Saving each other's lives

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2012-03-12 13:32:38 -0500
Started 2011-03-13 22:03:11 -0500

“You saved my life.”

Ever say that to anyone? Maybe you were in a health crisis and they did save your life. Or maybe you were headed in the wrong direction, or feeling lower than you have ever felt before, and they said something that motivated to look at things differently, and helped you to turn yourself around. Or maybe they showed you some concern and kindness – or some tough love – that turned a light on for you.

The theme of the week for me has been support, and how just a few words, or a lot of words, at the right time and the right place can make such a difference in our lives. It seems like it has been on the mind of some of my clients. And on Diabetic Connect, somebody’s life probably gets saved on an hourly basis. That’s what support is all about.

I used to do something else for a living, and quite a few years ago a friend pulled aside and said: “What are you doing? It’s clear that you aren’t happy. You love helping people. What are you doing what you were meant to do?”

That wasn’t what I wanted to hear at the time. But it jarred me into reality and, soon after that, into making some major, and scary, life changes. Yes, she saved my life.

It seems to me that taking better care of ourselves, emotionally, physically, spiritually, often gets a jump start from a supportive person who reminds us of reality while also encouraging us to look at what is possible.

Has anyone made a difference in your life lately? Maybe given you that gentle shove into improved diabetic self-care? An attitude adjustment? Seeing the possibilities for your life?

What did they do or say that made such a difference for you? A little tough love thrown in?

Let’s inspire each other!

84 replies

EdnaShukis 2012-03-12 13:32:38 -0500 Report

Thanks Dr. Gary, many of my friends and people I know have inspired me and saved my life. I try to do the same for them, I really like impacting the life or others and helping all I can. A very timely article. Edna

echowit 2011-03-20 22:09:37 -0500 Report

A GP back in the '90s who, knowing my cholesterol condition (discovereed at 419) refused to believe my "passing grades" on the usual cardio test and kept digging. Turns out my 4 main heart arteries were blocked, right to left, 100%, 70%, 30% and 30%. I've never had a classic symtom but I have have dual by-pass and thanks to him I'm sitting here keying this in and loving it.

Thanx again Dr. Mac.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-22 13:24:57 -0500 Report

Now this is an amazing story. A great example of the kind of healthcare professionals we all hope to be working with. You had a guardian angel! Thanks for sharing this!

jayabee52 2011-03-18 14:14:24 -0500 Report

Another person who gave me a (not so) "gentle shove" was my ex wife.
When I was in denial and wasn't taking care of myself or my Diabetes, she got me to our pastor's office (we worked part time as "maintainence engineers" at the church at the time) She sat me down in the pastor's office with the pastor there and told him and me that If I would not start taking my diabetes meds immediately and taking care of myself, she would divorce me. Of course I didn't want a broken marriage, so I started taking my meds and caring for myself.

a few years later she DID divorce me after 25 yrs of marriage but over another issue. But she put me on the straight and narrow for quite a while. (actually the divorce knocked be off again for a while - but that's a whole other topic)

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-19 17:11:10 -0500 Report

That is what I would call an extreme version of tough love! But sometimes we have to be really shocked into taking better care of ourselves. So I guess it worked. Wow, very tough love.

PENNY VICK 2011-03-17 12:53:16 -0500 Report

Hello Gabby
I just so always enjoy reading your postings. I do not respond to this board alot because when you inform everyone what your going through regarding type 2 diabetes which I am also. I am like wow Gabby says everything that I am going through. I appreciate your honesty because it seems people tends to accept a lie rather than the truth. I am speaking for myself in saying that the truth hurts. Yet it has made me a stronger person. Thank you thank you thank you Gabby for being honest. You've so encouraged me which has caused me to increase my excerise and I am more aware of what I eat. It is definitely making a difference in a positive manner regarding my health. :)


GabbyPA 2011-03-17 19:17:28 -0500 Report

Wow, Penny...thank you so much. I appreciate your kind words and am glad to know that I have been able to encourage you. We all need that from each other.

LennyDenny 2011-03-17 11:24:30 -0500 Report

You know the way I see it is that everytime someone reaches out to me with encouragement or advise in one way or another they save my life. We may be at a low point where any kind of advise or encouragement could mean the difference in a good day or a really bad day. I would like to think that after all the bad stuff I've been though I might be able to help someone somewhere. I know that all the respones I've gotten here on the site has been an encouragement to me. Through love and kindness we help each other every day. What we hear sometime might not be what we wanted to hear, but it might be what we needed to hear. I can thank all the dr. and nurses that were there through all my surgeries for saving my life but it's the friends here that are there day in and day out that make the difference. Enough of my rambling lets see what others think. God Bless

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-17 22:49:50 -0500 Report

Hey Denny,

You said it so well. Just having someone reach out in a spirit of kindness and compassion, even what at the time may seem like a small gesture, can mean so much! Diabetic Connect is the one of the most supportive places on the planet! And I think that when we give, we get so much in return, so everybody benefits. Kindness is a boomerang.

