Highest A1C in Six Years

My quarterly endo appointment brought news of the highest A1C I’ve seen in six years. More than six years. Ouch.

I actually got a peek at the lab results a day or two before seeing the doctor, so I had a head start on the emotional trauma and troubleshooting. I think this was good because I wasn’t completely shell-shocked when receiving the news, and I’d already started troubleshooting by the time the doc and I spoke about it.

Why so high?

Reviewing the past few months I can name at least three things that are different and unhealthy. I want to take a short look at each of them and talk through some thoughts on changes that I hope will help.

Lack of exercise

A few months ago I completed my first half marathon. On a scale of one-to-amazingly-hard, it was pretty much off the charts. But I worked hard during training and had a lot of support from many of you (thank you!). Unfortunately, I hurt myself during one of the training runs and was diagnosed with proximal hamstring tendinopathy. Basically, I hadn’t focused enough on proper running form early in my training, and as my mileage increased and I fatigued, my form fell apart, and boom – I tweaked something. My hamstring.

Or what I thought was my hamstring!

I ran the race injured, and after the race, I stopped running. I think it’s pretty normal to take a break after a big event, and maybe especially so with an injury … but not for this long. But every time I tried running again, it hurt. Even playing basketball was pretty miserable, which is a really bad sign.

I went from running 2-3 miles, or more, then playing basketball, 3, 4, 5 days a week, with a long run mixed in there somewhere, to suffering through one basketball session each week with my buddies on Saturday mornings.

So for the past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time not exercising.

Stress

I know – who isn’t stressed these days. But for some reason, I was really feeling it.

No major issues, but I’d been feeling like I wasn’t getting the right things done, or that I didn’t have enough time to finish things, or that my work wasn’t the quality I wanted, or that I wasn’t getting back to people fast enough, or, or, or…

There are a million things any of us could add to that list. Stress is funny in that when I give it any room inside my head it just goes on a rampage. I have to make a very conscious decision to say “NO” to the things that aren’t important, or that I just can’t do, and focus on what I can do. And be very clear about not stressing out about the rest of it.

I need to follow my own “NO STRESS!” rule…

What’s one of the best stress relievers?

Exercise…

Shorting my sleep

I need 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night. I’m damn sure I need more than the 4-5 I’ve been getting for the past few months. That’s been the norm until I crash hard every 4th or 5th night. It’s a bad thing when your 8-9 hour nights are sporadic, and your 4-5 hour nights are regular.

Everything suffers when I short myself on sleep. You know what I usually notice first? High blood sugars and stress levels. Imagine that.

This has a lot to do with being stressed and trying to do too much (or too much of the wrong things). I often stay up into the early morning hours working on stuff, but my productivity is severely hampered because I’m tired. But I think that I need to just “push through this last task” or “get this last bit done” before turning in for the night.

I need to recognize that I’m more efficient, productive, healthier, and happier when I’m getting the sleep I need.

What’s one thing you can do to improve your sleep habits?

Exercise…

About the exercise

It’s clear that exercise is a huge problem area, and is also a big part in the other two – stress & sleep. But how can I exercise if I’m still so uncomfortable from the injury?

My endo asked if I’d like to see a physical therapist again, and I immediately said yes. In fact, I walked directly from his office on the 5th floor down to their office on the 3rd floor to schedule an appointment. A week later, there I was.

I spent about an hour with the therapist. After trying a million different stretches and poses and lifts and pulls, the therapist twisted my legs like a pretzel and I finally did a stretch that hit the spot that has been bothering me – and it felt amazing!

I’ve been doing exercises and stretches for three months trying to find that spot and nothing worked! Because I’ve been targeting the wrong thing. It’s not a hamstring issue at all – it’s piriformis syndrome (affectionately known as runners butt)!

Now I have correctly identified the issue, and have a plan – complete with a set of physical therapy stretches and exercises.

It’ll take a bit of time to feel better, but I’m so thrilled to have found the right problem and to have a plan of action. I can already tell I’ll be feeling great again in no time.

