Friday, November 26, 2010

A hero lives inside of me

Just something I wanted to talk about. My dad has helped me in critical diabetes situations, calling an ambulance when went into the diabetic coma, calling an ambulance when I didn't wake up one morning with a BG of 13, only in the moments when my life is seriously in jeopardy. Yet he doesn't ever want to listen to me talk about my condition, whenever I start talking about diabetes to my parents my mom gives full attention but my dad seems uninterested and directs his attention at something else. I just had a 30 minute discussion about this with my mother. She said the reason for that is because she remembers him saying "I think people with diabetes get too much attention, they dont need that kind of attention". This infuriates me. I'm not personally mad at him for thinking that, because he doesn't understand. But I did kind of expect him to care about my health. My mother fills that void above and beyond what I ever expected of her. Dad, I understand where you're coming from, and I don't think less of you for it. I just expected you to listen and pay attention to what I had to say, especially when it's my life I'm talking about. Who knows, maybe someday once my blog grows longer I'll let him read all of this, and let him inside the mind of a person with diabetes.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I was diagnosed in October of 2005, and since that happened I like to think that the hour glass of my life was flipped over and shaken a lot. It's been a very rough road traveled, and I don't expect it to get any easier, and I'll do my best to not let it get worse, but regardless I'm always going to walk through each obstacle with my head held high. I just wanted to share the things I'm grateful for, or that I appreciate. I'm grateful for the fact that I can sit here right now, type this blog and listen to music. I'm grateful each and every morning that I made it through the night with nothing bad happening. I appreciate the people who make artificial insulin, so all of us Diabetics can use it and stay healthy. I appreciate a simple smile from someone, whether it be a stranger or my best friend. I appreciate someone cheering me up when I'm in a bad mood. I appreciate it when someone lends me a quarter when I go low so I can run to the soda machine and fix my low BG. I'm grateful for my BG meter. I'm above and beyond grateful for whenever I go to my brothers house, and his son looks at me and runs full speed into my arms. I'm grateful for baby Gary being such a crazy monkey and ALWAYS making me laugh without fail. I appreciate music that I can connect to on an emotional level, because sometimes music is all I have to cry with. I'm grateful for finding the DOC on twitter and reading all of their blogs, and finding out that there's tons of people fighting the same fight day in and day out as I am. I appreciate not feeling alone anymore. With all the negatives Diabetes has handed me, I thank you Diabetes for making me the strong person that I am. Without you I would have never known just how strong and capable I really was of overcoming anything. Thank you for making me grow up too fast. I appreciate that, from the bottom of my heart.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Always thinking of the future. And it scares me more than anything...theres so many "what if's" that come with Diabetes that sometimes I over-think myself. What if I go blind in ten years? What if I need an amputation? What if...just something happens that isn't reversable, again. Diabetes is alot for me mentally at times. I also hate when people say "Dustin, why are you so quiet, are you mad?". Well, to be honest...yes, I am mad. I'm mad that my pancreas doesn't work. I'm mad that my family has to worry about me. I'm mad because there is so much uncertainty that comes with Type 1 Diabetes. I get mad sometimes just because I have to watch everyone around me eat whatever they want and not worry about counting carbs and injecting themselves with needles, while I have to count carbohydrates and inject myself insulin. I'm mad because I have to poke my finger with a piece of sharp metal to draw blood so I can check what my BG is. This probably sounds like me complaining, and I should probably just shut the hell up and move on. I normally am in a positive mood about this, but when everything piles up high enough, your mind can only take so much. This felt good. It'll feel better when it's published.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Diagnosis and Beyond

I've never been "overweight", but sure, I did like to eat junk food, what kid didn't? All through my teen years I stayed at a healthy 150-155 pounds. I rode my bike everywhere, I played basketball every weekend. I played football for my high school. Never had the urge to smoke, or go out and party and get wasted. Wasn't my thing. I graduated high school in 2005, I still didn't know what I wanted to do with my future. I got a job with my brother to earn some money for a little while and decide what I wanted to do with it when I had enough to do something better than work at a lousy job I didn't really like.

