Tag Archives: Diabetes

What would you do if your diabetes were cured?

Recently I ran across an online post asking for feedback to the question “What would you do if your diabetes was cured?” To be honest, I have never pondered that type of inquiry as it has not broached my thought process until last week. I struggled with even beginning to narrow it down to one particular item as diabetes is all I have ever known. Nearing almost forty years with this disease I have taken over thirteen thousand (13,000) injections with syringe and insulin pump infusion, have pricked my finger over seventy-five thousand (75,000) times, calculated carbohydrate intake for sixteen thousand (16,000) meals at a minimum, gotten up in the middle of the night due to high or low blood sugar on countless occasions, have become proficient in math calculations, science, psychology and luck in the life of being a Type 1 diabetic. It is a job where diligence is critical twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week year round. I have lived FOURTEEN THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED THIRTY-FIVE DAYS (14,235) without a break. Wow, what a journey this has been!
Would I gorge myself with sweet treats? Fill the pool up with sweet tea and use Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups as a life-raft and a Twizzler for the rope to keep the little kids from getting into the deep end? These are not paid endorsements but should be! Maybe an onion ring would better suffice as a life-saver in this carbohydrate laden pool. Use a Pixie Stick as a straw for an A&W root-beer float? No, I would pass as the sweet tooth fairy no longer visits my house and has not for years. Would I eat a whole pizza consisting of jalapenos, feta cheese, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon and anchovies without suffering the consequences of blood sugars running high for hours on end due to the bread and fat in said pizza? No, give me all those items without the bread and tomato sauce. Would I be able to forego seeing my doctor of endocrinology five times a year, eye doctor and podiatrist once a year? Would I stop going to the pharmacy twelve times a year to pick up life sustaining medicine and medical equipment costing my family thousands of dollars out of pocket every year? No, as I would still have to give diligence to my overall health and make necessary stops to the pharmacy as needed. Would I jump up and down with elation in relief of the mental, emotional and physical toil that consumes every person that faces the challenge of this burden? No, as every person faces undue trial and tribulations at some point during their lifetime.
This has been a journey and I am truly thankful for the friends that I have gained as well as the bond that has been formed due to this disease. I have lost friends due to death at too early of an age.  Even though the journey has been long I am thankful for the experiences I have had and anticpate those of the future. As stated in previous blogs one often hears far-fetched cures that hold little to no merit. There are new strides transpiring in diabetes research happening now and I am thankful for the technological advancements that have already been achieved. This disease has become easier to manage and the potential to put an end to diabetes related blindness, renal failure and appendage amputations is close at hand with the advent of a bionic pancreas and continuing studies in protecting or spurring beta and islet cell functionality. One day soon we could potentially be involved in a feasible solution to exiting the diabetes roller coaster. We are closer today than we were yesterday and rest in the lead car called hope as breakthroughs are developing on a daily basis making the question: “what would you do if your diabetes were cured” more pertinent now than ever before. Writing this blog has helped me formulate a very definitive answer to this query. Were diabetes cured today I would……….hold my nine year old diabetic son in my arms and be thankfully relieved that he would not have to experience the daily grind of this disease. After that I will ask him, “Will you help me fill the pool up with sweet tea?”

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I have entered …

I have entered the blogging world! Why? I have no idea. I wanted an avenue to document the journey I am about to take. I am forty-one years old and a juvenile diabetic diagnosed at the age of two in 1974. In good health, as far as I can tell, and recently shed forty-seven pounds off my 5 foot 7 frame. At the age of forty I ballooned to two hundred pounds for the first time in my life. Why? Multiple factors. I was in the process of running for mayor in my local city. I was elected to public office back in 2008 and served as a city councilor. The four years I was in office I put on forty-seven pounds!! Eating out, all the time, stress, diabetes (which was semi-controlled) led to me fluffing up.

On my fortieth birthday I made the decision that I would make a life change. I came to the realization that I would make the necessary adjustments to have better control of my diabetes and shed the pounds.  I kept telling myself that I would do it and never started until I hit the ripe old age of forty.  Determined, I committed an hour a day of physical movement. I started walking the neighborhood which led to walking the Chief Ladiga Trail. I walked as late as eleven o’clock, at night, and as early as five in morning. Movement, movement, movement!!! That’s what I had to do.

This led to me paying attention to what I was eating which led to less insulin intake and lowered blood sugar.  The hardest part were the first three weeks but, once I got through the initial withdrawal of consuming less carbs it became easier. I stepped on the scales daily, which is not a good idea as my weight fluctuated each time.  I decided to change my weigh-ins to once a week.  Slowly and surely I began shedding the pounds! I averaged losing four pounds a week.

People I interacted with, daily, began noticing the change and people who I had not seen, in a while, really did not notice. I began feeling better about myself and became more confident that I could accomplish my goal of getting to my target weight of one hundred fifty-five pounds which is the high-end of my target weight based on my height.  My Hemoglobin A1c, which is a blood test that shows your ninety day blood sugar average, had always been below seven but it was due to low blood sugars which can skew your results.  A normal person’s A1c is 4 to 5 with their blood sugars being running around eighty-three.  Ideally diabetics should be below seven which is an average blood glucose reading of 140.  At my last doctor’s appointment my A1c was 5.9 which is great but I was expecting a 5.5! My doctor said “Derek, you are harder on yourself than I am.”  After hearing my doctor make that statement I smiled and said “Yes! I have been at this for thirty-nine years and have gotten by without bearing down on the disease that could lead to an early death.  I took control and am thankful for this opportunity to be healthier and fit. I feel better now, at the age of forty-one, than I did in my teens. I will continue to press on. Each day has its own challenges and I look forward to every new beginning.

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