Thought for the Day

Friday, August 13, 2010

Symptoms of Hypoglycemia

What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia?
This is what the American Diabetes Association says:
Symptoms of hypoglycemia include the following:

    * Shakiness
    * Dizziness
    * Sweating
    * Hunger
    * Headache
    * Pale skin color
    * Sudden moodiness or behavior changes, such as crying for no apparent reason
    * Clumsy or jerky movements
    * Seizure
    * Difficulty paying attention, or confusion
    * Tingling sensations around the mouth

These are good guidelines, but I've been thinking about what hypoglycemia means to me. Here are some more personal experiences of the "symptoms of hypoglycemia."

Being quite certain, as you watch "Angels in the Outfield" on television with your wife and kids, that the angels in the movie are speaking directly to you, and the whole movie was created to send you personally a message that you must change your ways, touching you so deeply that you begin crying uncontrollably so that at first you seem funny but gradually more and more worrisome to your wife and perplexing to your children.

Noticing on the way to work that you can't remember driving the last few miles and realizing it's more than just an ordinary commute driver's trance because you're starting to feel those waves of the universe going in and out of focus, and knowing you need to get off the freeway and stop but taking an exit that turns out to be a truck weigh station that you cruise through way too fast on your way to a real exit where you pull onto the shoulder and fumble some glucose tablets out of your pocket and into your mouth.

Knowing, without a doubt, as you watch a Twilight Zone marathon, that you are being abducted to a duplicate dimension while someone else takes your place in the real world, while simultaneously knowing that you are just experiencing a hypoglycemic event, but also knowing that your low is part of the alternate universe you are being trapped in.

Feeling exhilarated and light-footed running down the beach with two of your brothers, suddenly noticing twinges beginning in your hamstrings, and knowing what it is, but thinking maybe you can just make it back to the car, until the hamstrings just fold up under you, your legs unable to bear any weight, and your abs beginning to convulse, folding you, clenching and unclenching your entire body, your neck, your jaws, seemingly the whole world, tight, loose, tight, loose, whim, wham, and you're laughing, terrified, but laughing uncontrollably as you jerk uncontrollably, because it's so damn funny, to be carried, in seizures, off the beach, by your brothers, who are simply terrified, unable to see how funny it is.

Coming to groggy consciousness staring straight up into a bright, white light in a white panelled ceiling in a hospital hallway with your back flat on a gurney, arms and legs strapped firmly to the rails, head aching, muscles sore, remembering only reeling, swirling glimpses of how you got here, somehow, from sleeping in your own bed, learning only later that you fought for several minutes with three EMTs you can't even remember seeing while they were trying to save your life.

Then there is that other symptom of hypoglycemia, going to bed and not getting up, ever again, like a nurse in Tucson a few years ago, or a teenager recently in Southern California, or others I've heard about over the years. It happens. Insulin is a killer.
That's one major reason that, even though I am surviving pretty well with diabetes, I'm still hoping for a cure.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Magic Hat

I have a running hat I got a few years ago from the Inaugural Rock'N'Roll Arizona Marathon. One day when I went to see Jeff Galloway at a local running store, it occurred to me that it would be cool to get him to sign my hat.
That got it started. The next signature was Frank Shorter, followed by John "The Penguin" Bingham.
I continued to get celebrity autographs for a while, then when I went to Diabetes Training Camp in 2009, and I was surrounded by amazing athletes, diabetics, and scientists, some of them famous, some of them not-so-famous, but all of them inspiring, I decided I had to get everyone there to sign.
I've gotten a few more celebrities since then, but I've had to slow down on collecting signatures on the magic hat. There just isn't any more room.

