Why I Ride:
I became involved in finding a cure for diabetes since I was in high school. When I was in high school, I volunteered at Memorial Hospital. One of my assignments was to help with the Pediatric Diabetes Support Group. While parents of children with diabetes were attending the support group, I was involved in doing crafts and playing games with children that had diabetes and their siblings. I got to know the children and realized how much the disease of diabetes could affect their daily activities. With constant monitoring of intake and blood sugar levels and the administration of insulin, they controlled this disease. Those children had to grow up immediately in order to control their disease. Unfortunately, diabetes is not a curable disease (yet). It is also then that I became involved in raising money to find a cure for diabetes. I participated in JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes with the hospital's team. I continued this through college.
I went to college and became an RN and worked in the ICU and ED and cared for many patients with diabetes, sometimes it would be at the time of diagnosis and sometimes it would be when they had dangerously high or low blood sugar levels. I now work in a dialysis clinic, where I work with a team of skilled providers to deliver to dialysis to patients (many of which have acquired End Stage Renal Disease from their diabetes) to help filter their blood and to keep them alive from all of the toxins that devlop daily that people normally excrete through their urine. I have seen what complications diabetes can lead to (kidney failure, limb ampuations, and death) and experienced the loss of a friend (a young girl that was in the diabetes support group) to diabetes.
After I became a nurse, I participated in my first cycling event, the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in October of 2006 in Death Valley, California. It was a great experience and after riding about 20 miles, I determined that I wanted to participate in more cycling events and improve my cycling ability.
I was introduced to Tour de Cure by a co-worker of mine while working in the ICU. When the ADA had their innaugural Southern Colorado Tour de Cure in 2010, I participated in my first ADA Tour de Cure. I rode 30 miles in Woodland Park that year. I then participated in the second Southern Colorado Tour de Cure and rode 40 miles until the weather stopped my 50 mile effort. Last year, I was unable to ride in the Tour de Cure due to back and shoulder injuries and instead volunteered during their 3rd year in Southern Colorado (held in Colorado Springs). This year, I have volunteered to participate in the planning for the 4th annual Southern Colorado Tour de Cure and am preparing to ride the 50K route.
In December, I was diagnosed with diabetes. It was one of the hardest things to hear and come to grips with. I knew that, with Type II diabetes' genetic component (both my mother's and father's side have family members with diabetes), that I was at an increased risk of developing diabetes. I had tried to remain active and watch my weight to do what I could to avoid or delay the development of diabetes, but it wasn't enough. I have spent a lot of time blaming myself for my diagnosis, but on the other hand I know that developing diabetes was not completely my fault. What I can control is how I deal with my disease and work with my support team (physician, diabetes educator, and dietician) to treat my disease. Unfortunately, there is so much false information out there about diabetes, which makes this diagnosis so much harder.
In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin that the pancreas makes. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar (glucose) from the blood into the cells.
When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause two problems:
- Right away, your cells may be starved for energy.
- Over time, high blood glucose levels may hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.
Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.
Fact: If you manage your diabetes properly, you can prevent or delay diabetes complications. However, diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.
Fact: Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, too many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.
Myth: Eating too much sugar causes diabetes.
Fact: The answer is not so simple. Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors.
Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories from any source contributes to weight gain. Research has shown that drinking sugary drinks is linked to type 2 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association recommends that people should avoid intake of sugar-sweetened beverages to help prevent diabetes. Sugar-sweetened beverages include beverages like: regular soda, fruit punch, fruit drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks, sweet tea, other sugary drinks.
Myth: People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.
Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone – low in fat (especially saturated and trans fat), moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit. Diabetic and "dietetic" foods generally offer no special benefit. Most of them still raise blood glucose levels, are usually more expensive and can also have a laxative effect if they contain sugar alcohols.
Myth: People with diabetes can't eat sweets or chocolate.
Fact: If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. They are no more "off limits" to people with diabetes than they are to people without diabetes. The key to sweets is to have a very small portion and save them for special occasions so you focus your meal on more healthful foods.
Myth: You can catch diabetes from someone else.
Fact: No. Although we don’t know exactly why some people develop diabetes, we know diabetes is not contagious. It can't be caught like a cold or flu. There seems to be some genetic link in diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle factors also play a part.
Myth: If you have type 2 diabetes and your doctor says you need to start using insulin, it means you're failing to take care of your diabetes properly.
Fact: For most people, type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. When first diagnosed, many people with type 2 diabetes can keep their blood glucose at a healthy level with oral medications. But over time, the body gradually produces less and less of its own insulin, and eventually oral medications may not be enough to keep blood glucose levels normal. Using insulin to get blood glucose levels to a healthy level is a good thing, not a bad one.
After being diagnosed, I have received support from the ADA and my community to come to accept my diagnosis and to do everything I can to control my diabetes. Since being diagnosed, I have lost over 30 pounds which equates to over 14% of my body weight from when I was diagnosed. I have also decreased my average blood glucose readings. I must take medications daily to control my blood glucose levels and to protect my kidneys from developing kidney disease from diabetes.
It is for my family members, friends, and patients with diabetes that I ride for a cure and support the ADA in its mission to find a cure for diabetes, advocate and educate those with diabetes.
Please support me and the ADA in this mission. Do what you can to help us.
To donate you can visit: http://main.diabetes.org/goto/ronnorman
Please take a moment and find out your diabetes risk: http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/
What I am doing and why
There is a new case of diabetes diagnosed every 17 seconds. Diabetes affects the lives of nearly 26 million children and adults in this country and another 79 million with prediabetes. Diabetes can lead to kidney failure, blindness, and circulation problems leading to limb amputations.
On December 19th, 2013 I received the news that I have joined the 26 million other diabetics in the US. Diabetes has affected both sides of my family and with the strong genetic links with Type 2 diabetes, I was at high risk of developing this disease. I am confident with the current research and developments in diabetes care, that I will be able to manage this disease.
Funds that I raise go to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for research, education, and advocacy for those with diabetes.
My diabetes educator uses educational information and standards from the ADA in teaching me how to live with diabetes. Additionally, our local ADA chapter holds workshops on living with diabetes that helps those in our community affected by diabetes. Each year the ADA sends children with diabetes in our community to a diabetes-specific summer camp that ensures that they are able to participate in camp outing that has staff that are knowlegable about diabetes and provides a safe environment for the campers.
The ADA's mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. They lead the fight against the deadly consequences of diabetes and fight for those affected by diabetes. They fund research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes. They deliver services to hundreds of communities. They provide objective and credible information. They give voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes.
Support Me in Tour de Cure!
I will be cycling in the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure fundraising event in Colorado Springs, CO on September 27, 2014. Please support me with a donation by selecting the "Sponsor Me" button. Our efforts will help set the pace in the fight against diabetes. So let's get in gear and ride to Stop Diabetes!
Help Make a Difference in the fight against diabetes!
Each mile I ride, and the funds I raise will be used in the fight to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.
No matter the size, your generous gift will help improve the lives of nearly 24 million Americans who suffer from diabetes, in the hope that future generations can live in a world without this disease. Together, we can all make a difference!
Thank you for making a generous contribution to this cause that is so important to me!