Daughter of T2DM mother

By UAWildcat Latest Reply 2012-05-29 11:55:45 -0500
Started 2012-05-26 02:50:31 -0500

Desperate, frustrated, worried, terrified, fearful, determined are just a few words that describe how I feel about my mother's uncontrolled type 2 DM. I have never joined a forum like this and do not know what to expect, but at the very least I hope that the simple act of typing my thoughts out helps me rationalize my situation. I am a medical student, and sometimes I wish that I didn't know about all of the horrible complications that can result from uncontrolled diabetes. Because of my medical background, I have become increasingly anxious and desperate to open my mother's eyes to the fate that is awaiting her if she does not change. My sister and I never really knew what it was like to have grandparents, and we want, hope, need our mother to change so that if we ever have children, she will be here.

My mother was diagnosed with diabetes about 10-15 years ago, and is currently managing her condition with medications. I remember when she was first diagnosed, I bought her and my father a starter kit for weight watchers in the hope that lifestyle changes would slow the progression of her disease. I was in high school and had good intentions, but in retrospect, I probably offended them with this gift. This would be the first of many failed attempts to help my mother. When I was in college, I worked in a hospital and was exposed to the frightening consequences of diabetes; I saw patients in ESRD on dialysis, patients with necrotic limbs that were to be amputated, patients nearly blind with CHF. It was clear that diabetes was not a benign condition, though it seemed to be perceived that way in my family. I started a rotation in a research laboratory that focused on type 2 diabetes, and the principal investigator of the lab gave me some publications to read on the issue. I was overjoyed to discover that exercise and dietary modifications have reverted some patients from overt diabetes to a pre-diabetic metabolic state. I called my mom and told her about the article I had read, and her response, 'Sure, diet and exercise can work. For some people.', implying that such simple measures would not be effective for her. Frustrating!!!! One year ago I received an email from a student conducting a study about family members of diabetic patients, and I decided to participate. This experience taught me how differently people regard their disease; one girl's grandmother exercised daily, and would only take a small bite of a desert on an occasion such as Thanksgiving, where temptations are rampant. Another girl took her mom for walks and checked her feet every day. I called my dad to ask if he had been checking my mom's feet, and he had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. I decided that both of my parents needed an education and enrolled them in a free course taught at a local hospital. I guess I have made my point several times now; I have tried to make a difference countless times, to no avail. I am not the only one. My sister participated in a community run to raise money for diabetes research, hoping that it would motivate our mom to make some crucial changes. She even tried to persuade her to join her in a 5k walk for the cause, to no avail. My parents are retired and theoretically have all the time in the world to exercise, walk around, enjoy life. My mom even had a knee replacement a couple of years ago, but she is just as inactive as she was before she had the surgery.

My mother has always been sedentary, but was of average weight until around the time of her diagnosis. Yesterday my sister and I saw an old family photograph and we were astonished to see how thin our mother looked then, relative to her current state. Yesterday we were at my cousin's graduation party with extended family, and over the course of 4 hours my mom ordered a hamburger, had champagne, and ate a large slice of cheesecake, bread pudding, and God only knows what else. I noticed that she had to go to the bathroom several times during the course of the evening, and later appeared to be diaphoretic. These physical signs in addition to her physical intolerance and great shortness of breath during a recent evening walk leads me to believe that her diabetes is on the verge of needing insulin therapy and/or she has the early signs of congestive heart failure.

I don't know if anybody reads or responds to posts like these, but any advice would be greatly appreciated. Please do not tell me that I should give up because change comes from within, because that is something that I am not willing to do. I refuse to give up on the people that I love and care about. She likely already finds me to be annoying since I always ask her to go on walks with me when I am in town and eat healthy to try to set a good example, but I don't care because I love her and do not want to look back one day and wish that I had done more. I feel even more liable for my mother's health considering the fact that I am going to be a physician; if I can't motivate my mother to make lifestyle changes, then how can I ever expect to make a difference in my patients' lives?

40 replies

Type1Lou 2012-05-29 11:55:45 -0500 Report

I really can't add to what Carol and the others who replied. Sadly, we as diabetics have to take responsibility for managing our conditions. I wholeheartedly agree with Carol's suggestions; the key is getting your Mom to realize and DO what she must to prevent complications and assure that she will be around to see grandchildren and her children grow old. I too have a lovely daughter-in-law who is Type 2 and on meds. She's brilliant, vibrant and active, successful in her career but overweight and makes the wrong food choices. I wish we lived closer so I could spend more time with her and put Carol's suggestions into practice. Good luck on your boards; you sound like you'll make a devoted and caring physician!

