my mother is 67 years old, and found out she was diabetes in her mid-late 40's.
she had me at 41, and i'm almost 26 years old.
i would say she never really took great care of herself after finding out she was diabetic. wouldn't eat enough, would often eat the wrong thing, and often made the most irresponsible excuses not to do what she was supposed to, like being too busy with the chores to have breakfast or take her medication on time.
well, eventually her attitude towards her condition started taking a toll. about a year ago, my dad took her to a neurologist, and she confirmed my mom had some brain damage, related to her diabetes, her age and her lack of mentally challenging activities. she was in treatment for three months, but after completing, my father never took her again. i would often ask him about it, and he'd say he'll take her one of these days.
i moved in with my boyfriend 4 years ago and ever since, i would see my parents around once a week or once every two weeks, and call them around every other day.
well, the thing is, about a month ago, my mother bumped her toe, and my dad was treating it and took it to a clinic specialized in Diabetic patients (we live in Dominican Republic, where people are not known for taking care of their chronic health conditions), and the doctors advised to amputate the toe if it didn't get better in a week. it did get better, but also she would often remove the gauze when my dad treated her at home, so it got awfully infected, which caused a major amputation (last thurstday they amputated 3cm above the knee).
right now i am having a lot of feelings, mostly anger. towards her, for not taking better care of herself; towards my father, for not continuing the treatment and for not allowing the toe to be amputated, and towards myself, because i keep thinking if i were still living with them, or at least somehow forced my dad to do what was necessary, this could have been avoided.
but the worse thing is looking at her in the hospital bed, staring at her leg without realizing what happened. she often says "look what happened to me, did the doctors see it?" she is touching the stump and she apparently hasn't made the connections about what happened yet, . Dr's from surgery dep. say she is out of danger and she can go home, and so do the psychiatrists, but she doesn't seem sane to me right now, and she is also very aggressive and sometimes won't allow us to give her her medicine.
i feel like i am going crazy and i can't stop crying, and i know there's nothing we can do now other than to do whatever it takes to improve her health and her lifestyle, but i'm feeling devastated, angry and guilty, and i would really appreciate some advise from those that are or were in a similar situation

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I too am the daughter of a double amputee. I understand how you feel, first you have to stop thinking that this is your fault, then do the best that you can to help your mom. Your dad also needs as much support as you can give him. It take making healthy meals and eating those meals with them. Read to your mom or if possible take her for a walk and always show and tell her how much you love her.
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People underestimate diabetes all the time. Between contributing to arterial disease and then all the microvascular disease - both of which put eyes, kidneys, and BRAIN tissue out of commission permanently. If you can't get rid of diabetes or pre-diabetes, do what it takes to keep your A1c down, and don;t settle for just a loose semicontrol wit insulin alone, get someone up to date and try the newer meds that reduce appetite as well as get the sugar out of the bloodstream.

It is hard to realize that NOTHING tastes so good it's worth losing your health over. There is almost always something that tastes as good or better that is actually good for you. Don't trade your heart, your brain, your vision or anything else for overindulgence in momentary pleasures! The whole world seems to be telling you the opposite, that it's practically inhuman not to mindlessly go for yummy tasty NOM NOM NOM crap that kills us...but the plain truth is eating wrong and not moving enough gravely diminishes quality and quantity of life, and the battle is totally worth fighting to win.

My mom was the same way - she told herself that diabetes could not be controlled or managed, you just lived with it, and she did exactly the wrong things and died with everything all clogged up, couldn't see, couldn't think, hurt a lot despite best efforts (helped a little...not enough) and just about immobile to boot.

Eat blueberries. Get a bike or get out there on your own two legs. Do TaeKwonDo or at least TaiChi. Don't stop doing stuff because you are any certain age. Fresh green beans are yummier than junk food once you re-sensitize and cultivate your taste buds a little. Be countercultural - it could save your life.

Put your anger into helping other people do what our moms couldn't or didn't...whatever the reasons...
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My mom was the same way she ended up losing both legs first her right then 1 toe then another and when they wanted to do the 3rd I ended up taking her to a specialist in S.C. [We live in N.C.} they ended up taking the leg both are above the knee that was 2 years ago and she still does not realize that they are gone The doctors told me she would have phantom pains But she still talks about getting up and walking or getting angry because I wont buy her new shoes . As far as the anger and guilt go at some point you just have to let it go and just love her through it as best you can . I cried and blamed her the doctors and myself. But then I realized I had too many other things to worry about . NEVER realized what a horrible thing diabetes was until dealing with all this with her .
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I am so thankful for your answers, you have no idea of how much you've helped.
We currently have positive but realistic expectations. And she is healing well. We took her to my aunt's house while my dad makes some preparations to take her home.
Something that really bothers me is that my parents took great care of me and my brother, we never needed to be hospitalized, and she would always say to us "I wouldn't want you to inherit this disease, so please start taking care of yourself". So she knew what to do and didn't do it, even if I begged her not to skip a meal, or to take a walk around the neighborhood every once in a while.
Also, healthcare is good here if you have a job.
Most of the time she realized her leg was amputated but sometimes she kinda forgets. And she is way less aggressive now.
We're getting a lot lf support from our family, and we are looking for a fulltime nurse, and once the stump heals we're gonna take her to a rehabilitation center.
I'm also getting annual checks, everything good so far, although I'm overweight.
Again, thank you all very much for your support!
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One of the not-so-rare complications of diabetes can be limb amputation. Even if she'd had the best care in the world, it may have made no difference.

