Diabetes Emergency Relief Coalition – hurricane support efforts

Coming together to help those in need

Spreading the word about important and reliable hurricane support efforts. Please help get the word out.


Diabetes Coalition Continues to Support Southeast Texas with Critical Diabetes Supplies and Ready to Respond to Hurricane Irma’s Impact in Puerto Rico and Florida

1-800-DIABETES continues extended hours, and new call center activated for physicians and
health care providers to request supplies

ARLINGTON, Va. (September 8, 2017) – Convened by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), a coalition of seven leading diabetes care and research organizations have formed a strong Diabetes Emergency Relief Coalition (DERC) to help provide critical diabetes supplies to regions impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Nearly 4,000 pounds of diabetes supplies have been shipped to the southeast Texas region impacted by Hurricane Harvey, and the DERC continues to collaborate to ensure supplies are in place to provide care to those living in shelters or at local health department clinics. In preparation for Hurricane Irma, contacts have already been made in Puerto Rico and Florida, and support in Georgia and South Carolina is in process.

ADA’s Center for Information, 1-800-DIABETES, continues with extended phone hours through the end of next week to assist anyone in need:

  • 8:30 a.m. ET (7:30 a.m. CT) to 10:00 p.m. ET (9:00 p.m. CT), Monday through Friday, through Friday, September 15; and
  • 10:00 a.m. ET (9:00 a.m. CT) to 4:00 p.m. ET (3:00 p.m. CT) on Saturday and Sunday, September 9 and 10.

Given the expanding needs of Hurricane Irma and the continuing needs of the Southeast Texas region, the Coalition has activated a new call center for physicians and health care providers to request diabetes supplies: 1-314-INSULIN. The supply request line will be open and staffed daily by members of the DERC beginning Friday, September 8, from 9:00 a.m. ET to 6:00 p.m. ET.

Please check diabetes.org/hurricanerelief for the latest information.

Information and resources include specific support in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, in addition to these:

During an emergency crisis such as this, it is critical for people with diabetes to have access to the medications and testing supplies needed to maintain proper blood glucose control, and to prevent serious sudden complications such as hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia1. Visit diabetes.org/hurricanerelief for the latest information.

The Diabetes Emergency Relief Coalition, convened by the American Diabetes Association, includes JDRF, Insulin for Life USA, Endocrine Society, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, American Association of Diabetes Educators and Research America. For more information about the Coalition, click here.

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1 W Cefalu et. al. The Hurricane Katrina Aftermath and Its Impact on Diabetes Care. Diabetes Care 29:1, 158-160. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/29/1/158.

Safe At School? Outrage in Education is More Like It!

It’s hard for me to believe that we are still battling stuff like this.  In all actuality though, the battle of keeping kids with diabetes safe at school is getting harder.  With budget cuts leading to less nurses on staff, and the need to spread nurses across multiple schools, I just shake my head in amazement.

Along with the shortage of nurses at school, diabetes management has gotten tighter and more micro-managed these days.  When I was growing up with diabetes things were much different.  My parents didn’t wake up multiple times per night to check my blood sugar because we didn’t have blood sugar tests.

I’m quite sure my blood sugar stayed higher.  My A1C’s ranged from 9.8 at the lowest, to 14.8 at the highest.  Thank God things are different today.  But with tighter management comes more risk and more interaction, and a lot of that risk and interaction happens while kids are at school.

Outrage in Education

Keeping a Child Safe at School – Diabetes Forecast, August 2012

I’d like you to read this story about Latesha Taylor and her daughter, Loretta, just published in Diabetes Forecast.

It is a story of nearly constant lack of care from the school, and a seemingly nonchalant attitude about it.  Latesha regularly drops everything she’s doing (work included) to rush to school to care for her daughter when the nurse is absent.

It’s a horrifying tale of discrimination that denies diabetes care to students across the D.C. school system.

