Monday, December 5, 2011

Advocate. What is it?

Update. Well, I am lacking in the blog post/advocate area.

Life has been stressful.... Work, money, health, family, work. I want to say lately, or in the last couple months, but that would be lying. Ups and downs are all a part of life, deal with it right? This is not a bitch blog where I always complain about life, or diabetes, or poor me. I don't want to start doing that here today either. So I'll explain it another way.

Outlets. We all need one. Or two. Writing blogs and advocating Diabetes is something I want to make more of a priority. Advocating Diabetes is a cause that I believe in, and a cause that I believe in educating others on. Even though I am diabetic, and it is a priority, it is still hard to find the time. I am not one to post just because I feel like I have to, and as a consequence, I am not getting as many reads or page views as I would like. So here is a different take on advocating. The definition of advocating is variable in my opinion, and it is not constrained to social media or any other means, but rather about making a small connection. Even if it is one, two, or three at a time.

(BRC Shedd Park CX Race. Lowell, MA)
My outlet lately has been racing my Cyclocross bike on the weekends when possible. I have done 10 races this season so far. I always have the best intentions of writing after a weekend of racing. I want to write and inform people about my blood glucose levels (BG's), nutrition, on the bike basal rates and all of that. I'm not always proud of my race, my BG's, my diet, or my attitude. The race I did on Sunday I was proud of, but not because of the results. The fact is I got my ass handed to me. But, the best advocation I have done all year happened unexpectedly at the start line Sunday when I made a small connection.

Usually near the start of a race I will check BG's and intake carbs as necessary. We were all lined up and waiting for the whistle, and nervously I was checking the front of my MiniMed pump which I always wear on my upper left arm, and it displays the results of my CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor, it displays an approximation of my BG). It read 82. I was a bit worried (82 is a tad low for a Type 1 race start) even though I consumed a Hammer Gel a few minutes prior. I also knew that my liver would spit out some carbs and bring my BG up after some anaerobic throttling of my cardiovascular system. Not knowing the guy next to me was watching, he said "is that an iPod?" I told him I was type 1 and it was an insulin pump. When I looked up there were about 5 guys and some spectators watching me.

I don't know what any of those people were thinking, but at that point I was advocating Diabetes more than any blog, tweet, or status update I ever wrote could. At the end of the race, still breathing hard and sweating, I was checking my CGM again for my approximate BG. Another racer came up alongside me and said "Great job! My girlfriend is Type 1 and races in the Cat 3 Women's race".

I hope she checked her BG or CGM at the starting line of her race and had the same connection on 5 additional people. It was a great result.