12 Responses

  1. Lee Ann Thill
    Lee Ann Thill April 2, 2009 at 8:59 pm | | Reply

    Thanks for sharing this, Amy. Not that I’m happy other people have had a lot of difficulty on the emotional roller-coaster of diabetes, but when it seems like the diabetics online are predominately well-adjusted and have never fought it tooth and nail, it’s reassuring for me to see a few for whom diabetes has been a formidable adversary. Just like I appreciate knowing other diabetics who ‘get it’ in regards to living with diabetes, it’s good to know other bad or formally bad diabetics who ‘get it’ in regard to that experience and all that comes with it. I think that’s a path that’s unknowable unless one has actually stumbled down it.

  2. Lauren
    Lauren April 2, 2009 at 10:25 pm | | Reply

    It’s hard for me to have sympathy for uncontrolled diabetics, be they type 1 or 2. We have a disease, but we can still choose health. And I’m grateful for that. For many people with auto-immune illnesses, there’s no element of choice in their disease progression. But I am a health nut, so I’m fairly judgmental of all people with unhealthy lifestyles.

  3. Clara W
    Clara W April 3, 2009 at 5:28 pm | | Reply

    Hi, Amy,
    Thank you so much for introducing this amazing memoir to your readers. Having just finished reading JUNK SICK, I must say Mr. Savage’s book stunned me with its honesty, clarity, and self-understanding.

    Altho’ I have T 2, the expression of the emotional roller-coaster ride all diabetics experience (so exquisitely and intimately told in this book), makes me feel less isolated. I will long remember this book for the shift it caused in my thinking. They sure don’t write them like this anymore.

    I won’t judge another human being on how he has chosen to live his life. All I can do is sit in awe of this story of disease, family, choices, the descent into addiction–and marvel at Mr. Savage’s survival as he maintains his intelligence, wit, and humor.

    JUNK SICK is a must read, not only for diabetics, but for those with an appreciation of history, jazz, Greenwich Village, Coney Island, and so much more. It’s a gift. I am better off having read it and you will be, too.

  4. Frustrated
    Frustrated April 3, 2009 at 9:46 pm | | Reply

    Lauren, please realize that not all Type 1 diabetics CAN control their disease. Some of us test 12x per day, eat extremely healthy (no processed foods, period), measure and weigh everything, track our CGMS all day (well, when it’s accurate), adjust our pump all day, and still have hard to control BG levels. If it was that easy to replace beta cells with external insulin, we wouldn’t urgently need a cure for Type 1 diabetes, would we? It would just be an ‘easy to manage’ disease. But we know that it’s not, or none of us would ever become unwell despite our best efforts.

    While it’s great that your Type 1 is easy to manage, not all of us are that lucky. I am disgusted that one day as I lay dying of diabetes, or a hypoglycemic seizure, etc. that some ignorant person or medical staff will say that I brought this agony on myself. I did not. I spend so much time on diabetes control that I qualify for a disability tax credit (14 hours or more per week). This is just to live and stay out of a coma. It’s hard to be your pancreas in Type 1 diabetes, and some just can’t do it. You need intelligence, resources, time, dedication, and resistance to burnout after 25+ years of daily diabetes. Add complications to the mix, and many just give up. I don’t blame them. Type 1 can be a horrible disease.

    That said, I do agree with you 100% that I have no sympathy for those who knowingly abuse their bodies. The worst is those who COULD be healthy but won’t change their habits. They cry about having to drink water instead of pop…..For people with preventable chronic illness, and those who are obese, no one can help you but you. You must take responsibility for you.

  5. Ranches Hall
    Ranches Hall April 4, 2009 at 4:21 pm | | Reply

    Hello Norman Savage,

    Its Great to hear someone Share their Feeling about their Diabetes
    Experience My Wife she’s a Diabetic And I’ll notice Over the ten years
    that she’s had to deal with it along with I Having to Share in Her Emotionals it can be Challenging But I Thank God for all the new insight
    and Research that been uncover..,Mr. Savage Thanks for Sharing Continue to Be Bless o.k.

  6. Mitch
    Mitch April 5, 2009 at 12:58 am | | Reply

    Thank you for posting this letter to you. It’s not always so easy, as Lauren makes it seem. I have down days, and when I do, I go off the wagon, so to speak, and eat things I know I’m not supposed to. That’s just how it is sometimes. I certainly have never gone to the extremes that Norman has, but I also haven’t had to live with diabetes for 50 years yet; that’s actually quite phenomenal, if you ask me.

