The last time I sat in disbelief was on May 29 when I wrote that I was diagnosed as a Type-2 diabetic (read here).
How could I have let myself become so numb to not realize that every item I put in my mouth was slowly euthanizing my ability to live a long-lasting and healthy life.
You've followed my journey over the past 100 days or so of trying to get in shape and conquer diabetes on social media when I occasionally post the infamous neighborhood pond photo (see left) while jogging in my neighborhood.
Today I have good news.
At my 3 month check-up this morning, I weighed in at 267 (down from 300 in mid-May). I could not believe my eyes.
Jennifer Warren, my Nurse Practitioner who has encouraged me along the way, informed me that my A1c level went down from 10 to 5.9. That level is considered on the cusp of being a pre-diabetic.
The fight isn't over though. I want to be under 230 by the end of the year and I know that will be challenging with the upcoming holiday season full of pumpkin spice and peppermint flavored desserts. I'm hopeful though. I celebrated my first birthday with no birthday cake and magically I still turned a year older and didn't miss it. I still enjoy the food I want to eat but I know how many steps I have to take to deplete that pack of candy and it instantly makes me uninterested.
When I go to the gym, I see people of all shapes and sizes working out trying to better themselves. In the past, my peripheral vision could only see the fittest of the fit, discouraging me to compare myself to them. It's not about the radical changes in juicing and living a green-only diet or taking the pyramid scheme weight-loss supplements. It's about taking baby steps one at a time to introduce your body to its new regimen. Every body is different and only you will know what works best for you. I'm finally taking off the training wheels and getting used to it nearly a 1/3 of a year in.
That being said, It hasn't been easy. I still feel nauseous daily while my medicines kick in. I firmly believe in a holistic approach but Metformin and Victoza have been my 'workout buddies' keeping me in line when I want to steer off and eat a donut or two. I've learned that insurance can completely suck. Although my workplace covers the cost of my insurance plan (for which I am grateful), many prescriptions are not covered and my Victoza costs around $400 a month.
This lifestyle is part of my new normal. I haven't drank a sweet tea or pop (soda) since May 28 and my once caffeine addiction is now replaced with walking and light-jogging.
I'm training for my first 5k this weekend to support the real warriors; children of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and will be headed to Disney World on Tuesday; an appropriate celebration destination with still many opportunities to get in those steps.
I wouldn't be here without my incredible friends, family, and medical angels Kris, my nurse; and Jennifer Warren. It's the consistent empathy they share with me that get me through the cravings.
Wish me luck!
After experimenting on various breakfast items, I've found one I truly love (and it's simple to make):
Andrew's Antioxidant Berry Smoothie
- 2 cups frozen raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries
- 2tbsp of nonfat Greek yogurt
-1/3 cup of skim milk
- 1 banana
It was a rough 2.5 mile walk / jog tonight. I didn't hydrate myself during the exercise and am now feeling some major stomach aches. Other than that, it's my favorite time of the day.
The past week at work has been equally rough with catered lunches and events boasting banana pudding, cookies, and rolls.
I must say, once you get on a roll (pun intended) the banana pudding and sugary shit just doesn't sound appetizing.
I come home to donuts on the counter, s'mores dip on the stove top, and drive past 67 drive-thrus to and from work.
I'm constantly battling the mind game and psychological damning of food.
This journey continues whether I like it or not and it's different this time because I can't afford to quit. I don't want to quit. I have too much to gain from this lifestyle improvement.
I'm 12 lbs. down and am cultivating a healthier lifestyle for myself to reverse this diagnosis.
Everyone has an opinion on how they best think I can lost the weight but the truth is, only you know what works best for your body and mind to be physically and mentally healthier.
Instead of feeding myself, I'm fueling myself and although it's been extremely hard to watch others continue to eat the shit that put me three feet in the ground, I'm slowly digging my way out and building a ladder of continued progress.
My blood sugars now run between 104-145 when three weeks ago, even after an all night fasting, it was 350.
I just gotta make this happen.
