Community Member Spotlight: Dan (Part 1)
It is time to get to know some community members! We recently spoke with Dan Meredith, an active community member on our Facebook page. Dan frequently interacts on our Facebook page, sharing his meaningful perspectives, experiences, and giving support to other fellow members also managing life with type 2 diabetes. Below he details his type 2 diabetes diagnosis story and reflects on lessons learned from his diagnosis. This is part 1 in a 2-part interview series. Read part 2 to learn how Dan currently manages his type 2 diabetes.
A shocking type 2 diabetes diagnosis
I was diagnosed in September 2019. I had been struggling with IBS for several years. I had an appointment to see my doctor because I had been suffering from a flare-up. Two days before the appointment, I had blood work done. The next day, a nurse called and asked, “Do you need to urinate a lot?” I answered that I did not. She said, “Looking at your blood test, we think you might be diabetic. We are going to run your A1C.”
That was a shock. I wish they had just gone ahead and run the A1C without calling me. I was full of anxiety waiting for the appointment the next day. I got the phone call just as I was ready to leave for a high school Bible club that I help to teach. I asked the staff there to pray for me.
On the day of the appointment, one of the ladies from the staff texted to remind me that God was in control. The text came just as I was getting in my van to leave.
Feeling overwhelmed with the new diagnosis
At the appointment, the doctor explained that my A1C was 8.1, which she said was fairly high. She put me on an 1,800-calorie diet and gave me a lot of literature about diabetes and diet. She was extremely empathetic and took a lot of time to talk with me. She also explained that my cholesterol was a little high, which caught me off guard because it had always been pretty good.
The doctor handed me a glucose tester and said the nurse would show me how to use it. After she left the room, the nurse apologized that she was a sub and stumbled through the explanation. I was more confused than ever (fortunately, I found a very helpful YouTube video later).
When I got home, I struggled to carry all the literature, the tester, and the drug samples to the kitchen counter. As I dropped it all, my cell phone rang. It was a pastor friend who I was scheduled to serve with as worship leader at an event 2 days later. She called to say, “Dan, I just felt the need to pray with you.”
How sweet of God to bookend my appointment with a text and a phone call, letting me know He knew about my appointment and diagnosis. He is in control.
A surprise in A1c follow-up results
Two weeks after my diagnosis, I went to the ER because I was feeling pressure in my chest (turned out to be stress and heartburn). While I was there, they reran my A1C and cholesterol. My A1C had dropped to 7.7 and my cholesterol was normal in just 2 weeks. I asked the doctor, “How is that possible, other than answered prayer?” She replied, “I don’t have an answer to that.”
The doctor told me that if I continued with that progress, I could be off meds in January. That became my goal.
Important lessons learned since diagnosis
I can turn things around by making better health choices. Because of those choices, not only has my sugar improved but so has my blood pressure and my cholesterol. I have been off blood pressure meds for 6 months after taking them for several years. Even my IBS is much improved after suffering for 8 years. It is not 100 percent gone, but not as debilitating as it was before.
Find support from loved ones
My wife has been very supportive. My diagnosis interrupted her life as much as mine. She has been very helpful. I do share my diagnosis, mainly because my weight loss has been dramatic and people ask if I am OK. I have been surprised by how many people around me have been diagnosed and I had no idea.
Do not be afraid to ask for help
Try not to panic. You will adjust. I remember feeling overwhelmed and that I could not adjust. I also worried that the change in diet would be expensive, but it was not. Your local community probably has diabetic counselors and classes. Do not be afraid to ask for help. And do not forget to ask the Lord for help!
Everyone's diabetes management is different
Everyone is different when it comes to T2D. Our bodies react differently. What works for me might not work for you and vice versa. Add to that the fact that everyone has different goals. These are based on age, lifestyle choices, etc. My goal was to be off meds. Others may choose to stay on meds and have a different lifestyle. To each his own.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your diabetes?