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The 'diabetic rock star'

Discussion in 'Parents of College Kids and Young Adults with Type' started by Ellen, Sep 7, 2007.

  1. Ellen

    Ellen Senior Member

    Oct 22, 2005
    I read this article and initally felt hopeful...then I read his blog and felt worried. As a parent I want to know the struggles young adults face with the diabetes...but sometimes the gut wrenching heartache is difficult to process.


    Christopher Thomas

    Christopher Thomas n Age: 27
    n Grew up in Canton and is a 1998 graduate of John Glenn High School (he has dropped last name of Polack)
    n Author of novel, "An American Scene." Has also started a Web site, DiabeticRockstar.com, and a non-profit group, Fight It, to help provide support to people with diabetes.

    the Observer & Eccentric Newspapers, Mirror Newspapers and Hometown Weeklies - www.hometownlife.com - Michigan

    The 'diabetic rock star'
    Staff Writer

    For weeks, Christopher Thomas felt his life crashing around him and on July 7, he reached his breaking point.
    Thomas, a fledging author and publisher, was no where near close to literary success. In fact, he had just been rejected for a job as a waiter. On top of that, the uninsured 27-year-old had recently been diagnosed with type-one diabetes and was grappling with his blood-sugar level.
    [​IMG] "When I was leaving that job interview at the restaurant and I looked over and saw the book I wrote, but was too broke to promote," he said. "I thought about me trying to deal with diabetes and the college degree that I had framed on the wall. I started thinking 'What did I go to school for?' I couldn't even get a job in a restaurant."

    The 1998 Westland John Glenn High graduate, who dropped his last name, Polack, and goes by his first and middle, said he decided to leave Canton - and the state - as soon as possible.
    "I was going west or east and east was a shorter drive," Thomas chuckled. "But really, if you want to be a writer, one place to give it a go is New York."
    Two days later with "zero plans," Thomas arrived in Manhattan and began sleeping on the kitchen floor of a distant cousin's home. The two had never met.
    "Everything there is go, go, go," said Thomas, who soon found a job and a roommate. "I realized how complacent I had become. I had that 'I'll do it tomorrow' philosophy."
    Since touching down in the big apple, Thomas said his focus has shifted from feeling helpless to believing that diabetes is one of the best things that could've happened to him.
    "I have a reason to live," he said, adding that when he started blogging his health journey on MySpace, he threw out the nickname "diabetic rockstar" and gradually amassed a fan base by "mixing hard-hitting commentary, sarcasm and humor against everything society holds sacred."
    He has now started his own Web site, www.DiabeticRockstar.com and is in the process of creating a non-profit agency, Fight It.
    "I'm blessed to have a support system, but I've realized there are a lot of uninsured diabetics who are struggling," Thomas said. "They're working two jobs just to buy test strips."
    Fight It, which has already raised its first $100, will be centered around helping uninsured diabetics get medical care and other items, such as insulin.
    Thomas, who went from 150 pounds to 115 just before he was diagnosed in May, has the support of his mother and stepfather, Rose and Michael Burns of Canton and father, Thomas Polack of Ypsilanti.
    "When he first told me, I said 'OK, another kid with a Web site' but then I really thought about it," Rose Burns said. "This could be something big and not only that, it's important."
    Like any mother, Burns said she worries about her son, but said he appears to be doing better and has gained some weight.
    "I was nervous when he said he was going, just because I want him to take care of himself but I'm thrilled to death for him," she said. "I know he can do this."
    Thomas, who authored the 210-page novel An American Scene, said he went to New York with the goal of nurturing his writing career, but stumbled onto something "even bigger and more important" through DiabeticRockstar.com and Fight It.
    "It seemed as if my life had become worst-case scenario," he said. "But there I was complaining when thousands of people are struggling and don't have support. I realized that I've got one life here and I want to make a difference."
    To learn more about Thomas, make a donation to Fight It or purchase his novel, log on to www.DiabeticRockstar.com. tlparks@hometownlife.com | (734) 459-2700
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2007
  2. susanH

    susanH Approved members

    Jun 11, 2006
    i read his stuff and the first thing that comes to mind is how lucky i/we have always been to have medical insurance for the past 17 years dealing with IDD. i also recognize that I am just a heartbeat away, at any time, of having no insurance and that is a very frightening prospect.

    i think he is a very angry expressive creative young person. i know of alot of people like him, some are far more angry and bitter and wanting to strike out at the world, and they aren't even dealing with a chronic illness. when i encounter a person like that, i truly want to shake them. i want to ask where that anger comes from and tell them to take a look at how others' lives are structured before feeling all sorry and angry about their own pitiful??? existence. but i don't.:cwds:

    it's really a dark spot for me, but sometimes i stop to think how very involved i had been in caring for my son since he was nearly 3 and ID. how many shots i'd given, carbs i'd counted, snacks i packed, clocks i watched, how many blood draws i held him for, how many finger pokes and medical exams i was there for, how many teachers, babysitters and coaches i'd spoken to, just how THERE i (we all) were. then, i stop and i realize that in spite of all that stuff, i really have no bleeding idea what it's like to be him. no idea at all what it's like to walk in his shoes, to live with diabetes every waking and sleeping moment of his life, to call it YOURS. in a nutshell, i've simply stood by :(

    i will buy Christopher's tee shirt when it comes out. i believe he will do good things and i wish him well.
  3. OSUMom

    OSUMom Approved members

    Sep 10, 2006
    And if those of us closest to these kids with diabetes who even still don't know what it's really like to walk in their shoes - how on earth can anyone else who knows some or nothing about the disease even come close to understanding. I think this is from where much anger could come. Diabetes aside, I know with anything I am most frustrated and angry when I am misunderstood. Perhaps there is a little of that in all of this.

    It's overwhelming, and it all makes me so sad - this dumb disease. :cwds: Gotta pick myself back up, and I'm not even the one with Type 1. :rolleyes:

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