Matters of life and death: Part Deux

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 15, 2003

A few weeks back I wrote about finding out I am diabetic.

I shared with you how my life had changed then, and how it continues to change.

I also shared with you the symptoms I experienced that led me to see a doctor.

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Some people may criticize the openness of my column about such a personal health issue, but hey, we're in this together.

Since then, I have had countless people who have come up to me to see how I'm doing.

I've also had numerous people share with me their own battles with diabetes, and I've picked up a few tips here and there.

I've listened as a local mother told me how her oldest son must now have a kidney transplant.

Of course, her first inclination was to immediately donate one of hers to save her son, but was told she was too old.

The man's brother and sister both volunteered, and while the brother continues to go through the testing to determine if he is a match, his sister was told she wasn't because she had gestational diabetes.

Even more remarkable than that, was that there are individuals who have no relation to this family who are willing to go through with surgery and recovery in order to give this man a kidney.

When I heard that, I stood in amazement.

These are people I want to know.

These are the people I want the world to know, because they are the best that human nature has to offer.

Hopefully, in the coming weeks, we'll share more details on this family as they go through this together.

Education is the most important defense we have against the disease, hence why I shared my own experience and also my symptoms.

Within a week after writing that column, "Matters of life and death," I received three very important phone calls.

The most important I've ever taken.

The first was from a lady who was visiting her family here in town.

She lives in Montgomery and read my column that Saturday morning.

She was experiencing the same symptoms as I had been having.

She went to her doctor that Monday, and sure enough, she was diabetic.

The other two calls were quite similar.

One man said his eyesight had gotten to the point where he couldn't see to drive at night anymore.

The other said the fatigue I described triggered something in his own mind.

That same week, they too learned they were diabetic.

Now, three more people can do something to take control of their lives.

No longer will they live in the darkness about this silent killer, but can confront it and live much healthier lives.

As for me, I feel better than I've felt in a long time, and with each passing day, I find I'm not alone.

There is a great number of us.

And to the family waiting for the transplant and the friends who volunteered to help, hang in there.

To me, you all are what mankind aspires to be.

Stay safe and healthy.

Jay Thomas is the managing editor of The Greenville Advocate.

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