And healthcare professionals can be walking miracle makers.

Thanks a lot for post. I didn't any rambling, just honesty from your heart.


Graylin Bee
Graylin Bee 2011-03-16 22:40:19 -0500 Report

Last year a whole bunch of Drs. aand nurses and other medical professionals saved my life. I was so happy to go back to see many of them after the fact to say thank you. I feel very priviledged to have met them all even though I wish I had never had to go through such a horrible time. Their care and compassion has reinforced my desire to return to a work at either an assisted living home or adult day care where I can help others. Before last year happened I beleived how important my job was. Now I k now how much a difference it can make.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-17 22:52:27 -0500 Report


There are really some great healthcare professionals out there. And there is no greater way to honor them than by joining their ranks in some way. You will take what you have gained from them, and pass it on to others.



AmyMarie2010 2011-03-16 19:40:07 -0500 Report

Hi all. It was definitely my dr. who has made a difference in my life. I can think of so many times where my insulin pump wasn't bringing my blood sugar down, and I would call him crying because I was so scared. My blood sugar was way over 600, and I couldn't afford the emergency room. He understood my situation, and he called me every single hour of the night, making sure I was okay and wanted me to check my blood sugar. There were times when I had to go the E.R. and he would come and visit me a lot. I can't get any support from my family and friends, but I can get support from every one at my doctor office and on here. My dr. has always been there for me, and I can't thank him enough. He's given me hope for my future. He's assured me that I can become a nurse. Ever since I had my stroke, I had to stop college and I felt like giving up on everything. I thought that my diabetes was already going to give me a hard time while I'm trying to become a nurse, but now that I've had a stroke too, I feel that my life is at a stand still. I'm still trying to recover, each day that passes, I try to get my health under control.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-16 21:17:07 -0500 Report

Hi AmyMarie!

Great to hear from you. Wow, you have an amazing doctor, who really goes way beyond what's required to give excellent care to his patients. But I also suspect that you are a person who brings out the best in other people, just an intuition that I have about you.

I want to encourage you not to give up on your dream. You may have to make some adjustments in your plan, and be a little more patient than you wanted to be. But don't give up. Stay focused on helping people facing illness and you will find a way to make it happen. It's one day at a time. There are lots of educational options out there, including online.

You have a great attitude. Take good care of yourself and stay in touch!


amyspeer 2011-03-16 07:45:27 -0500 Report

Hi Everyone I suffer with low blood sugar that have hit the low 40 and I have have a few close calls with low blood sugar where I couldve died in my sleep. But doctors still have not found an answer to my low blood sugar. My Doctors just told me to eat a diet high in protein, but that does not help. I am afraid at times of passing out and no one around realizing I have low blood sugar and been able to help so I bought A braclet that says I have low blood sugar. I used to suffer with high blood sugars but after I lose 68 pounds in 3 months time which doctors said was to fast and maybe thats Why my body is the way it is know I do not know. I used to weigh 208 pounds. I spent a lot of times in the hospital with low blood sugars and I am hoping that one day their will be a cure for diabtes as well for Reactive Hypoglcami, which they doctors at UOM disgnosed me with after i did a three day fast in the hospital being monteried by a encordnoglist team. I also carry glucose tabltes with me. My grandma died of Diabtes complications. I do not want to die young. Doctors sayed I could die in my sleep from low blood sugar because it is very dangerous. But with God's help the doctors hopefully will be able to help me get my low blood sugars under control soon.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-17 13:37:03 -0500 Report


Thanks for checking in. Great to hear from you. I also have hypoglycemia, and am on a high protein diet and lots of careful eating to stay as even as possible. But it sounds like your lows really go low. Sorry to hear that you are dealing with this, and having so much difficulty getting it under control.

It's good self-care on your part to be making sure that you are working closely with your endocrinologist to stay on top of this. Sounds like you are getting a lot of support from your doctor, and making a spiritual connection is also helping a lot. Now, that's a powerful support team!

Glad you are here. Please stay in touch with us!


Dizzy65101 or Robin
Dizzy65101 or Robin 2011-03-15 02:48:40 -0500 Report

My Husband May he rest in peace saved my life in his death.
He lost his battle at 38 yrs old and in watching him in the hospital for a year dieing
and haveing to learn over a years time to be on my own I believe and having his guidence on what to and how to do it anywhere from paying the bills to making sure our finance were in order ect ect…I dont think I could of made it through these very hard time then or now when I think of giving up I just have to think of how he fought so desperatly to live.
It breaks my heart and gives me the motivation to go on.How can I give up when he fought so hard to live
ILM OF Robert

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-15 14:28:36 -0500 Report

Hi Robin,

What a beautiful story. Thanks a lot for sharing it. Watching someone else bravely face their struggles is both heartbreaking and inspiring. Sounds like he was concerned about you, just as you were for him, and wanted to make sure that you could take care of yourself. You honor his memory by being the best you can be.


