We Still Have Hope

Meagan Esler Has Type 1 Diabetes

| Sep 14, 2011

My son just turned twenty. For the first time, we didn't have a cake, ice cream, friends, balloons, or presents. He spent the day in jail. With vivid memories of his heroin-addicted evening in the ICU several months ago, we had nursed high hopes that his life would be on the mend. But healing takes time, and life doesn't always deliver the happy ending we long for.

With still unanswered questions about my vial of insulin that went missing years ago, I decided to ask my son again for the truth. I explained that there would be no punishment for his honesty. His immersion into the drug world was surely punishment enough for his experimentation with drugs. This time, he opened up and told his story.

My son had been using drugs for nearly three years when he got the idea to try insulin. He would take anything that he could get his hands on to get high, even cough syrup or vanilla extract. With his friends, he'd experimented with an assortment of illegal drugs. One day, he took a syringe and my brand-new bottle of insulin from the butter compartment in the refrigerator and brought it to his room, where he spent some time thinking about it.

He had seen me inject literally thousands of times over the course of ten years. How bad could it be? He figured he would get some sort of high off the insulin because it was such an expensive drug and could make me act drunk if I went low enough. With no idea of my dosing calculations, he simply filled the syringe to the halfway point and began to stick it into his arm. He said that it hurt, and he got scared and pulled it out without pushing down the plunger. He never realized the tremendous risk of death involved. He was a teen, a teen who felt invincible and just wanted to get high. What if my own life-saving insulin had killed him?

My son has been to drug rehab twice and has attended countless narcotic anonymous meetings. He has been to therapy, to psychiatrists, and to faith-based homeless shelters, yet nothing seems to help. He was kicked out of rehab for making deals with another patient for meds. He has slept in train stations and at friends' houses, and he has been arrested on drug charges on several occasions.

Now, as he sits in jail awaiting his next trial date, I look for the positive to cling to. I am thankful that he is drug-free for the moment. I am thankful that he has shelter, food, and people willing to do anything to help him succeed.

One night as my son visited for dinner, I contemplated hiding in the bathroom to take my insulin injection. I didn't want him to see the syringe, the bottle, the injection. But I forced myself to act normal and take my shots in front of him as I always have.

This may not be the happy ending we'd hoped for, but as long as my son is here with us and the "end" of his story is a long way off, we are filled with hope.

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Categories: Diabetes, Food, Insulin, Insulin Injection, Syringes, Type 1 Issues

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Posted by Anonymous on 15 September 2011

May God Bless you dear Meagan. At first I thought your article was about your son having diabetes and being a drug addict. My 24 year old son is both. I always feel great relief when he is in jail as I know he is alive. May God Bless us all, especially our sons. xox

Posted by Anonymous on 20 September 2011

Thanks so much for sharing your story. As a parent you are often surprised at what irrational act our teens may partake in. I'm thankful that your son didn't inject himself with insulin! By telling our stories of irrational teen experiences, I believe parents are alerted to potential behaviors that would never occur to an adult. Bless you and your family!

Posted by BridieNZ on 20 September 2011

Thanks for sharing your story with us Meagan. I feel so sad that you are faced with this terrible heartache and worry - may your son eventually find strength to accept help in overcoming his addiction. In the meanwhile, please look after yourself as best you can - you and your son are in my thoughts and prayers.

New Zealand

Posted by Catherine Archer on 20 September 2011

God bless you, God bless your son. There is hope for him and for you, too. Thank you for opening my eyes about syringes. I've been a type 1 for 43 years now, and I am quite insensitive and too casual about the sysringes I must carry. Thank you for your story.

Posted by Anonymous on 20 September 2011

Hey Meagan, Thanks for sharing your story and I sincerely hope things start getting better for you and your son as well. I'm diabetic as well and was wondering what benefit would it do a person to take insulin? It certainly doesn't get you high unless you call feeling normal being high. Warm Smiles, ~Rob

Posted by Anonymous on 21 September 2011

Meagan, remember to take care of yourself too. My son has also put me through some of the things you wrote about. Drug addicted family members can wear you down and while trying to help them, we often sacrifice our onw wellbeing.

Posted by Anonymous on 21 September 2011

You are very brave sharing your story. My son is the same age and has been clean since February but I never feel I can relax totally or stop blaming myself for not being able to see his addiction before it took over his life. I wish you and your family peace and hope for the future. Jay x

Posted by nikkipowers on 22 September 2011

thanks for sharing your story. it literally brought me to tears. the stress must be unbearable - to think of your child, that you love so much, to be living that way. Drug addiction is similar to type 1 diabetes in that there is no cure, only the ability to manage it as best you can day to day. Only for you the syringe is a savior and for him it is his downfall. I pray for you and your son and that one day he can manage his addiction each and every day and live a happy and fulfilling life.

Posted by Anonymous on 24 October 2011

There is a 12 step program called Alanon for people who have a loved one who is an addict/alcoholic. This program has helped me survive and feel better as I've watched a family member spiral downward into addiction. I've tried to help him--I'm afraid the next thing he'll lose is his life-- but rescueing someone isn't always the right thing to do. I wish you peace and recovery from your pain.

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