  7. Norman Savage
    Norman Savage April 6, 2009 at 2:33 pm | | Reply

    Hello Amy, and all those who commented,
    I just returned from Beth Israel Hospital a few hours ago after spending four days there. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve always had quite a few problems when hospitalized because usually most docs/nurses do not know much about Type 1 diabetes and even less about multiple injections, titrating insulin, carb based diets, etc., and are less inclined to listen to patients, no matter how long they’ve been diabetic and no matter what their endocrinologist stated they wanted done.
    Be that as it may, any day one “walks” out of a hospital, vertically, is a good day. And this was a good day. The cardiologist that attended me, after four days of monitoring, after an angiogram revealed that my arteries were still “clean,” suggested that I first try some medication to right the “ventrical” ship and then, in a few weeks, after wearing a heart monitor, will see whether or not a pacemaker or defib device is necessary. Folks, life after forty is maintenance. For everyone, but particularly for diabetics.
    I’ve been quite taken with all your comments. Even the comment from the “health nut” taking me–and I imagine all those–to task who disregard medical necessities in trying to navigate and negotiate themselves through this business of living. I make no defense nor apology for how I’ve lived my life. T.S. Eliot, one of my literary heros once wrote, “After such knowledge what forgiveness.” I’ve ignored and pushed hard in the opposite direction. Still, there are certain realities, and one of those realities is that no matter how much one tries to adhere to whatever discipline one needs to get through this life, life will, arbitrarily and capriciously bite you in the ass at the most unexpected times. One cannot live this life perfectly. I can remember being enrolled in The Diabetes Self Management Program–an offshoot of The Joslin Clinic–where we ate the same exact thing, exercised in the same exact way, took our insulin at the same exact time, everyday for five days running, and still our blood sugars bounced around. How does stress, dreams, genetics, or dumb luck play out in our lives is something that the scientists will never be able to explain. I once wrote, almost forty-five years ago: “the truths of scientists are nothing compared to the truth of the moment.” And if one gets by in this life without having a bad love affair, job, or jelly doughnut, well, that kind of boredom has never been my particular desire. Not that I have any thing against supremely well-rounded people. I just have never been that much interested in them. And usually they’re not very much interested in me either–except at pointing out to themselves or others that this is not somebody worth thinking much about. And that’s O.K. too. We have too much of the Oxygen, Lifetime, Father Knows Best, kinda thing, and not very much IFC. It’s not my mission to debate that, but it is my intent, to make the vision a bit wider. At least to the point where “pre-existing conditions” are not, in and of itself, reason to be denied health insurance in this country.
    What I also wanted to make crystal clear in my memoir is that knowledge is indeed, if not power, than powerful enough to fight many forces–especially the internal demons. If one knows that sometimes one’s moods are closely tied to blood sugar and not some inner “fault” or whim, or “choice” then maybe the spiral of self-recriminations can be shortened and some truly destructive behavior can be shortened if not eliminated. Hell, there might be a chance for me yet.
    Again, thanks Amy, and for all those who struggle and survive. A buddy of mine, Harry Crews, a fellow writer once wrote, “Survival is triumph enough.” Today was a good day–for all of us.
    Norman Savage

  8. Jennifer
    Jennifer April 6, 2009 at 5:46 pm | | Reply

    Keep up the good fight, Norman! No apologies. You’re a strong voice for us type 1′s out there. We’re misunderstood. Thanks for the window of understanding.

    type 1, diagnosed at 12 in 1978

  9. Michele Brown
    Michele Brown May 13, 2009 at 12:23 pm | | Reply

    It all comes down to choices. You can choose to control your diabetes or you can choose to let it control you. And in making a choice, you create the life you want to live. No one else can determine that for you.

    Having been a type 1 diabetic for 36 years, I have had rough moments, but I cherish my diabetes. I view it as a gift that has made me really tune into all aspects of my life – body, mind, and spirit. The challenging moments are just reminders that I do have diabetes and life is not perfect. But it is great:)

  10. benjamin
    benjamin May 20, 2009 at 7:19 am | | Reply

    about a month or so ago I was so sick and was on the edge of going into a coma. If I lived alone I surely would have. Why? because I abused my self and found that eating healthy was boring and I really enjoyed my pop and chocolate. I just love food that tastes so good. faught against my disease and refused to allow it to make me change my eating habits.

    Anyways, I made some real healthy changes after leaving the hospital it would make you wonder why I still have badly fluctuating blood sugar levels. I was taking Novolin 30/70, 80 units in the morning, and 90 units in the evening. Then got switched over to 25/25/25 ‘units’ of Humalog throughout the day and 50 units of Lantus Glargine before bed. I also take metforman half tab three times a day, Altace (Ramipril) once daily, and Caduet once daily.

    I suffer from major depression throughout my life and so I am unsure if my mood swings are the result of that or the result of the diabetes. It seems that the direction I am headed is going to be a long life of suffering through where other with diabetes have been. Im preparing for the worst because so far I dont see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Anyway, I cant wait to read your memoir.

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  12. Karen
    Karen March 25, 2010 at 11:58 am | | Reply

    I am an uncontrolled diabetic on the insulin pump. Type 2 I think. I still need to learn alot even though I have been at it for 10 years. I also have other autoimmune diseases and I would love to read your book! I have this urge to throw away all meds and just live until I die cause I sure feel like I have been missing out on living life dealing with all these diseases and medications worrying where the money is coming for next month supplies…need to read something different than what I have been. Will be looking for that book!

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