This is who has signed:

John Bingham (the Penguin) - running writer, guru, inspiration to millions
Art Bloom - studly diabetic triathlete, marketing professional *
Casey Boren - 2009 Triabetes Captain, on the verge of qualifying for Kona *
David Bourdon - 2009 Triabetes Captain *
Katie Bringe - iron-willed diabetic triathlete, WILD *
Bill Carlson - 2009 Triabetes Captain, first type 1 diabetic Ironman (1983) elite cyclist, runner, etc. *
Edy Chambers - indomitable diabetic triathlete, fantastic CDE for diabetic athletes, WILD *
Carrie Cheadle - sport and exercise mental skills coach to elite professionals and pluggers like me
Matt Corcoran - MD, CDE, diabetes and exercise specialist, heart of Diabetes Training Camp
Josh Cox - Elite marathon runner, American record 50K
Rick Crawford (RC) - Elite cycling and triathlon coach, coached a kid named Lance
Grant Curry - expert bike mechanic and fitter, musician, cyclist, dreamer *
Chuck Dumke - Phd exercise physiologist studying type 1 diabetes
Nancy Eastman - tenacious diabetic triathlete, WILD *
Brian Foster, the Glucose Guru - 2009 Triabetes Captain *
Missy Foy - elite marathon runner, ultra runner, diabetic *
Nicole Freedman - Olympic cyclist, Bike Czar of Boston
Jeff Galloway - Olympic marathon runner, running guru, coach
Adam Greene -  Expert in data analysis working to improve the lives of people with diabetes
Nate Heintzman - type 3 diabetic, co-founder of InsulInDependence
Ray Ibsen - Emmy-winning film-maker, visionary
Dean Karnazes (Team Dean) - running guru, inspiration to millions, running and marketing legend
Susan Loken - elite masters marathon runner, running evangelist and altruist angel
Sean McKendry - 2009 Triabetes Captain *
Mark McCullough - 2009 Triabetes Captain *
Jim Murphy - 2009 Triabetes Captain *
Peter Nerothin (Agent Nero) - diabetic adventurer, Ironman, founder of InsulInDependence *
Aaron Perry (Iron) - 2009 Triabetes Captain, first type 1 diabetic African American Ironman *
Pam Reed - uniquely skilled elite ultra runner
Denise Ricci - 2009 Triabetes Captain *
Lyndsay Riffe - nutritionist, spunky diabetic triathlete, WILD *
Sebastien Sasseville (SL SII) - 2009 Triabetes Cpt., 1st t1 diabetic Canadian atop Everest,  international playboy *
Steve Scott - legendary miler, most sub-4 miles by anyone (136), American record mile for 25 yrs. '82-'07
Frank Shorter - legendary marathon runner, Olympic Gold in '72, '76 (sort of)
Celeste St. Pierre - superlative swim and triathlon coach, TI expert
Reid Stewart - 2009 Triabetes Captain *
Jen Toomey - elite Arizona 800m and 1500m runner
Micah True (Caballo Blanco) - aka Gypsy Cowboy, guide to the Copper Canyons of Mexico
Heather Warren - 2009 Triabetes Captain, fitness club owner *
Bart Yasso - running writer, adventurer, evangelist, inventor of Yasso 800s

* has diabetes

There are a couple of signatures I'm not sure on. If you signed my hat, maybe you can help me out. One of these two signatures belongs to a type 1 diabetic high school athlete who was at DTC for a couple of days. The other, I'm not sure. Sorry, whoever you are.
One of the unknown signatures is:
That could be initials or someone named Sam.
The other is hard to read:
Mar[k?y?] R-something-y

Somehow at Diabetes Training Camp I failed to get the signature of fellow Triabetes Captains Anne Findlay and Kevin Burgess. I will remedy that situation and probably retire the hat. There are a lot more people who could sign. I will meet many at the Ragnar Great River Relay with Glucomotive later this month. But as I said, and you can see, there just isn't room on this hat.

I've discovered that over hundreds of miles, sweat has a curious effect on even "permanent" ink. Jeff Galloway's signature is almost gone. If I didn't know it was there, I couldn't find a trace of it. Frank Shorter's signature is fading. I was hoping for some kind of Voodoo to take place, the signatures on the hat would dissolve into my scalp, conveying the abilities of elite athletes into my body. I've had no such luck.
Still, I love my hat. It doesn't matter if all of the names are illegible. I know who I've met, and thinking about it on a long run helps move me down the road or trail.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Glucomotive News

In a couple of weeks, August 20th and 21st, I'll be running the Ragnar Great River Relay as part of the Glucomotive team of 12 runners with diabetes. One of our teammates, Anne Hospod, has a journalist friend who wrote an article about us for the Washington Times.