Caroltoo 2012-05-27 20:35:11 -0500 Report

Let me start by saying you have certainly tried hard to show them better options and encourage positive choices. You obviously care very much about your parents. Give yourself lots of credit for what you have done and tried to do, even though it hasn't created the changes you hoped for. Your heart is in the right place.

We do all make change in our own time and it hasn't apparently been your parents choice to do so yet. While it is true that you can't make them change, you can perhaps open a dialogue with them about their options, but it sounds like it will take a change in your tactics to allow them able to hear you. There is nothing wrong with what you are doing, it just isn't being heard. So … what can you do differently so that it can be heard?

If this were my mom, I think I'd find a quiet day with a glass of iced tea and a chance to talk. Ask mom how she is doing. Accept her responses. Really listen to her (and remember we listen with our ears). Then encourage her and compliment her for any minutely positive event or statement that you hear. Share some of the things that you love and admire about her. You obviously love her, so I'll bet there are lots of things you could share with her.

Your mother sounds and acts very depressed. When we feel we can do nothing to make ourselves better (caution: I'm not saying there is nothing we can do, but FEEL like there is nothing we can do), it is immobilizing and lots of us give up and become depressed. We think: why not eat whatever we want, cause nothing will help us anyway and that Cheesecake will taste so good that we can forget the pain for a few minutes.

I think you may find she will be surprized and possibly uncomfortable at first to just have you listen to her empathetically. Do this several times without trying to pursue what you think she should be doing. It will help build trust between you around this issue of diabetes. You want to diffuse this bomb that is in the middle of your relationship. Once she believes you will let her really speak her heart and hurt and fear without being criticised, corrected, or encouraged to change, she may be more open to talking about goals (what she wants to accomplish in the rest of her life) and what she needs to do to make it possible.

As you are reading this, remember I am speaking of your mother's FEELINGS, not of reality. You have presented ideas, not criticism, but I'm guessing she is feeling hopeless, helpless, criticised, and worthless. This is her thought process not yours, but it is also what you have to work with if you are going to be able to help her.

Once you have more trust built up with her, chat about things like: what goals she has for her life, does she want grandchildren, does she want to travel, … again anything that will plant hope for the future she wants to see happen (and there is a possibility that this is not the same future you would like to see for her.).

If you dad is a strong leader, he may be able to help with this but your comments sound like he is following her lead, and if that is the case, then working with her will help them both change. As you talk with her, keep this counseling principle in mind: when you push on someone, they will push back. When you step back and free them up, they are more likely to move.

mariantlibrarian 2012-05-27 19:06:31 -0500 Report

This site really helps encourage me. Perhaps you could introduce her to this site. I had a hard time getting any encouragement from others for the little exercise I am able to do. We need encouragement even if it is just a little bit of exercise or dieting. Please keep encouraging her for any small moves she is doing. It does help even if it seems not to.

UAWildcat 2012-05-27 20:27:57 -0500 Report

You are so right, sometimes it does take a little bit of encouragement to reinforce something. I am glad to hear that you were able to find that encouragement here on this site! I really do need to remember to praise my mom for healthy behaviors when they occur. Thank you for your input Mariana!

pixsidust 2012-05-27 22:13:11 -0500 Report

Education is wonderful. My neighbor is diabetic. She goes to the doctor monthly for that and a bunch of other things. She did not know how to use her meter or when to test or how carbs add up. I was surprised in how many healthcare professionals that she sees that there was such a lack of education for her. I showed her how to use her meter and her world has opened up on taking care of herself. It could be that she just needs to be taught. Maybe you could approach it as sharing what you are learning?

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-05-28 11:43:29 -0500 Report

Pixie, First of all the staff doesn't know what your diagnosis is. Secondly they don't know what kind of education you need if you don't tell them. Did she ask anyone at the office about testing her B/G levels and how to properly use a meter? If not that is her fault. If you don't ask questions either the staff think you don't care or you asked the doctor and he educated you. Finally, it is the patients responsibility to ask questions while with the doctor. I think people put too much emphasis on the staff in the doctors office educating you. They have so many patients to see they may not have time. Most doctors offices have all kinds of pamphlets to take and read. I have sat in the doctors office and heard the receptionist tell patients to grab some to read and they walk out. When first diagnosed, my co worker showed me how to use my meter. My next appointment was the following week. I took my meter with me and while I was having my B/P and weight checked, I used that opportunity to question the nurse about my meter and its usage.

My moms doctor wanted her B/P checked daily and asked if I could bring her every morning. I said no I am a former EMT and can do that and call in the results. He agreed but I had to take my stethoscope and gauge to make sure they were working properly and correctly calibrated. I took her b/p called it in and kept a record of the readings.

