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Lebanon Man Treats Diabetes with 5K Runs

By Ian Rollins

Chris Campbell of Lebanon has dealt with headaches his whole life, but when he went to the doctor for his headaches, he was surprised to come away with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

“My blood sugar was 330 and I weighed more than 330 pounds,” said Campbell, 45, who was diagnosed in spring 2017. “So now I’m watching what I eat. I had a milk addiction – I could drink a gallon a day, and I had to quit milk entirely.”

Campbell figures his job doesn’t help with his health, either. He cleans several buildings in Corvallis, and while he estimates that he walks three to four miles a night, it’s his habit when he gets home that doesn’t help.

“I get hungry when I get off my shift, so I snack and then go to sleep,” he said.

Following his diagnosis, Campbell started on medications and began counseling with the Diabetes Education team at Samaritan Lebanon Community Hospital. 

His wife Jeannette is currently taking the hospital’s Complete Health Improvement Program class, which is leading them both to make healthier food choices.

“I used to look at those packages of fake meat, and I’d think ‘why would anyone eat that?’” he laughed. “But they’re pretty good!”

Campbell’s biggest change, however, is his new love for running. He used to enjoy walking and hiking, and he decided to try a 5-kilometer run.

“I did the Finish at the Flag 5K in June, and then the Runaway Pumpkin 8K in October,” he said. “I also did a 5K on Thanksgiving at Wildlife Safari. I didn’t think much about it at first, but it’s a lot of fun! If I can do one every couple of months, it’ll do me a lot of good.”

He runs with his dog, up to four miles a day, depending on how much time he has.

With all of this work, Campbell has gotten his weight down to 288 pounds and his blood sugar level to the 140 range. His goal is to get to 250 pounds by next fall, for a family trip to South Korea.

“My daughter went to South Korea last year, and she loves the culture so much that she wants to go back,” he said. “So I said I would go with her. We’re all going, and I want to get to the point that I don’t need a seat belt extender on the plane.”

What advice would he have for anyone struggling with their diabetes?

“Just do it,” he said. “I look at it this way: I could eat junk food, lose a foot, go blind and possibly die. Or I could make healthy choices and live longer. And I like this whole living thing.”

Get more inspiration from a patient who took control of her type 2 diabetes with perseverance and lifestyle changes.