I have no plans on running another half-marathon, so don’t even ask. My goal now is to get back to where I was feeling my best, and that was running 2-3 miles before playing basketball. There’s no good reason to do more than that.

Hopefully, this will help with the sleep and stress, and everything together will help nudge my A1C in the right direction.

Closing

I have to admit that I chuckled a lot trying to think of safe, but somehow still slightly inappropriate “runner’s butt” images to use for this post. In the end, I wimped out. I hope you’ll forgive me.

As always, I’d love to hear from you guys. Stress tips, sleep tips, productivity tips, and runner’s butt tips, let me know if you have any words of wisdom for me!

Thanks!


 I’ll Read it For You

Are you on the move? Let me read this to you…

Diversifying Exercise (and a Larry Bird)

I’ve been clawing my way out of an exercise funk that started around the first of the year. It’s been a terrible fight so far, and full of speed bumps.

About eight weeks ago I started getting back to the YMCA for basketball. About six weeks ago I twisted my ankle while playing. The worst sprain in a long time. For the record, these injuries usually need a minimum of six weeks to heal, but like an idiot I started playing ball again in just a week and a half.

All was well though a little sore and tender, until about three weeks ago when I twisted the same ankle again.

I was SO frustrated. Partially at myself for rushing my injury, and partially at another disruption in my exercise — just as I was starting to get my wind back.

Cringing in pain and laying on the gym floor I started thinking about diversifying my exercise. I decided that I needed to find some backup exercises to mix in with the basketball, and to lean on when I couldn’t play ball.

I did the cycling thing last spring, and it went very well. I never felt better than when I was doing my bike training and playing basketball. But there were some challenges here. Spring hasn’t sprung here yet, so no outside cycling (I’m not that hardcore), and I sold the trainer that I used last year when we moved recently (I very recently found myself another dirt cheap spin bike I can use indoors).

photoI’ve also been inspired by a bunch of people to try running. With a lot of travel on my schedule this year, I figured it would be a good option. So I ordered some crazy colored shoes (hat-tip to Brian). They arrived on April 10th. April 11th it snowed. A lot.

It started to warm up, the snow melted, then BAM! Another snowstorm the following week, then another tease of warm weather, and yet another dump of snow. It has been the craziest “spring” I can remember.

All of this means that I’ve been too chicken to brave the elements and go outside to start running.

I made it back to the gym for basketball this week, again probably rushing my ankle injury, but I’m armed with some better shoes and an ankle brace. I feel like I’m starting to get my wind back again, and my legs aren’t complete jelly on the court anymore.

I couldn’t play ball today, but as fate would have it I picked up an awesome treadmill that was being orphaned by a relative. I managed to move it out, load it up AND move it into my place all by myself (“Hercules! Hercules!“).

After my entire family played on it broke it in, I strapped on my new kicks and jumped on for my first run of the decade.

I did really well in my opinion. I had the timer on the treadmill counting down from 40-minutes. I was shooting for a 10-minute warmup walk followed by 15-minutes of running, 5-minutes of walking, then an attempt at another 10-minutes of running.

Everything went great until I had 8-minutes left. I didn’t feel like I could push through. I thought I might be low, but couldn’t tell. I did the smart thing. I stopped and tested my blood sugar.

33 mg/dl.

After thinking of Kerri and her love for all things 33, I got scared. I wolfed down pretty much anything and everything I could find. I was a bit freaked out.

Yep, spooning it right out of the jar.

Yep, spooning it right out of the jar.

Once I had my wits about me I wondered what my Dexcom had to say.

My Dexcom is anti-exercise

My Dexcom is anti-exercise

I have never been able to rely on my CGM (any brand, any model) during exercise. Doesn’t matter if I’m cycling, playing basketball, or apparently running, it’s woefully late to the party and often times wildly inaccurate (trends and numbers).

In fact, most days it takes a couple of hours after I’m done playing basketball for it to sync up with my actual blood sugars.

Why is that? I don’t understand?

