American Idol's Elliott Yamin Brings Diabetes Message to Millions

This article was originally published in Diabetes Health in February, 2008.

Elliott performs his latest hit, "Movin' On," at the World Diabetes Day celebration in Manhattan.

| Dec 17, 2008

It has been rags to riches for singer Elliott Yamin. With his naturally soulful singing voice, listeners feel his raw emotion and they like it. When you hear him, you know immediately that few guys in any musical genre sing with this kind of authenticity.

There's also an innocence about him. Watching Yamin grow from nobody to somebody, while carrying his diabetes proudly, has inspired diabetics everywhere.

In a true Cinderella story, Yamin went from being a pharmacy clerk in early 2006 to international singing sensation in a matter of months. His singing talent was recognized when viewers voted him to (almost) the top spot on the television show American Idol. Though he came in third, he has since gone on to eclipse the first- and second-place winners, and is being touted as perhaps one of the greatest of a new generation of male singers.

Yamin faced a huge challenge in wooing the judges to pick him to from among the tens of thousands of other contestants who turned out to audition for American Idol. Although he was shy, the judges quickly saw a very friendly and easygoing 28-year-old with a sultry, smooth voice well suited to the genres of rock, pop, soul, R&B and jazz.

Yamin had sung karaoke as a teen, which was how he had discovered his own talent. The untrained youth began singing in local bands and in amateur venues, and his influences came to include the likes of Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett and Ray Charles. While working as a pharmacy clerk, he left his job to audition for American Idol on the advice of his friends, but he had little idea of where he was really heading.

Diagnosed With Diabetes

Yamin was not a stranger to facing great challenges. The Richmond, Va, local was diagnosed with diabetes at 16 - just two years after his parents divorced.

"I just knew I wasn't feeling right," Yamin says. "It was about a two-and-a-half week period leading up to my diagnosis that I was just feeling totally run down and lethargic. I was urinating every hour, I was always thirsty, my breath was really stinky, all of my joints would constantly ache, my mouth was dry. I just didn't know what was going on with me."

Yamin told his mother of his symptoms on a Sunday night.

"She has type 2 diabetes and she recognized the symptoms," he explains. "She got her meter right away. She tested me at 860 mg/dl and she became frantic and called the physician."

The family lived in a convenient location right behind the hospital, he said. "We went to the emergency room and I ended up spending four days in the hospital."

The news did not sit well with Yamin. Like most teenagers he enjoyed hanging out with his friends, cruising in cars, dating girls and living a normal life. He did not want to take multiple insulin injections and finger sticks daily for blood glucose readings.

"I was very angry," he says of the time following his diagnosis. "I was in denial. I didn't want to believe I had the disease. I kept wondering, 'how did I go from being an average kid without too many worries or concerns to having this incurable lifelong  disease?'"

The reaction to his diagnosis, along with normal teenage defiance, spelled out disaster for his diabetes control.

"I got really rebellious. I didn't want to take my insulin and I didn't want to believe I actually had diabetes," he says. "I was pissed. I thought the future was grim and I wouldn't be able to do the things I always wanted to do."

It wasn't long before he realized he needed to take control of his condition in order to feel good and have energy.

"I learned very abruptly when I was diagnosed that I had to get a grip on my diabetes or I wouldn't live very long," says Yamin, who made several trips to the emergency room before taking better control of his diabetes.

After five years of taking multiple daily injections Yamin started using an insulin pump at 21.

"I think once I got on the pump it really changed my view on diabetes and on how I could take care of myself," he says. "I love it."

Friends Spur Him on to Idol

It was the urging of his friends that prompted Yamin to audition for American Idol, singing Leon Russell's "A Song for You." Although the audition never hit the air, the judges moved him forward to the finals based on his obvious talent. American Idol judge Simon Cowell is quoted as having called Yamin "potentially the best male vocalist ever" on the show. After Yamin performed "A Song for You," Cowell said his performance was the equivalent of someone teaching a "vocal master class."

