Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Sorry I've been gone for so long. School got hectic during exams and I just zoned out of the blogging atmosphere.

My mom, who I swear will get a podcast up soon, and myself are leaving for Rome to go visit my Charlie for a week. We're leaving on Monday. So excited!!!! I'll try to get my podcast interview with her up here before then.

One last thing. I've linked a website in my sidebar. TK family plan

It's a great resource for fitness and health. I would strongly encourage anyone with questions about fitness or general interest in seeking a healthy lifestyle to give it a look. I give it a big thumbs up!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Podcast interview with Dad

Alright, so i finally got this podcasting thing to work the way I wanted it to. I still haven't interviewed my mother yet, we're having a hard time getting together to do it. But I hope you guys check out my interview with my Dad and the one I did earlier this week with my roommate Bryan Arko.

This podcasting thing is easy once you understand what you're doing on the site. Creating your own podcast page is easy though. Just go to and click the "sign up" link.

Sorry about the quality of the video below, the lighting is pretty bad, but hey, you can still hear it...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

sorry for the mess

I'm trying to figure out a bunch of stuff from this podcasting sight. Hopefully I'll have this all cleaned up and some sparkling parent interviews in the next two days.

Technology 1 Henry 0

O and the Cowboys lost, great.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It ain't nothing but a twin Thang

So I'm interviewing my family this week for my blog. First up, my twin brother Charlie.

I couldn't get a phone or actual interview for my podcast since he is studying to be a priest (woo!) in Rome right now, so I just emailed him a list of questions. Here it is:

1.)When did you notice that something was wrong with me?

I first wondered whether or not something was wrong with you in late December, though in early January it was clear that something was up. I remember going to the Lodge with you in the first week of January: in front of the dumbell rack, you looked skinny, pale, and weak. Though I'm not sure how I remembered it, the first thing that came to mind was what Jillian described when she came down with diabetes—physical weakness and constant thirst. You seemed to match that bill.

2.) Was I acting any different during the months prior to being diagnosed?

During the months prior to being diagnosed, you were acting a bit differently: drinking an abnormal amount of diet Coke (7-11 became your second home), you were more lethargic than normal, and it seemed that you were experiencing repeated periods of a general zone-out.

3.) What was your initial knowledge of diabetes? Did you think I had it?

My initial knowledge of diabetes was two-fold: what I had learned from books, and what I had been told by others. I knew what the disease meant was wrong with your body, and I knew (from Jillian) its symptoms and treatment. In all, though, my knowledge was a bit limited.

4.) Where were you when you found out I was in the hospital?

I was in my seminary room about to go to class when I found out that you were in the hospital. Dad sent me an email, and then mom called my cell phone. I didn't even go to lunch after class got out; I went to the hospital as soon as I could.

5.) What was your initial reaction?

Since I had noticed the symptoms and had been afraid for a while that my observations were correct, my initial reaction was not one of surprise. Nevertheless, I'd say it was one of hurt; I felt bad that this had happened to my twin.

6.) Was there anything you wanted to know?

There was not much I wanted to know; I just wanted to be with my brother in the hospital.

7.) What was it like seeing me in the hospital?

Seeing you in the hospital was not easy. It was a mixture of relief—both closure on a fear of mine and assurance that you'd be OK once under the guidance of professional help—and sadness that you'd have to bear this burden.

8.) Do you think of me any differently now that I have diabetes?

No, in fact I do not think of you any differently now that you have diabetes. Remember that piece of paper in your wallet, the one on which I wrote, in case of emergency, "I am Henry Samson, I am a diabetic"? Well, I'd like you to take that out, rip it up, and write a new one. I say this because the line that you wrote on your blog early on—"I was now a chronic illness that before I could casually think I would never be"—made me realize the mistake I made in writing that note for you. You are not a chronic illness! You are Henry, a person with diabetes. That is to say, diabetes is not YOU; though indeed you have it, you are more than this illness, as your sense of humor and your attitude have shown. I am echoing Aquinas, who said that man is more than his powers, or lack thereof. Thus, I think your note ought to say, instead: "I am Henry Samson, and I have type one diabetes."

It fits you better.

9.) Has my disease affected your life at all? How?

Your disease has given me food for prayer and thought. I pray for you for good health and for success in managing your situation. I also try to be aware of your illness and make appropriate adjustments however minimal they are, such as when setting out snacks, making sure to set out also ones that you can eat.

10.) Now that I have diabetes, do you think about other people with the disease differently? How so?

With you having diabetes, I do think about other people with the disease differently. I see them no longer as being in a situation completely foreign to my world, since my twin brother shares their situation. You having diabetes has also helped me to stop judging others who have it. When I would hear that someone was diabetic, I used to assume—illegitimately—that that person could not control his appetite, or was too lazy to get enough exercise. Now, I know that you (still) eat a lot, and that you are quite fond of your pillow all the way until the late morning, but your situation has tempered my preemptive judging of others who have the disease, since you in no way did anything to 'contract' diabetes.

