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#EverydayReality

Type 2 Diabetes is my #EverydayReality. Some days feel like gnarly switchbacks, some feel like toe-smushing downhills, some feel like a power pose at the summit.

There are four factors that affect my blood sugar levels: food, exercise, meds, and stress. I tackled the first three right away after my diagnosis. I started noticing positive changes in my physical body, but the numbers on my glucometer were still elevated, even as I was managing the disease.

So I took a look at that last one: stress. I had to reduce my stress. Work was the biggest source of it. At the time, I was herding cats on a national commercial campaign, had my hands in the agency rebrand, and was managing email marketing for NBC, (it was premiere week when I got diagnosed). After a few months of trying to make accommodations to alleviate the stress with no real change, I made the hard choice: quit a six-figure salary + the cushiest benefits I’ve ever had because I could not get my stress under control in that career.

I had said it before in jest but now I had proof right in front of my eyes: this career was killing me slowly.

I left that job to join my friend’s startup, thinking if I did work that was more aligned with what I care about (intersectional feminism, empowering women), maybe I’d get my stress down. Not surprisingly, taking a 50% pay cut to join a super young startup in a cash-hungry product-based business isn’t an effective way to reduce stress, no matter how much you love the work. 95 days later, I quit that job too. This time, without a backup plan. That was mid-May of this year. In June, I was on the TCT again. My blood sugar had never been better. Trail time became my top priority and I built a life around it.

Today, 14 months since my diagnosis, my Type 2 Diabetes is managed entirely by diet and exercise. We are taking #hikingmyfeelings on the road in December and we have some exciting things to announce next week for 2019.
That saying about “a year from now you’ll wish you started today” is absolutely true. My life has been transformed by this disease, and honestly, Diabetes is the best thing that ever happened to me.

📸@thomasvanveen

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