Yamin left the show following one of its tightest races - each of three top contestants earned nearly the same percentage score from viewers. Though he only came in third, the show earned Yamin the recognition he deserved. Soon came a recording contract with Hickory Records and talk show appearances that included the Tonight Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, and the Fox News Channel. Since then, his self-titled debut, "Yamin," has turned gold with a single ("Wait for You") that has made number 20 on the Billboard Top 100.

When he's not on the road touring or promoting a show, Yamin says he tries to eat healthy foods in addition to testing his blood glucose often, although it's not easy. "I try eating a lot of salads and stay away from fried stuff ," he says. "It's not really a set diet every day. I certainly have more access to better foods when I'm at home. I'm trying to increase my protein intake level. I want to try to put on some muscle."

Romance

When it comes to muscle and his physical appearance, Yamin says he is pretty secure now - but it wasn't always that way. He says that having an insulin pump hasn't harmed his love life.

"Diabetes doesn't affect my relationships with women at all. I was a little apprehensive about taking my shirt off around girls at first," he says. "It's awkward looking to have a third nipple on your stomach - the infusion set for my pump - and it's hard for people to get their minds around that it's something I'm always going to have.

"Everybody has supported it. The only thing that kind of sucks is that I can't really sit in the hot tub too long because the adhesive around my pump site gets really soggy. One of the disadvantages is the heat wears it off. If there is a hot tub backstage after a show I can't partake, or, at least not for very long."

Regimen on the Road

The ideal daily regimen for optimal control is not easy on the road, says Yamin, who has been traveling at least seven months out of the past year.

"No matter how busy my schedule gets, I still test around three or four times a day," he says. "Beyond that, I just test as much as possible and adjust my pump according to what I'm eating. I count carbohydrates and try to watch what I eat."

It's very important to have good blood glucose control before going on stage, says Yamin, who tests with his meter before and after going on stage. Hypoglycemia on stage could mean devastating effects on a performance - and not just because of the low blood glucose level, but also because it's hard to get up fast in front of a waiting audience.

"I like to be around 160 mg/dl before I go on, and a lot of times when I come off it's higher because of the level of good stress, or adrenaline, and anxiety," he says.

One time this was not the case.

"Just a few months ago we were in Vancouver and I was doing a show there and I stepped on stage, opened up with the first song and I felt my blood glucose dipping down pretty low," Yamin explains of the incident. "I asked somebody to go grab me a couple of Pepsis and I finished the first song. But, between the first two songs I sucked both of them down pretty quick. I had to correct my blood glucose fast."

He explained to his audience what was going on at that point - openness about his diabetes with his fans has always been a strength for Yamin, from his first American Idol performance when he was very clear with the judges about his disease.

The problem came once he was done drinking.

"I drank the two Pepsis very fast. You don't really want to drink carbonated beverages on stage," he says. "It was hard not to burp on stage after that. It was ugly, man. It was just ugly. I kept having to pull away from the mike to burp."

Hypoglycemic episodes are not common for Yamin on stage.

"I notice my blood glucose level gets higher on the road," he says. "I've been on the road maybe a total of seven months, adding everything up on three tours."

There isn't always time on the road to do the exercise he would like to.

"I go to bed around 4 or 5 in the morning and wake up early to do morning radio shows, do sound checks, meet and greets on the shows," Yamin explains of his days on tour. "I do everything I can to promote every show in every town I go to. My time is very limited. I'm very busy - the first single has just been very busy and very taxing."

Yamin says although his most recent hemoglobin A1c was 8, he has plans to get his diabetes in tighter control, he advocates a healthy lifestyle and he knows his results would be more favorable if he were not traveling from city to city, riding the tour bus and airplanes constantly.

