Joe wakes up every weekday morning and drives a school bus packed full of children.
Joe goes to the Y at least five times a week and swims 30 laps in a 25-yard pool.
Joe is 73.
Joe is diabetic.
After four decades as a mechanic and a brief retirement, he decided he just had too much energy and needed more to do. Driving kids to school is how he enjoys his mornings now.
He was 56-years-old when he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes; it later transformed into Type 1. Like many back then, he knew nothing about diabetes and was pretty scared when he was first diagnosed. But thanks to a “great expert, nutritionist—the best wife I could hope for”, Joe has learned a lot in a very short time.
“My wife told me that she’d cook whatever food I needed, but that I was the one with diabetes and I was the one who had to be responsible and learn what foods were the right ones and why.”
A smart man, Joe listened to his wife Cathy. In fact, he perceives having diabetes as positive, which mirrors his outlook on most things in life. Diabetes has made him more health conscious. He exercises and maintains a healthy diet more now than before his diagnosis, and he simply loves life.
Joe also does his best to educate the younger generations in his family about diabetes and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. With three children and seven grandchildren, he wants to see all seven grow up to be healthy adults. So he shows his grandchildren exactly how his insulin pump works, a device he says is nothing short of a lifesaver.
“Anyone who has kids knows that you love them, but they don’t always listen to you,” Joe chuckles. “I try and live by example, showing them how and why I use the pump and how to live a healthy and fun life.”
Joe is still shocked at how little most people know about diabetes despite the growing numbers of people being diagnosed every day.
He promises diabetes will never stop him from getting up in the morning and enjoying his day to the fullest. “73 is just a number,” he laughs. “I feel like I’m 18 and I’ll live to be 120.”