One morning, August 2011, I received a call from the Diabetic Association asking me about my daily blood testing supplies. As far as I know, I am not diabetic. The conversation with a polite and articulate young lady, Lucia, made me think about this dreaded disease with which I have had more experience than I could ever want for my lifetime.
I thought of the many people I have known, who were afflicted with this dangerous ailment. My cousin, Kermit, one of the finest men I have ever known and one of the most knowledgeable, philosophical and religious of my acquaintance. He has worked unbelievably hard during his life — farming, raising cattle, industry, coal mining and timbering. He is so intelligent in the ways of life that he would make a good president or governor. In spite of his hard work, strong body and brilliance, he is also diabetic.
Knowing, Kermit, as I do, if I were the president or governor of any state, I would call him about the most difficult problems I was facing. He could give a down-to-earth answer and a solution so easily understood in its practicality that most governors and presidents could understand a little of the problems they face.
Two of my aunts, Sylvia Hodge and Josephine Perry, had reached the sidewalk, with my Grandmother Perry, ready to take her home from several days in the hospital with problems from diabetes. Suddenly she slumped over and died in front of the hospital.
My mother became diabetic in the last 20 years of her life, controlled it to a degree, but was hospitalized and had surgery as the result. At age 79, she succumbed to congestive heart failure.
My sister, Marie, valedictorian of her high school graduating class and head majorette of the band, was an elementary public school teacher for 40 years in Indiana. She had two handsome young sons, Eric and Kevin, both college graduates. Her husband was a brilliant high school teacher and coach.
Both Marie and Harold taught for 40 years. In the last 15 years of her career, her weight became dangerously high. She retired at age 62 and three years later had a debilitating stroke, which resulted in her inability to speak, was bedridden, then a broken hip from a fall and an eventual amputation. Diabetes, if not fully controlled, can be deadly.
I write with many sad memories about diabetic problems that perhaps could have been controlled and prevented with proper diet and discipline, exercise and weight control. There is no fixed and easy answer to these problems. Avoid even the smallest risk factors.
Make sure your children do not become over weight, even at the earliest age. Help them form healthy eating habits. Too much of certain foods is to invite this terrible disease to take up residence in your life and in the lives of those whom you love. Avoid filling your life with foods that cause overweight problems. Check the content of sugar and fat in the things you eat.
Follow your doctor’s advice about eating, weight and daily diet, which becomes a way of living. Support your diabetic foundation. Help your children, grandchildren and all family members to eat, exercise and rest properly.
We have but one body and one lifetime. Help each to last as long as possible within the bounds of a healthy style of living. Read everything you can in the Bible about eating and you may live longer. Some of my friends have written good books about diet. Be informed and do not self-destruct because of your diet and lack of daily exercise.
A final word about what you eat, “All did eat the same spiritual food” (1 Corinthians 10:3). That food is absolutely necessary.