Duane's Fight Against Diabetes

Hi.  My name is Duane Brown.

Here is the back story.

I had the  unenviable opportunity as caregiver to watch as diabetes rapidly destroyed my mother's health and caused her to suffer greatly up until her death which came shortly after having her entire leg amputated.  It was the  worse time of my life but I'm thankful I was there.

My father is diabetic, and my sister was diagnosed shortly after my mother was and has had several challenges.

Having never had a serious illness, I considered myself blessed and fortunate.  However, right after my mother's death, I endured rapid and inexplicable weight loss (I was not under a doctor's care and had no insurance), whereby I lost 30 lbs. in under 3 months.  I assumed it was stress.

Later that year, I decided to check my blood sugar using my mom's glucose monitor and the reading came back at 450.  I called a doctor friend of mine and found out that normal blood sugar was between 75-120.  My 450 score put  me in danger of organ damage and diabetic coma. I immediately made adjustments to my diet and increased my exercise.  I still had no insurance.  

In December of 2013, I had a tiny bump on my finger become a major infection that required a visit to the emergency room.  It was discovered that my blood sugar was still very high and as a result, I was hospitalized for 7 days and treated with IV antibiotics and insulin in hopes that surgery  would not include amputation of my finger/hand.  In other words, it was a real wake up call.  Less than two months later, I was back in the ER having another infection (boils under my arm and in my bicep) lanced.

Fortunately, I had been informed of an insurance program run by the county health department that I was eligible for and was able to see a doctor and get medication. 

Fast forward to December of 2014.  I was in NC working but not receiving a paycheck from my employer.  I was out of medication and refills.  I needed to return to Florida to see my PCP.  I was forced into homelessness while trying to come up with a way to get back home.  I did it but it took 2 months.  Upon arrival in Florida, I immediately contacted my PCP to get an appointment, enrolled in a research study (for income purposes), and attempted to give plasma ( again for income).  The research study involved initial lab work in order to qualify me.  When the labs came back I discovered that my blood sugar was 475 and my A1C (which gives a past 3-month window) was 15 when it should be 4.   To make matters worse, my PCP contacted me to say that my coverage had expired and that I would have to reapply which would take 6 weeks.
So what's the big deal and why do I need help now?

First off, this is somewhat embarassing but no one ever died from embarassment.  However, many people die every day from diabetes.  While I'm not saying that death is imminent,  let me tell you why I'm scared to wait another six weeks for treatment.

At the beginning of January, I weighed nearly 200 lbs. and I was having no noticeable health issues despite my lack of medication.  By the end of February, I weighed 152 lbs., had been suffering with a sinus infection for a month, and had developed BPH.  In the 10 days since I returned to Florida, I have additional symptoms of dehydration where my tongue swells and sticks to the roof my mouth and I have to consume gallons of fluid every day and my vision (I have never needed glasses for any purpose) has now deteriorated to the point where I recently failed the vision test for a driver's license.

The research facility that had done my lab work suggested that I immediately see my PCP or get to the emergency room because I an doing damage to my internal organs.

What am I asking for?  Enough money to see a physician and get my medication, and to see an eye doctor and possibly acquire glasses if need be.  

In closing let me say two things.  First, thank you for whatever assistance you may be able to provide.  I could go to the emergency room and incur a large bill but still not be able to pay for medication nor have my eyes examined which doesn't really help.  Or I could humble myself and ask for help which I am now doing.  Secondly,
don't believe it can't happen to you.  Get yourself checked out and if need be, make the adjustments to your diet and exercise that could save your life.  Health is your wealth!  Thank you again.



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Duane Brown 
West Palm Beach, FL
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