Letters: To use Brian Bradley as a poster boy for diabetes is just plain wrong

"Illboard," Jenny An, August 4

Sticking Point

My partner is also a long-term diabetic who is fortunate enough to have insurance that has paid for his supplies. We have a lot of extra test strips and needles that we would like to donate to Brian, if he can use them. I was very moved by the article and found it well-written and emotionally dead-on. I can relate to the loneliness, pain and depression that come from the declining health of a type 1 diabetic. As a caregiver (my Paul has suffered three strokes from his diabetes and is now fully disabled), I now have my own relationship to this disease. 

Jerry Blackstock


Brian Bradley


As a person who has lived with diabetes and insulin injections for over 25 years, may I suggest that the artist is NOT a diabetic artist, he is an artist who has diabetes. I refuse to be labeled by my disease!

Jeff Meese


I must admit that I don't usually read Westword. But for selfish reasons, I could not help reading "Illboard." I say "selfish" because I am a type 1 diabetic. Thank you for taking me into another diabetic's perspective about his condition. A lot of the things he said resonated with me. For example, using expired insulin. While still on my parents' insurance policy, I made sure to stock up on meds for two years (and counting!). Now, however, I am also dealing with a high-risk pregnancy due to diabetes, and until I read the article, I thought that the terrible lows could only happen during pregnancy. It is truly terrifying to know that one morning you may be unconscious with no one to help you. Unlike Bradley. though, my attitude has always been to kill the sucker naturally: through exercise, experimental dieting, willpower...if you will. This approach did prove effective a number of times, and has helped me to avoid taking additional meds. If I could deliver a message to Bradley, I'd say that he's not alone. I would advise him to "milk the system," just like it "milks" millions of ill persons. (Get an under-the-table job and get on Medicaid.) And if worse comes to worst, then be that illegal immigrant from the U.S., washing dishes in Canada. Because if today his story has provoked me to read Westword (which, as I said, I never do), then imagine the interest a story about an illegal U.S. immigrant in search of health care in Canada will provoke.

Name withheld on request

Our daughter is type 1 diabetic, and I have just begun insulin treatment for what was previously assumed to be type 2. We know the disease that Brian Bradley deals with on a daily basis. We wish him great success and health in his endeavor. Upon reading the article, my biggest concern for Brian is that he is so closely associated with and dependent on the Barbara Davis Center for Juvenile Diabetes. We dealt with BDC for years while our daughter was a patient there. We have never observed worse behavior toward patients in our lives at any other medical office than we did at BDC. It was not uncommon to wait three hours to see the doctor after arriving on time for an appointment. One doctor mumbled when he spoke and we could never understand him. The attitude of another doctor was horrible, even telling our daughter that she didn't deserve an insulin pump — something that she greatly wanted to help her with her struggle against the disease. It was explained that she needed to get her blood sugars better under control. Duh. That's why she wanted the pump.

BDC is nothing more than a welfare program for incompetent doctors. We moved on to an independent endocrinologist and are infinitely happier. My hope for Brian is that whatever "care" he's getting from BDC, that it be 1,000 percent better than what we observed to be a typical experience there, year after year. Their fancy new building at Fitzsimons and charged parking didn't do a damn thing to improve their customer service.

Randy Karasik


Which editor assigned this article, and which one edited it? There is just something about the way this story is written that makes me not care at all about an issue that I really care about a lot. Most offensive is that this story appears to be written by someone who, instead of doing the background research necessary to understand and write a story about the emotional effect of type 1 diabetes, used information obtained from a diabetic who has never resolved those issues. A good place to start would have been to read the book Breakthrough: Elizabeth Hughes, the Discovery of Insulin, and the Making of a Medical Cure, by Thea Cooper and Arthur Ainsberg.

The statement made about type 2 diabetes, "Like type 1, it is chronic and incurable," is not correct. Type 2 can be cured in the beginning with proper diet and exercise. I know because I had type 2, and I don't now. For the last 45 years, my artist mom has had type 1. She is 85 years old. So I can speak or maybe write from a place of experience on that, too.

I have no argument that there is a lack of proper, affordable medical care, especially for chronic conditions, for all of us who don't have an insurance plan provided through work or meet the requirements of social and charity-funded programs. To use Bradley as a poster boy for this issue is just plain wrong. He is non-compliant to the dietary and other requirements that it takes to manage diabetes and minimize its effects. He is right about the supplies to treat diabetes being expensive. That $110 fine he paid — or didn't — was enough to purchase a bottle of insulin. Maybe Bradley should spend more time on managing the disease than on creating art about...what, I am not sure.

Yvonne Barcewski


I have been living with diabetes for almost twenty years and can totally relate to the problems in this article, except Bradley's treatment regimen is outdated and completely naive. I will only say that I changed from a roller-coaster insulin treatment that is no longer needed to one that involves a 24-hour dosed insulin that, if taken properly with diet and exercise, can make your life change from night to day, and this insulin has been around for over a decade.

It saddens me when I hear about people who do not know how to find better alternatives to their health and no one teaches them, including the media and doctors. By the way, I am self-reliant when it comes to my medical decisions and have suggested most of my choices to my doctors over the years that make my control tolerable — but let's be honest, it is still a terrible disease.

Name withheld on request

Editor's note: For more on Jenny An's story about Brian Bradley, go to westword.com.

"Half Baked," Kenny Be, July 28

That Takes the Cake

Happy birthday, Colorado! This is one beautiful state! Lots of fun activities — and a lot of free activities here, too. Lots of free concerts, movies in the park, free zoo days, museum days — the list goes on and on. But not to forget, the beautiful mountains! Breathtaking!

Connie Martinez


I love my Colorado! But hey...do we have to highlight that we eat out of roach coaches?

Jim Reynolds


Holy crap. Enough with fucking IKEA already.

Douglas Boyle


Now can we do something about the litter? I have lived in five states. Colorado is the most littered state of them all. When I visit Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, I am ashamed to return to "colorful" Colorado. I am convinced it is "colorful" because of the litter. Our litter laws are not being enforced. Colorado Springs — inside the city limits and in the county — is the worst. I live along a highway. There used to be a couple I know who "adopted" a portion of the highway. They moved ten years ago. Their "adopted by" sign remains, and no one has re-adopted. I have e-mailed the State of Colorado litter agency that I think is responsible, but have gotten no reply, and the sign remains.

 I am totally shocked that a beautiful state such as Colorado, a tourist state, is so heavily littered, and I can only "pray" that visitors here are so awestruck by the Rocky Mountains and Pikes Peak that they are not able to see the trash along the highways, interstate and roads.

 If there are no funds for this project, would somebody please form a non-profit corporation to help? Lawmakers, please pass a law with a heftier fine for littering and law enforcement — and please enforce the existing litter law. Keep Colorado green and clean.

P. Haynes

Colorado Springs

Ask a Mexican, Gustavo Arellano, July 28

Land of Opportunity?

I wanted to say that I love Ask a Mexican. Thank you, Gustavo, for educating the masses.

I had to comment after reading the letter from Made in 'Merica. I find it so ridiculous that people can't look further than their mental programming. The reality is that the majority of us are immigrants who moved to this country, overrunning the Native Americans already living here. Then we create stupid laws and build border walls to keep out more people from coming to the so-called "land of freedom." It seems like this country is just turning into the land of the prisons. Yet businesses have total freedom to move across the borders with NAFTA and other treaties. Globalization and big business are really what need to be stopped, not immigration. The longer it continues, the longer we as a human race will continue to live under a hidden form of slavery.

Chris Brainard



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