MOMMY_OF_AN_ANGEL 2011-03-14 16:08:20 -0500 Report

My fiance has been there for me numerous times when my bloodsugars have either been too high, or too low. He has come home and found me in a seizure state as my sugar had dropped to below 20. And countless times he has taken me (Well, forced me) to go to the E.R for when my sugars have been too high and I was already in DKA (Diabetic Keto Acidosis) When my sugars are high and Im not feeling so well he helps me out with taking care of the house and our son. He'll do everything for me from the dishes to laundry and everything in between! I dont know what I would do without him. He has been so compassionate and willing to learn about how to care for me and the diabetes since we first met. I honestly dont know what I'd do without him!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-15 14:25:10 -0500 Report


Your fiance sounds like a great guy! You are really fortunate to have him in your life. It's so important to have caring, compassionate people around. And I suspect you are a caring and compassionate person yourself. Like attracts like!


Anonymous 2011-03-14 13:48:02 -0500 Report

I am a 57 female Type 2 Insulin dependent Pump wearer.Who from no fault of my own I have multi Illnesses. HP/Asthma /Highcol/PMR/CVID/peripheral neuropathy. DDD/Sciatica/lumbago/Impingement in my lower spine/lumbar spinal stenosis/sm Tia in the pons. Just to mention a few.
I have just found the most perfect Rheumatologist who as soon as I walked into his office he diagnosis me with PMR polymyalgica Rheumatica and that was before blood work was even taken.11 vials later. Yep is PMR what a clever man.
What is————————-
Polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is a disorder of the muscles and joints characterized by pain and stiffness, affecting both sides of the body, and involving the shoulders, arms, neck, and buttock areas. Patients with polymyalgia rheumatica are typically over the age of 50 years. This Doctor has been my savor,treatment no so good,its means taking methylprednisolone (prednisone) 16ml every day since October 2010.Now I have reduced to 10nil Not good when you are a Diabetic send you BS out off control at times Then to add injury to insult.
Definition of Common Variable Immune Deficiency
Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID) is a disorder characterized by low levels of serum immunoglobulins (antibodies) and an increased susceptibility to infections.
But you know what.I have a support group.My Husband & best friend/my daughter.But It's not very easy getting out of bed and starting another very day with intense pain. painful day.
I am now looking forward this summer having to facing the fact I may need Back Surgery.Keep thinking positive thoughts.

Thank God I have God in my heart!!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-15 14:22:51 -0500 Report


Thanks for sharing your story. First, your post is really a testimonial to the importance of find a doctor who really understands what's going on with you and who can make an accurate diagnosis, and who can treat that diagnosis effectively. That can sometimes be require some trial and error. You might have experience that.

And you also give a great testimonial to the value of support. I'm really glad to hear that your husband and daughter are standing with you. That's great.

So a lot of challenges, and a lot of strengths. An inspiration for us, too.

Thanks again. Keep in touch with us as you consider back surgery.

Wishing you the best!


moora 2011-03-14 13:41:27 -0500 Report

Yes, For me this week has been reading Jayabee52 story of him and his late wife. I was so depressed a feeling that I have had in 15 years. i couldn;t handle it and felt the everything was caving in. I heard from my eye doctor that my eyes are showing diabetic changes even though it didn;t affect my vision yet. I read Jayabee52 story and realized how they had embraced life with all the complications they had and felt i should feel the way I do. Slowly and steadily I am trying to get out of the feeling. Each day is better.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-16 15:53:42 -0500 Report

Hi moora,

So sorry to hear that you are having some eye problems. Even though it is related to your diabetes is must nevertheless feel like yet another diagnosis. It's a lot to deal with and I know news like this can be scary. Hearing ain inspiirational story like the one that James shared can help a lot. It is like a less in what it means to carry on in a challenging time.

I'm really glad you told us what's going on with you, it's important to get support from caring people like dietcherry. That's we are all about here.

Stay in touch with us! I will hold you in my thoughts.

Take good care of yourself!

dietcherry 2011-03-15 21:33:00 -0500 Report

Please dont be sad! Im not sure what changes in your eyes you speak of; I had leaky blood vessels in my eyes about 12 years ago, but the vessels repaired themselves and my Opthomologist said to stay in better control to relieve the problem. he was right-I have had no problems since then. Blindness is not an inevitability for most diabetics and there is also laser surgery to seal off the leaks. Lots of Love to you! :)

moora 2011-03-16 11:28:35 -0500 Report

thanks a lot dietcherry for you support and kind words. I just got back from my retinologist and he said the same thing your doctor said. The changes in my eyes are not anything to alarm about since there is no leak. he advised me to keep better control of my sugar. I am so glad for DC and caring people like you.

dietcherry 2011-03-16 11:59:32 -0500 Report

Oh that is good news!!! Yay! Some Dr.s will try to scare us into being compliant and thats OK if it serves its purpose; it can be a form of tough love as Dr. Gary puts it. There are statistics about how many diabetics lose their eyesight and I dont remember the exact percentage, but most of us will NOT go blind! Please keep taking good care of yourself! A little goes a loooong way! :)

