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For Jess

Ordinarily, we like to post light-hearted, maybe humorous blogs on Fridays, but today’s blog is a very important one given to us by a fellow employee. Adam Proctor works in the Purchasing Department of Family Physicians Group, where he does a fantastic job buying and distributing important materials for the company. Adam’s story touched our hearts and we think it will have an impact on anyone who knows someone with diabetes. Please take a moment to read.

Most of you have either heard my name or seen my face around the clinics performing inspections in 2012; my name is Adam Proctor and I work in Purchasing for Family Physicians Group.  I met my friend Jess in the early 1990’s, and since then have considered her my sister because of the bond we shared; not only to her, but to her brother and her mother (a unique blended family).  It helped immensely that she only lived 6 houses down from me, and we could always count on each other for help and were always there for each other.  We even dedicated the song “Crash and Burn” by Savage Garden to one another, with the chorus. 

Let me be the one you call
If you jump I'll break your fall
Lift you up and fly away with you into the night
If you need to fall apart
I can mend a broken heart
If you need to crash then crash and burn
You're not alone

She was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes (Type 1) in 1999, and as most people do when [they have discovered they have] a chronic condition, she initially didn’t see it as a disease.  Over time she learned to somewhat manage her diabetes, having ups and downs as most patients of ours do.  In 2012, in her sleep her blood sugar plummeted, falling into a coma; she had moved to Kansas City, MO with her dad at this point.  The fear and despair I felt with her 1,000 miles away, not knowing if she would survive broke me physically, emotionally, and mentally.  After she pulled through her coma, we vowed to never let that happen again.

She moved back with her mom, again 6 houses down, and I couldn’t have been more ecstatic.  She threw the craziest parties; black & white masquerade party for her 28th birthday, just because it’s December, etc.  We had many parties at my parent’s house as well; our families often had holiday dinners and random parties at our house: Hanging around the pool area.  It was pure bliss having her so close and the experiences we shared were amazing.

On March 17th, she posted on Facebook, celebrating her 15-year mark from being diagnosed with Type I diabetes, thanking her friends and family for all of our support and commemorating the good, fun times; concluding with “here’s to a healthy next 15 years.”  All of us were extremely supportive, commenting “cheers to that!” or me stating, “Just 15 years?!  Why not go for another 80 years?!

I received a call from my mom on 03/25/2014, at 09:15 am, frantic and breaking down on the phone.  My sister was found dead in her room by her mom; diabetes related death.  Instant panic, fear, numbness, nausea, dizziness, etc. hit me all at once; the words rumbled around my head but didn’t sink in.  She rarely drank, wasn’t overweight, exercised when she had the time, the pieces didn’t seem to fit.  It couldn’t be real; one week ago she posted on Facebook about a healthy progression, now there is no chance of that.  My sister, the one I had grown up with and could always count on, taken at 28.

I thought the hardest thing to do was get into college, or pass the MCAT exam, or pass my Biochemistry final; nothing compares to watching them close the casket, sealing in my sister’s death.  Nothing induced as much sadness, hopelessness, and nausea than having to carry my sister’s coffin from the hearse to her final resting place.

People often don’t see diabetes as a disease and don’t think that it can be lethal.  Working in the medical industry we know of the dangers and outcomes of diabetes, both controlled and uncontrolled. July 7th through July 31st is FPG’s Diabetes Challenge. I encourage those working with patients to share this story, to bring to light how quickly diabetes can change not only their life, but the lives of everyone around them.  It has been just over three months since her passing, and although we have come to terms with the loss, it never really goes away.  Finding random pictures, hearing songs on the radio, or finding things she enjoyed doesn’t seem to have the once positive, uplifting feel to it, for it has rather been replaced with a void of emptiness and a desire to just have her back for one more day.

Join the Diabetes Challenge

Our 24-day diabetes challenge (July 7-31) encourages participants to lose weight and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Participants will use a helpful toolkit to track their participation in our educational diabetes seminars and fitness classes being held at the FPG Seniors Clubs over the 3+ weeks. It's not too late. Please, join us! You do not have to have diabetes to participate. Any questions? Call 1.866.999.3741 for details.

