Tag Archives: Global Heroes

Global Heroes Part 3: Hero of a run

Three months has passed since I last ran. It hasn’t been easy. It has been a frustrating as hell, are you freaking kidding me, I am far too bloody impatient for this kind of three months. A foot injury that first became apparent in late July, and was ultimately diagnosed as plantar fasciitis (oh how I had hoped it was not that) is the cause of my running absence, and as it stands currently, appears to be going nowhere anytime soon. In my state of denial, I kept running, not nearly as much as I was, but running nonetheless, which is likely the reasoning for my suuuuuper slow recovery. But would I go back and change it?

Not a chance in hell.

Dear readers, this blog post is so, so, so long overdue. A semester full of calculus and stats had my brain mushed in nonsensical numbers with barely time to breathe, let alone allowing my thoughts to fly high on hands down the greatest, most exhilarating, goosebump-inducing run I have ever been apart of. I hope I can now give it the due justice it deserves.

05-10-15: Medtronic Global Heroes TC 10 Mile

I did not want the run to end.

We got up real early the morning of October 5th, headed down to the Medtronic suite for a complimentary breakfast that had everything this runner needed – steel cut oats, sliced almonds, Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and bananas. I had a few jitters as I didn’t know how my foot would hold up. It had been at least two weeks since I’d run, but I’d had some promising results with physio; the pain was more a sporadic on again, off again dull ache; and my foot was taped up pretty good – I was hoping for the best. Eating and laughing with my fellow heroes took my mind off the jitters.

10-milers getting ready to rock the run! #Type1 #... #...

10-milers getting ready to rock the run! #Type-1 #cardiomyopathy #aorticstenosis REPRESENT!

The endorphins started early with signs like these.

The endorphins started early with signs like these. Thanks Medtronic Canada!

The 10-mile group was the first to board the buses out to the start line in Minneapolis. I don’t remember exactly how early it was, but I remember it was dark as night, and I remember a bus full of us yawners. And the cold, my gawd, it was cold as heck. I had my 3/4 length tights on, which for me, October is way too early to be sporting those suckers, a technical undershirt, a technical, long sleeve, Global Heroes shirt, and my Global Heroes jersey, as well as my throw-away sweatshirt. (Note: I was told it was significantly warmer than years past where they’d seen snow and ice on race day, but whatever, I’m a West Coast weather wuss… brrrrr!) At the start line, my industrious hero buddy Miss Carmen, a native of Mississippi, but a long-time Floridian, discovered the drain circles were pushing up heat. And oh man, it was a glorious, warm, sauna-loving discovery… that is, until I started thinking about where that heat was coming from. Blech.

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Boarding the bus: dark and cold.

We met up with a group of the other 10-mile Heroes in the starting corral. I had no idea if I was in the right corral, and frankly none of us cared (sorry hardcores). All I knew was that with my hero chickies and buddies laughing and snapping pictures next to me, I was happy as could be. Before long, my throwaway sweatshirt was nabbed by the Floridians and I was off.

Type-1, ..., ..., ..., represent. (Photo courtesy of Nicola the Hero)

#Type-1, #cardiomyopathy, #gastroparesis, #aorticvalve, #chronicpain REPRESENT! (Photo courtesy of Nicola the Hero)

This race was the cherry on top of my rockstar weekend. Right from the start, I could hear people shouting out to me: Go Hero! You got this! Yah Hero! Way to go! Gloooobaaaal Heroeeeeeeees!  People on the sidelines, people running behind, some even in front, all cheering for me – me! Sure, I’ve had cheerleaders before, fantastic cheerleaders, cheerleaders who still bring warm fuzzies to my heart every time I think of them long after those races ended. But this time was different. These cheerleaders, they didn’t know me, I had never met them, had never spoken a word to them. Yet, with my Global Heroes’ attire, they believed in my greatness, they championed my greatness, they filled me with endorphins I don’t believe I have ever felt before.

It didn’t take long for me to start doing the same. Every alumni hero jersey I saw, every Team Medtronic jersey, and every fellow Hero I spotted, I too was extending loud cheers of my own. And for every sign and every cheer waved my way, I tried as best I could, through my huffs and puffs, to let them know my appreciation of their efforts, even if only with a goofy grin and a thumbs up. I had an honest smile glued to my face from start to finish. The foot was not even an irritation.

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The Medtronic Tunnel – it stunk like hard-earned sweat! (Photo courtesy of Hero Debbie)

About half way in, I started keeping an eye out for my New York favourite’s alma mater that I knew I’d be passing by. Macalaster, a college that schooled Kofi Anan AND the wondrous Lil Veggie Patch, a college that was nestled between the beauty of the October orange leaves, and on the same street that had illusive Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura stories forever stained. As soon as I saw it, my mind exited the running state and entered the Land of Make Believe; I was sitting in a café, eating pain au chocolat, drinking a cup of Earl Grey, with Miss Katie directly across from me. One day…

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Seeing as how I couldn’t bring my homemade matcha apple sauce for fuel due to the whole border thing, I risked a NEW fuel source I nabbed at the packet pickup the night before – Clif savoury gels. Shockingly, the pizza flavour wasn’t half bad AND it didn’t mess my belly up!