I sure could have used a “heads-up” tonight. 33 mg/dl while exercising doesn’t leave much room between being fine and being dead…

Iris Checked my Irises – 2012 FFL Conference

Among other things, Kerri and I were responsible for being “room captains” of the Adults with Type 1 room (sponsored by Insulet (thank you!)) at this year’s Friends for Life conference in Orlando, FL last week.

Being a room captain means introducing speakers, making sure there is water and glucose tabs available, answering questions, and basically making sure the presenters have everything they need before presenting.

I tried hard to fulfill my duties most of the day but was promptly kicked out of the “Pregnancy and Momhood with Type 1” session.  Something about upsetting the vibe or some such nonsense.

Eyeball PictureEarlier in the day, Jeff Hitchcock explained that Dr. Ben Szirth and his team from the Institute of Ophthalmology and Visual Science at the New Jersey Medical School were doing retinal screenings again, and had brand new equipment that could get extremely detailed images of the eye without the need for dilation (a normal part of a typical diabetes eye exam that turns the exam into a half-day ordeal).

I was very interested, but they were super busy. None of the time slots left in their appointment book worked with my conference schedule. If I had any chance of getting in, it would be during this little pocket of “down time” in my day, and only if they had time for a walk-in.  I was blessed and they were able to squeeze me in.

There were a number of stations in the room, each serving a different purpose.  My first stop was with an ophthalmology student named Iris.  No, I’m not kidding.  Iris was checking my irises!  I thought that alone deserved a blog post!  If she keeps up on her studies, she’s going to be a hit in this field.

She measured my pupils, checked my depth perception (which was a surprisingly difficult test), then checked my vision using the standard “read the smallest line you can see clearly” chart.

Up next was some checks of my vitals (blood pressure, oxygen levels) and another vision test – but this time with a fancy machine.  All I had to do was look at a picture of a barn in a field on a screen inside the machine, for a few seconds on each eye, and that was it!

The next station took some seriously fancy scans of the thickness of the back surface of my eyes.  It took only seconds on each eye for the computer to grab twenty-some images and do a bunch of fancy measurements and such.  If you haven’t noticed already, I have no idea what this machine really looked for, but it was cool nonetheless.  Kelly and Brianna have some great pictures of what the docs see on the computer screen – head over to her blog to have a better look.

Brianna's Eye

This is Brianna’s eye – check out their post for more!

The last station was with Dr. Ben himself.  The expert of experts, leading this incredible group of medical students through some advanced diabetes eye health, real-world experience.  At this station, Dr. Ben takes a few super-high-res photographs of the back surface of the eye.  This allows a very in-depth analysis of the retina and allows him to check for any signs of diabetes-related issues.

He gave me a glowing report, with not even a trace of diabetes-related issues on the retina.  In fact, one of the things he said will stick with me for the year…

“I can see from your eyes that you exercise a lot!”

Wow!  I have never felt more proud of myself for all of the hard work I put in with my diabetes management, at the gym, and on the bike.  Ok, the gym part feels a lot more like fun (basketball!), but still.

The only issue that Dr. Ben saw was some signs of cataract in one eye. He said that is pretty normal for most people, but appear slightly faster for those living with diabetes.  Sunglasses are the best form of protection, and can slow the progress quite a bit.  He said it might be another twenty years before anything needs to be done about it, and if I’m good about wearing my sunglasses I might stretch that out another ten years.

The images I saw of my eyes and their vascular system were clean, thick, and strong. And I’ve never received a pat on the back that felt better than the words from Dr. Ben…

“I can see from your eyes that you exercise a lot!”

Forgot My Shorts…

With diabetes, preparing for any exercise or activity is never as simple as it should be.

10:30 AM – I actually remembered to start my temporary basal rate adjustment

10:45 AM – Blood sugar is 95 mg/dl with some insulin on board.  Eat a quick sandwich.

