So many of my female relatives had diabetes when I was growing up that I didn't realize how dangerous it is. My wake-up call came when my mother had a massive heart attack at a young age. I started looking around and realized how many of my female relatives with diabetes died of heart problems. Diabetes is high among American Indians, but my sisters and I just weren't taught about what could happen if you had it, or that it could be prevented.
I was diagnosed with diabetes 3 years agoonly 6 months after my mother died from a second massive heart attack. A lot of Comanche women don't talk about their health, but I'm trying to be open with my kids about diabetes and educate them about how to eat better and get more exercise.
I tell them that they're doing these things for me, but more importantly for their own health and their own children's lives as well. I know that if I don't change things in my life, I might not live to see my grandchildren. Every day, I talk myself into doing things for my health, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, eating more fruits and vegetables. These things haven't become habits for me yet, but I'm working on it.