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NDAM 2017: Diabetes and the Gym

November 10, 2017

It’s been a while. Since my last post, I’ve continued to train in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (very poorly at times), have settled into something of a rhythm at work, and kept experiencing the diabetes roller coaster.

From time to time, at the gym I’ll be asked “Is that a beeper?” in that disgustingly condescending tone. However, this is way more of a rarity than it used to be. I suppose the ubiquitous nature of diabetes in America has a part to play in that. Maybe I’m also helping others see diabetes in a new and more positive light.

In a recent session at the gym, one of my training partners asked, after we had rolled, if he had to be careful of anything or if I can be put in any danger because of the sparring. I was glad he came to the source. (Full disclosure: I disconnect my pump while training, but my infusion port and CGM are both still connected.) I quickly assured him that there’s nothing to worry about, for either of us, except for the usual BJJ concerns.

“Have you ever gone low during a roll?” I’ve gotten this question a few times. The simple answer is, yeah, I have, and it sucks.

The trouble is the main symptoms of hypoglycemia are tiredness, shaky hands and sweat. These are some of the results of training in BJJ. Over a year ago I was training and absolutely got mauled by every training partner. I made the most basic mistakes: arms being kept away from my body, easy for the taking by the skilled athletes I was working with; poor balance that led to me being swept with ease. I was literally unable to defend myself. After I got back in the locker room, I tested my sugar and got the awful news: My sugar was 43. Down went the glucose tablets and sports drinks to help with the recovery.

A few months ago I could feel a similar situation occurring and had to beg off a couple rounds of training. Fortunately, I have great training partners and coaches, which makes things much easier.

I decided to make some statements with my gi (the jiu-jitsu uniform) after getting my most recent one: a black Break Point basic gi. BJJ competitors put patches on their gis to represent their team and their sponsors I don’t see myself competing anymore, but I wanted to say who I was, so I added a gym patch, and one for my school’s head coach, and a Manchester United patch (for the best soccer club in the world) on my left chest. And I also added three other patches: One for Beyond Type 1, one for the JDRF and one for the ADA.

After all, I have to show my tribes and, even though I don’t compete, I want people to know that I represent, even in a small way, the people with diabetes.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Geriatric Jitsu permalink
    November 10, 2017 8:44 pm

    Awesome on continuing to train with Diabetes. I’ve noticed that everyone on the mat has to overcome some difficulty or other. You’re an inspiration for many. I hope you keep posting on your experience.

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