Sunday, October 2, 2016

Just Show Up

Today I set out to run my week 7, day 3 run of the Couch to 5K program.   I needed the extra push of motivation, as the couch was looking more appealing than the run, but once I got out to the park, I was set.  I am a firm believer in just showing up.  When you show up, there are way more opportunities, opportunities that you do not know exist. I kept this in mind as I parked my car, got out on the pavement and warmed up for my run.   Little did I know, a Runner's Choice 1/2 marathon was taking place at the same time.  I ran the opposite way of the runners, which means I got to see each passing face as I ran by and it was....Inspiring.

Everyone has a story. Everyone has a reason as to why they showed up.  It isn't always easy.   Living with type 1 diabetes, sometimes I feel diabetes holds me back and makes me wait patiently while time passes by, but in reality, there are times when I am holding myself back.  I have practicing how to self motivate, how to show up.   I was in awe at each runner. Some looked professional, like they had been running for years and years, all the running gadgets and proper technique, while others looked as those this may be their first race.  There were people of all ages and sizes, and abilities and that inspired me.

Running has changed me and I hate to sound cliche, but each day I wake up with a different goal and ability to do better for myself and I am falling in love with just that.  I ran my fastest pace today conquering almost 5k, and I credit not only myself, but every single person that passed by me today on that trail.   In particular, I passed one girl who was heavier set, she had the biggest smile on her face and the person in front of me (who was not in the race, began clapping for her)  I smiled at her and in that moment I wanted to say, "You've got this! Keep going!"  She was running 1/2 a marathon, something I am not close to competing in and it was so inspiring. I cried under my sunglasses as I thought about all the obtacles people go through in order to achieve their goals. The struggles, the setbacks, the record-breaking achievements, the pain, the happiness, all that is a part of running and the running community.

I am just new to this, and I can feel my energy growing, my glow, my heart and my spirit.   Never doubt your abilities, never doubt your impact and most importantly, ALWAYS show up.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Private Lows

I do not like to bother people when my diabetes needs attention.  There is something about being low, that makes me quiet. That hushes me from alerting people, I try to figure it out on my own. I reach into my bag quietly and unroll a package of rockets to shove into my mouth.  I try not to make anyone stop for me, keep going and I will catch up.  But, why?  Is this my low brain or is this how I handle my lows?

I often go low in the night despite my efforts to stop it from happening.  I wake up from my slumber feeling off, and I usually lay there until my brain wakes up and realizes it's go time.  I get up from bed, trying to be quiet without disrupting M and Cola.    When I lived alone, I would often bring my food up to my bed and enjoy a comfortable snack in bed, but now I fear waking up M and not because he would care, but I just don't want him to have to deal with me. Although, sometimes I am so low, I think I should wake him. But then his sleep is ruined, I think to myself.

I sit quietly in the kitchen with my collection of snacks.  All a blur, because I am half asleep.  This isn't just a night time thing either. I can't blame my sleepiness for being so private about my lows. In public, I often try hard to just be 'normal' until I can find space to eat.  I count my change in my shaky palm and order something from the cashier without mentioning my low blood sugar or diabetes, I finish up my work, hoping to get to my bag before I drop to the ground.

'I'll get there, I will take care of this, but I need to get this done first.'


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Belly Full, Mind Weak.

The first low is usually okay.  As long as you're prepared it's an opportunity to have a piece of fudge or candy that you wouldn't normally have.  But, when the lows persist, there is no worse feeling.  The feeling of being totally out of control of your own body.  The dread of having to stuff carbs down your throat when your belly is full and your mind is weak.   There is nothing fun about getting to roam the kitchen at 2 a.m searching for substance to keep you alive.

Since I started my running journey, I have been going low a lot.  I am constantly checking my car, my purse, my bed-side table making sure that I have restocked my low supplies.  That usually doesn't stop me from wandering into the kitchen regardless looking for something to satisfy my low.  Constantly telling myself, don't eat the whole kitchen.    But, the search for food is only a part of the low. When you have a low after a low after a low, it starts to wear on you emotionally.

I can't compare the emotional exhaust to anything else, but personally, there comes a point when I feel my mind weakening. I can't cope with how tired my body and mind is.  I have been low, over and over again, I have lost sleep, I have eaten all of the fudge, what next?

This could be taken as a sign that exercise and diabetes is too hard to mix. But, hard is okay.  I am willing to figure this out, despite the exhaust and the mental feats. I know that I am not alone in my disease and that many others have sleepless nights because of lows. While it is frustrating, I take this as an opportunity to ask for help, seek better options and really try to master (as much as possible)  running and diabetes and ALL of the lows that come with that.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

One Foot in Front of the Other

You know that saying from that Christmas movie, 'just put one foot in front of the other.'  Every now and then I find myself singing it in my head, either because I truly need that Kris Kringle inspiration or my dad engrained it in my head from many years of having to watch all the Christmas specials on cable.