Diabetes Blues

Even celebrities surrounded by constant fan attention, wealth, and almost nonstop social and stage appearances can find themselves getting down about their diabetes - and Yamin is no exception. He has certainly handled a great deal if adversity in his life, including a 90 percent hearing loss in his right ear - but sometimes depression over his diabetes still gets to him.

"I've been down and out before. I've had the diabetes blues," he says. "You know, I think it happens to the best of us."

Yamin says when he feels down, it's important to consider all things - not just the challenges of having to deal with diabetes. He tries to count his blessings and realize how things could be worse.

"I just try to realize how lucky I am," he says. "I try to take a step back and reflect on all the blessings that I have, especially over the past couple of years with living out my dream and being a sort of Cinderella story - it really helped change my perspective on how I cope with diabetes."

He often takes advantage of his newfound stardom to help others who may be feeling blue.

"It's important to me to inspire others and advocate to help find a cure," says Yamin. "Hey, diabetes sucks, man. But don't let diabetes control you. It's very important to test your blood glucose as often as possible. Also, let people around you help you and never lose sight of your goal - no matter what kind of disease or adversity you face."

Yamin encourages others to join in the fight as well: "Take initiative to help find a cure, and the better off we will all be in the long run."

Nobody But You

Yamin learned as a teen that he was the only one who could best take care of his diabetes. His body would tell him if he was testing and controlling his blood glucose well enough. There were many times he woke up in the emergency room at the hospital. It was watching his mother, his own idol, cry when he woke there once that sparked him to take better control of his diabetes.

"Now I know that sometimes you just have to face the music, no pun intended. You have to take care of yourself because in the long run it's only you that can do that. No one else can nurse your health the way that you can."

Yamin's Advice To Diabetes Health Readers

Overall, Yamin says his diabetes has been a sort of blessing in disguise.

"I think it has really made me stronger," he says. "It doesn't affect how I sing or how I perform. I carry a card in my wallet that says I'm type 1 and insulin-dependent."

Yamin says his diabetes is a strong part of what makes him who he is and it shows up in his writing, such as in songs about how nothing is impossible, where he encourages listeners to achieve their goals. Yamin is just as passionate about finding a cure for diabetes as he is about singing. He is now sponsored by Eli Lilly and he has also done a great deal of work for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

"Young people should just continue going for their dreams," he says. "Don't let diabetes stop you. I go out there and sing hard and give it my all, and am passionate and try to convey that passion on stage. It's my job. It's what I'm supposed to do - and it's the best job in the world. I really come alive on that stage. I love it - it's where I belong." 


Elliott and Me
By Miriam E. Tucker

This photo of Elliott Yamin and me was taken on May 17, 2007 in the parking lot of the Birchmere music venue in Alexandria Va, after the opening kick-off show of his first U.S. tour. He was soulful and superb…and so was his band!

When I first saw Elliott compete on American Idol, I thought he was adorable and obviously a talented singer. When I found out he had type 1 diabetes just like me, I picked up the phone and started voting! He ended up in third place, but that's okay. Since then, he has proven himself a winner in so many ways.

Watching Elliott perform in person, I was struck by how happy he seemed to be, loving what he's doing and clearly grateful for the opportunity. He smiles while he sings, and you smile back. He opens up and invites you in. His concert felt like a big group hug.

Afterwards, I was among 50 or so people who hung around, hoping to say hi and maybe get a quick pic. I was thrilled when, after the crowd had cleared a bit, Elliott and I actually ended up chatting for several minutes about living with diabetes!

Calm and Attentive

He seems to be very calm about his diabetes, yet not in a blasé kind of way. He obviously works at controlling it - by wearing an insulin pump - but doesn't let it control him. He clearly doesn't see himself as a victim. I doubt you'll hear him complaining about the injustice of the disease. I got the impression that he views diabetes as just another of life's challenges to overcome, along with his partial deafness, his parents' divorce and the scathing comments of surly Idol judge Simon Cowell.