I'm not writing this for you to feel sorry for me or to share in my grievances.
In fact, it's just the opposite. I'm writing this so my friends and family can hold me accountable against the fatty, sugary shit I've eaten for years.
I wish I could say I never saw this coming. but unfortunately, a fatty pipeline of imperfect blood sugar has run through the veins of my family tree for decades.
I grew up attached to my grandma's hip (almost literally). I distinctly remember the sound of her rings clanking against the glass insulin bottle as she prepared to give herself the daily dose of medicine in her stomach at the kitchen table.
After a month and a half of dealing with weird symptoms like constant urinating, (I felt like my bladder belonged to Michelle Duggar), my incredible coworkers and friends advised me to go to the doctor for an annual physical.
Apprehensive of the outcome and finger pricks, I went to the doctor and found out I have diabetes today. Yes, "the beetus."
My blood sugar (even after a 12-hour fasting) was at 360 and my A1c levels for the past 3 months averaged 9.9. A diagnosis of a severe diabetic and was told that If I hadn't come in when I did, I would have been in a diabetic coma just a few weeks later.
STOP -- I know what you want to do. You want to say, "Oh Andrew, I'm sorry." Don't be. Ya know why? Because I did this to myself. Like many southerners, I indulged in fatty foods, gallons upon gallons of sweet tea, and whenever I felt like it, treated myself to ice cream like it was the Last Supper.
The good news -- Now I know. I know what I need to do to get healthier, become more active, focus on myself more than the countless hours of work I put myself through, and advocate others to make better choices when we go out to eat or have that mighty urge to choose the drive-thru lifestyle.
Today begins a new me. So hold me accountable. I'll be holding everyone around me accountable.
And dammit, diabetes, as much as I hate you right now, I'm glad you've helped me wake up and realize what I need to do to become more spiritually, emotionally, and physically healthy.
I know my grandma has been watching over me from above for sometime, but now more than ever ,I know that with God's will, her guidance will get me through alongside my incredible friends, family and coworkers.
My goal by May 29, 2016 is to be a more fit and healthy Andrew who doesn't need to check his blood sugar everyday.
"Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth." (Isaiah 43:18)
With 1.2 million followers just hours after officially joining Twitter as @POTUS, President Barack Obama, made history as the fastest growing Twitter account and the first sitting President to join the social network (former Presidents including Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush boast accounts as well).
The President isn't a stranger of Twitter, his namesake handle @BarackObama, which has over 59 million followers, is actually run by the Organizing for Action staff and previously used for his campaign including some tweets signed by himself, "- bo." This account is synonymously being confused for the President's "official account" (This conversation has been brought up both times I was invited to the White House and sat with their Office of Digital Strategy.)
In fact, Obama was one of the first politicians to recognize the potential of social media in communicating with voters which led to an interesting 2008 campaign and even more so in 2012 as acting President. (See here.)
In the nonprofit world, social media can work similarly as you "campaign" for donor engagement, appreciation, and mission-centric soundbites meant to maximize your organization's exposure and success by having a platform to consistently sell your mission.
1.) When it feels right, do it.
Nonprofit executive directors can provide a face to your organization's work, a unique viewpoint, and serve as a thought leader in your industry.
Like many things, it's never too late to start or join the noisy world of social media, especially when your director brings valuable information to the designated industry Twitter chat; allowing a human:human interaction among those engaged.
In fact, President Obama's first tweet was short and playful, adding another glimpse into the leader of the free world's daily life.
Whether your Director is tech-savvy and in their middle fifties or a distinguished community leader whose rolodex still sits next to his office phone, the learning curve of Twitter is simple and with a few hours of practice, can offer a huge reward when potential donors seek out the exec. director's digital footprint.
2.) Take charge of your messaging (as much as you can)
There may be days (unfortunately) where your nonprofit is scrutinized for endorsing political bills, adding an action initiative to your mission structure, or other various mishappenings but your opportunity to own up to mistakes and showcase the truth comes by leading with transparency.
