“These sufferings have seasoned me


In 2007, my mom called and asked that Tonya and I go get our cholesterol checked. An aunt of mine had just died due to complications involving cholesterol, and my mom just wanted us to go and be aware of things, which could be there. It was a valid concern as I was pushing near 300 pounds at that point in my life. 

We went and had the proper blood work taken, and my doctor came to me with my results. I did not have any conditions or troubles relating to cholesterol, but… Your doctor never needs to say the word “but”, unless your doctor is my doctor and it was that day. “But you are in danger of becoming pre-diabetic if you don’t make some changes fast.” 

I did not need any other warnings. I knew exactly what that meant. I did not want to get anywhere near diabetes or pre-diabetes (whatever the hell PRE-diabetes is!). So went on Weight Watchers, and I went all-in on WW. I ended up losing 70lbs and got down to my goal weight. I got a job at a great non-profit working with the homeless and addicts in recovery. I was doing great. 

Once I reached my goal weight, I started to wean myself off of the WW program, but I kept losing weight. I was told that this could happen sometimes because your body gets conditioned to the eating styles it learned on the program. So I weaned to a point where I was really eating almost like I used to before I started Weight Watchers. I was still DROPPING weight. It made no sense. My cheeks were sinking in and I looked pale. I had no energy. Oh, and also, I had to pee ALL THE TIME! 

I lost my job at the non-profit. I was hired to be the volunteer coordinator, but I spent all my time with the residents because that was what I really loved. I just was not getting them volunteers, so they had to let me go. In “the meeting”, the director said, “You should be a pastor.” 

When you are being let go from a job, you have to go back and discern the words being said to you. You have to sort out what is true about you and what is bullshit. I would later find out this woman spoke something over and into my life that I am forever grateful for. A couple years ago I would be let go from a church with the words, “Maybe you’re just not meant to be a pastor.” I would later have a wise pastor for whom I was interviewing say, “NO! That person spoke a curse over you. You cannot allow your heart and mind and spirit take that onto yourself.” This, also, I will remember forever.

Back to leaving the non-profit: I went to get a job the water district where I would drive around and give people citations for wasting water. I got the job, but I couldn’t start until I had a physical from THEIR doctors. So I got some more blood work done. It had to be great, right? I mean I have lost a ton of weight and I’m healthier than ever! Also, I have to pee a lot!

Their doctor chose to mail me a hand-written note that was not as sweet as it sounds. It simply read, “You have diabetes. Call your doctor.”

I called my doctor and got an appointment for a second opinion. My doctor came into the little room again with news. “Yeah Peter, you have Type 1 Diabetes.” Moments like these are the ones in the movies when all the sound in the room becomes a vapor but for the high pitched ring. I had not idea what was happening. 

At 27, I was diagnosed with a disease that is more generally described with words like “JUVENILE onset”. I still remember saying to my doctor, “Let me get this straight. All the work I did to not become PRE-diabetic moved me into getting diabetes?” I am still learning how to live with a disease that is not curable, but is entirely manageable.

My first trip to Mexicali was the year Mrs. Ochoa died. I never met her. I never saw her. I had only heard her story in everyone's fractured pieces.

I had heard she was an incredible woman. I hard she loved people. I heard was a very humble but strong leader. I heard she was a prayer warrior type. I heard heard she had passion to love hungry children. I heard she had diabetes and had died from it.

I froze since I also have Type 1 Diabetes. 

Mrs. Ochoa had lost legs before eventually passing away and all due to complications with diabetes.

I thought back to when I was diagnosed and my doctor said, "This disease is absolutely manageable. You can live a long life if you take care and manage it well."

The immediate realization was this was something Mrs. Ochoa and everyone else there do not have to the opportunity for. Immediately, I was faced with something I have and continue to take for granted.

WE complain about our medical care. We complain about the pricing of it. We complain about its craziness. We complain about its confusion. We have been given literal life-saving resources and  we complain about how much it costs.

A few days ago I was reading in Proverbs 3:27-28, "Do not withold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it. When you have it with you."

When you consider what you have that many do NOT have, we must be mindful and act. It is in our power to do SOMETHING...always. You are in a position to have with you so much more than most of the world has.

That was a lesson I had to learn in Mexicali. I keep going back to gain this perspective and reminder. You learn to live your life differently when you are faced with how much you really do have.