Leave a Comment

Thank you for sharing this story of love and concern. Makes me WANT to be more diligent about my health and Diabetes type II. Most often I feel hopeless and alone but for the grace of God, He keeps me. Again, thanks for sharing.

Posted by Yolanda Fields-Chatman – [Thursday, July 10, 2014] at [11:10 AM]

Thank you for sharing. May the Lord give you acceptance and new strength for you to continue helping people.

Posted by Edilma hamann – [Thursday, July 10, 2014] at [12:46 PM]

I am very sorry for your loss. Was it low sugar that put her in a coma?

Posted by Bakul Kamani – [Thursday, July 10, 2014] at [1:27 PM]

It was a hypoglycemic (low sugar) induced coma. They didn’t realize that with diabetic patients, adolescents and young adults can actually experience hypoglycemic unawareness, in which symptoms of hypoglycemia don’t present.

Posted by Family Physicians Group – [Thursday, July 10, 2014] at [2:53 PM]

Thank you for both a beautiful and informational email. i'm soryy for your loss anfd that of her family. May the Lord replace the grief with the peace that passes all undersdtanding.

Posted by melanie mccarter – [Thursday, July 10, 2014] at [3:36 PM]

Thank you for sharing, my prayers and heart go out to you and the families. I am facing this myself, not for me but for my niece who is now on the list for a pancreas and kidney. She has had three failed pancreas she lives amazes me. She went into a coma at 10 yrs old and has been in many since then...she is now 32. We pass each other in life, usually strangers, never knowing what suffering is really going on in someone's life. God Bless you.

Posted by marylou petit – [Thursday, July 10, 2014] at [5:12 PM]

I lost a very close friends to diabetes .His mothers health was more important to him as she had Alzheimer's and he had her living with him full time. Her Doctor Appts were more important to him than his own health!!!! On a Early afternoon he was leaving work early to go home and repair his truck. We worked for a Ford Dealer. My remark was be a lot easier to fix that pile of junk if you were a mechanic. He went home and died of a heart attack ! His mother is in a nursing home !!!!!!!!

Posted by Sonny Schmidt – [Thursday, July 10, 2014] at [9:45 PM]

I know your pain, as I lost my Type 1 diabetic nephew, just as quickly, he was a mere 18 yrs. It's been 20 years, but it still hurts to know he took perfect care of his body, but a person didn't wash their hands while working at a health-oriented fast food establishment...and, he died of ecoli poisoning. The world is NOT better without him, as he was beloved by so many .

Posted by Carol – [Friday, July 11, 2014] at [12:33 AM]

Thank you for the information because I was diagnosed with diabetes and really haven't received any education or tools in regards to this disease. I have it controlled, but would like to know about keeping it controlled. I wish that the diabetes challenge was for everyone and not just seniors.

Posted by Debbie – [Friday, July 11, 2014] at [2:01 AM]

Almost deleted this msg without even reading it but am so happy i didnt. I am not sure if u can do this but if you can i plead that you forward this information to my ex partner. He was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 28 and ten yrs later refuses to seek any treatment. We have a 7 yr old in common and he refuses treatment given his beliefs about medication damaging his functioning organs and never wanted to listen to my pleas. God bless you.

Posted by carol delgado – [Friday, July 11, 2014] at [8:47 AM]

It was a sad story about someone so young. I have Type II and I have gone back to Weight Watchers to help me lose weight & eat better. My blood is in a good range now. So sorry for your loss.

Posted by Joy Crompton – [Friday, July 11, 2014] at [12:39 PM]

The first time I met Jess, she was about 2 years old. I still have a very hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that she's gone. Her mom is one of my best friends and I can't possibly imagine her kind of grief. I have lost many people in my 61 years, but I don't have children, so I can't imagine this kind of loss. On the day of Jess' funeral I was in such shock that I wasn't even sure if the person I though was Adam, really was, and I was in no shape to find out. ((((Adam))))

Posted by Gregory Highfill – [Thursday, July 31, 2014] at [9:32 PM]

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