It's October of 2005, still only a couple months out of high school. I'm earning nice money, saving some, spending some. Then one day at work my feet are killing me, im constantly going to the bathroom, and on the way back from the bathroom I stop at the water fountain for a drink. That process happened all day, every day. Bathroom, water fountain, work, bathroom, water get it. My vision is becoming blurred, I couldn't see 15 feet in front of me. I dropped down from 160 pounds to 120 pounds. At previous eye doctor appointments I'm being told I had "better than perfect vision". Something is up. Headaches all the time. My feet felt like they were being crushed by vice grips. Mind you, wetting your bed every single night at the age of 18 is extremely demoralizing. I felt like a helpless child.

I get paranoid about these types of things, so I go on the internet and type in all the symptoms I'm having. All I see is "Type 2 Diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes". I'm petrified. Could I have just diagnosed myself with Type 1 Diabetes? I'm hesitant about telling my mother, because I'm embarrassed this is all happening to me. She's watching "Survivor", so I sit down next to her and tell her I need a doctor appointment as soon as possible. I tell her why, what I'm feeling. She asked me, "so what do you think this all means?" I tell her "I think I have Type 1 Diabetes". I'm six feet tall, 160 pounds and I'm in good shape. I did the mile run in six minutes and 45 seconds before this all happened!

I go to the doctor about a week later. He tested my blood sugar on a meter and it came up with an error message a few times in a row. So he ordered the A1C tests. The real blood work. They told us they would notify us as soon as they get the results. A couple days later my father gets a phone call from the hospital saying "bring your son to the Emergency Room ASAP" I've never..EVER been this nervous in my life. I'm in the ER, laying on the bed, and the doctor comes up to me and tells me "your blood sugar level is 747, you're a Type 1 diabetic, if you were 50 years old you'd be dead, you're as high as an airplane right now" and he let off a small chuckle. For some reason I liked that.."I'm a boeing 747 right now" It rang well for me, the humor in it was some kind of weird comfort.

I was depressed. I vanished from my friends for a full week, and finally let them know via instant messenger where I've been and what just happened. So I spent the next 2 weeks or so at Joslin Diabetes Center in New Britain, Connecticut. Learning the in's and out's of diabetes and how to control it. I did very well at the beginning, but slowly slipped into the denial of having this disease. Then the denial took over, I still took insulin but not as often and didn't use my meter as often as I should. Alot of this is a blur to me, so excuse my rambling. My next huge wake-up call came about a year and a half later.

I went to a car show with my brother in Massachusettes, had an awesome time. But by the end of the show I had a terrible headache so I asked him if we can leave. Driving home, I was laying in the backseat of my own car while my brother drove. He dropped himself off at his house, and I tried driving home, but the first red light I got to, I swung the door open and threw up all over. Not pleasant. I get home finally, and without thinking of diabetes I collapse into my bed on that saturday night. It's now Wednesday... Now imagine waking up, and all you see are silhouettes of doctors, your hands are tied to a gurney by THICK elastic bands and all they give you is drops of water through a sponge. One at a time.

My mother told me I "sounded and looked like the incredible hulk yelling and fighting to get out of the restraints". I was still in and out of coma. The doctors wanted to test me to see if I could understand them, so I answered their questions correctly so they confirmed I was stable and alert. The doctor told me, that when I got to the ER, my BG was 1250. WHAT?! The doc said, that the blood in my body was equivalent to maple syrup. They did scans of my head and found a coat of sugar on top of my brain. As my BG's leveled out, this intense neck pain got worse. I remember looking at my mom and saying "please just stay the night". As I got closer to being released my vision became perfectly doubled. After I was released I had to wear special prescription glasses, the glass was one inch thick. Had to wear them for my eyes to straighten out.

Now next month, December 25th, I'm turning 24 years old. I'm aware of this disease, I'm not 100% locked down on maintaining it but I'm doing my best to improve. I'm not doing it for me, I'm doing it because now I have a nephew. My brother's son, who is 2 years old, and whenever he sees me, he lights up. My whole family coined me as "his favorite Uncle". I want to be around for him, his smile makes me forget that I have anything wrong with me. I'll be damned if Diabetes takes me from him. I'll be damned if I allow it to. I love you Gary Paul, your smile makes my life complete.