10:50 AM – Refill my Gatorade supply, grab a fresh bottle of test strips, and even a pad of post-it notes to write down blood sugars, and stick it all in my gym bag. Feeling very on-top of everything, and impressed with myself for remembering the diabetes stuff, I also grabbed a couple of shirts, a big towel, couple small towels, essential undergarments, socks, shoes, insulin pump strap, and stuck that all in my gym bag too.

10:58 AM – tweet this:

Screen capture of a tweet that says "Getting ready for a little basketball! I didn't play yesterday, so I'm jonesing to get back to it today"

11:01 AM to 11:20 AM – Spend a few more minutes on twitter and reading a cool article on MLB Pitcher, Brandon Morrow, who also lives with type 1 diabetes (found the article through twitter, btw).

11:25 AM – Head to the YMCA

12:05 PM – tweet this:

Screen capture of a tweet that says "Aaaaaaand guess what I forgot..."

What a bummer!  I forgot my shorts!

On any different day I could have run over to a nearby Target and grabbed a cheap pair.  But this day I had an afternoon meeting which was already cutting into my time. It just wasn’t worth it. I didn’t have enough time.

I made a lot of adjustments to my diabetes management to accommodate the basketball session (remember that temporary rate and sandwich?), and there was a fair amount of stress and emotion that happened when I realized I forgot my shorts. So I spent the afternoon chasing high blood sugars (part from the diabetes adjustments, and part from the stress and emotions).

Some of that stress and emotion was frustration of having to miss one of my favorite things, some was from having driven all the way there for nothing (and having to drive back home), and some was stressing about what this was going to do to my blood sugars for the afternoon.

Diabetes makes things so much more … complicated.

I couldn’t just write it off as a silly mistake that made me miss my basketball.  Instead, that little mistake kicked off a chain-reaction of diabetes decisions and adjustments that lasted many hours into the afternoon.

You better believe I’ll be checking for my shorts before I leave tomorrow!

 

Dawn Phenom Minnesota Style

Insulindependence is a group of incredibly inspirational athletes living with diabetes who are on a mission to get people living with diabetes active.  I know what you’re thinking.  You are thinking that you are not an athlete, you are not active, you don’t have it in you.  Bologna (I love how that word doesn’t look like it sounds…).

You don’t have to be anything to get involved with Insulindependence except diabetic and interested.  Talking to this year’s captain, Andrew Michelson, they want anyone and everyone to get out and get active with them.  Young and old, fit or not.

This group is all about moving with diabetes, getting together with other PWD’s (people with diabetes), and talking about what works.  It’s a big information exchange, which is perfect if you’re having trouble with activity and exercise.

On Sunday morning we met at 10:00 AM at Minnehaha park in Minneapolis.  We all talked for a while, then the group split up into the runners and the walkers.  The runners went off for a light 2-mile run, and the walkers walked and talked for about a mile.

Group picture

Walkers and Runners getting active with diabetes!

It sounds like the goal is to meet monthly and try a bunch of different activities.  Everything from spinning, light workouts in a gym, and climbing, to snowshoeing and skiing.

There are a lot of things I’d like to try, but have been hesitant because I’m just not sure how to do it or how to manage my blood sugars around it.  What better way to experiment with new activities than with a group of like-minded people who all know about diabetes?

Let me know if you’d like more information about the group and/or upcoming events.  There is a Facebook page for stuff here in the Twin Cities, MN area.

There are Insulindependence events happening all around the country.  Subscribe to their mailing list (on their webpage) to get notified about all of the events coming up.

Exercise is important for us, but it is also a bit scary and intimidating.  This is a great way to work through whatever is slowing you down.

I Did It! Tour de Cure!

Picture of Scott, Mari, Heather

Scott, Mari, Heather

Have you ever gotten yourself into something you weren’t quite sure you could do?  I got myself very familiar with that feeling this Spring.

When we finished the 25-mile Tour de Cure route last year I wasn’t ready to be finished.  I wanted more.  So for the 2011 ride we signed up for the 45-mile course.

The weather here this “Spring” (note the quotation marks…) was terrible.  Cold, wet, rainy, overcast.  If you had to paint a picture of depression, any weekend of Minnesota leading up to the ride would have been perfect.

