Today I’m featuring a guest post by Kevin Kosewic. He’s lived with type 1 diabetes since 1967, diagnosed at the age of 8. Just over six years ago he discovered Diabetes Training Camp, run by Dr. Matt Corcoran, and fell in love with it.
Diabetes Training Camp is a unique clinical resource entirely devoted to diabetes, fitness, exercise, and sports education. If you have diabetes and want to learn more about general fitness, lifestyle management or even taking your current training to the next level, camp is built for you.
Kevin tells us more:
I arrived at camp (really a college campus with classrooms, dorms, dining hall, gym, etc.) a day early to get my bearings – a preference of mine, and decided to pay a little extra to take advantage of the opportunity to get a professional bike fitting at this thing I was doing called Diabetes Training Camp (DTC). Grant, a trained bike fit technician, was making the final adjustments when another newly arrived camper entered and gave him a big hug. They knew each other from an earlier camp and caught up with each other quickly. With no explanation, the camper started popping Peanut M&Ms. Grant asked, “Feeling low, huh”? I took note. A few minutes later, as my newly fitted bike and I waited for the elevator, I heard Grant say, “I’m getting low, too. Got anymore Peanut M&Ms”? It was at that moment I knew I’d found something special, something wonderfully awesome in the world of T1D.
I first learned of DTC the previous fall at a party hosted by one of my wife’s friends (a nurse CDE). She knew about my T1D and my fascination with swimming so she made sure to introduce her best friend and colleague, Kathleen, who is an accomplished tri-athlete, an Ironman, and a T1D. We talked about exercise and diabetes and quickly got to the topic of Training with Diabetes and my desire to improve my free-style technique. Suddenly, her face lit up even more and she says, “You would love Diabetes Training Camp!” For the next fifteen minutes, she told me all about this incredible experience she had the previous summer called Diabetes Training Camp run by an amazing Endo and sports enthusiast, Dr. Matthew Corcoran, MD. And thanks to camp, she was now seriously training for her first triathlon. I was cautiously intrigued. Cautiously, because I had never considered myself capable of doing all the athletic things she was describing. Eight months later, I was headed to my first Diabetes Training Camp. It was the best thing I have ever done for myself.
DTC is a camp focused on T1D adults, 15 years old and above. Dr. Matt started with the goal of empowering T1Ds to understand the relationships among insulin, intense sports, fueling the athlete in training, competition, or recovery so that diabetes is not a reason to avoid participation in life or in competition. Campers range from the recently diagnosed to some living 40+ years with the disease. Some have never met another diabetic. But we all come with a desire to stay healthy, learn skills to help us exceed in personal exercise goals or achieve success in athletic competition. DTC is holistic in its approach to the diabetic and tailored to the specific needs of each camper – starting with the intake phone interview that occurs several weeks before camp. Diabetics and athletics are the focus of camp and Dr. Matt is its center. Each year he assembles at top-notch staff of professional coaches (many T1D) to lead classroom sessions on current medical, nutritional, and mental skills training. There is also athletic coaching clinics (running, swimming, cycling, strength training, yoga, etc.) covered throughout the week. Staff is always available for guidance and support. But core to the camp (and the campers/athletes) is the education regarding the intricate physiology of the insulin, carbs, and exercise triangle. To eat, or not to eat? To bolus, or not to bolus? To train today, or not to train today? These and all the thousands of questions we ask ourselves 24×7 are explored, tested in training, and practiced at DTC in what quickly evolves into a tight-knit and supportive group of people with a common purpose – to develop to the next level.
The days pass too quickly. Some push themselves to do everything available. Others set a pace more suited to their personal goals. Camp supports both approaches. I’ve attended camp three times in the past six years. Each camp has its own unique personality but each camp has taught me so many things that I’ve taken back into my own swimming, cycling, family and work world. I have made friends across the country. We follow each other on social media sites, and cheer our camp-mates on their marathons, triathlons, Ironmans as well as weddings, children and other life events. The last official event of each camp is the ‘circle’ when everyone is invited to share their experience of camp. Not surprisingly, there is 100% participation. At last year’s camp, Dr. Matt reflected how DTC is much more than he first envisioned. It has become a family, a place where staff and campers share and contribute to the benefit of each other. A week at DTC provides the time and focus for this to happen. DTC is all about friendships, learning, community and success! Come discover for yourself that wonderfully awesome something I experienced my first few hours at Diabetes Training Camp.
And thank you, Dr. Matt!