If you haven't guessed, Charlie was a philosophy major in college. I remember him coming into the hospital room and saying hi to him, maybe a little small talk, that's about it. I wanted to talk to him, but I was so groggy and back and forth between sleep and being semi-awake that I don't remember too well. The two biggest things I remember are telling him how much IV fluid I soaked up and how it was making my arms swell. (told him I had bigger muscles than he did...) Also, he decided to send a facebook message out to all our closest friends informing them of what had happened and that I was alright.

He's a pretty baller dude.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Great Success

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Hopefully those sugar levels stayed somewhat under control. I had a minor scare in the car on the way home. I started shaking, feeling weak, and sweating.

cold sweat.

My sugar level was in the low 30s. That is a serious bout of hypoglycemia. Not good. Luckily I was around a gas station so I got to indulge on a zebra cake.... forgot how much I used to like those. Thanksgiving was alright though. I tried to stay away from a lot of carb-loaded options in the meal. Stayed with veggies from the snack tray and limited my portion of stuffing to 1 serving. That was tough. I had a lot of green bean casserole and turkey with gravy. It's tough, but worth it to stay on top of my sugars.

In other news, I still really foggy from yesterday. There's a new game for Nintendo Wii called Super Mario Brothers Wii. It was awesome.

I say was because myself and three of my best friends sat down at 10PM last night and didn't stop playing until we beat the game, at 8:15 this morning. It was epic. Stupid. Fun. Exhausting. It was a great way to spend the last night of my Thanksgiving break. It was really fun because all four of us could play at the same time. It was also formatted and designed to look just like the old Mario games on Regular and Super Nintendo.

So how did I manage my Lantus shot? Usually I take it before I go to sleep. Obviously I didn't sleep last night. But I took the shot anyway, at about the same time I usually do. I just made sure I didn't really snack on anything whenever the other three were eating. Tough to pass up those pizza rolls at 3:00AM, but a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do.

Remeber how I mentioned that I play for the Ultimate Frisbee team at SLU. Well, the team started a blog that I am a contributor for, so I've listed the team's blog in my blogs section on the side of my page. Check it out!! You can also just click here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Turkey Day Woes

Holidays just aren't kind to my diabetic brothers and sisters. Turkey, STUFFING, POTATOES, BREAD, corn, green beans, PUMPKIN PIE, APPLE PIE. Everything in caps there is loaded with carbohydrates.


If you're like me and really enjoy stuffing and just about anything else that belongs on a Thanksgiving spread, the holiday challenge of maintaining good glucose numbers can get daunting. Here are some things you can do to help keep those levels under control:

Eat a light lunch with little to no carbs in it.
Fill up double portions of green beans and turkey.
Limit mashed potatoes and stuffing to one serving.
Use that low carb bread I mentioned earlier for the stuffing.
Definitely one serving of dessert. (Check the ADA or DLife website for diabetic friendly recipes)

Just as a personal test I decided to take my blood sugar before I ate and after I ate. My instructions for insulin injection were 15-30 minutes before or after a meal. So I decided to do this injection 30 minutes after and check what my glucose levels were.

*DISCLAIMER I do not regularly do this, nor would I recommend this to any other diabetic. It was purely for self-education.

My sugar level before I started eating was 123. 30 minutes after eating, it was 254. Yes, I know, that's humongous. But I controlled my little experiment and took the appropriate amount of insulin. One hour after injecting myself, it was back down to 105. Fast acting insulin works. Fast!

So anyway, eat smart this holiday. Root for the Cowboys! Enjoy your Thanksgiving!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Running, and podcast preview

Like I said before, I used to be a runner. Way back in the day.

Way back.

But I've always been active, which is key for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. exercise can help control blood glucose levels, essentially making someone less dependent on insulin. For a guy who incessantly hates medicine, that's great news. But running isn't the only way to go. Swimming, walking, biking are all activities that help promote overall health and wellness.

From my experience, it's all about making things habits. Ugh, I used to hate habits. Now I have to live by them. But it's been easier for me to build habits because my family is extremely habitual.

1.) Dad at gets up at 4-5 every morning for work, puts in a long day, and if nothing is going on at night, will probably fall asleep in front of ESPN or the Discovery channel at 10:15.

2.) Mom also gets up early every morning to go to Mass (6:30 Mass, yikes). She also walks every morning and cannot live without her calendar.

3.) Charlie, don't even get me started. Everything he did was in order. I could sit in bed at night in high school and give color commentary on his nighttime routine with my eyes closed. Homework til 10. Cheese torilla in microwave. Load backpack. Use bathroom. Brush teeth. But vaseline on lips. Take drink of water. Then put retainer in. He actually couldn't go to sleep if he was out of sync!!!

