The 2017 cycling season has come to an end and it was another great year for the members of Team Novo Nordisk and their fans. We are just weeks away from the 2018 season and in the next week or so Team Novo Nordisk will be set to announce their 2018 roster. Before we can look forward we should take a look back, below are my personal top 5 moments in 2017 for Team Novo Nordisk. Below is moment number 5...
The month of October saw Team Novo Nordisk racing in China and Japan. While racing in China and Japan Team Novo Nordisk was seen in the top ten or just outside of the top ten for each and every stage. No matter where the team goes they have a very big following, the fans in China and Japan take it to another level however. Team members embraced the massive crowds and as always their social media stories will filled with pictures and videos of team members enjoying the company of the locals. The team has inspired 18yr old Pei Chen of Taiwan, in fact Pei attended the teams Talent ID camp in Georgia this past July. Pei is a leader in the diabetes community of Taiwan and an inspiration to us all. Thanks to Team Novo Nordisk the diabetes landscape is changing in China and Japan.
Sometimes we just stumble upon things that change how we view life. Below is an amazing story, I ask you to watch it. If this doesn’t make you cry, then you are a lot stronger than I am.
Who is Inquoris “Inky” Johnson? He could be described as the survivor of an underprivileged past. He could be described as a refugee of poverty and violence. He could be described as a success story stained by tragedy. But if you look deeper, you’ll discover something else.
Almost a month ago I wen to the doctor complaining of pain in my right shoulder and numbness in my pinky, and ring finger in my right hand. These symptoms are nothing new but something felt different and I believed going to the doctor to get everything checked would be the best plan of attack.
A little history lesson before we get to what has happened lately. Ten years ago I dealt with Paget-Schroetter Syndrome and had surgery. Post surgery I never got full feeling back in my right arm from my elbow to my breast. My pinky and ring finger would often be numb. For years I never really had a severe pain but more so a dull pain that was just there and made some movements tough.
I would go to see an orthopedic surgeon to get everything looked over. He would perform a number of tests to see how my strength and mobility were. I would then get a couple x-rays to make sure all was well with the bone. During the strength tests the doctor started to laugh and was like "ohh man". He would say the x-ray was fine but that my rotator cuff is not right. He suggested PT for a couple of months and go from there.
Present day, thanks to Kate I have some great people that have been taking care of me. The goal is to try and strengthen the muscles in my shoulder and back. Right now my shoulder caves in, obviously that isn't good and needs to be fixed. Surgery is an option but seems that it could be put off if my shoulder gets stronger and where it should be. Immediate surgery is not an option because of how weak the shoulder and muscles are. It would be better to strengthen the muscles before surgery, hence the two months of surgery.
It has taken a couple weeks of being "off" due to injury for me to miss running. Early on I wanted to fix my arm and understood running might not help. Last week I asked about running and was told "try it, I wouldn't run more than five miles but give it a shot" Thats what I have done and it has been interesting. I ran two miles for fun last Tuesday, a 5k Thursday and four miles yesterday. Each time it hasn't been good, don't get me wrong I can run no problem but have pain and can't feel my arm. I ran the 5k and finished in the top 100 but looked like my arm was in a sling during the race and after the race for about ten minutes. Yesterday it felt better while running but post run has been a little more painful.
I will be at PT on Wednesday morning and see what happens. I still plan on running a 50k in June. That means with or without surgery, I will find a way to do it. Having an athletic trainer by my side will help a lot moving forward. The truth is I want to be okay for the 50k but being perfect for a wedding is more important. I mean who would want shoulder pain on a honeymoon!! I'll keep everyone updated but for now all is good.
I often try to keep my son and daughter out of my blog posts, I believe that they need to learn about social media before they are all over it. The truth is they are a huge part of my diabetes life, my racing and training life. They know about my diabetes but they are three and five, they know my insulin as medicine and that it is taken with food.
