Tag Archives: resilience

Diabetes ain’t no sissy game.

We’ve talked about this before…

Why is it that we are all so good at making life with diabetes look normal?

The reality is that life with diabetes is anything but. Diabetes is not for sissies.

– How many times have we worked hard, over a period of years, just to get our A1c down to a range that we and our endocrinologists can be happy with? How many times have we worked hard, over a period of years, to keep our A1c from growing higher?

– How many times have we voluntarily engaged in the tradeoff that includes using a sharp tool that causes us to bleed, just so we can help maintain our diabetes management?

– Pump users: How many infusion set changes have you completed over the course of living and pumping with diabetes?

– MDI users: How many injections have you had to endure over the course of living with diabetes?

– How many hypoglycemic moments has your diabetes included? Lows that knock us down… but often we get up and go on with our lives like nothing ever happened. And the people who we would most like to know, don’t have any idea at all what it’s like. Side note: I tell those people that I went through a near-death experience. Because I did. I want them to know how precarious the balance between high and low BGs really is.

– Show of hands: How many of us have had workouts that were cut short due to the fact that our bodies use insulin way better when exercising, and getting the basal/carb/exercise mix is difficult and ever-changing?

– Have you had an endocrinologist tell you that your A1c was high, and you’ve been trying so hard, and you just wonder if you should keep trying anymore? But you do, because, what’s the alternative?

– Did you get one of those unhappy A1c reports, or a high or low number on your meter, or a pump occlusion that causes you to do more than one set change in a day, or a low or high that just doesn’t seem to quit, but…

We forgive ourselves? That, my friends, is real bravery.

I haven’t even started on all the things that parents of kids with diabetes have to go through, much of which is even more out of control than what I go through.

There are many things that diabetes puts us through, on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, year-by-year basis. Sometimes we can feel like a failure. Like we’re weak. Like we’re not as good as someone else. But nothing could be farther from the truth.

It’s easy to forget the fact that we’ve endured a lot, and come through it despite the tough moments (or weeks, or years) that come with living with a disease that is with us all the time, and is so volatile.

Fact: Diabetes ain’t no sissy game. If you’re living with diabetes, and you’re alive, you are a champion.

Have anything else you’d like to add? Feel free to tell me how you’ve endured through the months or years by leaving a comment below.

Two more medal winners!

I’m so thrilled to tell you about our latest Champion Ahtletes With Diabetes.

One of these winners you probably don’t know at all (though you’ll recognize who sent us the request). The other winner you know quite well. What you’ll recognize about these stories though is that it’s the stories that matter in this medal quest.

Sue Rericha of RFamHere’s Ramblings sent me a request for a young person in Illinois. This athlete wanted to play 7th grade volleyball. Sue wrote:

My co-worker’s 7th grade daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 a week before school started at her sport physical. Tonight she found out she made the volleyball team (the whole reason for the physical that may have saved her life).

How can I not want to send a medal for that? So inspiring! Twelve days later, I received another e-mail:

It arrived yesterday! I gave the medal to Katie’s mom and she asked the volleyball coaches to give it to her at tonight’s practice. Perfect timing as tonight they were doing team building and motivation.

A story like that just melts me right down to butter. Congratulations Katie!


Our other medal winner this time is Mike Hoskins of Indianapolis. Mike writes at DiabetesMine, when he’s not writing at The Diabetic’s Corner Booth.


Mike has dealt with a lot of the issues we all face as People With Diabetes who strive for athletic achievements. It’s hard, and while the motivation to succeed is great, the motivation to give up is great too. Sometimes, perseverance is what gets you through, no matter how hard the road may be. That, and remembering people who inspire you, like I’m sure Mike inspires others. His road was literally a road, during the ADA’s Indiana Tour de Cure. Mike e-mail from early December says:

It was my first-ever Tour de Cure on June 8, 2013 (I’m just inside the six month mark!). Here in Indy, at the Indy Motor Speedway and around that central part of Indianapolis.

I’d signed up for a 50k because for some reason that was the shortest you could sign up for aside from the “family recreational” stretch just going around the 2.5-mile speedway track. I trained at least a few times a week in the couple months leading up to this event, around my neighborhood and the city on streets and bike paths. On the day of the tour, I made it a little more than 15 miles — about 25k which is half of the registered route. That was my limit, and at times it was very challenging for me, especially when it came to the non-level highways and streets around Indy that were very different from the smooth flat downtown streets and paths I’d been training on.

But I pressed on, in large part because of the people who were there cheering me on as they rode by and saw me struggling to just keep pedaling and offered a “Go Red Rider!” in support. At some of the toughest times, it was that support that kept me going. (support and empowerment… that’s what this is all about!)

