Here are a few pictures from our event!
On Thursday, April 4th, we collaborated with Madison B-Cycle to spread awareness of Tour de Cure. We were able to reach UW-Madison students, staff and visitors by providing extra information, free merchandise and a convenient way to sign up for the race. Similar events will occur on campus this April, so be sure to check for future dates on our Facebook or Twitter pages.
Here are a few pictures from our event!
The ADA Tour de Cure 2013 Kick-Off Event was a success! Over 40 people attended the event last Sunday at Badger Bowl to learn about Tour de Cure and have some fun. There were stations about the different types of ride routes, website and fundraising, the Red Riders program, team captains, and ADA programs and services. Afterwards, the Kick-Off teams enjoyed a DJ and bowling!
Kick-Off team members had a great time while learning a lot at the event! Team members visited different informational stations throughout the event, and one of the stations included a bike demo. Thanks to all who came and supported the Madison Tour de Cure 2013!
On Tuesday November 27th, 2012 a team of UW-Madison students involved in Bucky™ PR woke up at the crack of dawn, bundled up for the cool weather, and hammered wooden stakes into the frozen ground. In honor of diabetes month, the signs were created to educate UW students on many health risks faced by those diagnosed with diabetes. Bucky™ PR is a student-run PR firm that provides non-profit public relations to local businesses. The American Diabetes Association in Madison enlisted the help of this talented team to increase participation for their Tour de Cure event in Spring 2013. The Bucky™ PR members crafted an awareness campaign encouraging their fellow badgers to “Stop Diabetes.” Stop signs were placed along the path for students to read as they hiked up the never-ending Bascom Hill. Each stop sign corresponded with a fact about diabetes. For instance, a “Stop Heart Disease” stop sign preceded an informational poster reading “ADULTS WITH DIABETES ARE 2 – 4 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DIE OF HEART DISEASE #TOURDECURE.” When the students finally reached the top, they were prompted to visit ADA’s website and become involved in the Tour de Cure event. If you are interested in Madison’s Tour de Cure event and want to get more involved, click here!
This profile is a combined effort by me (Ann Stratton) and my son (Kevin Strattan). Coincidentally, we were both diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in October at age 31. As you might notice, Kevin spells his last name slightly different due to his avid interest in genealogy, and his name agrees with our ancestors. We work at the same place so it oftentimes is confusing to others, but we find it a great conversation starter. Kevin has composed 3 large genealogy books to date and the most recent one on my maternal grandmother’s side has pinpointed where the gene comes from for our diabetes and other relatives, thus both Type 1 and 2.
Prior to my diagnosis, I knew nothing about diabetes, and didn’t recognize my excessive thirst as a classic symptom. I had dealt with gestational diabetes and toxemia a year prior but my only diet restriction was to limit salt intake. After pregnancy, I started losing weight and my vision deteriorated and I struggled to find the cause. I made an appointment with my OBGYN physician (my only doctor at the time) and I thought everything would be resolved immediately. Instead, he discounted my concerns and did not request blood work even with my history of gestational diabetes. When I insisted, he patronized me, patted me on the head (I was 31 years old!) and told me I could have a “full blood panel”.
Soon after returning home, I was called and requested to return immediately. When I asked for more information, I was told that I had a blood glucose level of over 800, which is often in coma range. This was how I found out I had diabetes! I was subsequently hospitalized at St. Mary’s Hospital for training to care for this new disease. I requested books on diabetes, which in turn scared me when reading about my outlook with complications. I also ‘escaped’ as often as I could to walk at the zoo as I was sharing my room with 2 other diabetics suffering from the flu and ketoacidosis, which I soon understood was putting me at risk unnecessarily! It seemed from the beginning my care resided within me, and I could not always rely on others to do the same, even in the health care field. Soon after my release, I found a physician who was much more geared to my diabetic care as I resolved never to return to my disappointing former OBGYN physician.
Kevin’s diagnosis came about a bit differently, and here are his words. Yes, my diagnosis came with a little bit more foreknowledge of diabetes because what my mom went through. For me I believe it started when I was biking and fell off my bike the summer before I was diagnosed. I seemed to have passed out for a micro-second or something and the next thing I knew I was on the pavement in some pain with a big bruise forming on my back. I was relatively lucky with that accident that I didn’t get hurt any worse than I did, but I think it was a physical stress that started everything. I also was learning how to take care of my first child and was dealing with a lot of other stress in all areas of my life. In September I noticed a couple of times my vision got a little blurry and I thought my eyes were changing, but didn’t think much of that until later. Then on October 4, 2001 I went to bed and by the next morning I had completely polished off a 2 quarts of Crystal Light and 2 quarts of Grape Juice in the night without really realizing it until the morning.
