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.