We get that exec. director's have extraordinarily busy schedules but they also have (arguably) the most tweet-friendly job in their office by traveling to conventions, exploring ways to advance their mission, and giving a glimpse into the behind-the-scenes work that it takes to be a successful nonprofit (long nights and countless meetings included).
3.) Engage in conversation with similar industry leaders
In his third tweet as @POTUS, President Obama replied to former President Bill Clinton with a charismatic and comedic response to Clinton's welcome tweet.
If the exec. director's organization has a mission that includes advancing tactical urbanism among impoverished neighborhoods , search keywords and hashtags like #tacturb, urban planning, poverty, and other related terms to help find other exec. director's in that space.
Check to see that they tweet often and bring a unique perspective to the conversation, then click the follow button to start the online tweetship.
Many causes host monthly twitter chats on various topics where you can bring valuable expertise 140 characters at a time. (See below for the large list of nonprofit Twitter chats.)
Here’s a whole bunch of chats for nonprofits courtesy of Kivi Miller. If you’re in education or health, be sure to dive into the special directories listed in the "Other" section.
#AssnChat | Tuesdays @ 1pm CT (associations)
#CommBuild | Tuesdays @ 1pm ET (community building)
#FundChat | Wednesdays @ 12pm ET (fundraising)
#GrantChat | Tuesdays @ 12pm ET (grants)
#Npcons | third Tuesday @ 1pm PT (nonprofit consultants)
#Npmc | last Thursday @ 1pm ET (nonprofit marketing)
#Socentchat | Wednesdays @ 1pm ET (social entrepreneurship)
#Startinggood | Wednesdays @ 1pm ET (crowdfunding)
#Ttvolmgrs | Thursdays all day (volunteering)
Technology & Media
#Blogchat | Sundays @ 8pm CT (blogging)
#Bufferchat | Wednesdays @ 12pm ET (social media)
#cmgrchat | Wednesdays @ 2pm ET (community managers)
#cmworld | Tuesdays @ 12pm ET (content marketing)
#culturechat | Every other Thursday @ 1pm ET (generations and culture)
#JournChat | Mondays @ 7pm CT (pr and journalism)
#linkedinchat | Tuesdays @ 8pm ET (LinkedIn)
#muckedup | Tuesdays @ 8pm ET (pr and journalism)
#nywicichat | Every other Wednesday @ 8pm ET (NY Women in Communications)
#pinchat | Wednesdays @ 9pm (Pinterest)
#smchat | Wednesdays @ 1pm ET (social media)
#addictionchat | Wednesdays @ 9pm ET (addiction)
#AEDchat | monthly @ various times and dates (eating disorders)
#Agingchat | second Wednesday of every other month @ 4pm ET (aging)
#ALZChat | Mondays @ 3pm ET (Alzheimer’s and dementia)
#FoodFri | Fridays @ 1pm EST (food advocacy)
#WellnessWed | Wednesdays @ 11am PST (health and wellness)
#artsedchat | second Sundays @ 8:30pm ET (arts education)
#musedchat | Mondays @ 5pm ET (music education)
#econchat | 2nd and 4th Sundays @ 9pm ET (economics and finance)
#edtechchat | Mondays @ 8pm ET (educational technology)
#Edchat | Tuesdays @ 12pm ET (education)
#kidscancodechat | Tuesdays @ 8pm ET (programming in education)
#spedchat | Tuesdays @ 9pm ET (special education)
#sschat | Mondays @ 7pm ET (social studies)
#chsocm | Tuesdays @ 9pm EST (church social media)
#spiritchat | Sundays 9am EST (spirituality)
Other Twitter Chat Lists
Healthcare chats: http://www.symplur.com/healthcare-hashtags/tweet-chats/ (H/T Chritina Lizaso @btrfly12)
Education chats: https://sites.google.com/site/twittereducationchats/education-chat-calendar (H/T Elana Leoni @elanaleoni of Edutopia @edutopia)
Google Docs: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhisaMy5TGiwcnVhejNHWnZlT3NvWFVPT3Q4NkIzQVE&hl=en#gid=52