In tonight’s post, WILD Athlete, Barbara Campbell, tells her story of living with diabetes, battling cancer, finding TeamWILD, and running a very meaningful 5k.
All I wanted was to feel healthy again. I wanted to be able to walk across a room without being out of breath and needing a nap. I knew exercise would help with my cancer-related fatigue, but it was so difficult. I also have T1 (LADA) Diabetes, so the slightest bit of physical exertion sent my blood glucose (BGs) plummeting. Where do I start?
Earlier this year, we were able to attend a diabetes event in Kansas City and many of our friends from the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) had come to town to attend as well. Our dear friend, Scott, stayed with us and we spent the entire weekend getting better acquainted, trying new foods and discussing exercise regimens. Scott was preparing to ride 100 miles and had shared some of the stories of his training. He mentioned that he had participated in a TeamWILD training and that it had really helped him manage his BG while exercising.
Another friend, Heather, is also quite involved with TeamWILD and she too rode the 100 miles with no BG crashes. It was so hard for me to believe. . .I knew I had to check into this further. (editor’s note: there was one low BG near the end of my century ride, but my vigilant testing caught it and I was prepared to treat it, recover quickly and finish my ride.)
As I worked my way through the TeamWILD website, I was excited to find a course called WILDfit. This walk/run program is for people with diabetes (PWD) who are just starting out on their road to fitness. It was perfect! I was, at this point, able to walk a few blocks at a time and thought this is just what I needed to train properly and get in shape.
As part of the registration, I was asked to find a walk/run to participate in as my “graduation.” That seemed so far away, but as I started looking at 5K walk/run opportunities, it suddenly became clear how soon I would be donning my running shoes. I decided my first run would be the Susan G. Komen run in Kansas City, held August 12th. This 5K would be extremely significant for me, as I came to realize last weekend, crossing that finish line was more than the end of a footrace for me.
Last August, I attended this same event. . .in a wheelchair. I had just finished chemotherapy and was extremely weak and battling neuropathy in my feet and legs. I had been given 4 rounds of Taxol, which generally causes short-term neuropathy. However, because of my diabetes, I was warned that this may be permanent for me, as it is a common diabetes complication. But, I insisted on attending the event. I wanted to see other survivors living well, laughing, running, enjoying themselves, following their own cancer journey. I was not disappointed.
My husband pushed me along the 1 mile walking course and just before the finish line, I became very aware that I MUST CROSS THAT LINE ON MY OWN TWO FEET. I asked him to stop the wheelchair, he helped me to my feet and I hobbled across the line. The other participants around us saw what was happening and they cheered me on. I turned to them and said, “Next year, I’m running this 5K.” I’m sure most of them thought I was crazy. . .
I have just completed the first 9 weeks of the WILDfit! program and this last Sunday, I RAN the Susan G. Komen 5K in 39 minutes. Crossing that finish line meant I had finished treatment, pain, recovery, sickness, weakness, grief, worry. . .I’m finished with it all. Cancer tried to, but it didn’t stop me! AND. . my BG? I was able to run the entire race and maintained by BG and had no lows! I was amazed!
I am so grateful for this program and the way it has prepared me, not only to run, but to face this next era of my life; living healthy, as an athlete, GOING WILD!
Thank you to all the trainers for the great information you provide. And Mari, thank you for the inspiration!!