|7th birthday with |
my stepbrother Casey
|15 years and|
all about band
|First time I had a party |
This is my paternal grandfather, Wendell Thomas.
Wendell was born in 1922 and grew up during the Depression. He had some difficult health issues early in life contracting what was known as Tuberculosis of the Spine. He had surgery in Minnesota at what is now called the Mayo Clinic, although then it was called St. Mary's Hospital. Wendell had to wear a brace on his back for years.
|The Wendell Thomas Orchestra|
|Wendell Thomas plays the drums|
When Wendell was an adult he became an insulin-dependent diabetic. I didn't know my Grandpa Thomas very well, but his legacy was felt often through the ubiquitous admonition whenever anyone saw me eating anything sweet..."But not too much; you'll get diabetes."
I don't know if it was a common belief everywhere or just in my family, but I was raised with the wisdom that diabetes "skipped a generation." Thus I lived with constant reminders to not eat too much sugar, watch what I ate, and "you know you're going to have to get your sugar tested when you're older...diabetes skips a generation...and you know about your Grandpa Thomas." It was an incontrovertible truth I was raised on.
Once when I went to the doctor in high school I had my blood tested for something completely unrelated to blood sugar, but when they called me in to the exam room, my heart sank because I was sure they were going to tell me that was it, the end of the road, the party was over, no more Hostess Honey Buns (my favorite at that time). Diabetes was surely here now! Imagine my relief when they told me I did or didn't have mono or something completely unrelated!
After all those years of having that injunction hanging over my head, I can now say that genetically I have no more chance of developing diabetes than anyone else! It's kind of nice to have someone on my side after all these years.