ZERO POD 40 (The Strangest Birthday Gift Ever)

Posted by Ross Baker on Wed, 08/24/2016 - 19:55 in

Confession: I hate clutter.

Not in any aspect of my life. In fact, the opposite is true. I like things clean and simple, with very little junk in between. This philosophy, despite battling with the literal and figurative highs and lows of Type I Diabetes for 20 years, was the reason I always resisted even entertaining the idea of using an insulin pump. Just the thought of having a contraption implanted into my skin with all the attached wires and tubes like some insulin puppet come to life was enough to send me running back to my hated syringes. But as I neared my 40th birthday, the idea continued to persist, hitting me during a perfect storm of events.

First, my father, a Type I Diabetic since age 14, had recently passed away. Throughout my life, I had watched him deal with the Big D with as much as grace and humor as possible despite the bruising from shots, the unpredictable glucose readings, and the constant need to carry Pepsi and Snickers candy bars to combat “getting shaky,” as he called it. It was a life tethered to this silent burden only he could carry and we all, despite our love for him, could never fully understand. As he grew older, the effects of diabetes began to take hold, not just with vision and foot issues but also in the host of other problems a compromised pancreas brings on. He died soldiering through the minefields of this terrible disease but thankful to give up that unyielding fight.

Second, I was tired. Call it selfishness, call it fatigue, call it a willingness to set pride aside and look honestly in the mirror—whatever it was, I was there. Specifically, I was tired of trying to live an active, healthy lifestyle while being in fear of not having the control I needed. Since age 28, I had engaged in a quest to run a marathon in every state (47 states total now). While I had been blessed to thrive with my running in this environment, it still was a consuming task to schedule and plan and anticipate for training and race purposes. Furthermore, the lows always seemed to creep up at the most inconvenient times (driving with my daughters, work meetings, etc.) and there was never a sense of flexibility or…dare I say it…freedom from the way my father had been forced to live. For years I had fought it; now it was time to stop.

Third, like I said before, I hated clutter. Ironic given my earlier protests, but true. My life had been a juggling act of needles, vials and test strips. If I could eliminate some of that, just a little, I would gladly switch over. The dilemma was: was I trading one set of clutter for another? Would there be a substantial benefit? Or was it just window dressing?

Time to visit the endocrinologist. My future was waiting.