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