This afternoon as we were setting up the Christmas tree they asked about my insulin pump and wanted to know how it worked. I was asked why the tubing goes into my pants, it’s the little things that they like to ask about. Kate and I explained that if it got caught on something it could hurt daddy. I was then asked how it all worked, luckily I had to change my pump site and was able to show them how everything works and what has to be done.
The questions continued and each one was answered to be the best of our ability. A minute later the kids were more worried about the ornaments on the tree they had decorated earlier. Having a diabetes moment with my children and future wife meant the world to me. The more my children know about me and my diabetes the better.
I have been on the pump for almost a week and the transition has been much smoother than I expected. I have been below my set range a little more often then I would like but I have made minor adjustments to try and fix this. One of the best things about the Medtronic 670G is the quick bolus option. I can now get two units of insulin in less than ten seconds with the pump, before two units of insulin on an older pump took maybe a minute. For whatever reason I love this, it makes me feel that the insulin works quicker and mimics an injection.
The biggest benefit from the pump is one that has never been researched or addressed. Before I say what is so great I must let it be known that I haven't been myself for a couple of months. I have been tired, unmotivated and quiet. I haven't been running because of an injury to my rotator cuff and figured that was the reason. I love my life, I love my children and get so much enjoyment from my life, that is no secret. Just look at my social media and or text messages and you will see that I'm an absolute goofball.
This past week the old me has come back. I have been coming from work with a lot of energy, talking more and being a kid. In all honesty I strongly believe it is because of the insulin pump. I believe that the constant feed of insulin has my body feeling better then it did when I was on injections. Is this because the pump mimics a pancreas? Would I be tired after work because I had not taken insulin in almost four hours?
Long acting insulins are always working so why would my body be "off"? As Kate and I drove to a wonderful family Thanksgiving dinner I asked her this question and was given an odd look but was also told "That could be the case, let me see if I can find anything on it." As an athletic trainer Kate is intrigued by the human body and searched the internet for an answer. We did not find one but it made for a great conversation as we made the drive through a remote section of Connecticut. My question to anyone that reads this, am I crazy or am I on to something? Has anyone else had this feeling?
After a year and a half of injections I have worked my way back to an insulin pump. As many of you know this has been a difficult decision but I believe going with the Medtronic 670G is the best for my diabetes management. Tomorrow is the start of the most difficult part of the transition, my body has been on injections and going from a long acting insulin to just a fast acting insulin will be difficult. I have my CGM all set so that should make the transition a little bit easier. I will be using the Dexcom CGM until I receive my Medtronic CGM in February.
That means that my pump will not be used to the best of its ability until then. That shouldn't stop me from having much better control then I have had as of late. With the pump transition comes the transition to working out and racing with an insulin pump. Next spring once the pump is fully working and has the ability to work on its own I believe running and cycling will become a little bit easier. Until then I will be suspending my pump before and during activities.
I'm also a little worried about my transition while working with the insulin pump. It is a major change to my daily routine and will take some time to adjust my rates. This means I could have a lot of blood sugars below or above my set range while at work. This should not affect my work but a blood sugar below my set range will mean a ten minute break so that I can get my blood sugar back in range. Obviously that is the last thing that I want but it does come with the territory.
For the past month I have not done anything when it comes to the gym or running. An injury to my right shoulder has me getting some physical therapy and the possibility of surgery in the early part of 2018. I have been cleared to run from the doctor which means I will be running a 5k Thanksgiving morning. That also means that the transition to the pump will be a little tougher. My body has been on a workout vacation which means I need a little more insulin each day. Going back to working out and the insulin pump will be interesting but I have knowledge of working out with an insulin pump which will help tremendously moving forward.
The next month will be a very interesting one but I'm determined to make this transition as smooth as possible.