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-15 14:17:37 -0500 Report

Fantastic. Yes, James (Jayabee52) has a really inspiring story, and he tells it so well. I call it facing life on life's terms, and making the best of things. It's one step at a time. I am rooting for you, moora!

moora 2011-03-15 16:29:40 -0500 Report

Thank You Dr. Gary. I still get over the panic attack every now and then. I keep having the vision of going blind when my kids still young and not being able to do anything for them. Only thing that I do during that time is pray. I just don;t went to keep talking about my panic attack to my kids or husband. They are busy with their own things. My kids get depressed, when they hear their mom talk depressed. DC is a great relief.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-16 15:59:55 -0500 Report

You are welcome. I hope that you are talking to someone about your panic attacks. If I haven't mentioned this before, have you thought about talking to a counselor? I am just wondering if it might be helpful to talk to someone who can help you to develop some coping skills to help you throgh your panic attacks. And I hope you are reaching out to supportive people who can be compassional listeners. And of cousrse, as I know I have said before, stay in touch with us.

jayabee52 2011-03-15 17:02:37 -0500 Report

Howdy again Raji. My ears are hot! (a folk saying about others talking 'bout you )

I pray that you DO NOT become blind, but being blind is not the end of useful life, as Jem's life shows. Even though blind, she took care of her mother in home hospice. And she earned a MSW and was licensed as a LCSW in CA ( tough for even some sighted ppl to do.) and worked some 30 yrs in the medical rehab field. (last couple years, she was only doing 5hrs/wk, but not because of blindness, because of her CHF COPD & other medical challenges).

Yes she needed assistance, but not as much as you might think. Being with her opened my eyes (no pun intended) as to the abilities of a blind person to adapt and do most of what they need to do.

I pray that you don't HAVE TO learn how to adapt, and being sighted and then going blind, will be tough, but it can be done. If you do have to learn, go to your state's vocational Rehab office for resources on how to learn to cope with it.

Yes it would be a tragedy to lose your sight. But there's a saying I like to use: "Life is 5% what happens to you and 95% your reaction to it!" So from that perspective, life is 95% under your control!

Jem, to me was a living example of that saying. And sometimes that 95% determines a portion of the 5%!

Had she had a sour disposition about what had happened to her medically, or in her love life, I might not have been attracted to her. She might have even not contacted me in the first place. So our 2 lives (and those of our friends & family to a lesser extent) would have been affected by her attitude.

Of course do your best to keep your sight, but don't panic if you don't. Anxiety is not your friend in this.

Blessings to you and yours


moora 2011-03-15 21:00:59 -0500 Report

Thank You James. I am nervous about going to my retinologist. But, prayer is helping. communicating in DC is helping too.

jayabee52 2011-03-16 11:33:34 -0500 Report

I saw your reply to dietcherry above a bout your visit to the retinologist. Praise the lord you had gotten such a good report.

moora 2011-03-16 18:54:27 -0500 Report

Thank a lot James. I was going to email soon. It was amazing day. I got caught up with things happening at home. my daughter wanted to go to Medical school, but hadn;t heard from many and only rejections from few of them. The this afternoon she got a email from CUNY that she got into their medical school. So it was a double whammy day. I thanked God for all the good news and pray for others to have a happy day also. Even though I got a good news about my eyes, I am more determined than ever to do well and help and be supportive of people who need. I so fortunate for friends like you in DC. God bless you.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-17 22:54:53 -0500 Report

Hi moora,

Congraulations to you and your daughter. What great news! Medical school admission and a positive medical report. That's fantastic.


moora 2011-03-18 07:52:43 -0500 Report

Thank You Dr. Gary. it was a blessing day. She was very down for a while since she had few rejections and hadn't heard from most of the other school. She has been motivated to be doctor since her 7th grade. She always wanted to do straight medical school from high school, so that she will be guarenteed admission. She had all kinds of allergy (food, environmental, skin) and asthma since she was a year old and made many ER visits due to anaphylaxis. That motivated to be a doctor. I am happy for her and ofcourse for my own results and thank God and friends At DC for their prayers.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-19 17:08:53 -0500 Report

Well, that is an incredible accomplishment. NIce to know that dedicated, caring people are becoming doctors. You mentioned CUNY. Are you in New York?

MewElla 2011-03-14 13:21:37 -0500 Report

You are in the very best for support…I am always here to help if I can and you will be inspired by all the others here as I am daily. Never hesitate to ask a question about anything that you need help with, and always remember, you are not alone we are all here for you. Good Luck and just don't get overwhelmed, take it one day at a time and do your best.

wiggleworm 2011-03-14 13:02:05 -0500 Report

I sure could use some support. I'm new here( like only a week new), and so far everyone has been great. Maybe, just maybe, I'll be a cheerful as you all. :P

sNerTs1 2011-03-14 13:13:28 -0500 Report

This is an awesome site wiggleworm. If ever you need anything and you think I can help you out, write to me =) There is so much information here and from people who are in the thick of it. Sometimes that can be overwhelming. Just please, never be afraid to ask a question or look to someone, because what you ask is also a learning tool for others here too. No question is a bad question, just the one that isnt ask.

