Hello, my name is Jim and I have Type 2 diabetes. Wow, that is the first time I ever wrote that … and honestly, it feels foreign to me. It was my own fault; I didn’t keep up with my pre-diabetes because I thought the next step “couldn’t happen to me.” But it did — in a big way.
In mid-October of last year, I saw a black spot on the side of my big toe. It was different enough that I headed to the emergency room at the request of my wife (my angel and the best caregiver I could ask for). When the ER docs saw it, they called for backup from a couple of specialists and soon I was headed to a single room where people wore masks and special gloves every time they looked at my foot.
A sore on the bottom of my foot became infected and had manifested itself on the side of my big toe in the form of gangrene. Other doctors came in and out with pained looks on their faces. Shortly after, I was told they were going to have to amputate my toe … if not more.
I will tell you one thing: Once you hear the word “amputate,” the world slows way down and you start wondering what happened to get you to this point.
This next line is going to sound like I am trying to shift blame, but I’m not. I eat my emotions; it is my way of not dealing with stress, and yes, it is totally unhealthy. From when I was a little kid to now being closer to 50 than 30, I’ve comforted myself with treats. I’m in the process of learning not to do this, but it’s a struggle.
The worst part is it’s become part of my parenting style. I reward, bribe and console with snacks. It’s not fair to my daughters when I spread my issues onto them, and I am trying to make changes by stopping that as well. I don’t need them to go through what I’ve put myself through for nearly a year.
I’m on the mend. Another infection slowed progress, but after a second surgery, everything seems to be on the upswing. However my selfishness caused a lot of issues — both health-wise and financially — for my family and for that I will always ask for forgiveness.
You’re probably wondering why this is in a parenting column. It’s because I want to warn people that their actions, or lack thereof, have a ripple effect that you can’t even realize. So if you have a lingering health issue, get it check out or under control because your kids are counting on you to be around.
I’m in the process of trying to lead by example; wish me luck.
P.S. The title refers to how high I can count on my fingers and toes.
– Jim Pesta is a past Parenting Program participant and father of two girls.