My name is Robert Dorrell. In March of 2017 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes after being warned by my physician for a couple years that I needed to make a lifestyle change to delay or avoid diabetes. I was already familiar with the impacts of the disease, but didn't heed the warnings.
I have seen the devastation of this disease in my own family. My mother lost both legs to amputation and suffered from heart disease as a result of diabetes. She ultimately lost her battle and passed away in 2010. However, I just couldn't seem to accept my condition and act on it. Why? I am not sure. I can only say that finally hearing the doctor say, "You need medicine and if don't make a change you're going to die," was a sobering experience.
I like to joke that on that day, I received a prescription for Metformin and a bicycle. But the reality is that medication, exercise and weight loss are key for management of diabetes.
I am lucky; my glucose levels have responded to a low dose of medicine, dietary changes and regular exercise. I have also lost 30 pounds so far, but the reality is I have a long way to go. In order to deal with diabetes and remain diligent, I had to "embrace it" as part of me. Sounds strange, I know! But when I was in denial about my condition, I could forget about it. By embracing it, I don't lose sight of my condition.
I have immersed myself in diabetes education, fund raising and advocacy. In June I rode my bicycle in the 25 mile route of the American Diabetes Association "Tour de Cure", raising $1,200 for diabetes research and education. I also now serve on the Community Leadership Board of the American Diabetes Association of Oklahoma.
Truly, dealing with diabetes is a day to day endeavor, made one decision at a time. Dietary choices, exercise choices and glucose tests can be overwhelming at first, but certainly become manageable over time. Someone once said, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it." This certainly holds true for diabetes.
Though I don't always make the right choices, I am determined to approach this life-long journey not as a sprint, but rather a marathon…or maybe a bike race!
Presented by: Robert Dorrell
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