I was diagnosed in February 2009 as part of a routine blood screening for life insurance—not from my doctor, from my insurance agent!
I was fortunate when diagnosed that my family physician was very aggressive in treating my condition. He immediately put me on 4 medications to control my diabetes, as well as blood pressure and cholesterol. My doctor explained that as a diabetic, I was at high risk for both. He also pushed me to attend a diabetes education program at a local hospital.
I tried to follow the plan as best I could and lost about 40 pounds the first year. But I did what I think lots of other people do— figured out how to game the system. By timing my ‘bad’ meals right, skipping meals or eating too little later in the day, I could have my cheesesteak and eat it too.
But my blood sugar wasn’t as well controlled as it could be. There were days when my fasting glucose hit 200. I was working for a fast-paced startup. With that role came long hours, high stress and I reacted the way I always have—skipping meals, ordering dinner out too frequently. My hemoglobin A1C level (a measure of the 90-day average of blood sugar) spiked to 6.4 when it had been in the low 5 range in previous years.
Something had to give. I needed to take better care of myself. For me, that something was my job. In 2012 I gave my notice and said goodbye to life in the fast lane.
Just as important as the career change, was the dawning realization that living with type 2 diabetes was hard. The most frustrating thing for me was accepting that I had done this to myself. There had been warning signs, warning conversations with my doctor. I needed to fully accept that I was a diabetic and do more than just treat my condition. I wanted to find a way to help others avoid my fate.
The kernel for Dare Two had been formed for me. I wanted to build a foundation that could put the power of Design Thinking to help those with type 2 diabetes live healthier lives. I wanted to help people with prediabetes prevent type 2 diabetes.
This is why I created the Dare Two Foundation. Our mission is to impact the lives of people with prediabetes—to increase awareness of the disease and the importance of diagnosis, and motivate healthy behaviors that can help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Dare Two will achieve this goal by applying the Design Thinking process of research, ideation, testing and implementation to create solutions that make a difference in the fight to prevent type 2 diabetes.
We’re just getting started. We have so much still to do. I’m excited to now be part of a growing, dedicated team who shares my passion. I’m looking forward to what comes next and all of the amazing things we are going to accomplish.
I do believe that we can help many of the 86 million Americans with prediabetes prevent type 2 diabetes. I hope to see the end of type 2 diabetes in my lifetime. I hope you’ll join us on the journey to reach that goal.