A Little Worried?
I feel lucky to have a family that loves me as much as they do but like everything in life there are some consequences. Before being diagnosed with diabetes and then Wolfram Syndrome, I could visit family members and make it an enjoyable event. I still enjoy seeing family but my presence has changed from a pleasant visit to a worrisome task.
In previous years I would pay visits to parts of the family and there would be lots of food, fun, and laughter. In the past few years I have felt guilty for creating so much fear and worry that I think twice before packing a bag to stay the weekend at someone’s house. The fear and worry that I speak of is due to my health and its complications creating this mindset of “I hope nothing goes wrong while he’s here.” My visiting experiences are filled with “can Adam eat this?, has Adam ate enough?, is Adam in pain?, does Adam need to go home early?, Lord I hope nothing happens while Adam is here.” I have had one or two issues with glucose levels during the evening that no longer occur but each time I stay somewhere my family is adamant when using a baby monitor and or sleeping on the sofa next to me just to make sure nothing occurs while sleeping.
I am very thankful to have a family love me as much as I do but pleasant experiences have certainly changed due to Wolfram Syndrome. When I get the feeling that I am a fly in the ointment and not a pleasant visitor I just grit my teeth and say that it could be worse so accept it and count my blessings. I try to stay optimistic by hoping and praying that something will change for the better in the near future.
In January 2013, Adam Zwan was featured by the NBC affiliate in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina, WCET News. The story was to show what it is like for Adam to live with Wolfram syndrome. That night, Adam began to experience severe abdominal pain and was rushed to the hospital where he remained for a week. Despite the delay from Adam’s hospital stay, the news team came back to finish their story. Here is the five minute video on our good friend, Adam Zwan, where you can see for yourself the courage and spirit Adam exudes every day.
How to slow Wolfram Syndrome progression?
Steps toward a cure for diabetes and Wolfram Syndrome are being made and successful results are occurring in scientific research. The treatments are not yet available for Wolfram patients so it’s wise to attempt slowing Wolfram progression until treatments are available. In addition to being a Wolfram patient I am also a huge advocate for correcting one’s health on one’s own without the use of prescriptions.
From the age of 7 years old to 16 years old I was placed on nine different prescription drugs to treat my various ailments, ranging from diabetes to kidney failure to elevated cholesterol. Upon my own research, I discovered that each prescription drug will eventually require an additional prescription for resulting side effects. I took it to heart and disciplined myself to edit lifestyle and correct health issues without the use of medications; today I am down to three prescriptions and doing very well.
Diabetics without Wolfram can experience nerve damage simply due to uncontrolled glucose levels. Thus, a Wolfram patient, whose central nervous system is genetically experiencing nerve damage, along with uncontrolled diabetes will be faced with hurried progression of kidney failure, vision loss, and hearing damage. Therefore, I have spent a great deal of my life in becoming physically active and nutritionally sound so that I may more closely take control of my diabetes, my health, and my life. Through a daily exercise routine and a low sugar/carbohydrate diet I have successfully kept my blood glucose levels, cholesterol, blood pressure, kidney function, vision, and hearing at a stable and satisfactory quality.
In my visits to Washington University of St. Louis during the annual Wolfram research event doctors have told me that my lifestyle choices have proven to slow the progression of nerve damage caused by diabetes and Wolfram Syndrome. In short, I was told to keep doing what I have been doing.
I received a great email today from a mother who teaches 4th grade PSR (Parish School of Religion) at our church St. Clare of Assisi.
She told me that at the end of their Monday night class, they around the room and each child will pray for someone or something important to them. She said one little guy in particular wanted to pray for a classmate who had diabetes and that he hopes we find a cure soon because he does not want her to hurt anymore. The classmate he was referring to was my daughter, Raquel. When I read this email, it touched my heart and brought a smile to my face. The hardest audience I have ever spoken in front of, (600 elementary children), actually understood what I had said to them during our Diabetes Awareness Month assembly at Babler Elementary. It warmed my heart that this little boy had comprehended that one of his classmates is struggling with her health. It was worth it and if I had to speak to a million elementary school kids…I would! It goes to show you that if we all try and spread the word about Wolfram syndrome, we just might raise enough awareness and support for the research that will one day revolutionize the diabetic world and save the life of my daughter and others like her who are living with this horrific disease. In the meantime, I’ll keep working and sharing our message because you never know who’s listening.
I have always had great intuition (good or bad), ask my friends and family! The Snow Foundation has hired a new President and CEO, Dr. Saad Naseer, who is driven and ready to make our dreams become reality. The foundation is finally receiving the full time attention and direction it deserves, which means Wolfram syndrome patients are going to get the help and their prayers answered. I am excited to spread the word and I mean really spread the word and I am more excited that Snow Foundation has the leadership to make it happen. My prayers have been answered and I am grateful. This year is going to be revolutionary, great changes are coming.