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How did you get diagnosed with diabetes? How was your life like?
I was diagnosed with Type 1.5 on June 21, 2007 when I was sent to the emergency room with chest pains. I had a minor heart attack and my BG was 780 at the time. I had no idea that I was diabetic. A few months prior to that I came in a close second in an office eating contest. Everyone was always amazed that I could eat so much and stay thin.
What changed in your life after you got diagnosed?
I would say that being a diabetic made me healthier than before. I eat right, exercise and get regular checkups. I also discovered that diabetics seem to be a better class of people. Membership dues are pretty high though.
Humor seems to be a big part of your life. Did diabetes have anything to do with that or have you been a fun guy all the way?
I guess I’ve always been a little crazy. Humor is a huge part of my life and I’ve always believed that there is a humorous side to everything. When I was having my emergency stent surgery, I asked the doctor “Will I be able to play the piano after surgery?” He caught on right away and asked me if I had played before. If you run out of things to laugh about, laugh at yourself. There are so many jokes you can make about being diabetic. It’s just a funny/crazy disease!
I hear you are training for a triathlon: what kind of things do you have to take into account with such a demanding training having diabetes?
My first Triathlon sprint is on September 7th. I’ve only had one “low” before I started training. It wasn’t even that bad (46). My blood sugar is usually only a little bit on the high side (130 - 170) but now I find myself regularly around 70 or 80 after working out.
I’ve cut down considerably on Levemir and I check quite regularly. If I’m a little under 100 before I start, I might keep a hard candy under my tongue throughout my workout. My last A1C was 6.2. I think my next test should be under 6.0.
What would you recommend to someone who is getting diagnosed with diabetes now?
Being diagnosed with LADA was quite a shock. I spent some a bit of time blaming myself. But after looking a little bit into my family and discovering that several relatives on my father’s side (including my father) are all diabetics, I guess it was inevitable.
My advice is to keep a good sense of humor and don’t believe the horror stories. When I was in the hospital, some jerk who was in the ER with me told me all these stories involving diabetics amputees, dialysis, foot pain, blindness, etc. Diabetes is NOT a guarantee that you will have any of these complications. You hold the key to living a long, healthy, complication-free life.
Anything else you would like to add?
I love to watch Caesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer. I’ve learned that humans are also pack animals. We need our pack for security, support and love. I’ve always considered myself as a loner until my diagnosis. Then I discovered tudiabetes, and many other online communities. I observed strangers helping each other with advice, and sometimes just a sympathetic ear. Our common bond extended across all geographic boundaries and we see each other as humans. I found that there is
genuine love for each other.
It’s good to know that I’m sitting in front of my keyboard in an apartment in Jupiter, Florid and although I’m by myself, I’m not alone.
In late June 2008, Chuck recorded this video, celebrating his first “diabetic anniversary”:
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