By David Delloso
I was halfway up the hill on hole seven at Springfield Country Club when my knees buckled. I didn’t know what was happening, but I was going down.
My team hovered over me when I opened my eyes. They looked as confused as I was. My whole body ached with cold sweats despite the heat of August.
Lab Corps drew blood at 7:30 a.m., but before samples were sent the diagnosis was given. On Sept. 5, 2014 I was diagnosed with type 1 juvenile onset diabetes.
I was 16.
The severity of the situation did not become apparent until my mother teared up. I had no idea that a lifelong battle was to ensue.
Juvenile onset diabetes is defined as a chronic condition where the pancreas produces little-to-no insulin, a hormone that regulates the glucose levels in our blood.
Living as a type 1 diabetic, I need to give myself insulin through injections. That alone is a rough existence. After being diagnosed, it was a hard idea to grasp.
Juvenile diabetes is a game of ups and downs. As a patient, I have experienced hospitalization, interruption of my education, severe anxiety surrounding my condition, and a compromised lifestyle.
However, since my four years of being diagnosed, the most horrific event was the U.S. House of Representatives vote to pass healthcare “reform” in 2017.
The GOP Healthcare Reform Bill proposed an alteration to the mandate to allow people with pre-existing conditions to purchase health insurance policies. Although created and presented by President Donald Trump via mass media, Republicans had to endorse the idea.
If denied health insurance, many type 1 diabetic patients would face mental and physical trauma.
For instance, insulin prices are sky high. According to Truven Heath Analytics, there has been an over 700 percent price increase since 1996 on fast-acting insulins like Humolog. In 1996, a vile sold for $21; in 2016, the same viles sold for $225.
The national average of income remaining after routine bills for Americans is roughly $1,700 monthly. For a diabetic like myself, I use an average of four viles of insulin per month, all manufactured by Novo Dorisk. Fortunately, with coverage, I pay nearly nothing for them, yet others are not so lucky.
Monthly, an uncovered diabetic may spend $800 to $1,000 on insulin, not including testing supplies, needles and backup supplies. It is not just a hardship, but a matter of life or death.
Many stories of the tragic, untimely deaths of young men and women unable to afford insulin on and off insurance policies arise more often than I would like. Most recently I read a testimony of a spouse to a diabetic. She watched her husband perish as he faced Diabetic Ketoacidosis.
Diabetic Ketoacidosis, or DKA, is the main cause of death from complications while managing type 1 and 2 diabetes. It is a mass build up of sugar in the blood which draws out nearly all the water from cells, resulting in organ shutdown and rapid deterioration, all of which is corrected and avoided by insulin injection.
I faced short bouts of DKA at the onset of my diagnosis and the pain and nausea experienced is something comparable to nothing I had ever experienced before.
For young adults like me, it is imperative to not only manage my condition for health purposes, but necessary to keep well documented records in that event that insurance companies deny my well being in the future.
At 20 years old, the thought of that as a possibility is truly unnerving.
In a short six years, when I move off my parents’ health insurance plan, I too will be at the mercy of the insurance companies if I don’t have a well paying job with solid health insurance. I don’t live in fear, but I am also a realist.
Therefore, I use my resources at DCCC to advance my education on the issue, make connections with other patients, and strive to succeed for myself and my condition.
The stakes are forever high. If the Republicans continue to get their way, they may literally kill me.
So be active in your civic duties to help a friend, student and neighbor, like myself, to continue to thrive.
Vote on Nov. 6.
Contact David Delloso at firstname.lastname@example.org