Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Dark Time In My Life . . . (PART 5)

Welcome to the conclusion of my 5-part piece on how I got diagnosed with Type II diabetes (along with a host of other health problems) and fought my way out.

If you're coming to this for the first time, please take the time to start from the beginning of the saga and follow the link at the end of each segment to get back.

Click here to start from the beginning.

By the time June 2005 rolled around, I had noticed drastic results in my new workout and diet routines. I had dropped a total of 40 lbs and weighed only 190 lbs. I looked slimmer, felt very energetic, and had a positive outlook on life. And the best part was replacing my entire wardrobe. Not because I like to shop (I'd rather play Russian roulette than shop), but because nothing is a better indicator of loosing a lot of weight than having your old jeans slip right off your waist and drop to your ankles. I even had to replace all my belts and underwear, too! While this meant a nasty bite taken out of my wallet, I was happy nonetheless.

By the time our Vegas wedding rolled around in early July, I had dropped an additional 10 lbs! This was significant because my original goal back in January had been to hit 185 -- and here I was at a svelte 180 lbs instead! I had not only met my strict expectations, but surpassed them! Combined with a major life-changing event about to take place at this time, I was on Cloud 9! I was actually excited to be getting married, because I had turned over a new leaf in my life and it was only fitting that this should happen right before making another major life-altering commitment: holy matrimony.

The wedding went without a hitch. If you take a look at our wedding photos, you'll notice that I am extremely pale. Like vampire, living in a coffin, pale! Yes, I am half Caucasian, but even I'm not supposed to be *this* WHITE. The reason for it, actually, was the diabetes medication, Metformin, which actually makes your skin paler and very sensitive to sunlight. Luckily for me our wedding was in Las Vegas. Between that and our 2-week honeymoon in Hawaii, I would soon get my color back . . . and then some! :)

After I came back from our Honeymoon, I decided that even 180 lbs was not enough. I wanted to do the impossible and drop down to 170 -- a weight I had not been since freshman year in college! I had one month to go before I went in for major blood work to see how well I was doing on all 3 fronts. Plenty of time.

Sure enough, by the time I went in to see my doc, I was tipping the scale at 168 lbs!!! It was incredible. I was so proud of myself, you wouldn't believe! But I had no idea just how good the news was about to become.

First a recap of all my numbers and what they *should* be for an average healthy person.

Normal person:

Blood sugar (after 8 hour fast): below 90.
A1c: below 7.5, or below 6.5 if you are a diabetic.
BP: below 120/80
Total cholesterol: under 150.
LDL: under 100.
Triglycerides: under 120

These are normal numbers. My numbers when I first walked in to the doctor's office back in Jan. 2000 were:

Blood sugar: 270
A1c: 11.5
BP: 145/90
Total cholesterol: 202
LDL: 169
Triglycerides: 130

After changing my lifestyle and dropping a full 60 lbs, I got the following results back at my six month blood-work check out:

Blood sugar: 82
A1c: 5.2
BP: 109/68
Total cholesterol: 123
LDL: 69
Triglycerides: 50

I mean, HOLY HELLS! That's a drastic difference. My doc was flabbergasted, but it wasn't like he had to double check or anything. I had been going in for periodic blood work every six weeks leading up to this. My charts were showing a steady, but measurable, decline. He had adjusted the medications accordingly throughout this time, and still I continued to drop until I not only reached normal levels, but I far SURPASSED them! I was healthier than most health nuts!

My doctor said I was a miracle patient. That it looked like I was more than just managing my diabetes, but that I might have actually cured myself of it! He told me he was going to take me completely off my meds since I was obviously doing fine. He cautioned me that my numbers would probably not be as good the next time, tho.

Nope, he was wrong. You see, after getting this good news I didn't slack off or anything. I continued working out and dieting exactly the way I had been doing all along. You see, it wasn't enough that I was now off the meds -- I wanted to STAY off them. My blood results six months later were actually *better* than the last time.

