Being Adventurous with Diabetes

The holidays are always a tough time for someone with Type 1 diabetes. I’m constantly surrounded by holiday treats and carb-heavy foods. Holiday parties tend to be the worst culprit.

This could be why I’ve been a bit anti-social lately. I don’t want to be tempted. This past year, managing my blood sugar levels became increasingly more difficult. Maybe it’s because I’m older and my body is less resilient? Maybe it’s because I “cheat” more than I used to? Maybe it’s because I’ve had this disease longer, and it’s starting to take its toll on my mental and physical health?

Maybe all of the above? I recently took out a life insurance policy. That felt weird. And although I do my best, I know there is no guarantee with this disease, and in case anything terrible should happen as a result, I want my loved ones to be taken care of. But in the meantime, I’m still rooting for me. Continue reading


Basal and Bolus

Basal and Bolus are my lifeline, but they’ve recently hit puberty, and their hormones and emotions are all over the place. This does not make life easier for me, and no matter what I do, they don’t listen. I guess I should respect their independence, but sometimes I miss the obedient rates that never questioned me.

I try to be the healthiest person I can be, but there are days when the diabetes takes over. It’s not necessarily a result of anything wrong I’ve done in managing it, but whether it’s stress or hormones, sometimes my blood sugar levels have a mind of their own.

In a State of Flux

Blacktip Reef with wavy blue lineYesterday was one of those days. Since I went off birth control six months ago, I’ve struggled to balance my basal and bolus rates (basal is the long-lasting insulin I take continuously throughout the day; bolus is the fast-acting insulin I take before meals). My insulin sensitivity is constantly fluctuating. Continue reading

The Ones Who Survive

I can feel the tension in my knee building. I look at my watch: 26.07. Okay, I tell myself, I just need to make it up and down this hill, and then on the straight and narrow path home. If I can run 30 minutes today, that will be sufficient, and I shouldn’t put too much strain on my IT band.

Since September, I’ve been undergoing physical therapy because I couldn’t run seven minutes without being in extreme pain. Even with stretching, resting, and strengthening, I could not seem to surpass this hump that started at 20 minutes, then 12, and finally seven. Frustrated, I gave up and called my doctor. I invested more financial resources than I’d like to admit in attending physical therapy sessions twice a week.

I’d just gotten out of a long-term relationship. Work was stressful. I had no social support system. I needed to run. And it’s not like I’m a good runner. I could be in better shape. I usually run when I feel the need to blow off some steam or stretch my legs, but I wouldn’t say I do it consistently. But now that my life seemed to be shredding before me, I felt the need to do it more often.

So after a month of physical therapy, I could run 20 minutes without pain, and then after six weeks, I could run 25. I felt stuck at that number and started to think maybe I would just have to live with short distance. I no longer pushed past the pain. I wanted to be able to run tomorrow, too. This day was no different from any other. Continue reading

Ugh … Treadmills

AHS-RunningI have always had an irrational fear of treadmills. Much like water and fire – except I eventually got over those. I never quite mastered the treadmill, and it may be even more surprising to learn that in the 10 years I’ve been running long distance, I never tried the treadmill, until a few weeks ago.

For the past month, I have been attending physical therapy sessions to strengthen my iliotibial (IT) band. When I started physical therapy, I could only run seven minutes before an excruciating pain intensified around my knee, a result of an inflamed IT band. It certainly wasn’t a result of overuse – I had just started running again after nine months of rest.

I’m an outdoor runner. I’ve never joined a gym. I like the changing scenery and the varying climate conditions. But the physical therapy office did not have an outdoor track. It had a few machines such as the elliptical and of course, the dreaded treadmill. Continue reading

I Swing Alone: A Diabetic’s Confession

Photo credit: Sandy Hunt

Photo credit: Sandy Hunt

I swing alone. My feet now touch the ground. The figure eight chains are rusted. The black u-shaped seat is worn at the edges. I wonder for how long it will hold my weight. I am much bigger now, but I still love the feeling of when my feet leave the ground. For a fleeting moment, I wonder if they will ever return, and then gravity brings me back to reality. I swing alone. I do not belong here anymore, but I also do not want to leave.

The red and brown leaves fly across my shadow in the direction of the setting sun. I envy their journey, but I do not envy their withered state. They are at the end of their lives. I should be beginning mine, but ever since I turned twenty-two, I feel lost within this body. I feel like it’s slowly giving up on me. From a pancreas that doesn’t work to a series of infections to chronic pain to now an IT band that won’t let me run, I feel like it’s shutting down on me. It’s at the end of this journey, and although I know I have years left, I don’t know what quality that will be.

It will let me enjoy one last swing, but it will not let me enjoy the simple pleasures in life – the simple luxuries our physical beings allow. I cannot eat what I want; I cannot exercise how I want, and I cannot have a long-lasting sexual relationship. My mental state has never succumbed to my body – it’s only succumbed to itself, but how much more can my mind take? Can a mind be free with a useless body? Can a mind truly enjoy life with a body that’s slowly withering away? Continue reading

Eden: Back to Where I Started

On the Capital Crescent Trail from Bethesda to Georgetown, I walk along the pavement, staying close to the right so that bikers and runners may pass. I hear a shuffling of leaves to my right and see something white zip through the branches. I immediately grasp my key ring and two apartment keys tighter even though I am surrounded by several bikers and walkers. I search for a male lurking in the trees but see nothing. I begin my run again.

I’ve felt an ache to run for two days now. I don’t know where it came from. I have to admit I was scared to take the trail after hearing the horrid stories of women being raped, but my coworker assured me as long as I run during the day or evening when it’s crowded, I should be safe. In the 10 years I’ve been running, I’ve never feared for my safety, but I’ve always carried a few keys with me in case I needed them as defense weapons, and I always keep my music at a low volume.

But today with a storm pending, I knew it would be a perfect opportunity for a run. With my 10-minute commute, it doesn’t take me long to arrive home and change my clothes. And then I’m out the door in a hot pink shirt and black shorts. I should probably carry my CGM with me and maybe some glucose tablets, too. But I don’t plan to be gone long, and my blood sugar is steady at 125. I drank some juice just in case. Continue reading