Time or at least the lack thereof is almost always on my mind, this is a blessing and a curse. I have an auto-immune disease called type 1 diabetes which interjects itself into my life all day every day. Millions of people, adults and unfortunately children, have the disease. I was diagnosed when I was 19 years old all while being at a healthy weight and consistently exercising. When diagnosed I was very confused and did not understand the severity of what this disease could do over the course of my life. Depression sunk in during the first couple years of trying to learn to manage the condition. I was mad, sad, up, down, and at one point just wanted to ignore it.
A Rude Awakening
One day I had a very low sugar level upon waking and was nearly brain damaged due to the duration without glucose in my blood, I was 21. This experience punched me in the gut hard, my friend was trying to talk to me on the phone and could tell something was off so my brother came over to help. My brother had to hold me down and force feed jelly with a spoon in order to get my sugar level up. After coming back to consciousness I was covered in tears, half naked, shaking so bad my teeth were chattering, and scared to death. It felt like I had just woken from a real life nightmare and it absolutely was.
I spoke to my doctor about the incident and remember him telling me that I was a mere minutes away from having permanent brain damage. This was the scariest conversation I have ever had and I often think about it especially now that I am a Dad. Have you ever been shaky from not eating? This means your sugar is slightly lower than normal, mine was as close to zero as it could be. I have since had other incidents of low sugar levels but not nearly as severe, although my wife may not agree.
Take Care of Yourself First
This disease has taught me to take chances in life, take risks, don’t waste time, and never quit exercising. Currently I workout 4-6 times per week, the benefits of weightlifting and cardio on sugar absorption and insulin usage are one the absolute best medicines. Diet is the most important variable when trying to control diabetes and is also the hardest for me to stick with.
As a Dad I am more disciplined to maintain a fitness routine and a more steady diet than ever before. I have dreams about not being around for my son due to complications in the future and this scares the hell out of me. Fear is the ultimate motivator, don’t forget that. If you are a Dad with any type of health adversity then you have no excuse to not workout or eat cleaner! I see videos of amazing people who exercise while missing limbs or being born with certain terrible handicaps and this motivates me more than seeing amazing athletes who do not have those adversities to overcome. What excuse do you or I have? Seriously what excuse? If you have a good excuse please send it to me.
“Fear is the ultimate motivator, don’t forget that.”
We are all on borrowed time, but we have the opportunity to make what time we have much more enjoyable. If you have a disease or disability then you are being tested everyday, so show up and throw those excuses in the fire, sit back and watch them burn, maybe even laugh a little. Excuses sound best to those who are making them (heard that one from Jocko Willink). Get out there and be the best version of a Dad you can and do not forget that you must take care of yourself first. Remember the safety speech on an airplane, put your oxygen mask on first so that you may help others.
Be positive with your adversity. Do not pity yourself or others. Work hard on yourself and project a strong mentality. We do not have time to be negative about anything.
Please keep in mind I am not a doctor or a diabetes specialist. I am speaking from 14 years of personal experience with the disease. I am open to discussing other personal experiences with T1D with anyone who is struggling or just wants to discuss life obstacles with diabetes.