Crystal Bowersox Speaks Out on Her Diabetes

Crystal Bowersox recently gave an in-depth interview to Diabetes Mine about her struggles over the years with Type 1 diabetes.

  • You can read the entire interview HERE.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Crystal woke up one day when she was on Idol with her blood sugar in the 400’s. She told the staff she wasn’t feeling well and was rushed to the hospital.  Her ph levels were so low, the staff told her she should have been in a coma.  She was kept overnight, and the next day, Ken Warwick came to her hospital room and said, “I’m sorry darling. You’re off the show.”  She begged and pleaded to stay on.   She met with the show producers, who allowed her to stay as long as she had a nurse with her 24/7.  They switched the show dates to accommodate her.
  • She started playing gigs when she was 10 years old.  Her dad was her roadie. She was in and out of the hospital a lot when she was in high school. Finally, it was suggested that she get an insulin pump, but she couldn’t afford it.   She did benefits at bars to raise the couple of grand she needed to make up what insurance wouldn’t pay.
  • She struggled to pay for insulin supplies when she lived in Chicago, but luckily she hooked up with some friends she met as a kid at Diabetes camp who helped her out.  By the time she tried out for Idol, she was on Medicare.

Crystal also talk about her high-risk pregnancy, her advocacy efforts, and the importance of facing diabetes head on. She plans to work with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in the future, and hopes to work with fellow Idol and Type 1 diabetic, Elliott Yamin.

About mj santilli 33688 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!

25 Comments

  1. We all remember that incident for sure, that had to be scary! We all knew it was quite serious and now we know for sure. Thank God she made it through there okay!

    As for switching, the way she sang the next night, I think she would have done well if she was allowed to perform via videophone from her hospital room…Americans would understand too I would think.

    If that was how Ken Warwick handled it, I would have FIRED him on the spot. Imagine if he was in the same position.

  2. Diabetes is scary stuff. Did Elliott have a lot of problems being on the show?

  3. Diabetes is scary stuff. Did Elliott have a lot of problems being on the show?

    No. He kept pretty healthy.

  4. Very interesting interview. It is a little scary that she has numbness in her feet.

    Wow, and I agree that Ken Warwick was exceedingly thoughtless. Who gleefully enters a person’s hospital room and announces that all their hopes and dreams are dashed.

  5. If that was how Ken Warwick handled it, I would have FIRED him on the spot. Imagine if he was in the same position.

    I wouldn’t. Crystal’s condition was very serious. Why was his announcement thoughtless? It is his responsibility to make sure the show runs smoothly.

    Ken Warwick, the executive producer of the show, came into the hospital to see me, and he said, with his cute British accent, ‘I’m sorry darling. You’re off the show.’ I thought it was a joke! But he wasn’t laughing.

    I doesn’t seem like he was happy that she was unable to perform.

    This world is cruel. If you can not make it, there is always someone else to take your spot.

  6. Wow.

    I love Crystal, but I have to agree than Ken Warrick was not being cruel to initially send her home. The girl apparently just missed a coma… or worse. Now I am glad it all worked out the way it did, but I can’t say that his first impulse wouldn’t have been mine too. Not just to protect the show, but to protect her.

    That said, I am far more interested in the fact that she had to raise money to pay for an insulin pump in high school. That is incredible to me. She was, in the eyes of the law, a child. How can it be possible that a child can have a life threatening condition but can be blocked from getting the help they need because they don’t have enough money? Really? There had to be a program available that her family just didn’t know about. But, sadly, I can easily see how that might not have been that case. That is ridiculous IMO.

  7. What a rough, rough, time Crystal has had with her diabetes. After a life of struggle, it would have been terribly defeating had she had to leave Idol. I can’t fault Ken Warwick for his initial response; the show has a responsibility for contestants and to let her continue very ill would have opened it up to a whopper of a lawsuit for negligence. It is terrific it worked out so well. And now she is off and running toward her star.

  8. Wow, when you think about everything that has happened in Crystals life after that incident and how she and everything in her life has dramatically changed, makes one think that somethings are just meant to happen (she having a career). If that incident would have happened a day later or AI would have played it save and disqualified her, Crystal would probably be in similar shoes as Lilly Scott today. Even worse, she could be dead. But instead all her dreams are coming true, just performed live with Franti in front of 70.000 people, recording an album, secured good health care for herself and a financial stable environment for her son etc. etc. etc. Talk about a life changing moment in her life! Guess I should quit taking my health for granted and stop smoking :( Well soon…

  9. The struggles that Crystal has had in her life are the same struggles millions of Americans face who are unable to afford decent healthcare.

