Read Caryl’s inspiring story of how she is still ‘doing the breathing thing’, and the role that running played in her life, after being told by doctors she had an ‘expiry date’ of June 2017.
Doing the Breathing Thing
By Caryl Rialla
Valentine’s Day 2017 I popped back into my GP for my Type 2 diabetes care plan and test results.
I had hit 134kg according to the surgery scales, felt very unwell but couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I was putting it down to my weight and the demands of being a full-time carer for a disabled child and managing her chronically ill sibling.
I had noticed that a lot of my weight seemed to be fluid related & that I was going to the smallest room in the house a lot less often… But thought little of it until the GP told me that I had End Stage Renal Disease. In short my kidneys were failing due to my uncontrollable diabetes… and doing so very quickly.
In addition I was also overproducing huge amounts of insulin, but my body was almost completely resistant to it. The resulting high blood sugar levels were causing my kidney failure. Even injectable forms of insulin had virtually no effect on my levels so I became a pet project of my GP and specialists.
Realistically I had a maximum expiry date of June 2017. My diabetes made me an unsuitable candidate for the transplant list & also for dialysis.
Instead my Nephrologist & Endocrinologist prescribed a strict ketogenic diet & an exercise regime to help control the blood glucose levels. Although the exercise component was initially just a walk, I quickly discovered that walking took more time than a Carer can typically grab.
It was a struggle for sure, but as my weight dropped I started to run using the Jeff Galloway method of run/walk/run. This was a far more effective way of managing my excess sugar & quickly made a difference to my overall health.
A year later I was still around to the surprise of all & 18 months later I was actually spending more time running several times a week.
2019 saw me at half my previous body weight. I had lost 67kg from my initial death sentence appointment & really had developed a love/hate thing with exercise. I started looking for similar minded groups for encouragement as I don’t know any runners and am quite socially isolated due to my caring role.
I joined Running Mums Australia, but there was still nothing to push my out the door each day, even though I need to in order to burn up blood sugar daily. I also joined Virtual races as I love bling, but the cost on a Carers Pension can often be prohibitive.
Then one day I came across Mumrunner. They offered challenges at a cost I could manage and had a range of women similar to me.
Sure there was faster runners, but there was also slower ones. I didn’t constantly feel like a fake runner, instead I felt like “one of the club”. It was an inclusive group with everyone supporting each others goals, regardless of the level.
This year is my rebuilding phase. I am confident that I can continue to manage my health issues and have the inspiration to get out and exercise every single day to make sure I’m still here to see 2020 roll in.
I may be past my “expiry date” medically, but my “Best Before” is yet to be decided.