I have run my fair share of races: two marathons, nine or 10 half marathons, and several 5, 10 and 15 km races. And pretty much, every single one of them there has been a moment of near debilitating fatigue. Sometimes it’s just a blip, gone in a second, sometimes it’s lasted for a good portion of the run (hello Marathon #2). But for this run, that never came to be. I don’t know if it was because I was running in miles, not kilometers (10 miles seems way less than 16 km) or if it was because of those crazy, awesome endorphins pulsating through me, but instead of wanting the race to be over, I didn’t want it to end. I clearly remember thoughts of slowing down, or even outright stopping, maybe doing a sit-in on the course so as to extend the joy a little longer. Seriously, it was like watching Little Ring growing – it was going too fast. And with 3 to 5 km left to run, I was desperate, I didn’t want it to be over, I didn’t want to cross the St. Pauls’ finish line, not yet,  I needed more. I didn’t want to go back to being a nobody runner on just another course. Selfish maybe, but those were my thoughts.

This one was special. It was more special than my first; more special than my fastest; more special than Tiffany. This one was heroic.

Best run EVER!

That smile was the smile of the race!

HERO OF A RUN:
7 a.m. BG before: 10.1
Temp. basal: -50 per cent (2 hours)
Fuel: Clif savoury gel – pizza flavour
Distance: 16.35 km
Time: 1:33:11
Average pace: 5:42 min/km
9:45 a.m. BG after: 8.9
Temp. basal: +100% (1.5 hours)

Now what? That is a question I have been facing since I boarded the plane. That weekend was so incredibly inspiring, the people I met, the stories I heard, the run I had. I couldn’t just go back to being the same me. I have plans, I have desires, I have things needing to be done, and I have a fire within me to get them done. All still currently in the early, thought-planning stages, but once finalized, they will be shared. I promise you this will not be the last you see of my heroism.

Thank you Medtronic.

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And the culmination of it all was wrapped up with a bow at Christmas time from Big Ring. Heart.

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Medtronic Global Heroes Part 2: Science!!!

About 15 years ago I met a couple of gals, who I kid you not spent an entire summer trying to convince me that science was the coolest thing on the planet. I was a hard sell; after a lack lustre experience with it in high school, and an eye for the words, I never imagined science to be anything more than something I had to do. (Little did I know then that it would turn into my life journey.) Had those gals had the Medtronic Headquarters at their fingertips, they may have had a bit more success of shooting science love into my heart!

On day two of being a Global Hero, my new besties and I toured the Medtronic facility. Holy freaking hell!!! This place was like serious nerdville for us diabetics (and all the other technology enhanced peeps as well). We got to see medical devices in the making; check out the behind-the-scene intricacies of a study that is working to make infusion insertion less painful on us wee pin cushions; and talk to the very scientists whose brains are working every day at making our lives better to live.

Medtronic headquarter.

The Medtronic logo: sick to healthy.

And that’s where Tom comes in. This man, wow! I don’t think I will ever forget his voice; the light in his eyes; the passion in his words. For years, pretty much since I got the pump, I have been lamenting its size. It is the thickness of a ‘90s style pager, and the size of a deck of cards. That is TOO big. When I wear it on my belt, my shirts ride up all the time because of it. Tight-fitting jeans are a challenge because of it. And dresses, I look like a bloody hunchback when wearing a cardigan because, unless I want to sport the look of square boobs, it ain’t fitting in my bra! So naturally, my question to Tom was:

“Are they ever going to get smaller?”

Before I could speak another word, before I could tell him my issues, he looked me straight in the eyes and the words just shot out of his mouth faster than a cannonball, arms waving every which way. He fully admitted the technology wasn’t good enough. He wants it smaller, thinner – the thickness of an iPhone. You’re not satisfied, he said, I’m not satisfied!

Sure, I could have been sold a bill of goods, but if you’d seen those eyes, I think you’d agree, this man is going to do everything he can to get insulin pumps to the point where I will be satisfied, where the 100s of 1000s of other insulin pump users will be satisfied. I’m not gonna lie, I kinda, totally fell in love with this man!

Insulin pump technology: "Not good enough!"

Insulin pump technology: “Not good enough!”

Walking through headquarters, Big Ring kept pontificating the benefits for the employees – they had to have had a fantastic onsite daycare; they must have a state-of-the-art gym; a basketball court likely… maybe even a napping room! Not only the passion of the employees, but the grounds – it was like a university campus in of itself. But me, I wasn’t thinking of any of that. As soon as I saw the electron microscopes in action (which I had only just discovered in my microbiology text the week prior) I was in serious lala land – coolest things EVER!!!

My girlfriends of 15 years ago would be so proud – Science!!!