    Good for Crystal that she was able to endure her problems and secure a better life for her and her child. Too bad we can’t say the same for the millions of others.

  10. Crystal is such an inspirational person. Also, I am so glad she is using her platform to discuss her struggle with diabetes and the difficulties so many face in this country getting just basic medical care.

  11. The struggles that Crystal has had in her life are the same struggles millions of Americans face who are unable to afford decent healthcare.

    It was said on MSNBC this morning that “Two thirds of Americans think that neither party has a clear vision towards healing the economy”. Same thing could be said for healthcare. Glad Crystal made it through her struggles okay.

  12. But good care

    shouldn’t be a privilege to the wealthy

    . I want to bring awareness to the need.

    Well said Crystal. Reading this really makes me wonder about all of the people without healthcare, it’s not just the ‘poor’, but many working class people. I am also glad that Crystal decided against the foundation but has decided to work with the JDRF, what a voice she can be. Also glad she fought to stay on idol, it was worth it. For everyone involved.

  13. If music wasn’t providing, should have stayed in school, get good grades, and get a real job.
    Health care costs money. So, make money and pay for it.
    True, it seems that her near-death existence will pay off. But her “rags-to-riches” story is one in a million. The other 999,999 who are scrapping by in the hopes to make it big are, in the mean time, taking more from society than what they give.

  14. he other 999,999 who are scrapping by in the hopes to make it big are, in the mean time, taking more from society than what they give.

    So you’re saying that if you hope to make it big and you haven’t that you are “taking more from society than you give back”? Trying to understand here.

    I am one of the working poor. I am a widow, scraping by (a nurse by trade) with severe diabetes who cannot get health insurance. Am willing to pay but no company will write a policy for me because of health issues. My monthly medical bills run into the hundreds of dollars and that is if everything goes well that month. This is before any other bill I have. The only debt I have is a hospital bill that is in the 100k range plus my monthly living expenses. I work every day that my health allows. I would love to make it “big” in my profession, but will that will never happen because of my health. Why do you think that “I’m taking more than I give back”? I make good money and still struggle. Someone who makes less is a a distinct disadvantage. I’m glad Crystal “got her rags-to-riches” story. It’s a shame that most won’t and still have to deal with healthcare. LoveDaRocker do you have health insurance and good health?

  15. The other 999,999 who are scrapping by in the hopes to make it big are, in the mean time, taking more from society than what they give.

    Yeah, that’s a common sentiment. You are not alone.

    Aside from any moral concerns, I don’t think that attitude makes economic sense. As Zastine pointed out, people can work and not get good heath care, or any at all. Or people can look for jobs and not find them. Or people can be not good at school no matter how hard they try. It is a fact of life in this country that some people will always go undercovered or with no coverage at all. It is also a fact of life that not everyone will find a job, even if you could wave a magic wand and give everyone a college degree.

    The thing is, when you don’t cover such people, they end up costing society WAY MORE than if you nipped the health problems in the bud in the first place IMO. Long hospital stays, major surgeries and hospice care cost way more than a doctor’s appointment and a prescription. Not to mention what happens when a young mother like Crystal dies, leaving behind children someone has to care for.

    I really think covering everyone makes sense from any way you look at it. I’m glad Crystal is using her newfound fame to call attention to the issue. YMMV, of course.

  16. Health care and education for ALL, should be a human right in every civilized country, irrespective of income. Why a rich country like the US, can´t provide what all other western countries can and do, proves the private sector isn´t always the solution, and many times the problem. Health care being an obvious one. And while millions of people are suffering mentally, physically and financially, since poor health makes it hard to earn money which leads to depression etc, which affects all their loved ones, the pets of the rich are getting top of the line health treatment! There is something very wrong with this picture

  17. Zastine4974:
    So you’re saying that if you hope to make it big and you haven’t that you are “taking more from society than you give back”? Trying to understand here.

    My comment was directed to musicians and entertainers in general (I said “if music wasn’t providing …“). My view is that arts and entertainment are the type of careers in which the odds are overwhelmingly against you. If you decide to “follow your dream” at the expense of the rest of society (she was in medicare, not to mention she had a son which, guessing by the fact she was in medicare, she could not support), then I don’t feel that I should foot the bill.
    When I was younger, I had a choice to pursue my dream of becoming a professional baseball player. I decided to stay in school and get a real job. I am glad I did. None of my friends who continued their baseball dreams, and admittedly where better than I was, made it big enough to support themselves. The best of them all played with a number of teams for 3 seasons. Not the “star” he or I dreamed about. I think he is back home doing real estate (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    I am one of the working poor. I am a widow, scraping by (a nurse by trade) with severe diabetes who cannot get health insurance.

