For anyone who has diabetes or has a loved one with diabetes, you know how devastating the disease can be. In 2005, most people who lived anywhere in North America were made aware of a hurricane named Katrina that affected the Gulf Coast. In our family, though Katrina affected us, Hurricane Diabetes was the storm that seemed to pound us over and over again.
In May of 2005, shortly after Andy was born, my father had to have surgery on his toe and spent hours each day for the rest of the summer in a hyperbaric chamber trying to heal. You see, my father has been a Type 2 diabetic for many years and he was beginning to experience some of the complications that usually arise after years of trying to control the disease.
In August, the day Andy was discharged from the hospital, my parents began to head home to Biloxi. On the way, they found out that Katrina was headed right for the coast. They continued home and stayed to ride out the storm, but then went to stay with my sister in Jackson, Mississippi, along with my mother’s parents. When they were finally able to go back home, my father took my mother’s parents back to their house only to find that it was flooded with 3 feet of water. Since his wound had never really healed, walking in that dirty water caused my father’s foot to get infected to the point that he lost his toe and part of his foot in November. However, going home at Thanksgiving, we could tell he still was very sick. He had lost so much weight that he looked anorexic. This 6 foot 2 inch man was weighing in at just 175 pounds. Finally in December, the doctors decided to amputate his leg just above his knee. Thankfully, after that surgery, my father returned to near perfect health. He still and probably will always have to take insulin to control his diabetes, and he will never be able to walk again without some kind of assistance, but he is now strong and active again.
Another storm that hit us that year happened to my sister’s family. She was pregnant too that year and had her daughter on September 20th. That night, her husband had been feeling ill and decided since he was in the hospital, that he would go get checked out in the emergency room. When the doctor checked his blood, he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. He ended up being admitted to the hospital. Instead of celebrating the birth of his daughter, he was getting an education on how to control his diabetes.
In addition to diabetes slamming us three times that year, we were also affected financially. Our little family of three was evicted from our apartment due to losing income the week we were in the hospital with Andy. Although, I have to admit God blessed us as a result of that necessary move. We ended up moving to a small town about 20 miles away where we became involved in a church. The people in that church really took care of us. Several times we struggled with paying our utility bills because we always had to pay for Andy’s supplies first and foremost. Don’t get me wrong, we had insurance, but even the best insurance doesn’t pay for everything. It’s sad when a family has to choose between keeping their child alive and keeping the heat on in the winter time. Luckily, God intervened and the church family really came to our rescue. I will never forget those wonderful people and I try to pay it forward any chance I get.
Well, after telling it all, I guess it doesn’t really sound all that bad. Thankfully, though we have had many more ups and downs since then, we have never had a year quite that bad since. Hopefully we never will. But only God knows what He has in store for us. From all that turmoil has come many more blessings. I know there will be many more blessings to come.