The whole thing is a mess, and it is literally destroying this family, one missed paycheck at a time.

It’s just one example of struggles with schools happening all over the nation, and none of it is acceptable.

Take Action

Sign the “Safe at School Pledge to Protect our Kids” today.  Help the ADA stop this unfair treatment by signing the pledge right now – and telling friends and family to do the same.

 

More Resources

The American Diabetes Association has championed this cause and has a bunch of resources and advocacy action on the “Safe at School” section of diabetes.org.

Need more information? The ADA is hosting a free “back-to-school” webinar on Tuesday, August 14th, 2012, at 8:00 PM EST.  Registration is required, and space is limited.  If you can’t make it, or registration has filled, free access to the recording will be available withing 10 days of the broadcast at www.diabetes.org/safeatschool

Crystal Jackson, one of the ADA‘s greatest champions for keeping kids safe at school, also shared a “Back-to-School Checklist” that you might want to take a look at.  And don’t forget, you can reach the ADA helpline at 800-Diabetes.

Want to hear more from Crystal? I know it’s a ways out, but DSMA Live will be hosting Crystal on November 8th, 2012 at 9PM EST.

Pedaling in my Sleep: 102-Mile Ride

One week ago today I rode my bicycle for 102 miles.

102 Mile Route

I still can’t believe I did it.

Riding!

I trained for 18 weeks with TeamWILD.  Each week of training brought hours and hours on the bike.  I pedaled inside, I pedaled outside.  I pedaled in the cold, I pedaled in the heat.  I pedaled in the rain, I pedaled in the sun.

Each week of training brought me closer to the big ride, and each week of training increased my physical ability.  Along with the physical training, the TeamWILD coaches taught me about diabetes management, hydration, and nutrition.

I learned a lot of lessons (took a lot of lumps) through my training and put it all into practice on the big day.  It worked perfectly!

I was able to hang with the group (Heather, her cousin, Gary, Jeff, and Scully) until we hit the rollers (little baby hills – about a million of them) west of the cities.  Scully was riding slowly because she was sipping on a coffee that she ordered at the second rest stop, and the rest of the crew was visiting with each other.  Once we hit those rollers, I just couldn’t keep up anymore.

Besides the rollers kicking my ass, I also had trouble with my back tire going flat a few times.  I had to stop and pump it up, then ride a bit, then stop and pump it up, then ride a bit, etc.  I was so discouraged.  I lost my group, the hills were killing me, and riding on a mushy tire made it that much harder.   I was alone, exhausted, unsure of myself, and ready to give up.

I leaned hard on my faith and a TeamWILD training technique.  Little successes.  I counted my pedal strokes (one, two, three, four, five … one, two, three, four, five …) and worked to get to the next mailbox, light post, or top of the next hill.

I got to the next rest stop and asked the volunteer mechanic to swap out my tire tube.  He found and removed a small wire that had poked through my tire and caused the slow leak.  That rest stop was at mile 52.

With a new tube, the road debris removed from my tire, a fresh Camelbak full of water, and some fresh fuel in my stomach, I was back on the road and feeling much better.

I found Gary, one of the other Pancremaniac Red Riders, at one of the last few rest stops.  We pretty much carried each other through the last thirty miles.  I couldn’t have done it without Gary, and he says the same for me.

I only thought I was going vomit four or five times through those last few miles.

My blood sugars were incredible.  Almost unbelievable actually.

Concentrating

97 mg/dl –  6:03 AM – Start Line
136 mg/dl – 6:43 AM
113 mg/dl – 7:30 AM
166 mg/dl – 8:19 AM
159 mg/dl – 9:21 AM
137 mg/dl – 10:03 AM
143 mg/dl – 10:48 AM
153 mg/dl – 12:43 PM
142 mg/dl – 1:14 PM
150 mg/dl – 2:34 PM
136 mg/dl – 3:04 PM
177 mg/dl – 3:33 PM – Finish

I was running a 50% basal temp rate.  I consumed nearly 600 grams of carbohydrates and didn’t take a single drop of bolus insulin.  I drank about 300 ounces of water and didn’t need the bathroom until hours later.

