Does diabetes run in your family? It does in many—most often with type 2 diabetes, but sometimes with type 1.
No matter the type, we wanted to hear from our Facebook fans how diabetes can affect the different generations of a family. All week long, we will feature their stories!
Name: Amber Cole
Location: Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Type 1 diabetes runs on my dad’s side and skips every other generation. My dad was diagnosed at 18 and died at age 59 from complications of the disease. I watched my dad lose a foot and a leg, endure three heart surgeries and countless other problems before he died.
For the most part I never worried about developing type 1 myself, but knowing it skips a generation in my family, I knew it was a very real possibility for one of my children or nephews. And then….
My youngest son, Jordan, was diagnosed with type 1 two years ago at age 12. During the initial diagnosis it meant so much that all of our family rallied for him. My sister met us at the endocrinology clinic and helped us with his first insulin shot (I hate blood and needles). My two older sons learned all they could about the disease. We take turns going to the doctor’s appointments with him. Whenever my son is going through a particularly hard time with managing his blood glucose—for example, he’s had to make a lot of tweaks to his insulin dosages due to a growth spurt—his brothers and everyone else call to check in on him.
It’s so hard to watch Jordan live with this disease, knowing the effects it had on my father. I try to focus on the day-to-day and encourage my son to manage it the best he can. The things he can’t control are in God’s hands. He is so brave and has a great attitude. I wish he could have been spared this, but I find some comfort in knowing this experience is shaping his future. He’s a better person for it.
Type 2 diabetes also runs on both sides of my family. My grandma, sister, brother and at least two uncles have it. It’s comforting for them, in the sense they have someone else who understands what they are going through, even with the differences between type 1 and type 2.
We started doing the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes in 2006 in honor of my dad, and we have done it every year since. We felt very helpless watching his health deteriorate, so participating in the walk helped us feel like we could do something. Now we do it to support Jordan and our family members who have type 2 as well. It’s great seeing how many people show up to make a difference.
We also donated the charitable gifts from my dad’s funeral the first year to the Association, and I know for a fact he would have loved that!
I pray for a cure for diabetes!