Meet the Advocates: Christopher’s Journey With Diabetes
Our latest ‘Meet the Advocates’ series includes details about their diabetes diagnosis and management journey. Meet, Christopher!
Tell us about your type 2 diabetes diagnosis
I was diagnosed on August 19th, 2015. I found out initially that I may have type 2 diabetes by failing my work DOT physical for having sugar in my urine and having a finger poke of 306. I was denied my medical card which is required to drive a commercial vehicle and without it then you might as well not have a license at all. I then have to make an appointment with my doctor. She did an A1C test which came back on August 19th, giving me the official diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. It was 8.6% and I had high blood pressure at the time as well. The doctor offered to put me on insulin but I refused because at the time if you were dependent on insulin, you couldn't drive a commercial vehicle without special permission (a medical waiver). After declining I was put on metformin 2x a day and blood pressure meds. I almost lost my career over my diagnosis and I was out of work for over a month until I brought my blood glucose down a bit. It was very stressful and a huge change of life. Life hasn't been the same since.
How do you currently manage your type 2 diabetes?
I currently manage my type 2 diabetes by eating sensibly, adequate sleep, stress management, and lots of exercise. I do take certain supplements to help with everything from blood sugar to exercise performance. By eating sensibly I mean, using moderation in food proportions, limiting carbs, eliminating soda, eating whole grains, increasing protein, and timing meals right before a workout if possible. Getting enough sleep has played a huge role in my diabetes as well. When I don't get enough sleep my numbers are much harder to keep down. Stress also plays a big factor as well. The more stressed I am, the higher those numbers go. I try to avoid stress when possible but find music and working out the 2 most effective ways to reduce my stress. In the past, upon initial diagnosis, I did lots of research to learn about diabetes and immediately started all these strategies I just mentioned and kept consistent. And yes I did have some slip-ups but ultimately stayed on track.
How do you take care of yourself when you feel frustrated, burnt out, or down?
I have many techniques I use to take care of myself when I feel frustrated, burned out, or down. I consistently check my numbers every day and at times it can be very frustrating when I've done everything I could do, but the numbers don't seem to be cooperating. I keep a positive mindset knowing it could be a bad day and one day's bad numbers aren't indicative of the bigger picture - unless those numbers consistently stay high. I know things are gonna slip from time to time and I look back at my logs and evaluate where I went wrong or what changed need to be made to improve my problem, as I'm a fiercely independent warrior-minded person. But I still do experience burn out or feel down about my situation. I improve this by looking back at old videos and pictures and remind myself of how far I've come in weight loss and diabetes management. And I don't want to die an early death due to diabetes complications. I just have too much to live for enjoying my life with wife, kids, and grandkids.
What are some other interesting facts about you?
My favorite part of Type2Diabetes.com is interacting with fellow diabetics, sharing experiences, and helping or inspiring others any way I can. My favorite food a good old Southwest omelet. And a fun fact about me that I had a very athletic background in hockey, mountain biking, football in high years, and the Army for 9 years. Ultimately came down with type 2 diabetes due to coming into truck driving from law enforcement jobs and became very sedentary which caused me to gain so much weight. I view type 2 diabetes as both a blessing and a curse. Had it not been for diabetes I'd probably be 400 pounds by now as I was at 340 when diagnosed.
Has diabetes changed your exercise routine?