Let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by talking about the diabetes causes and issues that really get us fired up. Are you passionate about 504 plans and school safety? Do diabetes misconceptions irk you? Do you fight for CGM coverage for Medicare patients, SDP funding, or test strip accuracy? Do you work hard at creating diabetes connections and bringing support? Whether or not you “formally” advocate for any cause, share the issues that are important to you. (Thanks go out to Kim of Texting my Pancreas for inspiring this topic.)
“Where do I start?” This was the first thought that crossed my mind last week when I read the topic for today. There are so many misconceptions, causes and issues about Type 2 diabetes that thinking about them can be disheartening at times. I have such a long list of pet peeves related to Type 2 diabetes that I can be guaranteed to be writing for a very long time. But for some reason, I can’t pick on a particular issue or set of issues to champion for day 1 of Diabetes Blog Week. Hence, I decided to postpone writing and to think about it during my scheduled half-marathon run yesterday.
I have to confess though that diabetes was not a concern during the half-marathon. As you can see from a sampling of my thoughts below before, during and after the half-marathon, I was thinking of anything but diabetes:
- It’s hotter than I anticipated. Should I change from a short-sleeved shirt to a sleeveless one?
- Should I have had breakfast earlier than I did?
- Did someone say that the first kilometer is mostly uphill?
- (Right before the start) I should settle on my strategy, given that I am not fully prepared to run 21-plus kilometers.
- Where is the 90-year old half-marathon runner? I so want to meet him. (I did and ran with him for a while.)
- Yipee! I passed another runner.
- Damn! Another old runner passed me!
- Look at those lovely pink cherry blossoms!
- The mountains are so beautiful with their various shades of green.
- I should start running trails.
- Is that runner injured?
- I hope my thighs don’t chafe.
- Do I need the toilet? (No) Do I stop for a sip of water? (Yes! Yes! Yes!) Do I need Coca Cola (Absolutely Not!) Do I open a packet of supplements? (Of course)
I finished the race, not within the time that I was aiming for, but I finished it nonetheless. That’s what mattered to me – that I finished something that I wanted to do. Diabetes did not really figure in the equation. I’m sure that if I were injecting insulin, I’d have to take it into account but no more than someone with other conditions (say uneven legs, or muscle imbalance, or another medical condition) would have to deal with theirs. That is what my blog is about. It’s not just about me, running, health or Type 2 diabetes. It’s largely about what people with Type 2 diabetes can do.
Just what can we Type 2 diabetics do? Just about anything that anyone else can do. If in addition to our diabetes we have to deal with something else, say complications or insulin or age, then we should deal with them. But diabetes and these factors, by themselves, should not stop us from achieving whatever it is we want to achieve.
I remember an acquaintance asking me whether it’s a good idea for me to run marathons because I’m diabetic. Why in the world can’t a diabetic, whatever the type, run marathons just because of diabetes? What else did she think I can’t do? Honestly, I couldn’t understand the question. My response?
I have two legs. I’m healthy and fit. I’m a runner. I’ve finished my first marathon six months before diagnosis and finished my second about six months after diagnosis. I can outrun you. So why are you asking me why I can’t run a marathon? Have you asked yourself why you are not running one?
It may not be the kindest of responses and perhaps she has legitimate reasons for not running marathons (yes, lack of interest is a legitimate reason). No, runners do not have to run marathons. My point was that I never thought that Type 2 diabetes should be an excuse for me to give up running. We all have our own limitations, whether personal, psychological, financial or something else. But Type 2 diabetes, by and of itself, is not a limitation on what people with Type 2 diabetes can achieve. I know that to be true because I exist and I’m not alone. I change the perception of Type 2 diabetes by being me, by not being cowered or discouraged by what others perceive me to be, and by pursuing whatever I set myself to accomplish. This is my cause.