I think Elliott Yamin is an ideal example for kids who are dealing with all the emotional and physical hassles of living with diabetes. When I was diagnosed back in 1973, Mary Tyler Moore was my only role model. She was great, but of another generation. Elliott is young, like many of his fans. A kid with diabetes can look to him and relate.

But Elliott's mature style appeals to us older folks, too. In fact, while waiting out back after his show, I met a couple in their early 50's who were also hoping to meet him. (The husband, a D.C. lawyer, is the one who took this photo with my cell phone.)

An Inspiration to Me

And I'm 43, a bit beyond the American Idol target audience. Yet, when I began considering insulin pump therapy later in 2007, Elliott was one of the reasons I finally decided to go for it. I mean, look how cool and successful he is. Maybe I can be like that, too! Of course, neither wearing a pump nor having diabetes guarantee coolness or success. But as Elliott Yamin is proving, they sure don't get in the way!


An Elliot Yamin Timeline

  • July 20, 1978 - Born Efraym Elliott Yamin in Los Angeles.
  • 1989 - Moves with his family to Richmond, Va.
  • 1992 - Elliott's parents divorce. His father returns to Los Angeles.
  • 1993 - Elliott drops out of high school in his sophomore year. He later earns a GED.
  • 1994 - Elliott is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
  • Late 1990s - Elliott begins discovering his vocal talents singing karaoke, and performing in a jazz band and amateur performances.
  • 1995 through 2005 - Elliott works at more than 40 odd jobs, including shoe store clerk, radio DJ, bill collector and truck scale adjuster. He is working at a pharmacy bagging prescriptions when friends urge him to try out for the fifth season of American Idol. He auditions with 19,000 other Idol wannabes in Boston and is sent through. (His audition tape is not shown in the build-up to the actual competition.)
  • January 17, 2006 - The fifth season of American Idol debuts Fox Network.
  • May 17, 2006 - In what producers said was an incredibly close vote, Elliott is bumped off American Idol, taking a final third-place position.
  • Rest of 2006 - Appearances on the Tonight Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, and Dayside; nationwide tour with American Idols LIVE! Tour 2006; signs music publishing contract with Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
  • January 25, 2007 - Signs record deal with Hickory Records.
  • March 13, 2007 - Releases first radio single, "Wait for You, " from his soon-to-be-debuted "Movin' On" album.
  • March 20, 2007 - Releases "Movin' On" and appears on Live With Regis and Kelly, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Rachel Ray, Jimmy Kimmel Live and TRL to promote it. The album debuts at number three on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 96,000 copies in its first week.
  • May 17, 2007 - Starts national tour in Alexandria, Va., that ends in Anaheim, Calif., on June 21.
  • July 4, 2007 - Performs in Washington, D.C., at "A Capitol Fourth" on PBS, the nation's biggest 4th of July celebration.
  • August/September 2007 - Appears on "The Bold and the Beautiful" soap opera; appears on the TV drama "Lincoln Heights" singing "Wait for You." Visits Capitol Hill as International Celebrity Advocate Co-chair of the Promise to Remember Me Campaign to petition congressmen to extend federal funding for type 1 diabetes research.
  • October/November 2007 - Kicks off second national tour in Chicago that ends Washington, D.C.
  • November 14, 2007 - Performs "Promise to Remember Me" in the United Nations' Rose Garden in New York City on World Diabetes Day. Diabetes Health TV captures him performing his hit, "Movin' On," that day. (View it on Diabetes Health TV.)

Ends 2007 ranked at number three on the Top Independent Albums chart and at number 114 on The Billboard 200 chart. "Wait for You" ends up ranking at number 11 on the Pop 100 Airplay chart and at number 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 Songs chart.

