The following blog is the first of a four part series devoted to helping professional drivers who
are in danger of surrendering their CDL due to the onset of Type II Diabetes.
Fourteen years after being diagnosed as a diabetic, I surrendered my CDL. For the first seven years doctors prescribed oral medication along with moderate diet and exercise to keep the disease in check. After seven years of taking pills twice a day and not exercising or eating properly, my diabetes raged out of control. After a thorough examination including an in-depth blood test, my doctor suggested I quadruple by my oral medication or begin taking insulin shots. If I surrendered to the needle, I would no longer be able to drive at National Carriers unless I had a waiver recognized by the federal government.
Drivers take great pride in the accomplishment of a Commercial Driver’s License. I studied and practiced extensively for the test and felt pleased to have passed all endorsements that were available. I never intended to pull tankers, doubles, or triples, however I was licensed to do so. Taking into consideration the work involved in getting Class A CDL (and having a fear of needles) I decided to take four times the normal oral medication. Immediately my stomach was upset constantly. Diarrhea was normal and my blood sugars held at 200 instead of the prescribed 80 – 120 range.
After six months of discomfort, I surrendered to the needle. Reflecting, I believe it was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made professionally. To admit my body had degenerated to the point I needed daily doses of insulin through a needle was disheartening. Even though I did not make my living driving truck, it was equally disheartening that I would NEVER have that option again. As I began “shooting up” each morning and evening it was an on-going battle to determine what the right dosage would need to be. If I ate too little or over medicated my blood sugar would plummet, causing shakes, blurred vision, upset stomach, and a lack of concentration. If I ate too much or under dosed myself, severe headaches, an overwhelming lethargic feeling, and blurred vision resulted. The first six months of being on insulin was a rollercoaster ride. Trying to determining the correct dosage of insulin along with the correct timing and quantities of food during my meals resulted in months of experimenting.
Today, I am medication free (the doctor said it couldn’t happen) and in the blogs that follow in this series, I will explain the steps I took to accomplish this feat.