Even though we were among the last to return, the Pancremaniac crew was at the finish line to bring us in with a bunch of cheering and celebration.  We even made it back in time to get worked on by a volunteer massage therapist.

I was hurting from the ride, and this massage therapist made me want to cry.  It was a lot like the dentist.  Sometimes it hurts, but you know it’s good for you.

After a quick ride home for a shower, I headed to the team celebration dinner.  I burned well over 5000 calories on that ride, so I didn’t feel at all guilty about ordering two grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.

Grilled Cheese x's 2!

I cannot tell you how incredible it was to hang out with Jeff and Scully so much, and I wouldn’t trade the training time with Heather for anything.  Would I do anything different?  Yes.  I’d remember to put sunscreen on my face…

DOC 100 Mile Club

The ride was so hard.  But you know what?  I worked pretty damn hard training for this.

If I can follow a plan and pedal myself 100 miles, so can you.  This is a shining example of the everyman story.  I am no superstar athlete.  Wait…  I WASN’T a superstar athlete.

I am now.  I rode my bicycle 100 miles in one day and was back on the basketball court three days later.

If I can do this, you can do this.

A special note of thanks to everyone who supported me.  Your generosity is unmatched and appreciated so much.  I thought of each and every one of you as my mind started playing tricks on me, and as I crested the top of each of those damn rollers I thought of you.

For what it’s worth, my wife said that while I was sleeping that night, my legs were pumping imaginary pedals every few minutes.  I think that is pretty funny, but it doesn’t surprise me one bit!

Scott – On His Bike a LOT This Spring!

I am riding 100  miles (!!) in the 2012 Tour de Cure ride for the ADA in June (June 2, 2012).  I must be crazy.

More than a few things have come together to make this happen, and I’m excited about all of it!  This will be the third year for me to ride with The Pancremaniacs, our Tour de Cure team that is more than 30 strong so far (and still recruiting – want to ride with us?).

If you care to donate to my fundraising goal, or help spread the word, every little bit is appreciated.

Two years ago we rode 25 miles, last year we rode 45 miles, and this year we’re making the jump to the century ride.  Not everyone on the team is doing such a long ride – we have people doing just about every route option the tour has to offer.

This winter, Heather, my team captain and inspiration, and I toyed around with the idea of doing 100 miles – she said she’d help me train for it and would be training right along with me.  I still wasn’t sure though – until I got the phone call.

The Phone Call

Two months ago I got a phone call from Mari Ruddy.  She said she had some exciting news and asked if I was sitting down.  She said she had a scholarship to offer me for one of Team WILD’s training programs, and wanted to know if I was interested.

The decision to commit to 100 miles in the upcoming Tour de Cure happened right there, right in that split-second between her asking and me answering.  “Yep, I want to ride 100 miles in the Tour de Cure this summer” I blurted out.

And as soon as it was out of my mouth I was simultaneously incredibly excited and absolutely terrified.  What on earth had I just signed up for?

Cycling In Winter (In Minnesota?)

1984(?) Schwinn Spin Bike

My New Best Friend / Worst Enemy

The training program for a ride this long is 18 weeks long.  Working backwards from the date of the ride, that meant my training was to start the last week of January.  I live in the Minneapolis, MN area.  There’s not much biking to be had here in January.

With CraigsList and less than $100, I was able to find a solution that would get me through the first month of training.  Say hello to my new best friend / worst enemy.

The winter has been unbelievably mild, so believe it or not, I’ve actually been able to do a couple of outside rides so far.  One for two hours, and another for three hours.  But for all the rest of it, I’m in my basement pedaling away the hours on my ancient spin bike.  I spent eight hours on that damn thing last week.  I know it may not sound like much, but think about it…

The Riding

I just finished the fourth week of training, and while it is very hard work, both mentally and physically, I’m already noticing many benefits.

