Matters of life or death

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 27, 2003

Johnny Cash is gone, and I'm worried about myself. Four days after I began my new job here, I was hospitalized.

No, they were not that rough on me those first days.

Something I had been ignoring finally caught up with me.

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I'm diabetic and I did not know this until just a few short weeks ago.

Now, in a short period of time, I've had to totally change things in my life.

I had the choice to do so, or die.

My doctor gave me that choice that bluntly.

For the last year, my body screamed that something was wrong.

But when you're a young (33 is not old) editor, and you have your whole career ahead of you, medical worries don't exist.

Well they do, and sometimes it's

your body saying, "Hey man, slow down.

You need to check this."

The most visible symptom for me was weight loss.

In just over six weeks, I dropped 40-plus pounds.

I craved ice water to the point where I would eat chilled watermelon, not for the taste, but rather the moisture. I felt tired all the time, and during my summer off, instead of doing the many things I wanted, all I wanted was sleep.

When my vision blurred while reading, I said I needed new glasses.

Finally, when my hands began to go numb or a foot, I realized it was time to listen to what my body had to say.

Do any of these things sound familiar? If so, I urge you to see your health care provider quickly.

This disease can kill you, and in reality, it almost killed me.

Johnny Cash was diabetic, like many others.

This disease strikes you no matter if you're rich and famous, middle class or poor as dirt.

So again, please get a blood sugar level screening soon.

Your body might be talking to you.

Isn't it time you listened?

Jay Thomas is managing editor of the Greenville Advocate.

He can be reached at 383-9302, ext. 136 or via email at