My name is James! James Strickland. I call Bartlett, Tennessee, home. It’s where I’ve lived for 32 years!
I’ve been happily married to my wife, Neva, for 28 of those years. We have two children, Christina and Joseph, and we’re currently all living under one roof, including Christina's husband!
I manage the IT Systems and facilities for the Memphis office of Ookla (owners of speedtest.net and downdetector.com, among other things).
Living My Best Life
I am very active in the Boy Scouts of America and have been most of my life. I love to read, cook, and write stories.
I'm currently working on my great Christmas novel! Maybe it will be completed before I'm too old to remember what I am doing, maybe not. In the meantime, I also enjoy being Santa Claus for all the kids in town!
Cooking has really allowed me to explore the relationship between food and my diabetes, and how I can continue to enjoy the foods I love while managing my diabetes.
I also love a good whisky with a cigar around a fire with a few of my closest friends.
There are two things I want most out of life. First, I really want to go to Ireland with my wife. Second, I want to attend my (future) great grandchildren's weddings.
One of my grandfathers died before I was born, the other before I graduated high school. My father died while both of my children were in elementary school; I want to be able to enjoy great grandchildren.
Because it’s my kids that are the joy of my life. I look at my two kids, and they are what I am most proud of.
Sure, they drive me absolutely crazy at times. But, then they do or say something that makes me beam with so much pride.
So, What’s My Diabetes Story?
It’s my kids and the hope of being there for my great grandchildren that have given me the impetus needed to take charge of my health.
I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in December of 2014. It was a pretty dismal day. My doctor had been warning me for the past year, but I just didn't take it seriously.
The day I was supposed to attend the company Christmas party is the day I was diagnosed. I think I hid the disappointment well, but it made for a pretty rough time that night.
Fortunately, I had a coworker who had been diagnosed several years earlier. I confided in him, and he quickly became my mentor and cheerleader.
I'm not going to say it has been an easy journey, learning to live with my diabetes.
However, it is a journey I am proud of. I manage my diabetes well with the use of Jardiance, exercise, and diet.
My Current Diabetes Journey
I have managed to keep my A1C around 5.6% for well over a year! I've lost almost 40 pounds over the last 12 months, which allowed me to reduce my Jardiance by half, and get another condition I have under control.
I was diagnosed with secondary polycythemia in September 2018, meaning I produce too many red blood cells, and my blood becomes too thick.
Through a very serious focus on eating better and walking much, much, much more, I managed to lose 30 pounds by April of 2019!
At that time, my hematologist said I had the polycythemia completely under control. Not only that, but he told me my A1C was actually getting a bit too low, which prompted him to cut my Jardiance in half.
It was the first time in several years I really felt triumphant about my health. My weight is still not where it needs to be, but I work at it every day.
Even though my doctor says I can check my blood sugar a few times a week, I know that checking and keeping on top of blood sugars that little will give me license to slack off.
Instead, I check my blood sugar at least twice a day. I log my meals, water, and exercise, as well. I try to get at least 3 miles of walking in each day, which gets me to 10,000 steps.
One Drop helps me in reaching those blood sugar goals. I love how simple it is to use. I simply open up the app on my phone, do my finger prick, and SHAZAM!
My blood sugar reading is recorded. One Drop also provides easy to understand reports that I can print off for my doctor.
What I’ve Learned Along the Way
If given the chance, I don't know that I would undo my diabetes. I have learned so much about myself and my relationship with others through my diabetes journey that I don't think I would have otherwise learned.
Maybe I would have, but I don't know that I want to take the chance.
I know diabetes is something I will never truly be free from. I will always have to monitor my health closer than most.
But being more vigilant because of my diabetes has actually opened my eyes to so many new adventures and possibilities.
It’s also taught me how to pay attention to my health in a way I didn't in the past. I’ve started thinking about my health not only affecting me, but affecting those around me.
Managing my diabetes is about so much more than just me. My decisions, both good and bad, directly influence and impact the decisions of my loved ones, and those who look to me as an example.
I try to live by the Golden Rule:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Over the past year, I have taken a big interest in the concept of servant leadership. And as a servant leader, I serve those around me.
In taking on this concept and applying it to my life, I realize that my diabetes plays into this role.
In order to truly serve others, I must be vigilant, wise, and discerning when it comes to managing my diabetes. Otherwise, I will be unable to fulfill my duties as a servant.
I continue to embrace my diabetes each day with the Golden Rule in mind.
And so I’ll be able to take that trip to Ireland with my wife and hold, hug, and love those great grandchildren of mine.