I encourage everyone to wear yellow tomorrow as well. We all know of someone that has been affected by cancer, wear yellow to honor them and to show them that no matter what happens you are supporting them.
This past Friday I wrote a blog about my idol, Lance Armstrong. For the past week I was very surprised to see at the number of people that have been supporting Lance. I always believed that if Lance was found guilty of doping that his work for cancer patients would trump any bike race that he had won. I'm very happy that I was right, Rick Reilly wrote one of the best blogs that showed his support for Lance Armstrong and cancer. I encourage everyone to read what Rick Reilly wrote.
I encourage everyone to wear yellow tomorrow as well. We all know of someone that has been affected by cancer, wear yellow to honor them and to show them that no matter what happens you are supporting them.
For those that don't know, I really don't like my birthday. When asked why I don't like my birthday I give the easy answer, "I don't like the attention.". That is true but that is not the complete answer.
The dislike of my birthday started when I was about fifteen, the same time I started not taking care of myself. The dislike has gotten a lot stronger as time has gone on. This is hard to say and hard to hear, I don't like my birthday because I don't like myself. Why should I celebrate my life when until a couple years ago I did nothing with it. I had every chance to do something with my life and every time I wasted it. I honestly never thought I would see my 30th birthday, at age 23 I thought I'd be dead by now. I knew the road I was going down and I knew how it would end. I had no problem accepting my fate either, it did not bother me. Death sounded good to me then, I was tired of feeling like crap and I didn't want to fix it. I just wanted it to end.
My birthday is now my wedding anniversary, that is when I was born again. Yes it took a little time to get where I should be but if it wasn't for Leanne I would not be alive today. Leanne is the one that deserves all of the credit, she fixed me and she has been the driving force behind everything that I do. I thank god for everyday now and try to make life a little easier for others so they don't have to go through the pain that I did. Life is a wonderful thing and once you learn that all the little things, like clothes, cars, and money don't matter. It is the people in our life that mean the most and I can't thank everyone that is a part of my life enough for what they have done for me these past three years. On Monday I will greatly appreciate the well wishes not because of what they say but because of who they came from.
After missing a month of training I have learned to truly appreciate how lucky I am to ride a bike at the level that I do. I have known that just being on the bike will not help me progress as a bike rider. However all I did was ride my bike, I would do a little weight work now and again but nothing on a consistent basis. The truth is I'm a little bit afraid of what I could do on the bike, if I really trained and was scared to race I could be a lot better then I am now.
I don't want to be stuck in a routine, this past week I had a tough break that I can't discuss, nothing major but something that gave me an extra little kick in the butt. I want to get better as a cyclist, diabetic, husband, and student. As a cyclist I have to stop being so afraid to fail, I need to train seriously and not just ride the bike. Today I started to change up my training, I headed to the high school to do some running. I'm not a great runner but I decided to run for 30 minutes and see where my body was at. As usual I started way to fast and ran my first mile in 8:12, me second mile came in at 9:31 and my last mile was clocked at 9:56. Clearly I went out way to fast, I have no clue how to pace myself as a runner or as a cyclist. I can add that to the list of things that I need to work on. I felt great after my run, my legs were a little tired but my morale was up and I'm excited to keep running. The running can only help and I'm excited to take that next step as a cyclist. My next goal is to start riding with the local bike shop guys. I'm scared to ride with them because I don't want to embarrass myself, sounds like the same reason I stopped taking care of myself back in high school. I'm not going down that road ever again with anything that I do, I need to suck it up and ride with the big boys.
“There’s only one rule: The guy who trains the hardest, the most, wins. Period. Because you won’t die. Even though you feel like you’ll die, you don’t actually die. Like when you’re training, you can always do one more. Always. As tired as you might think you are, you can always, always do one more… If you overtrained, it means that you didn’t train hard enough to handle that level of training, so you weren’t overtrained; you were actually undertrained to begin with. So there’s the rule again: The guy who trains the hardest, the most, wins.”
