Harry “Butch” Lempke learned a lesson that has followed him throughout a lifetime. As ‘’Butch” says, “There’s no such word as can’t.” He heard that from his high school football coach Les Klein, and never forgot it. By eliminating that word from his vocabulary “Butch” has been able to live a complete life in spite of having diabetes.
When he worked at the Ford Stamping Plant his weight ballooned to over 400 pounds. “That was the beginning of my type 2 diabetes,” he said. “I was always thirsty, and when I went to Dr. Dennis Dalphon my blood sugar count was over 400.” He learned that when a person has incredible thirst it could be a symptom for diabetes. Excessive thirst is how the body lets people know that the kidneys are working at a high gear level. Because of the diagnosis he was put on medicine to control his diabetic condition. “I was physically a mess,” he admitted. “I was overweight, had high blood pressure, and sleep apnea, and experienced a silent heart attack.
At that point “Butch” decided to follow the words of Coach Klein and get with it. “I can get this disease under control, and live a better life,” he thought. “There is no such word as can’t.” Since then he has gone on a strict diet, and rides his bike up to 7 miles a day on the North Judson trails. “I’m not at my football playing weight of 230, but I’m getting there,” he revealed. “I have lost over 135 pounds, and quite frankly I’m a happy guy. I volunteer at St. Peter’s Lutheran school, and I’m still on the fire department. Life is good.”
So what advise would he give those who suspicion they have diabetes? “See your doctor, follow your medication regimen faithfully, eat less, and exercise,” he said, “And of course remove the word can’t from your vocabulary.”