Well, now with frisbee behind me, and thanks to Google spreadsheets taking care of my daily blood glucose numbers, I am starting to focus on getting back into shape and working out every day. I'm going to start with a low dosage of running mixed with abs and push-ups. I'll gradually increase the weekly mileage until frisbee starts again in the spring. I'll upload a training log on here once i get a few big school assignments out of the way first.

But here is a list of simple ways in which anyone can take baby-steps towards a healthier life.

1.) Take the stairs, forget the elevator if it's just a few floors.
2.) Walk to church or the grocery store if you live close enough.
3.) Try to at least walk around a neighborhood for 15 minutes a day.
4.) Choose that apple when you're eying the Reese's.
5.) Make a conscious effort to include vegetables with meals. (pickles on a burger don't count)
6.) Choose one day of the week and drink water instead of coffee.
7.) Reruns of ESPN are on again in the morning.
8.) When waking up, get out of bed and get active right away. Avoid the drowsiness.
*I'm horrible at that
9.) If the weather is nice, read a book outside. Soak up some Vitamin D
10.) Talk to your mother and tell her you love her.

In other news, I'm going to be doing a few test runs with podcasts on here. Some will be only audio, some will have video as well. It's all run through this cool website called podOmatic. You should see the message with a link on the left side of the page. Hopefully you like it. Let me know if it doesn't work...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hello class!

Kristen Wilson interviewed me the other day about living with Type 1 diabetes. It went really well. I actually do love sharing my experience with other people. She also told me that she might show my blog to the class that she did the interview for. So, I figured I'd put up a picture as a quick guide to the tell-tale signs on diabetes onset:

I personally had all of these symptoms besides nausea. In the week or two before getting diagnosed, I was urinating 10-15 times a day, usually waking up twice at night as well. It was pretty rough. But now with my sugars under control, my life is normal.
If you guys have anything that you're interested in or want to know more about please email me at!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A new Meter, A good day!

I went to the doctor today. My appointment was at 9:30, and even though I didn't get out of there until 11 (ugh), I did walk out with a new functional glucose testing meter from OneTouch. I had recently lost my old one. Hooray!!

I'm going to shift to a focus on athletics for a while. Athletics are a big part of my life. I played organized sports with my twin brother all the time growing up. I then ran Cross Country and Track in high school. I am currently involved with Ultimate Frisbee, a cool sport that involves a LOT of running. Exercise is a main part of everyone's life... at least it should be. But it is essential for diabetics to help maintain good health. Insulin and exercise are the two ways that I can actively lower my blood sugar. And hell, why not lower my blood sugar while staying fit and reducing some dependence on insulin?

(Note: I will always be dependent on insulin. But it is both physically and psychologically beneficial to control it through exercise as well.)

Dr. Albert, my endocrinologist, explained to me this morning that 30 minutes of exercise can be the equivalent to 1 unit of insulin and 1 net carb. For a guy that loves running around and playing sports, this is like music to my ears.

For the more daring of heart than I, here is an article about "Iron Andy" Holder, a Iron-man triathelete who has lived with Type-1 diabetes for some time. This story is actually quite remarkable; and it serves as a good reminder that diabetes should never be looked at as a hindrance. It is merely just a little hurdle that needs to be jumped.

Here is a picture of "Iron" Andy:

For more information about Andy, check out his blog at
For more information about Andy's diabetes foundation, and an interview with him, check out this website.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How aware are you?

November is Diabetes Awareness month. More specifically, November 14 is World Diabetes Day!

more info here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Halloween sugar highs

With Halloween right around the corner, diabetics have a lot to be on their toes for. Unfortunately for children suffering from Type 1 Diabetes, Halloween and its mountainous amounts of candy, can be very depressing. Trick or TREAT, as they say. Treats=sweets, and that is not a friendly equation for those of us who cannot produce insulin. Now, most of the candy distributed on Halloween comes in the pint-sized pieces. I will not go so far as to say we shouldn’t eat any of those (I’d be a huge hypocrite); we diabetics just have to limit the amount of them that we eat. Further, maybe we should eat a more vegetable filled dinner before having some scary goodies.

Pictured below are some of the more famous Halloween goodies. I have listed the amount of sugar in grams (same as carbs) right next to the names. Notice that the grams of sugar listed are usually for the regular sized candy bar or bag, not the fun size. So it’s probably safe to assume that the Halloween portion has about 1/3 that amount.

