A common theme I see on messages boards is that someone will ask about other family members that were diabetic and a lot of people say that no one else in their family had diabetes. My family has a bunch of both types. My grandmother was diabetic, but back in her day, they did not type what kind. She died in 1965. Two of her daughters were diabetic – one Type 1 and one Type 2, so that kind of makes you wonder what type my grandmother was.
The Type 2 daughter was also married to another Type 2 and their son was supposedly Type 1. He died from heart disease in 2006, right before I started getting online and learning all kinds of new stuff. He is not around to ask questions but I do know that he took very large amounts of insulin. That could have been because of his diet (he literally ate French fries every day), was he a Type 1 with insulin resistance, or was he really Type 2? Lots of questions, no answers!
Back in the spring, I started playing with genealogy and looking into long lost family members. One of the obituaries I found was for one of my mother’s cousins – Tom. My mother’s father and Tom’s mother were brother and sister. Tom’s obituary suggested making a contribution to the American Diabetes Association. Of course, his wife could have been the diabetic or one of their kids, but I knew there was a connection to diabetes with him.
I found the draft registration card for Tom’s father from 1942. They are neat to see because they have a section that includes height, weight, eye color, hair color and what their complexion is like. There is a write in spot for any identifying physical characteristics. On Tom’s fathers, it said, “both legs off.” The first thought that popped into my head was diabetes. And yes, I know people lose legs for reasons other than being diabetic!
Finding these long lost family members started me thinking about the people that say no one else in their family was diabetic. Do you really know every single descendant from your great, great, great grandparents? One of my grandmother’s sisters (Mary) moved up to New York and I know very little about her kids. In my case I am diabetic but my mother is not. What if one of Mary’s kids was the one that ended up with diabetes but because her mother moved away and lost contact with her family, they did not know that my grandmother was diagnosed with diabetes. They might be the ones sitting there saying no one else in their family had diabetes when my grandmother, two of her daughters and three of her grandchildren did/do.
So before you say no else in your family had diabetes, do you really know what happened to every single descendant of 4x great grandparent? I know I don’t!