Mortality of Diabetes

The mortality of diabetes makes the sweet spots sweeter.

DeannaBy Deanna Glick

Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!

December 2010 — A strong sense of my own mortality came soon after my diabetes diagnosis at age 21. I was told that although I'd have an excellent chance of living a long, full life with tight blood sugar control, my illness would likely shave a few birthdays from my time on earth. And, sitting amongst 80-somethings in waiting rooms, it's hard not to admit the harsh truth of illness making death more imminent.

It's a domino effect. Eventually, that mortality of diabetes morphed into an anxiety-ridden drive to accomplish goals in unrealistic timetables. Advancing a career, seeing the world, saving for retirement (if I was lucky to make it that far), becoming a mother, time with those I loved, buying life insurance and estate planning were all emergencies rather than mundane items on life's to-do list.

Meanwhile, I had a husband who, outside of near-death at age 2 from meningitis, had zero health problems. He could count on one hand how many times he'd actually been to the doctor. He's never been overweight, has played on baseball and basketball teams since college and helped me train for a marathon. He likes whole grains and vegetables and loathes fake cheese thanks to a health-conscious upbringing in Northern California.

I've always seen him as "the healthy one." And, with the medical bills, time, energy, and mortality of diabetes that are part of being a person – let alone a parent – with diabetes, I counted on it. At least, I would think, if I was left in a coma from severe hypoglycemia as my dear friend was last year at age 49, my daughter would have a healthy single dad to take care of her.

But the fantasy has died, and reality has taken over.

In the past few weeks, my 37-year-old healthy husband developed a herniated disc in his back, visited the emergency room twice and was diagnosed with hypertension.

I knew it was irrational to believe my husband was immune from health problems by virtue of having a sick wife. The theory, of which I wrote about in a column some time ago, had been proven wrong before. Soon after my diagnosis, I began imagining I, and perhaps my whole family, had reached some sort of disease quota. We had our share of chronic illness and financial contributions to the health care system.

But like most issues I've written about with respect to the mortality of diabetes, I'm able to devise a silver lining, albeit a little tarnished. When we're reminded of our mortality, our passion and appreciation for life can be reignited. Our daughter's smiles are all the sweeter. We're able to inject laughter and sunlight into what would otherwise be long, dark, tearful days. Without the gift of an early sense of mortality, I may not have had the enthusiasm and stamina to spontaneously travel to Europe, quit jobs that made me miserable, complete a marathon, move across the country with an 8-week-old infant and shake it with my best friend on a dance floor filled with people more than a decade younger than me.

Regardless of what's happening today, I am at peace knowing that if death came tomorrow or 50 years from now, I will have lived. I have lived.

dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.

Last Modified Date: May 31, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

More On This Topic

No items are associated with this tag

dLife Weekly Poll

Do you have all the doctors you need on your diabetes care team?

Sign up for FREE dLife Newsletters

dLife Membership is FREE! Get exclusive access, free recipes, newsletters, savings, and much more! FPO

You are subscribed!
You are subscribed!
You are subscribed!
435 Views 0 comments
by Lindsey Guerin
I am in desperate need of a nap. Between frequent bathroom trips and constant tossing and turning overnight, my sleep has dwindled. But what do you expect at almost 33 weeks pregnant? My whole body is tired these days though. Two weeks ago, a mix of severe lightheadedness and some weird blood pressure readings at home had my doctor send me to Labor & Delivery for a couple of hours of observation. My blood pressure was fine while at the hospital and I haven’t been checking as...

dLife's Sex & Intimacy Content is contributed & moderated by

Jamis Roszler
Janis Roszler

Janis Roszler, MSFT, RD, CDE, LD/N is the American Association of Diabetes Educators' 2008-2009 Diabetes Educator of the Year.  She is a certified diabetes educator, marriage and family therapist, and registered dietitian. Her books include Sex and Diabetes (ADA) Diabetes on your OWN Terms (Marlowe & Co) and The Secrets of Living and Loving with Diabetes (Surrey books).

Donna Rice
Donna Rice

Donna Rice MBA,RN,CDE,FAADE is the 2007 Past President of the American Association of Diabetes Educators. She is a registered nurse, diabetes educator and has developed numerous educational programs on sexual health and wellness.  She is the co-author of  Sex and Diabetes (ADA) and Diabetes and Erectile Dysfunction - A Quick ‘n' Easy Handbook For the Diabetes Educator (Bella Vita).  Her newest publication is a children's book, The Magic is Me (Searchlight Press).

  • Watch dLifeTV online now!

    Click here for more info