Starburst Fruit Chews: 34 grams

Snickers: 30 grams

Skittles: 47 grams
(These things are like little sugar ovals- but good for bouts of low sugars)

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup: 25 grams

Nerds: 15 grams/tablespoon
(more like little sugar pellets)

M&M's: 31 grams

KitKat: 22 grams

Hershey's Bar: 31 grams

3 Musketeers: 40 grams

Milky Way: 35 grams

Milk Duds: 20 grams

I think Halloween and Easter have to be the downright hardest Holidays for people, especially children with diabetes. There is candy EVERYWHERE. Two healthier alternatives that pop into my head if you are looking for something a little healthier are caramel apples and peanut butter spread on top of individual hershey bar segments. I hope all of you fellow diabetics are careful this Saturday and Sunday. Be sure to monitor those sugar levels!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Time Crunch

I'm in kind of a time crunch right now. I have a Anthropology test tomorrow morning and am posting this short one in between bouts of studying and banging my head on my softest wall. Tomorrow I am going to post a pretty substantial listing about Halloween candy/costumes/and carbohydrates. (It's not going to be pretty)

But this upcoming weekend I will not be in the blog-o-sphere. I put up a picture of my club frisbee team, One Trick Pony

the other week. We've actually been pretty busy with our season this Fall. We officially began our season last May and have battled through the West Plains Sectional and Central Division Regional tournaments to qualify for the UPA National Club Championships this upcoming weekend. It's an annual event held in Sarasota Florida that brings together the top 16 teams from around the country. One Trick Pony is a co-ed team in the Mixed Division. We currently have the 6th rank spot!!

If you would like to follow our progress or learn more about the sport in general you can check out the Ultimate Player's Association's website.

Til, tomorrow!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Tale of Two Insulins

Sorry about the fuzziness, but these are my two different kinds of insulin. Humalog, the one on the left is the kind I take before or after every meal. Lantus, the one on the right is what I take every night before bed. I'll explain why:


Humalog, a lispro insulin, is fast acting. It only takes about 15-30 minutes to start working. Since it is absorbed quickly, it doesn't stay in you system for very long. There are 100 units per milliliter (mL). It comes in a 10 mL vial, so each vial has 1,000 units inside.

I'm going to be throwing a lot of numbers at you here, I'm sorry (mom).

In my diet, 1 unit of insulin compenstaes for every 15 grams of carbohydrates that I consume. So, if I go to Qdoba and eat a burrito with 75g of carbohydrates in it, I should inject 5 units of insulin either right before or right after I eat. Coincidentally I have learned that 15 grams of carbs also raises my blood sugar level 15 points (mg/dL). So, my general grand equation for eating and insulin, without exercise involved is:

15g carbohydrates=50 mg/dL=1 unit Humalog

Exercise is a topic I will cover another day this week. The short of it though, is that exercise speeds up the process by whichi insulin is absorbed, so I have to be careful to inject too much insulin, running the risk of Hypoglycemia


Lantus, a glargine insulin, is a long-acting insulin. An injection may stay in the bloodstream for up to 12 hours. Since it is absrobed over a long period of time, it is easy to understand this as a regulatory injection. I take this every night 1-2 hours before bedtime. (If I just grab a banana in the morning, I do not take humalog. If I eat a full breakfast, I can take humalog then)

I injectany where from 14-16 units on Lantus every night. If my bloold sugar is 80-100 mg/dL, I take 14. If it is 100-120 mg/dL I take 15. If it is >120mg/dL, I take 16.

Here is my brief description of what happens overnight: Type 1 diabetics cannot regulate sugar levels because of the complete absence of insulin production. Every night, a person's liver is signaled by glucagon in the pancreas to release glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream. This release raises a person's blood sugar. A normally functioning person would be able to produce insulin overnight to conteract this release of sugae from the liver. Since diabetics cannot do this, the long-acting Lantus allows them to regulate their blood sugar levels overnight.

*This is one reason it is drinking can be harmful for diabetics. If the liver is too busy clearing alcohol out of the bloodstream, it does not release sugar into the bloodstream. If a diabetic takes Lantus without the liver releasing this sugar, he or she runs the risk of severe Hypoglycemia.

If any of this didn't make sense, please email me at!

Diabetes quote of the Day: "You have now been given a two-year that will be at your side for the rest of your life, and will never grow up. Take care of it." -Sharon Plummer, R.N.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Fun Food Facts

Above is a typical food pyramid. One that everyone has been shown at some point in their lives. Depending on anyone's diet, the number of servings are varied, but these are pretty close. Part of learning how to eat with diabetes can be a challenge, but I prefer to think of it as a blessing. It almost forces me to eat healthier because I have to actively think about all the nutritional information when calculating insulin injections.

If you look at the pyramid, the two problem layers for diabetics are the bottom and the top. Glucose is a simple sugar. When we all eat, our bodies break down carbohydrates into sugars. Obviously cakes, chocolate, and most desserts are a big no-no (at least in extreme moderation), but many foods on the bottom of the pyramid such as pasta, bread, rice, and potatoes all contain very high levels of carbohydrates, food that elevates blood sugar levels. Know though, that no food is your enemy. Diabetics can physically eat cake and not die or pass out, it just affects us very quickly because we cannot process the sugar out of our blood after it has been absorbed through the stomach and intestinal walls.