Last year, for the 25-mile ride, I went on a lot of training rides with the team before the big day.  This year?  I was on my bike twice.  Completing a 14-mile ride the first time, and a 20-mile ride the second.  That’s not a lot of training in preparation for the longest ride of my life (so far).

My fundraising beard was more than ready, thanks to so many of you.  I was also able to leverage it to help Chris meet his fundraising goal!   I’m sure he would have met his goal without my help, but it was a fun day on twitter with the #savethebeard campaign.  Very proud to rock the scragle for a while to represent for a good cause and good people.

The VIP Dinner on Friday night was great, with Mari Ruddy delivering a very moving speech on why the Red Rider movement exists.  I wrote a little about the movement last year, but no words do the woman justice.  If you ever have a chance to hear her talk (about anything!), do it.

Scott and Heather before the ride

Scott and Heather before the ride

The weather for our ride was perfect.  We had a few different groups riding for our team, with the 62-mile riders leaving bright and early at 7:00 AM, the 45-mile riders leaving at 8:00 AM, etc.

This year, all of the Red Riders lined up at the head of the pack to start each ride.  It was pretty cool seeing all of us decked out in our Red Rider jerseys grouped together at the starting line.  Most of us peeled off after a short distance to regroup with the rest of our teams.

There were rest stops at about every hour, which was perfect for us.  Perfect timing to check our blood sugars, refill our water bottles, and grab a bite to eat.

We covered a LOT of ground on this ride.  I was familiar with most of the route in Minneapolis, but we also did a lot of riding in St. Paul.  I hadn’t done any riding on that side of the cities before, so it was pretty fun to see.

Picture of Scott and Heather riding

Scott and Heather – Action shot!

I felt really good for most of the ride.  My blood sugars were amazing, ranging from 61 mg/dl (that was a low I had to stop and treat) up to 137 mg/dl.  I reduced my background/basal insulin for most of the day, tested often, drank a lot of water, and made sure to eat something at each of the rest stops. I’m not sure I could pull off better blood sugars ever again!

Exercise really does amazing things to your blood sugar.  The trick is figuring out how to take advantage of that!

I got really tired a few miles from the finish line, but that was also when I had to stop and treat the low blood sugar.  Who knows if it was tired from being low, or tired from riding 40+ miles, or a combination of both.  Maybe if I would have eaten just a little bit more at the last rest stop I would have felt good to the end.  Even a non-diabetic person has to fuel their body – as PWD’s we are not really much different.  We just have a few extra variables to manage, which makes the food and fuel much more complicated.

At the Finish Line with Leah!

The Finish Line! Leah & Family rooting us on!

After recovering from the low, I pushed on to reunite with Heather so we could cross the finish line together.  The finish line experience is something special.  They announce your name as you approach the finish line, and there is a CROWD of people cheering you through.

All of the Pancremaniac crew was there cheering for Heather and I as we rode through, and there were also a couple of surprise supporters!  Leah and her family were there, as well as Corey, a buddy I used to work with at Cozmo.

It was so cool.  I rode 45 miles (rumor is that it was actually 47 miles)!  That’s a new personal distance record for me, and I’m pretty proud of myself.  Next year we are going to ride the 62-mile course!

We even had a Pancremaniac come all the way from Michigan just to ride!  Dan rode the 62-mile course, and says he had a great time doing it.  We’re all hoping he comes back to ride with us again next year.   I think the look on his face is an affirmation that he’ll be back.

Dan relaxing after his 62-mile bike ride!

Dan relaxing after 62 miles on the bike!

2011 Tour de Cure Finisher Medal

2011 Tour de Cure Finisher Medal

 

Diabetes and Basketball

Diabetes and exercise is something incredibly hard to manage.  It is difficult to get my blood sugar where I want it for exercise, and even harder to get it to stay there.  For many people, managing blood sugars before, during, and after, is so hard that they just don’t exercise.  I don’t blame them.  It introduces a million new variables.

