Who I am...
My name is Matt Hoven. If who you are is what you do, then I'm a teacher, biker, reader, gamer, and explorer.
If who you are is what you were born, then I'm the German/Scotch/Irish son of wonderfully caring parents with loads of aunts and uncles and cousins who made my life frenetic and wild and fun.
I'm also the son of a Type 1 Diabetic. But we didn't always know that. My father's doctor did some perfunctory blood sugar tests but never did any investigative blood work until after a year or more of ineffective treatment (oral medication and increased exercise). I was fourteen at the time, and watching my father go through such destabilizing mental, physical, and emotional stress was terrifying. Here was this beautiful, powerful man, muscularly confident in his ability to swing a maul to split a wide chunk of oak clean in two, easily capable of building a house with his hands, yet this disease was worrying him from the inside, robbing him of certainty about the one thing he could count on -- the strength and hardiness of his body. He'd work ten hours as a plumber in the city, and after dinner, he'd dutifully go run a couple of miles at the junior high track, hoping to "fix" his diabetes. It bothered him deeply. The sad fact was that he was never out of shape in the first place. His pancreas was simply about to give up the ghost. But no one knew that because conventional wisdom said that 47-year old men couldn't get Type 1 diabetes. The uncertainty of my dad's medical plan coupled with the emotional and hormonal roller coaster that accompanies diabetes made the next decade of his life a painful, frustrating journey. I look back at that time, and I know that with better information and clearer, more scientific thinking, his doctors could have helped him overcome many of the obstacles that stood in the way of his physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
When my sister was diagnosed at the same age as my dad -- 47 -- she didn't put quite as much trust in the medical establishment as the previous generation. She worked with her doctors, but she also challenged them (again, her doctor was hesitant to do blood work to test for Type 1), doing research on her own, getting a second opinion from an Endo. She soon discovered a different path forward than my dad had taken. That path has still been troubling and frustrating but with more concrete information and better science, there's been some progress.
I know there is a possiblity that some of my children or grandchildren will discover they're like their grandfather, or their aunt. I don't want that day to come, but if it does, I want the medical community to be ready to manage the disease and its effects.
My goal is simple:
Raise money for Type 1 Diabetes research. I'm partnering with the Diabetes International Foundation because this non-profit organization gives 100% of funds raised to research centers across the country and works hard to educate the public on the many different types of diabetes that exist. Unfortunately, there are endocrinologists across the globe unaware of different types of diabetes called Monogenic Diabetes or MODY (Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young). These types of diabetes are caused from a single gene mutation and mimic Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes symptoms. The difference? At times, once the patient is identified and properly diagnosed, the patient may be able to transition off of insulin shots or insulin pump therapy and simply take an oral diabetes med to manage diabetes successfully. Truly life changing.
For those of you that will be following my journey closely, here is a web link to my route:
If you are interested in sponsoring me for this ride, please scroll down and click the DONATE button. Any donation is greatly appreciated and donations are 100% tax deductible.
WHY I RIDE...
First, my dad.
My name is Bob Hoven, I'm 76 years old and here's "My Journey with Diabetes"...
I am very proud of my son for embarking on this bicycle trip, with the intention to earn money for the Diabetes International Foundation. Our family has a personal stake in this disease.
My grandfather, Mathias, died in his early 50s with complications connected with diabetes. My dad was borderline diabetic. My sister, and daughter, and two nieces are insulin dependent.
I was diagnosed in the Spring of 1989. I was able to manage it with diet and pills for a short time and then became dependent on insulin from that time on. I became a brittle diabetic, yoyo-ing with highs and extreme lows, being very sensitive with insulin doses until I went to an Endocrinologist about 5 years ago. I qualified for an insulin pump and have been dependent upon it since then. It has helped quite a bit, but everyday is still a challenge, learning how to keep my blood sugars in a decent range.
I know that there are new advances every year and I'm thankful for that. I just have to take one day at a time and am hopeful that maybe in my lifetime there will be a cure.
I support my son in his effort to help the Diabetes International Foundation. I know it will be a great ride!
Then, my sister...
My name is Tammy Porter. I was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 47 during normal blood work.
Outside of elevated fasting glucose and A1C values, I did not have the common symptoms associated with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes so due to my age, I was immediately classified as Type 2 and given a prescription for oral medication and an appointment with a dietician. My A1C values did not improve over the next 2 years with multiple adjustments of oral medication and the addition of some insulin. I finally requested a referral to an endocrinologist. The endo immediately adjusted to a more aggressive insulin regimen which decreased my A1C drastically. Additionally, later that year, more tests were ordered that indicated a LADA Type 1 diagnosis.
The correct diagnosis came more than 2 1/2 frustrating years from my original Type 2 diagnosis. I now wear a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) to monitor glucose levels by the minute and I take multiple injections which, along with what I believe is an extended honeymoon period due to the slower progressing LADA, allow me to manage the disease without difficulty.
I've learned a lot in the short 4 1/2 years since being diagnosed. To own my care - do my own research, listen to my body and don't be afraid to ask questions of my doctors. But more importantly is to remain positive and not be discouraged.
I am hopeful for the future of this disease with work being done by the Diabetes International Foundation and other research groups.
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Raised $1,450 from 28 donations
Diabetes International Foundation
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.