As a boy, I always enjoyed Thanksgiving because I got to see my extended family…..Aunt, Uncles and Cousins. Growing up in Western PA, we didn’t see them often, but Thanksgiving was one of those times when we went to visit my Grandparents and the family in Eastern PA.
I looked forward to these vacations every year, and the smell of roasted turkey in the oven takes me back, no matter where I am.
Ironic, yes, that I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease the day after Thanksgiving, and it is my favorite holiday. That part hasn’t escaped me.
It all started the day after Thanksgiving, 1982, and every year, I try to celebrate the fact that I am alive, and living healthy. This year was no different and I celebrated with a group ride with my wife and some of our friends. I celebrated with a family fun run at the Haddon Township Turkey Trot. I celebrated with a stop at the local bike shop (more about my stop at Action Wheels later). I celebrated with a little family skate at the local rink. I celebrated with an impromptu 2nd Thanksgiving dinner with some of the family members I had dinner with on Thursday night. It will long be known as the “Pie and Ice Cream Milk Shake” Mexgiving. (Some of us had black bean burritos and the others had left overs).
There were significant conversations this weekend about blood glucose levels and specific insulin requirements (especially for said milk shake). You see, everyone who lives with T1D, conducts biochemical experiments multiple times a day that will lead to success or failure of that day. Every person is different in terms of biological make up, and then throw in their own personal preferences and lifestyle decisions surrounding food and activity? Yeah, not exactly predictable. So, how does someone living with T1D come across predictability in their life?
I use exercise. Best prescription a doctor could give me. I believe some form of exercise is good for everyone. Move it or lose it. Find something that makes you happy and go out and do it.
Here are my reasons for exercise:
- I like it
- I like the way it makes me feel
- I like doing things outside with my family
- It helps me deal with my potential “milkshake problem”
- It helps me increase my sensitivity to insulin
- It helps me deal with my multiple pre-dispositions to cardiovascular disease
- It helps me “feel” normal (non T1D)
I am thankful for the T1D wisdom that has been shared with me from the time of diagnosis to my recent conversations with my JDRF Ride to Cure buddies and my Hope on 2 Wheels Team. The stories and management techniques they have shared have been incredible. However, it is a knowledge base that is tough to document.
I believe that we need to find a cure. So, Breigh and I organize a 5k run to raise money to fund research for a cure, and better treatment for those living with T1D. (You can follow us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/mikesmiles.jdrf?fref=ts ) We participate in the JDRF Ride to Cure with the South Jersey Ride Team as part of this effort. You can find out more about the JDRF Ride to Cure program here: ride.jdrf.org
I believe that those living with T1D need to be inspired. So, my friend Scott Kasper and I, started Hope on 2 Wheels to inspire those living with T1D to challenge themselves with the goals they always wanted to achieve. (You can follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hopeon2wheels , Twitter: https://twitter.com/hopeon2wheels , or on the WWW: http://ridingoninsulin.org/teams/hope-on-2-wheels/ )
I also believe that those living with T1D need to hear the stories and the information. How is it done?
Except, that a middle aged man’s life isn’t normally all that exciting. So, it’s time to turn the screws a little and make it more fun.
2014 – 70.3 Triathlon goal (1/2 Ironman distance)
2015 – 140.6 Triathlon goal (Full Ironman distance)
So, for the foreseeable future, I will be writing about my training, racing and living with T1D under a non-typical lifestyle…… training for triathlons.
Why would I make this investment in time and money? Great question. Let’s first review the hurdles I have to face:
- I am 37 years old.
- I have a full time job.
- I am married with 2 children.
- I have exercise induced asthma
- I live with Type 1 Diabetes
These are significant hurdles. I will need to balance my time and responsibilities. However, the information I will gain will be invaluable. Information such as: how far can I push myself, what do I need to do to manage blood glucose levels through the extreme training conditions, what style of diabetes care works for the different events, what types of devices work best for the different events, etc. etc. etc.
The effort is worth the information. You may have seen previous blog posts regarding my children’s likelihood of developing T1D. I especially want this information so that I can be prepared for helping them manage T1D the best they can as they face whatever challenge they decide they should. With T1D or not.
And awaaaay we go.