I never depend on someone else to educate me. I do it myself and question the doctor like I am a prosecutor when I go to see him.

pixsidust 2012-05-28 17:58:06 -0500 Report

Its nice to know your viewpoint…and I still have mine OK? This is a true story so no matter how it went for you. This is how it went for her.

UAWildcat 2012-05-27 19:05:15 -0500 Report

Oh my goodness, I am so surprised to see so many replies! This seems like such a supportive community, I can't believe that I didn't seek out an environment like this sooner. Thank you all so much for taking the time to tell me your stories and give me helpful advice.

I am currently studying for the boards (medical licensing exam), and the added stress is what influenced me to seek your help. I will not be on here very much until I am done in mid-June, but I hope to get to know you all better when I am done with boards. I greatly appreciate all of the support, thank you all so much for the encouragement and support.

jayabee52 2012-05-27 19:14:49 -0500 Report

please DO come back! There are many here who drop out from posting for a while and come back for a while. So I pray you have a good experience with your boards and do well. (I used to be a CNA, and had considered becoming a RN myself, but then I got laid low with TIAs and couldn't walk correctly or even balance myself very well. And then I had to go on dialysis for a 10 month period. So that effectively ended any thoughts of Nursing.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-05-27 17:52:30 -0500 Report

Wild, 15 years ago a young girl who is white turned up in my neighborhood and it is African American. No one bothered her and we could not figure out where she came from. She was addicted to crack and heroin. Everyone around her took care of her. A man opened a half way house on our street and she moved in. He abandoned them and left the building. A development was built across from me and the house she was in was part of it. The construction manager offered to put her in rehab she refused. They tore the house down and she was again homeless. Over the years she was in and out of jail and had two kids. My father talked to her every time he saw her and if she didn't see him, she would knock on the door. We didn't see her for three months and the day of my dads funeral she knocked on the door. When I told her we just buried him she cried her eyes out. I made sure she got something to eat.

I saw her last week. She came to say good bye she is moving to Florida at age 30. She came back to find everyone who looked out for her and helped her along the way. I asked her why she left home. She said she got in with the wrong kids in 10th grade and got hooked on crack. Her mom put her in rehab and she resented it so much she walked out the first chance she got and turned her back on her mother. For 10 years she would not contact her to let her know she was alive. Two years ago she was high and got hit by a car. The patients in rehab convinced her to call her mom and she did. They have reunited and she went back home. I asked her why she didn't try to stay off drugs and her response was. No matter what anyone said to her about it or did for her she wasn't ready to stop. She didn't know what she would do without it and the more people tried the more addicted she became. It wasn't until she had her second child that she realized she could no longer live like this and be a mother. She is leaving to get clean while her kids are with her mom.

I say this because you are not going to change your mom. She has to want to change and until she does all you can do is give her love and try to be understanding. Once she changes, be there and help her learn how to cope. So far she has stopped listening to you and in the end may resent you. Some people never adjust to being diabetic and this could be her problem. No one knows how long a loved one will be with us the key is to overlook some things and try to spend happy times together. At the end of the day you may be glad you did because tomorrow isn't a guarantee that any of us will be here.

UAWildcat 2012-05-27 20:25:10 -0500 Report

That story really proves that people can make drastic changes in their lives - when they are ready. My mom is not ready today, but I'm still optimistic that things will change. I know that I am ultimately not the one that is going to change my mom, but I can still hope that she can and will change.

Caroltoo 2012-05-27 18:47:50 -0500 Report

Interesting, Joyce. I've had kids come up to me on the street and say … hi, remember me? I'm the girl who was in therapy with you 5 years ago. Just wanted you to know that I'm ready to help myself now and am doing some of the things we talked about.

Kids are amazing.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-05-27 19:48:33 -0500 Report

Carol we once had a Bike Race and Campout on our recreation field. The street where this field is located was deadly. Filled with drug dealers and addicts. We worked with the National Guard who provided tents, the police dept. who gave us bikes that were stolen and never recovered by their owners, food was donated and the Pal Center was open 24 hrs just for us. We ended up with 25 kids. The amazing thing is no one thought we could pull this off. Parents came to check on their kids and ended up going home for blankets and sleeping bags and spending the day with the kids by teaching them how to play football and to work together as a team. They even slept on the field. Years later we had kids asking if we could do that again. I told our Districts Police Commander about this and we are going to plan one for next summer. Did we make a difference in their lives? Not at all. Some are in prison today and some actually went to college. We provided the kids with a safe day of playing and they got bikes out of the package complete with brand new bike helmets donated by MADD.

