Hi, my name is Gary.
I’m your average guy who grew up playing every sport you could think of. I loved the thrill of competition and always pushing to give it my best with my team and on an individual level. Being active seemed like second nature to me, and that translated into my adult life as I kept playing college and then recreational sports and venturing into the gym to release my inner meathead.
When I was 23 years old, everything changed in the blink of an eye.
I was feeling sick and dizzy and OFF. I usually brushed feelings like that off because of late nights out drinking or partying, but this time it felt very different. I called my mom to tell her that I felt bad and that I was also insatiably thirsty and had blurred vision. She made sure to yell at me just loud enough to remind me who was the boss and told me to go to the Emergency Room as soon as possible.
I thought that I would be out of the ER with a prescription for some sort of cold or flu or virus I caught. The diagnosis wasn’t what I expected. My blood sugars were over 500 and I was told, “GARY, YOU HAVE DIABETES.”
The initial diagnosis was a complete shock to me. I honestly didn’t take care of myself initially because I thought that it wasn’t as serious as it truly was. I didn’t want to face the fact that my life was forever changed and I was to forever make this a daily focus of mine.
Fast-forward to 2010 >> I met my wife Katrina in the gym at an office we both worked at together. She was starting her INSANITY journey and I was slinging weights around the weight room. We immediately hit it off and I knew we were meant to be partners in each others’ lives to better each other. She makes me a better person because of her focus on health and fitness and I keep her light-hearted and on her toes!
We’ve made sure to focus on living and loving life through travel and exploring everything we can together. Diabetes is a part of our lives, but isn’t our lives itself. Our goal has always been to enjoy life and create memories through all that we do.
After both of our pasts made it so we thought we couldn’t start or have a family, we decided to do what we could medically to make it happen. It took some reflection to realize we wanted life to include building a family together.
On Easter morning, March 27, 2016, we found out Katrina was pregnant and we had our little girl in November 2016.
Life is even more so now about leading by example. I’ve realized that I need to be more vocal about our life and my experience as a Type 1 Diabetic. Working out has been a natural part of my life as well as focusing on eating right [most of the time.] As I’ve crossed the threshold into my 40’s (I can’t believe I said that out loud) I have felt changes in my body that continue to remind me to always stay focused and never lose sight of why we stay active and eat well. I would love to have bread and and pizza and cookies as my main meals, but I can’t let temporary indulgence cost me issues with my diabetes or wreck my body for the long term.
We want to live to show our daughter the importance of a healthy life and mindset so she learns early!
I am here now to share my story and partner with others who are impacted by Diabetes in their lives and to educate whomever I can so that we can manage our lifestyles until a cure for T1 is found!