Insights into my personal life.

This blog includes the personal details of my experiences as a recently diagnosed Type I diabetic and the impact of that diagnosis on my endurance athletic pursuits.

Please understand that I consider myself to be a work in progress. I am willing to share both my successes and failures, so please do not take my words to be professional dietary or medical advice. This is a blog, this is only a blog. I research my choices carefully, and take my health very seriously. The choices I make are my own, I am doing the best with the resources and support that I have. If you have questions or concerns feel free to comment, but please be constructive and understand that this is my life. I value it dearly.

My goal is to live a happy, healthy and active life where I can balance my internal drive to push my physical limits and the challenge of safely maintaining stability despite the challenges of Type I diabetes.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A whole lot of Surprise!

So I want to announce some rather crazy news.  Two months ago - November 14th precisely, I was diagnosed with type I diabetes.  Crazy right.  Well type 1 isn't exactly what I have, but functionally it the same.  What I have is called LADA.  That's latent autoimmune diabetes of adults.  Sometimes it's called type 1.5.

So what does that mean?  Well, a lot.  I am 'insulin dependent'.  But I'm not a huge fan of that term - I'm dependent on a lot of things.  And while focusing on the insulin is obviously a huge part of my 'treatment', I would rather think of myself as 'food dependent' or 'lifestyle dependent'.  But it doesn't really matter what it's called anyways.

What matters is what I have already learned.  I've learned a lot.  A lot about diabetes, but also a lot about myself - and not just physically.  As a result I feel that I have also changed a lot.  I am very lucky to have already developed a very useful knowledge base and skill set.  In all honesty I don't think diabetes could have picked on a worse target.

I have an extensive scientific background.  I've passed classes in Anatomy Physiology courses in High School, twice in college and even post-college when I was considering my future career change.  My first job out of college (which lasted 8 years) was in working as a Researcher in Biochemistry at the UW.  I worked in the same building as one of the best diabetes and metabolic disease research labs you could find in the country.  And I paid attention.

And that's just the science side of things.  My other skills have also helped greatly.  Prior to diagnosis I would have already considered myself a 'Foodie'.   I have cooking skills.  I think I convinced my wife to first date me because of our joint interest in breakfast food, although maybe I was more interested than she was.  I also have a very diverse palate.  I love food.  I love real food.

Again, on top of the science and the food, I also understand the importance of physical activity.  Matter of fact, my exercise habits likely protected me all summer prior to diagnosis.  Training has saved my life.  I've held onto a quote from an old friend of mine - Nick Rhoads.  When friends would ask what he was training for, his answer would be "The Apocalypse".  Without his knowledge I've adopted this response as well.  Never has it been more true.

My skill set continues... I am an independent thinker, highly intelligent and confident enough to stand up for myself.  I am a good listener and through my 'other' major in Psychology and the good fortune to have grown up with a mother who is a retired counselor, I've also learned to ask for help. I've found lots already.

While I don't feel incredibly comfortable boasting of these qualities - they are life saving abilities.  I highly recommend that everyone develop these skills.

I'm not entirely surprised by my diagnosis.  I have a solid grasp on the genetics that I was born into.  I have many closely related family members who also have diabetes.  And the links are very strong.  My nephew has developed the same disorder, LADA (I'm not a fan of the word 'disease' either).  In addition to the diabetes in the family, I also have heart disease - of which was a greater influence in me becoming as health conscious as I currently am.

So there's lots for me to talk about.  But in the interest of not writing a novel, I will begin to summarize.  (I haven't ruled out writing a book - some of my experiences make for good storytelling).  I'll end this with where I am right now.

I am doing great.  Seriously.  It's funny that I didn't ever really notice that I felt that bad.  Hell, I still made it through Ironman Wisconsin with this.   I had inclinations that something was wrong.  (I have extensive training notes that support this).

I have very tight control over my blood sugar.  Over the past 2 months my tests (over 500) average out to 105.

I am on extremely low doses of insulin.  This is not because I am only 'a little' diabetic.  I am able to do this partly due to my physical conditioning, but also due to my food choices.  I initially started out on about 20 total units of insulin per day.  Now I'm already down to 12-15U.

After laying off the training for 2 months, I am now back at it and still obtaining tight control.

I have already been fast tracked for an insulin pump which should provide me with even greater control.  That journey will begin within the next month.

My diet has been pulling the best of both vegan and paleo principles.  I am now a 'juicer'.  I love juices with Kale, beets, ginger, cucumber and apple.  Really, I love them.  Juicing has been a great tool for obtaining a huge amount of nutrition without the need to eat a dump truck sized salad.

I plan to post to this blog much more frequently.  I'll put in pictures and try to actually turn this into something entertaining.  I plan to discuss and share all that I have already learned.  While I am successful right now, it does not come easy.  There is a high deal of complexity to this.  If it hadn't been for others who have paved the way and shared their stories, I could not have made the progress that I already have.  It is a challenge, but I'm up for it.

Crisis is opportunity.

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