Monday, December 23, 2013

Smitten by a Diabetes Advocate

Oh, I'm smitten.  Again.  I know better than to get all carried away about such things, but I feel like I'm a pretty good judge of character, and this young lady is quite a wonderful character.  I found her blog by accident, and discovered that we have something in common:  we're both diabetics, though she's a type 1 and I'm a type 2.  There is a difference, and I hope you'll seek to discover the differences, as education about diabetes is a good idea for everyone, given how common it has become.

Anyway, I discovered this young lady, whose name is Kerri Marrone Sparling, through YouTube, where I found a link to her blog, Six Until Me, and I've followed her for a little while now. You can find her blog here.  Let me set the record straight, though, and emphasize that, not only am I at least a full decade older than she, Kerri is also married, and a mom, and I'm guessing she's very happy in both roles.  And so, as much as I admire her, that admiration is strictly of the professional kind.  She is outspoken about diabetes, particularly how it has impacted her own life, and provides advice about living as a type 1 diabetic.

I am amazed by how much she reminds me of my deceased wife, though.  She has that extroverted nature that I find so attractive, but she also speaks confidently, intelligently, humorously, and unashamedly.  She is a beautiful, witty, young lady.  I can't help but be enamored by her, and I apologize if I've allowed this to distract me from her message.  I also hope this doesn't paint me as some weirdo.  Mrs. Sparling just seems to have the personal qualities of the type of woman that I find attractive, and I can point to her and say to my friends, "That's the type of woman I'm looking for!"  I hope she accepts that as the compliment it was meant to be.  With that said, however, I am happy to have her as an advocate for a cause that means quite a bit to me.

I've shared this story on the blog before, but I'll briefly recant it again.  Just over two years ago, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  I had all of the typical signs leading up to this diagnosis, including unquenchable thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, occasional confusion, immense fatigue...and I had no idea why.  I finally made an appointment with my doctor.  The night before, I celebrated my brother's birthday with our family, and had a large slice of birthday cake, with plenty of icing.  The next morning, I went to see my doctor, and he was pretty quick with a diagnosis before proceeding with blood work.  He said it sounded like diabetes.  He gave me some literature on the subject, and said he'd check in with me as soon as he got the results of the blood work.  The next day was Sunday, so he called me early on Monday morning and said he wanted to see me right away.  He said that my blood-sugar was extremely high:  750!  Normal was right around 100.  He was afraid for me.  He checked my blood-sugar, and I was at about 300, so at least I was going in the right direction.  He put me on insulin immediately, and I got a quick education on giving myself shots.  Both of my grandfathers had been diabetics, so I was somewhat familiar with the process, but the fact that I was diagnosed in my early 40s versus my grandfathers (both were in their 60s) concerned me.  It meant a drastic change in behavior.

I'm happy to say, two years later, my blood-sugar level is well under control, I was able to stop taking insulin shots after one year. and while I've had significant weight loss, I've battled with my weight over the past year and continue working on it.

I mentioned last week that I went to a sleep study clinic, and received the results this morning:  I have severe sleep apnea.  During the 350 some minutes I slept during the test, I stopped breathing 449 times.  That's more than once each minute, which really scared me.  I will get fitted with a CPAP machine next week, which is the first step towards improving my sleep issues.  The sleep apnea is connected to my weight, particularly around my neck and throat.  I'm quite a mess.

Anyway, I think Mrs. Sparling is a wonderful speaker.  I'm sure she's a wonderful person, as well, though that is only my impression.  (I'm secretly hoping she has an unmarried sister....).  I like to take this opportunity to wish her and her family, as well as you, my readers, a Merry Christmas.

Have a wonderful evening, everyone!

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