I wish you luck and wellness for many years to come. Cheryl

sNerTs1 2011-03-14 12:52:31 -0500 Report

My save"s" are quite different than those listed here as they came before I was diagnosed. Right now you are asking how is that possible or she must have lost her marbles, not really, allow me to explain.

I have known that it was quite possible that I could get Diabetes considering it runs in my family. Familial background is very strong. I watched the struggles, the day to day ins and outs of my uncles and family friends.

I grew up not being able to spend as much time with my Godfather because he struggled so much with diabetes that it was hard for him to leave his house due to incontinence, coughing, and heart problems. I watched a childhood friend go from a vibrant life to losing his eyesight, go on dialysis, walk with a cane and was very frail by the time he was in his 20s, he was able to get married and lost his life before he was 30. I watched another friend go through heart surgeries, kidney surgeries, lose a limb and not be able to conceive children but I also saw him receive a pancreas transplant and now lives a very different sugar filled life.

Seeing this, seeing how diabetes can affect someone that you dearly love, is one of my biggest saves, as it taught me to take this seriously and really shore up my health so that I can control it and not allow it to take over my life. I don't want to lose a limb, my eye sight or my ability to go out and enjoy the wildlife with hiking or camping because of this disease. I don't and I wont are two of my biggest reasons I try to keep myself in balance.

I always look back to where they were, but more than that WHO they were and remember the vitality they had before this disease took their lives. I am not sure if they followed what they needed to to keep themselves healthier, but times sure were different then as far as diagnosing and treating. We are lucky to be in the times that we are.

Hopefully one day soon, there will be a cure without a transplant. We can always hope and pray for that.

Thank you for this very inspirational write up doc =)

Hugs ~ Cheryl

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-14 16:13:25 -0500 Report

Hey Cheryl,

Thanks a lot for responding to my post. You really brought up an important point. A painful and sad point, but an important one nonetheless.

Sometimes our loved ones can provide us with a wake up call through their own experience. We love them and we want the absolute best for them, and it's one of the hardest things in life to watch them go into decline and not be able to do anything about it. Life just happens to them and there's no explanation why diseases progress the way they do. At times we have to wonder if they couldn't have taken better care of themselves, but we don't know that either.

The memories of our loved ones at their best, and then at their worst, becomes a lesson in the importance of making the most of life and taking the best care of ourselves possible. In some ways, both extremes are part of the legacy that our loved ones leave for us.

Fortunately, as you said, we live in a time in which we have a lot of knowledge about diabetes and how to keep it under control, and how to have the best self-care strategy possible. Your godfather was not so fortunate. You can honor him by taking the best care of yourself that you possibly can.

Thanks again for the fantastic, heartfelt post.

Have a great week!


GabbyPA 2011-03-14 12:11:22 -0500 Report

I have shared it many times that this site has saved my life. I mean that. When I found out I was diabetic, I had no doctor, no meds, no treatment plan except what people shared with me here. I am certain that I would have ended up in the hospital had I not learned how to work to get my levels down with diet and exercise. Members here also showed me ways to find a doctor and get treatment within my means. And there is never a lack of new ideas and inspirations going on here to push me toward better overall health.

Another one was being laid off from my job in 2006. My life changed dramatically, but one of the best things my "old boss" did for me was to let me go so I could finally be on my own and working for myself. It is not easy, but the lessons I learn and the "iron sharpens iron" of my life since then has been remarkable. That nudge had lead me to a more sustainable lifestyle that has increased my health as well. (once I overcame the stress initially)

There are so many examples of this that I am sure I am totally unaware of. Even silly things like a slow driver that you get stuck behind that kept you out of an accident ahead. A horrible situation that builds our character. Even just a side comment on something can be life altering. This is an inspirational topic indeed.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-14 15:52:40 -0500 Report

Hi Gabby,

A couple of really great examples of the miracle of support! I realy like "iron sharpens iron." I have found that I have learned the most, and made the most dramatic changes, when I was up against the wall. That may be because I am a creature of habit and don't take exactly seek out opportunities to change, or maybe that is just human nature. Either way... it's taking the leap to live life in a new, productive way that is important.

I took the leap to move in a new career direction in 2002, and then again in 2008. The first time frustration and burn out gave me a push, and the second time the economy gave me a helping hand (shove). I am thankful every day for the forward movement that resulted.

Life altering, says it all.

Thank you, Gabby. Hope you have a good week!

courtcat79 2011-03-14 11:31:20 -0500 Report

5 years ago I met an amazing person who to this day has stood by my side. We have had our moments but managed to pull through. To say the least, her mother had passed away when she was just 19 years old. I met her a month after her mother had passed away. She was young, and didn't have very much family support at all. I took her under my wing, and she's been a major part of my life ever since.

