For years I have been dealing with diabetes. More precisely, diabetes has been dealing with me. When diabetes showed up, it brought some of its friends: high cholesterol, high triglycerides (fats in the blood), and high blood pressure.
Most of my doctors told me that my diabetes could not be reversed. The best I could hope for, they would say, is to slow it down. Their main solution was medication on top of medication, with ever increasing doses.
Even with treatment, I quickly started to develop serious complications. My feet started to hurt. Parts of my feet were losing feeling while at the same time they would burn deep within. This is called neuropathy (nerve damage). I developed additional vision problems. The eye doctor informed me that I had “atypical” cataracts.
But wait…there’s more… For no additional charge, diabetes and its friend threw in a heart attack! The medical community’s response—more medication! At this point I had a total of 14 different prescription medications. (Note: I am grateful for the medications during the heart attack–they may have saved my life.)
All this and I was barely 44 years old. Only 5 years had passed since my diagnoses.
It started back in 2008. I was serving as a Chaplain in Iraq for the US Army. Something damaged my lungs and I was medevac’d from Iraq. Whatever it was, caused a rare and difficult lung problem—Constrictive Bronchiolitis Obliterans. At the same time I developed diabetes.
I always met the Army weight/height and physical fitness standards. Until that time, I lived an active life. That is not to say I was in top shape. I had a little extra weight where I did not want it. Yet, I meet the standards.
The lung damage significantly limited my ability to be physically active. Even moderate activity became increasingly difficult. I was also plagued with frequent and serious lung infections. I coughed so much and so hard that I literally busted my gut (hernia).
The story does not end here. The best is yet to come! More in part 2 of The Journey