World Diabetes Day is here and I am loving all of the positive posts and articles that I have been seeing on social media today. As many people know I'm a very positive person and look at diabetes as a gift, each day I wake up and am truly happy that I'm living with diabetes. Yes I have tough days, my blood sugars aren't always in range and I have my battles with ketones just like everyone else that is living with diabetes. On World Diabetes Day we celebrate Sir Fredrick Banting who was born on November 14th, his discovery of insulin was a game changer for anyone living with diabetes. On what would've been Sir Fredrick Bantings 126th birthday people living with diabetes all over the globe are living amazing lives with diabetes and changing the world.
The month of November has been amazing so far. I can not tell you the number of people that I have added or that have added me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Each person living with diabetes and doing so successfully, seeing their posts each and everyday shows me that diabetes is not winning. The diabetes landscape has changed!! Each person living with diabetes is taking control and living their dreams. Each person has a positive outlook and story when it comes to diabetes. I love seeing mothers and fathers posting statuses that are happy when it comes to their children living with diabetes. Be it a child giving themselves their first insulin injection or a child sleeping over a friends house, each moment is a celebration of life with diabetes. It is the little moments that mean the most when you are living with diabetes. I have been living with diabetes for twenty-seven years and after a night of watching football I arrived home and looked over my CGM reading for the past 12 hours and was amazed at how much time I spent in my set range. Like a child that just got the best birthday present ever I ran over to Kate and said "Look at this!! This is impressive!!" Her reaction and smile made my night!! Each day presents a challenge, it is celebrating those moments that makes living with diabetes so great!!
The diabetes community is so strong and is only getting stronger!! All I know is my life with diabetes, I don't know what it is like to be on the other side. I don't know what it would be like to care for a son, daughter or loved one with diabetes. Living with diabetes is a team effort and I think we all owe the caregivers a sincere thank you today. If we did not have them who knows where we would be. Personally I can't thank everyone who is a part of my life for all that they do when it comes to me and my life with diabetes. This goes far beyond my family, it is the coworkers that buy me a juice when my blood sugar is out of range. The friends that make the trip to NYC with me when I have a race. It is "Minnie" and "Sharky" saying "medicine" when I give myself my insulin before dinner. The sweet yet nervous 2am gentle wakeup from Kate telling me that our phones are beeping because my blood sugar is out of range. The smile on my nurse and doctors face when they see my A1C. The students that ask me to mentor them for their senior project on diabetes. The middle school and high school students that have hugged me after hearing me talk and thank me because they know someone living with diabetes. It is the emails from people with the best pro cycling team in the world that give me the confidence to chase my dreams. It is the countless emails with a woman that I have never met but that has helped me as a blogger countless times. It is a group of teenagers riding their bikes in Atlanta chasing their dream. This list could go on for days and days, for anyone that has been a part of my life for the past twenty-six years THANK YOU!!! I couldn't be doing the things that I am doing without you!!
It has taken almost thirty-five years but I have finally learned how to speak up for myself. This is huge especially when it comes to living with diabetes. For so long I have always thought I could work through a blood sugar that is out of range. I would get some fast acting sugar and be on my way, in fact that did nothing but serve as a very quick fix.
Today while at work, my blood sugar was falling out of range and my boss paged me over the intercom. I quickly paid for my “snack” and headed off to see what my boss needed. What was waiting for me was a boss with an hour long job that needed to get done immediately. I told him I’d have no problem getting it done but needed about twenty minutes before I started. He looked at my orange juice and said “No problem, go eat and then get this done.” He didn’t yell at me or say no, that would never happen but for some reason I always thought it would.
It still bothers me that I need some time to fix my blood sugar but I’m happy that I can finally be okay with saying “I need to fix this before I do that”. It also helps that I have some great coworkers that totally get me and understand everything that comes along with my diabetes.
The 2017 cycling season officially came to an end on Sunday for the members of Team Novo Nordisk. The season comes to an end with all team members smiling as Novo Nordisk has signed on as the title sponsor for another two years. After this announcement was made at the end of September you could see a difference in the riders as they posted post race videos and photos for the rest of the 2017 season. A tremendous weight had been lifted off of the team, from the outside you could tell all of the members were pushing themselves harder then they ever had before because they knew that they were fighting for their jobs.
