November is American Diabetes Month. Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Throughout November, the UVM Medical Center will share the stories of people with diabetes as well as tips, advice, and information from our team of certified diabetes educators. Keep reading!
My name is Rick Norcross, I am a longtime resident of Burlington and I am a professional musician just finishing up a 19-concert tour of Vermont with my nine piece western swing band, Rick & The All-Star Ramblers, celebrating my 50th year in the music business.
I am 68 years old and I have Type 2 Diabetes. I was diagnosed more than 10 years ago, after a frantic trip to the emergency room, rescued by a close friend, as so often happens when diabetes takes command. The largest challenge in making a living in Vermont as a full time, self-employed musician is that I never had health insurance coverage in my life. That is, until I reached the age of Medicare three years ago. Believe me, I have been very careful and very lucky to have never had a major health “event” over my entire life.
So when the Type 2 Diabetes surprise was revealed, it came as quite a shock. There is some history of diabetes in my family on my father’s side. My grandmother and my father both had Type I Diabetes but I was told that diabetes alternated genders down the line. Obviously not true. I needed more information about living with Type 2 Diabetes and so I took one of the free informational courses offered at the UVM Medical Center. Rumors were dispelled over the course of the program and I learned that it is a “manageable” condition when you take care of yourself.
During the course, I learned that the UVM Medical Center oversees a number of clinical trials programs researching diabetes medications and that there were opportunities available to participate. I immediately signed up and began a decade-long relationship with clinical trials that has carried me through five or six different studies. I expect a golden tongue depressor when I get to my 10th study! I like to call this ‘Musicians Health Care.” It has served me very well over the years, provided me with all the meds necessary to maintain my Type 2 Diabetes as well as frequent checkups and discovery of other health problems that needed attention.
Of course there are other ways to maintain control of your diabetes, but clinical trials has been my pathway to living a full and creative life and I am very fortunate to have enjoyed the support and excellent care I have received through the clinical trials program at the UVM Medical Center.
Rick Norcross is a longtime Vermont musician who is celebrating 50 years as an internationally-known singer/songwriter and performing artist. His newest CD, “Riding My Guitar” is enjoying airplay in Argentina, Spain and nationally here in America. He founded and ran the Green Mountain Chew Chew Food & Music Festival on Burlington’s waterfront for 24 years. Visit www.rickandtheramblers.com for further information.