Fellow Grinder – Meet a T2D Who Flipped the Switch

The DDG wants to share the stories of fellow diabetic warriors.  Meet John B., a Type 2 diabetic who used the diagnosis as a catalyst to transform his life.

DDG: Dude, what are you all about?
JB: I have type 2 diabetes. It is a disease of choice and I choose not to live with the symptoms anymore. I will work hard, play outside in God’s playground, be present and I choose life! That is what I’m about.

DDG: Tell us about your diagnosis day.    

JB: I was diagnosed November 30, 2011.  I hadn’t been feeling well and I suspected diabetes, so I went in for some blood work.  Dr. Ratliff called to tell me that my A1c was critically high and my blood sugar was 434.  I have Type 2 diabetes and had apparently had it for quite some time. That was the most important date in my life because it allowed me to move forward with purpose, and live my life by my rules. I just had to learn what those rules would be.  I decided the minute I hung-up the phone that I was going to live, not only live, I was going to thrive!   As Andy Dufresne (Shawshank Redemption) said,  “Get busy living, or get busy dying”.

DDG: What support materials were you given about Type 2 diabetes?

JB: I think I was given a pamphlet and information about a diabetes class at the hospital (which I never attended).  I took it upon myself to do as much research as I could; and over the next few weeks that’s what I did.  I read everything I could get my hands on, talked to people on the internet, read message boards and read books and articles.  You name it, I read it!

DDG: Were you told whether or not you are in control of your future?

JB: I don’t recall being told that I could be in control of diabetes, but I knew that I was heading down a proactive path. I started creating a plan. The plan lead to my own life rules, these rules ARE NOT negotiable.

  • Rule 1: Make an eating and exercise plan.
  • Rule 2: KNOW YOUR NUMBERS.  I still test my blood sugar at least twice a day even though my A1c is 5.3, my BS seems stable and I have been taken off all diabetes medication. I will do this for the remainder of my life. If I know my numbers I can take action when action is necessary.
  • Rule 3: Be awake and working in the present with my diabetes.

DDG: What was the first month like?

JB: Strangely comforting.  I was no longer in limbo and I was starting to attack my disease head on.  I was following Dr. Bernstein’s plan from his book “The Diabetic Solution”, so the weight was coming off.  I was also testing my BS three times a day because I wanted to know what was happening with my body.  I was exercising everyday and working hard with my trainer Ashley Armstrong (Next Level Fitness, call her) who jumped on board Team John immediately.  I really liked the changes that my body was making and the progress that I saw each day in the mirror.

DDG: What changes did you make to your lifestyle?  Did it happen over time or all at once?  

JB: The most important changes I made were mental.  I had made a conscious decision and it wasn’t negotiable – IT WAS ON! Time to stand up and be a man!  I understood I was responsible for my life, so it was time to start swinging.  Little did I know during that first 3 months how much damage 20+ years of uncontrolled diabetes had done to my body, but I was about to find out.  All these mental and life-style changes were preparing me for a true fight.  Like a boxer I was getting my body and my mind in shape to fight for my very life, every man should welcome a great fight!

Have a similar story? Email the DDG at [email protected] to share out your story!

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