Meet Daniel from New York and see the face of determination!
the year that changed my life. I’ll never forget the pain that radiated
throughout my chest. I’ve heard of heart attacks, I’ve never had one, but I
knew something was happening that wasn’t quite right. I kept feeling pains in
my left side and I was petrified. The pain was so sharp, that it would paralyze
me with fear.
Unable to face this
fear, I turned to my usual comfort, food. There I was, possibly having a
massive heart attack, but lifting the lid of the pot to grab a spoonful of
arroz con pollo (chicken and rice). This how bad my addiction to food was.
I realized I had to
check myself into a hospital as soon as possible. I was overcome with emotion
at the thought of saying goodbye to my daughter forever. I took a cab to the
closest hospital and was immediately admitted. Extensive tests were run, and I
was told that I was not having a heart attack. My relief was short lived as
they found highly elevated sugar levels in my blood.
Right then and there, I was diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic.
I was grateful that I wasn’t having a heart attack, but still there was this
dread. Diabetes meant to me a lifetime sentence. I was so angry with myself,
with no one to blame but myself for my predicament.
I was in the hospital for 4 or 5 days. During that time the
doctors performed a variety of tests, one in particular was the stress test. It
was humiliating, because even the smallest of activity left me breathless.
A battery of health
care professionals came to see me while I was hospitalized. They all seemed to
have the same message, to change my life and my destructive habits.
Their change meant medication, but I wanted a different way.
I didn’t want to be chained to a medicine cabinet for the rest of my life. I
remember going over my test results with an endocrinologist, and his
prescriptions. I could feel this wasn’t right, something inside me couldn’t
accept this. I pleaded with him to let me try to balance my life. I would eat
right and exercise for the first time in my life. The skepticism in the
doctor’s eyes was understandable, but I was adamant.
So I started researching about diet, exercise, and diabetes.
I wanted to become informed about this disease and how I could fight it
naturally. The run/walk program from the American Heart Association’s website
was a revelation. After pouring over the information from their site, I decided
I would follow this plan.
of an end goal of running for 30 minutes building up in increments. Initially,
you run for 1 minute and walk for 29 gradually increasing the time spent
I was fired up with idea of
finally taking control of my life, running a minute seemed completely feasible.
Then came the harsh reality of actually running that minute. The humbling stark
truth was that even 30 seconds seemed more than arduous but impossible. I even
wrote in my journal how can runners run for hours when 30 seconds seemed so
long. But nevertheless I was determined to run that minute and succeeded. I
finally was able to run 30 minutes in four months time, bringing tears of joy
to my eyes.
I ran on my treadmill for a few years, afraid to run in the
streets like “real” runners. But entering my daughter in roadrunner’s races
sparked my interest in running in race for myself. With a friend’s added
encouragement, I completed a father’s day 5-mile race.
The solace I sought in Chinese food and pizzas, I replaced
with the serenity of running. Since starting this life style change, I have
lost almost 200 pounds, reversed the effects of my diabetes and improved my asthma.
I have successfully completed 9 marathons. I have gained a great new circle of
friends that support this change. I have the security of knowing I will see my
daughter grow up.
I guess you could say
that running saved my life.