Shawn Dubose was shocked to discover he had type 1 or juvenile diabetes, at the age of 15. After his initial reaction of “why me?” he managed to find a positive meaning in his illness, and even discovered his life purpose.
I was a soccer player in school, and had a fairly high stamina and fitness level. At the age of 15, however, I started feeling a bit unwell, and was clueless about why.
Tiredness and thirst bothered me
After school one day, I felt exhausted walking up the stairs. 10 steps felt like 100. I was confused: since I’d played football my entire life, this degree of tiredness was unusual.
The next day, I made a glass of strawberry milk shake. It was 28 ounces in all, and I drank it at one go, since I was incredibly thirsty. A few moments later, I threw up all the milk. I told myself it was just a bout of indigestion.
Things went from bad to worse
But I woke up some days later, with blurry vision. By now, I was struggling doing even little tasks, and panicked. So, I told my mom to take me to the hospital. In the hospital, looking at a picture of the ocean made me feel very thirsty.
I gulped down a bottle of water, but vomited it as soon as I drank it. When the nurse checked my blood sugar, we saw it was 700! A normal reading is between 70-120 Maybe it was even higher, but the meter wasn’t calibrated to go above this number.
The doctors said I had Type 1 diabetes
This differs from the more common kind that adults develop, type 2 diabetes. Type 1 or juvenile diabetes strikes children and young people, is hereditary, and cannot be reversed unlike type 2.
Self-pity struck with a vengeance
My life became very difficult after this episode, and every single day I would wonder, “why me?” Why do I have to stick myself with a needle every time I eat? How come I have to check my blood sugar every day? Why couldn’t my diabetes be type 2 instead of type 1?
Eating at the right time matters
Every time I eat, I have to take an insulin injection. So, sticking to the right amount of the right food is important. Also, I am strict about eating 6 meals a day and unless I drink a gallon of water daily, I feel tired and restless.
Made a bid to get fit
2 years after my diagnosis, I decided to get fit. So I started lifting weights thrice a week and played soccer too. After my graduation, I started working out 6 days a week. Also, I modified my meals, to maintain the protein-carb balance adequately, for lean muscle building.
To my surprise, fitness improved my self esteem and health too. Slowly, my passion grew, and I became a personal trainer.
Fitness helped me discover my purpose in life
Being a trainer struggling with juvenile diabetes has helped me guide others with health problems, to work out. I began motivating them to train their minds to help them overcome the odds in the gym.
Each time I work out, I set an example for others. Making a decision to get fit was the answer to my question of “why me?” My purpose is to help others overcome their own hurdles. Turning a setback into a victory has been a great achievement for me.