When I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in adulthood, it was of no surprise to me. I had all of the symptoms a person should have when they are struggling with outrageously high sugars. I couldn’t stay awake for more than a few hours. I was drinking water constantly and always feeling the panic of extreme thirst. I never felt “well” and had constant headaches. When I first tested my sugar in 2011, it was at 485. I would later learn that my A1C was at a 15% (off the charts, literally). Even though I was not surprised by my diagnosis, I was not prepared for the lifestyle change. Being insulin dependent was a challenge. I was having a difficult time not getting “lows” and feeling faint after workouts. I didn’t feel like I had the time, between work and graduate school, to keep a food journal. I was feeling overwhelmed, and found myself in the E.R with drastically low sugars a few times. I didn’t know how to continue running competitively while still maintaining control of my diabetes. I stopped running. I stopped recognizing myself.
Noticing my struggle, my Mom had me meet with Mary Ellen Grady, a nurse specializing in diabetic instruction at the Cleveland Clinic. After learning about me and having many conversations with me about my life goals, Mary Ellen began to realize I had a lot to overcome. We started with small diet goals. She gave me a chart to show me how many carbohydrates I was to eat depending on the amount of time I was prepared to exercise and what my sugar was at that time. I eventually began to use an insulin pump. It was strange to constantly be attached to something, and I struggled with the feeling that I had lost some of my freedom. However, the pump allowed me to control my sugar much better than I had been able to on shots. I realized, I had in fact gained more freedom. At our last instruction class, Mary Ellen gave me an article about a man who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in adult hood and is now a strong competitor in marathons. I felt it deep inside my heart that I needed to begin this journey as well.
In these next fourteen weeks, I will be sharing this journey with you and on October 7th, 2012 I will be running the Findlay, OH Red, White and Blue 26.2 Marathon. This page is meant to support any athlete, aspiring marathon runner, family member or friend of a person with Type 1 Diabetes. This page will provide you with advice and inspiration to live a balanced and healthy lifestyle. More importantly, this page will help you, and me, to remember that YOU control how you choose to live your life. You and I can overcome any challenge and accomplish great things.