Sorry, that was a long explanation. I'll show some quick comparisons. A snickers candy bar has 30 grams of sugar, so does a regular sized banana. Which is the healthier option?

A taco bell regular taco has 12 grams of carbs, so does a piece of peanut butter toast.

It's all about picking your battles and learning to fall in love with green vegetables. Substituting an apple for a cookie is healthy, but still has the same amount of sugar in it. It just so happens that an apple's sugars are probably better for you. I mentioned green vegetables because they are very healthy for you (rich in antioxidants) and contain little to no sugar or carbs. Which means there is little to no adjusting insulin levels when eating a orange or green bell pepper. Does this mean you can't indulge? ABSOLUTELY NOT. I have a candy bar every now and then. I love bread. I just choose too take smaller portions of things that will affect my blood sugar negatively.

Here are two examples of food that I love, that companies have tailored for diabetics.

Dreamfield Pasta
Dreamfields pasta makes it easy for diabetics to enjoy pasta in the same quantities that normal people would enjoy. Each serving of Dreamfields pasta has only 5 grams (digestible) of carbohydrates. When compared to normal pasta brands containing 45 grams of carbs per serving. This was a ray from heaven for me because I LOVE pasta. The best part about it, people cannot tell the difference. I tried it out on my family, all three of them could not tell a difference.


Healthy Life brand bread can be found at any grocery store. 1 slice of regular bread contains 15 grams of carbs, this brand contains only 6 grams per slice. Don't ask me how they do it; personally I'd rather not know. My only caveat with this brand is that the slices tend to be a bit smaller. But it works great for toast in the morning or sandwiches if you want to cut back little by little on the carbs.

I'll post a little more tomorrow about more healthy and unhealthy eating options. Til then, ciao!

Friday, October 9, 2009


Welcome to the second installment of Famous Fridays! This week's actress has enjoyed fame and success from movies including X-Men, Die Another Day, and Monster's Ball.

That's right, it's

Halle Berry

Halle Berry was born in 1966. Though not diagnosed until she was 23 years old, she lives with Type 1 diabetes. In 1989, while doing a taping of "Lifesize Dolls", which I guess was some popular TV show with beautiful women, Berry fell into a diabetic coma.

When experiencing a diabetic coma, a person's blood sugar levels reach such a high level (sometimes as high as 800mg/dl or higher!!!!) that they actually pass out and need to be instantly hospitalized. She actually didn't wake up for 7 days.

And I thought I had it bad. Click here to read more about Berry and her struggle with diabetes.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


eh... er... on Sunday. Sorry about the delay. But I want to introduce a new, and hopefully long lasting topic on my blog. Drumrolls please (da da da da da da da da da da da)

It's time for FAMOUS FRIDAYS!
Every Friday I will be doing a short post on someone famous with type 1 diabetes. First up,

Jay Cutler

This is a bit of an older picture. Jay Cutler is the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears. He is a relatively young quarterback, and was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes near the end of the 2007-2008 NFL season with the Denver Broncos. The team noticed something was wrong when started performing poorly in games and losing weight. His diagnosis story is much like others, with overarching themes of denial, weight loss (35 pounds!), and blood sugar level astronomically higher than they should be. Listen to Cutler talk about it:

The 26 year old Jay Cutler was born in 1983 in Santa Clause, Indiana. (Yes, that's not a typo) He was diagnosed at the age of 25. As of today, according to Yahoo sports news, Cutler has played in 40 NFL games. He has thrown for nearly 10,000 yards and has thrown for 60 touchdowns. Not too shabby for a boy that can't make his own insulin.....

Cutler isn't the only famous athlete with diabetes. He joins quite a list of athletes who fight the disease daily, including Arthur Ashe, Joe Frazier, and surprisingly enough Jackie Robinson! For a more thorough list, check out this page of the website DLife.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Sorry for the delay

From here on out I'll be posting and updating things regularly. I was in Ames Iowa this weekend at an ultimate frisbee tournament. I got way behind on school work and decided that I should neglect the blog for a while. It didn't really help. I play for a team called One Trick Pony. Check us out if you want! Here's a picture of the team from October 2008:

I'm going to separate this blog into three main sections. I'll have little updates throughout; but I want to focus on diabetes globally, health and nutrition, and entertainment. Tomorrow I will have the first installment of my Famous Friday section. I'll be highlighting a famous personality, be it celebrity, athlete, or politician who has diabetes. There are more diabetics out there than you might think. We are not alone!

