Stories: Celebrating 40 Years

Teaching an old dog new tricks...

Chris Harding shares his experience in the Diabetes Education Centre

I took up running at later in life. About a year later, I was diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes. I had just finished my first half marathon and thought I'd keep going and train for a full marathon, but I had lost 25 prounds. (A little scary and not a recommended diet plan) so my family doc referred me to the Lawson Diabetes Centre, as it was then known, as a "marathon runner". Turns out that my nurse educator was a tri-athlete and my dietitian worked with a number of athletes.

After almost two months of meetings and blood tests they suggested that maybe I should consider going on insulin. While many people resist that idea, I confess that I'm really impatient... and frankly they'd already made me stop training for two months while we sorted all of this out.

My brother-in-law is type 1, so there was already a level of support at home, so I jumped on the insulin bandwagon too. For me though, there was a pretty steep learning curve. 

At the Diabetes Education Centre I really respected their patience in helping me learn good management skills; their support in teaching me how to do it all, about the good injection sites, and the ones that might impact my training. I loved their honestly: "You can buy these glucose tabs or you can carry candy"... And I do! Most importantly, how to adjust. 

My dietitian and I worked together on what I needed to do to continue training. Her work with other athletes helped me move forward - she often had suggestions of things that I could try. The one and only time I had a really low hypo, I emailed her and got a reply with advice that morning!

The diabetic team had me keep food logs... and I still do those today! They help with training, allowing me to see when I increased my carbs for a particular race or which fuel worked better in training. And they provide me with a look at particular restaurant items and how they affected me in the past.

Every six months I'd send in a food log as a spreadsheet with exercise, insulin and my numbers... and by adding the calculations she used, I guess I created my own App, to the point where she was using my food logs in Brescia College lectures.

I would like to say thanks and wish the DEC a Happy Anniversary. Your continued support and great care has allowed me to finish training for that full marathon... and 6 more.

I am so in awe of the "Half Century Award" recipients. While I'm relatively new to this diabetes thing, I think I'm a pretty good example of "you CAN teach an old dog, new tricks"!

Chris Harding
London, Ontario


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Last updated: Thu, 2015-10-29 12:01