Why I run for Team Diabetes

My sister is a brittle diabetic.

Since about 2004 my sister Dana has been through a turmoil of information and emotions. For years she had battled illness causing drastic weight loss, and a low immune system. She’s been on a roller coaster with her health. Finally, she seemed to have gotten under control, what appeared to be Candida. After carefully limiting yeasts, carbs and sugars, she was back at a healthy weight and feeling better than in a long time.

The cycle began again. Within a matter of months her weight plummeted 30+ pounds to a level that left many inquiring after her health, and again came an onset of infections. While in a walk-in clinic for bronchitis, she mentioned to the doctor the concern about her weight loss, and low immune system, as well as her observations of being thirsty most of the time, and that she thought she needed new glasses.

In October 2007 Dana learned that she has Type 1 Diabetes. When tested, her sugars were at 29. Dana is and always will be insulin dependent. It is uncommon to be diagnosed Type 1 (or Juvenile Diabetes) outside of childhood. My sister was 30. There have been many, many lifestyle changes for her and a great deal of ongoing learning. Dana experienced her first two seizures (back to back) three months after her diagnosis. Since then she has experienced a multitude of health complications from recurring infections due to her compromised immune system, to kidney problems requiring multiple procedures, drastically fluctuating body weight, wrist and foot complications, vision problems and all of the challenges that come along with accepting this disease for what it is (incurable) and incorporating all of the dramatic changes required to live with it.

At the present time my 34 year old sister is unable to work, live alone, or drive a car on the highway.

After MANY challenges with balancing her blood sugars Dana eventually ended up on an insulin pump. While this has saved her many needles each day, it has not stabilized her blood sugar levels for any significant period of time.

My sister has approximately 10-15 medical practitioners she works with on a regular basis. She sees her family doctor weekly, an endocrinologist, neurologist, urologist, gynecologist, diabetic nurse, social worker, and more. She carries a heavy bag with emergency/back-up supplies of insulin, testing strips and monitor, snacks, water and more with her everywhere she goes. Walking to the mailbox can cause her sugars to plummet. A change in stress levels can cause them to skyrocket. Everywhere she goes she must ask careful questions about the food she eats, watching for sugar content, carbohydrates, as well as her many allergens. She has had to instruct those of us who accompany her places how to recognize when her blood sugars are at dangerous levels and need to be adjusted immediately.

I first ran for Team Diabetes one year after Dana was diagnosed, in 2008 at the Okanagan (Half) Marathon. Last year I ran the Bluenose 10k for Team D. My daughters (and my spouse) are mine and my sister’s biggest cheerleaders. They ran in the youth run at the Bluenose last year, and after they finished my oldest told me that she wanted to run a 5k for Team Diabetes at the next Bluenose event. She is now ten years old and we are signed up to run together.

Please help Breanna and I do something that will have an impact on the life of my sister, my grandfather, my friends Jason and Deborah, and the many other millions of people with Diabetes in Canada.

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