It only took three rides for my rear end to stop hurting, which at first felt like the worst part of training.

I’m also running around like a maniac on the basketball court, and it’s only been a few weeks of riding.  To know that the hours I spend on the saddle in my basement will help my basketball game is a huge bonus in my book.  My legs already feel strong, and my cardiovascular capacity is improving steadily.

The Training and Education

Team WILD has the most incredible coaches and educators around.  Each week I get a series of video messages and content to read.  It is amazing to me how these people can take such complicated science and deliver it in ways that make sense.

But knowing the science behind exercise and diabetes isn’t enough on its own.  The Team WILD coaches feed me bite size pieces that get me through the week of training and leave me hungry for the next pieces of information.

You might think the training is just to get on a bike and pedal, do it often, and ramp up your effort each time.  There’s so much more strategy involved!  “Strategy” – A plan of action designed to achieve a major or overall aim.

My training so far has been to ride a certain number of days per week, for a total number of hours per week, with one ride in that week being a “breakout” ride, or one that is longer than the others.  All of that has to be done while keeping my heart rate in a certain zone.

It’s hard work, but I’m good at following directions.

Not Medical Advice

Water, Gatorade, Glucose Meter, CGM, Towels, Chapstick

Water, Gatorade, Glucose Meter, CGM, Towels, Chapstick

Team WILD is staffed with amazing coaches, as I mentioned above.  Their purpose is to teach you to learn your diabetes in your body during your exercise.  They are not there to tell you specifically about how much insulin to take.  It’s about understanding what happens during exercise, how the body burns fuel, and how you can use that knowledge and experience to do whatever it is you want to do.

I feel that I started with a slight advantage here because of my basketball.  I have played basketball at least a few times each week for the last 5-6 years.  Through that I have learned a lot about how my body reacts to exercise, and I’m using that experience, along with the additional information I’m learning from the coaches, to figure out how to do cycling with diabetes.

Is it going perfectly?  No.  Diabetes can’t be done perfectly. But by being prepared, testing often, and keeping good records, I feel confident that I can be successful.  It’s an added bonus that all of this knowledge can transfer to many different types of exercise.

Picture of my Dexcom at 54 mg/dl with double down arrows, bike in the background

Diabetes is never perfect…

So Impressed (and disclosure)!

I know I’m just beginning my journey with Team WILD Training, but I am very impressed so far.  In fact, I’m impressed enough that I’ve signed on to be an affiliate partner for them.  That means that if you click on the badge (link no longer active) on the right side of my page, and end up buying one of the programs, I’ll get a small commission from that.

Team WILD Logo

Affiliate Link

There are programs for anyone at any level of fitness, and there are a ton of payment options (payment plans, etc).  Everything is on sale until Thursday, March 15, 2012, so if you’re thinking about it now would be the time to act.

I love what TeamWILD is doing, and am a big fan of Mari and her vision.  I hope you’re as excited as I am!

Help Scott Ride the 2011 ADA Tour de Cure!

Summer of 2009. Allison came to town and we had a DOC meet-up out at the Mall of America. That was the first time I met Heather (a.k.a “Auntly H“) who blogs at “Beyond Your Peripheral Vision“.  Heather talked about her recent ADA Tour de Cure, and it sounded like a blast.  So I told her I’d ride with her team in 2010.

With her help, I got back on my bike after a decade of it sitting in the garage.  We trained, we trained some more, and we kept training.  Day of the ride?  We kicked ass.  As we approached the finish line, after riding 27 miles, I opened my big mouth again and announced that in 2011 we would tackle the 45 mile course!

