Age alone should not limit what we can accomplish.
Certainly there are other factors that dictate what may or may not be right for us and age may be one of those things. Other things are underlying health issues that are part of our genetic makeup or injuries that have damaged some part of our physical bodies in the past.
Several years ago I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. At that time I was overweight and had problems with asthma attacks and stamina.
My insurance required an annual checkup from my doctor, and at that one visit about 10 years ago, he gave me an ultimatum. He told me to either lose 50 pounds or I’d be on insulin within a year.
That, he said, would not be a good experience, and if I worked hard I could stave off the need for insulin for a number of years. I sort of took him seriously and decided to make some changes to my diet and exercise.
It took a few years, but eventually I began to lose weight. Since I wasn’t really dedicated to the process, it took much longer than it should have.
My attitude was to do as little as I could and still accomplish the goals. My weight went from 215 to 201, then to 195 and 191 when I hit the wall. For some reason getting under 190 was an up-and-down struggle.
I’m not sure when I broke through, but I managed to get down to 185, then 180 and finally 172. Over the last couple of years, I wavered between 168 and 162 with little desire to do any better. At my semi-annual visit in spring 2019, doc said I was doing OK, but he added another diabetic medication because my A1C, which measures average blood glucose over a three-month period, was too high.
I didn’t feel much like changing my diet any more and I hoped the new medication would get me to where my numbers needed to be. It helped drop my numbers to a safer place, but I still wasn’t doing enough for my long-term health.
Then COVID-19 hit. Not me, thank God, but for some reason I started eating healthier with my wife Gail’s help.
Another factor was having an extra day a week to play golf. Yes, I know — as if I needed another excuse to play golf. But it’s true. I found I was walking — I walk, not ride in a cart — between 30 and 45 miles a week.
In addition to the added walking time, I started riding a bicycle. The original reason was because my daughter Tamara and I had planned to ride in the Buffalo Bill Rough Rider Gravel Road competition together.
When the event was downgraded to a fun run, I wanted to stay with it since I had been riding my bike several miles a week anyway.
A couple of months ago, I weighed myself because I noticed I had to tighten my belt to keep my pants up. I was so excited to see the number 158 on the scale and couldn’t believe my eyes.
The combination of the increased exercise and healthier diet had begun to pay off.
This week I went to see the doc for my regular visit and he announced my numbers had improved dramatically. My A1C was down and my blood sugar and cholesterol were better than ever.
He actually cut back some of my meds and said if I kept up the good work between now and my next visit, he would probably cut them more.
Doc said even though diabetes is progressive, if I continue to follow this regimen, I can expect to live a healthy life barring other complications.
There was so much satisfaction when I completed the 25-mile Buffalo Bill Rough Rider Fun Ride on Saturday. I wasn’t the fastest. In fact, I was the slowest finishing in 2 hours and 50 minutes. But I finished.
Nothing is impossible if we set our minds to something and now that I’ve gotten this far, I intend to keep up the bike riding and try to increase my golfing too.
For health reasons only, of course.