2017 saw some tremendous steps forward as the team continues their fight towards the Tour de France. From wearing the most aggressive riders jersey to a few late season top tens, 2017 was about waiting until next year. Team Novo Nordisk is a very young team that used 2017 to build for the future. Sam Brand, Quentin Valognes, and Reid McClure are the future and spent 2017 learning how to ride together. It is teamwork that will ultimately have Team Novo Nordisk in the Tour de France, right now 2017 looks like a down year as the team has slid down to 131st in the PCS Team Rankings. In the coming years it will be the 2017 season that will define the team, 2017 is the year the young guns got their shot and right now we don't know what that means but when the team makes the Tour de France or wins a stage of a World Tour race it will be the 2017 season that we look back on.
Off of the bike Team Novo Nordisk continues to change the diabetes world!! Race after race people living with diabetes flock to the team and want to see these amazing individuals living with diabetes racing against the best in the world. The team is showing that diabetes will not stop anyone and that if you can dream it then you can do it, diabetes will not stop you!! Race after race you see families posting photos on social media of their children that are living with diabetes standing with their heroes. It is this that makes Team Novo Nordisk a force to be reckon with as we move forward.
The next few weeks will quiet for Team Novo Nordisk but before you know it we will be finding out who makes the 2018 roster and which races the team will compete in. Look for 2018 to be a breakthrough year for the team as they come into the season with no pressure, this is a young team that works hard but likes to have fun. The smilies of the riders will be seen more in 2018 as the team comes together to put riders to the front of the peloton.
Growing up I always dreamed about playing in the Boston Garden, I dreamed I’d be a guard like Danny Ainge, hitting three pointers and diving on the floor for the loose ball. That dream happened but it was in high school, at the time I thought my sports career was over. Maybe I would play in a recreational softball league but nothing that would be on a grand stage.
I then was given the opportunity of a lifetime, I was offered a spot in the NYC marathon and my world changed. At the time I didn’t realize what running the NYC marathon meant. I was caught up in the glitz and glamor of the race, I figured I’d be back and running another marathon.
Four years later, I have run a 50k but not another marathon. The truth is I miss it and need that challenge again. Don’t get me wrong I love running the 50k but I miss the history of the marathon. I miss the huge crowd, I miss the crowd as I slowly made my way into Central Park. Nothing will ever match the sound as runners cross the finish line.
My worry is that a smaller marathon will not have the same atmosphere as NYC. As the 2018 season comes closer I will have to sit down and plan my racing schedule. No matter what the schedule brings it will be a very busy season filled with amazing races!!
Anytime that I'm on the bike or running my mind is always focused on the task at hand but it also does a lot of thinking. After being at work, I went for a nice four mile run along the water. As I began I started to think about how tired I was and how did I get to this point. Seven years ago I would have went home and slept until dinner. I remember when I got my first bike, many people said "cycling, you will do that for a year and never do it again"
Seven years later and I'm still on the bike and have picked up running. It took me almost twenty-six years to learn but if you want see change or do well at something you have to work. You don't just do the basics, you have to be fully committed. When you're tired or would rather nap or sit on the beach that is when you need to train. My lifestyle now is one that is a very active lifestyle, I need to be doing something. I often over do it but I love that tired feeling at the end of the day, feeling tired tells me that I did something with my day. When you put the time and effort in it is very tough to have a bad day.
It is amazing what life gives us, it challenges us and the challenge is tough. If you accept the challenge you will see amazing things. I often get mad that I didn't accept the challenge that diabetes gave me when I was younger, who knows where I would be, I'd like to think that I'd be on one of the Team Novo Nordisk teams but I'm just happy that I can still dream and work my butt off to be the best athlete and person I can be while living with diabetes.
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