A short while ago my middle finger on my left hand started acting weird. It was sticking in a bent position, for lack of a better term. If you've ever seen Jim Carrey in the comedy movie Liar, Liar doing his version of "The Claw," where his hand suddenly has a mind of its own, that's a somewhat accurate account of how my hand was behaving. Unfortunately though, this was no comedy, this was beginning to be an extremely painful problem.
Every spring since 1999, the Diabetes Education and Camping Association (DECA) has distributed our publication to their young campers. In honor of their youthful enthusiasm, our springtime issue always focuses on people who inspire us, from the young to the old. In this issue, we bring you the stories of people who refuse to let their diabetes limit them, people whose example re-ignites our determination to live our very best and healthiest lives. As a publisher, I am always seeking inspiration, and each of these individuals is a fresh reminder of what we can do if we put our minds to it.
My diabetes and I have traveled a lot of miles together in nineteen years. Racing Ironman triathlons in Australia, Europe, the Carribean and all over North America, climbing and camping at the top of 14,000 foot Mt. Whitney, and of course dozens of family vacations and business trips. Packing equipment and supplies for an Ironman triathlon and 3 weeks in Australia requires a bit of planning and preparation, but when you have diabetes you feel like you do that for just a weekend out of town. Meters, strips, insulin, syringes, infusion sets, pump supplies, snacks . . . a simple weekend trip becomes a lunar expedition.
Dr. Kenneth P. Moritsugu, MD, MPH, FACPM is a very interesting man. He served as the Acting Surgeon General of the United States in 2006 and was made Chairman of the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute in October 2007. The Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute is designed to serve as a home for the diabetes family and a trusted place of diabetes learning that will inspire diabetes innovation, improved care, and better outcomes worldwide. Through the Institute, Johnson & Johnson is opening and operating state-of-the-art instructional facilities around the world to provide health professionals with education and training aimed at improving diabetes patients' outcomes by working at the community level.
I would exercise if I had more time... if I had a health club membership... if it didn't hurt so much... if I knew what exercises to do... if I could do it with my family... if I could control my blood sugar...
Last May, 24-year-old Charlie Kimball was in Car #35, taking Turn 3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Firestone Freedom 100. He was in radio contact with his pit crew, who informed him that he had a headwind coming out of the turn and onto the 5/8 mile "straight." Charlie kept an eye on the car next to him, moving closer and beginning to crowd it on the inside. Having raced professionally for six years, he knew that he had to make a move, and soon. He shifted into sixth gear and accelerated.
Last summer, I led the third annual swim-run biathlon for the Barton Center for Diabetes Education, which hosts two Massachusetts camps for children with type 1-Camp Joslin for boys and Camp Clara Barton for girls. It was at Camp Joslin that I met a memorable eight-year-old boy who exemplifies what being a diabetes hero is all about. I'll call him "Adam.'
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