As the snow finally melts away here in the Twin Cities, it’s time to get the bikes out.  I have eight weeks to get ready, and I’m looking forward to each and every ride. Well, Ok, maybe not the first couple of rides…

I Need Help

There is a minimum fund-raising goal of $150 to participate in the ride.  Last year I wrote that check myself.  It was for a diabetes related cause, and I was so proud of myself for getting back on my bike after so long.  And I was able to cover that cost last year.

This has been a tough year for the Johnson family, and I just don’t have it.

Please donate to Scott's 2011 Tour de Cure ride!

If you are willing and able, I could sure use your help this year.

$150 by June 4th will get me into the ride.

My First “Red Rider” Experience: Part 2 – GO RED RIDER!

You can check out Part 1 here: My First “Red Rider” Experience: Part 1
——–

Even though it was pretty early in the morning, around 7:30 AM or so, the park was very busy.  Tons of people and tons of bikes, all getting ready to ride for us, those living with diabetes.  I got pretty emotional.  But I was also excited, and so very gracious.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs self-conscious as I was after trying on my Red Rider jersey the night before (seeing belly hanging out below the largest shirt they MAKE does wonders for your self-esteem…), all of the worry melted away as soon as I got to the park.

There were tons of people, everyone was there to support all of us with the Red Rider jerseys.  Nobody paid any attention to how the shirt fit.

Here’s a picture of Auntly H and I, early in the morning, before the ride started.  I am forever grateful to Auntly H for getting me back on my bike after over a decade of not riding.  I will be blogging my thanks to her forever,  and just you wait until we complete the 62 mile ride in two years!  We might have to throw a party!

The weather was threatening rain, so we spent a few minutes putting baggies on all of the things that couldn’t get wet (BG meters, Dexcom receivers, car keys, wallet, phone, etc).  I understand that rain is a recurring theme with the Pancremaniacs, so my group was well practiced with the whole baggy exercise.

Image of Scott with his cycling helmet onBefore you knew it, we were pedaling away!  It was really something special, to see a big stream of people cycling along, many Red Rider jerseys, and even more friends and family.

I couldn’t help but to grin.  I was having fun riding, but the atmosphere put it over the edge.  I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face for the whole day.

Every time we saw a Red Rider jersey, we shouted “Go Red Rider!”, and every time other riders in the tour saw Auntly H and I in our Red Rider jerseys, they belted out the battle cry too.  It was really something special that boosted the energy of the ride.  You can check out the story behind the whole “Red Rider” movement in Part 1.  It’s really a powerful story from a powerful woman.

It wasn’t long before we were cooking along at a pretty good pace.  I had to start breathing through my mouth, which meant that I sucked down at least one bug along the way.  After that first bug I told Auntly H that we should keep a tally of swallowed bugs.

Just after the halfway point, we were flying down a hill, and Auntly H screamed out because a bug flew right into her eye!  After we made sure she was alright, I told her a bug in the eye does not count towards the end-ride total bug-swallow tally.  Unfortunately for the entertainment value of it all, I only swallowed one bug (that I know of).

Minneapolis Skyline from Stone Arch Bridge

I really enjoyed the route, and got to see some parts of Minneapolis that I’ve never seen before.  I also really enjoyed a lot of the views and perspectives of parts of Minneapolis that I am familiar with.  The picture above shows us riding across the Stone Arch Bridge, which goes over the Mississippi River, heading towards downtown Minneapolis.

I rode most of the way with Jim, Auntly H‘s dad.  He was an awesome riding partner.  This guy bikes to work, about 4 miles each way he said.  Even in winter.  That makes him a hardcore, badass biker dude.  He was a really great guy, and I’m glad that I had a chance to get to know him a little bit.

A great example of Jim is the Franklin Avenue hill.  This is a hill that seems (to the uninitiated, like me) to go forever.  Auntly H and another Pancremaniac were in front of us, and they just blasted right up the hill.  As I was pushing to get up the hill, Jim was behind me saying “take your time, you’re not in a race”.  Which was a perfect message for me to hear as I watch half of my riding group zip off towards the horizon.

