On A Moment's Notice
I remember it as though it were yesterday...I remember it as though it were yesterday. It was a hot, humid day in 1994, during a business trip to Austin, Texas. After a late lunch, Rhonda and I were heading home to Houston when only seconds after leaving the restaurant a nature break called, so I headed back inside. Only minutes later the call again, and again, and then again. The routine bi-weekly 2-hour sales jaunt from Austin to Houston, now suddenly was becoming a marathon. My sales partner suggested a kidney infection could be developing, and believed a liter of cranberry juice may offer some relief. Add another hour to the trip. The pressure heightened, so did the concern.
I kept things quiet the next couple of days, spent some time at the library (pre-internet era), and chalked my diagnosis to either a kidney infection, or much worse, diabetes. I phoned my physician, who confirmed the symptoms from both are similar, but scheduled a visit with him the following morning.
My life until now had been fairly carefree. All the rewards outside sales careers offer were manifesting- frequent travel, diverse cuisine, stress, pressure, and even an occasional stroll through the French Quarter some mornings for pastries and such. High metabolism and frequent cycling, or a 30 minute warm-up followed by a 3 hour tennis match with a few active friends kept my 34 year young body at a high school profile. So I was flabbergasted when Doc announced that morning my blood sugar at 625, and hailed my wife from her office to meet us at Houston Memorial for my admission.
"I feel fine, Doc. Really." What I could not see, he captured from my eyes. I remember him noting how they appeared weary and tired. I had lost weight, more in a week than most people do in several, and continued to dwindle from a sturdy 200 pounds to a lean 145. My physician recommended an endocrinologist, who further diagnosed me with a 'combination' type 1 and type 2. I did not fit the profile of type 1 (juvenile onset), and type 2s (adult onset) who were generally leading inactive lifestyles, were overweight. An optimist, nothing had prepared me for what I was about to learn. This disease would partner with me the rest of my life.
Only weeks before this stunning revelation, our only child Philip was born. Due to complications at delivery, he remained hospitalized for three weeks. He was slightly underweight, and his glucose levels required hourly monitoring. During our visits, unknowingly I was preparing for a life of daily glucose monitoring. I set out to reverse established habits, and vowed that diabetes would not control me, but I would control my diabetes.
Today I consider myself fortunate, although challenged. During the 10 years as a Type 1, many times I've given up. Several years ago on a sales call in Chapel Hill, I met and gained the respect of my current physician, who once shared with me that I was 'a motor, 4 quarts of oil low'. He recommended my endocrinologist, and today I am a pump user. I have invested well-spent time and energy in developing new ways to promote and live a healthier lifestyle, and compliment my health team with a network of caring friends and family. Last year my wife and friends teamed with the ADA during the 4th annual Tour de Cure, raising awareness and much needed funding for diabetes. This year the momentum is even greater. Members of Team Mac'Beth (my parents, family and friends) are active in the community through the ADA's African American Program, and our team has more than doubled, including our 10-year-old son Philip on his 1st ride, during the 5th annual ride of the Tour de Cure in NC.
Volunteer, Raleigh chapter ADA
Participant, ADA Tour de Cure