My doc was beaming. He told me somehow I proved him wrong and that it looks like my health issues were completely lifestyle and weight related, and not genetic like he had originally thought. I refrained from saying: "I told you so!" :)

But the end results of this year long struggle had some far reaching implications on my life. I felt like I'd been tested, and that I'd met the challenge head on and conquered all the odds. It was a heady feeling, to put it mildly. I sat back and thought to myself: wow, if I could do all this, what else might I be able to do? It had always seem like an impossible dream to get myself in great shape and to stick to healthy eating. Yet I had done just that. What other dreams could I achieve with this new found spirit of determination?

In 2006 I decided that if I could be so stubborn as to turn my health completely around, then maybe I could tackle the biggest dream of them all: to become a professional science-fiction writer!

I'm still working on that dream, obviously. It's an ongoing process, but I'm not daunted. I feel as if I can do anything I set my mind to now. And that kind of attitude goes a long way.

It's my 4-year anniversary since getting the terrible news. I've been having blood work done twice a year since dropping off the meds, and I am happy to say my numbers are still just as impressive, if not more-so actually, than they were in the middle of 2005. I still weigh 170 and still have amazing energy. My workouts are more intense, to the point where I now do 150 pushups, 300 situps, bench 200 lbs (the highest my bench will go), and curl 100 lbs. I run 5 miles 3 days a week, and 6 - 7 miles on Sundays.

I do not give up. Ever. Fear keeps me going. I will never let the diabetes come back.

I'm still with the same doctor, and he continues to shake his head whenever he sees me. He constantly tells me I'm an inspiration to his other patients, and that he wishes I was his last patient of every day, so that he could go home with good news. :)

So there you have it. The story of how I changed my life around forever. I'm a much different person now than I was in 2004. Not just physically, but mentally as well. I have a toughness that I always suspected was there, but never fully realized until now.

Just for some perspective (and self torture), I've decided to release some pictures of my progress. The "heavy" pics of me have never been seen by the public before. Even my friends have not seen them, although they certainly remember what I looked like back then:

Lisa and I on Thanksgiving, 2004. I can't even bear to look at this pic.

This was taken Christmas day, 2004. I'm 230 lbs here. By now I had an inkling something was wrong with me. I wouldn't get the news until 12 days later, tho.

April 2005, my Aunt's wedding. I was 205 lbs here. Good, but not good enough for me.

July 2005, our honeymoon in Hawaii. I'm 180 lbs here -- and wearing a terrible shirt! So terrible that it forced the camera lens into soft focus! :)

September 2005. I'd just received the great news and taken off all meds. I'm 168 lbs here.

Recent photo of me. I'm 170 lbs and feeling great!

Thanks for following me on this journey. This is my first time writing out the entire ordeal, and I feel a lot better for it. Hope you enjoyed!


  1. i've only read this entry thus far, but what determination and what inspiration! i love that you set a task and you see it through. surprisingly, i can really relate to it. ha! ;*) but wow, you had a challenge. and getting fit and changing your life style is no joke. YAY DAVID!

  2. Yeah, it's a long read all right! (ha,ha)

    I wish there was a way to post the first part, you know, FIRST.

    But anyway, thanks for reading. Your own workout reports remind me of this time period. I mean, I can recognize the same determination that you have.

    So . . . Yay to yourself!!! :)

  3. Wow! Your numbers are impressive and your story is very inspirational! I just read your entire story and am so pumped! I've lost 11 lbs recently but have about 80lbs more to go before I reach my goal. Like you, I too am doing this for health reasons. Yay you!!! How increbibly proud you must be of yourself! Thank you so much for posting this and I'm so glad I found your blog! :)

  4. Your words make me so happy, Yvonne. I hadn't realized you were going through a similar situation. So I know all too well what you're dealing with, and how proud you must be of those first 11 pounds lost. It's like a snowball effect . . . once you actually see some positive results, good will follow good and you'll start seeing even more!

    I had come to a point in my life where enough was enough. My story might be more extreme than some, but I think the spirit of the tale is the same as with anyone else. There comes a time where you put your foot down and refuse to be a victim.

    You decide once and for all: I'm worth living for!

    Good luck!


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