D-Vision is a big part of our Change for the Children Foundation and its goal is to support people with Diabetes and help raise money to raise awareness, do research and find a cure.
In November 2005, I found out that I had Type 1 Diabetes. A month or two before I was diagnosed, I began to notice the usual symptoms: losing weight, the bad attitude, being thirsty, going to the bathroom all the time. I lost about fifteen pounds in two to three weeks, and it was just insane. I had a terrible attitude, which was totally odd for me because I’m actually a nice person. Especially being on the road around people all the time, you have to keep that positive energy going. And it was hard.
I took some time off from our tour to see a doctor, who packed me off to the hospital immediately when she heard my symptoms. My blood sugar was over 700. For someone who had no bad medical history ever to suddenly have the shock of diabetes was a bit overwhelming in itself, and then I had to learn all about it, learn all these things in such a short period of time. All of it was crazy. I also wondered if I could continue making music, but I had the support of my friends and the band to be there with me. My dad was back at home with my three other brothers, but my mom stayed at the hospital with me every night.
In March 2007, almost a year and a half after my diagnosis, I publicly announced that I have diabetes at Carnival For a Cure. I knew I wanted to go public and that seemed like the right time. I guess I wanted to kind of get “comfortable” with my diabetes before telling the world about it.
I found it amazing just how many people know somebody with diabetes or have diabetes themselves. We’d get these stories about how some of the kids were really afraid to tell their friends and how my situation gave them courage to do that. The fact that I’m able to have somewhat of a spotlight to share my story, I just feel blessed. I carry a supply of guitar picks in my pocket, and whenever I meet another “diabetic buddy” as I call them, I give them a pick, a cool little thing.
I appreciate that I have a platform to be able to share my story. I have this passion to be able to share with young people my age and be a positive light in a situation that might not be so positive. I’ve heard stories about kids who were in depression because after they got diagnosed they were just so upset about what was going on. That just touched my heart, and I wanted to be able to do something about it. I hope that I can be that positive light.
I know that Diabetes is a huge part of my life and I can’t just forget about it, obviously. I have to keep taking care of it and managing it, and learning more things about it. Hopefully one day they’ll come up with some type of cure, and I hope I’ll be one of the first to know about it.
To anyone out there who has been diagnosed, don’t let it slow you down at all. I made a promise to myself on the way to the hospital that I wouldn’t let this thing slow me down and I’d just keep moving forward, and that’s what I did. Just keep a positive attitude and keep moving forward with it. Don’t be discouraged.
So that’s my story and what D-Vision is all about. I have a chance to help others in my situation. Thanks for taking the time to learn and for any support you can give.
P.S. You might know the song “A Little Bit Longer.” I wrote it on one of those days when my blood sugar was a little out of control and I was kind of bumming. I walked by this room we were staying at, and it was so weird – all of a sudden there was this big ballroom with a piano in it. So I went in there, sat down at the piano and wrote the song. Here are the lyrics I wrote that day...