Knowing this thirst as a warning sign I decided to go into my doctor and see if I had diabetes. Sure enough, on October 5, 2001 I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, and spent some time in the hospital getting rehydrated as my blood glucose was 438. The doctors were surprised that I just walked into the clinic and got diagnosed; apparently most people come in through the Emergency Room before being diagnosed.
My initial therapy involved going on shots. I would take shots before each meal and one daily shot for longer term stability. I was ultimately on shots for 14 months, and then in December of 2002 I was able to move over to the Insulin Infusion pump which has made a big difference in my life. Living with diabetes has been an incredible challenge as it not only gets in the way of what and when you eat, but it also can be a challenge with when you exercise as well. Sometimes it seems easier and sometimes it seems harder when struggling with this disease. Now I’ll turn it over to mom again.
Learning to live with diabetes was difficult initially. I was quite active and was always having insulin reactions, bouncing up and down all the time. It was difficult to figure out my blood sugar levels by urine testing. What “saved the day” was getting my first meter to use for testing my blood. Initially, our HMO rejected my request for a meter (which it loaned out only to “special” patients). I wasn’t “special” enough because I was taking good care of my diabetes. UGH, rejected because I’m good. After several years we decided to change to a different HMO. When I again asked to “borrow” a meter, I was sent directly down to the pharmaceutical supply area to get my very own! I finally felt “special”!
What Kevin and I have learned from our diabetes is:
In closing, I am thankful that Kevin and I now eat better and recognize the value of exercise. Though I was very upset when Kevin was diagnosed (just not fair), I now feel we can work as a team helping each other. He has adjusted well being a quick learner with good management skills, so I no longer worry. He actually talked me into going from daily injections to the pump, which I’m so thankful. In addition, he administered my glucagon shot when his dad needed help and I was unresponsive. Thus, when the EMT’s arrived, I was already ‘out of the woods’. Yet, neither of us want our ’team’ to grow and we work hard on events to find a cure and prevention.
I hadn’t felt like myself for months. I was frequently fatigued and noticed I lost 20 lbs. I began drinking a lot of water and felt proud of being so healthy. But when evening came I would get a sharp pain in my stomach that would immobilize me. All I could do was lay on the couch waiting for it to pass and try to quench my constant thirst. At times I would drink a soda in literally 10 seconds and be looking for the next thing to drink. Once I started having blurred vision more often, coworkers urged me to see my doctor. I finally did and was shocked.
With no family history, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 26. My diagnosis was less than one month after my one year wedding anniversary. I felt awful for my husband. I felt like he didn’t know what he was getting into… and neither did I.
I had several appointments in the next couple weeks with the diabetic educators to learn how to count carbs, give injections, check my blood sugar, etc. It was quite overwhelming. Three months later I was able to gain control over my blood sugar and shortly after became pregnant with our first child. Almost immediately after learning about our pregnancy my doctor started me on the insulin pump to help keep tight control over my blood sugar. I remember holding my hand over my meter every time I had to check my blood sugar. My pregnancy hormones were making it more difficult to control my blood sugar level and I felt horrible if it was too high. We were induced and ended up having a c-section with our daughter, who continues to be very healthy. Two years later we got pregnant again. This time my husband was traveling a lot, so in addition to my insulin pump I began using a continuous glucose monitor. This device offered safety features that were critical to have while home alone with two young children. I could set an alarm to go off if my blood sugar dropped below a certain level.
Diabetes can affect your entire day. A typical daily routine consists of checking your blood sugar at least 5 times, paying attention to the amount of carbs consumed, always having food prepared for a sudden low, and doing injections or monitoring your insulin pump.
Despite my diagnosis, I have gained the confidence over the past four years that has allowed me to compete in sprint triathlons, half marathons and marathons. I recently ran in the Boston Marathon this past April and am currently training for my first half ironman. Diabetes will continue to be a challenge, but it doesn’t define me. All these devices have helped me live a healthier life with my diagnosis, but I want “our” children to know what life is like without diabetes. Thank you for helping fight to find a cure.