You can't change people but you can provide them with other choices. It is up to them to make the right choices in life. Kids will remember what you did for them. They will also remember what you did to them both positive and negative.

Caroltoo 2012-05-27 20:03:40 -0500 Report

Makes me think of three siblings I had as foster children for a number of years. Within three weeks of placement all three had called their social workers to say that they just didn't understand how we could live without yelling at each other - it really felt foreign to them since their home was anything but peaceful. That helped me to see one of my roles as a foster mom was to SHOW that there are other choices/options than they had seen so far in their pain filled lives.

Yes, people have to make their own choices, but they also need to know as many options as possible so the choices can be the better ones, if they so choose to do so. One of the gals is in a tumultuous living situation much like her parents but two are happier and healthier.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2012-05-27 16:05:39 -0500 Report

HI UAWildcat,

When I read your discussion, I felt like I had written it myself. My parents both had Type II diabetes, and I had very similar experiences with them. It was so hard to watch them not taking care of themselves, gaining too much weight, not getting any exercise. It was really upsetting. When I was visiting them, or when they visited me, I would try to stop them from ordering dessert. It was an act of concern for me, if not desperation, but just seemed punitive to them.

It felt like I was watching them standing on the edge of cliff and couldn't stop them from taking the next step forward.

What I realized was that the best I could do was to give them encouragement. I would remind them how much I cared about them and wanted them around. I would tell them that they could have so much more energy, and feel so much better, if they watched their weight and got moving more. When my words came out of love and concern, they had more impact.

I felt very helpless, like family members often feel. I learned that being a dictator, or scolding them, hurt my mother's feelings and annoyed my father. So I stopped.

But when I saw signs of positive change, I gushed all over them. When my mom lost weight, I made her blush with my praise. When I got them out moving for an afternoon, I would tell them how much I enjoyed getting out with them. Sure, they probably saw through this, but they also knew that I was sincere, and trying to be a loving and encouraging son.

As Gabby said so well, your mom will have to make this decision on her own. As hard as that is for you to sit with.

So I feel your pain. We can only do what we can do. But staying loving and involved and positive can help.


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-05-28 12:02:46 -0500 Report

Dr. Gary in all my years the one lesson I have learned is you can't stop people from doing what they really want to do. I no longer raise an eyebrow when my diabetic friends order foods they should not be eating and I won't say anything to them. This morning my cousin told me she was now on insulin with Metformin because her sugar levels are out of control. Every time I talk to her she has problems with her diabetes but won't do all of what she should be doing. I told her it would be easier to put a bullet in her head and end it all. She said I would push her off the ledge is she was standing on it. I told her the odds are good that I would because she won't listen or do what she knows she should be doing but simply won't do it consistently. She called me back and said she went through the cabinets and tossed all her chips, cookies and candy away.

I think people with diabetes know what they should or should not be eating yet they either don't care enough to change eating habits, or don't want to accept the fact they can't have all the things they were use to having.

I really think the best thing for Wildcat to do is step back and give mom some space to adjust. When you constantly tell people what they should or should not be doing the person tends to shut down and resentment can begin to be a part of the problem. Mom could also look at it as I am the mother you are the child, you don't tell me what to do. Nothing Wildcat says or does is going to change her mother. Mom will change when she wants to. Then again she may never change. At the end of the day it was the decision her mother chose to make and there won't be anything Wildcat can do about it. Sometimes no matter how much you love or care about a person, the decisions they make can hurt you and them yet they made the choice. It is a bitter pill to swallow but you have to face the fact that even though they are hurting those around them, you might not be able to stop it or control it.

UAWildcat 2012-05-27 20:20:36 -0500 Report

Hi Dr Gary and thank you for taking the time to comment. You and Gabby have made some wonderful points about a positive approach. I think that if she realizes that we are a team and all in this together, maybe she will feel more supported in her decision to change. Your situation is worse than mine - that must have been so frustrating to see not one, but two diabetics make poor choices! I am coming to the same realization that you did, that love and encouragement are the best ways to communicate a point. That is great to hear that your mom lost weight; it symbolizes that there is hope for my mom!

GabbyPA 2012-05-26 21:19:27 -0500 Report

Oh, this is so hard to deal with. I recall when I went away to college, I saw my family in a different light. I saw things I didn't see while I lived at home and it was alarming to me. They were not diabetic at the time, but still, that space makes us see things and we want to share our revelations with them.

I got all involved and butted in on my parents lives and my mom ended up not speaking to me for about 2 months, she was so angry at me. Not that what I shared was wrong, but that it came from her child is what bothered her the most.

I say that to say that familiarity breeds contempt and sometimes advice from family members is met with the most resistance. It is sad, but very, very true.

