Recently, I heard that one of my uncles had a problem with his foot. After multiple visits to the doctors it was decided that his right big toe should be taken out surgically. My uncle has been a diabetic for over 30 years now. He is active, watches his diet very carefully and walks every day. He never skips his medicines and doctors' visits. So, what went wrong? I wanted to find out. It turns out he jammed his toe awhile ago. He said he didn't feel pain or see a cut. The bruise was so minor that he didn't think of it twice. After three months he lost his toe completely. But that's not the whole story. After a month half of my uncle's foot was surgically removed due to gangrene.
I was horrified by the incident and sad for my uncle. This gave me an insight of what could happen if I do not take care of my body, even for a day. I have been a diabetic for almost 20 years now and I can't think of a day when I was carefree about my health. We diabetics do not have the luxury of letting go of ourselves for even one day. We are like athletes training for the Olympics. We need to be on guard and working towards our health goals constantly. We should be on the vigil for any discrepancies that our bodies might exhibit. Whether it be a toenail or a pinky finger we need to pay attention to it right away and watch it to see if it is turning into something else.
There is no part in a diabetic's body that can be ignored. A toenail is as important to be taken care of as dryness in the eye. I see my feet as pillars upon which my body is built. They support me, and they mobilize me. I couldn't do anything without my feet. I couldn't go visit places, take a walk for my health, put them up when I crash in the sofa to relax, paint my toenails, have a luxurious pedicure while chatting with friends on phone, or go to work for a living. I couldn't imagine being without a part of my body especially my feet. Taking care of my feet on a daily basis is like a religion to me. So, I made some pointers for my fellow diabetics to take care of their feet:
1. Keep your feet dry from moisture.
2. Use lotions to prevent excessive skin dryness.
3. Do not put lotion in between your toes as it may cause fungus to grow.
4. Dry your feet after you workout or are in hot weather.
5. Wear socks that absorb moisture and keep the feet from sweating.
6. Look for any cuts, lesions, or blisters on your feet and watch them closely. If you feel like it is turning into something else take yourself to a podiatrist immediately to get it checked.
7. Wear flat shoes that fit your feet comfortably.
8. Do not walk on bare feet even in the house or swimming pool. There are water shoes available for swimming pools in the market.
9. Cut across the toe nails. Make sure you do not cut into the flesh.
10. Clean your feet as soon as you come out of a public shower or swimming pool.
Managing diabetes with proper diet, exercise, medications and regular checkups is as important as making sure to pay attention to each individual part of our body carefully. As far as I am concerned, I lost too many relatives to diabetes and heart disease already, but I am not going to give up on myself. I am determined to live a healthy and happy life and so should every one with diabetes because OUR LIFE MATTERS.
Reviewed July 4, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Alison Stanton