This was the most I’ve ridden my bike as an adult, and I am very proud of pushing myself and going the distance that I did. It was never about making it to the very end or being first, because that just wasn’t me. But I wanted to prove that I could do it, that I could push myself to my limit and not stop when it seemed impossible, and that no matter what that diabetes wasn’t going to stop me from doing this.

Before the ride, and even during that time and afterward, it’s people like Scott Johnson, Mari Ruddy and George Simmons who I’ve seen accomplish their own athletic achievements that have really served as my biggest motivations and inspiration in believing I could do this, and pushing myself to make it happen.

Mike also took the time to write about his achievement at DiabetesMine last week. You can read it here. Congratulations Mike!


Okay, it’s your turn. Time to write in and request the medal you deserve for accomplishing athletic goals. Time to nominate someone who inspires you. For more information on the Champion Athletes With Diabetes initiative, click here or send me an e-mail at happymedium[dot]net[at]gmail[dot]com. And don’t forget to follow @ChampsWithD on Twitter and like our Facebook page too!


I was standing in a conference room at work the other day, waiting for a meeting to start. The room looks out over the Inner Harbor here, and off in the distance I could see a sailing class. Lots of little sailboats tacking back and forth, all with different brightly-colored sails being filled out by the harbor breeze.

Watching that scene made me think about this thing called diabetes. There are a lot of us out there faced with the daily, relentless onslaught of this chronic condition. Tens of millions of us just in the USA. According to the International Diabetes Foundation, there are over 300 million people affected by diabetes across the globe.

But we’re not all the same. Like the little boats in the harbor with green sails and blue sails and pink sails, there are people living with Type 1, Type 2, LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults), and other forms of this disease. The therapies and drugs available to treat our conditions are even more different than the types themselves.

A Type 1 may be on MDI (multiple daily injections), or may be taking advantage of insulin pump therapy. A Type 2 may be taking a pill to help keep their glucose levels down, or they may ramp up their exercise regimen and change their diet significantly after diagnosis. A person with Type 1, 2, or LADA may consider making the decision to wear a continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Or not.

Some, unfortunately, do not have these decisions to make at all. For many in developing countries, a diabetes diagnosis is a death sentence, either due to lack of insulin, the ability to keep it cold or warm enough, or the lack of ability to pay for it at all, not to mention the absolute dearth of access to care and education. It hurts me to think of the fact that by pure luck, I wound up in a situation where I have access to care and drugs and technology that allow me to lead a good life, while others die for lack of basic necessities.

When it comes to research about diabetes and the search for a cure, there are many different courses charted too. Many doctors are furiously searching for the absolute source of the beginning of diabetes in a person’s beta cells, in the hope that they can stop whatever triggers the disease in the first place. Others are making progress in leaps and bounds by developing technology that, while not providing a cure, may change how we live with diabetes by helping us to stay safe and always keep our blood glucose in a stable range (I’m looking at you, Artificial Pancreas).

So just like those sailboats going east and going west, we’re all headed in different directions. We have our busy lives full of jobs and family and social media, etc. Some of us write about diabetes, some walk for a cure, some ride for a cure. Some have enough to do just fighting the demons within themselves… the ones that say “Give up” or “Why do you keep trying?”. The people who overcome that kind of challenge are champions just as much as those who make headlines and raise thousands and help others.

I’ve said it before: Diabetes comes in many flavors. No two of us are exactly alike. Except that we possess two very special qualities.

We are blessed with empathy. Living with D has made us acutely aware of what it’s like to deal with inexplicable highs and lows on a regular basis. What it’s like to deal with medical professionals who write off anything not great as entirely our fault. What it’s like to listen to people who spread misinformation, then think about it as an educational opportunity. I’m constantly amazed that I have not yet encountered anyone in the Diabetes community (online or not) who is mean or ego-driven. I think that comes from a place of empathy first. We know what it’s like… Your highs are our highs… Your lows are our lows… Your successes are our successes.

We’re also blessed with resilience. We all have the unique skill of being able to get up every day, tote our gear, and treat our condition. Every. Single. Day. How many of us think that before our diagnosis, we’d be able to keep this up for years? Diabetes teaches us resilience, and every day that we hang in there and do what we have to do is a victory.

The songwriter Jason Robert Brown wrote a lyric that goes “We have nothing much in common; but we are more or less the same”. In the song, he was talking about his brother. In my life, I’m talking about my brothers and sisters with Diabetes. We have many differences. But we are all the same.

%d bloggers like this: