Thursday, 29 August 2013

Having Diabetic GP vs Being An Athlete

I have been an athlete my entire life! I started ice skating just before I was 2, I started tee ball at 4, hockey at 5 and softball at 6. I continued playing both competitively until 22, playing both sports sometimes year round. Sports have always been a big part of my life and have helped shaped who I am today. Sports are definitely in my family, my 75 year old grandma still drives a Zamboni and has my entire life and my 80 year old grandpa still works at a golf course! My mom and dad are also athletes so it runs in my blood! Most of my best friends growing up I met on teams I played on. Basically, I live and breathe all sports! I enjoy an active lifestyle and have always LOVED pushing myself physically! I love to compete, and at anything it doesn't matter what it is, I am a competitor through and through!

I have been a diabetic since I was 4, so growing up being an athlete definitely helped my diabetes and helped keep it controlled and keep me healthy. I definitely had high and low blood sugars throughout my years playing hockey and softball, before, after and during games but I was always able to correct it and continue on playing. Never having any serious reactions for close to 10 years and I contribute that to being an athlete.

Since having Diabetic GP, that began in 2007, I have not been able to play on any sports teams, I am unable to commit to any teams because of my symptoms and frequent hospital stays. However I do other activities like golfing, swimming at the lake, yoga, going for daily walks, and/or pilates when I can. I sometimes go to the gym to work out if I'm up for it. One thing I cannot do is over exert myself as that can bring on an episode of the GP which is extremely frustrating because I love pushing myself physically. Here's my frustrations with having Diabetic GP vs. Being An Athlete:

1.If the GP symptoms are happening that means I'm not doing anything physical, I'll be laying down not wanting to do any type of movement let alone workout...very frustrating!

2. If the GP symptoms are calm or not present, then it's my diabetes that starts acting up and quite often, more often then it ever did growing up. I never leave the house without sugar or glucose tabs. If I end up on the low side, any activity is out of the question no matter where I am or what I am doing, it stops me in my tracks.. I have to make sure my sugars are anywhere from 9.0 mmol/L or 165 mg/dL to around 15 mmol/L or 270mg/dL because if don't I'll definitely have a low while exercising, even if I'm just walking to the store that's 10-15 min away. I've had to stop many times from  low sugars and it's only been this bad since having GP. it was never this bad growing up and I was way more active. I know how to handle my diabetes and exercise, I grew up with it and I was always active and training and I definitely did not have the issues with the severity of the low and high sugars compared to now. My sugars are always moving, never stable which makes it very difficult to maintain a healthy active lifestyle...this is very frustrating!

3. I CANNOT over exert myself. I have known this for quite some time but I definitely learned this one again in a hard way. Last November Brian and I were moving to a new town and it was a quick move which was a little stressful in itself but what did me in and what helped put me in the hospital last winter for 4 1/2 months was over doing it, over exerting myself. We moved onto the 3rd floor so going up and down those stairs with heavy boxes and furniture was tiring and I didn't even move very much myself because everyone else could tell I wasn't doing to good as the nausea started showing up. Thanks to Brian's mom and stepdad for helping us move because we would not have been able to do it ourselves. That move was painful, I have to admit. I am a physically strong woman and I always have been so now having Diabetic GP I get extremely frustrating because I can't even move without getting sick....This is extremely frustration!

4. I will most likely never play softball ever again because of the Diabetic Retinopathy in my eyes. The GP made it worse for awhile but  it's now stable. I've had 16 procedures on my eyes, whether it be surgery on my eyes where I was put under, laser surgery, or other treatments that were given by needles in the eyes. None of it has changed my vision but it has changed the way my eyes focus. It takes me longer to focus in on things. Catching a ball coming towards me wouldn't be good because I'd lose sight of it...This is real frustrating because I was a pretty good ball player and I'd do anything to be able to play again. I miss it!

5. I've always been strong physically. So now, when I've gone weeks or months without being able to eat and am extremely weak and have absolutely no muscle, I still think in a strong, physically fit mindset. So when I go to do something light like say climb a flight of stairs, I get so frustrated because I am not as strong as I used to be and something as small as that, is very difficult...that's if I can even climb the stairs. I used to run stairs all the time training for hockey and now sometimes I am unable to climb one flight. This is so very frustrating!

I try and take advantage of everyday that I am feeling well. I'll do stretching, yoga, pilates, and/or go for walks whenever I can. It's important to get as much exercise as you can with Diabetic GP, plus being active just a little bit will help move things around in the stomach. A good time to go for walks or do a little moving around is after meals. This can really make a difference and help with bloating which can help lessen the pain and discomfort.

I would give anything to be able to play ball or hockey again! Every year there's a co-ed hockey tournament in my hometown and every year my goal is to play in it. Unfortunately I have yet to play in it but I will not give up! I will play in that tournament someday!!

Hope today is a good tummy day! :)

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