What the guinea pig learned

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Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The guinea pig
When I was diagnosed in 2007, I had completed my first marathon and I was preparing for my second one. My main concerns were improving my time, keeping injuries at bay, not hitting the wall, and just completing the race. I’ve always been a turtle but one who has ambitions of turning into a hare. The diagnosis threw a monkey wrench into all this because, in addition to performance, I had to start thinking about my blood glucose as well.

How do I train, fuel my runs and maintain energy levels while keeping my blood glucose at an acceptable level?

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Transience

The Ant

At one diabetes forum, a Type 2 diabetic in his late 20s recently asked whether Type 2 diabetes reduces his life expectancy. This is a valid question, especially coming from a young person with a full life ahead of him. I know that the prospect of a shorter life occupied my thoughts, along with other worries, when I was diagnosed. I’m sure many others with diabetes had the same question when they were told of their medical disorder and probably still harbor the same worry. No Type 2 diabetic can avoid contemplating the possibility of a life cut unnecessarily short since most public discussions on this disorder center around complications, and from my limited observation very few talk about Type 2 diabetics who live long, healthy and active lives as if they are extremely rare creatures. Continue reading

Running in the rain

Runner with umbrella

Can you see the runner with an umbrella?

It’s supposed to be rainy season (tsuyu, which literally says “plum rain”) in Japan, but I don’t think it rains as much in Tokyo during this season compared to other months of the year. In fact, I find that it may rain more on other times of the year (April, May, September and October, for instance) not just in Tokyo but in other places in Japan as well. For instance, it rained everyday during a week-long October visit to Kyoto, including the day I hiked through a forest on my way to Enryakuji Temple when it rained heavily (to make matters worse, one of my cheap running shoes split apart) but I was able to capture stunning photographs in the rain.

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Kindness of strangers today

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First act of kindness
My hubby and I took our car for its biennial car inspection (shakken) this morning. At the testing center, I could not figure out where to get the forms we needed. Then, out of the blue, a guy wearing greasy overalls with the Nissan name and logo asked me what I was there for and, after I told him my purpose, asked to see my documents. He leafed through the documents, signaled for me to follow him and then led me to the building next door so I can pay the required fees first and get the necessary forms.

While I took my wallet out of my bag, the cashier asked him if I was a client. He shook his head and told her that he was just helping me out because I looked like someone who didn’t know what I was doing (true!). When the cashier told him that he was kind, he casually shrugged his shoulders and said that he just happened to have the time before the first round of inspections. Continue reading

100 km trailwalk

After the half-marathon in May, I’ve been running to maintain a decent base but without following a specific “pre-training” program (which sounds like another training program to me). On the weekend, I’ve been setting my timer and not worrying about distance or pace. I’d also been playing games during runs, as I’m sure many runners do. I may decide to speed up or slow down every time I run through the shadows cast by apartment buildings, or from the time I meet someone with a green shirt until I see someone with blue shorts. Sometimes I’ll decide to run up and down each of the many flights of steps and steep paths along Tama River. I’ll be training soon for a November half-marathon so right now I just want to run.

My running gear

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Cracked image of ourselves

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Last week, in one diabetes forum, a Type 1 diabetic (the OP) posted his reaction to the recent death of a Type 1 diabetic acquaintance, Lee. Lee, a 33-year old childhood friend of his fiancée, died after a three-year struggle with kidney failure as a complication of diabetes. The OP expressed his anger at the needlessness of Lee’s complication and death. He was angry at his country’s health system for not doing enough to help Lee. He was also angry at himself for not reaching out or inquiring about how Lee was doing. Finally, he was angry at Lee because Lee did not try to control his diabetes.

I understood the anger at the system. I’m sure many of you probably understand it as well. Regardless of where we are, the health system in our respective countries is likely to be seriously lacking in dealing with diabetes and many other medical conditions and issues. Continue reading

Type 2 diabetics face a flood of wrong information (again)

Part of my current T2D treatment

Part of my current T2D treatment

Two weeks ago, the New York Times published an article penned by Elisabeth Rosenthal about Type 2 diabetes and its treatment. The article covered how Type 2 diabetics, seen as the new cash cow by the pharmaceutical industry, are being overwhelmed by costly drugs and tests. With the rising number of Type 2 diabetics, the cost of treatment is indeed a timely topic. But the article is also riddled with errors and misconceptions about Type 2 diabetes. More importantly, it places more emphasis on the cost rather than those suffering from the condition.  Continue reading

Aizu Wakamatsu: The half marathon and the city (Part 2)

Aizu Wakamatsu

Dinner by the river

Dinner by the river

I, my husband and a couple of friends from Tokyo who accompanied us to the race arrived at our ryokan in the town of Higashiyama Onsen in the late afternoon before the race. The train journey from Tokyo station to Aizu Wakamatsu station consisted of a Shinkansen ride, a local train ride and about half an hour of waiting time in between. From Aizu Wakamatsu station, our inn was a short taxi ride away. The journey was pleasant as I had great company and the May countryside landscapes outside the train window were lovely. We saw not just vibrant green mountains and late spring wild cherry trees (yamazakura), but also snow-capped mountain ranges (Mt. Bandai and the Azuma Mountain Range) in the distance.   Continue reading

Aizu Wakamatsu: The half marathon and the city (Part 1)

Selfie Aizu wakamatsu 2014

This is a much delayed report on my most recent half marathon. I was happily sidetracked by the Diabetes Blog Week and not so happily by work (work’s always there, isn’t it). Last week presented more work and much needed break from blogging. Although I’ve listed most of my initial thoughts before, after and especially during the race on my May 12 post, I thought this race deserved its own report. In fact, I may just start reporting on some of the races I’ll be joining. Continue reading