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Suddenly the Expert

August 20, 2011

I made a wonderful discovery yesterday in beautiful Iceland, which oddly has nothing to do with Iceland.

The discovery is this: I no longer identify as a “new diabetic.”  I’m just a diabetic, plain and simple. And proud!

Meeting the many people on Team D who have all fundraised for diabetes for totally different reasons – many with no personal connection to this rockin’ disease whatsover  – it often comes up that I’m type 1.  And when I mention it, I don’t feel the need to launch into the sob story – lost my islets, my job and my boyfriend all within the same six-weeks, and it was a hard time but I’ve grown so damn much for it and I’m a way better person for it, and having a chronic disease makes you appreciate life, blah blah blah. No need to tell that story. I’ve been diabetic for 15 months now, and it’s so much a part of who I am now. I’m in this thing.  So I don’t bother mentioning that I’m new to this unless it comes up, cuz frankly, I don’t feel new to it at all. I kinda feel like a pro.

Take yesterday, when I sat down with another type 1 who’s been pumping for five years, and  showed her for the first time how to use the Temp-Basal and Square-Wave features on her minimed.  It was a milestone for sure, toggling through her pump explaining to her the different functions.  Me, showing another diabetic the ropes?  I had never even touched a pump before last June, and don’t even own one myself (but will SOON, boyeah private insurance kicking in). Bearskin Meadow Camp trained me well, bless it, and I am enjoying this newfound diabetic confidence.

I did my run today in 2 hrs and 13 minutes, three minutes over my finish time in Ottawa. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly disappointed not to have set a new personal best.  But I also had some exciting new firsts on this run that made up for that.

One of those firsts was, appropriately, diabetes related.  Diabetes, ever the naughty little prankster, totally pulled a fast one on me today. Normally when I run, my BGs drop like a hot potato. Today, they spiked like a supersonic rocket ship.  I couldn’t for the life of me get out of the 20 range, and literally had to draw shots of insulin from a vile while keeping my feet moving. I even got my very first HI reading on my meter – basically the meter’s way of saying woaaaah that’s so high we can’t even count to that number.  Yep, I had that lovely first at about 16K, and would be lying if I said I wasn’t totally freaked out.  I swear that HI reading made me run faster to the finish line, I was so anxious to treat it and be on safe ground if/when I went into DKA.  It was a tug between the surreal dizziness of being that high, and the fight-or-flight response to finish the damn thing before my adrenaline killed me.

I didn’t, however, resent the diabetes on this run. It is, after all, the reason I’m here.  Sure, I travelled here with a bunch o’ folks who’ve all fundraised for the CDA. But I doubt that I ever would have gotten into long-distance running if it wasn’t for becoming diabetic.  This cheeky little disease has paved the way for many an adventure – and it’s only been 15 months.

Which leads me to the other first.  Today, for the first time, I felt like an experienced runner -the Half was not hard.  Moreover, running that distance feels  so much a part of who I am now.  Totally something I can just pick up and do.

Which of course, is the culmination of months of healing and running, processing and running, crying and running, laughing and running, loving and running.  And just being here is the result of boundless support, love, and patience from friends and loved ones.

I’ll no doubt get weepy soon about how powerful a day this has been – how magnificent it has been to settle into both this disease and this distance over the last 15 months. No weepiness for now though. For now I’m gonna hit up the streets of Reykjavik to enjoy a bunch of free concerts and knock back some pints at local hipster cafes.

Thank you to everyone to donated to my Team D fundraising campaign.  It was not adrenaline but gratitude for your support that fueled my final 100 meters to the finish line.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Paula Mc Cafferty permalink
    August 23, 2011 7:27 am

    Dear Sarah and Elaine,

    I’ve been wondering about you both in Iceland the last few days. What a feat, Sarah, and just think of the bragging rights!!!
    Congratulations and love,


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