Name: Robin W
Location: Fresno, CA
Being diabetic doesn’t mean you can’t live a normal life, (the real question you should ask is; what is a normal life anyway), it just means you are more conscience about yourself than the person next to you. Learn what your body is telling you, and act on it.
It's interesting, I knew I had to change my lifestyle after suffering from a heart attack, I couldn't ride endurance anymore, spending 10-15 hours continuously on a bicycle wasn’t in the cards anymore, a four to five hour ride, OK, I could still ride a century but double centuries? It took me a while to feel good enough mentally to ride distance again, and 10 years after my heart attack I’m again riding the double centuries, but my dream of riding RAAM has yet to become reality.
I just wasn’t feeling right. I couldn’t understand it, I’m usually pretty good about my diet during the months I cycle, yes I still have problems with down-time habits, I was working on them, but I should have more energy after a bike ride. I was getting home after a ride, and crashing on the couch, zero energy, same with after eating anything I would go into a “food coma”, instead of “normal” people who had energy after exercise or eating, I was asleep and snoring after sitting on the couch.
I’m the type of person who if it hurts sitting then I might as well ride, if it’s going to hurt anyway, but the lack of energy was troublesome. I went to the doctor, who knows of my “sickness” for riding, he has seen me ride with kidney stones before. He asked me once how I was able to do that, I told him “yes the pain in intolerable, but so what, I can sit on my couch and be in pain, or ride my bicycle and maybe not feel the pain as much.” His response had something to do with my being crazy or some nonsense like that. He order some tests A1C, glucose, etc., and to come back in two weeks, but to continue my activities as if I would of stopped anyway. Back at the doctor’s office, still feeling down, “you have diabetes” What? “You have what is known as Type 2 Diabetes”. What does this mean? Does this mean I need to give myself shots, I hate needles? I knew nothing about diabetes. How was I going to survive, how was I going to cope with this? Is it something I will always now have? Will it get worse? Is it curable?
I’m lucky enough to live in a community that the local hospital has a class on the subject, twice a week for 7 weeks, sign me up. I learned a lot about the disease and how to cope with it, better eating, small meals consistency is important, not eating just one large meal a day, don’t skip meals. Eat an apple instead of the candy bar is you get hungry. Test your blood sugars, morning, before meals, two hours after meals; learn how your body reacts to different foods, time of day you eat. Learning is a small part of the battle, and the physical stuff is easy compared to the mental, unless you can put into practice what you have learned, the learning will not help. I think if was easier for me, I love to cycle, for hours on end, that is a mental issue, just apply the same attitude to this and everything will work out. At first I testing my blood sugars every time I felt different, before each meal, afterwards, before exercising, afterwards, the list goes on. Insurance only paid for 100 test strips a month and I was wiping out the supply before my 30 days, for the first couple of months, but I learned how my body reacted to what I did to it. A Reality check to the max. I learned what I can and cannot do; today 4 years after being diagnosed I’m comfortable with myself. I now only test myself each morning (and after cycling), that morning result tells me what I can and cannot due for the day. I have always had a hard time with breakfast, my idea of breakfast was the morning newspaper and a pot of coffee; now check the blood sugars (after starting my pot of coffee (2 cups in the morning) OK it’s a hard habit to stop).
If my blood sugars are high in the morning, a piece of toast with my paper and coffee, if its low, then I will have oatmeal, or for that once a month treat if I have been good to myself a breakfast burrito (YES). Stop eating fast food, you will be amazed on how much better you feel, plan your meals, and eat more veggies, fish, than that 16 ounce steak. Stop eating fast food, in hard economic times this should be a no brainer anyway. Being diabetic doesn’t mean you can’t live a normal life, (the real question you should ask is; what is a normal life anyway), it just means you are more conscience about yourself than the person next to you. Learn what your body is telling you, and act on it. You can still spoil yourself, just do it up once a month instead of weekly or nightly. Today when I get my results back from the doctor, he tells me everything looks good, kept up the good work. I thank him, get a new lab slip and I go and have a pizza. I plan to ride the length of America at the age of 55, I'm now 53, with diabetes or not, I will complete my dream.