Running, God, and Type 2 Diabetes

“Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you” Isaiah 46:4. 

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Waiting for the Doctor

In October of 2014, I was diagnosed with raging out of control type 2 diabetes and put on metformin, cholesterol pills, and a second blood pressure pill (I was already on one). At that time I was also warned I would probably have to go on insulin sooner rather than later. Getting diagnosed with diabetes is in some ways a death sentence because once you’re diabetic you are always diabetic. There’s no curing it … only controlling it. Diabetes is a significant challenge. It doesn’t kill you directly, but it does make it easier for everything else to kill you. Diabetes complicates any other condition you might have and shortens your life span significantly. Over and over I’ve watched friends get diagnosed with diabetes and fail to respond accordingly. They either don’t take it seriously or don’t have the will to make necessary lifestyle changes. Many are content taking two or three types of meds and living with it. However, diabetes is a progressive disease – it tends to gets worse as you get older even if you’re doing all the right things – and failing to acknowledge it is certainly the wrong move.

So I determined I was going to respond differently. At first I just began cutting back on my food intake. Smaller portions and less sugar. The weight started coming off slowly. When spring of this year hit, I added walking to my program. At, first, walking just 15 minutes was a challenge. I eventually worked my way up to walking three miles. Then I wondered if I could run three miles. So I began the Couch to 5k running program and slowly began adding little spurts of running to my walking. You think running 20 seconds is easy? It wasn’t for me. It was hard. Really hard. At the same time I began tracking my food. I did Weight Watchers for a couple of months and began taking my diet more seriously.

A year later I’m still tracking my diet and my running has increased significantly – My longest run so far is four miles and my goal is to run a 10k (a little over 6 miles). I’m still slow, but I get out there and do my best. My weight is down over 100 pounds and I still have about 30 pounds to lose. But yesterday, my doctor took me off all my blood pressure and diabetes medicines. I’m still diabetic, but for now my diabetes is considered diet-controlled. Over the next three months I have to watch my diet and exercise carefully, because my body’s response to being taken off the meds will determine if I have to go back on them. It’s sort of my trial period.

But here’s my message to diabetics. You don’t have to be content with your diagnosis. You can fight back. At my heaviest weight I was 368 pounds and every time I run I praise God that I’m able to because somewhere out there is a 300+ pound man or woman who has a hard time simply getting out of bed. There are diabetics out there that would kill for a chance to be able to run or walk just once, but the disease has progressed so far they are unable to. I’ve enjoyed a little bit of success over diabetes not because I’m special or have amazing will-power, but rather because I am blessed. God has allowed me the opportunity to fight back ever so slightly. So I praise Him for it.

If you’re diabetic, you owe it to yourself to fight back however you can – watch your diet, walk, run, bike … whatever you’re able to do. Do it for yourself. Do it for the guy or gal that wishes they could be doing it. Do it as a way to honor God Almighty who gives you breath.

The next three months are going to be a challenge for me. I don’t have the cushion of medication to help me lower my blood sugar which means my diet will have to be cleaner than ever … plus, I’m worried about how the winter months will impact my running. But I am determined to honor God as best as I can. Regardless of how it goes, God has blessed me tremendously and He is worthy of my praise!

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