It came to a head on April 22nd. This was the Tuesday after Easter Sunday, and we were very busy the day before at work. I work the customer service line for a toy company and the day after Easter, understandably, would be a very brisk day. I had been having problems with my eyesight for the past several days, and working a job where you are staring at 2 computer screens for several hours is not good when you have blurred vision.
When I woke up on the 22nd, I was also experiencing headaches. At this point, I decided to check my blood glucose. I hadn't done that in many months, I wasn't even sure that my monitor was even working. The monitor read 230, more than 100 points higher than the top level should be. After thinking about it for over an hour, I had even packed my lunch for work, I decided to call the doctor's office and leave a message for the medical receptionist to call back. After that, I called off work.
My call to the doctor was returned by his receptionist. She said that he should see me, so I made an appointment for later that morning. While I was waiting to be seen, I posted this update on Facebook: "Waiting to see doctor. Blurred vision, headache, and elevated blood glucose. Figure it's time to see him."
Many thoughts went through my mind at this point. I was worried that I was going blind. Kathy was worried that I was going to be sent to the emergency room. I also was kicking my self due to my stupidity. Being diabetic, I was well aware of things that can happen if you don't stay on top of your condition. Things like blindness, kidney failure, heart failure, and having body parts amputated. I was then called in. Here is the next Facebook update: "Update on my medical condition: I wish to thank everybody for all your well wishes and prayers. When I got in to the doctor's office, the nurse took my blood pressure. It was 126/64. I knew at this point that I was going to be fine. When the doctor had come into the examination room, I let him know about recent happenings. He checked vitals and adjusted my diabetic medications. He gave me a new one to try and cut down on one of the others. I then went on to work. I was 5-1/2 hours late, but welcome nonetheless. My blood glucose later registered at 103. Vision is getting better and headaches are gone. Time to get my fat @$$ moving once again and try to knock some of the excess poundage off."
Ring ring, Cliff Feightner, here is your reality call. Next day was my day off. We were sitting at my in laws' house the next day, discussing my latest condition. I knew one thing that would help, along with adjustment of my diet, would be a good exercise program. Problem was, in my mind, my man made left knee. I had been putting off having surgery on it for at least the past 3 years. I decided there that if I had to wrap the knee every day, I would try to walk some pounds off.
The next day, the walking started to come together. the knee wasn't wrapped up. The following was my update , along with what has become my personal hashtag: Took a walk of a little over a mile. Worked up a sweat. Feel good!#DefeatDiabetes
And yes, I use #DefeatDiabetes with at least one FB post a day. And since these were becoming the most commented on posts, I wanted to send out other messages too: "And please, if you have a family history of diabetes, or are diagnosed with it, don't let your emotions start to go out of control over things you have no control over, or start to have vision problems before you start to take action.#DefeatDiabetes"
Cliff Note: Even if you don't have a Facebook account, you can read my posts by clicking on the hashtag, .#DefeatDiabetes
Diabetes is in epidemic proportions in this country due to some of the lazy habits we have cultivated. I first learned 9 years ago that I was diabetic. I thought at that time that I could beat it by diet and exercise. I became gung ho about it, but that went by the wayside.
October 22, 2011, I was in my inlaws' backyard when I slipped in the mud and broke 2 bones in my ankle. I was transported, by ambulance, to Medina Hospital, where I had surgery to put a plate and 9 screws in my leg. As I was going in for surgery, I had to have 3 insulin shots. This is because I hadn't taken my diabetic meds in quite a while. As I was in surgery, Kathy was afraid that I was going to stroke out on the table.
The reason I hadn't been taking my diabetic meds was financial. Believe me, that's a very dumb reason. Let your doctor know if there are medications that you can't afford. There are programs that will help.
Everything turned out fine and the following spring, I started an exercise program that ended before summer.
In the meantime, I became the good guy that would bring treats in to work on Saturday. This included doughnuts. And of course, I would indulge. After the doctor's appointment of April 22. this would change. Here is my update for April 26: "First doughnut free Saturday for me. I would bring in doughnuts for my coworkers to snack on as we work a 5 hour day on Saturday with no lunch break. No can do now. I have cut up some celery and am taking that along with some baby carrots. Not exciting in itself, but the end result will be.#DefeatDiabetes"
And my coworkers have been very supportive. The support comes from other avenues. When I call WONE-FM with my poems, one of the first questions that either Jeff Kinzbach or Ed Esposito will ask me pertains to my health. They both let me know that they are reading my posts and give me encouragement.
And there are what I call small victories. I have using my Facebook account as an accountability group. I love being able to tell of minor accomplishments. Here is one of the first of this journey. The post was written on May 3.
"Small Victories: First this morning, after my walk and shower, my blood glucose was 131. Now the small victory involves snacking at work. As most know, I am employed at a call center. I sit at a desk wearing a headset for several hours a day. My work week starts out working from 8am to 8pm Monday and Tuesday. I get 2 half hour breaks during the course of the day. I also keep something in my desk to give me a quick boost in case my blood glucose gets too low. That is a common problem of diabetics. In my desk, I have a pack of Lance cheese crackers and a granola bar. I also have a tin of Altoids. On Tuesday, we were all given Baby Ruth Bars. I placed it in my desk, where it still sets. When I have felt the need for a boost this week, I have gone into my tin of Altoids and put 2 in my mouth. According to the nutritional label, that's 2/3 of a serving. 1 serving has 10 calories. Now I have to work on my grazing when I get home at night. That is doable.#DefeatDiabetes"
BTW, the candy bar is still in my desk. Other small victories have included going down 3 pants sizes, and the ability to turn down desserts. I have discovered that I now have to start my morning with at least a 1.8 mile walk or a half hour on the treadmill.
My blood pressure and glucose have gone down significantly. My latest problem was that my glucose was getting too low, necessitating another visit to my doctor. This occurred yesterday morning. Since April 22, I have lost 23 pounds. My doctor was really excited with the fact that he could cut both my diabetic and blood pressure medications.
One of the thoughts that runs through my mind as I go get up at 4am on Monday and Tuesday to take my walk is one of motivation. I think about the old Zig Ziglar qoute. "Do I want to look like me? Or the guy in the Jockey shorts?" Realisitically, I know that I will not be looking like the guy inb the Jockey shorts, but I do have a weight goal. That is 60 by 60. I want to be 60 pounds less than I was on April 22 by my 60th birthday, October 30, 2015. It's doable. My main push is to help myself and others to #DefeatDiabetes"