My name is Derek. In February 2016 I was driving down Highway 52 in Rochester, Minnesota, on my way to work. All of a sudden, I broke out into a complete body sweat. I was having chest pains and was losing feeling in my entire left leg. I didn’t know if I was having a stroke or a heart attack; I was scared to death. Only a couple minutes from my office, my vision started to fail me and all of a sudden, I was 100% blind. I pulled over on the side of the highway, at least I thought I did. I didn’t know if I was going to cause an accident or if I was even still on the road. I sat there for a few minutes listening to the vehicles race past me, as I peeled back my eyelids with my fingers to see if I was actually blind or just having a panic attack.
I was excessively thirsty and luckily had a bottle of water in my truck. Another few minutes passed by and my vision slowly came back. I remember deciding if I should call an ambulance or drive to the emergency room. I drove directly to my primary care doctor at Mayo Clinic, as I was only a few blocks from his office.
I was pale as a ghost and dripping with sweat. He did some blood work and discovered that my blood glucose level was 560 (normal blood glucose should range from 70-100). I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. My A1C blood work indicated 9.0 (A1C averages your blood glucose over the past several months). To be considered “non-diabetic” your A1C levels should not exceed 5.7%.
After discussing my past symptoms with my doctor, he thought I had been living with Type 2 diabetes for many years. I asked him about why I went blind. He told me that the body knows that there is so much sugar in my blood that the body is smart enough to try to flush it out; therefore, it pulls water from every organ in your body to try to flush it out. Your eyes hold the most amount of water. I basically drained my eyes and they couldn’t function.
I was prescribed two different forms of insulin to help control my blood glucose levels -- an injectable insulin shot in my stomach every morning along with four metformin pills daily. My doctor educated me on diabetes and the serious complications that come along with it, which can be fatal if not managed.
I learned that Type 2 diabetes is hereditary and that two-thirds of diabetics will die from some sort of heart disease. I lost my grandfather to a massive heart attack at age 58. I remember my doctor looking me square in the eyes, telling me I would die at an early age if I didn’t take control of my health.
We made a one-year plan/goal to lose weight, have better nutrition, exercise and eventually get off of the injectable insulin. He said the odds are most diabetics will live the rest of their life on some sort of insulin. Over the next 10 months, the insulin brought my blood glucose levels down around 120 (still higher than normal).
I found myself maintaining, but I knew I didn’t want to depend on medication for the rest of my life and wanted to make a serious lifestyle change. In November 2016 I was coming out of a long-term relationship that impacted my life significantly. I found myself lonely, depressed, isolated, stressed, anxious, scared and hopeless. I’ll never forget December 21, 2016. Without going into details, I can tell you that I was so blessed to find a sense of clarity and peace after praying and I rose to my feet new man.
When I stepped on the scale that day, I hit an all-time high at 260 pounds. How did I let myself get into this situation?
Over the past 10-12 years of my life I started to notice an increase in my clothing sizes year over year. I found myself hiding in baggy clothes and was camera shy. Taking my shirt off in public gave me too much anxiety. Despite everything, I wanted to change.
My first goal was to get off my diabetes medication. My second goal was to get to 199 pounds. From January 2017 through April 2017, I lost around 53 pounds doing workouts at home and using the CHIP Program. I found myself hitting a brick wall; no matter how much I worked out or how healthy I would eat, the weight just wasn’t coming off and I knew I needed accountability.
That’s when Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping found me. Farrell’s donated a 10-week membership for JM Football Fundraiser Golf Tournament as an auction item, which I ended up purchasing. I was so excited and looked forward to the beginning of the 10-week journey.
I started my 10-week journey on October 7. I remember being somewhat nervous not knowing what to expect and having to run a mile. I hate running. I was actually quite thrilled with running 7:45 and then even bettering my time to 6:45 at 5-week testing. I would’ve never bet that I could run a mile under 7 minutes.
Weighing in at 207 pounds at orientation was the lightest I had been in the past 12 years. I knew I wasn’t there to set any records for weight loss, but my personal goal of overall fitness, strength, and endurance were my main priorities.
I would recommend Farrell’s to anyone; as promoted, they guarantee results if you put forth the effort.
I can proudly say that I’m living proof of guaranteed results, along with basically every other 10-week student that I’ve had the pleasure of sharing the bag with. Everyone in class is showing signs of weight loss -- faces slimming, muscles toning, energy increasing and everyone in general is happier. I personally have improved physically, emotionally, mentally, and have rebuilt overall confidence in myself.
I’m definitely in the best shape of my entire life. Seeing definition everywhere and my energy levels throughout the day have significantly increased. I notice signs of peak performance living Life at Level 10.
I share my newly acquired fitness and health with everyone - family, friends, co-workers, clients; they all see my excitement and accomplishments. Some ask, “What’s your secret?” I found myself thinking about how to answer this and all I can come up with is: commitment, dedication, hard work and a relentless battle for my own personal success. I tell them to go check out Farrell’s and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. The owners, instructors, coaches and fellow classmates are unbelievable; they are there to assist you, push you, motivate you, encourage you and only want the best for you. I’ve made a lot of new, amazing friends that wouldn’t be in my life today if I didn’t take the plunge into Farrell’s. Farrell’s is more than a gym membership; it’s family.
I’m proud to say I crushed my goal of reversing my disease of Type 2 diabetes! My doctor cannot believe the changes with my health over the past year. He told me that I’m in the 1% of diabetics that completely reverse this disease. I’m completely off all medications. My blood sugars are now averaging around 90 (normal); my last blood work A1C was 5.6% (normal). No more symptoms of blurred vision, numbness in leg, constant sweats, excessive thirst or restless sleep.
I reached my 199 pound goal after my second week at Farrell’s and I’m still going!
This past year has been a journey of personal growth and self-discovery, pushing myself to the limits to conquer the goals I set for myself. As I look in the mirror and at past pictures of myself, I don’t even recognize myself. I feel like I’m at the top of my game and I’m truly happy being “me” again.
I am nothing without my health; my purpose in life is to first and foremost glorify God through my role as a son, brother, friend and significant other. I’ve actually learned so much more about myself after sharing this story that it will challenge me to live at even a higher level of integrity. There is so much personal pride and self-satisfaction to be enjoyed. No matter what life throws at me, I’m ready for it.
Derek C. is a FIT Member at our Rochester, Minnesota, Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping location.