Blaming yourself is counter-productive. Your brain knows you did what a reasonable person would do . . . encouraged her to take better care of herself and encouraged dad to make sure she did. You aren't to blame here.

The important thing to do going forward is to educate your mom and dad on her proper care and proper precautions. But even if you are successful doing that, it's no insurance policy.

And listen to Veronica. Diabetes runs in families. Get checked regularly.
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This is not your fault. It is not anyones fault. Throw away the guilt as Pam said. The need to amputate above the knee for a toe sounds very agressive but that has to be done if the circulation is so bad that anything lower had a poor chance of healing and would have resulted in further higher amputations. To be insuch a poor condition it sounds as though she had diabetes a lot longer than starting in her late 40s for so much damage to have happened. Would she have been checked for diabetes when she was pregnant with you or would she have not bothered with any prenatal care and simply had the baby at home or gone to the hospital to be delivered. I do not know anything about medical care where you live but suspect it is not good. it also sounds as though her dementia is very long standing as her behaviour demonstrates and probably vascular which only will get worse. I am sorry to sound so pessimistic but do not want you to just think with the right encouragementand doing what she is told she will get better. yes she can be fitted with a leg once the stump has healed but the question is will it heal if she keeps messing with it. The biggest danger is new infection as soon as she gets home. Even if Dad takes all the care in the world her dirty hand will reinfect it. If you have access to such places she should go to a rehab center where they have skilled nursing care and physical therapy. If she was not complient before she is unlikely to do what she is told on her own. Realistically her body can heal but her mind can not is the sad truth. I am truly sorry you feel so much anger towards your parents, yourself and the cruel diseases. The important thing to focus on is getting the best possible help for Mom. She is getting close to needing full time care and that may be too much for dad and I would not recommend you take on that responsibility however much you love your parents. No one can "make" your mother do what is best for her.
One last note is to advise you to be regularily checked for diabetes yourself and do all the healthy things Mom has neglected. You are still younge and probably want a family of your own so your health is very important so you can have healthy babies
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Amputations are strange. Dad lost his right foot, the trauma of the surgery and pain killers took a toll on his mind, but eventually dissipated.
She will need lots of encouragement to bounce back. She will need therapy. Pam has a great idea, can you hire someone local to be drop in on her, make sure she is working out for strength and not just sitting around.......she is too young to give up.
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Throw away the guilt, she made these choices a long time ago. There are nursing graduates in Dominican Republic needing jobs, perhaps you can hire one to look in on them once or twice a week.
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Nuni88, even if you did live with your parents, do you really believe anything would be different? You parents were of sound mind, thus they made their decisions, even if some of those decisions were not in the best interest of your Mom's health. At 67, by all standards is still very young when it comes to be aging... your Mom could live another 10,15, or 20 years if she takes care of herself.

Now it is time for your parents to work on learning to live with the *new normal* of this phase of their life. First your Mom will need to mourn the lost of her leg, which is quite common for one to do when they lose an external body part.

Will your Mom change her view of having diabetes? She might at first, then resort back to her old ways. Again, if she does that that is her choice and you will need to honor whatever choices she makes even if you know they could do her harm.

Just step back and let your parents live however they want.... once their memories start to slip, then you can step in to help.
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I can understand your anger, at you your mother, at your father, and at yourself. Feel it. Journal about it. Get it out of your system. While it is understandable, it really isn't going to be helpful moving forward.

If you can't manage to get past the anger on your own, try to set up a few sessions with a counselor to help you deal with your feelings.

Diabetes is a disease. It is like cancer. Your mother did not ask for it, and did not deserve it. It was Not Her Fault. It was Not Your Father's Fault. And it most certainly was Not Your Fault. Once someone has diabetes there are many way they can manage their behaviors (mainly eating and exercising and taking medications) to REDUCE the risk of complications. There is no absolute guarantee that someone won't get complications even if they are compliant with their treatment plan. I know you wish your mother had been more compliant and had at least reduced her risks. But she wasn't. And now she faces the complications we all fear.

What you can do now is to continue to love her unconditionally. Stop blaming her. Help her with the new things she will have to learn. Support your father ... this will be quite a challenge for him, too.

I don't know how things work in Dominican Republic. Can she go from the hospital to a rehabilitation center, where she can regain some strength and calm down before coming home? If so, visit her there.

Allow yourself time to mourn and accept this loss. But try not to let your anger and blame and guilt spill over into your relationship with your parents.
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