All in the Family: Esmeralda Cortez

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!


Esmeralda CortezName: Esmeralda Cortez
Location: Pasco, Wash.

Unfortunately, diabetes runs in my family.

My grandfather found out he had type 1 when he was about 35 years old. My dad’s sister was diagnosed when she was about 30, and her daughter, my cousin, also had it. My cousin was only 23 years old when diabetes took her life, it was very sad.

My mom experienced gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with me and my little brother. Her diabetes went away after that, but it seems to have affected us. My brother got very sick when he was about 5 years old. My parents took him to the hospital, where they found out he had type 1 diabetes. It was the hardest thing they ever had to go through, seeing their youngest son getting insulin shots every day. My brother is now 26 and he takes good care of himself. He is on a pump and has his moments, of course, but mostly keeps his blood glucose at normal levels.

Then, when I was 11 I got really sick as we were coming back from visiting family in Mexico. We thought it was food poisoning, and we treated it like that at first, but the symptoms continued. My mom decided to check my blood. The machine didn’t give a number, it said “HI”—meaning my blood glucose was close to 500 mg/dL. They took me to the hospital and found out I had type 1 diabetes too. My parents were devastated to know two of their kids had this disease.

It was hard at first, learning to give myself shots and watching what I eat all the time. But it got better. I’ve lived with diabetes for 20 years now, and yeah it’s hard at times, but I push through it. Especially now that my husband and I have been blessed with our daughter—that’s my motivation! I do get worried at times that she will also develop it, but all I can do is pray and ask the Lord to take care of her and her health.

It’s been a struggle for all of us. Diabetes has made us closer and taught us never to take family for granted. My little brother and I talk about how we feel about living with this disease. At times you wish you were like the rest, not worrying about your blood glucose, not waking up at night feeling dizzy or thirsty because you are low or high.

But diabetes won’t get us down! We will always rise above it.

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This entry was posted in All in the Family, Complications, Family, High-Risk Populations, Life with Diabetes, Stop Diabetes and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to All in the Family: Esmeralda Cortez

  1. B.J. Rassam says:

    It’s true that diabetes can be genetic, and in those families where the disease is prominent, everyone needs to take that risk very seriously.

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