Sugar in Action, a diabetes runner’s life experience
After his Type 2 diabetes diagnosis in 2006, Edgar Garcia became one of the most important Type 2 influencers in Latin America. He found solace within the community through his passion for outdoor activities such as running and writing a column for a prominent diabetes magazine in Mexico. Edgar has been featured in Beyond Type 2’s #BeyondPowerful campaign to share how he lives powerfully with Type 2 diabetes. Meet Edgar and read how he uses his life with diabetes to make a positive impact within the community.
What was your introduction to the world of diabetes?
In June 2006, after a week of having two of Type 2 diabetes symptoms — polyuria and polydipsia — I had a blood test that showed my blood sugar was 658 mg/dl and was told I had Type 2 diabetes. That same night, a went into ketoacidosis and ended up at the hospital. There, I started to suffer from a heart attack, during which my medical team aided me. I spent 4 days in intensive care and 4 more in internal medicine and went through a period of denial complete with emotional outbursts such as kicking, cursing, wailing, and crying. But ultimately, I accepted my diagnosis.
Tell us about your work in the diabetes space.
I’ve been writing for the Mexican Diabetes Federation’s magazine since July 2009. My column is called “Azúcar en Acción” (Sugar in Action). I also partner with them by giving lectures and motivational talks, providing testimonies [about my own life with diabetes]. I do whatever it takes show you can live beyond diabetes.
I interact with many different types of people and spread awareness about diabetes management, especially about forming good habits for good self-care and self-control. I have also worked with other foundations, media companies, and laboratory institutions.
What motivates you to be a diabetes advocate?
I’m motivated to encourage people to take care of themselves so they can prevent a diagnosis or if they already have diabetes, encourage them to keep diabetes under control. I like to plant the seed it’s possible to have a good quality of life, despite its downsides.
I’m also passionate about speaking out against the “miracle products” that flood the market by presenting logic and facts about living and managing Type 2 diabetes. Also part of this is to reject the sensationalism around diabetes complications and management which most media perpetuates. It’s important to show it’s not all about out worrying about amputated legs, but that we can show us doing things like going on mountain adventures, to the beach, and different cities.
What do you want to contribute to the world with this job?
I want to continue to help people find the strength and integrity to achieve the necessary changes required to managing the disease. My purpose is to help people become more informed so they can make the best decisions about their management.
Promoting awareness that the human body is a vehicle that was granted to us to dream and achieve goals and objectives is important to me. This means living the right way, understanding that being diagnosed with diabetes is not the end of the world, and you have an option to live in a different but never a limited way.
What are your future plans for people living with diabetes?
I will continue writing for the magazine, on my blog, and connecting with people, as I have done so far, on social media or in-person. I want to write a book about my in 10+ years of living with diabetes. I have countless stories and lessons and want to share it with everyone. They’ll read things that they will not find in other books, learn what specialists don’t know, and about my daily life with diabetes. This is how we as human beings can lift each other up as equals.
I also want to start speaking at conferences about my experiences with diabetes and running can bring a different approach to everyone who will listen. To this day I have already developed three conference topics, “The crossing of the Andes, success story”, “Marathon starts with D”, and “Go beyond your limits.”
How can the diabetes community support you?
Providing ideas and comments and they can feel free to ask me anything. I also would like them to share their experiences, knowledge, and continue to learn about our condition — this will make us all stronger. I think of this quote — “There are no absolute truths, all opinions count and add up, but always keep in mind that: “I am responsible for what I say or write, but you are responsible of what you understand”.