Name: Craig R
Location: Highlands Ranch, CO
While I obviously would prefer not to have this disease, it is something I can deal with. Yes, it is a struggle, but I can deal with it.
In my late 40's I had gained a little weight and at 5' 9" I weighed in at 220 pounds. I decided it was time to lose that weight and joined weight watchers, bought a treadmill and began to exercise more. I decided that my goal would be to run my first marathon at age 50. I trained very hard, lost my weight and finished the Big Sur Marathon one month after turning 50. It took me 4 hours and 44 minutes, certainly no speed record, but what a feeling of accomplishment.
Later that year I really started losing a lot more weight without really trying that hard. I was still exercising but I really wasn't watching my diet that closely. I also noticed that I was very thirsty and was drinking a lot of liquids. Visits to the bathroom were also becoming more frequent but I attibuted that to the amount of liquid I was drinking.
What finally lead to my diagnosis however, was my eye exam where the doctor told me that my vision had changed significantly and that I should probably see my family doctor. After a few tests I was given the dreadful news. I was diabetic.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. I thought I had done everything right, lost weight, exercised. But I guess you can't do anything about genetics. My father was diabetic but he wasn't diagnosed until he was 70. Well, after feeling sorry for myself for a few days I decided that I wasn't going to let this beat me. I read everything I could get my hands on about diabetes and visited with a nutritionist. I even picked up the pace on my exercise as well.
For several months I was only on oral medications, but it didn't seem to be doing the job and the doctor finally put me on an insulin. That first time that I had to inject myself was a little frightening (especially for someone who usually passed out from getting a needle), but I quickly got over that fear and realized it really wasn't all that bad.
The next year, at age 51, I ran my second marathon and finished with a time that was even a little bit better than the first. This time I carried along my glucose meter and energy bars. A couple of times I had to stop, check my levels, walk a little while I ate a bar, and then away I went.
While I obviously would prefer not to have this disease, it is something I can deal with. Yes, it is a struggle, but I can deal with it. I recently lost two very good friends to cancer. That is something that they couldn't control, so there are worse things than diabetes. There are bad days but I try not to let that discourage me and for the most part I am keeping my levels under control. Three months ago I became a grandfather for the first time I fully intend on being around to watch her grow up.