Type 2 diabetes affects families, hitting youth
LEIGH ZALESKI Daily Record/Sunday News | 10.02.13
Photo by Daily Record/Sunday News — Kate Penn
Friends and family celebrate Jayquan’s (center, neon-green shirt) 14th birthday at his home in York on June 29, 2013. Jayquan has Type 2 diabetes and so do many members of his family.
Annette Flowers, 38, of York got pregnant when she was 15 years old in the Bronx, New York.
She developed gestational diabetes, which increased the chance that she and her baby would get diabetes later in life. She was diagnosed with Type 2 when she was 17. Still, she didn’t realize it was a life-threatening disease.
She fed her baby anything he wanted, such as cheese doodles, and he became obese at a young age. That lax diet would lead him and his family toward a future of health issues that continue today.
Photo by Kate Penn, York Daily Record/Sunday News
Annette Flowers cooks dinner for her family at her home in York on May 30, 2013.
Flowers started taking metformin to improve her body’s sensitivity to insulin and to lower glucose production in her liver. In New York, she went to clinics with long wait times and said her doctors never explained diabetes in a way she could understand.
She needed more medication to control her blood sugar. In her 20s, she started taking insulin. But she didn’t stick to it. She ate and drank whatever she wanted — a lot of chips and diet soda. Her blood sugar soared.
Flowers said she started to understand diabetes better after moving to York about 10 years ago. She received better care here. But she still struggled to lose weight and control her blood sugar.
She often was sick and hospitalized because of infections. Her gums would bleed. She lost one of her lower front teeth. She had two and a half toes amputated. She had bladder problems, anxiety and depression.
Flowers was only in her 30s, but felt like she was 70.
In 2011, when Jayquan Flowers — her second youngest of four boys — started getting sick a lot, vomiting and feeling weak, Flowers took him to the doctor. When the doctor told him he had Type 2 diabetes, he cried. He was only 11.
The following year, her husband, Percy Flowers, and her oldest son, Joseph Marin, were diagnosed.
She blamed herself.
Keep reading on ydr.com/diabetes.
YDR health reporter Leigh Zaleski was a guest on Radio Smart Talk, which featured Type 2 diabetes