I still ended the day at 277 mg/dl.  Do I blame it on a few too many gulps of Gatorade?  Maybe a temporary basal rate reduction that was too aggressive? Who knows.  I’m extremely lucky that I enjoy basketball enough to keep working through the hard blood sugars to find a way to play.

Sloppy Evenings, Low Blood Sugars, Guilt, and Fear

This has been an active week for me. It feels good. My body feels good.

Four days of basketball, with one seriously kick ass weight session afterward. Four days of tossing a football around with my son and shooting baskets with my daughter. One short bike ride back home after taking my old pickup truck to the repair shop.

As far as exercise, I’m doing it. And it feels good.

But I get sloppy in the evenings. High carb foods combined with estimated carb counts and ballpark boluses PLUS a lot of exercise and activity equals an evening full of lows that leave me feeling fat, guilty, foolish, frustrated, helpless, stupid, and scared.

The first low blood sugar I treat with glucose tabs. But because I’ve been so sloppy with my insulin dose, they are not enough to do the trick. So I have food.

But then I worry about having over-treated, and I’m sure I’ll be sky high later. So I toss a little more insulin into the mix. You know, to balance it all out.

My blood sugar never crawls above 96 mg/dl (5.3 mmol/L), but because I’ve got all of that insulin working, it’s not long before I’m low again. I’m full, and the last thing I want to do is eat more. But I’m low (again) too, so I eat. Glucose tabs, wait, regular soda, wait. Doritos then ice cream. That should do it. That is enough to fix all of the low blood sugars of the DOC combined!

As I come to my senses, I start thinking about the doritos and ice cream. Slow food. Fatty food. So I program some insulin to be slowly delivered over the next 4-5 hours to help curb the rebound high that is sure to happen. My CGM is all confused, reading just enough lower than my blood sugar to trigger the unchangeable 55 mg/dl (3.0 mmol/L) alert over and over again. Not wanting to be pestered by false low BG alerts as I try to fall asleep, I turn it off.

But I can’t sleep. I start thinking about my daughter lying next to me, and those that we’ve lost overnight, and start praying that tonight is not my night. That I wouldn’t want her to be the one to find me, cold and grey and gone.

What the fuck. Am I losing it? Something not right. Something nagging at me. God told me to check my blood sugar.

No rebound high. More low. Ironically, it is 55 mg/dl (3.0 mmol/L). Right where my CGM had me pegged before I shut if off.

I’m still full. I’m sleepy, but with a weird adrenaline edge to it. I’m jittery and exhausted.

I’ve packed in a fourth dinner and really don’t care how high my blood sugar will be when I wake up. My stomach is bloated enough to push doors open before I walk through them. I feel miserable.

My activity level and sloppy insulin dosing led to a world of trouble tonight, and I know better. There is a lot of guilt and frustration I’m dealing with, because I know better. But I need to let it go. It is not my fault. My pancreas is broken, and our very best attempt is still not as good as the real thing.

I need to try and remember that my activity level does not grant me a free pass to eat less responsibly. In fact, with diabetes, it probably requires MORE attention and precision, more thought and planning for the rest of the day and night.

If I would have simply done a better job of counting carbs for dinner, this spiral of crap would have been much less crappy.

Even though I’ve had all of this trouble tonight, I have every intention of exercising again tomorrow. I’m also going to try my best to be smarter about my actions after exercising. That’s where it all comes together. Even if I can’t get it perfect, it will surely be closer than I got tonight.

Angry About Exercise

I think one of the secrets to decent diabetes management is management … of priorities.

November of 2010 I had the best lab report I’ve had since I was in my early 20’s.  Best A1C, bestBasketball is FUN for Scott! cholesterol, best everything.  I hadn’t made any purposeful changes to my diabetes routine, I wasn’t testing more, I wasn’t counting carbs better, I wasn’t watching what I ate any closer than usual.  But I had been exercising like crazy.

I was been spending three to four hours per day at the YMCA playing basketball and lifting weights, and I felt great.  I am lucky to have found an exercise that I really enjoy (basketball).  While playing basketball I am having fun, and that’s why I do it.  It just happens to be great exercise too.  How lucky am I?

