365 miles for 365 vials
My journey started in January of 2022. I had routine blood work done because I wasn’t feeling like myself. My A1C came back and was 6.8 and my blood sugar was in the 180’s. I was diagnosed as Type 2 diabetic, given Metformin and told to change my diet and lifestyle. From that point in January until July I started feeling much sicker. I quit powerlifting and only had enough energy to go to work and come home. I would go straight to bed each night, and as the time went on it just got worse. In June my daughter was born and while in the hospital I was tired, and unbelievably thirsty. I had no clue what was about to happen.
Late July my wife, who is a nurse, decided to check my blood sugar one evening that I wasn’t feeling well. My blood sugar was 552! I went back to my doctor and they rechecked my A1C and it had jumped to 12.7 from the previous results. I was put on 8 units of long lasting insulin and was told to control my diet to control my diabetes better. At this point I was already really sick. Within 27 days I lost about 30 pounds. I was struggling and becoming depressed because I just didn’t understand how I was losing this weight, eating healthier, and my blood sugars were still extremely high. If I were a Type 2 diabetic, my diet and lifestyle changes should have helped. The doctors just kept upping my long lasting insulin little by little until it was all the way at 32 units a day. With changing my diet my blood sugars were still hitting 400/500’s.
I posted about my diabetes diagnosis and late one night was contacted by a friend who said that her son was a Type 1 diabetic and she thought I might be too. She suggested I call and endocrinologist, check my ketones, and start adding in some walking to lower my sugars. I took her advice, started walking, drinking water, and thankfully my ketones were not very high. I contacted an endocrinologist immediately the next day and got a virtual visit. The endocrinologist immediately added short acting insulin to my regimen and ordered bloodwork to check for Type 1 diabetes.
It was two weeks later when the blood work came back and I was diagnosed with with LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults). I was not a type 2 diabetic that could control this with diet and lifestyle changes. Over the next two months I would take countless injections and manually check my blood sugars all day long. This progressed until the doctor felt I required an insulin pump with a continuous glucose monitor. Since my diagnosis I have had a range of emotions. I’ve felt defeated, depressed, overwhelmed, and I’m not even that long into this. With all that being said, it has also had its benefits and been liberating in a strange way. I have learned to listen more to people, to enjoy small moments and victories more, and to be more kind. I never realized I was lacking until this disease gave me more compassion. Since being in the T1D community and trying to better understand myself and the disease, I recognized that many people face a different hurdle than I do. I’m lucky enough to be covered by health insurance but the rate that others are being diagnosed who don’t have insurance is alarming. There are parents and adults who don’t know how they will cover one month of insulin or supplies, not to mention a lifetimes worth. That really bothered me. There were times I would go to my fridge and look at the insulin vials I have stocked, knowing I only have just enough for me but wanting to give them away to people who couldn’t afford it. I knew that wasn’t an option as I would be risking my own health. I sat and thought about this for a while. I got angry thinking about how something that was created and designed to be free was costing so much. Why does it cost so much for a T1D to simply LIVE. Why are there children dying from this? I knew I had to do something but I wasn’t sure what. Then I saw a friend posted a hiking challenge of 365 miles in a year and I got the idea. I can walk, hike, climb 365 miles and bring awareness about Type 1 diabetes through my journey. I want to reach people who don’t know what T1D is, or how essential insulin is for us to live, and how expensive it can be. So that is why I came up with 365 miles for 365 vials. This is not something that will pass. Type 1 diabetics will need insulin every minute, hour, and meal for the rest of their lives.
My goal is to raise enough money for 365 vials of insulin to take some of the burden off of families who can’t afford it. I’m opening this journey to any diabetic that wants to join, any family member, friend, or supporter. This will be an accumulation of 365 miles. I will set up walks in the Houston and surrounding areas. (I hope others will join me!) I will walk and hike in and out state parks and forests. We also have plans to go to Montana this year and I am going to put some miles in at Glacier National Park. I hope to swim to put some miles in as well.
While I am not sure exactly where this journey will take me, it’s going to be an adventure. I really hope to meet other Type 1 diabetics and supporters along the way. I will be posting pictures and videos of my journey. I will also be taking a blood sugar trend picture on each walk. If you join me, make sure to bring your blood sugar monitor device and some snacks for a low.
Thank you for reading this and following along with my journey which I am hopeful will soon be OUR journey.
My shadowing experience alongside Dr. Haller, the Chief Endocrinologist at the University of Florida Health and HADC