A follow-up to the initial diabetes post and how life has improved since being diagnosed………
Looking back over the past 16 years since being diagnosed with diabetes much has changed in my life. I have lost both my mother and my youngest sister to cancer. I have seen my parents struggle with a failing business. I have seen them overcome great personal tragedy. I have also seen much joy & happiness, such as completion of my Master’s Degree, getting married and most especially, the birth of our two children. One thing that has not changed over the years, however, is my desire to beat diabetes. To never let it slow me down. I have a number of stories related to diabetes. One thing I like to do is keep track of some of the unique places I have given myself insulin injections. The list is long and distinguished. I have done it at Mile High Stadium in Denver during the World Youth Day services with Pope John Paul II. I’ve done it in the Rocky Mountains, the Wasatch Mountains, the San Juan Mountain range, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Bitterroot Mountain ranges, and the Adirondacks. I’ve done it in Glacier National Park, the island of Kauai, and in Beverly Hills on Rodeo Drive. I’ve done it in San Diego at the Super Bowl, in Atlanta at the Peach Bowl, in Jacksonville at the Gator Bowl and numerous times in Charlottesville at Scott Stadium during UVa games. I’ve also done it with Mickey & Friends at Disney World, numerous golf courses, beaches, restaurants, planes, trains & automobiles. Heck, I’ve even done it at a strip club! (I was the designated driver on that adventure!)
I use all of these experiences to show others with diabetes that it is not always a bad thing and to show them that with a little planning, anything is possible. I strongly believe in the theory of leading by example. I have tried the things that I encourage my clients to try. I have made the changes that I encourage my clients to make. I live a healthy lifestyle but also enjoy living. My biggest reward comes when I let a client know that I have diabetes and they respond, “You don’t look like you have diabetes”. That lets me know that I made the right decision in changing careers.
There are things I still fear about having diabetes. The risk of developing complications is always going to be there. My biggest fear now, is for my children. One of the areas Angie & I discussed before starting a family was the risk of having children that may develop diabetes. While most of my experiences have been positive, diabetes is still a dangerous condition. The long term complications, the high cost of insurance coverage and just the high cost of management will always bring about some uncertainty. Although there may soon be a cure for Type 1 Diabetes, the potential for my children to develop diabetes still scares me the most. Our oldest, Jonathan, learns more about diabetes everyday. He is beginning to understand the relationship between food, insulin exercise and blood sugar control. Our youngest, Bayleigh, never hesitates to answer, “Yes!” when asked if she would like to check her blood sugar. She has no fear! They have become another reason to continue doing everything I can do to lead a healthy life. There is no doubt that they are a major motivation for me. If you have diabetes, find your motivation. Do everything you can do to control it. Don’t let it control you! Life with diabetes is still life. Live it! Enjoy it! Like my Mom used to always say, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life!”. Make today a good one.