Hi to everyone good enough to look at my page.
As you can see by the photo I am a keen sailboarder and sailor which are great sports especially in Australia. I live in Sydney close to the beach, so enjoy taking advantage of the great outdoors.
About 3 years ago I became a type 1 (insulin dependant) diabetic, which took my wife and I totally by surprise. We have always been very active people with no real worries in life, so you can imagine our shock! At first I tried to carry on with life as normal, but as much as you try you have to change to adapt to the problem. Lindy, my wife, is fantastic, being very supportive and totally in control when it comes to having snacks about when we are travelling or out for the day. Our diet has always been mostly free of sugar, but we have added more rice and pasta meals making sure there are always some carbo's in everything I eat.
This does not mean you must miss out on lifeI have sailed all my life which is a very demanding sport. Diabetes does not stop me I just adapted to make sure I would never get in trouble. I carry fast acting glucose tablets in a special wrist band, I made myself and always take a blood glucose reading before hitting the water. I take extra food (usually a muesli bar) before sailing and if the wind is particularly strong, sail for short periods rather than staying out all day. In January /February this year 3 friends and I raced on a 25 foot yacht, called a Magic 25. The racing was very demanding with sailing legends like Ian Murray (America's Cup winner) taking part. I carried food on the boat and would eat it between races. We won the event with good team work and my wife's snacks of course.
Life as a diabetic has not always been rosey!In May this year I had a very bad hypo. The amazing thing is that it had nothing to do with my sailing or any of the sport and exercise I do. The hypo was at 11pm after a normal days work, with only a little exercise that afternoon. It was particularly severe and I ended up having a major fit whilst unconscious. My wife injected a glucagon shot, a good thing to always have on hand, bringing me round long enough for the medics to do their stuff. The damaged caused in the fit was completely unexpected: 3 crushed vertebrae, 2 cracked ribs, muscle tearing and severe bruising. After a lot of debate my wife and I came to the conclusion the hypo was caused by trying to be too strict with my blood glucose levels. If you always keep very strict medium to low levels there is no reserve of glucose in your body, which will eventually catch you out and believe me you do not want to go through what I have. Luckily things heal, but it was a frightening experience.
Back on trackMy health is 99% back to normal and it is Summer here in Australia, so I am back out sailing again. Lindy and I are renovating an old cottage with a beautiful view of the ocean, so I am as active as ever. Australia has just had the launch of a new fast acting insulin called Humalog that is particularly good for active people and I am finding it easy to regulate good levels with less risk. I take four shots a day three of fast acting Humalog and one of long acting Protaphane for overnight. Taking lots of small amounts of insulin you feel like a bit of a pin cushion, but it is much easier to keep good even levels. I test my blood glucose level about two to three times a day and never go to bed without taking a level. As in control as you may think you are I think it is really important that you know your level before going to bed. Something that new diabetics take a while to realise, I certainly did, is that exercise will send you low quite a few hours after you have done it. Even if I feel happy with my blood glucose levels before bed, if I have had a busy day I will always take extra food before going to sleep. I have not been disillusioned by my hypo only educated, so feel a lot more in control and hopefully I will not have another.
I wish I had been on the internet when I became a diabetic to take advantage of other peoples advise and hear their stories, so I hope my adventures and misadventures can help someone else. I am keen to hear from other people who may have similar life styles and diabetes or if you would like to ask a question of me please feel free to send me an email.
Last Updated: Wednesday April 23, 2003 08:29:45
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