    As I said, my comments were not directed to someone like you. First, you studied a trade that our society needs (nursing) but had some bad circumstances along the way (widow). So, you are the type of person that, I think, deserves help from society until you get back on your feet.

    LoveDaRocker do you have health insurance and good health?

    Yes. I chose a trade that I knew would pay for it.

    Eriko:
    Health care and education for ALL, should be a human right in every civilized country, irrespective of income.

    Nevertheless, that’s not the way it is. Until then …

  18. So, you are the type of person that, I think, deserves help from society until you get back on your feet.

    Are you saying there are those who do not deserve it? Meaning if they can´t afford it and need it.

  19. Eriko:
    Are you saying there are those who do not deserve it? Meaning if they can´t afford it and need it.

    Whether someone deserves something has absolutely nothing to do with whether that someone can afford it. Two completely different things.
    So, let me rephrase your questions:

    Eriko:
    Are you saying there are those who do not deserve it?

    Yes

    Eriko:
    If they can´t afford it and need it (should they get it)?

    Maybe.

    Everyone should do their best to support him/herself and save a little for a rainy day. So, whatever it is you chose to do to support yourself should at least cover that.
    If your “dream job” does not pay, then why do it? Because its your calling? Cool then. More power to ya!
    But why do I have to pay for it? Why do I have to pay for your “dream?”
    Remember, these comments are being made within the context of highly intelligent and able people who chose to play guitar in subway stations instead of hitting the books and/or providing a service people is willing to pay for.

  20. But why do I have to pay for it? Why do I have to pay for your “dream?”

    Why do my retired parents to pay for your kids to go to school? Why do my taxes pave the highway even though I walk to work? Some things make sense to do because in the end, they benefit everyone.

    Unless you are saying we should have no musicians, actors, baseball players, etc unless they can simultaneously find a way to provide for expensive healthcare while they work their way up in their professions… an assertion that would be unrealistic, I would think… I think it might have to be just a fact of life that some people may not get covered as long as coverage is only attached to certain kinds of jobs. And it may be beneficial to everyone if those people have access to some kind of preventative care, as opposed to letting their health deteriorate to a state that is more expensive to fix later on.

  21. Unless you are saying we should have no musicians, actors, baseball players, etc unless they can simultaneously find a way to provide for expensive healthcare while they work their way up in their professions…
    Yes.
    an assertion that would be unrealistic, I would think…
    No.
    If these trades are “needed,” then those who need then should pay for them.

  22. LoveDaRocker Everyone in a civilized society should get health care when needed, no questions asked. Even bums who don´t want to work (there could be a mental disorder, not that is matters)And even if you think someone doesn´t, we as humans deserve it to our self’s that our fellow human being will get medical treatment when called for. It should be a civil right, no exceptions. No one should play God and decide who lives, dies or suffers. Just because there are people who make mistakes, use bad judgments, are lazy, born into dysfunctional families or what ever doesn´t mean we should go one step further and be worst of the worst, by looking the other way or saying “not by problem” ANYONE, you too, could one day be without health care and needing it. If someone suffers or dies, regardless of reason, and we look the other way but could have helped, WE are responsible, morally for the very least

  23. I would say simply that not everyone whose medical expenses exceed their income is taking more from society than what s/he is giving. Nor is everyone who is being paid big bucks and can easily afford his/her medical expenses giving more than s/he is taking. IMO, there are certain basic medical expenses that should be covered regardless of what one earns, is capable of earning, or otherwise can scrounge up from caring friends or a local charity. Care for Type 1 Diabetes is one of those expenses.

    My guess about Ken Warwick is that he was scared shitless by the show’s lawyers of potential legal liability for Crystal’s medical crisis, and didn’t want to be in that position any longer. Glad he thought better of his initial position. Sayeth the lawyer.

  24. LoveDaRocker Everyone in a civilized society should get health care when needed, no questions asked.

    That would be nice. Your heart is in the right place. It’s just hard for me to bust my a55 50+ hours a week so that I can provide for my family, so that the government take over a third of my salary and provide for “people who make mistakes, use bad judgments, are lazy, born into dysfunctional families or what ever”, who probably don’t even pay taxes, the same thing I am busting my a55 for.
    Granted, not all they take from my salary goes to that. A lot goes to the military, which pi55e5 me off even more. But that is another story.

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