Today I want continue talking about how diabetics can help one another. Common courtesy goes a long way. Talking to your fellow diabetics about your diagnosis, past surgeries, rehabilitation, and how you are coping with this disease are all important steps to having a successful future.
I think the most valuable thing you can pass on to your fellow diabetics is how you contracted this disease. We all have our story. Diabetes often comes from poor diet, lack of exercise, and also mental stress.
In my case I was diagnosed after years of poor diet, lack of exercise and mental stress, due to my failures in college. I never finished my degree due to lack of funds and poor academic performance. After leaving school I had take jobs I really didn’t like. I worked in lumber yards as a forklift driver and laborer. My passion was music, specifically guitar playing and teaching, not working in a lumber yard. It was very frustrating working at a job that you hate, when the field you loved wasn’t available at the time. I turned to alcohol and a poor diet as an escape from the everyday grind.
My social life wasn’t very exciting either. I had no girlfriend, and most of my friends were far away, so I only saw them for a limited time. In the end it was my choice to not to take care of myself out of self pity. I made many mistakes during my college years. I should have studied more. I should have embraced the kindness of certain people to make my life happier. I lacked the confidence to do so, which was one of many regrets in my life.
A few years later I came back to the Philadelphia area where I grew up and got a job at a music store. I began teaching and selling musical instruments. It wasn’t the highest paying job, but at least I was teaching. I was proud to watch so many of my students excel through lessons and the rock band program I ran. I began to gain some confidence as a teacher, but I was still not eating properly, or exercising enough. One night during a rehearsal of my rock band program I began to sweat, shake, and my vision was blurred. At this time I also had a small hole on the bottom of my foot, which was getting larger everyday. After this episode I finally went to the doctor and was diagnosed with diabetes and a foot ulcer. Four surgeries, lost toes, and many eye injections and laser treatments later, here I am.
I continue to teach guitar, but my ultimate goal now is to get a job helping diabetics. I am very fortunate to have both feet and be able to walk. I also still have my vision. The best advice I can give is to take care of your health everyday. Physical and mental. I’m not trying to sound like an after school special, but too much alcohol and overeating will catch up with you. Talk to your friends and family about problems you’re having. Talk to a psychiatrist if you can. Don’t let a foot ulcer get worse. See a doctor regularly.
With all failures in my life, I’ve learned from them very painfully. I now take care of myself. My doctors have complimented me often on my continued progress. I have many diabetic friends I talk with on a weekly basis. We compare our stories, and offer each other advice. I enjoy teaching the guitar, but look forward to a career someday helping diabetics. I’m happy everyday I get up and am able to walk and see. I need to exercise more, and I will try to everyday. I try to be happy for what I have, and try not to dwell on what I don’t have. I’m optimistic for my future, and will continue to write this blog as often as I can. If I can help one person deal with their diabetes in a positive way, that’s a good day. Stay safe and healthy!
My next blog I’ll talk about some home exercises that can help you sleep better and have a little less pain with neuropathy.