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Categories: A1c Test, Blood Glucose, Diabetes, Diabetes, Elliott Yamin, Food, Insulin, Insulin Pumps, Low Blood Sugar, Personal Stories, Type 1 Issues, Type 2 Issues


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Comments

Posted by dorisjdickson on 18 January 2008

I have mixed feelings about Elliot Yamin - mostly because he's not doing a good job with his blood sugar (very high A1C), not testing enough (4 times a day???), etc. Thus, I don't particularly think he's a good role model for juvenile onset diabetics. I'd rather hear from someone with better control tout that you can do anything! If he can become a popular musician, he can better control his blood sugar. What's more important? And as an MDI proponent, I don't think that pump is serving him well either. What happened to pumpers have better control? If I (and many others) can maintain A1Cs of 5.1 with MDi, why is a pumper at 8?

Posted by Anonymous on 18 January 2008

granted I agree that an A1c of 8 is hardly good control, I suspect that Elliot's control on an insulin pump is still far better than it would be if he were on MDI therapy, especially given the day-to-day variability of the schedule that he keeps. As for your A1c of 5.1 on MDI therapy, that no doubt comes at a cost of unneccessary hypoglycemic events -and if you don't believe me, you should wear a continuous glucose monitor for a few days. The numbers don't lie, I'll bet you too could have a better quality of life, if not your A1c on a pump. Also, I could be mistaken, but I was under the impression that Elliot wears the real-time blood glucose system with his pump that updates his blood sugar every 5 minutes. With that kind of information, he may not need to check his blood sugars more that he is...

Posted by Anonymous on 18 January 2008

I'm a little surprised and disappointed at the first two negative comments. My daughter was diagnosed at 16 and is 23 now and is doing very well. We know, though, that even the most conscientious diabetics sometimes have high A1Cs. Why so intolerant of this very kind, talented young man who is doing his best to survive the music industry (as the daughetr of a musician, I can tell you that's no small feat!). I think he's a WONDERFUL role model. The doctors and friend who have helped our family cope with diabetes the most tell us to work diabetes AROUND your life, not the reverse. At some periods in one's life, that means less control. But a functional human being takes control as soon as he or she can. Elliot's crazy year is just that -- a year in the life. Yes, an A1C of 6 is something to aim for, but it's not a cause for self-hatred or blame if it slips to 8 or 9 some periods. He says himself that he's ready to aim for a good diet, exercise and a healthier lifestyle, and he'll get there!

Posted by Anonymous on 18 January 2008

I love Elliot...by far the best voice ever and a "gentle charisma" It blessed me to know that he faces the challenge of diabetes also, and he is much younger that I am...God bless you, Elliot and "the best is yet to come,..

Posted by Anonymous on 18 January 2008

I don't know why he can not be considered a good role model even tho his A1C is not ideal. I doubt if the typical diabetic leads the same hectic schedule that Elliott Yamin does...being on the road performing and promoting, giving his fans so much time, his charities, etc. He's human afterall and not perfect. I think his kind, humble, and caring nature makes him a WONDERFUL role model for young typeI diabetics.

Posted by Anonymous on 18 January 2008

hi elliot it shelly from vancouver bc i have look at your myspace and i have finshed reading your story as i too have diabetes and find it hard to keep with it as i don't have much time but still you can be a better person don't let other tell you differly and a role modale and most of all look after yourself take a break if you need it love you blessing shelly

Posted by Anonymous on 18 January 2008

Elliot is an inspiration for all of us living with insulin-dependent diabetes. He is living his life and following his dreams. He will get his A1Cs lower as he stated that is one of his goals after his tour. I think it is wonderful that some of you can get a 5.1 A1C so PLEASE share with us how you do it... don't just dump on those of us who have trouble attaining this amazing level of control. I work very hard at controlling my sugars, testing an average of 7 to 10 times a day, exercising a lot, and eating whole and healthy foods. but hard as I try my A1Cs range from 6.5 to 7.0.

About the pump, it is the best thing that happened to me since my diagnosis. It may not have lowered my A1Cs dramatically, but it has given me my life back... I feel normal and am not tied down. I encourage commenters to be positive and share what they know with the rest of us... not just insult those of us who are also trying.

