Dan P., a Diabetes STAR Patient
Dan’s diagnosis of type 1 diabetes wasn’t a simple, linear process. Hardly! See, Dan’s super healthy—a gym owner, personal trainer and athlete with a degree in exercise science. Fitness and health are his life. So three years ago, he wasn’t sure what to make of some unusual symptoms. But diabetes sure wasn’t one of his guesses.
Undeniable Symptoms and the Power of Denial
Dan didn’t have any energy when he worked out and could barely finish his warm up. His strength was noticeably diminishing, he’d dropped 20 pounds and he was urinating a lot. “I thought I had a cold,” he says.
On Christmas, Dan drank a couple Mimosas—champagne with orange juice. “I fell asleep … and kept on sleeping all the way through Christmas.” His girlfriend’s dad had a glucometer. When Dan’s blood sugar measured 670–680, the father told him to go immediately to the hospital. “I told him that his machine was faulty!” says Dan.
Dan did eventually visit a hospital, and he stayed for 10 hours. Getting his diagnosis correct was tricky. First they pegged him as a type 2 diabetic, then type 1.5. In the end, his diagnosis is type 1 diabetes.
Building a Team
Dan has a quiet confidence about him, and although he’s struggled with it, he’s taken his diagnosis in stride. “I went through a ton of trial and error figuring out how to manage my blood glucose while exercising. If I had been around other type-1 athletes, I could have learned much quicker and not had so many frustrating issues.” PacMed offers several diabetes classes and support groups.
Dan and his girlfriend are learning about nutrition and diabetes together. “I’ve always known how to read nutrition labels. That’s a really important skill.” His friends also are supportive. A couple of times, a friend has had to come to Dan’s rescue because he didn’t bring enough food—or none at all. “I could stand to get better at this,” he notes.
Dan’s happy to report that he’s gained back the 20 pounds he lost and is much leaner, with less body fat.
A Silver Lining or Two
“My diabetes diagnosis has caused me to grow up much faster,” says Dan. “I’m more responsible, and business at my gym has really picked up.” At the gym, Dan’s added more nutritional components. He loves helping others and, someday, may cater some services to people with diabetes.
“I would tell other type-1 diabetics that of all the diseases out there, type 1 diabetes is pretty awesome because it’s very manageable,” he adds. “If you can move your body, you can control the disease.”
PacMed can help you find an approach that suits you. Talk to your provider and learn more at www.PacMed.org/diabetes.