The Floyd's Story

My name is Sandy and I am married to a Type 1 Diabetic, Vince. We met online in 2002 when I was 18 years old and he was 22 years old. He seemed different. He wasn’t like the others I had met online. We talked for a few weeks and decided we would meet. I had no idea what life had in store for me.  It didn’t take long after meeting for Vince and I to become attached at the hip. We couldn’t get enough of each other. I remember him telling me even before we met in person that he was Diabetic. I thought I understood what that meant. That was the disease where you can’t have any sugar. No problem, I thought. I didn’t think about it much after that.

The more time we spent with each other, the more I was learning. I didn’t even realize I was learning at the time. Diabetes was never made a big deal. You see, Vince was diagnosed at the young age of 6 months old. He fell into a diabetic coma. He grew up with his brothers and sister. He and one of his brothers were the only Type 1 Diabetics in their family. They dealt with it, but never made too much of a big deal about it, so when he and I started spending time together, it wasn’t a big deal to him or myself. I would see him take shots before eating. He would tell me he was “weak” and needed sugar and I helped him get it. He would treat highs and lows, but it still wasn’t a big deal. We quickly moved in with each other and we went on with our new life together, with Diabetes in the background. After a few years, Vince started having trouble feeling his low blood sugars. I started calling him multiple times a day to ensure he was safe. His doctor’s talked about putting him on the insulin pump, however he had a bad experience in the past and wasn’t ready to try it again.

In December of 2006 we got engaged and began to plan our wedding. While at work one day in May 2007, I got a frantic call on my cell phone. Vince had lost almost all of his vision while driving. He knew what happened, however I didn’t. He said, “it’s my diabetes” I tried to reassure him that it would be ok and told him not to jump to any conclusions. But he knew. He knew this disease much better than I did. It was at that point I started realizing this was not just the “don’t eat sugar” disease. There was so much more to it. To the care he needed and to the complications he could develop. He got himself back to his office where I picked him up and we drove straight to an eye doctor. We frantically ran into their office and told them what happened and they took us right back. The doctor did some tests and said Vince was in a lot of trouble. Although most of the vision loss was in one eye, the other eye was only about 1 month away from losing all vision as well. We were devastated. The doctor referred us to a specialist and sent us on our way. I remember sitting in the car with him terrified and crying. We didn’t even tell our family for a short time. We were just plain terrified. Vince ended up seeing the new doctor who performed multiple laser treatments to both eyes. Week after week, one procedure after the next. He had lost count as to how many were performed. Soon his left eye, the better one, cleared up. That eye was saved. He would soon have 2 surgeries on the right eye to try and save the vision, however it was pretty much lost. At about the same time, he began having pain in his back and legs. We were in and out of multiple ER’s with no diagnosis for months. He was finally referred to a Pain Management Doctor. After some time, and seeing multiple doctor’s, he had his diagnosis. Diabetic Neuropathy. He was given different medications to try however he was not seeing much in the way of pain relief.

We got married on May 23, 2008. It was such a wonderful day. Everything we were going through was put on hold for one day. Although he was in pain, we still couldn’t have asked for a better wedding. We couldn’t be happier. Months went by while he dealt with the pain. There were days when I would have to help him get dressed just so he could go to work. I continued to call him throughout the day, as I had for some time now to be sure his blood sugar wasn’t too low. On my way home from work one day I called him and knew right away something was wrong. His blood sugar was low and he was driving home. In rush hour traffic. In the dark. I tried frantically to get him to pull over and get something to eat or drink but he was so out of it that he kept hanging up the phone. Finally, I couldn’t get him to pick back up no matter how many times I called him. Then I got a call from his phone, but it wasn’t him. It was the police. He got into an accident from severely low blood sugar. Luckily, no one was badly hurt. He had just broken his foot. After speaking to his Endocrinologist about what happened, they suggested he get a Continuous Glucose Monitor. Having this device would then alert him to low or high blood sugars before they became too severe. Shortly after, he agreed to try the insulin pump for a second time and loved it this time around. By this point, he was 30 years old. I was 26 years old. We were still so young but we knew the decision we had to make. It was no longer safe for Vince to work. Not only was he in severe pain 24 hours a day, but his limbs were becoming numb and his balance was becoming unsteady. He had to apply for Social Security Disability. Once he applied and went through the process, he was approved one year later. Although this decision would make our financial life difficult, we were now able to concentrate on getting Vince the best care possible.

He is now 33 years old and I am 29 years old. We are still so young. We struggle with the stress of his illness’ and the day to day care. With him on countless medications for the Neuropathy, he struggles with many side effects. There are days my Anxiety is too much to take. We lean on each other.  Our marriage however has become stronger. At a young age we are dealing with many things that some people do not ever have to deal with in their lifetime, but we are there for each other and try to just take one day at a time.