Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Diabetic Rebellion

Over the past few weeks, I read several accounts of the parents of children with diabetes going through what I like to refer to as "diabetic rebellion."

I haven't seen a lot of accounts of younger diabetics who actually went through this, though.

I would like to tell my story.

I was diagnosed when I was 7 years old.  My parents were very good at teaching me to be independent and how take care of myself.  I was giving myself shots very soon. I don't remember exactly when, but when I went to Camp Sweeney I was the only one in my age group that did not have to sign up for "giving myself shots" programs.

I want to make something very clear. My parents were are awesome. They got me supplies for years with no health insurance. They taught me how to take care of myself, and how important it was to stay on top of my diabetes. I can only hope that if I ever have to raise a diabetic child I can do half as good as they did.

I went to college, and about two years after moving out I just...wasn't staying on top of it.  I'd skip a blood sugar test. I'd wait for a while to take insulin, or skip it entirely. I was on Humalog so it was pretty easy to correct later, but it was also easy to just...not do it.  I could go to Wal-mart and buy a pint of Ben and Jerry's and eat it.  Sure, my friends would give me a hard time, but what did they know?  I'd bolus myself enough and it'd be OK.

It wasn't a sudden thing, it took time. I worked as a waiter and grazed on food (chips and salsa), but I was also busting my ass. I told myself that I'd get insulin later. I remember there were days where I probably only got about half what I needed.

Finally, I got very sick. I couldn't hold anything down. My blood sugar turned out to be around 600 mg/dL.

I had to ask my mom to come take me to the emergency room. When they released me, I was told my A1c was around 14%. It was one of the most humbling times in my life.

When I got out, it was an eye opener.  I had a lot of very good friends who were frank with me. They joked "they'll take your feet." But, they cared about me. My parents were worried. I had a girlfriend (at the time) who I didn't want to let down.

So, I shaped up.  Started seeing my endocrinologist again.  Taking care of myself.

I'm currently on the OmniPod insulin pump and my A1c levels are doing great.  Not quite as low as I'd like, but I'm working on it, like every other diabetic out there :).

This particular post has been written over the past several weeks, off and on.  Recently another diabetic, Scott Hanselman, has started a pledge drive at

Please donate. As hard as it is to write something like this, my hope is that someday, no one ever need deal with something like this again.

Thanks for reading.


shelley said...

I am very proud of you. Writing this could not have been easy. I hope it helps people newly diagnosed with diabetes to know there is always strength to be found beyond momentary weaknesses.

Rebellion is a part of all of us, with diabetes in the mix, the consequences are just visible and measured. I don't think it's possible to accept anything without fighting against it at some point.

Linda said...

Human beings are so funny. We never do things the easy way. If we learn something the easy way, it's never truly appreciated and tends to fade.

Only those things learned by "going through the fire" truly become part of us. Years later you look back and tell yourself that you never want to go through that again.

But you wouldn't trade the lesson learned for anything.

Lorraine of "This is Caleb..." said...

Thanks for sharing this. It's nice to hear you speak about your parents so favorably. it's also nice to hear your honesty about this part of your journey.

abatishchev said...

May I wish you to do not require insulin one day?