Posted by Anonymous on 18 January 2008

This is my take on Elliott - he was being totally honest about how hard it is to monitor his blood sugar, and how he works hard at maintaining his health given his hectic lifestyle. He tests as much as possible - the 3 or 4 times was a reference to his busiest days - and he urges kids to test often and eat properly. Kids are smart - they know that this is a realistic situation that they can relate to.

Posted by Anonymous on 18 January 2008

Just to let you -and people who are finding out who Elliott and his music are- his March 20 released album is not titled "Movin On'", it's self-titled "Elliott Yamin".

Posted by Anonymous on 19 January 2008

Great interview. I appreciate his honesty about how he struggles with his diabetes, keeps a positive attitude, does not try to pretend that he is perfect and is setting a goal of a lower A1C.

Now that is someone real!

Posted by Anonymous on 19 January 2008

Wow, people are harsh on Elliot. I think he is admirable to share the honest truth on how he manages diabetes. People need to know that the strict manner in which a healthcare provider often teaches diabetes care is not what a person who is leading a "real" life can actually achieve. People are expected to stray from the ideal to a certain extent. Kudos to Elliot for "keeping it real!"

Posted by Anonymous on 19 January 2008

well done elliot,most of us with type 1 are always in denial and find it very hard to face the true facts of our condition.we live in hope to one day someone will make our lives easier and through people like you.thanks justin.

Posted by justin on 19 January 2008

well done elliot,like most of us with type 1 we go through a denial stage.hopefully through people like yourself the true reality and dangers of diabetes can be protrayed to kids and adults alike.we live in hope that the day is not to far that someone finds a cure.keep up the good work.justin

Posted by Anonymous on 19 January 2008

Don't knock those with Diabetes unless you have the disease. It is a jealous disease and very hard to control. Elliott is very brace and works hard to do well. I think you owe him apology who ever said he isn't doing good. It is a killer.

Posted by Anonymous on 19 January 2008

hey, it's hard enough dealing with life, then, boom, here comes type 1 diabetes!! right in the middle of more stress ! We are all human, and some of us take longer to get on track. Those of you shaking your fingers at us who aren't "perfect" role models, tell us about your life with no mistakes or regrets.............
we are trying to behave, so give us a break

Posted by Anonymous on 19 January 2008

I am a type 1 diabetic, but I have some insulin resistance. Before going on the pump, I was giving multiple injections a day and 7 to 10 blood tests a day. I was always fighting low and high blood sugar. The pump has changed my life. I became diabetic at 11, and I am now almost 30 years old. Tight control is important for a healthy life. An A1C of 6% or lower is important for women who want to have healthy pregnacy. If Elliot wanted to prevent low blood sugar on stage, than he should eat a snack before and set a temp. basal rate. That might of prevented the low blood sugar on stage. I am active in sports, and I use the pump to control my sugar by setting a temp. basal. I also set a temp. basal if I become inactive because of sickness or lazy days. You as the diabetic have to be proactive to stay focused and healthy. No one can do it for you.

Posted by Anonymous on 19 January 2008

I hope he uses his "fame"(I've never heard him sing) to advocate for a CURE!!

Posted by chickadee410 on 20 January 2008

It sounds like he does not know to start out treating a low BG with only 15 carbs. It would help him to do some experimenting with carbs--example eat 5 grams of fast acting carbs and test your BG to see how many points it raises your BG level. Then when he is low he would know how many carbs to treat it. Two pepsi's would cause a very high BG reading. It might help him to start reading food/drink labels so he can get a better idea of serving size/carbs. I think his high A1C is due to these problems.

Posted by Anonymous on 21 January 2008

I cannot believe that in this day and age a writer working for a professional organization like Diabetes Health can get away with a statement like "few white guys sing with this kind of authenticity." Mary Milewski, do you honestly think authenticity is related to the color of your skin? It is an insult to whites, blacks, and people of all races. When will people stop using skin color as a reason or excuse for anything. Your last name sounds of Polish descent so I guess you are just stupid like all Polish people. How does racism feel? Sorry to any other Polish people that might read this - just trying to make my point.

