Hello my name is Tremayne Sirmons, and I am dying due to complications from my Type 1 Diabetes. I was diagnosed with Diabetes December 26th, the day I will never forget. I was originally told that it was Type 2 Diabetes and that if I lose weight and eat better, then my health could improve. In Jan of the following year I was told, my life would become harder because not only was I Diabetic but I actually have what is called Juvenile Diabetes or Type 1. This meant no matter what I did, the only thing that would help me is if I took insulin injections. This was very traumatic news for me and my family, and the financial responsibility was outstanding. I later found out since I had insurance with Blue cross and Blue shield the financial burden would be less since most of the medical supplies were covered 100%. I received an insulin pump and supplies, and was allowed to live a normal life like so many around me, except I would always sleep, eat, and live with a pager by my side (insulin pump).
I was able to keep my full time job at an Engineering firm in Orlando; I started school part time at UCF, changing my major to Education due to the diabetes. I volunteered with different organizations like JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and the Coalition for the Homeless of Central FL. Life was rough, but I refused to let diabetes stop me, instead I let it influence me to make a difference in my community.
Life is a struggle for everyone and I was no different. Having Health Insurance made my life easier and had kept me from having many of the complications that come with diabetes. Almost 2yrs later I was told in December of that year I would be losing my health insurance due to the fact that I was a 26yr old college student on my parents Health plan. I find it funny that I have lost so many things in the month of December. That Month has become a time I don’t want to see and or wish I could skip.
PART 2: After losing my insurance life became very hard for me since I couldn’t find good coverage in enough time and the cost of new coverage was too much and I could not afford it. I now had a “pre-existing condition” and it made it tough to get coverage. My family life was affected due to my negative attitude about my illness and the fact that we all felt so helpless and hopeless since there was not much we could do. My insulin went from being $50.00 for a two month (3 vials) supply to costing over $162.00 per vial. Then my insulin pump was damaged due to a freak accident and it would cost over $5,000 to get a new one. Since I didn’t have insurance I could not afford to buy a new one. With all the problems and stress I was facing I had to drop out of school, with only a year left to get my Bachelors in Education, and I also had to quit my job because the stress of life was affecting my work performance. I became very sad and unhappy and begin to skip doctor’s appointments because I couldn’t afford to make the visits. My glucose/blood sugar levels rose very high because I could not afford the supplies that once helped me manage my diabetes.
Depression set in and I just felt hopeless all the time. I then had vision problems because I couldn’t go to the eye doctor for regular checkups and I begin to show early stages of blindness. I stopped seeking medical help due to cost; I also began to have sores and ulcers on my foot. Those ulcers unfortunately turned to infections which spread throughout my leg and I had to have it amputated. This has been a nightmare for me and I still can’t understand how did this happen. At one time things were fine not perfect, but I had decent insurance that allowed me to live normally. Today I met a person who was diagnosed with diabetes, they saw me and asked, “what happened?” When I told them my story, they were afraid they could end up like me. I reassured them that as long as you have good insurance you will be fine. I still don’t know how this could happen to me, with all the potential I was blessed with. I could have avoided all these complications if I had affordable healthcare or could have chosen not to have diabetes. My life has become such a nightmare.
But wait this is a Nightmare, PART 2 of my story has yet to be written. I have learned that I am blessed to have diabetes since it is an illness with complications that can be avoided. PART 2 of my life doesn’t have to happen if I keep good health insurance. It doesn’t have to happen to me or anybody else if there was affordable health care.
Please let me know what you can do to stop my life from becoming PART 2
Tremayne L. Sirmons
Type 1 Diabetic =)