Why I Ride … and Walk and Work for a Diabetes Cure

imageWarm sweat drips onto my phone as I write this post. I’m on my bike trainer on a cold, grey, rainy day spinning out 17 or so miles to try to stay in riding shape. Boston’s Greatest Hits blasts from my iPad. Without notice my pace quickens to the song “Smokin’.”

The music and the creative activity take my mind off the fact that this is an otherwise dull exercise. But even they don’t drive me to keep cranking.

As I ride past 12 miles with Seger now singing “Fire Down Below,” I think through my list of things that drive me to ride. I think first about my four teen and young-adult kids. I’m closing in on 45 years with type-1 diabetes,  and I am compelled to keep the pedals turning so I can someday walk my girls down the aisle and dance at all their weddings. I want to ride bikes with my grandkids. I simply want to keep going as long as I can.

But that’s not all. I’m spinning in my basement on February 1 so I can see the sweat drops hit my phone on my handlebars this spring and summer as I ride the roads for a cure for diabetes.

Look, I’m used to living with diabetes. I’ve dealt with this for 80 percent of my life. Truthfully, I’m OK with not being a recipient of a cure. Sure, that would be a big blessing. If given the opportunity to extend my eyesight, kidney function, ability to use my legs, and live another 10-20 years, I’d take it. But I’m in this fight mainly for the 11 year old who will be diagnosed this year. I want to raise money to provide the resources and remove all the barriers to finding a cure for that kid. I see his face now as I spin past 15 miles on the trainer, my heart rate accelerating as I stand up for a minute of faux hill climbing.

I’m not alone. I’m partnering with thousands of others like me with the same passion. We’ll be wearing red jerseys as we team up to ride for a cure for this disease. I’d love to see many more people join us as we ride together, or support us with donations, in the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure.

Please join in!

Go to my personal Tour de Cure page to join us or donate, or just to get more information on this great cause.

The Diabetic Dad and the Delayed Delivery

Jordan baby picMy wife and I were in the delivery room about to give birth to our first child. Now, before I get too far into this story, I need to explain that my wife, Heidi, is from New Jersey. If that fact means nothing to you, go to Netflix and watch a couple episodes of “Jersey Shore.” Or don’t and be thankful.

Anyway, Heidi was something like 27 centimeters dilated–I’m not really sure; I’m a guy–and the nurses were calling for the doctor. Unfortunately it was dinner time, and because I live with type-1 diabetes, I needed to eat. So I hurried down to the cafeteria to get some food. Fortunately, Heidi did a good job of clenching for 15 minutes till I returned.

By now my blood glucose had dropped really low, so I sat in a hospital lounge chair and began to eat. I wanted to be sure I had the energy I needed to remind Heidi how to breathe properly and anything else she ordered me to do.

Heidi, with all the compassion a Jersey girl after 32 hours of labor can possibly have, told the nurses that if I passed out from my insulin reaction to just shove me in a corner out of the way and take care of her. The nurses laughed but Heidi was very serious.

Just then the doctor walked into the room, just as I began eating my strawberry cheesecake. He quickly assessed the situation and said, “It’s time to have this baby!” He looked over at me eating dinner and inquired to no one in particular what was going on. When a nurse informed him that I had diabetes and needed to eat, he tapped his fingers on the side of the bed and said, “OK, so we’ll wait for dad to finish eating.”

Heidi did not agree with his prognosis. But you have to understand: she wasn’t thinking clearly at the time. I’ve never seen her so mad or heard her scream so loudly.

So I left the last few bites of cheesecake on the tray. Twenty minutes later we welcomed Jordan Michael Mack into the world. I got to cut the umbilical cord, which I did with a steady hand thanks to that cafeteria run.

The whole thing was incredible. Mom and baby were healthy and did well, and dad was able to finish those last two bites of cheesecake.

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MORE DIABETES-STORY HUMOR

How NOT to Teach an 11-Year-Old Boy to Give Himself a Shot

Camp Hamwi and THE Shot

The Year I Was Banned from the Olympic Games

Diabetics in Love