My Story

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count.  It’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln

My name is Paul Gallagher, and I’m the writer here. Originally from California, Maryland has been my home for the last twenty years.

I’m the youngest of eight children, and after my father died when I was about a year old, we were raised by our mom.  To this day, I still don’t know how she kept it together.

I moved to Maryland to attend Johns Hopkins, where I earned a Master’s Degree in Business.  In subsequent years I also earned a Master’s degree in Theology.  In addition to my blogging, I work for a large suburban church, where I coordinate faith formation for children and adults.  I’m also a Master Gardener, and love to spend time in my little Eden known as a backyard.

So, what led me to start Making All Things New?  In April of 2009, I had a doctor’s appointment that changed my life (for the better).  I went to see him the week before because I was having a back problem, and I mentioned that it had been a long time since I had my blood work done.

A couple of years earlier, I had been diagnosed with a thyroid problem, which seems to hit members of my family in their early forties.  Anyway, he sent me off to get my blood drawn, and afterwards, I pretty much forgot about it.

I was surprised when he called me on a late Friday afternoon and left a message telling me to contact him first thing Monday morning.  When I got back to him, he told me he needed to see me because there were some issues with my test results. What kind of issues, I asked.

First, the dosage of my thyroid medicine was way too low.  He asked me why I hadn’t been getting that checked on a regular basis.  I responded that no one had ever told me I needed to.  Big mistake.

Second, the results showed that I had developed Type II diabetes.  Even though my mom had this disease, she has done a great job and keeping on top of it and it never seemed like that big of a problem.  Not so.

When I finally got in to see him later that week, I got the details.  My diabetes had been detected early, and my glucose levels, while in the diabetic range, weren’t that bad.  He wrote me a prescription and sent me to a diabetic education center at our local hospital. I’m sure they mean to scare you at these kinds of places, and I can assure you they were very successful that day.

They told me about not being able to eat my favorite foods any more, of a slow progression of one pill after another, heart disease, kidney failure, and sawed off limbs.  Nice life, if you last that long.  As I stumbled out of my first diabetic training session, I could hardly breathe.  I had to do something.

Because I consider myself a pretty prayerful person, I turned to God.  The day after my meeting at the hospital, I headed to a place called the Grotto in Emmitsburg, about thirty minutes from home.  It’s where I run when I’m struggling with something serious.

After a push and pull kind of conversation with God, I felt like I had some answers. No instant cure was coming my way.  Instead, I was going to become a better person because of this chronic disease.  I needed to get myself together, body, mind and spirit.

In the past, I emphasized one over another rather than consistently working on all three.  That had to change, and it was going to start with the body component of who I am.

When I returned home, I put on some shorts, my running shoes, and began walking about forty-five minutes a day.  I’ve been walking/running pretty much every day since.

I picked up some books on diabetes written by Dr. Neal Barnard and the Lifestyle Center of America.  After some initial struggles, I moved to a plant-based diet. Now, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lastly, I got back into a consistent rhythm of prayer that I should have been faithful to but hadn’t been.  Through friends, I learned about a style of praying based upon the writings of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

When I got these things into place, my whole life started to change. Within a year, I had lost 65 pounds, my blood glucose levels are perfectly normal and well below diabetic levels, and my relationship with God is better than ever.  With His help, I was able to turn my biggest challenge into my greatest strength.  I know with all my heart it can be that way for you too.

I could go on and on, but that’s it in a nutshell.  My goal in creating this blog is to tell my story, with the hope that maybe people who desperately need some help, encouragement and guidance will find it here.

My life has been transformed through dealing with a serious issue.  We all face them from time to time.  Serious issues are a part of all our lives, especially now in these tough times.

My hope is that we could help each other move through our challenges, and be transformed into the people we are meant to be.

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