Musician and reality-TV star Bret Michaels has been through a lot this year, from an emergency appendectomy to a life-threatening subarachnoid hemorrhage, followed by a mild stroke that led to the discovery of a hole in his heart -- all within six weeks. Michaels, who has lived with type 1 diabetes since he was six years old, took time to open up to Diabetes Forecast, the consumer magazine of the American Diabetes Association, and share the details of his experience. The December issue of Diabetes Forecast also includes an interview with Michaels`s brain surgeon, Joseph Zabramski, MD.

Michaels stayed strong through the appendectomy and through the subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding at the base of the brain) -- even when his doctor told him that his chance of survival was about 50-50. It wasn`t until the discovery of a hole in his heart that he started to feel down about his health. "Now I`m a guy who fights, fights, fights," Michaels says, "but that one took the wind out of my sails... Normally I deal with pain by laughing at a lot of it, but this one depressed me."

But Zabramski told Michaels that the heart defect could be corrected (surgery has been scheduled for January), and Michaels regained hope about his future. "When I got back from the hospital," says Michaels, "I went out on my property and took a walk and got straight with God and with myself. I said, `Listen, I`m going to make every effort to get better, just give me a chance.` That was it. I just mentally got myself positive, and that is exactly what helped me get through it."

Several times throughout his hospital stays, Michaels found his blood glucose levels higher than he liked. "I literally wrote down, on a legal form, `I will take my own injections,` to release the hospital from any liability," he tells Diabetes Forecast. "I just knew I needed to take responsibility for whatever was going on with my blood sugar, and I finally got it down, with enough insulin, to the 140, 150 area."

It wasn`t long before Michaels appeared on Oprah and the Celebrity Apprentice, and even performed on American Idol. "I didn`t decide to make a comeback," he tells Diabetes Forecast. "It was all already planned; it was just a matter of whether I could make it or not."

Read more on Bret`s story here.


Source: American Diabetes Association Press Release

Originally posted by DiabetesCare.net on December 8, 2010.