The last month or so has been a balancing act of sorts made more difficult by the fact that my balancing skills ended decades ago after a few too many tumbles-gone-wrong in kindergarten gymnastics class. Work was stacked up on my desk, and many days I found myself slouched in my chair at lunch, reading feverishly before grad class scheduled for that evening and picking at a salad and a half-eaten salami sandwich. I’d break away for 5 minutes to get a very light, no sugar coffee, but that was the extent of things. Exercise? I don’t have time for that! echoed around the tired spaces of my head.
I kept hearing of the Big Blue Test and shrugging it off as something that I’d like to do one day when life wasn’t a three-ring circus trying to fit four rings of obligations into a tiny amount of time. When Laddie over at Test Guess and Go suggested that I give the Big Blue Test a try, I tucked her words into the back pocket of my mental toolkit for a few minutes, procrastinating yet again when it came to exercising.
I Google-searched Big Blue Test, promising myself to throw in the towel if signing up was even remotely challenging. In hindsight, it was thankfully quite easy to register. Big Blue Test is free; it encourages you to get off your bum and move around; and it fosters a good conversation about diabetes and exercising. It’s a win-win-win-win-win-situation, and you can also encourage others to join in on the fun. You can download the phone app, answer a few questions (whether diabetic or non-diabetic) each time you work out, and $1.00 towards diabetes efforts is granted by the Diabetes Hands Foundation for each exercise log that you make.
I have found that this app holds me more accountable for leaving my desk to stretch my legs for 15 minutes at work. The ten second practice of entering the data into the app makes the process fun and rewarding; watching blood sugars drop from even 220 to 205 in 15 minutes is still a little victory for diabetics versus the diabetes monster. Take that, diabetes!
I may have felt like the world would collapse without me typing up a storm at my computer for 15 minutes prior to the Big Blue Test, but, no surprise here, the world moved along just fine and I was able to enjoy the nice fall weather when taking my weekly walks. Friends have joined me and we have some great diabetes discussions on our walks after I explain the meaning behind the Big Blue Test. Krissy over at Krissy’s Dance and Fitness Studio in Rhode Island is helping out our cause by logging her workouts and asking her clients to do the same. Coworkers have risen to the occasion to keep me company on my strolls through the city.
“So, do you have to take shots?” one walker asked.
“I used to take a lot of shots, but now I have an insulin pump,” I explained, lifting my shirt to show him the “pager” part of the pump.
(Don’t worry, I spared him the dramatic war stories of my insulin pump experiences in recent months for now. Baby steps…)
In all seriousness, though, moments like that help our mission to spread awareness of diabetes. They get people thinking outside of the misguided media portrayal of the disease. They inspire others to stay healthy by working out with us and giving to a great cause in the process. There is all good and no bad by participating in the Big Blue Test, as far as I’m concerned.
Lastly, those walks make these moments quite salvageable:
Nurse, while flipping through my blood glucose logs from the past week: “So, cheese and crackers for dinner almost every night…? And ice cream sometimes? I mean, you did pretty well with your blood sugars, but still…??”
She wasn’t being judgmental, rather, she was rightfully concerned that a fully-nutritious meal definitely wasn’t happening on school nights.
Me: “Yeah, it’s called the ‘grad school special.’ Plus, I ‘worked out’ this week…”