Unfortunately, she will have to come to a point herself to make those changes. Nagging, hint dropping or arguing will not generally work the way you want. Just like a rebellious teen, say one thing and they will do the opposite. What you can do is love her. Perhaps offer to be a part of getting her moving in the right direction when she is ready. Specially when you see the consequences every day, it makes you more afraid, but you have to let that go and be there for her. Supporting her when she does well or makes good choices will go a long way to help her along.

UAWildcat 2012-05-27 20:14:58 -0500 Report

Gabby, you make a great point; I really do need to do a better job at positively reinforcing her behaviors that are healthy. I know that my original post was mainly negative (it was written at a time of frustration!), but she has also done some positive things for her diabetes. I am sorry to hear that you had a bad experience trying to help your parents, that must have been horrible to be estranged for those 2 months! I really do need to make more of an effort to be positive and I like your idea of being a part of her changes. If someone were a recovering alcoholic, it would not be a conducive environment to remain in remission if everyone around you is drinking. I am willing to make any changes in my life it it makes it easier for my mom to as well, and I am sure that my dad and sister would agree. Thanks for the positive take! And by the way, I like your name - my name is Gabrielle too! :-)

GabbyPA 2012-05-28 11:10:13 -0500 Report

My name is more a nickname, one that I live up to quite often. LOL

It is always a delicate situation between parent and child. How to show that tough love and not end up pushing them away. My mom and I are great friends and though that hard time made her angry, I think ultimately, it made us closer because she knew I cared and I knew she did too.

Your willingness to plunge in is great. All of us should have support so willing. It would be refreshing. Perhaps you can find some recipes to make and just bring to her. If she loves them, then your work is done and much easier than bugging her to find low carb recipes on her own. Or go shopping, window shopping...that equals taking a nice little walk, without knowing it. LOL. You have great insight, we just have to keep it "in sight" so we can use it. I think you will find a way.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-05-26 18:37:38 -0500 Report

Wildcat my dad never went to the doctors and nothing any of us said mattered. He got to the point where dementia was a problem. I literally had to go to court to get an emergency petition. The police came to the house and took him to the hospital. Once he returned home, he had to take medication for his extremely high blood pressure and cholesterol. The only way we could get his meds in him was to crush the pill up in food.

Your mother isn't going to do what she is suppose to do unless SHE wants to do it. Your father isn't going to be any more help than you are. I think you should back off. More than likely if all you do is try to get her to eat healthy and go for walks and become more active, she has tuned you out. She may get to the point of coming right out and telling you to mind your business. You can lead a horse to water but nothing you do will ever make the horse drink unless the horse wants the water.

Your love is what she wants more than anything not your telling her what she should or should not eat because odds are she is going to eat it anyway, that she should take walks or that she should do anything that you want her to do. Looking at old photo's of her and seeing how thin she was and wanting her to be that thin again is what you want. It might not be what she wants. I think people equate thin with being happy, healthy and beautiful. In my lifetime, I have met a lot of thin people who had more health problems than I did being overweight.

I have had a lot of doctors in my lifetime, not one of them made a difference in my life because that isn't why I go to the doctors. You can only motivate people who choose to be motivated. Your are not going to change anyone unless they want to be changed and you patients will only listen to you if they choose to listen. I worked in a hospital for 11 years and have talked to doctors in all kinds of medical fields. As an EMT I have come into contact with people having all kinds of medical problems and conditions. I had an extensive conversation with Dr. Ben Carson because he noticed I was upset because a heart attack patient died. I think you should concentrate on giving your patients the best care possible and in the end you will find they will either listen and make changes or they will find another doctor. You can't base your profession on the fact that you can't motivate your mother. She isn't ready to be motivated, she may never be motivated by you or anyone else. Just love her and no matter what happens it wasn't your fault. Good luck

UAWildcat 2012-05-27 20:07:27 -0500 Report

Thank you Joyce for sharing your experience. You misinterpreted my comment about the old picture of my mom - I was just trying to illustrate how she has gained a significant amount of weight since her diagnosis. My concern about her weight gain has nothing to do with her appearance; it has to do with her disease and what the outcomes are if she does not make healthier lifestyle decisions. I do agree that motivation comes from within and that many of my patients will not listen to me, but I would like to learn more about the best way to approach patients, because I am sure there are more effective ways than others.

pixsidust 2012-05-26 13:57:25 -0500 Report

Can you and your sister, perhaps other family members do an intervention with your Mom? Can you sit down with her and ask why she is not caring, watching her diet and making any effort towards health?
I think you need to be brutally honest and let her know How it hurts you to see that she does not care to be around for Grand kids. When she says she does you have to tell her no, someone who cares does not eat bread pudding. Enlist the family to help watch her. Seems grade school but thats where you are and you are saving Mom. The Mom you have loved for your life!

