Monday 21 June 2010

I met a man who had no feet

Over the weekend, I read a blog written by a woman who explained that genetics had finally caught up with her. Her mother had diabetes and now, before the age of 40, she herself had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Despite such a pronouncement, this woman tried to sound upbeat by saying that a change in diet and an exercise regime seemed to working to reduce the impact of this disease.

At the age of 57, I realize, at least on an intellectual level, that from this point onwards, the possibility of running into health problems is probably going up exponentially. I like to think I eat right, I do exercise regularly and I seem to get a clean bill of health on an annual basis. However, I have to admit that statistically, something is bound to happen sooner or later. Yes, there are many things I can do to avoid problems and to remain in good health but there is also a factor of just good old fashioned luck. Do I have good genes or bad ones?

I know a man who at the age of 51 lost the functioning of both kidneys at once. While his medical history had already pointed to such a thing eventually happening, it was nevertheless quite a shock to receive the news that he no longer had any kidneys. After trying to stick with dialysis during almost 3 years, he finally realized that a transplant wasn't just a nice thing, it was a necessity. Apparently the best dialysis can ever do right now at this stage in the development of medical science is merely 10% as good as a real kidney.

Fortunately his wife proved to be a match and he did have a transplant, a successful one I might add. However, the 3 years of dialysis had taken their toll. Due to the inefficiency of the process of dialysis, certain toxins had built up in his body which has resulted in some neuropathy. On top of it all, a kidney transplant is not something which lasts forever. While a kidney will last for the life of the person, a transplanted one usually lasts between 10 to 15 years. Depending on how long this person lives, he will more than likely have to have another transplant.

My wife had a friend who died from a brain tumor, cancer, at the age of 49. No prior signs, no family history. Just right out of the blue, she gets cancer and within 6 months is dead.

Right now, I do not diabetes; I have 2 functioning kidneys and I'm alive. Sometimes I hurt; sometimes I'm sad; sometimes I'm upset. Every once in a while, I need to look around me; I need to look down. I have a lot to be thankful for.

"I thought I was abused because I had no shoes until a met a man who had no feet."
-- J.M. Braude,
Speaker's Encyclopedia of Stories, Quotations and Anecdotes, p. 338, no. 2320 (1955).


No comments: