Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The D-Olympic Games

This post is in honor of the 2010 Winter Olympics XXI in Vancouver, which run from Feb. 12-28.

Everyone who endures Living With Diabetes knows it can be just like navigating a never-ending sporting event. where you're essentially competing against your own body in order to get the best score. Just like any real-life athlete, playing the game means you must have endurance, patience, training, diligence, and discipline in order to even come close to achieving your goals. Every day means mastering the hills, ice rink, or just getting a little puck into the Net between 70 and 120.

In the regular Olympics, you have Cross Country Skiing. Jumping. Curling. Figure Skating. Hockey. Luge. Snowboarding. The incredible athletes compete for best scores and the highest possible medal. For the D-Olympics, us PWD have an equally challenging array of sporting events to navigate in order to try and get to that ultimate Golden A1C medal, every few months. Like any sport, we have our coaches - Endos, CDE, Dietician, PCP, Specialists for Eyes, Feet, Nerves, etc. We also have our Support Team and Fan Base - family, spouses, friends, co-workers.

We also have our own Torch Bearers, who keep the flames lit and are incredibly visible in promoting and advocating about diabetes: Mary Tyler Moore, Nichole Johnson, Nick Jonas, Kerri at Six Until Me, George at NinjaBetic, MannyH at TuDiabetes, KellyK at Diabetesaliciousness, Amy at DiabetesMine, Children With Diabetes, and The Diabetes OC through Allison and Gina's work. (just to name a few of the MANY).

Over at TuDiabetes, Danny has a post about the 1st annual D-Olympics that Nel from Canada lit the torch for initially. He describes an event called The OJ Slam & Insulin Cocktail biathlon. Each participant must start the race with a blood sugar less than 70 mg/dl. During the event, you must drink a 16 oz glass of Orange Juice, resting after that until blood sugar levels reach 175 mg/dl and then as quickly as possible giving yourself 1.5 units of insulin. Sounds easy right? This must all be preformed while blindfolded and in three feet of snow. Penalties will be assessed for any OJ that is spilled, not waiting until your blood sugar reaches 175 mg/dl and not using an alcohol swab when taking the Novolog shot of insulin.

AWEsome, Danny.

In quickly Googling "diabetes" and "olympics," I also stumbled across this outstanding 2009 blogpost by Brensdad at Diabetes 360 that can't go without mention here:

* 100m Set Change: Participants must sprint 50 meters, pick up a vial of insulin, and sprint back. The winner is the first person to change their infusion site and clear all the bubbles from running with the insulin.
* 200m Pump-Dangle Sprint: Participants must run 200 meters with their pump dangling between their legs, just like when your pump detaches itself from your pocket and makes a run for it.
* 400m Insurance Hurdles: Participants must sprint 400 meters while clearing a hurdle every 50 meters. Hurdles shall be made up of insurance agents, appeals paperwork, and DME exemptions.
* 100m Hypo-Treatment: Participants must bolus themselves down to 60 mg/dl, and then run 100 meters to a juice box. First person over 80 mg/dl wins!
* Syringe Darts: Participants must, using only a mirror, throw an insulin syringe into a small marked target 10 feet behind them. The target represents an area of skin not scarred by infusion sites.

He also makes a funny point, that D-Parents have their own unique set of D-Olympic Events to deal with: Test a 3-year old In Middle of Night. School-Nurse Roping. Testing in Pitch Dark. Make a Kid Drink a Juice. Hide the Chocolate.

Another great one.

I've participated in so many of those D-Olympic Events through my nearly 26 years of Living with the D. With the Hoosier Winters, just like in Vancouver, there's snow and that is a theme in the D-Olympics. Recently, I've endured the exciting Ice Melting and Extra Shovel Passes that can bring on Lows and Rebounding Highs.

Regardless of the event, many of the D-Olympic Events have a similar theme. We can plummet fast, just like the Luge. Speeds can be slow or fast, sometimes allowing us time to adjust and correct our course. Navigating twists and turns, and you need endurance, speed, and patience. In many ways, it's like trying to keep your balance amid so many obstacles trying to knock you down. For example, on Friday, an unexplained Low in the morning hours forced me to crash quickly and score a 34. It was like rushing down a steep ski slope and crashing into a tree. Luckily, I got back to my feet and what followed was the Sky High Jump to 334 (within three hours). Just one personal example of my days in the D-Olympics.

Enduring The Games can be challenging, but we strive for those best qualifying scores every day in order to reach those coveted A1C numbers. Sometimes, we get honors like the 25, 50, or 75 year awards from Lilly and Joslin. Or the various online patient-blogger awards that are becoming more common. But despite all the work, the Highs and Lows, and challenges in achieving that Tight Control that will take us to the D-Olympics, it's a part of life we can't get a break from. We're always training, always enduring, always playing The Games. This is a 365-day journey every year that can be both frustrating and rewarding, and essentially puts us at the same level as any of the best athletes in the world.

(It's important to recognize some of the Type 1s who are in fact real Olympic athletes, such as cross-country skier Kris Freeman in 2010 and Gold Medalist Gary Hall Jr. who participated in three Olympic games. These PWD deserve even more credit, in not allowing D to get in the way of their athletic achievements.)

3 comments:

Cherise said...

Gotta love the D-olympics! Great post.

Anonymous said...

"Hide the Chocolate"...I know exactly what that's all about! Except that I don't have children and its my husband that has to hide the chocolate from me! This was a great post :)

Olivejooice said...

Oops, didn't mean to make myself anonymous. That was me talking about chocolate