The Thanksgiving Plan

As a boy, I always enjoyed Thanksgiving because I got to see my extended family…..Aunt, Uncles and Cousins.  Growing up in Western PA, we didn’t see them often, but Thanksgiving was one of those times when we went to visit my Grandparents and the family in Eastern PA.

I looked forward to these vacations every year, and the smell of roasted turkey in the oven takes me back, no matter where I am.


Ironic, yes, that I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease the day after Thanksgiving, and it is my favorite holiday.  That part hasn’t escaped me.

It all started the day after Thanksgiving, 1982, and every year, I try to celebrate the fact that I am alive, and living healthy.  This year was no different and I celebrated with a group ride with my wife and some of our friends. I celebrated with a family fun run at the Haddon Township Turkey Trot.  I celebrated with a stop at the local bike shop (more about my stop at Action Wheels later).  I celebrated with a little family skate at the local rink.  I celebrated with an impromptu 2nd Thanksgiving dinner with some of the family members I had dinner with on Thursday night.  It will long be known as the “Pie and Ice Cream Milk Shake” Mexgiving.  (Some of us had black bean burritos and the others had left overs).

There were significant conversations this weekend about blood glucose levels and specific insulin requirements (especially for said milk shake).   You see, everyone who lives with T1D, conducts biochemical experiments multiple times a day that will lead to success or failure of that day.  Every person is different in terms of biological make up, and then throw in their own personal preferences and lifestyle decisions surrounding food and activity?  Yeah, not exactly predictable.  So, how does someone living with T1D come across predictability in their life?

I use exercise.  Best prescription a doctor could give me.  I believe some form of exercise is good for everyone.  Move it or lose it.  Find something that makes you happy and go out and do it.


Here are my reasons for exercise:

  1. I like it
  2. I like the way it makes me feel
  3. I like doing things outside with my family
  4. It helps me deal with my potential “milkshake problem”
  5. It helps me increase my sensitivity to insulin
  6. It helps me deal with my multiple pre-dispositions to cardiovascular disease
  7. It helps me “feel” normal (non T1D)

I am thankful for the T1D wisdom that has been shared with me from the time of diagnosis to my recent conversations with my JDRF Ride to Cure buddies and my Hope on 2 Wheels Team.  The stories and management techniques they have shared have been incredible.  However, it is a knowledge base that is tough to document.

I believe that we need to find a cure.  So, Breigh and I organize a 5k run to raise money to fund research for a cure, and better treatment for those living with T1D. (You can follow us on Facebook here: )  We participate in the JDRF Ride to Cure with the South Jersey Ride Team as part of this effort.  You can find out more about the JDRF Ride to Cure program here:

I believe that those living with T1D need to be inspired.  So, my friend Scott Kasper and I, started Hope on 2 Wheels to inspire those living with T1D to challenge themselves with the goals they always wanted to achieve. (You can follow us on Facebook: , Twitter: , or on the WWW: )

I also believe that those living with T1D need to hear the stories and the information.  How is it done?

Except, that a middle aged man’s life isn’t normally all that exciting.  So, it’s time to turn the screws a little and make it more fun.

2014 – 70.3 Triathlon goal (1/2 Ironman distance)

2015 – 140.6 Triathlon goal (Full Ironman distance)

So, for the foreseeable future, I will be writing about my training, racing and living with T1D under a non-typical lifestyle…… training for triathlons.

Why would I make this investment in time and money?  Great question.  Let’s first review the hurdles I have to face:

  1. I am 37 years old.
  2. I have a full time job.
  3. I am married with 2 children.
  4. I have exercise induced asthma
  5. I live with Type 1 Diabetes

These are significant hurdles.  I will need to balance my time and responsibilities.  However, the information I will gain will be invaluable.  Information such as: how far can I push myself, what do I need to do to manage blood glucose levels through the extreme training conditions, what style of diabetes care works for the different events, what types of devices work best for the different events, etc. etc. etc.

The effort is worth the information.  You may have seen previous blog posts regarding my children’s likelihood of developing T1D.  I especially want this information so that I can be prepared for helping them manage T1D the best they can as they face whatever challenge they decide they should.  With T1D or not.

And awaaaay we go.

2010 Philadelphia Marathon

2010 Philadelphia Marathon

Thanksgiving – My Favorite Holiday

It has always been my favorite holiday. The meaning is just……right…..

Ok, ok, there seems to be some lack of clarification about where and when modern day Thanksgiving started, and why. However, its really simple, as far as I’m concerned.

Thanksgiving is just that. A day set aside to GIVE THANKS.

(My dad always told me to keep it simple)

I remember the days when I was young and my family would get together for the holiday. Sometimes we were fortunate to have my Mom’s side of the family travel to see us and spend a couple of days. We didn’t see them much, so the constant movement in the house of Mom, Aunt Pat and Gram making dinner was always the basis of the excitement for the weekend. The smells would fill the house and provide for an aromatic environment which I loved.

Thanksgiving 1982 was one for the books. It’s where my family life got real, real quick. The day after I was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 6.

My family’s reaction?

Mom: I’ve heard of this before, what do we do?
Dad: what is this and what do we give him to get rid of it?
Older Brother(Age 10): thanks for getting rid of him for a while.
Younger Brother (Age 2): well, his age speaks for itself.

The atmosphere in the family changed. Both of my parents were tense, my older brother was walking on egg shells and me? I don’t know, I was home sick for the first night, but after the nurse brought me a snack, I settled right in.

The month of November is Diabetes Awareness Month, but for me, it’s a month of giving Thanks. I’m thankful for having the parents that treated me like a normal kid and forced me to love successfully. They sacrificed many things so that we could afford the healthcare I needed.

I am thankful that I had access to healthcare and was fortunate to have a top notch endocrine taking care of me. From the RN’s, CDE’s and Endo’s, I was well educated and had info when I needed.

I am thankful for the JDRF, and the many volunteers who have sacrificed time, energy and significant dollars to fund research since 1970. This changed the landscape for care, management, lifestyles and long term health outcomes for those living with T1D.

Without all of these, I would not be a healthy adult with a great family. I don’t know where I would be, what I would be doing, or what I would be capable of doing.

I am Thankful.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, so starting the day after Thanksgiving, on my 31st anniversary of diagnosis, I will begin sharing my story of living with T1D. Not the pretty, painted picture I want everyone to see, but the truth……

The good and the bad. The truth.
Through daily living, working, working with my wife to raise our kids, training and chasing my athletic dreams. Try to set a good example for our kids and trying to manage T1D all the while… that I can see my kids grow up and enjoy retirement with my wife.

So stay tuned, we’re gonna learn a little and have some fun while doin’ it.

“No one ever finds life worth living – one has to make it worth living.” -Winston Churchill

Lets make somethin’

What is Mikes Miles

Mikes Miles is the efforts of myself (Mike) and my family to raise awareness and funds for Type 1 Diabetes.  I am living with T1D, and have been since my diagnosis on November 26th, 1982.  This also means that my family has lived with this autoimmune disease as well.  Our experiences are different, but similarly powerful and impactful to our lives.

80 people per day are diagnosed with T1D, and we want to be a resource for those who are newly diagnosed.  We want to be a resource for those who we know and connect with on a daily basis for when the time comes when they unfortunately are diagnosed.

We also choose to work and fund raise for the JDRF, who has been the greatest financial supporter of T1D research since 1970.  Many of the advancements in care, prevention and knowledge for the eventual cure have come from JDRF funded research.