I mentioned the other day that I would write more about Insulindependence, so here it is. But first some backstory:
About a year ago I started feeling, well, bad. There really isn’t a better word to describe it, as I wasn’t sick, just bad. I was more fatigued than I had ever been, I was heroically thirsty (and peeing constantly), I was losing weight without trying, etc. Those of you who know anything about diabetes can see where this is going, and sure enough in May I was officially diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic. Formerly called “Juvenile Diabetes”, Type 1 is an autoimmune disorder in which your body attacks the beta cells of the pancreas causing them to cease the ability to produce insulin. Without insulin, the body cannot metabolize food into energy and you basically starve at a cellular level (yes, I know this is a gross generalization). That first month or two was a blur as I tried to adjust to my new normal; checking blood sugar 8-10 times a day, 4 injections of insulin, learning to count the carbs in everything I ate, and mentally coping with the reality that this was forever. There is no cure.
Anyway, I was fortunate enough to have a great medical team, and one of the Diabetes Educators mentioned that Gary Scheiner (author of Think Like a Pancreas) was also a runner and that I should get in touch with him. Gary quickly responded to my email and pointed me in the direction of Insulindependence. Before I knew it, I had signed on to run the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon with them.
Type 1 Diabetes is relatively rare, accounting for less than 10% of diabetics. As such, I only knew one other person who had it, and really wasn’t prepared for the experience of spending time with other T1Ds. What I found was a group of friendly, compassionate people who were all going through what I was going through. I can’t begin to describe the simple pleasure of being out to dinner with a group of people and EVERYONE pulling out a meter to test before a meal. In short, I had stumbled upon a group dedicated improving the quality of life of anyone dealing with diabetes, young or old, Type 1 or 2, even “Type 3” (the loved ones of diabetics). And they’re succeeding.
If you’re reading this you’re either my girlfriend, my mother, or possibly someone dealing with diabetes. Should you fall into that last group, you owe it to yourself to at least check out Insulindependence. Their mission is to revolutionize diabetes management through fitness oriented goals. There are other amazing groups that inspire us, like Team Type 1, but Insulindependence challenges us to be involved, to get out there and exercise whether it be Ironman, a marathon, or a walk around the block. They challenge us to take control of our health and to support each other. go to http://www.insulindependence.org for more information.
Oh and that first race back? 1:36:10. Not too shabby for an undertrained diabetic… 😉