Ever since I was little, music has been a part of shaping my life with diabetes.
Over the years, I've written about the musical influences in my life and how they've boomeranged back to diabetes, even if only in my own brain -- and it was an incredible honor two years ago to talk with Mick Jones of Foreigner, who is a T2 D-peep himself!
One of my all-time faves has been classic rock legend Tom Petty, after I discovered my dad's old vinyl records in my early teen years and "Free Fallin'" became a mutually-loved tune that we bonded over. From then on, I attended countless Petty concerts over the years -- even more recently with my wife.
Now, I'm among those mourning Petty's death on Oct. 2.
He was without doubt the most influential musician in my life, across the board. And some of his songs are, to me, perfect illustrations of my T1D life.
Here's a snippet I wrote in November 2010, when I was poking some fun at diabetes with this musician in mind:
Tom Petty can apparently tap into my soul and sing songs in the voice of my pancreas: Breakdown, go ahead and give it to me (insulin, of course!). You Don't Know How It Feels (to be diabetic). We all know the Waiting Is the Hardest Part when coming down from a High, but we don't want to find ourselves Free Falling way too Low. You Wreck Me, diabetes. When it comes right down to it, we people with diabetes just have to say Damn the Torpedoes and just step out Into the Great Wide Open to start Running Down a Dream.
And in 2009, when I was working very hard to lower my A1C:
As rock legend Tom Petty tells us, "The Waiting is the Hardest Part..."
Indeed. The anticipation of knowing what the A1C result is can be daunting. It can feel as though you're Free Falling into an abyss of diabetic uncertainty, or that you might actually Breakdown. But, with the love and support of my American Girl, I continue Running Down A Dream that my A1C will reach that desired level. Then, I'll be able to smile in the mirror and say, "'You Got Lucky,' Hoskins." This isn't your Last Dance, but the start of something great.... even a Great Wide Open land where great diabetes care isn't a worry, but a reality.
And yes, there have been times I've referred to my lazy insulin organ as Tom "My Pancreas" Petty, in jest.
As you can probably imagine, I've been streaming Petty tunes almost non-stop since hearing the news, and my diabetes glucoaster has been penduluming high and low along with the song notes.
Diabetes Community Says
Curious what the commuity thought, we asked around on Facebook and Twitter about this very important topic of D-soundtracks. Here's what we heard from various D-peeps, starting right here at home:
'Mine editor Amy Tenderich: I often think back to the '90s Madonna tune "Over and Over," along the lines of "You Can Do This."
Kendra Gallagher Durdock, T1D in Pennsylvania: Tom Petty's "Waiting" is my song for when I am low waiting for my BG to respond!
Tom Webb, a T1D for 45 years, in South Carolina: "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2 in regard to my hope for a cure someday.
Melissa Lee, T1D for 31 years, in California: Sheryl Crow and "Everyday is a Winding Road," with the lyrics “Everybody gets high, everybody gets low. These are the days when anything goes."
Allison Marx, T1D for 17 years, in Georgia: "A Little Bit Longer" by the Jonas Brothers.
D-Mom Paula Fairchild in Kentucky: In 2012, I organized the first Big Sandy 'walk to cure type 1 diabetes' for JDRF. It was the first-ever walk held in eastern Kentucky. The walk grew each year, and in its last year drew more than 720 people and raised $23,000... which is pretty phenomenal for rural eastern Kentucky and especially given that that summer we had devastating floods that took the lives of four people and destroyed 40 or more homes. The song, "I Won't Back Down," was one of my theme songs and that of many T1Ds I know personally. Very thankful for the years of musical talent that we were able to enjoy from Tom Petty. His legacy will live on.
Tom Goffe, T1D in North Carolina: A whole list of tunes come to mind --
- Pat Benatar: “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”
- Tom Petty: “Waiting (on an AIC) Is The Hardest Part”
- Alabama: “Close Enough to Perfect” and “Take Me Down”
- B. B. King (who was a PWD himself): ”I’ll Survive”
- Blue Oyster Cult: “Don’t Fear The Reaper”
- Boston: “More Than A Feeling”
- Bryan Adams’ “Let Me Down Easy”
D-Mom Sherry Kelly in New York: "When my son was diagnosed with type 1 in 2014 when he was 11, it was the second time that type 1 diabetes entered my life... though there was a long absence in between. My dad passed away from T1D complications in 1982, when I was 11 years old. The song 'Pompeii' by Bastille was popular in 2014 and it was played often on the radio. Devastated over my son's diagnosis, many of the lyrics described how I felt that night the endo pulled up a chair in ER and told us our son had diabetes. Hearing that song within the first several months was so difficult; I always had to change the station. More than 3-1/2 years later I still can't listen to it."
"I was left to my own devices
Many days fell away with nothing to show
And the walls kept tumbling down
In the city that we love
Grey clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above
But if you close your eyes
Does it almost feel like
Nothing changed at all?
And if you close your eyes
Does it almost feel like
You've been here before?"
Original Music Vid: You may remember that in 2015, we at the 'Mine created our very own music video about not letting diabetes get you down, set to Tori Kelly's song Unbreakable Smile.
Musical D-Talent: And of course, we also have some pretty amazing music talent in our D-Community -- both successful commercial artists including Nick Jonas (who sang about his diagnosis specifically), Adam Lasher, Valery, RaeLynn, Eric Pasley to home crooners who've created their own diabetes-versions of popular songs.
You can't forget the Type 1 D-Moms Song back in 2011, the cute kid version of "All About the Cure" made for a JDRF fundraiser, the Diabetic Danica "Frozen" adaption from 2014, and of course Melissa Lee's D-parodies that are SO worth checking out.
In scouring the Interwebz, we also found this lovely version of the Lukas Graham song "7 Years," adapted to "Once I Was 2 Years Old" by a young lady named Sam Price, singing about her T1D diagnosis at such a young age. Pretty incredible stuff!
And in the meantime, keep on rockin' your diabetes to whatever music fits your life appropriately. As they say: Your Diabetes (and Music Taste) May Vary.