– Floyd Landis
For the past two years I have taken a multi vitamin, 81mg aspirin and fish oil before I have my breakfast. I take the vitamin to make sure I'm getting the vitamins I need in case my diet is not providing enough of the essential vitamins. The asprin is a make shift blood thinner, after my surgery I was on coumadin and once that prescription was done it was suggested that I take a daily aspirin to keep my blood good to less than chances of another clot. Finally the fish oil is used as a lubracant for joints, after being on the bike that first month my hips were very sore and the fish oil has been working ever since. Now that we know why I take what I do we can get down to the main reason for tonights blog. Does the multi vitamin have an effect on my insulin??
Today I was running a lot lower than usual, I was 90 at 9am and took 1.3 units to cover my peanut butter crackers. An hour later I was down to 41, I quickly pounded a regular soda, ate a cookie and had four more crackers. At 11am I was at 78. The only time I was higher than normal was when I shut down my pump to go for a bike ride. While at work I wondered what kind of effect the vitamin may have on my insulin. What I found was an article from the Livestrong website. It doesn't explain to much but hints that multivitamins may effect the amount of insulin that is needed.
My conclusion is that it may have been an odd day, I will pay closer attention to my blood sugar levels tomorrow as well as the response to the amount of insulin I take.
As an early birthday present my wife and I headed to Fenway Park with a couple of close friends to enjoy a Red Sox game. Although the Red Sox season has been a disaster nothing beats heading to a game towards the end of summer. My diabetic mind was not as excited however, I have been to a lot of Red Sox games and for some reason my blood sugar is always high after the game. I have always been cautious of the foods that I eat and always take extra insulin but usually nothing works. A pregame meal at Remys consisted of a veggie burger and a couple of beers, nothing crazy I didn't want to be 300 around the first pitch. I did something right because all night I was hovering around 150. During the game I had my normal pretzel and water but nothing would effect my blood sugar on this night.
With a great blood sugar and great company we started to do some research on the Royals right fielder. We had great seats and could easily yell to the right fielder. The Royals right fielder is a man by the name of Jeff Francoeur, a name that my friend and I knew but we couldn't figure out who he played with before the Royals. Thanks to smartphones we were able to Google Jeff and find out rather easily, what we also found was this great article!!! After reading that I thought to myself that this guy is the man, I decided not to heckle him but instead I would see if he wanted some of my pretzel. For a majority of the game I yelled to Jeff and offered him some of my pretzel. After getting a look or two I decided to see if he wanted some chowder between innings, again a laugh or two. As the game went in to extra innings I decided that I'd see if he wanted to go grab a few Sam Adams' after the game. Again I got a few laughs, I'm not sure if he enjoyed the food offers but he made my night. To often we hear about how athletes make millions and don't embrace fans. Jeff is a throwback, he plays the game for the love of baseball, he has a lot of fun while he plays a game and he also realizes that he has a gift and is very lucky to be where he is. It was great to see and I wish more pro athletes would have fun while playing a game.
I can't thank my wife enough for the tickets and the close friends who joined us, it was a great night with great people and great blood sugars.
As everyone knows I'm a huge fan of Lance Armstrong, I can remember back to 1995 when he won the eighteenth stage of the tour de France and finished 36th overall. At the time I was thirteen and thought about how great it would be to see an American win the tour. For the next three years I would follow the tour but not very closely, I never saw Lance and had no clue that he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Then in 1999 Lance made his come back and won the first stage of the tour. On July 13, 1999 I became a fan of road cycling and of Lance Armstrong. Seeing Lance win seven tours was amazing but I was always more impressed with the work he did for the cancer community.
Lance was one of the reasons I got my life back, hearing his story motivated me in so many ways. Cancer is far worse than diabetes, diabetics are lucky we have total control over our disease. Cancer is not as forgiving, sometimes a patient with cancer will get the drugs and treatment they need but in the end they will lose the battle. When I was at my lowest point I thought things couldn't be worse, I thought of lance and how close to death he was and how he fought back and ended up being one of the most successful cyclists ever. At that moment I dedicated myself to being the Lance Armstrong of diabetes. I would never achieve what he had on the bike but I knew I could get diabetes the awareness that cancer has gotten because of Lance.