Once we got up to the top of the hill, it took me a little while to recover.  When I was ready, I told Jim “Okay, I’m ready to kick it down and catch up to them”.  We started cranking away, and before you knew it we had almost caught up to them.  As we got closer, Jim said “you know what would be funny?  If we just blew right past them!”.  I thought that was a funny idea, so we did!  As we passed them, Jim turned to his daughter and said “eat my dust Red Rider!”, and all of us cracked up.

Image of Scott and Heather after the rideThe ride was over a little too soon for me.  We took on the 25 mile course, which was actually 28 miles.  We’re going to go ahead and call that 30 miles of biking.  We kicked ass.  This picture is Auntly H and I after finishing the ride.

I felt great.  We’re riding the 45 mile course next year, and the 62 mile course the year after that.  I’ll need a lot of training, and for the long course in two years I’ll need a road bike (versus the modified mountain bike I rode this year).

But I’m excited for all of the training rides, I’m excited about the idea of being out on the ride for a little longer next year, and I’m excited about rewarding myself with a new bike in a couple of years.

By the graces of the diabetes gods, my blood sugars were pretty good for most of the ride.  I had a bit of a pre-ride anxiety spike, but it fell into line pretty quick.  I was able to keep it pretty steady by eating a little bit at each of the rest stops, which seemed to work out almost perfectly. I ended up running a little low after the ride, which you
can see in the graph too.  My CGM was reading WAY high during the spike early in the ride – it read 363 mg/dl when my BG test was 195 mg/dl.  I knew I wasn’t that high, because I’ve experienced the SUCK of exercising with a blood sugar that high. I was feeling pretty good, so I knew the sensor was reading way high.

Image of dexcom seven graph during ride

You can see where I entered my blood sugar into it, and the graph line snapped right to where it should have been, and it tracked very accurately for the rest of the ride.

We had a team dinner that evening, which was also fabulous.  Below is a picture of the three Pancremaniac Red Riders for 2010.  Gary, on the right, rode the 62 mile course.  Go Gary!

The Three Pancremaniac Red Riders

At dinner Jim was talking about how cycling is an exercise that is
relatively gentle and easy on your body.  From what I can tell, he was right.  The next day I felt great.  I was not sore, my joints did not hurt (like they sometimes do after basketball). My muscles were “worked”, but not hurting.  I even got on my bike, twice, to ride around the neighborhood with the kids.  The next day (Monday), I went out and pedaled for another 12.7 miles.

I am loving it.

My First “Red Rider” Experience: Part 1

A couple weeks back I mentioned that I signed up for the 2010 Tour de Cure, and just this week posted a very quick blurb about the Red Rider dinner that I attended the night before the ride.

The ride and the dinner have come and gone, and they were both incredible for me.  I’m trying really hard to come up with a post that does it all justice, but I’ll tell you right now it is going to be really hard.

There were some really special guests at the dinner that made it well worth the drive during rush-hour traffic.

We heard from Angela Past, a Team Type 1 triathlete, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the early 70’s.  She talked about not exercising until she was 35, mostly because she worried about experiencing low blood sugars.  Not much exercise before age 35, and now she is a competitive
triathlete.  That point alone was very inspiring to me.   It is never too late to find your exercise joy.

Please forgive the crappy camera-phone, low light, photo.  Do you recognize any of these people?  That’s right!  Contestants from The Biggest Loser! What a cool surprise!  We had Pete, Hollie, O’Neal, & Sunshine!  While I can’t say I’m a regular viewer of the TV show, it was pretty damn neat for them to come and speak to us.  Pete brought “old Pete” with him, in the form of a life sized picture of what he used to look like.  It really made an impression!  O’Neal describing that he used to live with a “quiet desperation” also really hit me.

