Sunday, February 21, 2016

Inspiring Others

April 22, 2014 was my wake up call. A week prior to that, I had been going through a degree of depression and suffered blurred vision. When I woke up that morning, I had a severe headache. I decided to check my blood glucose for the first time in several months. It was 230. I decided to call my doctor's office, who urged me to come in. That morning, I was scared. I didn't know what my doctor was going to tell me. I do know that I was now sick and tired of my diabetes negatively controlling my life.

When I went into the examination room, I stepped on the scale. Then I was given 294 reasons to straighten my life. I considered myself an old 58 at the time. With an artificial knee, and a plate with 7 screws, both in my left leg, I took a cane with me to work.

When my doctor came into the exam room, I was prepared to tell him what I needed to do, and I did. He adjusted my medications and added a new one. I left the office determined to make positive changes. The following day, while in my wife's parents' house, I laid out my plans. I told them if I had to wrap my left leg in ace bandages, I was going to walk daily. The following day, I started my walking. My leg was not wrapped. And I'm happy to say that I have not used my cane to this day. Matter of fact, I forgot where I put it.

The weight started coming down. The blood pressure and blood glucose started coming down. My doctor reduced some of my medications and cut out others. And I am now fitting into clothes that are much smaller. My waist size went from 50 to 38 inches.

Since day one, I have been posting health updates on my Facebook page. I decided to use my friends as an accountability group. Most of my friends have been very supportive of me and my efforts to #DefeatDiabetes. I have also gained new friends. for the most part, these friends have been recommended by others. Those making the recommendations, are concerned for their friends, who are either newly diagnosed with diabetes, or their blood glucose was going out of control. They feel that I can give these people some guidance and inspiration. I take it as an awesome responsibility, almost a ministry.

People who have been friends all along have privately messaged me to tell me that they have been inspired by my proactivity to become proactive themselves. Members of my family have also taken notice of what I've done and are working on taking control of their health. I have also heard from friends who have been newly diagnosed as diabetics. They are looking for guidance. I hope I can give it to them.

One thing that I do know is that not all diabetics are alike. I am a type 2 diabetic. I was originally diagnosed at age 49. I really have no idea what the specific cause of my diabetes is. What I do know is both my parents were diabetic, as well as my maternal grandmother. I remember at age 10 going to the hospital with my parents because my grandmother was experiencing complications from her diabetes. She went on to live another 20 years.

I also know that I have had a continuing struggle with my weight since I was 11 years old. When I was a senior in high school, I was 250 pounds of baby fat. On my 21st birthday, I was 260 pounds. the following year, I lost 60 pounds, or as I like to tell people, I lost 60 pounds chasing women. I started gaining it back when I finally caught one. At age 25, I weighed 240 pounds. When we were expecting our first child, I decided to quit smoking and try to lose weight. I lost over 50 pounds this time around, and stayed away from the cigarettes for 5 years. I finally laid down the smokes for good in August, 1997. Needless to say, I lost and gained back enough weight over the years to make a whole 'nother person. This is more than likely another factor in my diabetes. In my adult years, I have weighed a high of 306 pounds and a low of 178. I hope this time around when I get down that I stay down.

My posting about this on Facebook serves a dual purpose. In addition to inspiring others, I also keep myself honest.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Curse of the Spiders

No, this post has nothing to do with arachnids. It does have everything to do with the Gateway City.

This morning I had heard on the news that the St. Louis Rams will be moving back to Los Angeles for the 2016 NFL season. What does this have to do with spiders? I'll get to that.

You may have to feel sorry for the people of St. Louis, getting their football team "stolen" from them. However they "stole" the team from Los Angeles in 1994 to begin with. You couldn't really feel sorry for the football fans of L.A., since they "stole" the Rams from Cleveland in 1946. But I digress.

St. Louis lost another NFL team, the Cardinals, to the Phoenix area, however they "stole" this team from Chicago in 1960.

Now the people from the Gateway City at one time had a National Basketball Association team. This team was the Hawks. Atlanta claimed them as their own in 1968. You really can't shed a tear for these sports fans since they took the team from Milwaukee in 1955.

Oh, and St. Louis once had two Major League Baseball teams to call their own. One team, you already know about. they are the Cardinals, who have been playing in St. Louis since 1882 under varying names. The other team was the St. Louis Browns. This team was "stolen" by the good people of Baltimore in 1953. Cliff Note: Seems the people in the Charm city have an obsession with teams nicknamed the "Browns". But you really cannot feel sorry in this case either. The Browns began their existence as the Milwaukee Brewers. but this is not where the St. Louis thievery began.

Back in 1899 the Robinson brothers purchased the National League St. Louis Browns, rescuing them from certain bankruptcy. they renamed the team the Perfectos. However they also owned another National League team, the Cleveland Spiders The Robinsons felt that a winning team would be a better draw in St. Louis, so they arranged for all the talented players from the Spiders to be transferred to St. Louis. The Spiders record for the 1899 baseball season was 20-134, the worst in major league history. Most of their games were played on the road since the other franchises wouldn't play in Cleveland due to very low attendance, which averaged 199 spectators per game. The Perfectos were renamed the Cardinals the following season.

The Cardinals are the only team to have any longevity in St. Louis, however they almost went out of business in 1899. It took stealing half of the Cleveland Spiders to save them then. I just wonder if what is happening to St. Louis now is an ongoing result of this long ago larceny? Could it be "the curse of the Spiders?"

Enjoy your baseball St. Louis. And be kind to spiders. Oh..Baltimore? You could be next.