My Diabetic Story
This is our second year of doing this and I guess it is time to share my story.
I was one of those lucky people who rarely got sick. Even in school, I would miss 1 day tops for being sick for the entire year.
After college, I went into the family business, married my best friend, Jacqueline, and we bought a small house together. Life was perfect.
Part of my job was to have a commercial driver's license which included a comprehensive physical every 3 years. In October of 2007, I went to one of these where the nurse took a pee test. While reviewing the results, I will never forget the grim look on her face. She said I had sugar in my urine. Like a lot of sugar and I needed to go see my doctor.
After a slew of tests, my general practitioner stated that despite my good health I was type 2 diabetic. He said with dome lifestyle changes and oral medication, I was going to be fine.
Fast forward 2 years, handfuls of pills later, and 50 pounds lighter, I still could not get my blood sugars under control. My A1C wss at 13.2 which is extremely high. I was 7 times more likely to have a heart attack as a normal person my age and at very high risk for kidney failure.
During a routine doctor's appointment, my GP wanted me to continue the oral medication. With tears in her eyes, Jackie demanded that I see a specialist because this disease was killing me.
I went and met with a diabetic nurse at the Helwig Diabetes Center (part of the Lehigh Valley Health Network) named Katleen Brown. She looked at my labs, grabbed me by the hand and drug me down the hall to the endocrinologist office. Without a doubt, she saved my life that day.
Few weeks later and a slew of blood tests proved what Kathleen thought - I was a Type 1 diabetic. But how? No family history and I was in great shape. Turns out, my immune system created antibodies that killed my cells in my pancreas that produce insulin. I immediately started insulin injection therapy. I had to give myself 5 shots a day to the abdomen.
2 years ago, I took the leap and started an insulin pump and a CGM (continuous glucose monitor.) It was a huge life adjustment. I became part robot over night having 2 pieces of electronics glued to me all day, 365 days year.
This disease does not quit. It is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week job to control my sugar. Eat the wrong thing or too much of something my sugar goes high. What does high sugar feel like to me? The worst hangover you have ever had. Headaches, lack of focus, extremely tired. If I give myself too much insulin or do not eat enough and I go low. What does low blood sugar feel like to me? Hard to discribe. Almost like an out of body experience like you are going to pass out.
High sugar can kill me with diabetic ketoacidosis, kidney failure or heart attack. Low blood sugar can put me into shock and kill me. It is always there. Like a sore on the roof of your mouth that you can't stop touching with your tongue. Countless times sitting on kitchen floor drinking juice and eating Skittles. Sleepless nights trying to get my sugar to come down too afraid to close my eyes in fear I will never wake up.
Truth be told, this disease has made me a better person. It has taught me to wake up and see every day as a gift and not sweat the small stuff. I more comfortable with who I am than I have ever been before. I cannot thank my wife, Jackie, enough for what she has been through with me and staying with me knowing that we will have to deal with this for the rest of my life. Love you, babe.
There are plenty of negative feelings witht this disease that make me angry/upset. Some of them are people's ignornace towards it. Telling me what and what not to eat or it can be cured with some miracle herb or more exercise. That I dont "look diabetic." Or that I may not wake up one morning because I did something wrong. But I guess what scares me the most is one of my little girls may get this disease. It is one of my worst nighmares. This is why I said "ok" when Jackie asked me if it was alright to put this team together. I do not walk for me or for attention. I walk with the hope that I can help to find a cure or vaccine so kids do not have to do what I do every hour of every day of my life.
If you think this page contains objectionable content, please inform the system administrator.