When I got an alert on my phone last night that Lance Armstorng was all but giving up his fight that he was innocent of doping my heart sank. Here is a man that has raised awareness for cancer, saved lives and done so much for so many and all people will talk about is how he cheated in cycling. Is it right that he cheated, am I angry that he caught? No, but I look at it like major league baseball. Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds all broke home run records with the help of steroids but they also saved baseball!! People seem to let those three men get away with cheating but lance saved American cycling and helped millions of cancer patients. What I'm asking is that people don't forget what he has done for cancer. You can call him whatever you want when you talk about him as a cyclist. But this is a man that has been one deaths doorstep and has fought back and that has done more good in fifteen years post cancer than many people will do in a lifetime. Cheater or not I will always be a supporter of Lance Armstrong and the Livestrong foundation.
For the past week or between 7am and 9am have been very tough to figure out. For some odd reason my blood sugar likes to spike right around 730, I typically eat around 6am and take my insulin five minutes before I eat. Over this week I have changed the cereal that I eat and have had no luck eliminating that spike. Today I decided to see how a couple of eggs and two gluten free waffles would treat me. With 33 carbs in my breakfast I took two units of insulin and hoped for the best. As I started my day at work I started to worry that because my pump had not beeped alerting me that my blood sugar had gone over the 140 limit that I have set. When I finally looked down at my pump it read 95, I was ecstatic but then realized that my blood sugar would be dropping because of the five mile walk I was on. I was prepared with peanut butter crackers and Gatorade which helped me from going below 70.
Tomorrow I have a feeling it will be another breakfast of waffles, when I get in a groove I hate to change anything. It could be pure luck but I'm looking forward to finding out how my body reacts to the new meal.
It only took about twenty four hours but I have gotten back in to my normal routine.Other than an odd spike yesterday morning my blood sugars are right where they should be. Yesterday I decided to get back on the bike and see how everything felt, what I got was the feeling I had when I first got my road bike. I felt like a kid again, I was riding and enjoying every second of it. My route would only be twenty miles and I had planned on riding just to ride and to get my rhythm and form back, what I got was even better. With just over three miles left in my ride I saw that I was going to be close to finishing the ride in under one hour. I have not done that route at that speed since March, for those next three miles I did all that I could to try and finish in under one hour. Sadly I did not finish in under one hour but I did feel amazing which trumps any time limit that I would have beaten. My legs felt strong, my breathing was steady and post ride I wasn't tired. I was a little sore but that will go away with time. I'm just happy to finally be back at 100 percent.
After a mini vacation tomorrow will bring a dose of reality. With a hectic week ahead of me I'm happy to be feeling better. I finished my antibiotics this morning and should be all done with this two month long battle with whatever is messing with my body. In true Ryan fashion I will get right back on the bike and test my body immediately. I need my busy work life, the bike and my wife for my life to work. (Not in that order) I love my daily routines and without them I'm honestly lost. My diabetes also needs its normal days back, I figured out that my higher blood sugars this weekend were due to the amount of insulin I usually take. When I'm not active I need a lot more insulin obviously, I should have switched my basal rates to cover my inactivity. Live and learn I guess. It was a great weekend with good friends and amazing family. I'm truly blessed to have the life that I have.
My sensor is back to normal and it was nice to have the cgm all day. I had way to many spikes, a lot of walking made it a lot tougher to gauge how much insulin was needed. It was another great day but I'm exhausted!!
After all the nice things I said about my sensor and how I never have problems, I had a lot of problems today. The pump read 312 and I was at 180 around 9am. Around 11am it read 55 and I was 120, then around noon the dreaded bad sensor appeared. I was overdue for a problem or two, but I wish it was not today. But these things happen and all things went very smoothly today.