Back in 2008 I went for my routine blood work and the results came back that my kidneys were not functioning properly and that I had a rather large amount of protein leaking into my urine. I was then sent for test after test, blood work after blood work, doctor after doctor. It was taking a toll not only on myself but for my life partner as well. I went and saw a doctor that told me I needed to fix this now or I'd have to live the rest of my life on machines and daily medications and be put on a transplant list and wake up every day praying that I'd come across a match to get a new kidney. I was then put on a very strict diet and failed to follow it, and failed to take the medications that the doctor had given me to try and help reduce the stress on my kidneys. I thought that God had wanted me to be with him and I wasn't going to stop him from doing what he wanted. I got worse.

Two years after that I again go for my routine blood work and some how some way my kidney functions were back to normal but it was my liver that was being attacked. Again, doctor after doctor, test after test, medication, transplant lists etc etc..I again ignored it and did what I wanted. I guess part of me really didn't care. At that point my diabetes was at its worst sugars up into the 400's my weight at an all time high. I'd eat what I wanted and as much as I wanted and said "I can't do this anymore" I wanted to do what I wanted when I wanted and I wanted to be "Normal" for once in my life. I ignored my doctors, stopped taking my medication, stopped pricking myself to test my sugars and it my way…at that point that's where I learned my lesson from tough love.

My partner came to me and said, "You know what, I can't do this anymore!" I can't sit here and watch you slowly kill yourself and that's exactly what you are doing. You know what I went through when I was only 19 years old! I had to sit back and watch my mother die because she wouldn't quit smoking-she enjoyed it, it reduced the stress in her life, and she told me all the time, If I'm going to die at least I'm doing to die happy." At that point my partner had felt that I was doing the same thing. I wanted it done my way and I wanted the diabetes and everything else I was going through to just END. She looked at me and said "I'm Gone!" packed her stuff and left me for 5 months.

At the time I felt like she didn't care about what I was going through. I mean after all-she was the healthy one, I wasn't. I felt like she didn't give a damn that I was so sick and "How could she leave me at my lowest?!" I thought it was cruel, cold and something I never even expected her to do. I now looking back now why she did it. It was to show me that she did in fact care, and cared so much that she wasn't going to be a part of my (for lack of better words) slow and painful suicide. I was only 29 when the kidney thing started, 31 when my liver results came back. It took mean words being said, and her picking up and leaving me for me to change my ways. I look back now and I'm glad she did it. Even though it hurt me at the time because I was going through such hell all by myself, but at the same time, I'm the one that caused it. I'm the one that needed to fix it.

This past summer I got my act together, lost a total of 54 lbs, my cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides went from a whooping 675 down to 117, my A1c level was back down to a 6% which it hadn't been in a very very long time. My blood work came back normal-everything from my kidneys, to my liver, everything. It felt good, actually I correct myself-it felt GREAT! For once I felt like I accomplished something, and I did it all on my own. I started to diet and walk daily I watched what I stuck in my mouth and my meter was always in use.

I contacted my life partner via e-mail and told her the good news. It was shortly after our 5 year anniversary she came back to me and we couldn't be happier. So needless to say, it was because of her "Tough Love" lesson that I am as healthy as I am today. I'm glad she took the steps she did, and I'm glad she knocked me in the head with the sense I needed from the beginning.

She truly is and always will be "My Lifesaver…"

MOMMY_OF_AN_ANGEL 2011-03-14 15:57:38 -0500 Report

Very touching! Good for the both of you. I understand why she did it. She didnt want to see you making yourself sick by not taking care of yourself and congrats to you for changing things around! I wish I could use this tactic with my fiance with his smoking, but I think its just a nasty, horrible habit he simply will never quit :( I wish you both the best :)

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-14 15:37:53 -0500 Report


What an incredible story. Really amazing. I don't think I have ever read such an incredible example of tough love. It seems to me that, in the process of saving herself, your partner also saved you. She knew she wasn't helping you by standing by and watching you in free-fall, and this was the jolt that you needed.

I give her a lot of credit for being willing to do whatever she had to do to break the cycle. But I also give you a lot of credit for having the strength and the presence of mind to face life on life's terms and to do the hard work to turn your life around. Really just an incredible story.

And such a happy ending! The two of you have a lot of reason to celebrate each and every day, and how your relationship has withstood this test.

And I am honored that you took the time to share your beautiful story with us. Thank you!

Stay in touch!


