In a microcosm of time, fifty-two years is a solid number to have lived with T1 diabetes. Lately it has me thinking of my follow diabetes veterans. Of course there are hundreds of 50-year Joslin medalists who meet every two years in Boston to celebrate their good health and longevity with diabetes. There are also quite a number of us around and about who have kept wavy open lines of communication and support touching base over the years through sports and exercise.
Is it time for the diabetes community to rally a new type of support for activity, exercise and sports that raises awareness and fosters camaraderie in our community? Historically there has been at least one such organization since 1985 when IDAA (International Diabetic Athletes Association) was formed. It changed its name to DESA (Diabetes Exercise & Sports Association) in the mid-nineties to broaden its appeal and scope. This grassroots group, composed mainly of T1’s, held annual conferences nationally and internationally and brought together those of us who believe in the commitment of being physically active as a dynamic component of our diabetes management and care. IDAA/DESA became the hallmark of diabetes and exercise. Members flourished with the sustenance of the conferences and the publication of The DESA Challenge newsletter. DESA closed its doors in 2000.
Patience is (hopefully) a standard issue virtue when it comes to living with diabetes. This means not getting stressed when bg numbers take a roller coaster ride or go way out of the red and yellow lines of your Dexcom targets. It means being reasonable with yourself if you miss your everyday workout or training.
From aerobic dance to ballet, ballroom, hip-hop, tango, tribal and Zumba, dance has been an important part of ceremony, rituals, celebrations and socialization going back to prehistoric times. Dance can be a great motivation to move and be active - in other words - to exercise.
Weather is the local topic of conversation. Because of the weather, going for a walk or run or riding a bike to dance class lose their thrill. I look around and suddenly think of Missy Foy. Missy is that fleet footed wonder who runs 50-mile trails placing in the ranks of the nation’s fastest long distance and ultra-marathon runners. She was the first PWD to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials.
As the expression goes - "you've come a long way baby" - the "you" here is diabetes which has indeed come a long, long way from the time back in 1552 BC Egypt when a physician imprinted on papyrus a condition of frequent urination.