About a month before I was diagnosed, I began drinking water. And I hated water. But I was craving it all day long and even at night. I couldn’t make it through a one-hour lecture without needing to go get water. And of course, as I had reasoned, all the water made me get up several times a night to go to the bathroom. But that’s really the only things I noticed.
After a month of the water, I got a cold. But I still went to classes. At the end of my bike ride home from school, there is this short but super-steep hill. I called it Hell Hill. And each day I would try to get to the top without having to stand up on the pedals. And I had been making it pretty regularly by then.
But that day, I couldn’t even make it halfway up the hill before I had to jump off my bike to rest. And I mean slumped over in a big ball on the sidewalk kind of rest. After twenty minutes of this, I knew I had to get home. I didn’t have enough energy to ride, so I slung my body over my bike and wheeled myself home.
I didn’t have a doctor at college because I was never sick. So when a friend of mine told me she’d be driving by my hometown the next day, I grabbed a ride with her to check in with my old GP. We saw the doc for my sore throat and got some antibiotics. And then my mom started pressing him about my “other” symptoms. One I hadn’t even noticed.
She had noticed the water and bathroom trips. She also noticed the 15 pound weight loss in the last month. She demanded that he test me for diabetes. I think he knew he wouldn’t win that argument — my mom can be pretty persuasive when she wants to be–so he drew some blood and sent me back to school.
Two days later my dad called with the news and told me he’d be picking me up from school to take care of it. I spent three days in the hospital learning about my new regimen and then was back to school. Three days later I was off on a backpacking trip int he middle of the woods.
If I am going to get better at my diabetes care, I have to know where I am right now. If I want to see how a new exercise affects my blood sugars to see if it is a good method, I need data to back it up. If I want to see if a new tweak to my food is bringing down my sugars, I have to have numbers.
Science cannot be done without data. And my life has become one big scientific experiment to maximize what I have.
The Dexcom data analysis. There are so many data points to contend with that to analyze that data by hand would take forever. Now at any moment, I can see what my daily average is or how I’ve been doing this month. And I love that I can go back and compare it to previous months to see if I can draw out patterns of certain behaviors that bring on better sugars.
Planning wild adventures, stand up paddling, building furniture out of wood. Lately I’ve been doing a lot more writing for me. Not books or blog pieces to publish, but pieces like screenplays that I enjoy just for the sake of the process and creating something that I can hold up and say I made this. Art for the sake of art.
I get bored very easily. Which means that, in order for me to be engaged, my projects need to be wild and big. If they are too small I won’t have the pull to train for them and then I lose focus.
I had done a solo adventure before and saw the amazing benefits of picking a huge adventure and then preparing for it. It takes all the tediousness of continual diabetes care and breathes new life into it. Now, I don’t test for the 23,345th time because I have to and I do it to be healthy for my expedition in a few months. It gives these tasks new purpose.
I wanted to take that and share it first hand with a group of people who could go out and share it with even more people.
I am a simple person when it comes to food. I eat cupcakes and cookies at times, but those aren’t that tricky with insulin.
But, Rice-Krispie treats with M&M’s. I can never get the insulin right for these so they are a guaranteed high. I don’t eat them very often, but when I do, I enjoy every minute of them.
I’ve checked my Dexcom while submerged in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean during the Swim Around Key West. I’ve had to put in a new site at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Inserted a new Dexcom sensor in the cabin of a 35′ sailboat while between California and Catalina. I’ve corrected a high with an Insulin pen while on a Stand Up Paddle board in the middle of the Intracoastal Waterway in South Carolina.
Find your active passion and then tie your diabetes care to preparing for it. Find your big adventure. It will provide you with a new dose of motivation to maximize your diabetes care.