Saturday, December 1, 2012

Why Run a 5K?

It's hard to believe all that's happened this year. The holidays often make us think of past years, our last Thanksgiving or Christmas, or the people that were with us then. I've changed so much since last December. Christmas, after all, was right before my life unraveled. I was totally unprepared for what I was about to go through. If you've read Battlefield, this is probably old news. As for an update, I have done some volunteering, went on a walk for diabetes, and have good control once more.

I just read a story about a 6 year old girl who almost died from diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). She was thought to have the flu, but it was diabetes that was making her sick. DKA is caused by extremely elevated blood sugars and usually requires immediate hospitalization. The doctors told her family to say their goodbyes, she had been losing consciousness, but luckily she was able to pull through. It's hard to hear others go through struggles like that-it's devastating for a family. No parent wants to have their child go through that.

I had a similar experience with severe DKA a couple months ago, and my body almost shut down. It's this experience that caused me to become fearful, and to give up the fight you might have read in Battlefield. It took me till early October to tell my parents about the experience; I was home alone when it happened. My parents knew that I was suffering from anxiety (turns out it was blood sugar related) and not checking my blood sugar. They didn't know about the heart issues or how my vision would blur. Or how my muscles would freeze up every night, and the mornings I woke up numb and confused. A couple days after the experience, I didn't know how to bring it up to them. At first I didn't want them to worry. Then I felt like it was too late to talk about it. I should have been hospitalized for DKA that day, but instead I accidentally overdosed in a hazy panic to lower my blood sugar. Overdosing caused me to have a severe hypoglycemic episode, and that's when it got dangerous. All the insulin hit at once.

I almost fell asleep, the crash caused me to be become disoriented. Somehow I got myself up and wandered downstairs and into the garage. Almost lost consciousness there and started to go back to my room, but I couldn't walk straight or keep my balance. Or bend my fingers, I had no use of them. I didn't realize my situation until I lost my sense of touch and taste. My tongue was strangely tingly, and the sensation itself was overpowering. My blood was nearly the consistency of water when I pricked my finger. Even though I knew now what was happening, I couldn't open any of the containers. I couldn't lift the milk container, so I dropped it, and I started to forget what I was doing. Eventually I was able to find something that wasn't in a package or a container, and at that point had to practically inhale sugar. At one point I picked up a phone, but had trouble pressing the buttons and remembering any numbers. Basically I was a 100 year old woman with a 17 year old soul. Or a mindless zombie, searching for sugar instead of flesh. Take your pick.

By the time my parents got home in the evening, my blood sugars were in the 200's and I was exhausted. The rest you probably know. But if I had fallen asleep in my bed, which I almost did, my parents probably wouldn't have found me in time. Considering my symptoms, the amount of time it took for my blood sugar to rise, and the fact my meter couldn't even register my blood sugar at first, there's no way I could have woken up on my own. I almost blacked out several times in the kitchen, which would've been safer because it would've been obvious that I was unconscious and not simply sleeping.

So I decided a couple months ago to run a 5K. I've always been afraid to run a 5K because of my diabetes and the risk involved. But I can't truly say diabetes doesn't stop me from anything until I do. So now I'm turning into a health nut, and I'm going to run the 5K in the spring. Diabetes has taught me not only to value life, but to persevere and to be ambitious. In order for there to be change, there needs to be action. Wishing didn't change my situation, but action did. It's hard, and you have to face your demons, but it's worth it. And I'm not perfect. I can be stubborn. Occasionally I need someone to throw bricks at my head. I avoid conflict like the plague, though conflict usually isn't a problem. I can be too quiet at times, sometimes too hyper. But I'm always learning, and that's how it should be. I laugh at my mistakes all the time, I make lots of them. I'm fine being imperfect, because life isn't about being perfect. It's about creating moments, helping others, and enjoying the small things. It's about a journey with no destination. I'm so thankful to be healthy again, to be able to feel like myself, and I'm thankful for amazing family and friends. I could have avoided so many health problems if I had only been open with my parents, and that's a lesson I'll never forget.

I guess most people figure there's only one major hill to get over in life, just one challenge, and then everything will be fine. But often times we're put through trial after trial before we come into the clear. I'm in the clear, and I'm running.


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