Monthly Archives: May 2014

The hidden faces of Dear Diabetes

I am not disabled. I am not disabled. I am not disabled… but wait, am I?

For more than 20 years I have vehemently fought the “disabled” label. I am not disabled, I have said. I can do anything you can do and probably even more, I have said. Call me disabled and see what happens to your knees, I have said.

But the reality is, no matter how hard I fight it, I do have limitations. Yes, I can do anything I put my heart and sweat into, but I can’t do any of it without Dear Diabetes. I can’t go for a run without diabetes, I can’t go on a hike without diabetes, I can’t have a baby without diabetes, I cant eat at a restaurant without diabetes, heck, I can’t even sleep without the bloody disease.

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Faces of Dear Diabetes part 1: (clockwise) stopped by a low BG on a ride; traveling with diabetes; running with diabetes; waiting out a low BG before driving.

Diabetes does not define me, but it is very much a part of me.

It doesn’t prevent me from walking, talking, reading, writing, working or schooling. But when my blood sugars are so low, and I can’t speak without my tongue getting twisted, I can’t lift my head without a screaming siren roaring inside, I can’t see without blurred objects swimming throughout my vision, I can’t drink without three quarters of the juice slopping down my chin, and sometimes, I’m left in a fetal position silently crying out inside, “help, help, help” – try and tell me that’s not a disability. Or, when my blood sugars are so high, I can’t lift my limbs, my legs, arms, head so heavy, it’s as though a 10 tonne anvil were attached, and my eyes, so droopy it’s as though I downed a bottle of Gravol, and my stomach so queasy, it’s all I can do not to puke – tell me that’s not a disability.

And the time spent on this disease, ohmygawd, it’s shocking. Most people see me test my blood sugars and that’s it. They don’t see the number of times I test in a day – before every meal and snack, two hours after every meal and snack, at least once, oftentimes more, in a night, every half hour for two hours prior to exercise, and then during exercise, every half hour for two hours after exercise, every 15 minutes for an hour or more after a low, every half hour for two hours, or more, after a high, before driving, etc., etc.. They don’t see the number of times in a day I disappear to a washroom to wash my hands, or up the stairs to safely dispose of lancets and test strips and infusion sets; or the time it takes to change my infusion multiple times a week, or the math it takes, even with the bolus wizard, to figure out insulin doses every time I eat. They see a low, but they don’t see the effort it takes to come out of that low, which by the way, happens multiple times a week, sometimes multiple times a day. They don’t see that I can’t work when my blood sugars are low, that I can’t read, I can’t write, I can’t run, I can’t drive, I can’t function. They don’t see me documenting my blood glucose readings every time I test, every time before I eat. They don’t see the regular reviews, the calculations, the analyzing done. They don’t see the intricate, behind-the-scenes diabetes.

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Faces of Dear Diabetes part 2: dressing with diabetes; pregnancy with diabetes; waiting out a nasty low BG mid run.

For me, when all is said and done, that averages to about 1,070 minutes a week, or 17.83 hours per week – almost a full day a week dedicated solely to Dear Diabetes. If I did the math correct, that’s 20 days a year; 493 days (1 year and 4 months) over a 27-year span – all diabetes!

Tell me again that that is not a major hindrance, that it’s not a plague of limitations and time constraints. Can you? I can’t.

And so, when I heard from a fellow blogger last summer about the government’s Disability Tax Credit, of which I likely would qualify for,  I had to somewhat drop my shield when it came to the disability label. This credit would not only help when I file my taxes every year, it could also potentially result in a significant credit of arrears. I could not pass that up.

After months of working through the system, several frustrations dealing with paperwork and ensuring others who were filling out on my behalf (I’m looking at you hot endo!) did so correctly, I was approved.

So there you go, I have the documentation and the money that officially labelled me in the government’s eyes as disabled, but call me disabled, and you might still get a swift kick in the knees. Some things just can’t be broken 😉

YESTERDAY’S RUN:

  • 4:45 p.m. BG before: 8.9
  • Carbs: 3 jujubes 1.5 hours before + 2 jujubes 45 minutes before, no bolus
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent (45 minutes)
  • Time: 47 minutes
  • Distance: 8.72 km
  • Average pace: (3×15′ tempo) (1) 5:12 min/km (2) 5:15 min/km (3) 5:27 min/km
  • 5:45 p.m. BG after: 5.0
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent (1 hour)

For more information on the Disability Tax Credit, visit these sites:
• Diabetes Advocacy: http://www.diabetesadvocacy.com/DTC.htm
• Canadian Diabetes Association: http://www.diabetes.ca/diabetes-and-you/know-your-rights/tax-credits-your-rights

Run for Water: Crazy. Insane.

Today, I ran 1 hour and 35 minutes, just shy of 17 km. Not bad, but chump kilometres compared to this guy:

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Many of you long-time blog followers know him as Evil Pace Bunny, however, I have been in discussion with the lawyers and have started the paper work for his new name: Crazy, Insane, Evil Pace Bunny!

Bunny started his day at 4 a.m. where he ran a half marathon, followed that up with an ultra marathon, then marathon, and will complete with 10 km and 5 km runs, to a total of 135 km for the day. 135 KMS!!! (At the time of writing this post, he was still running.) Now, you know the impetus for the name change.

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Yep, he stunk 😉

The only organized portion of the run was the Run for Water Ultra Marathon, which Bunny also did last year and I think the year before too if memory serves correct. Last year he did the Ultra on the Saturday, and the half and full marathon on the Sunday with every other Run for Water participants. This year, he wanted to up the ante and do every Run for Water distance in one day. (AND he’s determined to do the organized marathon in the morning as well.)

Why would he do this, you ask?

