My story began when I was just about to turn 14 years old.
On July 4th, while celebrating Independence Day at a campsite near Jacksonville, Florida with my family, something strange started happening.
I felt incredibly thirsty the entire day. Granted, I was in the Florida sun, but something was off. Instead of drinking a lot of water, though, I decided to drink eight or nine cans of Dr. Pepper. I made sure to not let my parents see.
That night, after the excessive amounts of sugar and burgers I consumed, I had to leave our tent around four times to use the restroom. I didn’t get very much sleep.
My parents thought it was odd, but they assumed it was because of all the soda I drank (they noticed a lot of cans were missing).
Over the next two months, I would lose 27 pounds, use the restroom more than 10 times per night, drink more than five gallons of water in one weekend, and have an endless stream of muscle cramps, joint lockups, and lethargic days.
Something was seriously wrong.
But there was a list of reasons why no one in my family, including myself, thought there weren’t any issues. For example:
- It’s crazy hot in Florida, meaning I would be dehydrated due to sweat.
- The muscle cramps were a side effect of being dehydrated.
- The joint lockups were also due to dehydration.
- I was lethargic because I was dehydrated.
- I hit a growth spurt as this was all happening, so we just assumed it was part of puberty.
- I lost weight because I was thinning out due to increased height.
Clearly, due to my family’s lack of medical education and the disguise of puberty, my condition remained unknown.
But things got worse and by late August, I was beginning to look sick instead of a strong growing boy.
I was scheduled for a doctor’s appointment at the end of the week, on September 4th.
When I got to the appointment, everything happened in a blur. For the first time, my blood sugar was tested.
I was off the charts.
I’ll never forget what was said when the doctor walked in to give me my results.
“Well my friend, my large friend. You have type 1 diabetes.”
The world stopped. The rain outside transitioned from a slow drizzle to a major downpour. I stared out the window of my second-floor room, watching a palmetto tree slam against the window as the wind cranked up.
After what felt like 10 minutes, I looked back over to the doctor, where I then realized my Mom was crying. The first question I asked was “Am I going to die?”
To my surprise, she said no. But I had already began tearing up at this point.
I was told to rush to the emergency room as soon as possible. Doctors would be waiting for me there.
I still had no idea what was going on or what type 1 diabetes even meant. I just knew I had some sort of condition that scared me. What I especially didn’t know, was that I’d have it forever.
At the hospital, I was placed on an IV that contained insulin, the first time I had ever heard of the word.
Over the next 24 hours, I was taught a bunch of stuff that I needed to know about type 1 diabetes and how to manage it. While it’s a short amount of time to learn about a disease so vast and complicated, it was enough to keep me alive for the time being.
But those were the stakes. My new reality. I now had to micromanage my health just so I could wake up tomorrow. At 14 years old, that was the hardest thing to understand.
Gone were my days of care-free eating and the freedom to jump into any activity without worry. Now, I had to manage my body, my blood glucose, and my insulin. I had to manually run a vital organ. Life had changed in an instant.
What I didn’t realize then, but I do now, is that those 24 hours spent in the hospital were the best 24 hours of my life.
Not because they were fun. Not because I enjoyed it. Not because I thought it was cool.
But because it changed the course of my life forever. It changed me as a person and changed the way I live each day.
The true value of life was revealed when my doctors told me that if I had waited just one more week to be checked out, I might have wound up in a coma, or worse, dead.
Learning that I was that close to the end without knowing it revealed the truth about life.
We might always be that close. But we’d never know it.
Therefore, type 1 diabetes became the greatest thing to ever happen to me. It was a great awakening. It changed the way I interacted with everything around me, including people, food, life, and myself. It changed my views of the world and increased its value. It’s forced me to make smarter decisions and remain focused on my goals and objectives.
It’s turned me into a healthier and better person.
Don’t get me wrong, the first four years of having type 1 diabetes were not easy. I wasn’t the best at managing it. My A1C was typically over 8.0%.
I suffered from constant mood swings, irritability, headaches, and the occasional muscle cramp. My eyesight declined and for a long time, I couldn’t build very much muscle because of ineffective glucose management blocking muscle growth.
But over the last three years, I’ve found my rhythm with T1D. Since 2018, I’ve been able to effectively manage my blood sugar levels, become even more active, build muscle, eat a healthy but unrestrictive diet, take less insulin, and treat myself to an occasional “cheat food” by enjoying a few cookies, cupcakes, doughnuts, or lattes without stressing over the consequences.
Nowadays, I feel better than ever. In fact, I’d argue that I feel better than most of my friends who don’t suffer from any health conditions.
That’s the power of type 1 diabetes. Once you embrace it, live it, and learn to manage it effectively, it becomes your ally.
That’s why I’ve started T1DC: Type 1 Diabetes Coaching.
I’m here to help type 1 diabetics live the life they want to live. To stop the suffering and begin living free again. I know how it feels. I know what helps and what doesn’t.
That’s why I want to help you.
I’ve done the research, lived the lifestyle, and made the adjustments.
The system I’ve created is built on four simple pillars: Nutrition, Fitness, Insulin Management, and Mentality.
These are the four steps to a better life with type 1 diabetes.
I realize that everyone is different and our bodies all work in different ways. This is exactly why I offer a three-to-six-month coaching program so that we can fine-tune the approach based on your needs, your barriers, and your goals.
I offer a FREE 30-minute consultation to anyone interested in creating a better lifestyle with type 1 diabetes. There’s no catch, no gimmicks, no hassles. Just me, you, and type 1 diabetes.
With that being said, I’d love the opportunity to speak with you and see what we can do to make your life better than ever.
There’s no time to waste. It’s time to live again.