Hometown: Holgate, Ohio
Growing up on a dairy and grain farm outside of Holgate, Ohio taught James more than how to work hard, he learned to never give up no matter what life throws your way — even diabetes.
In 2011, he dropped his bottle of insulin and while waiting for a replacement he started trying to regulate his blood glucose levels by modifying the way he eats. “I was successful, and that got me thinking of others on Diabetic Connect who manage without diabetes medications,” he said.
Lifestyle changes come hand-in-hand with diabetes, James says he had to change his thinking about foods, especially carbohydrates. “Whenever I was tempted by bread I remembered my blood glucose levels were looking pretty good, and I really wanted to not need insulin anymore,” he says, “I guess I was motivated enough to get me through the difficult parts without much struggle.”
James created his own mind game to help with the diet changes, “I told myself this was an experiment, so that if it went bad for me, it wasn’t I who failed it was just the experiment that failed.”
Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 1995, James is now 62 years young and has learned many important lessons along the way, not letting diabetes get in the way of living his life.
Before finding the community on Diabetic Connect James only knew two people with diabetes, his late wife Jem and her mother. Finding Diabetic Connect was a huge turning point for him, “I have found so much knowledge, support and encouragement here,” he says, “It opened up a whole new world for me.”
When James first came to Diabetic Connect, like many new users, he had some reservations. “I lurked for bit before I waded in. The folks were friendly and accepting,” he says.
For those newly diagnosed with diabetes James says, “Don’t panic, it’s not the end of the world. Learn all you can about this disease. Take baby steps in dealing with diabetes, because you’re not in a sprint. You are in an ultra-marathon, an ironman triathlon. You don’t want to sprint and burn out too soon.”
Diabetes has taught James to look at the world in a different light. “I do believe diabetes has made me a more thoughtful person and one who is more compassionate toward others who have difficulties and are ‘differently enabled’ physically, mentally and emotionally,” he says.
“Without Diabetic Connect I would probably still be injecting myself with NPH. I learned what was possible in managing this disease here.” James encourages everyone no matter what type they are or how much experience they have with diabetes to come as often as they can to Diabetic Connect, “if for nothing else than the camaraderie here.”
Living with diabetes has changed James, he believes that, “whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, and diabetes hasn’t killed me yet.” If you would like to connect with James, you can find him over at his profile jayabee52.