I had no job(s) though, and that doesn’t last for long. The bank account has been empty (or negative) for a long time,  and I needed to find some income.  I’ve been super stubborn about trying to find something I can put my heart into, something that helps people with diabetes and supports my family at the same time.  But I haven’t been able to find anything.  I’ve had to put my dreams on hold for a while (if you have a job/contract/project I can help with, let me know!).

Since then I’ve picked up about four part-time jobs, only a couple of which I like, and none of which pay enough of the bills to let me drop any of the others.  It’s terribly distracting and I feel like I’m being pulled in a million different directions, leaving me at less than my best for any of them.

Worse though, is that I haven’t played basketball or lifted weights for two weeks.  And I can feel it.  My body hurts, I’m crabby and irritable, I’m not sleeping well, my blood sugars are volatile and sharp.  I’m just not happy.

I let some bullshit part-time jobs creep in and take priority over my exercise.

There is a lot of tension and anger because I feel trapped in many ways.  I have to support my family (earn income), and I have to take care of myself (exercise), but I feel like it’s nearly impossible to balance those two things.  I can work all the time to make ends meet, and fall apart physically (and mentally), or I can exercise a lot and not have enough money to pay the rent.

I am re-prioritizing my life around exercise again, with faith that the money side of my life will fall into place somehow.  I am going to try my best to keep my guard up against all that tries to creep in and pull my focus away from what is important.  I am important.  My health is important.  My diabetes management is important.  And for all of that, exercise is important.

We can always sleep in the minivan…

Life Coaching, Weight Lifting, Book Writing

Picture of Ginger

How many of you have heard of Ginger Vieira?

I guarantee that not enough of you have, and I’m going to shout her praises from the highest rooftop I can find.

Ginger was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and celiac in 1999.  Besides being an absolute angel, Ginger is a professional writer, a contributing author at Diabeteens, an I.S.S.A. certified personal trainer, a certified Ashtanga Yoga instructor, and a Therapeutic Yoga instructor.  Pretty impressive!

Oh yeah. She also holds 14 national, drug-tested powerlifting records AND the Vermont state record for the female bench press!  Holy Crap, right?

I say that Ginger is an angel because her mission in life is to help others.  And she is good at it (that qualifies for “understatement of the year”).  I met Ginger last July at the Roche Social Media Summit.  Later in the year she helped me get back in the gym by throwing together a quick workout program.  Earlier this year she asked if I would be willing to help her with a project she was working on.  After all the help she gave me with the workout program, of course, I would help!

She wanted a guinea-pig for her life coaching business.  Not sure I wanted to get involved with introspective, deep-thought type stuff  (that’s a lot of hard work!), I was a bit hesitant.  But I have all sorts of things I could improve on, and I want to help Ginger with whatever I can, so I decided to jump in with both feet.  We’ve been working together for almost two months.  It is good stuff.  She is good stuff.  I’m glad I made the right decision.

I was worried it would feel a lot like traditional therapy.  Her asking silly questions, lots of dead space in-between those questions and my obligatory answers, and lots of uncomfortable silence.  I was worried about lots of “how do you feel about …?” and other Dr. Phil type nonsense.  But Ginger is not a therapist.  She will not look at my past and my problems, but rather who I am now, where I want to be, and how I can get there.  It’s different.

By deciding to really be open and honest with Ginger, she has helped me make big steps in a few different areas of my life.  What you put in is what you get out.  Ginger is easy to open up to, and she holds no judgment.  She did not giggle at me when I told her my vision of me exercising regularly was a mental image of Kerri on her ellipmachine

Well, actually, we both laughed hysterically about that.  But still.  Ginger is really great, and if it’s Ok with all of you, I’d like to share more about our experiences over the next few weeks.  In the meantime, check out the interview Ginger did with Kerri, um, not on the ellipmachine

Also check out the interview that Ginger did here at Diabetes Daily recently!