The first time I heard the word diabetes I had to be about twelve or thirteen. Soon after, mom changed the way she cooked. Instead of chicken cooked in the hottest of vegetable oil, we began eating meats that were boiled, baked, broiled, and grilled. Boy, did I love the way frying chicken smelled and sounded. You could even smell it outside the door leading up to the entrance of the house.
Anyway, I wasn’t put out about it really. Hey, my parents were old school – what was cooked, you ate. Period. No discussion. I even remember ‘veggie plates.’ I was vocal about this move though. A growing girl can only sacrifice so much. I needed my meat protein! Didn’t do any good. Like I said, old school parents – what was cooked was what was eaten. And that datburn salt substitute, Mrs. Dash! Yeck!
I think mom was secretly glad about the diet changes (although not about diabetes) because then she wouldn’t have to fend off the barrage of sweets to greasy fish plates bought at the corner fish market. Dad knew all the greasy spoons in town and they knew him too. Big John they called him. And big he was. At one point, he weighed past 300 pounds. He was diagnosed with diabetes in his early 30’s. Dad purposely lived to an excess. He had been a heavy drinker pre-diabetes; bourbon was his drink of choice. Even though I don’t smoke, I still love the smell of sweet tobacco pipe smoke because it reminds me of him. And as previously alluded, he loved tasty foods. So why am I talking about my father having diabetes when this website is directed towards women? Because my dad’s diabetes affected not only him; but also the women in his life, my mother and me. I saw my mother, who was the main caretaker, slowly transform from a beautiful, shapely, and energetic woman into a tired, haggard, rotund, middle-aged lady.
No one came to us and said this is how you do this while taking care of yourself. Plus mom is not the type to hem and haw about things. She just rolls up her sleeves and goes to work. And work she did – her fingers, her bones and her nerves. Pop began to take meds at first. Then, he gave himself insulin shots.