Diabetes and Heart Disease Did Not Stop My Brother

I hate diabetes and heart disease don’t you? It robs us of so much. Everyone should have a person in their life like my brother. His name is Daniel Scheib he was born on September 27, 1963

I was four years old. I had another baby brother and I was thrilled. Dan developed diabetes when he was very young just like our older brother Earl. At that point of his life things were centered on his health. Dan and Earls diabetes and their health was our life we worked together as family to make sure they were well care for. At a very young age they would have to endure shots twice a day and endless finger sticks. As we grew up taking care of them became less of an issue. There were long periods when things were good they were doing well.

As I got older went to school and moved on with my life my teenage brother was thriving and happy. He was a great kid and was becoming a great man. Dan had great control of his diabetes and things were going great. Dan and his friends were so close they were like a Rockwell painting. He was a loving son, brother and friend. I’m not saying he had no faults, it just the good out weighted the bad. Dan took an active role in our lives always showing us that we mattered. He took the time to be present in our lives.

Then Dan got sick, just a cold we thought. That virus was not just a cold it acted his heart and did so much damage. My brother was so weak; the virus triggered a condition call cardiomyopathy. My 20 year old brother now has the heart of an eighty year old man, and what’s worse is that he may only have five years to live. Because of the diabetes we were told no transplant. Something changed in us we were back together as a family and fighting for his health again. Dan was calm, but worried about what was next. What can we do? Nothing, Dan went out and found answers to all his questions. He did not see this as a death sentence.

His Doctor contacted the team of doctors from The Hershey Medical Center Cardio Research Dept. to see what could be done. Dan was transported to Hershey; they checked him over and told him he had nothing to lose. Dan was willing to be a part of a treatment study, in the study they would try different drugs on him to see how his body reacted. He was a special case because of his age and the fact that that he was a diabetic.

Dan took the offer saying “I’ll give it a shot, anything I can do to help.” He knew that he may not live to see twenty-five but maybe he could help someone else. He started changing his life he moved back home and was determine to keep as healthy as he was at this point, for as long as he could.

Over the years his health would get worse from a combination of the cardiomyopathy coupled with the diabetes and Dan fought everyday with fatigue, stomach problems and an enormous amount of aches and pains. His five years came and went and we were all grateful. No one more than Dan, he was still here to show us how much he loved us.

Dan was more like my big brother to me then he knew. He would know what I needed before I did. He would help you anyway that he could or find someone that could. He let us know how proud he was that we were his family and defend us with his last breath if he had to. Dan would take the shirt of his back if he thought he could help you out. He would say “Family comes first.” Dan’s family included all of us, the guys he hung with and all their families.

Dan went through so much in the 47 years that he was here with us, that it is hard to think about all he endured. You have to know this that he never complained, he would joke or down play what was happing to him. Every time I would ask how are you feeling? His response would be “With my fingers, how about you?”

Dan had countless complications from the diabetes over the years. He would bounce back from each episodes and be his old self in no time. This went on for a while and then he fell hunting and broke his leg. He went through countless surgeries and hours of excruciating pain. His leg took years to heal. The diabetes is a contributing factor in how his body would heal. Then his bone wouldn’t heal they cut the ends, joined them and slowly he healed. One leg now shorter than the other and he was always in pain. He had special shoes made so that he could walk easier.

Then Dan got sick with the flu, his lungs filled with fluid and his heart just couldn’t take it anymore, it stopped. Thank God he was in the hospital when it happened. They worked on him for thirty minutes and he came around, he had cheated death again. We were so relieved that he came through. This was a major change in Dan’s health. His heart had received so much damage that it was touch and go for a long time.  When he got stronger he receive a pace maker and a warning that death could be soon. Dan did not let that stop him. He loved life, family and friends and was determined to make the best of what time he had. He kept living, he went to see rock concerts, hunting, fishing and he was there when for weddings, funerals and to see new babies born to friends and family.

Dan was in and out of the hospital sometimes three to four times a year and he was always grateful for the care he received, but when he was feeling better he would want to leave. He hated hospitals because they took him away from what he loved the most his family and friends. He took his health very serious once he had his friend come and take him out of the hospital because he did not agree with the doctor. He said “I had to get out of there the guy was trying to kill me, he didn’t want to listen to me!” Suffering was a part of his life yet he put it on the back burner to help you in any way possible. He would have long periods where he would stay out of the hospital thanks to the care of the doctors and my mother.

Moving home was a great thing for Dan. He knew the people around him loved him and wanted to take care of him. If you would ask him how are you doing he would say “Can’t complain, what about you?” He tried to put others needs before himself, was quick with a smart ass response and in love with each one of us.I am proud of my brother he lived each day to its fullest. Thank you for what you have done for others by participating in the diabetes and heart disease research. I know it will help so many. I will miss the corky comments that he would come up with sometimes and the way he would wait until he thought he wouldn’t be a bother to ask you for something he needed. He now lives in my thoughts, prayers and my heart. Dan know that you are loved.

He leads the humble in what is right, and the humble He teaches His way.                PSALM 25:9