You may need to shop with both Dad and Mom to revamp their kitchen. Sit down and teach both of them about counting carbs. Buy snacks that are sweet as she has a sweet tooth. I like chocolate sugar free pudding cups. Pre measured and ready for a craving that comes up. Help them to plan her meals. Remind her that a family function is not her day to blow up her disease with sugar her body can not handle. Let them see if she has a starch like a potato then no bread or corn. Get rid of real juice. Natural is still sugar. Sugar free is not carb free. She must count carbs.

If she does not do it then she does not care. If dad does not help then he does not care. You have to let them know thats how you and the others family members feel…and all be there. She needs to admit she has a problem and needs to change. Dad has to realize its killing her. First before you slip into teaching. Ask what changes she is willing to make to live and what changes dad is willing to make to help her live. You need some kind of verbal commitment. They need to say it and you need to hear it.

Then teach them what to do and how to count carbs and how much per meal no more than 40. When to test her sugar 1.5-2 hours after eating. Let her know their not trying is unacceptable. It starts with the intervention, then make a point of teaching and shopping with them. Do not leave it to a book. My prayers are with you. Thats my thoughts. I want your Mother to live and being subtle is not the key.

Thank God for you and your sister!

UAWildcat 2012-05-27 19:40:42 -0500 Report

Hi Pixsidust, thank you for your advice. Here's the problem with my mom's diet. Someone told her that she can still have sweets in moderation, but I think that her idea of moderation is very different from most peoples. She does have stuff like the sugar free pudding around, which is definitely a good move on her part, and it is a healthy alternative for a sweets craving. What upset me about the family gathering the other day that I forgot to mention in my original post is that my cousin actually had purchased some pastries that were sugar-free that were available in addition to the cheesecake and bread pudding. The optimal situation would have been for her to not have cheesecake at all, but what really bothered me was how she took a full, large piece, rather than taking 1/4 of a piece or some of the sugar-free goodies.

Sorry for that rant! I do think that your suggestion for the heart-to-heart and more blatant approach may be necessary to really make me point. I think that up until this point I have been a bit too passive; for example, I could have suggested that she have a smaller piece of cheesecake, but instead I just observed and was saddened internally. I would like to get my point across without hurting her feelings, it is just hard to know when you cross that line. Thank you again and I hope to talk more when I am done taking my boards!

pixsidust 2012-05-27 21:54:57 -0500 Report

I think you can do it with Love. Love can be firm. Not all situations or analogies are the same. Your Mom does not know how you feel and she needs to. It can be that she needs more education but she also needs to see how it affects you and what you see. Many do not get fully educated about the do's and don'ts. Silence is no way to watch her kill herself. Reinforced on how much you love and need her, she will not feel bad about herself, especially when you praise her efforts too. I disagree on the fight or flight mode when you speak with love. Not everyone is quick to anger, but you know Mom. Perhaps you tell her you are unsure of how to approach the subject but love her so much you hope she knows thats why you are saying anything. You are worried and want her for a long time. Do what you thinks best but do something soon

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-05-27 17:34:36 -0500 Report

pixi the problem with this is she is going to put her mother in flight or fight mode. She can shop with her mom and dad and get them to purchase foods she thinks they should eat. It isn't her money she is spending it is theirs and she has no right to tell them how to spend it.

If she buys food and take it to them, what is stopping them from not eating it? The odds are they might toss it or give it away when she leaves. How are you going to enlist the family to watch what she eats if they don't live with her? They may not care what she eats. You can't make the extended family responsible for her. In the end they may all end up resenting her or even telling her they don't have the time.

Under no circumstances should she tell them how other family members feel unless they tell her she can speak for them. All this will do is cause animosity between the parents and the family. What gives anyone the right to speak for anyone but themselves.

Family interventions in some cases only cause breeches in family relationships. My aunt had a stroke two years after having open heart surgery. Prior to the stroke she paid for a week long vacation in Canada. She had the stroke three weeks before leaving. After being home a week I helped her pack. Four of her sisters told her she should not go. One went so far to tell her she would give her the money back and take the trip. I asked them what gave them the right to tell her what she could and could not do. I was the one who was there with her the week she came home and we did everything the doctor said to do. (her daughters worked so I was there during the day) Her doctor said she could go so leave her alone. She agreed and went with another sister and had a blast. Six months. Six months later she had several massive strokes and died 4 months after that.

