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.