Sia Figiel was picked to be a part of CNN’s Fit Nation Triathlon program that helps people get into triathlon-ready shape. This is the story of her fight with diabetes.
She was diagnosed 12 years ago. She said that she had lost her mother and her father who both died due to complications from diabetes. In her family it was understood that if you get diabetes you waste away and die and that was that. She was caring for her mother at the time of her diagnosis, who was undergoing dialysis and had lost a leg. Some of her symptoms that made her go to see a doctor was a pins and needles feeling in her feet, excessive thirst at night, and blurry vision after she ate a meal. Her fasting blood sugar was in the 200s. The normal range is 110-125. The doctor diagnosed her with diabetes, set her up with a nutritionist and sent her along with some Metformin.
She was really good about the diet plan that the nutritionist had discussed with her and had taken up walking as well. She noticed that her vision was much clearer. Then things happened and she fell back into her old habits of not eating right and barely getting exercise. She ended up going up to 400 pounds at one point. She was finally put on insulin and she took advantage of it. She found that she could eat whatever she wanted as long as she injected 100 units of insulin. There were certain points where she would inject 300 units per day. This would send her blood sugar spiraling and her 8 year old son would have to revive her in the middle of the night because she was close to death.
She started noticing that her gums and teeth hurt. She had a front tooth that was growing longer than the others and she couldn’t bite into certain foods like apples anymore. The dentist pulled the front tooth and then later told her that they all needed to be removed. Her abuse of the insulin and poor diet had become too much for her gums. She now wears dentures.
After that Sia decided it was time to clean up her act. She began juicing her favorite fruits and veggies and dropped a good amount of weight. She had gotten her children into healthier eating habits too and when they complain she simply points to her dentures. She is now training for the triathlon and doing well.