Making her feel guilty about not being around for her grandkids is not the way to go. You are assuming that she wants to spend time with them or that she will see them on a regular basis. You can't say these kinds of things for the simple fact is tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone. I think she should back off because her mom probably has tuned her out. She will do what she has to do to take care of herself when she wants to and nothing the family can do will make her change. Being constantly critical of her will only cause her to resent her daughter. God forbid what happens if the mom died today. The last memory her daughter will have is how she harped on her mom about her eating habits. You can't change people until they are ready to be changed.

UAWildcat 2012-05-27 19:50:27 -0500 Report

I agree that this is a delicate situation and I do not want to step on anyone's toes. The situation with your aunt sounds complicated in terms of family involvement, but it is a good thing that she was able to enjoy a vacation at the end. I do want my mom to enjoy life and I do not want to control her by any means, but I also don't want to watch her eating cheesecake as if she values it more than she values her time with me. I agree that putting a guilt trip on her is probably not the best approach, the last think I want is to make my mom to feel bad about herself! But at the same time she is a stubborn person and being silent will not help either, so I need to figure out a good balance! Thank you for taking the time to comment Joyce!

DeanaG 2012-05-26 09:32:44 -0500 Report

Please don't give up on trying to reach her.
I am fourth generation diabetic and have seen this disease take many of my loved ones far to early.
Keep trying to convince her how important it is to you that she take better care of this disease.
Try and get her to join us here on DC.
This site has helped me tremendously in my fight.
The knowledge and support here are wonderful.
I will keep in my thoughts and prayers.
Another Daughter of Diabetes

UAWildcat 2012-05-27 19:28:42 -0500 Report

Deana, thank you for taking the time to offer some supportive words. How disheartening to see so many family members with diabetes, the fact that it does have a strong genetic component does scare me that I or my sister will eventually develop it. When I figure out my 'plan of attack', I will try to get her on here. I imagine that she will be opposed at first, but hopefully if she sees how many people like you have benefited from this community, she will take interest.

granniesophie 2012-05-26 09:17:22 -0500 Report

I can't really give you any advise, having absolutely none to give, but I can commiserate with your situation and your feelings, since I am the daughter of an uncontrolled diabetic mother. My mom is 80, has been a diabetic for at least 10 years, if not more, and thinks that 40mg of Glybuderide a day "controls" her diabetes so she need do nothing more. She has severe kidney disease now, almost to the point of dialysis, now also has terrible shortness of breathe, so we are seeing a cardiologist in a few weeks, and she also has some dementia, all of which she is in denial over, so setting a good example is pointless. I just take care of me for me, and take care of my mom the best I can, along with 5 doctors.
It is, at best a very frustrating suituation, but, these people are adults, and make their own choices, and no matter what you say or do, unless they want to change, they are not going to, and just because you can't make your parents change, DOES NOT mean that all patients will be like that and you won't be able to help many. Never think that everyone is the way your parents are, they aren't.
You are absolutely in the right place here, we are all seeking information, and trying to help each other. We do offer suggestions on what works for us, but remeber, Diabetes isn't one size fits all, what works for one may not work for another, that's why these are suggestions only-take them mor leave them. You can but try.
If you like, follow me here, and I can follow you and we can become friends, and message each other privately too. Sometimes someone else going through the same stuff helps, even if you just want to vent! Beleive me, ventting helps more than you know.
Take care :)

UAWildcat 2012-05-27 19:24:38 -0500 Report

I praise you for taking care of your mother and helping manage her medical affairs, I can't imagine how stressful that must be. Are you on this site as a daughter of a diabetic, or as a diabetic yourself? I don't know how many people on here are like me, but it seems like a good place for family members to get support too. I do know that my patients will be of all walks of lives - some more motivated than others, some more open to advice, but maybe I can use my own situation to see what types of motivational strategies might work for a patient who has qualities similar to my mom. Thank you Sophie for taking the time to reply to my post and I hope to talk more when I am done with boards mid-June.

granniesophie 2012-05-27 21:00:43 -0500 Report

I also have Diabetes-but totally under control, except for the chocolate (okay, so I have a vice!!) ! My numbers are great, and I am still very careful, having seen first-hand what Diabetes can do, and it's not going to happen to me! I would love to talk more, let me know when you have time. Apparently we are actually even in the same state!!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2012-05-27 17:37:32 -0500 Report

Grannie I hate to think of what would happen if you really did have advice to give. This was excellent for someone who had no advice to give and I agree with you. You are right these people are adults and you can't change them.

jayabee52 2012-05-26 06:31:21 -0500 Report

Howdy UAWildcat, WELCOME to DiabeticConnect.

Yes folks here on DC DO respond to posts like this.