I find this saying rings true for a lot of things. I am a planner.  I love things to be planned and I love knowing what I am doing in advance.  I am organized and particular, yet I also like surprises and being spontaneous sometimes.  It doesn't make all that much sense, but as you can imagine, I can get quite anxious about things fairly easy because of this interest in both spontaneity and preparation.  This saying often helps me sit back and think about what I am worried about, what I need to get done and reminds me that each step is important, but needs my focus. As long as I am moving, I am going somewhere.

We do not reach our goals in one giant leap. It takes steps.  It takes patience and trust that we will reach that goal, and 'putting one foot in front of the other' is key in achieving success.     I think about diabetes management and how overwhelming the thought of taking care of my diabetes for the rest of my life can be. If you really think about how much time and effort you will have to put in over a lifetime, you can get rather stressed over the matter. But, instead if you focus on that first step of taking care of yourself and move on as the day continues, it becomes less of a daunting task.

I find this goes with weight loss, healthy eating, career paths, the list is endless.  It is really easy to get caught up in the big picture without really focusing on those steps that need to be done to get there.  It takes one step in the right direction to push you forward. If you need to pause and reflect after a few steps, that is O.K too, just remember when you're ready, all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Cookie Cutter

For anyone who struggles with their relationship with food, adding diabetes [carb counting, self-medication, burn-out, mental stress...] can make it incredibly difficult to overcome certain battles.  Part of me feels like I am making progress in loving myself and my journey, but part of me struggles with finding practical balances with my diabetes, healthy eating, and exercise. I have set high expectations for myself, and more than ever I feel like I am ready to take on a challenge and surpass it.  I have been through this before, I have lost weight, I have gained weight, I have beaten myself down with negative talk and I have felt on-top-of-the-world. BUT, when does that cycle stop?  When can we commit to loving ourselves always? When can we say, enough is enough?

I am falling in love with running and despite always thinking I wasn't designed for running, I am building my confidence in myself that there is no 'runners' body and there isn't a cookie cutter shape for a person that is healthy.   Healthy is happy, and feeling confident in your own skin. Healthy is taking on challenges that excite you and believing in yourself.  I don't want to make this a cycle, I want to make this a lifestyle. 


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

We Too

I am sure many of us have had people tell us, "I could never be diabetic."  I couldn't count the number of times people have said that to me, as they laugh and go on about how they love cake too much or they hate the sight of needles.   I usually just nod and laugh along with them, I mean, would they be shocked if I told them, I love cake too?

I did not choose to have diabetes.  Some magical mix of genetics and luck has given me a disease that requires my full attention and not only that, but, unfortunately requires needles. This disease also requires me to think about cake a bit differently, fear not, I can still eat cake, but that cake comes with a number and you'd be surprised what that number is sometimes.   I wish I could say that I could never be diabetic and make it happen but the truth is, I am diabetic. It happened to me, and I am dealing with it every single day, every hour, every minute.

Now, I am not trying to rant on people who have said this to me because I think almost everyone at some point in their life has said it (probably myself pre-diabetes too) but, hopefully what this post does is alarm people in knowing that people living with chronic diseases are not always burdened by their diseases, they push forward and make it work.

We too, do not like having to do these things.
We too, did not think we could give ourselves needles or go through rigorous treatments. 
We too, thought this would never happen to us.  


Saturday, September 3, 2016

Strong Headed

There are parts of my days that I feel out of commission. Like someone found my pin, pulled it and I am slowly deflating. My head is pounding, and I am angrily checking my blood sugar and begging it to go down. I feel thirsty and upset and I want to crawl back into bed, but I can't because I have a life to live.  I have written about having an invisible illness before [Invisible Post] but, as I read it over, I realize I focused more on the physicality than the practical portion of what truly makes living with an invisible illness difficult, so I am going to take some time today to post about it.

The other day at work my blood sugar shot up. I couldn't think of why it would shoot up so fast and so aggressively, but regardless I accepted it. I was working at this point, so I took some time to change my site and made sure I was checking every 30 minutes or so. At this point I felt all the classic high symptoms and I kept thinking to myself, if I had a non-invisible disease and you could clearly see that I was sick right now, it would be more acceptable to leave.   In my mind when I am high or low, I do not see the urgency for what it really is. I deal with it and hope that it goes away fast. But, we all know that isn't always the case.

I have a strong suspicious that many people living with diabetes hardly ever take themselves out of the ringer when dealing with highs or lows. That many of us keeping going because we do not want to make a big deal about it. So, I may have to use the bathroom every 15 minutes, and I may chug water straight out of the water cooler, but I am here. I am present, but I am so incredibly high.

As bias as I am, I like to think that people living with diabetes are for the most part strong headed. A lot of us just keep pushing on, despite feeling like trash at least once a day, whether that is at 2 a.m, 5:30 p.m or the entire day.  But, what I think is important to take from this is that we do deserve a break and especially when we are high or low. There is no reason to push aside our health because it doesn't 'appear' bad.