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Life with a Passion . . . Diabetes Can be a Blessing!

The diabetes count is growing more and more across North Carolina. In 2011 the North Carolina Diabetes Prevention and Control statistics showed that 788,000 or 10.9% of the adult population were diagnosed with diabetes, 227,000 had undiagnosed diabetes, and over 512,000 had pre-diabetes. These statistics demonstrate that 1.53 million adults or over 21% of the adult population of North Carolina is impacted in a personal way with diabetes! That includes one in five people over the age of 55 having diabetes and one in four people over the age of 65 having diabetes.

I too am one of these “statistics”; having grown up in North Carolina and being diagnosed with Type I Diabetes at the age of 16 – 40 years ago. My experience, living with diabetes, is that I would not choose to have it, but I do, so what can I do about it? I have endeavored to embrace diabetes with a good attitude and use it as a constant reminder/motivator to stay on target making healthy life choices. I think it has actually helped me to live a fuller and healthier life than I would probably have chosen otherwise. Diabetes is with me every day, 24/7, as a constant reminder/motivator to prompt me to make wise health choices.

I have a passion to learn all that I can about diabetes, embrace a healthy lifestyle, and help others to do likewise. I believe that with the right attitude we all can live a full, grateful, and healthy life . . . even with diabetes!

A friend of mine, David Mendosa, has authored a treasure chest of helpful diabetes information (www.mendosa.com) and is an amazing success story himself. David was one of the most highly regarded diabetes authors in the country while in his early 70s but still, like many Type IIs, was inactive and weighed 312 pounds. He has an inspirational story of finding his passion, nature photography, to motivate him to grab his digital camera and go for a walk. As he had fun taking pictures of wildlife and landscape scenes he found that the “effort” of walking was worth it to get his prized pictures. As his passion for nature photography grew his weight shrunk. David, now 78, is a fireball of energy and enthusiasm as he grabs his camera, hiking boots, snowshoes, bicycle or whatever his mode of transportation for the day is and gets his 156 pound body outside and moving to do what he loves doing … taking nature photos!

Jerry holding up a fish he caught.I’d like to encourage you to find your passion and pursue it. Some of my favorite “Walkabout” activities include: fishing, hiking, trail running, nature photography, relic hunting, kayaking, disc golfing, cycling, and Walkabout prayer. If you currently don’t have a favorite activity, you may enjoy some of the same things I do or maybe you’d enjoy gardening, golf, shopping, tennis, going Walkabout with your spouse, child, dog, or friends, etc. Whatever it might be, pursue it, start with small regular steps and remember, with the right attitude, we all can live full, grateful, and healthy lives . . . even with diabetes!


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