For the past ten years I have had amazing doctors, the most influential athlete with diabetes, and an amazing endurance runner helping me. These people have helped me in so many ways that I’d be typing for days to thank them in an appropriate manner. I always looked up these people and wished that I could help someone like that. Three weeks ago I got that wish as my brother in-law was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 22.
First off, I must give him and his girlfriend incredible praise for knowing that something was wrong and going to the doctor to have tests run. When he first mentioned his symptoms to me I was nervous but didn’t want to scare him. I know what diabetes can do to a person, I know how it changes your view of the world, and I know how it makes you a very selfish person. I knew that he and his girlfriend could handle it but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t worried. Then came the call that he had diabetes.
That night they would head down to my house and I would be their teacher. The doctor had read the results to him, told him he was getting insulin, made suggestions on how much to take and would be in touch. That was it, you have diabetes good luck. That evening I would give them the knowledge I had gained in thirty-one years of living with diabetes. I was nervous because I knew I had to let them know that their lives have changed forever but I also had to do it in a way so that they were not living in fear.
The next few days brought a number of phone calls and questions. Questions about how certain foods raise his blood sugar, if he could eat ice cream, and what to do for low blood sugar. In just four days the text messages and phone calls had all but stopped and text messages were few and far between. I began to get nervous and asked if everything was okay. I was told everything was great and that they were looking into a pump and CGM.
To make a long story short they have taken total control of his diabetes. His girlfriend has taken the bull by the horns and has educated herself about every little thing. He has also gone above and beyond, researching every little thing about diabetes and reaching out to the same people that have helped me so much over the years.
What scares me is the people that don’t have someone that is living with diabetes for them to talk too. What would have happened to my brother in law if I wasn’t here, he was given insulin, a meter, and some test strips and told good luck. They suggested an endo but he won’t see one for another two weeks, that’s five weeks since he was diagnosed!!! That is pathetic!! Now he does have a nurse that will call him on a daily basis but again how would he know how to do anything without someone showing him.
He is currently using a CGM and working on getting a pump, this is because he and his girlfriend have fought their ass off to make this happen. Hours of phone calls with insurance and his doctors. This speaks volumes to who they are and what they will do with diabetes. I was nervous when he was diagnosed, I was never scared because I know what kind of people they are. What I’m doing or have done for diabetes is nothing compared to what they will do. As an avid cyclist before diabetes he often called me out and now calls me a duck because I was working when he competed in his first race and took second place. Well Tim you wore the Team Novo Nordisk jersey to support me, now we're in the diabetes fight together and the world is not ready for what we will do. The diabetes family welcomes you with open arms, we are here to show you that anything is possible with diabetes. As Phil Southerland says “Diabetes only chooses the champions.” Diabetes has picked one hell of a man and a champion!! Just don’t think you’ll be the champion when we race together on September 18th!!!