Thursday, May 22, 2014

Looking Up

Things are looking up as far as the Chicot Challenge goes. The article that ran on the front page of Sunday's Greenwood Commonwealth is already paying off. For the last two days I have received checks in the mail made payable to the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. Anyone reading this who would like to donate, can do so in several ways:

  1. Go online to and give in honor of the Chicot Challenge

  2. Mail a check made payable to the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi to me at
      Zane Hodge
      333 West Monroe Ave
      Greenwood, MS 38930

  3. Mail the check straight to them at
      Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi
      800 Avery Blvd, Suite 100
      Ridgeland, MS 39157

The DFM is a quality organization that helps people in the State of Mississippi. For every dollar donated to them, a mere eleven percent is used in overhead expenses and 100% of the funds stay here where we have some of the highest diabetic rates in the world. If a child is diagnosed with diabetes in a Mississippi hospital, the DFM shows up with free supplies and information. I like to call thenm the first responders. They have a camp each year, Camp Kandu, for diabetic children. They work with health care officials, civic clubs, schools, and other organizations in providing education on diabetes. Last year they gave away five diabetic alert dogs to Mississippi residents.

My concern with this disease stems from my mother's experience with it. Basically, it destroyed her health. She never abused her body in any way but was just a little overweight, a bit sedentary, and had a genetic predisposition to the condition. I would provide some details on her health problems, but I'm not sure she really wants everyone knowing her business. Let me just say she now has a terminal illness brought on by "a little sugar" as people around here call it. "A little sugar" sounds pretty innocuous. Diabetes is anything but. It is a heinous disease that works silently and steadily, like termites, in eating away at one's health. By the time one realizes how bad this disease is, it is too late. I call it a gateway disease because it is a fast track to several other conditions that kill or seriously downgrade one's quality of life. These conditions include heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, blindness, amputations, and many more. There is nothing sweet about "a little sugar."

The good news is diabetes can be lived with successfully. One must, however, respect the condition, and do the right things. Diet of course is paramount, and it seems as if the typical American approach to food is tailor made to lead us into the valley of the shadow diabetes. We eat too much of everything, and we eat way too much of the wrong things, ie., high glycemic foods. High glycemic foods are those that raise blood sugar rapidly causing a strong insulin reaction and hence storing of excess calories (as fat) and lowering of blood sugar which results in hunger which results in eating which results in . . . . Well, I hope you get the picture. When you think high glycemic, think processed foods, that are easy tasty, fast. Not all easy, tasty, fast is bad but much of it is. Some specific examples are just about anything you take out of a wrapper. What's that you say? A candy bar, a Twinkie, an Oatmeal Cream Pie. I'm making myself hungry just writing about it. Yes, Britny Wiggins, I know you have seen me eat a candy bar. Okay, several candy bars. But I don't always eat them, and I when I do I don't give up and throw my standards and  goals away.

Besides diet, exercise is one of the strongest preventives to developing diabetes if you don't have it, or controlling it if you do. Exercise relieves stress, burns excess calories, stimulates the cardio vascular system, protects against muscle loss (one pound of muscle burns 100 calories a day doing NOTHING), and makes the muscle cells more sensitive to INSULIN. Insulin sensitivity, or the lack thereof, is a huge factor in developing Type 2 Diabetes.

One of the things I hope people notice as I do this challenge each year is that as I get older I am doing more not less. In the first Chicot Challenge, I swam 13.94 miles. I was 56 years old. For Chicot Challenge II, I swam 16 miles. This year I hope to swim 17. As I have grown older, I have more training and more experience with what my body is capable of. I am able to do more not less. The point is that the average couch tomato who begins exercising now can achieve amazing things in the future if he or she sticks with it and makes a commitment to his health.

My confidence is coming back and it was really boosted by two pool sessions this week. My old buddy, John Misterfeld, has been a real help to me. He prays for me and he stays with me as long as I want. Swimming for several hours can get a bit lonely and dreary when it gets dark and I am the only one in the pool. John, who has bad shoulders, treads water in the deep end as long as I want to stay. It really does help to have someone else there.

Monday I swam
  16 X 50 @ 1:13
  1,300 small paddles
  4 X 250 ending each 100 with a hard 25
  800 easy
  Total: 7,200 meters.

Tuesday I took it easy with
  100 hard
  100 easy
  50 easy
  Total: 3,650

Wednesday I was back to serious business. John and I crawled into the pool about 6:15 pm and out again at around 9:20. Thank God for John, my healed pectoral muscle, and a long-suffering wife. I did
  16 X 50 @ 1:13
  1,500 small paddles
  4 X 300 @ 6:30 with the first 25 of each 100 fast
  400 easy
  Total: 7,400 meters.

Please give to the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi. Please educate yourself on this disease. And please take care of your health.