I know how tough it is to watch a loved one implode as you describe. Unfortunately, I don't have any easy answers for you. It is tough to motivate a loved one unless you find a way to motivate them.

I myself was not all that complient and my wife at the time threatened me with divorce if I didn't take care of myself. I loved her and didn't want her to divorce me, so I became more complient —- for a time. Eventually she divorced me for other reasons, but used the incident of my noncomplience to justify her decision to college friends. So much for the vow "in sickness and in health".

However it took a place like DiabetecConnect to change my thinking and my behavior. I now manage my DM t2 with my meal plan alone and use no DM medications, something I thought impossible when I first joined DC. I accidentaly discovered that if I eat very carefully, my pancreas was producing enough of my own insulin that I can manage my Blood Glucose (BG) levels without resorting to DM medications. I have been doing that since Feb 2011 and have been doing well with it.

As far as help here goes, there are a lot of folks who have a lot of stories, but most of those who remain here seem to stay here and come back year after year (like I have for 3+ yrs) have a way of dealing adequately with their disease.

Perhaps you might wish to follow a Dr Gary, a PhD who counsels people with chronic and acute diseases. You can find his profile here ~ http://www.diabeticconnect.com/users/265624-d... and click on the blue rectanglular button which says "follow".

He then has to follow you back and you will become friends and be able to email him privately (the only way to be able to communicate on this site without the prying eyes of Google copying everything. He might have some pointers about how to get your mother to care for herself and her condition.

Outside of that you only can appeal to her as a mother. Let her know how much you love her and how much her demise will devastate you.

My personal story is one which may be instructive. I had diabetes. Developed it in 1995, as I said before was not all that compliant and was only hit and miss with my medications (mostly metformin). Iin 2002 I had been divorced out of a 25 yr marriage which really threw me into a tailspin. Again I became non-compliant, but by choice and practiced diabullemia for a while to try to lose weight. I was having no luck in the romance dept and was really depressed about the way my life was going. Eventually I became disabled due to 3 TIAs ("ministrokes") which affected my gait and my balance. I was making a living as a Certified Nurse Aide who needed to be able to balance to transfer patients from bed to chair.

About 1 yr later I ended up on my bedroom floor for 5 days/nights in a semi-comatose state. Upon my son discovering me and taking me to the ER it was determined that my kidneys had shut down and I needed hemo-dialysis.

After I was out of the hospital I decided that perhaps I didn't want to live like that anymore. After all I was disabled, no way to earn a living, I had no lady to love (all rejected me when they found out how sick I was) and I was racking up debt like no tomorrow with the hospital and the dialysis clinic. I had been depressed before and had been nearly suicidal, and I figured if I stopped my dialysis treatments I would poison my body enough so I would eventually die. And if the semi-comatose state I had experienced at the beginning of my journey into dialysis was any indication of how it would be like, it wouldn't be all that bad at all to die that way. At least it wouldn't be painful. I even talked to the dialysis clinic's social worker who basically said “nobody would blame you if you did that”.

However it did matter to me how I was viewed by my 3 sons. I chose to remain on dialysis so I wouldn't be giving my sons the OK to end their lives when times got tough for them personally.

I believe I had been blessed by that decision. I got medical insurance through medicare, and income through SSDi. And then I was told after another hospitalization that I no longer needed Dialysis. And then to top it off, I met a lady online on a dating website for disabled people, and we hit it off and eventually married my “Jem”.

So my love for my sons drove my decision to continue dialysis at the point of me giving up and it gave me another lease on life.

I don't know if that makes sense to you, but the only thing you might have going for you with your mom is her love for you. Appeal to that and let her know how much you love her and how much her death from diabetes related causes would devastate you.

I pray that this has helped you and that you can reach your mother and help her see what she needs to do. If she is active on the internet, please introduce her to us. We'd be happy to have her here, and we could help her sort out some of her problems with her diabetes and perhaps with her thinking. DM is such an emotional disease as well as a physical one, so sometimes those who have developed DM can also be subject to “stinkin thinkin”.

I pray this has helped you somewhat.

Blessings to you and yours

James Baker

UAWildcat 2012-05-27 19:16:43 -0500 Report

You are such a strong and insightful person for persevering through such a difficult time. Your relationship with your sons and your decision to modify your lifestyle tells me that there is hope for my own situation. I understand what you mean that my love for her is the only thing I have going, I think that even with all of the things that I have done to reach out to her, I should still try to, for lack of better words, 'take advantage' of that to try to get through to her. Thank you, James, for taking the time to reply to my post, and I hope to become a more active part of this online community when I am done with the boards.

Next Discussion: Neuropathy »