Posted by jan on 21 January 2008

i am very proud of elliot yamin!! he has overcame a lot of things in his life!! he is truly living the american dream!!elliot does need to get his A1C'S under control. we love his music!! he sems to be a very genuine and kind young man!!

this is what can happen to elliot or anyone if they don't take care of their self NOW, this is what happens with age,when you don't take care of your diabetes properly,as i know first hand, as i have watched this unfold over the years.

my husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 20years ago, he was on oral medication,up until,about 19 months ago,he is now on insulin,4 injections a day.his injections during the day depend upon what his blood sugar readings are at that time of day.his dr. started him out with 15 units of humalog during the day,but he has gotten so much worse,he is now up to 25&30 units of humalog during the day,and 55 units of lantus at bedtime.he also has stage3 kidney disease, 2 eye diseases,severe charot disease in the right foot and ulcers on his toe,and i am sure you are asking,why is she telling us all of this? the reason i am telling you this: for many years,despite all of my pleading, he would not take care of his diabetes properly,so at the age of only 54, the diabetes began to take it's toll on his body!!
he is now in a cam walking boot and crutches for the charot disease in the right foot,(and by the way,there is nothing that can be done for the charot disease,unless you have some very amazing insurance to pay for reconstructive surgery,) if my husband goes into stage4 kidney disease it will mean dialysis,so far his eye sight, is still good,his dr. will get one ulcer healed on his toes,and then it will not be a few weeks,and then he has a new ulcer start i cannot count the infections he has had in his feet,around the nails,in the ulcers!!

he also has a severe case of gout in all of his joints below the waist!!!sadly it took the death of his father,for him to start taking care of his self,my husband and his father were best friends,that was the last thing his father said to him,was for him to please,start taking care of his diabetes better,his father,had diabetes also.

TO MY FRIENDS IN THE DIABETIC WORLD: if you or a loved has diabetes,please stress the importance of taking care of there self. i put this information in this post, in case someone out there may be dealing with someone that does not want to take care of their diabetes, just to let them know,while they still have a chance,THEY BETTER START TAKING CARE OF THE DIABETES,OR THIS IS WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO THEM,OR WORSE,AS THEY AGE,AND THERE IS NO TURNING BACK TO CORRECT THE MISTAKES YOU HAVE MADE WITH YOUR DIABETIC CARE ALONG THE WAY

my husband looks back now,and says,why did i not listen to you and my father, i would not be in so much pain,and i would be able to walk, AND I WOULD KNOW THAT I WOULD NOT BE DYING!!! he loves his family so much,it breaks his heart to know that he would probaly live longer if he had taken better care of his self!!! and it breaks our hearts to know how much pain he is in,and we know that the diabetes can be fatal,so we all live each day to the fullest.he enjoys his grandchildren so very much,the baby is only 19mos.old,and thinks,his papa hung the moon!!our son said that is what keeps him alive,because he suffers from severe depressoin also,he is so happy when he is with the grandchildren!!!!

i hope in some way, this may help someone out there,to let them know what can happen in the future,as you age,if you don't take care of your self!!! god bless, jan

Posted by cmaria20@embarq.com on 23 January 2008

It is an inspiration how Elliot continued
to move on with his dream and I am so proud
of him. Elliot came a long way since American Idol and I hope he continues to fufill and achieve his endeavers.
Fondly,
Christina N.

Posted by Anonymous on 24 January 2008

As a diabetic, I'm inspired by Elliott. For 7 months or more he was on the road visiting or performing in different cities just about every day. That would be tough on anyone, not just tough on a Type 1 diabetic. It is remarkable that he managed so well. He did not miss a single show on the American Idol tour nor on his headlining solo tour.

