Yesterday a really good friend of mine got some fantastic news. My friend who is an incredible athlete, former NCAA all-american, had gone through several hip surgeries to repair a chronic condition. For the past three years she thought she had to give up being competitive, something that was so integral to how she had defined herself for more than 20 years. Yesterday a visit with her incredible team of doctors yielded the result that she can get after it again! When she called me to share the news I about wanted to jump out of my chair and do a jig; having been in the same situation after surgeries I know how incredible the feeling is when a surgeon says - let it rip. But her situation was a bit different, she still has to take it easy on the run and went through years of slow rehab - it actually got me thinking to how that parallels diabetes.
When I was first diagnosed with diabetes I had no idea what it meant to my life. One of the reasons I signed up for my first Ironman was to prove that I was still the same idiot meathead I had always been and that the disease wouldn't take away my ability to use determination to accomplish my goals. I would think much like any child, parent of child or person who is diagnosed none of really knows what this disease means for our lives.
Over time we learn how to adapt our lifestyles to blood sugar management. I've learned over time what is required to swim, bike and run as well as I can. I've learned over time how to function as well as possible at work without going low or going high. I've learned over time what to look for when I'm going low or high and learned how to control the symptoms when I can't just bury my head in the sand.
As a diabetic we never receive the words from a doctor that "you're you again," but with every passing day and every passing experience that lets us control this disease a bit better we reduce the limitations this disease places on our lifestyle. I know how big a smile my friend will have on her face the first time she really races again; it's alot like the smile I have each time I run because I know, like all of you know that a run for us isn't "just a run."