After that little slice of inspiration, the new Red Rider jersey was unveiled to us.  Being my first ride, I didn’t know much about the whole “Red Rider” thing, but it is a really special story, and I want to share it with as many people as I can.  While at the dinner, I didn’t know just how special the company was.

After it all sunk in, I came home and did some frantic searching on the internet to piece the puzzle together.  A special “Thank You” to our friend, and fellow biking enthusiast, Courtney, for helping me find all the details!

Ginny Ruddy got up and told us how the Red Rider jersey’s came to be.  Her daughter, Mari, has lived with type 1 diabetes since the age of 16.  in 2005 she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She went through chemo, radiation, and surgery, and says they knocked her down harder than she ever imagined possible.

As a cancer surviving athlete, she was recognized and celebrated in every athletic event she participated in.  As she says, “Being a cancer surviving athlete is to be admired. Lance Armstrong, the
incredible organizing power of the Livestrong campaign, and the dominate force
of the breast cancer community, have made it admirable to survive cancer and be
an athlete.

But in 25 years of living with diabetes, and having walked, run, and cycled for the cure for diabetes, she was never asked to declare herself as a diabetes-surviving person.  A stark contrast to what she experienced as a cancer survivor.

The following is from her 2007 Invitation to Ride:

————————-
In one of the first resource guides I received when I was diagnosed with cancer,
I was told it was up to me to determine what to do with my membership into the
cancer sisterhood that I had not wanted to join. Within months, it was clear
that these women were serious, I had access to a network of amazing women and I
was recognized in every athletic event as courageous and brave. Being a cancer
surviving athlete is to be admired. Lance Armstrong, the incredible organizing
power of the Livestrong campaign, and the dominate force of the breast cancer
community, have made it admirable to survive cancer and be an
athlete.

This has not been the case with being a diabetic athlete. In my
25 years of living with diabetes, I have walked, run and cycled for the cure for
diabetes, but never once at any of these events was I asked to declare myself as
a diabetes-surviving person. I was never given a special t-shirt or water
bottle. There has never been a special finish line acknowledging the courage,
perseverance, and sheer determination it takes to live with diabetes and be out
on that course riding, running or walking. I want this to change. I want you to
help me change this. I want to work to find the cure AND to celebrate the people
who are courageously living with diabetes.

Being a diabetic athlete means
a dedication to trial and error. Every diabetic athlete I have ever met or read
about is a meticulous record-keeper and is in his or her own way a scientist,
continuously experimenting on his or her body to find the best combination of
insulin, food, stress, exercise. The crazy thing is that the combination keeps
changing and it is highly personalized, so there has to be a willingness to
continuously revamp, re-evaluate, re-organize. Having diabetes and being
committed to performance requires a degree of mental flexibility that deserves
recognition and celebration. It is symbolic of what all of us as humans have to
do to perform at high levels.

One could think I just want special
recognition, and maybe I do. Why? Because receiving the recognition on race day
gives me and my fellow diabetics the motivation to continue seeing the glass
half full on the days when our blood sugar soars to 400 for no explainable
reason, or when we have no desire to eat but we must or risk passing out if we
don’t. Cancer is dramatic. Diabetes is a grind. Both drop people at the door of
death, just in different styles.

————————-

What more can I say?  Amazing stuff, right?  I will be the first to acknowledge that as a person living with type 1 diabetes I have never been satisfied with the ADA’s display of support for those with type 1, but I pledge to ride the Tour de Cure every year my body is healthy enough tocooperate.  Thank you Mari, for inspiring me to keep riding!This post has already gotten much longer than I wanted, and I haven’t even started talking about my ride.  I’m going to break here and continue in another post.  Stay tuned for part 2!

You Are Why We Ride

WhyWeRide
I am riding in my first ADA Tour de Cure tomorrow, and I have to admit that I’m pretty excited.