LabRat90 2011-03-14 10:34:25 -0500 Report

My very first episode with low BS was when I was just gestational. I didn't realise what was going on and was just staring in space. I was working with 3 other technicians at the time. One of my co-workers has a wife with Type 1. He recognized what was happening and got me a coke. I credit Mike with saving my life. I've had other saviors but i don't want to have such a huge post. thanks for getting me thinking about them. I think when i have time, I'll write a "real" letter to them all.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-14 11:00:00 -0500 Report

Hi! You really did have a life-saving experience, thanks to someone who understands what it is like to be a diabetic. And thanks for sharing your story. Don't worry about huge posts -- we like them (or at least I do). Have a great day!

dietcherry 2011-03-14 10:25:07 -0500 Report

Important discussion Dr. Gary!
As you know, I recently posted a discussion where I shared my anger and depression dealing with D; so many of you swarmed in and gave me so much comfort and uplifted me.
A life-saver? You betcha! What I didnt relate was that there are other, personal, things going on in my life but I left those out and chose to only focus on my D issues, this being a D support site. Many of you contacted me via email and I was able to share a little more of whats been bugging me and pulling my attitude down.
A considerable weight was lifted from me and I woke up this morning feeling better than I have in months! A debt of thanks goes out to all of you!
On a separate note, an Endo I saw for years told me that hypoglycemia, in itself, would never kill me, but I could certainly cause my death if I fell down stairs, cracked my head open, etc., because when my BS bottoms out, I lose the ability to speak, walk, and generally self-care at all.
Recently, I read an article about dead-in-bed syndrome, which stated that you CAN die from hypoglycemia, in direct dispute of what that Endo told me.
I have had many severe hypoglycemic episodes, usually resulting in seizures. 2 of them occured behind the wheel, and how I survived wrecking my car twice and never hitting other cars or pedestrians, I'll never know.
Friends and family have called the paramedics, rushed me to the ER, or attempted to feed me and/or give me juice. My brother even busted my front door in once to get to me when I became non-responsive during a phone call with our Mom. I never fail to thank them for saving my life.
Thanks for letting me share!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-14 11:03:37 -0500 Report

And thank you, dietcherry.

Great to hear from you! You're right, Diabetic Connect is really full of life-savers. And saving someone's life can come in a lot of forms, as you suggested -- direct assistance, care and compassion, advice, education... and family members who check in!

I'm glad you got lots os support around your feelings of anger and depression. One of the best way to deal with uncomfortable emotions is to reach out for support, but so often people have a tendency to isolate, to hope it goes away, and to think that they shouldn't bother people, when what they really need to do is to reach out. That was brave! And I'm glad that you feel better!

Having friends and family who watch out for you, jumping into action when they sense danger, is a real gift!

Thanks as always for sharing your experiences. Take care!

dietcherry 2011-03-14 10:48:18 -0500 Report

Thought I should come back and share what dead-in-bed syndrome is, for those of you who may not have heard of it: Usually, BS will bottom out while we are sleeping, and many diabetics lose the early warning system that acts to wake us up. Your BS can become so low that it can result in death. Wait, let me edit this: I didnt mean to say that low BS usually happens when we sleep, it can happen anytime; what I meant was IF it bottoms out while we sleep, it can result in this syndrome.

courtcat79 2011-03-14 11:49:24 -0500 Report

Wow…I never ever knew…Maybe there's a reason I'm an insomniac. Ever since my sugars have been running on the low side for the last 4 months or so its been really scaring me. I got down to the low 20's last month and that's when I decided to carry my glucose tabs with me everywhere, even in the house. What I'm afraid of now, is being left alone when my sugars can drop so low and most of the time I don't feel it bc my body has become used to the lows. I go normal range and that's when I feel sick, and I mean down right sick. I don't like leaving the house bc I'm so afraid that I'm gonna become lost or separated from my friends and end on the floor scares me, really bad…

On another note…I wonder if there's a thing you can lay on your bed at night that can some how sense if your blood sugars are dropping too low. Kinda like one of them (not to be nasty here) but those pads they came out with for kids that have an alarm in them to let them know when they are beginning to pee the bed…if not, someone needs to invent one of them! I don't know how it would work or if its even possible but it would put my mind at ease! I think I now need to keep my glucose tabs by the bed…

dietcherry 2011-03-14 12:46:06 -0500 Report

Your hypoglycemic Awareness will keep you awake or wake you up, usually, so you are able to correct the low BS. After so many years, lots of diabetics become hypoglycemic Unaware, which is extremely dangerous. You can reset a Normal and healthier BS level by not letting your BS run low too much. Your body adapts to what it thinks is normal, and this can be a recipe for disaster in avoiding extreme low BS states.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-14 11:05:20 -0500 Report

My father had Type II and mom found him in the front yard in his PJs one morning, talking to himself. Totally hypoglycemic. Low BG is definitely something to be watching out for.

dietcherry 2011-03-14 11:43:44 -0500 Report

I have also wandered outside during episodes, scandalizing the neighbors! haha I suffer from hypoglycemic unawareness-a dangerous condition if there ever was one.

