The Double-Chronic Whammy (and the Essential Funny Bone)

Speaking of survivorship… read this:

Shortly after my diagnosis, a friend in my book club said enthusiastically, “You HAVE to talk with my mom. She’s got diabetes AND breast cancer!”  Aaaaaccccckkk!  I’m just getting my head around one chronic disease, so why in the world would I want to rendezvous with someone who’ll remind me that there may be more to come?!

That’s so unfair, I thought.  In the scheme of life, I figured everyone’s got a check-off list of misfortunes.  The big box on my list labeled “CHRONIC DISEASE” is already checked off now, so whew!  At least I know what I’m up against… Got my chronic and I’m done with that, right?  Wrong!

Last week I got an email from dLife co-host Jim Turner (whom I met a while back and just adore).  He has just been diagnosed with prostate cancer on top of his Type 1 diabetes and Peyronie’s Disease (post for another day).  Yikes! 

Jim_turner Jim is a 55-years-young successful actor and comedian with a very active life, beautiful wife and son.  So, 40 years with diabetes wasn’t enough suffering?  He had to get hit with this?

Now besides A1c’s and BG’s and glycomarks, Jim’s learning a whole new medical vocabulary: PSA and Gleason score and T1c. He’s having a bone scans and cat scans to make sure the cancer hasn’t “jumped to anything else.”  Ugh.  (Right away I sent him over to Don Cooley at Prostate Help).

Luckily, Jim comes from the Art Buchwald School of Bad News… where a healthy funny bone buoys even the most ailing of the ill.  The image here was attached to one of Jim’s emails:

We caught this very early on. My prognosis is excellent. I have total faith in my doctor. And I will be having (treatment) at Cedars Sinai – which I’ve been told is like going to a fancy spa. Except for the part about drilling a hole in my bottom.  Actually, where DO they drill the hole? Kripes, more research!

btw, when I asked Jim if I could blog about this, he wrote: “Absolutely. Blog away on my prostate. Quote me if you want but make me sound super virile and handsome.”

Doing my best here, Jim.  So sorry to hear about your Double-Chronic Whammy!


6 Responses

  1. riva
    riva April 25, 2007 at 9:50 am | | Reply

    I so relate to this notion that diabetes is our one-time hit so we’re done, nothing else is coming. Until I read Richard Cohen’s book, Blindsided. Not only is he an acclaimed journalist, married to Meredith Viera, but he’s had MS since 25, more than 25 years now, and slowly deteriorating. Then out of the blue, isn’t that always how it happens, he got hit with an awful cancer – twice. The same denial that accompanies our early diagnosis, also fools us into thinking diabetes obviously is my burden. so I’m done. But you never know what’s around the corner. And that’s the good news and the bad. So it all goes back to live every day with joy, appreciation and finding its blessing because you never knows what’s coming.

  2. Bernard Farrell
    Bernard Farrell April 25, 2007 at 5:13 pm | | Reply


    Thanks for letting me know about Jim. I met him last year at the bike ride for Dr. Faustman’s research. What a nice guy.

    I’ll keep him in my prayers, neither of those conditions sound like any fun.

    As for chronic illnesses, bring ‘em on. I like to tell people that except for my two chronic illnesses I’m doing just fine. And you know, there are a lot worse things you could have.

  3. George
    George April 25, 2007 at 5:53 pm | | Reply

    I can also relate to this subject very personally. I have lived with Type 1 for the past 39 years … a constant battle for me for a couple of reasons. I am what used to be called “brittle” … don’t even know if that term is used any longer and on top of that I get absolutely no symptoms of low blood sugar. I have happened to take blood tests and have been amazed when my meter gave we results of 1.1 or 1.2 and I was still functioning as normally and coherently as I always would.

    last year I was hit with the double whammy … I was diagnosed with severe major depression and was hospitalized in order to pull me back from the black hole I was walking the edge of, seriously contemplating suicide. There were many occasions leading up to the hospitalization when I sat on the edge of my bed with my chosen implements and was only a heartbeat from ending my life. Months of therapy and anti-depressants that I will probably be taking forever have made me almost “normal” again.

    During the therapy I discovered that I had been suffering from mild depression since just after I became diabetic. In the years when I was 17, 18, 19 all my buddies would go for a beer after a game of ball or hockey. I had to stay away and slowly but surely I withdrew from the friends and social life in general. Not a problem until 2005 when several things combined with my mental state to push me over the edge.

    Sorry for making this so long but I felt a need to comment. My Type 1 still goes from very low to very high for no apparent reason and my mental health is good, primarily because of the meds.

  4. Karen
    Karen April 25, 2007 at 8:26 pm | | Reply

    I wonder if this is true of all who suffer from any chronic illness, that they will not obtain another, because that is exactly how I think after being a Type 1 for 40 years. Keeping all in prayer for all and any ailments they have to endure.

  5. vicki
    vicki April 26, 2007 at 8:52 pm | | Reply

    It’s so strange…I remember thinking, when I was diagnosed as type 1 after living nearly 60 healthy years (knock wood!)… “Okay, now I have my disease so I don’t have to worry about that any more.” Magical thinking! and of course, not true at all, as we all really know.

  6. Sarah
    Sarah April 30, 2007 at 11:41 pm | | Reply

    Cancer (and additional autoimmune diseases) are more common in people with Type 1 diabetes. I just found out my friend with Type 1 has a brain tumor, among 2 other types of cancer. The link is not clear, but obviously related to the faulty immune response or the leaky gut.

    People with Type 2 are also at a higher risk for some cancers, because they are often overweight, and have higher levels of insulin and other hormones.

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