Let's see, for his solo tour he would do press, do sound checks, have meet & greets with fans, perform amazingly on stage, sign autographs for fans after the show, get on the tour bus or plane to go to different city. Start over again. In between he has to eat, rest, excercise and control his insulin levels. Honestly, I'm amazed by him.

Posted by Anonymous on 24 January 2008

I am so proud of Elliot. His voice is beautiful. He represents JDRF in a positive way. Hope God continues to bless him.

Posted by diabfree on 25 January 2008

Elliot has done what many of us couldn't. He is so positive with life. He should be an encouragement to all with diabetes. There is life after all.

Posted by Rick on 19 February 2008

I have a couple of thoughts after reading some letters. One is, I'm sure none of us has been on stage singing when suddenly you realize you blood sugar is dropping! I'm sure Elloit's only thought was, "I have to get my sugar up, and fast! You're not worried about taking 15 grams of carb and testing in fifteen minutes. There have been times in my 41 years with diabetes where my sugar dropped at work, etc., where all I wanted to do was not wind up in the back of an ambulance. The letter from Jan was heartbreaking. I'm sixty years old. I got married at twenty-one. Within five years diabetes started affecting my sex life, eventually resulting in impotence. I'm legally blind in my right eye and have lost all side vision in my left. I've had neuropathy in hands and feet for years. Bone deformity in my feet leading to what? I don't want to think about. The worst thing you can do when diagnosed with diabetes is go into denial and ignore it. It will take you apart piece by piece. I didn't ignore it. But in 1966 we didn't have glucose meters and different kinds of insulin and pumps and short needles,etc. We had to boil glass syringes and sharpen a long needle on a stone! Blood sugars, who knows? The only time you got an exact blood sugar was every few months when you saw your doctor. So don't blame us older diabetics. We did our best with what we had, which wasn't much. People who are diagnosed today are, in our minds, lucky! Use the tools and medicines available to you! You'll stay healthy and see a cure. One more word of advice. Take good care of yourself and it will become like brushing your teeth. But don't become obsessed with it! You don't need to test 10 or 15 times a day. That's crazy. Live your lives! Deal with it and go on. Control it, don't let it control you. And say your prayers every night.

t

Posted by Anonymous on 23 February 2008

Elliot - you are achieving your dream, despite your adversity... you are deserving of every compliment and success...congratulations!

Posted by Anonymous on 13 May 2008

hey elliot whats up? well i know just how you feel about diabetes because im 12 and have type 1 its hard to remember to do all the shots but its okay once you get used to it so later! I love you!
remember M&M

Posted by HOFIII on 18 December 2008

Thank you so much Jan for your commentary regarding your husband and the battles he is enduring due to lack of early management. I'm truly sorry and understand the situation completely. My Father was very similiar and now due to lack of control, my brother is experiencing the very same as your husband. My point is to reiterate the absolute necessaity for BG control to NOT HAVE to go through the devastating complications outlined in dear Jan's comments. Please heed her and my advice!

Posted by Anonymous on 18 December 2008

I AM A TYPE 1, HAVE BEEN SINCE I WAS 9, I AM 53 NOW AND DOING WELL, I AM NOT ON THE PUMP BUT AM IN VERY GOOD CONTROL. I FEEL ELLIOT HAS DONE A GOOD JOB, YES HE HAD UPS AND DOWNS JUST LIKE WE ALL DO, HE ACCEPTED HIS DIABETES AND THAT IS THE BIGGEST PART OF DOING WELL WITH DIABETES. MY HAT GOES OFF TO YOU ELLIOTT. I HAVE SOME ADVICE FOR YOU INSTEAD OF SODA FOR YOUR LOWS (ON STAGE), KEEP THE BOXES OF ORANGE JUICE, THIS IS A QUICK WAY TO GET THE LOWS UP, ALSO GLUCOSE TABLETS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE AND YOU CAN KEEP THEM IN YOUR POCKET.
GILBERT, AZ


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