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.


  1. Wow! That's quite a story DeeJay! Thanks for sharing it all. I'm glad you got the motivation to keep on top of it all - and what a cute motivation he is!

    PS - We're in CT too (assuming you may live there based upon the Joslin center you went to).

  2. Thanks! Yeah, I live in little ol' Plainville. Only about 5 miles from Joslin, so I got lucky with that, haha.

  3. I must say, youve told me these stories plenty of times, but not does justice to it then reading a detailed account like this. Wow.

  4. Glad you here to share that with us!

  5. amazing story!...Keep up the good fight! ((HUGS))