As everyone is aware I have not been myself physically this summer. My body has been off since early June and is just now getting back to normal. With my brothers wedding in New York City this weekend my body decided to get in one more trick. On Wednesday morning I left work before lunch because it hurt to talk, and swallowing hurt more than a punch to the face. I would go to my primary care doctor where he informed me that I have strep throat. When informed of having strep I kind of chuckled and thought what is going on inside my body? Have I had some kind of virus for a couple months that my body has been fighting. Is my body just now letting whatever has been inside my body win, I don't know. I was given antibiotics and took today off from work. Taking a day off was tough but I need the rest and the last thing I want is to me sick and not enjoy my brothers wedding. My blood sugars have been where they should be, I've just had no motivation and have been in bed a lot.
I will be in NYC until Sunday morning, I will do my best to update my blog while away but I can't promise anything. I will make every effort to write something, I will definitely be uploading pictures of my blood sugars however. Vacations are always fun, blood sugars are often all over the place and my routine is off. Being a bit under the weather I will try my best to eat healthy.
This evening I was honored to have dinner with a couple of people that are living with diabetes. One of them was diagnosed earlier in the summer and is new to everything diabetes wise. The one who is newly diagnosed will be a freshman in high school this fall. The dinner felt a bit like a first date, we all know why we are there we just don't know how to start the conversation. Luckily we all needed to test before eating, I'm sure a lot of people around us were concerned with what was going on but nothing breaks the ice like three diabetics testing their blood sugar in a restaurant. For the rest of the evening the soon to be college student and I discussed our experiences as diabetics and how much it has helped us as people. Then came the questions about the pump and the everyday concerns of a newly diagnosed diabetic. The night was great and I love to help out a fellow diabetic. I'm not the best role model but I can tell you what I have seen and how I'd never want anyone to experience what I experienced for ten years.
After dinner the drive home was very emotional. When I'm speaking to younger diabetics I feel like I was put in a time machine and I'm seeing myself when I was that age. I have had quite the turnaround these past three years but I can't help to wonder about what if. What if I had a second chance, would I do it right or would I go down the same road. I don't know but as much as I like helping other diabetics I can't help but worry about everyone I talk with. This is tough to hear but the 13yr old that I spoke with is going to see some great diabetes moments but will also see a lot of tough times. The lows that might bring anger or depression, the girls that won't talk to him because of diabetes, the kids that will pick on him, getting low while playing sports with friends, the list goes on and on. As diabetics we all learn to live with the side effects but I can't help but feel for the preteen diabetics that don't know about all of the complications that come with the disease. I still believe that having diabetes is a gift and makes those effected by the disease are better people for having it. But getting to a place where you truly understand your body and your disease is very tough but once you do you can't help but to enjoy everything the world has to offer.
Summer is so great but being able to spend a summer night with my wife, father in law, and brother in law is special. We often don't realize classic moments until it is to late but tonight I believe we all realized what a great night it was. What we did was nothing special, what was special was the conversation and the randomness. Dinner at our favorite Italian pizza place/bar is great but again the conversation was better. Just random hilarious stories. The only negative was that I did use my once a week normal eat out card. I had a great ham and cheese grinder and fries, I hate to use my "free" meal so early in the week but it is not the end of the world.
To wrap up the night a trip to Dairy Queen was planned, I passed on the ice cream but again enjoyed the company. Once everyone had their dessert then the fun started. The DQ parking lot is very small and watching a man back in to a motorcycle with his van was very comical. It was a random but very fun evening and having my blood sugars in the low 100s I was able to enjoy the night and not worry about what my sugars were doing. All that was missing was Tracey. :)
I'm often asked what do you do to stay so fit. After they hear about my crazy cycling they quickly ask about my diet and want to know what changes they can make to be a little healthier. The truth is that you don't have to be weird like me and eat foods like quinoa and millet. You can make very small changes that will get you to stay at the weight your at or even drop a few pounds. All it takes is self control and understanding what is going in to your body.
