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.
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