I can’t say enough about how thankful I am to Auntly H for spearheading this, and for getting me back on my bike after 10+ years.  I have had so much fun riding so far, and am really looking forward to the ride tomorrow.  But the riding does not stop tomorrow, and for that I owe Auntly H much more.

I have to admit that I am feeling a lot of emotions tonight.  I’m a bit anxious and nervous.  I am excited and tired.  I am full of thanks and appreciation.  I need to go to sleep and rest up for an early departure tomorrow.

I have a lot I want to talk about regarding this ride, but I just don’t have the time I need tonight.  I will be writing in my head as I’m pedaling around 28 miles of the metro area, and promise to write it all down “quick fast in a hurry” once I can comfortably sit down again…

Seriously though – you see all the “X’s” in that jersey size?  Still doesn’t fit.  That, my friends, is a(nother) sign that things need to change for me.  I’m going to bike my way into a comfortable fit for next year’s ride.

The Effect Of My Miscalculation? Major Suckage and a Day Wasted.

The thoughts were nagging at me all morning.  What do I do about my blood sugar?  What adjustments should I make to my insulin?  How should I manage my meal bolus?

I was scheduled to meet up with some members of The Pancremaniacs this afternoon for our last team ride before the Tour de Cure (which is next Saturday).  I’ve done three of these team practice rides so far, and they have been great.  I’m so grateful to Auntly H for getting me back on my bike after so many years.

Exercise for those of us living with diabetes is a tricky monster.  It is so beneficial, but can be damn near impossible to get through without a LOT of trial and error.  With today being only my third time out with the group, I’m still trying to figure out the blood sugar part of things.  I’ve learned that my body, when my blood sugar cooperates, can push it pretty hard (relatively speaking) for around 20 miles.  It wipes me out, in a good way, cranks my metabolism, and supercharges my insulin for a long time.  Today was different.

As I watched my CGM for the first few hours of the day, I was pretty happy with a steady blood sugar in the mid 100’s.  I ate a very low carb lunch (no breakfast – shame on me…).  I was trying to keep from having a bunch of insulin in my system during the ride.  I also started a temporary basal rate, reducing my basal/background insulin, about two hours before we started.

Just before we started riding, my CGM buzzed at me, letting me know my blood sugar was rising.  Makes sense, lower your basal insulin, your blood sugar should go up.  In a perfect world, the exercise I would be doing would drop my blood sugar, and the scales of diabetes justice would balance out and I’d be fine.

A little more than halfway through the ride, I was struggling to keep up, and felt I was working WAY too hard.  We stopped for a BG check (it is SO nice riding with other PWD’s and T3’s), and I discovered that I was in the mid 300’s.  No wonder this ride was kicking my ass.  Muscles don’t work right when you are that high, and I was really sucking wind.  It’s like I couldn’t use the oxygen right with so much sugar clogging things up (I have no idea if that is how it works, but the visual seems to make sense, right?).  I took a partial correction and downed a bunch of water.

The last third of the ride felt like it took forever.  I couldn’t keep up with the group, and I was working so hard.  I hated it.  It felt like I was riding up a hill the whole way.  It sucked, big time.

We reached the end of the ride (FINALLY!), and I was so thankful.  For the rest of the day I felt exhausted and worn down.  It seems like exercising out of range is harder on the body.  That makes sense too I guess  – the fuel and energy systems in my body was all goofed up – of course it would have to take drastic measures just to make it through.

That afternoon of torture, and being wiped out for the rest of the day were all the result of a very small miscalculation (I reduced my temporary basal rate too much) early in the day.  I was totally spent.  The thought of doing anything productive for the rest of the day was just total nonsense.  I didn’t have it in me.

As I rested and recovered the rest of the day, I thought about how such a small thing could influence the way my day went for such a long time afterward.  I also have to watch out for post-exercise LOW blood sugars for most of tomorrow.

Is it any wonder why exercise is so hard for us?  There is so much more than the average obstacles of fighting our inner-lazy and finding time to do it.