Shout-out to my mom: here are some diabetes basics

Symptoms of Diabetes
  • Polydipsia- excessive thirst
  • Polyuria- constant or excessive urination
  • physical exhaustion, people feel more tired than normal
  • sweet-smelling urine
  • eventual weight loss
  • I get irritable very quickly (sorry)
  • I get tired at weird times
  • The world seems sort of fuzzy
  • I get head aches
  • Not noticeable right away

  • My body feel heavy, especially my legs
  • I get lethargic
  • I zone out, lose focus/attention
  • I feel like my strength is gone
  • Very noticeable

I had all of these symptoms. But like I said, I was in denial. So, thank you mom for being a mom. You were on my back for those early months in 2008. I didn't appreciate it then, but I do now. Hopefully you will check in on this blog periodically just so you can stay in the "know" about me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Here come the tears

After a few x rays for who knows what I was wheeled in a hospital bed up the the endocrinology and geryatrics floor at the SLU hospital. It felt weird being forced to sort of half lay down half sit up in the hospital bed. I wasn't bleeding profusely, so I'd imagined i would just walk on up. But nope. By the time I made it up to the room, I had already gone through 2 full IV bags- and not even the slightest impulse to use the bathroom. I was diagnosed on a Tuesday morning, and didn't use the restroom until Thursday afternoon.

My hemoglobin A1C, by the way, was 18%. (For anyone unaware of this number you can check the link to the left about diabetic dictionary use, but in layman's terms this number is about 4 times as high as a normal healthy person.)

My Dad stayed pretty much all day, going in and out. I met my PA (Physician's Assistant) fairly quickly after going upstairs. She was a lovely lady, very kind and attentive. She was very clear with me as well, almost like she knew what I was thinking behind every answer to her questions. This made me feel pretty comfortable. She had done a preliminary meet and greet and right when she walked out of the room the tornado of my Mom came into the room. It was very touching because I knew she loved me, but I also saw the pain in her face of knowing she could do nothing for me. She had a certain heaviness on her face as if she had been crying so hard the tears had wiped away any trace of dark circles from under her eyes. It was hard for me to not cry when she came in the room, but I didn't. I actually got really upset with her once when she started crying. But I was really glad she wanted to be there all the time. Love definitely made things easier.

At this point I was so in and out of sleep, I guess my body was in a sort of shock, that I don't remember a lot of conversation, except that I told my mom it probably wouldn't be OK for her to stay the night. I remember seeing Charlie, my twin. Some of my friends and family visited me that day, but I was so in and out.

My primary doctor came in at some point, Dr. Albert. My Dad knew him, apparently he was the best. I thought he was an asshole. Always talked to me and treated me like an insignificant 5 year old. Every now and then he would come in and do a routine check up with a throng of med student or residents following in a flock behind him. Every time it was like he was showing me off.

"Hey come look at this perfectly healthy, fit, 21 year old male who I now have the burden of taking care of." is just what I thought his attitude was. But as I thought about it over and over, I was the anomaly. Diabetes, not even type 2, does not have a history in my family, even extended family. I didn't have a sweet tooth. I was very athletically active. But yet here I was, completely restrained by the on set of Juvenile Diabetes- something that 4 year olds were supposed to get, not me.

It wasn't the big picture that bothered me. I can't remember ever being negative in the hospital, not even sarcastically negative when groups of friends visited me over the three days. This might make you laugh, but here is a list of what bothered me.

1.) I would now have to count carbs and look at the nutritional info on food
- Charlie was obbsessive about this, I used to always make fun of him
2.) I could no longer drink soda
- I have since fallen in love with Diet Pepsi
3.) I would have to rely on Healthcare. I hate the idea of Medical Insurance.
4.) I was going to have to be in the hospital for another day or two.
- The stay was soooooooo boring, driving me crazy.
5.) I was now a part of the Liberty Mutual commercials that I hated.

All five of those are sort of selfish, but I thought only of diabetes as an inconvenience that I would have to overcome. I never took it as hard as my mom. I've even been criticized for being to nonchalant about it. But, I consider myself an intelligent person of sorts. When I was finally instructed how to eat, how to count insulin and doses and carbohydrates I was ready to go. I'm still explaining things to my mom today. I guess since I live with it every day and she doesn't I need to share things with her.

My last day in the hospital was great actually. I was so antsy when I woke up in the morning. I wasn't attached to the IV anymore. I wasn't dizzy anymore, and I was feeling stronger. But I was SO BORED. I had been waiting for two days to talk to the nutritionist, which I finally did before I was discharged on March 14th. I wandered around the hallway until I found a coffee machine. For some reason I really liked coffee all of a sudden. Maybe because it had no carbs in it was one factor, but I liked it. (I also had this strange craving for cottage cheese.) So I sat down in a waiting room by the elevator because I couldn't stand my room anymore. There was an older man there whose name was Stanley. After introducing myself he said.

"You look like you been through hell."

"You don't want to know." I said.

"Type 1?" he asked.

I was shocked. So I started blabbing on with him for a while. He said when he was diagnosed he was at 682. Yeah, he knew all about my little experience of hell. Finally a few of the girls on the frisbee team came and lifted my boredom for a while. Once the nutritionist and my parents came I was out of the hospital as quick as I had entered three days earlier.

