As I’m sure many of you that I’m friends with on Facebook & Twitter are already aware, I was diagnosed w/ Type II Adult Onset Diabetes back in December. A week in the hospital is a heck of a gift for your 40th birthday huh? It actually goes a lot deeper than that, not only did I have to spend a week in the hospital but I also experienced firsthand what it’s like to go blind, have cramps in every single muscle in your body, and lose feeling in both arms. Yeah, it’s a whole lot of fun, I promise. Do you know the worst part of the whole thing was for me? It’s that I could have totally avoided every bit of this…
Doing what I do for a living I spend more than a fair amount of my time sitting in front of a computer. While computers are great and all that, I don’t think anyone has ever viewed them as a way to add days to our lives. In fact, most people I know that do what I do for a living are not as healthy as they should be. Unfortunately many of us accepted this as our lifestyle and are now paying the price. I look back 10 years and remember how healthy I once was, and how much energy I had back then and it’s astonishing how quickly things can slip away when you take them for granted.
Obviously things are a lot different now, I quickly correct anyone who says that “I’m on a diet”, because it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. If I look at my current regiment as anything other than permanent I could potentially shorten my lifespan, and for those of you that know me are already aware, I have a lot to live for these days, namely my little boy – who I want to see turn the world upside down (in a good way)! Fortunately my results have been great (almost too good at times, see my most recent events), I’ve lost almost 40lbs and for the first time in years I will be breaking 220lbs, I’m on my way to 199lbs as my goal, a few months ago I would have told you that I would have loved to have been 220lbs again. I have plans of running my first 5k this year and have been getting my body in shape despite some issues that have been plaguing me such as foot problems, etc. I’ve said it a thousand times, Diabetes picked the wrong guy!!!
A lot of people have asked what signs my body gave me that something wasn’t right, even months leading up to the point where I was hospitalized I knew I wasn’t 100%. Probably the biggest indicator for me was that I had this undying thirst that never seemed to subside, I would literally drink gallons of water each day and probably get up to go to the bathroom 10-12 times a night, between the fact that I was going often and a few other issues that I won’t go into here I was convinced that I had prostate issues. Next on my list of things that should have told me I had diabetes was the fact that I could break out into an enormous sweat in the most odd places, like a freezing cold Razorback football game where everyone is wearing jackets and bundled up but I’m wearing an Under Armor t-shirt w/ sweat dripping off my nose. I also had lost all energy and felt horrible most of the time, getting out of bed was a struggle each morning and nothing seemed to help. I also put on a lot of weight and eventually started losing my vision, but the one thing that actually forced me to go to the doctor was a sharp, persistent pain in my left side that turned out to be my pancreas, liver, and spleen all enlarged at the same time. There was literally a visible area on my left side that hurt when I sat down and made it so that I couldn’t get comfortable in any position.
It’s important to note that Diabetes can mask itself in a bunch of different ways and it attacks everyone differently. Dr. Rook, my doctor that diagnosed me, pointed out in my last visit that years ago when people had what I had going on they would just die. Fortunately these days we do have a lot of research in place, and it’s getting better. We know what to eat to keep our sugar levels regulated and we know what not to do. For those of us w/ Type 2 Diabetes we know that our situation doesn’t have to be permanent. When diagnosed w/ Diabetes you usually have the answer to the question, “what will eventually kill me?”, but it doesn’t have to be that way — and it won’t be for me.
This past year I got each of our employees at Pleth a blood glucose meter for Christmas, I hope they check their blood sugar from time to time. Early detection is a great way to get out in front of this disease, and that’s the purpose for this blog post. The 25th annual “American Diabetes Association Alert Day” (PDF) sponsored by the American Diabetes Association is Tuesday, March 26. On this day there are a couple of things that you can do, a) check your blood sugar. If you get two readings after meals over 140, go see your doctor (mine was like 700 or something, I got high score on their machines). Secondly, the American Diabetes Association has a Diabetes Risk Test that you can take. I highly recommend taking it.
Hopefully none of you have Diabetes, but if you are diabetic, or pre-diabetic, hopefully I have just inspired you to be proactive and find out before it has a chance to knock you on your knees like it did me.