Ahh, but the tour wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. The moment I walked through those doors, I felt somewhat like a Scooby Doo intruder about to be unmasked. You see, I was wearing a super cute dress, and as mentioned the pump doesn’t hide well, at all, in dresses. Normally that’s not an issue; I’ve used this sucker as a fashion accessory for six years now. But the thing is, my pump, ahem, isn’t a Medtronic Pump!!!

INTRUDER ALERT! INTRUDER ALERT!

Okay, so it’s not like it was a secret, Medtronic knew my pump wasn’t theirs. They don’t discriminate against other companies when selecting Global Heroes. But still, I was touring the Medtronic facility, I was meeting the Medtronic scientists and engineers, and would be a handshake distance from one of the top big wigs of the whole company! I could have at least disguised my pump as a Medtronic one. That is all.

Stephen Oesterle, Senior VP for Medicine and Technology.

Stephen Oesterle, Senior VP for Medicine and Technology.

Leaving Medtronic, my head was spinning with information and details and things I wanted to do, things I needed to do. But it was a precious little boy’s face who filled the majority of my brain capacity. Lightening Bolt, my four year old nephew who was diagnosed in June with type-1 – he is going to be the beneficiary of Tom’s, and all the other Medtronic employees, passion! Thank you.

The future of T-1.

The future of T-1.

Mama’s Shoes Don’t Fit

Last week I was put in the shoes of my moms for probably the first time ever. Okay, yes, I have a child just like she did (although, I’m only doing it once, not four times over) and some of you may relate that to walking in her shoes. But for me and my moms, it wasn’t until last week that I truly felt what it was like to walk in her shoes.

I didn’t like it.

So here’s the back story: Lightening Bolt’s parents were in the hospital awaiting the arrival of Baby Number 4 (who by the way has the BEST video game name ever) and I was charged with insulin injecting duties for little LB. Something to do with me having the disease, going 28 years of injections, you know, being veteran T-1 and all. And at first I thought no problem. But then the cogs in my brain started spinning.

I have only ever given myself injections. I have never given anyone else a needle, and I have never liked anyone else giving me a needle. I know my pain threshold. I don’t know LB’s. What the frick did I agree to? Oh freaking crud. This kid is going to hate me!

Insert Dr. Google: My fingers frantically danced over the keyboard in search of injecting tutorials. And low and behold, there is a huge spectrum of them: Wikihow; YouTube; BD.com; etc., etc., etc.. Pictures, videos, words, pretty much anyone can become a needle-loving drug addict online! And FYI, none of it is how I do it!

Insert Second Guessing: What if I can’t do it? I haven’t injected a tiny pen syringe in over five years. What if I’ve forgotten the steps? What if I nick a vein? What if I choke? Nope, that wasn’t an option. Texting back and forth with my lovely sister-in-law helped grow my confidence.

But, his eyes: Those what the frick do you think you’re doing eyes as I held the pen in my right hand. His bottom lip, quivering as he realized oh freak, she ain’t kidding. The tears. The clutching, the pulling down his sleeve, the desperate protecting of his arm. The heartbreaking “No! No! No!”. I don’t remember my own tears at the hands of my moms, but I remember the screams at the hands of the nurses who more often than not left my arms purple and blue. Oh dear. How could I do this?

Granny, you're not seriously letting her near me with that thing are you? Granny????

Granny, you’re not seriously letting her near me with that thing are you? Granny????

I counted. My moms consoled. I rubbed his back. I tried to calm him.  His big brother jumped, bounced and danced. My boy looked at me with those same eyes, what the frick you doing to my cousin bestie mama? I showed him my pump, I showed him my meter, I told him we were the same. But a 4.5 year old facing a needle at the hands of someone he’d never had a needle from prior was not going to understand.

I didn’t know his pain threshold.

The needle was in, the needle was out. The un-trusting glare on his face remained. I will never forget that look, and likely will be getting it for the next 30 years.

Last week I walked in the shoes of my moms; I didn’t like it.

YESTERDAY’S RUN:
3:30 p.m. BG before: 4.7
Temp. basal: -100% (1 hour)
Carbs: gummy bears
Time: 41:45
Distance: 7.13 km
Average pace: 5:51 min/km
4:30 p.m. BG after: 9.1
Temp. basal: +100% (1 hour)

This run was bittersweet – sweet that I made it a whole 2 more kms then I did on my runs last week, but bitter in that my heel was achy and my toes got a bloody cramp in them half way into the run. Argh!

(Top) Taken moments before the beads of sweat on my forehead became beads of sweat in my eyes – youch! (Left) From my run on Saturday when my foot was freshly taped and I felt not even a tick of an ache for the whole run. (Right) Toe cramp! Toe cramp! Toe cramp!

(Top) Taken moments before the beads of sweat on my forehead became beads of sweat in my eyes – youch! (Left) From my run on Saturday when my foot was freshly taped and I felt not even a tick of an ache for the whole run. (Right) Toe cramp! Toe cramp! Toe cramp!

T-1 25 days until Global Heroes Medtronic Twin Cities in Motion 10 Mile. I will conquer this!