March 14, 2008: The day of my formal relationship with type 1 diabetes. Only thing was that breaking up was not an option.

Now I'm in the hospital

I open the passenger door in my Dad's silver Toyota Corolla. I'm wearing a grey shirt that is usually tight on me and a green pair of cords with no belt. Obviously, it's 7:15AM.

"You look awful." says Dad.

"You smell funny." I reply.

We chuckle, and then I tell him that I went to Uncle Bills pancake house with Maureen at 12:30 in the morning- probably didn't help my sugars out at all.

"You are going to be the worst diabetic ever." he says.

The rest of the short car ride is a haze, as well as the waiting room. I had gotten used to hazes, I had been living in a constant haze the entire previous month. I was always tired. I took naps every day. ( I HATE NAPS) I couldn't judge depths very well in frisbee. Reality, and how I went about my day to day life was completely blurred.

Then I came to, sitting in the hospital ER waiting room. I told my dad that I was sorry he had to be missing work for all of this; and that I hated being a hassle. His response: "We'll call your mother after you get the results back."

Geez! I hadn't even thought about my mom. She would be a wreck. She would try to bring comfort but I knew would bring stress. I really love my mom, but was too tired for fuss. All of a sudden, Kyle Benson, my best friend on the ultimate frisbee team walked right past me in the foyer. We met eyes and did a quadruple take at each other. I later learned that he had stayed all night at the hospital with one of his residents (he was an RA) and was not in a friendly mood. We didn't have time to talk because they called my name shortly thereafter, but his smile did two things for me. It was comforting. It also reassured me that I was sick.

So I go back to one of the rooms with my Dad and the nurse. She sits me down and immediately says: "You know why you're here right?"



She then attaches the IV to my left arm. I'm really glad I don't remember that claw going into my arm. Wow! Anyway she's talking and I'm half listening. She then gives me a shot of insulin. Just a small one, and BAM! I feel normal for the first time in months! I no longer had to urinate. I wasn't thirsty. (two sensations that I had long forgotten) I was salivating. And for the first time in weeks, I was starving. The nurse asked me how I felt. My answer:

"Could you get me a Hardees Thickburger?"

After laughing at a muffled OMG from my father, she said she would get me a hamburger from the cafeteria as long as I provided a urine sample. O no. This wasn't fair. After having to urinate for three months, she asks me to do it after I finally do not have to? I sat there bewildered. Blinking wide eyed at this impossible assignment and remarking how normal I feel to my Dad, I finally say: "I can't do it." 20 minutes go by, still nothing. She finally walks in with undoubtedly the best cheeseburger I have ever had, and asks about my progress. I say it's impossible.

"Well, if you can't get some for me in ten minutes, I'd be happy to go get a cathader..." she said chuckling.

Now, I'm not someone that is bothered by things. I'll admit further in this story. I was never really worried about diabetes. I never cried. My mom didn't get it. I was laughing. I liked company in the hospital, even the numerous doctors and entourages looking at me over the next three days. The cathader scared the willies out of me. You better believe I produced a sample in the next two minutes.

I had been in the small room for about an hour by now. I was still starving, but smiling because of how much better I felt. The nurse didn't get it. I'm not sure my Dad did either. The day before I went to the emergency room by Blood Glucose Level was 604. Trust me I wouldn't wish that experience on anyone.

I have to run to class, sorry. I promise I'll finish this story later this evening.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Story part 2

Sorry, I meant to post the second part last night, but got caught up in the Sunday night football game and in a bad mood because the Cowboys lost.

My story resumes in January when school started. By the first week of the second semester I was becoming thirsty all all day every day, and I noticed that I was urinating very frequently (two red flags for diabetes). I will admit that I hit every stage of denial, but changed my life very little. I still drank like a 21 year old college male, played a lot of ultimate frisbee, and ate a lot of food- mainly carbohydrates too.

I noticed frisbee was getting more challenging than normal. I was getting tired sooner, and it seemed like I was losing some of my overall strength. About late January I started losing weight. People started noticing, which bothered me because I was obsessed with telling myself that I was still healthy, when in fact, I knew I wasn't. I sweat less and less when I played frisbee or ran. I was doing push-ups but only getting weaker. I even started drinking whole milk.

O yeah, I was in denial.

When I look back at pictures from Mardi Gras that February I still get shocked at how skinny I was. You could tell it on my face. I had emaciated cheeks. I was pale. It looked like my body was breaking down. In a way, it sort of was since I could get no glucose from the food I was eating. My body had to break down all the fat and then move on to muscle. When healthy and in control of my sugar levels I am 5'10'' and 155 pounds. When diagnosed I had dropped to about 125 pounds. You can see the difference in these two pictures.

This is a picture of me (sorry for the mohawk) looking normal. At normal weight.

This is a picture of me (far left with the black shorts) playing at a tournament one week before I went to the hospital. I did not look good. And at that time in the tournament, I did not fell like roses either....

