I know I’ve shared the story before but when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes during my last year of college, my friends were the ones responsible for getting me to the hospital and saving my life. The rest of the story is that they also jumped in to try to help me manage all aspect of my new life.
We planned meals together. They offered to give me my insulin injections. But the first thing we tried to do together was get a little exercise.
It was within a few days after I got out of the hospital after my diagnosis. There was a loop around the college campus that was only about 3.5 miles, and I had run it many times before – although not recently on account of the “unexplained” health issues pre-diagnosis. My best friend hopped on her bike and I borrowed a bike from another friend and we set off around the loop.
Over a decade later, I can still remember how awful I felt that night. I was still adjusting to taking insulin, so my BG quickly dropped when I started pedaling. I had been so sick for so long, but I didn’t realize what had actually happened to my muscles during that time. It was not until a few blocks away from the campus that I realized I really didn’t have much leg muscle left and how absolutely exhausting it was becoming to pedal. I got about halfway around the loop and I couldn’t ride another inch. After more than a decade, it remains one of the absolute worst feelings I have had related to diabetes.
And until recently, it was the last time I got on a bike.
I don’t let diabetes stop me from doing what I want to do in my life. Skydiving? Sure. Snorkeling in the Red Sea? Why not. Participating in disaster relief in Haiti after the earthquake? Twice, actually.
But, for some reason, I was continuing to let diabetes stop me from getting back on a bike. After having the opportunity to visit the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes last November in Tucson, and learning more about the ride program, I decided it was time to break down this last barrier.
I bought a bike four days after leaving Tucson. It turns out the saying is actually true – after thirteen years I still know how to ride. I’m working on building my distance now and figuring out how to balance my BG while I ride.
And on November 19, 2016, I will be riding 104 miles for the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in the El Tour de Tucson.
Today, in honor of my 13th diaversary, I am asking for you to support my ride efforts. Please consider donating $13 in honor of each year I have lived with diabetes.
Thank you so much for the support.
P.S. I know I haven’t written in months. Alanna really explained it best here (in November).