I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age twelve. Throughout my teens and twenties, I tried to be “normal” and often kept the diabetes a secret. Fifteen years later, the complications began. My vision and my kidneys started to have serious problems. I returned to Arkansas from Austin, Texas to live with family while I underwent a series of laster treatments and eye surgeries to save my sight. My vision stabilized but I was left legally blind. The memoir chronicles the various part-time jobs I did to supplement my Social Security income and find a sense of normalcy. I tried several different occupations while my kidneys gradually failed.
In 1997 my kidneys failed and I lived on my own in Tulsa, OK while doing peritoneal dialysis four times a day and working part-time. Later that year, I discovered diabetics who needed a kidney could receive a pancreas at the same time, which would give the kidney a better chance of survival by keeping glucose at a healthy level. My life changed overnight in April, 1998. But complications from the surgery caused nerve damage in my left leg and both hands. I had to learn to walk again while recovering from the transplant. My body went through a number of monumental changes over the next several months as I learned to take care of my new kidney and pancreas and adjust to side effects of the anti-rejection drugs.
I kept working and living life to the fullest in spite of my limited vision. I even started creating art again. Five years later, the kidney failed. After a short time on hemodialysis, a total stranger not related to me offered to give me a kidney. In September, 2003, she saved my life in more ways than one.
It’s an understatement to say I’ve been through alot. Each setback made me stronger, more determined, and better at figuring out how ti find hope and opportunities. Excerpts