Even an old girlfriend, who was at the time and still is someone that I really listened to was telling something had to be wrong. That I probably did have diabetes and should get it checked out. By late February I couldn't make it through the night without peeing twice, or three times. I didn't remember what it was like to not be thirsty. I made no saliva, which meant I drank while I was eating, just to get it down. And I constantly had to use the restroom. I was drinking enough to urinate for 2 minutes at a time, but 10-15 times a day??!?!?

So I finally went into Student Health at Saint Louis University on Monday March 10th, the week before Spring Break started. They didn't have a glucose meter, so they took blood and sent it to the hospital. I went on finally beginning to come to terms with the fact that something wasn't right inside of me, but was trying to stay hopeful. I remember using the bathroom 4 times that night- I woke up my roommate Alex all 4 times, something that made him really nervous.

Then I received the phone call at 7:00am.

"Hi, is this Henry?"


"This is (so and so) from Student Health?"


"Henry are you there?"


"We have made an appointment with you in the Emergency Room. You need to go right away"


And then silence. I looked at my wide-eyed roommate who was staring at me. And then I knew. I didn't need to be rushed to the ER by my Dad who answered his phone at work I think before it even rang. Alex knew, my Dad knew, everyone knew, and finally I started to believe it.

Part three is much less dramatic and actually funny. You'll get to really see my personality in my hospital story. If anyone else has recently been diagnosed, was this anything like your story?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A little background info...

Alright, story time!

I figure before this blog really takes off you might want to know my story, my diagnosis story that is. Well here it goes:

I was born in Dallas, Texas. I have a twin brother (fraternal), actually we don't know who is older... something about sibling rivalry according to my mom. When I was 6 we moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota. In my opinion, never go there. I spent my childhood there until I was 12 years old. Charlie, my brother, and I were always very active in a sport for every season There was soccer in the Fall, basketball in the Winter, and baseball in the Summer. I always loved doing things, and I had a companion in Charlie to always stay busy.

We moved to Saint Louis in middle school and have been here since. Charlie and I both became very involved with cross country and track and field in high school. While this activity kept us healthy and fit, it also generated a humongous appetite. "carbo-loading" as some people call it, was a normal thing for me. I could sit down and eat a whole box of pasta without batting an eye. And that was OK because I would able to run it off.

I then found myself at Saint Louis University, partially because my father is a research endocrinologist here, and partially because I wanted to stay close to home. I stopped running but took on ultimate frisbee as a new sport and stayed in shape because of it. I joined a fraternity, turned 21, and was a normal, sometimes crazy college student with really no worries at all.

Then December of my junior year rolled around. Looking back on it I can remember the exact date and what I was doing when the symptoms of diabetes (of which I was completely clueless) began arising. I was in my friend Lauren Schwartze's basement with my borther and some other friends. My friend John had just gotten back from Australia and was showing us pictures. The only thing was I was constantly thirsty. I had to have had 4 gatorades in 35 minutes, and I just wasn't getting any less thirsty. But I just shrugged it off as me getting the flu or something like that.

Remember my father? The research endocrinologist? Yeah, diabetes is right up his alley. He nailed it in early January but didn't force me to get it checked out. I didn't want to do. I didn't want him to be right. I wanted to look past it as if that would make it better.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Welcome to the no-insulin zone

Hi! My name is Henry Samson. I am currently 23 years old and finishing school at Saint Louis University. About a year and half ago I started getting sick and eventually learned that I was a type 1 diabetic. Type 1 diabetes, or commonly known as juvenile diabetes, occurs when any person's pancreas stops producing insulin. Type 1 is also referred to as insulin dependent diabetes. Simply, because my pancreas does not produce insulin, I cannot absorb any sugars (glucose etc.) from my blood stream into my cells for nutrition.

Stinks, doesn't it?

This was a huge shock to me. There I was, a perfectly healthy (apparently not), athletic 21 year old guy who loved to eat, drink, party, and play ultimate frisbee and now laying in a hospital bed on March 12th, 2008 completely shocked. My mom was a wreck, I didn't know what to think, and my life seemed to come to a very large fork in the road.

I wasn't worried about dying, but I was trying to come to terms with the fact that my everyday life was going to be completely different. I was now a chronic illness that before I could casually think I would never be. I was now a part of the Liberty Mutual diabetes commercials that I used to make fun of so much.

So here I am today, blogging my journey through a Walgreens pharmacy-dependent lifestyle. I want this blog to not only serve my needs as a outlet for sharing and learning more about my diabetes. But I also want to be a resource for any young person who just recently learned that he or she is diabetic; or any family member concerned about a recent diabetes diagnosis. I hope to not only share my insights on the gift of my diabetes, but use this blog as a tool for a healthy lifestyle and a resource for my family anyone interested to learn more about the gift of diabetes.

Gift? Yes. How so? Just follow me into the no-insulin zone.