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Diabetes - Staying motivated

I did not race in triathlons; or even swim or cycle before I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. My only sports were rugby and squash, with no thought to nutrition or blood sugar levels. Halcyon days you might think, but I would disagree. The following few paragraphs will explain why.

I was first diagnosed on Good Friday 2004 at the age of 36. Unfortunately that year I had to give away my Easter eggs having ended up near collapse with a blood glucose reading of 32mmol/l and rising. A ‘normal’ reading for a non-diabetic would be between 4 and 7mmol/l. After 5 days in hospital it was time to re-adjust to life as a diabetic and to the fact that Diabetes is a disease that will shorten your life and reduce the quality if you let it.

I wont bore you with the details but I could not have done it without the help and support of Kay my wife, who is my soul mate who’s love and support has encouraged me to achieve goals that once seemed unreachable and to face life’s events that at times seemed unbearable. It was also down to Kay my reason to start in triathlons after she read about one in the paper and said that I should do that, I kept the article for months in fact I think I still have it somewhere.

Having discovered how much I love endurance training and events such as triathlon, diabetes won’t stop me - I won’t let it. Don’t let me detract from diabetes it is a bad thing it is a killer but it is not going to go away so I wont let it abuse me, I use it as motivation to train well to eat healthily and to be fitter than ever before.

Both a strict exercise regime and control of diabetes require a certain level of mental toughness to do what you have to do, over and over again, every day. Injecting insulin at set times & testing your bloods numerous times is repetitive; just like any training schedule.

That mental toughness is in everyone, you just have to find it. For me, it’s a switch that you have to learn how to throw. Especially when you are at your lowest ebb and just can’t be bothered to test your bloods again that day or to pull your trainers on as it’s a bit chilly outside. I don’t think there is anyone out there who has not bartered or bargained with themselves. When it comes down to it you know you have to do it, there is no one else there who can do it for you.

I now visualize my goals as not perfect but controllable blood sugar levels; crossing the finish line and having a damn good time getting there.

Just remember whatever your problem, take control of it you are stronger than it is, believe it. Let it motivate you in whatever you want to do. With the right mental attitude, just get to the starting line and you will finish. You may not be the fastest but you will always be faster than those who did not get there at all.

For me, diabetes is not a disease that has to shorten my life or reduce its quality. In fact, it can be the exact opposite if you respect it. That is why I do not regret being diagnosed.