He loves to ski. He is a mountain boy at heart.
His journey has been insightful and powerful.
He helps others with the hurdles and challenges of life.
I guess I was called back to the mountains in my 20’s because I am a mountain boy at heart.
When I was 3 years old, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, hereditary. My grandfather had type 2 and then it skipped my mother, then I caught type 1. But that didn’t prevent me from living a normal childhood, growing up and being active in sports and so on. So, over the course of my life, I have dealt with diabetes pretty normally: took shots, I watched what I ate, have a lot of sugar in my diet, so on and so forth. But it did catch up to me in a sense that it affected other parts of my body: my vision and also my internal organs.
Close to 4-5 years ago, I started noticing differences in my body. I wasn’t taking off the fluids properly. My kidneys were not working, they were actually failing. I checked myself into the hospital and the doctor immediately sent me to Denver. From there on, my life changed forever. The doctor said you have to go on dialysis. I wasn’t really prepared for that. I don’t think you really can be. So, I was put on Peritoneal Dialysis which is dialysis at least 12 hours a day, every day until the doctor says no more or you get a transplant. So, I was relegated with doing that at night. I had a machine, by my bed, that pumped dextrose into my body and the dextrose would sit for a while and then I would empty out the dextrose and it would take off all the extra stuff my kidneys normally would. So, I did that for almost 3 years. I couldn’t work. I wasn’t very active. I guess I was technically “disabled.” So, with that, it really opened my eyes to a lot of things. My doctor was very proactive and steered me into the right direction of having gainful activity. With that, he suggested I go for a double organ transplant, which means they wanted to give me a kidney and a pancreas. So, I was on the transplant waiting list for almost 3 years, all the while doing dialysis at home.
Finally, on the December 25, 2015 I was called into the hospital down in Denver and the nurse said, “Are you ready?” The surgery itself took about 6 hours. I began my new life afterwards. But all the while, you know, people would tell you what to mark on sheets because you were not living physically normal. I would mark the sheets disabled which was foreign to me. I didn’t really know how to respond to that. Being disabled didn’t really click in my mind until recently when I started working with the company I do now. From there, I gained a bigger appreciation of what it meant to be disabled but also be able to do certain things. So that is kind of my story. It has been a long journey, it has been very insightful, very powerful. Here I am today, I had surgery close to a year and 8 months ago and I’m doing pretty good. I’m no longer on dialysis. I am no longer a type 1 diabetic. I can eat all sugar as I want, though I don’t. I was told “Go ahead! Go nuts!” And today I help others who are disabled get through life and all its hurdles and challenges doing so and it has really brought me to the community here.
Join the conversation. We want to hear YOUR voice.
What are some strengths that many people with disabilities have?
Valley Life for All, A Non-Profit.
Reach us at: 970-319-1279