Type1Lou 2011-03-14 08:58:12 -0500 Report

Over the years, I have had some serious low BG episodes. My husband has literally saved my life numerous times…the past year in particular has been tough on both of us…once carrying me to the car from the beach and rushing me to the ER. In August, even after injecting me with glucagon, he had to take me to the ER in Idaho while we were on vacation and they admitted me for 1.5 days. I'm working to regain better control and after seeing an endocrinologist, am back on the right track. I need to get better control to avoid scaring my husband…he hasn't upped my life insurance so I figure he feels our relationship is still worth the Ups and Downs (LOL)…we are not the only ones dealing with Diabetes…those who love us also carry the burden, although in a different way. My husband is my hero.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-14 11:13:23 -0500 Report

Hi! Wow, it sounds like you have had quite a few close calls over the years, and a few wake-calls along the way on better diabetic self-care. But it sounds like you have learned a lot from those close calls. And you're right, the loved ones of diabetics suffer the ups and downs right along with them. Your husband sounds like great guy and a real support. Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences!

realsis77 2011-03-14 08:13:50 -0500 Report

Hi! The reason I love diabetic connect is because DAILY there is something written here that inspires me and gives me strength! Your postings inspire and strengthin me! I was so lost when I first came to DC and now I feel I am in a position to help inspire others when it comes to diabetes and give back. Sort of pass it on! This site always inspires me and teaches me and allows me to also try to inspire back when possiable! So for me, this site proves as a source of inspiration! A life saver so to speak! I'm greatful for everyone here! What a great way to learn! Sharing each others expirences has really inspired me! :)

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-14 11:16:28 -0500 Report

Hi! Great to hear from you. You're right, Diabetic Connect is a place to inspire and to be inspired. The positive energy just keeps growing. I get inspired here, too, and that means inspired by you! Have a great day!

jayabee52 2011-03-14 00:59:17 -0500 Report

My life is full of people who are as you described had saved my life in both a metaphoric and a literal sense.

One incident which comes to mind is my friend and landlady who when she noticed I hadn't come out of my room for at least 4 days drove to my ex-wife's house, where my son was living at the time, knocked on Jonathan's window (how she knew which window to knock on is beyond me), and told Jonathan he needed to come check on me. As it turned out I had gone to bed on Nov 1 and had fallen off the bed and was laying on the floor semi-comatose. Joi had called in to my BR a couple times and I had answered her, so she knew I was alive, but my activity pattern was different. So she decided to notify Jon to come check on me.

As it happened Nov 7 was Jon's birthday, so he was coming to get me to celebrate his Bday. But he took a look at me and decided I needed to go to ER. I had danced and partied all that weekend since it was halloween, and on Sat nite during a very strenuous session of Contra Dancing started having problems with vomiting. I thought it was my peripheral vertigo acting up, and so went home.

Got up with no problem Sun AM. Went to church & sang in the choir for both services. Then went to the library to use the WiFi connection, and then from there to my East coast swing dance class. There I started having a bit of nausea too. Again thought it was the vertigo. Went home earlier than usual (usually would stay out and dance some more with the "Dancegig" group). Went to bed and sometime in the night, fell off the bed and spent the next 3 to 5 days semicomaose on the bedroom floor. I really didn't feel like getting up back onto the bed until the morning of the 7th. But from my pespective, it should have been Nov 2. I didn't know I had been "out" & on the floor for 5 - 6 days.

When Jon encouraged me to go to ER, I argued with him. I didn't want to go. But finally gave in and agreed to go just to satisfy him, because there wasn't anything wrong with me, I thought (not knowing at that time that I had lain on that floor all those days). Later Jon told me that he was just about to give up on me, when I agreed to go to ER.

In ER they checked and found that my kidneys had shut down due to an infection, and I wasn't clearing body waste out of my blood. I was poisoning myself with urea. I had to go on dialysis. I spent I don't know how long in the ICU because I was unconscious most of the time, and about a month total. The last thing I remember before waking in ICU was the medical team putting me under to insert a chest tube for dialysis access. So I didn't know if my continued unconsciousness was induced, or I was comatose again, (and I didn't think to ask).

So between Joi, my landlady, and son Jon, (and of course the team providing the medical care) I believe they literally saved my life.

Later I had a crisis over did I want to continue on dialysis, or not return and eventually let my kidneys poison my system so I'd eventually die. But I've told that account a couple other places here on DC, so won't bore y'all with it again. But had I stopped returning to dialysis, I would have missed out on a real treasure of a lady in my Jem, cause we met online on Nov 07 2007. And she would have missed out on me. (conceited? am I not?)

Thank you Dr Gary

And my God bless all y'all and all yours too


James Baker

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2011-03-14 11:22:04 -0500 Report

Hi James,

What an incredible story. Yes, they literally saved your life! Wow! Your story is not only inspirational but educational. It's really important to have a lifeline to people who can watch out for you, who know your routines and, when they see a variation in it, will check up on you. I wonder if all diabetics realize how important to be connected with people who can kind of watch out for them. I hope a lot of people read your post and think about their own local support network.

And if that life-saving event brought you to the point where you could meet Jem, then you know it was destiny!

Thank you, as always! Have a great day!

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