“Because I can,” he told me with a huge smile on his face following the completion of the ultra!

That’s who Crazy Insane Evil Pace Bunny is!

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Completely inspirational… and crazy… and insane… and Evil!

TODAY’S RUN:

  • 9:45 a.m. BG before: 8.6
  • Carbs: 1 hour prior Chocolate fruit ball, no bolus (18g)
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent (2 hours)
  • Time: 1:35:50
  • Distance: 16.26 km
  • Average pace: 5:52 min/km
  • Fuel: @20 minutes: 2 dried apricots; @40 minutes: (BG: 5.0) 3 apricots; @60 minutes: (BG: 5.0) 3 shot blocks; @80 minutes: 1 apricot
  • 11:45 a.m. BG after: 7.3
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent (1 hour)

I set out for a run in the Valley today with the intent of meeting up with the ultra runners. One of my favourites suggested I join up with them at one of the rest points and get my kilometres in that way, but I didn’t feel comfortable banditting the run given that those officially registered had to raise big bucks in order to participate. Instead, I ran a route I was sure they would be running and thought for sure our paths would cross…. or, at the very least, I thought I would run into a favourites cheering crew.

In fact, about 40 minutes in, I thought for sure I’d soon be turning on a road that I knew one of the cheer groups was stationed, and every step closer I got I got more and more excited. Seeing their faces, hearing their cheers (even if I wasn’t the ultra runners) I knew would energize my run for sure. I was even practicing, in my head, the photo shots we’d surely get.

But then, I turned on the road. They weren’t there. I kept running, maybe they were a little further down, but nope, it was just a lonely country road. And then, it hit me. I was on Angus Campbell. They were on Arnold. Wah-Wah-Wah 😦

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Pour moi???

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Oh my!

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How super fantastic!!!

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But of course, cheers fit for a princess!

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Excuse me while I go cry in the farm fields over there 😦

Type 1 – RUNNING – superstars

BMO Vancouver half marathon, wow! This run was not about me, not about my racing goals, not about personal besting. It was about super freaking AMAZING diabetes awesomeness!

When my fellow T-1 girlfriend, Reluctant Runner, texted me many months ago to tell me she was running the BMO half marathon, I was intrigued. You see, this girl, as the name of her blog indicates, is not overly in love with the running scene. She’s a superstar in the water and on the soccer field, but long-distance running, she does solely for her health, not endorphins. Her previous attempts at halves have been miserable: diabetes refused to cooperate, racing goals seemed to crumble every time she crossed the starting mat, and those hills, ohhh, they were more than just a prickle in her side, they were the devil incarnate. I mulled over her text for all of two seconds before the light bulb went off. “Care for a partner?” I asked.

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Type 1 SUPERSTARS!!!

My whole intent with this run was to make it as enjoyable as possible. If that meant, she needed me to carry things for her, or needed extra fuel, or needed me to talk her ear off, or needed me to shut the hell up, I would do it. If she needed me to increase the pace, or slow it down, or tell her she was doing freaking amazing, or encourage her to dig deep, to put that evil naysayer out of her head, to think about the massage, then beer, (yes, beer) waiting for her at the end, I would do it – all for the sake of seeing her finish with a smile on her face.

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I didn’t register for this race, which meant I couldn’t exactly start with everyone else. Instead, I met up with Reluctant Runner at the first water station, about 2 km out from the start. As soon as I got on the course, the conversations just started pouring out for both of us. We haven’t seen each other since Little Ring was just a few weeks old (She lives in the next province over) making this a perfect catch-up time, and a good take her mind off of what she was doing time.

The rain was pouring down like mad, I was soaked from head to bleeding, chafing toe in two seconds, but still smiling… as was the crowd, albeit mostly males, at about the 3-4 km mark when on the Cambie Bridge a couple of girls cheered from high up in their condo – stark naked!!!

We ran. We walked. We laughed. She grumbled. I giggled. She danced. She hurt. She sang. She cursed the hills. She kept going.

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“Effing hills!”

We got a kick out of the signs, although, the one with all-caps SUICIDE at about 2-3 km remaining might have been a little uncouth. We posed for photos, oh did we ever (pretty sure this will be the first race where I actually have a nice one taken!). And while I was encouraging her, championing her on every chance I got, she was doing the same for others, purposely running over to a few women, who looked as though they were done, putting her hand on their back, and even if she didn’t believe it for herself at times, told them they were doing great, they were almost done, they could do it. That was incredible!

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Cheering on fellow half marathoners.

The whole way I couldn’t believe how fast the kilometre markers were clipping by. This was my first race that I’d actually run with a friend by my side. Every other race I’ve done has been on my own, with my own thoughts, my own pressures, my own judgements, my own evils. But this one, there was none of that. I was smiling from start to finish. I loved that. And yes, it was a pace slower than the pace I normally run, but I think sometimes, especially when you’ve been in a funk like I have lately, it’s those kinds of runs that can recharge you for those harder paces again. Least, that’s what I’m hoping for.

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Even the post-race BG test had me grinning from ear to ear!

So, did Miss Reluctant Runner finish with a smile? You be the judge:

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Oh, and yeah, she TOTALLY PB’d by 12 minutes!!! So proud. So happy. So loved today.

BMO HALF MARATHON:

  • 7 a.m. BG before: 7.0
  • Carbs: Bliss Ball (18g) no bolus
  • Temp. basal: -40 per cent 4 hours
  • Time: 2:14:22
  • Distance: 18.9 km
  • Average pace: 7:07 min/km
  • Average cadence: 78 spm
  • Fuel: @40 minutes: 1 fig @80 minutes: Bliss Ball
  • 9:30 a.m. BG after: 6.1
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent 2 hours