they felt she was unfit.
She fought for a number of years to get us back (she was allowed to have me back but not my brother as they felt two children would be too much for her to handle).
Between the stress and her disease it became too much for her and she took her life in 1984.
I can recall times where she would go into a rage shortly before collapsing into a coma.
I can recall her testing myself and my brothers blood for diabetes regularly.
I can recall being taught how to use the emergency button on her necklace if I couldn’t wake her.
I would say that my mother was born too early. If she had been born 10 years later when treatment was alot better she probably wouldn’t have faced many of the difficulties that she did and she would probably still be alive.
My mum’s diabetes and the struggles she faced definitely changed my view on government departments and the foster carer system.
In regards to government departments. Pretty much a complete failure. Better support services were needed and better and more regular access should have been given to my mother to see myself and my brother.
In regards to foster care. I would like to one day become a foster carer. I hate to think how many children have suffered or worse because their wasn’t adequate care available.
Probably the biggest impact has been the lack of a family unit growing up and the few memories I do have are overwhelming negative. This has affected my views on a lot of stuff.
In particular; I’ve been hard wired from childhood that life is a struggle. I watched my mother struggle with everything from her physical and mental health, to her relationships with her family and my father to her finances. After her
After her death, I then found myself struggling to find a place where I belonged. Growing up without loving parents or without encouragement saw me face years of rebellion and a flippant attitude towards my future as a teenager. After all, I had no one to reign me in or help me map out a future.
I have struggled with intimacy due to not having any whilst growing up (luckily though I now have my miracle daughter who I shower with affection and encouragement).
The loss of my mother and the subsequent struggles I then faced have definitely made me stronger. But at times, I feel exhausted and short-changed.
Ideally, once I am financially secure I would love to set up a charity that focuses on two main things. Providing homes for children in need and helping to bring better quality of life to diabetes sufferers.
Diabetes is a life-long battle, and I’m sharing my mother’s story to show that there are those out there who struggle with the disease, despite all efforts. That managing diabetes can cause distress to the point of inhibiting their quality of life. That by coming forth and showing vulnerability, should be seen as true strength and courage. No one (including those suffering a chronic illness) should feel alone and have nowhere to turn to.
You can’t tell by looking at someone that they have Diabetes. Diabetes is an invisible illness. It affects all aspects of ones life differently. While we continue to improve our lives living with the disease with advances in technology, it’s important to remember that there are those who continue to still suffer emotionally everyday. Let’s continue to help and support those suffering from chronic illnesses. Let’s come together and raise awareness for diabetes. The keys for successful diabetes management now and in the future are: good health care, education, awareness, and support.
(Nothing on this site should be taken as medical advice: Please consult with your physician regarding your health care concerns.)
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