ELIMINATE CHIPS, FRIES, and FAST FOOD
For years I ate way more fast food then I should have, I also had to have chips or fries with any sandwich that I ate. When I started to learn about a healthy diet my first concern was, what will I eat with my sandwiches at lunch if I can't have chips?!?!? The answer is very simple, Chex cereal or almonds. A word of warning about almonds, they are very high in fat, 1oz or 24 almonds have an astounding 14 grams of fat. Almonds are a great source of healthy monounsaturated fats, that reduce the risk of heart disease. This doesn't mean almonds are great to snack on, but if you only take 10 almonds with you for lunch your in great shape. You will get the healthy fats that you need but will not be putting in so many almonds that it is adding bad fats to your body. A great alternative is Chex cereal. Chex is low in fat and high in fiber, they also taste great dry. Give them a shot with your lunch and I promise that you will enjoy it.
GET RID OF SUGARY DRINKS
Initially this paragraph was going to bad mouth soda then I realized that is not fair to soda. Americans take in almost a half of their daily calories from fluids. Drinks like Gatorade, Soda and juice drinks like HI C are evil. These drinks have nothing but sugar and empty calories. A can of soda has 140 calories and supplies nothing nutritious to your body. I'm human, I like soda and will have it with dinner once a week. It is usually one 16oz glass of diet coke, that fills my need and won't do a lot of bad to my body. So what do you drink if you can't drink soda, it's not very exciting but water does nothing but good for your body. That does not mean to stock up on flavored waters, flavored waters often have calories and artificial sweeteners which you want to stay away from. Plain water is the best thing, if you really need some kind of flavor for your water, cut up an orange and squeeze a little bit of the juice in to your water. You will be getting that slight orange taste but without all the artificial. A person that I work with gave up soda in April, he has since lost 15lbs and that was the only change he made to his diet. If that doesn't sell you on water I don't know what will.
I could go on and on for days but those two tips will help get the ball rolling. Take the time to read labels when you are shopping, if it is high in calories and high in fat put it back on the shelf and find a healthy alternative. The healthy foods are right in our super markets we just have to find them. For those who want to read labels before going to the store I suggest visiting Self Nutrition Data. This is a great site that you can type in any food and instantly get of the nutrition facts for that food or meal. It also has great articles about nutrition.
With no tornado watch this afternoon I could finally get back on the bike!! Imagine someone taking away your favorite activity for two weeks, if it is something your very passionate about your days don't seem the same without it. The bike is not the most important thing in my life by any means but today I started to realize just how much it means to my life. Everyone knows that the bike helps with my diabetes, keeping me in shape, and as stress reliever but in two years I have turned in to that weird guy that rides his bike everywhere. Today for example my wife had a reunion at a camp that has been a part of her life for over twenty years, it was important that I make an appearance, shake some hands, and meet some of her camp friends. When I first heard about the event I instantly thought maybe I could ride my bike there. Luckily I have an amazing wife who doesn't mind if her husband shows up in spandex to an event.
The ride went so well, my body felt amazing. I was back to my old self, I was flying down hills, taking turns at high speeds and enjoying every second of it. It's amazing that after two weeks I rode as well as I did, my legs are a little sore but I believe they are as happy as I am to be back on the bike. I always say "Go big or go home" and I decided to ride any hill that was close to the route I had planned. I wanted to beat my body up and enjoy every second of being out of breath as I climbed. I felt so good that I decided to sprint the final 500 meters, mentally I felt like I was the man in the video below. I rode nothing like this video (sprint starts at 28 seconds) but for me it was nice to sprint and hit 28mph and know that all is good with my body and my diabetes.
After being on the "disabled list" for two weeks I couldn't wait for my work day to end so I could jump on my bike. All day I thought about how great it would be to ride for an hour or two. The rush of taking a turn at 20mph, sprinting past cars in Watch Hill, and the joy of being back on the bike. I couldn't wait and then around 2:30 it started to rain, I thought perfect my first day back and I can ride in my favorite weather!! Then the thunder and lightning started and my excitement quickly vanished. Getting back on the bike will have to wait until tomorrow.
