Sunday, October 14, 2012

Boxing and Blood Sugar

I always joke to people that I was in reasonably good health until I reached the age of forty.  After I passed that magic birthday, it seemed that every time I went to the doctor, it was because a) something had gone wrong and/or b) I was being diagnosed with something.

A visit to the doctor in early 2007 revealed that I was pre-diabetic.  He had me come back in a few weeks to run tests again.  I was alarmed, but for some reason, I believed the condition would pass me by.  After the next set of tests were done, the doctor gave me the bad news.  To say I was unhappy was an understatement.  Having diabetes meant a whole lot of changes had to be made, and the impact was immediate where boxing was concerned - I wouldn't be able to fight in sanctioned matches.  My amateur boxing license became null and void.

The first major problem I faced was changing my diet.  I don't cook well, and when I do, I stick with the simplest meals that even I can't mess up.  I don't like being bothered with all the effort that goes into cooking, so I either did take-out or delivery or I brought a lot of TV dinners.  Soon I learned that sweet rolls, ice cream, and candy weren't the only foods I had to worry about.  Sugar is in a lot of foods we eat.  I had to learn how to read food labels in order to limit the amount of carbohydrates I ate on a daily basis. 

I had to check my blood sugar.  I'm not afraid of needles, but sticking my fingers a few times each day got old very fast.  Currently, I don't do it.  I keep seeing ads for blood glucose monitors that claim, "Ours is virtually painless!  People can test on their arms instead."  Don't believe that.  Getting stuck with a needle is getting stuck with a needle.  Watching watch I eat is easier.  Not by much, but it's easier.

Metformin tablets were prescribed, two a day.  That's not fun, either, especially if one already has to take medicine for other reasons. 

However, I'd rather not be have to take insulin.  Some people with type 2 diabetes find that taking pills is not enough to control it.  I don't want to be one of those people if I can help it.

Participating in any sport while dealing with a health condition is a challenge.  I don't heal up easily from cuts and bruises anymore, and boxing creates many of those.  I have to really practice the art of hitting and not being hit, slipping and bobbing and weaving to avoid injuries.  Boxing is exercise, which is something I need to do anyway, and exercise helps me to lose weight, which is something all diabetics need to do. 

I'm getting good at recognizing when my blood sugar is low.  But sometimes a drop in energy sneaks up on me.  I try to remember to keep glucose tablets in my locker at the gym, and in my purse when I'm out elsewhere. 

I had to spring for a medical ID bracelet.  I had read horror stories about other diabetics who had medical emergencies out in public and people not knowing what to do.  The bracelet was always in the way.  I didn't like the way it felt on my wrist.  Finally, I lost it on the way to the gym one day.  The next time, I brought a medical ID necklace. 

Every day, I have to worry about complications that may develop.  My maternal grandmother had a leg amputated, and right before she passed on, she lost some toes, too.  My dad's kidneys were failing at the time of his death.  I have a buddy who's been sitting at home receiving disability checks for a few years now because their diabetes bothers them more than mine does at the moment. 

Having diabetes is yet another fight I've participated in, and I'm doing the best I can to avoid being counted out. 

1 comment:

Amy Scheer said...

All you can do with diabetes is your best, though it has to be done 24 hrs/day! The best part about type 2 is that you have a good chance at turning things around. Science and technology is better than it was for your relatives trying to manage this. Just keep making good choices. Boxing is a great way to keep your activity level up, which is essential. It may very well also increase your BS levels thanks to adrenaline, and I have yet to learn how these 2 minute round jumps in sugar level might affect your A1C. In the end, it's probably well worth it for the workout you're getting. Keep on keepin' on.