I’ve lived with Diabetes for the last 28 years. When first diagnosed I had a blood glucose reading of 880. They weren’t sure if I would survive through the first night and I fell into a coma for 2 weeks. Thankfully I recovered and began the long struggle to survive with this disease. I was pretty sickly all through school, sometimes missing up to three months of school at a time. When I started high school I decided enough was enough, I would live my life however I wanted and diabetes wouldn’t hinder me. I didn’t approach it very well and landed myself in the hospital with DKA twice between 17 and 19 years old.
I met my wife when I was 23 and still struggling to find the middle between enjoying life and staying healthy. In 2007 I joined a gym after finding out we were going to have a baby. I knew I had to get my act together so I could be strong and healthy for my little one. I came to really enjoy working out and found I had such greater control over my numbers because of it. I competed in my first powerlifting meet in June 2011. I managed a few 1st and 2nd place finishes over the next few years. I then decided to try strongman. It’s an amazing sport that requires such a great overall strength and aerobic ability. I am aiming for a qualification to compete on the national level. I will be the first type one diabetic to do so and I want to show everyone that it can be done.
Question #2: Has anyone told you that you couldn’t do something due to your diabetes, and you proved them wrong?
I get told a lot I shouldn’t pursue strength sports and that I should just do cardio. That’s not for me, I’ve proven that I can maintain control of my bg and still perform at a high level.
Question #3: How do you inspire others? (This can be anything from staying positive, helping your family, or pursuing a dream or hobby!)
In pursuing strongman and sharing my videos of training on facebook and instagram I’ve seen an huge out pouring of support from other T1Ds. Anything is possible if you are willing to do the work, that’s the message I try to put out there for other diabetics.
Question #4: Tell us a story about how diabetes has affected you.
I remember during my first strongman contest I had been having a really hard time keeping my numbers above 70 all day. Right before the last event I actually passed out from a low blood sugar and fell into a wall. Someone went and told my wife what happened thankfully. We check bg and it was 31. I consumed 50 grams of glucose powder and had her start tapping my arms for the next event. I had about 10 mins before it would be my turn to go. My vision was just starting to clear when they called my name. I finished the event and hit a personal best by loading a 290lb atlas stone to a 50″ platform. I refused to let it take me out of the event that I had trained months for even though I realize there was some danger to competing in that state.