Wednesday, April 2, 2008

365 Days

365 days ago after a weekend where I spent 6 hours in the Emergency Room the doctor uttered the words that changed my life. "The tests indicate what we had originally believed, you have Type 1 diabetes." I had no idea what a profound impact that diagnosis would have on my life and could not have possibly predicted the amazing support network I would develop.

366 days ago I didn't know what a finger prick was.
366 days ago I didn't have to count the carbs in a slice of pizza.
366 days ago I thought legs that felt like rubber simply meant I was tired.
366 days ago I didn't have to constantly have orange juice in my refrigerator.
366 days ago I was terrified of what was becoming of my body.
366 days ago I didn't know what it meant to be a Type 1 diabetic.

April 2nd, 2007 was the longest day of my life. The previous Friday I went to my general practitioner to find out why I had lost 10 lbs. the prior week, why I was waking up every hour to drink a ton of water yet remained thirsty, why I had become so pale and why even after 14 hours of sleep I was so fatigued. Of course, as my luck would dictate the doctor's office could not find their glucometer so they could only do a urine analysis showing I had a heck of alot of sugar in my system. The next morning I took the train home and my Dad (a type 2) tested me with his glucometer - my fasting blood sugar was over 360 so my doctor's office recommended I go to the emergency room.

At Mt. Kisco hospital I received my first shot of lantus, received 2 syringes filled with the stuff for the next 2 days and set up an appointment with a local endocrinologist. April 2nd I was handed prescription after prescription: novolog pens, lantus, a freestyle meter, syringes, more prescriptions than I had ever seen in my life. Previously the only interaction I really had with doctors was for sports injuries - this was to be a whole new world.

That evening I sat in my apartment feeling alone, and scared. My former best friend, now ex-girlfriend didn't come down to my apartment as she had promised - adding to the isolation I felt from the world. As I sat on my couch with the TV on I wondered what was to become of my life. I wondered if I would ever be able to enjoy foods again and I wondered how the heck I was going to do the things I still enjoyed.

I probably stayed up all night researching diabetes. I came across athlete after athlete who had the disease, and started to understand what counting carbs was all about. On April 3rd I packed my gym bag, had some egg whites in the morning and went to work. For 35 minutes that day while I lifted I realized that diabetes wouldn't prevent me from living my life - I completed my first goal, I DIDN'T PASS OUT :).

April 4th is still the only day I remember diabetes truly affecting my mental state. My ex still had not come to visit me making me think that my disease was driving someone away whom I really loved. I hadn't told many of my friends about my diagnosis yet - I'm one of those keep things close to the vest type of people. At work I was using an alternate testing site (my forearms) because I wasn't ready for the world to know I had diabetes. At 10:30 pm I gave my shot of lantus and felt the burn I grew to know so well for the first time, then looked down at my arms and saw track marks. Tears flooded my eyes, I collapsed on my bed, alone and scared and called the only person in the world who could have helped me at that moment - my Mom.

I cried for at least an hour with my Mom on the phone; snots flying out of my nose, barely able to utter a word. My Mom listened to me sob and gave me the tough love that has allowed me to become the man that I am. She of course was supportive but reminded me how strong I am, how this didn't change who I was, how diabetes couldn't affect my soul, couldn't affect my heart. At the moment I stopped crying I knew I had to fight this disease, to challenge it, to say f*ck you diabetes - you will not beat me; it was then that my idea of Ring the Bolus was born.

I've chronicled my trials and tribulations of most of the past 365 days on this blog. I haven't gotten into a ton of personal stuff because I want to be an inspiration to others, there are many ways to live your life with diabetes, I simply choose to control it in the only way I know how. When confronted by a problem I grab it by the throat and look to dominate it, I don't wait to see what happens, I control my fate.

My heartfelt thanks to all for listening over the past year and for all the support you have offered me. 365 days ago I could not have fathomed the amazing people I would meet because of this disease. Each reader of this blog in some way has touched me and helped me through the most trying period of my life - thank you all.

Goals for the next 365 days:

1 - Finish Ironman Lake Placid 16 and 1/2 months after my initial diagnosis
2 - Get my A1c under 6 from a 6.4
3 - Continue to fight this disease in the only way I know how - Ring the Bolus!
4 - Rock at Darden
5 - Continue to blog about it
6 - Be proud of the Man In the Glass


Anonymous said...

Awesome post. Good luck, but somehow in your case, I don't think luck has anything to do with it.

Thanks for sharing.

Dying Water Buffalo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Scott K. Johnson said...

Great post Ed.

Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us over the last year. It has been a real pleasure sharing the journey with you, and I look forward to the many years to come with you.

Jillian said...

I'm never sure if a "Happy Anniversary" is appropriate when it comes to diabetes, but for you I think it is. You've achieved so much in one year. Wishing you many many more successful years to come!

Naomi said...

What a wonderful post. Now I'm all teary! My son is coming up on his one year mark in May. It's quite a milestone.

It looks like you really have taken hold of this disease, to the best of your ability, and with that attitude & determination you will have a long & healthy life!

Brett said...

As a father of a small child with Type 1, it is through people like you that I know some day she will be able to do anything she wants.

I admire your strength and courage. There are several ways to deal with something like this:
1) Give up (I do know some people that rebelled and have horrible control.)
2) Deal with it
3) Take it up a notch and do things you didn't even dream about doing before you had Type 1

Thank you for being a number 3er.

Kirk said...

Awesome post! I just discovered your blog yesterday so it looks like I have some reading to do. My 26 year Type I anniversary is this weekend. Like you, I continue to win the battle against diabetes with exercise and pure determination. You are a true inspiration. Take care.

Araby62 said...

Glad to see you're hanging tough. Look forward to reading more in the next 365!

Alison said...

Ed, thank you for sharing the past 365 days with us. You rock. :)

Cara said...

Congrats on surviving your first year with the big "D". I don't remember much of my first year (as I was only 4), but after 22 years of living with diabetes I can tell you that you should be very very proud of all you have accomplished this year.

~Suzanne~ said...

I just found you on the Diabetes O.C. and you truly are inspirational! Of course, we all have bad days, but here is to holding on to the good!

Thanks! =:~)