I got a mini workout in just before we left work for the day. The Cavanaugh dynasty always made fun games to pass the time when it rained. Today I brought back a couple of the games and kicked some college kid butt in the events. We use a lift in the garage for standing box jumps and the open space near it to do a standing long jump. I believe I set a club record in the standing box jump, I set the mark at 41 and 3/4 inches. I'm not sure if Dave Cavanaugh has gone higher but I'm sure he will let me know. I also was able to jump 8ft in the standing long jump, I'm positive John and or Dave Cavanaugh have beaten that mark though.
Blood sugar wise things have been ok except for a very very odd spike around 730, I quickly went from 100 to 340 in about a half hour and then back down to 130 in the following half hour. Very odd I just hope that it doesn't happen again any time soon. I honestly thought my pump was malfunctioning, I had no clue why this was happening.
After a couple of ultra sounds on my heart I was relieved to find out that my heart is very healthy. My tests started with a resting ultrasound of my heart, the woman performing my ultrasound remembered me from when she performed the ultrasound on my chest to find the blood clot, we joked that similar results today would not be a good thing. After the ultrasound I was brought to a room with a treadmill where my EKG would be performed. After explaining the test I was attached to the machines and cleared to start the test. After twelve minutes of easy walking, the test went to a speed of 3.5mph and a 14% grade, at this point my heart rate finally got out of the 120s and went to 140 before the test went to 4mph and a 16 % grade. As my heart rate increased to 160 I begin breathing a little heavier and a small PVC showed up as my heart rate increases. The doctor ordered a stop to the test a few minutes later and I was to head right over to the table where another ultrasound would be performed. My heart rate quickly fell back to its normal range and the ultrasound showed no problems. After a nice chat with the doctor we discussed what could be the problem and decided that the doctor would look over the blood test and look for any abnormalitys.
Part of me feels better that I was cleared to get back to cycling but a part of me wants to know why I've been so tired the past month. Only time will tell what is going on, until then it is back to the bike and back to crazy workouts. I have missed it and can't wait to pedal all over southern Rhode Island!!!
Last night after a very nice dinner with my wife my diabetes decided that it wanted my attention for a while. Around 9pm my blood sugar was at 94 and I felt good as I got ready for bed. Around midnight my pump let me know that my blood sugar was above 139, I thought nothing of it and went back to sleep. At 3am I was waken up by my pump again and this time saw that I was 250, I quickly swore at myself and took two units of insulin. I woke with a blood sugar of 91 and was happy things were back to normal. A note to everyone, pasta kicks in a lot later than most foods.
My work day involved a lot of walking and a couple times of needing rest to shortness of breath. All in all it was a good day diabetes wise as my sugars stayed in range for most of the day. Also I feel that I should explain why I worked so hard today, I have no diagnosis of what is wrong with me just yet, until I do I will continue to work as if nothing is wrong. I suffer from Wally Pipp disease. For those who don't know the story of Wally Pipp, he was the first baseman for the Yankees that allegedly took a day off because of a headache. Lou Gehrig would start in his place and would be the starting first baseman for the next 2,130 games. Pipp would not see first base again with glove in hand in Yankee Stadium. I'm nuts I know but until I have a diagnosis of what is wrong with me I don't plan on slowing down.
Getting back on the bike probably was not a good idea. I have never yawned on a bike until today, I was happy to be on the bike but twenty minutes in to the ride I felt sluggish and had no motivation. When I climbed a very small hill of maybe a 2% grade and saw my heart rate climb to 170 I knew that I needed to head home and get off the bike. Again not the best idea to ride but I needed to do something to see if my body was really "off". I can't wait for Thursday so I can finally get some answers.
Diabetes wise today went well until the bike ride, usually when I return from a ride I'm around 100 and feel strong. Today I was 170 and felt like garbage, I took six units of insulin to cover my temp basal and the fig newtons I was to eat after cleaning up. A few hours later I was still around 200, again I don't know what is going on but it needs to be fixed so I can get back to 50 mile bike rides and enjoying my usual routines.
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