Progress in Research; Progress in Reflection


In my last post, I noted that it was up to me to start living my life in Seattle.  I am proud to report that I have been doing just that and that things are starting to fall into place.  I moved to Seattle in mid-May to participate in the Protégé Encore study and settled in for 14 days of infusions, which took me to the end of May.  June and July brought all kinds of new opportunities and disappointments, along with medical appointments and consultation, and not to mention finding a job and an apartment.  Adjusting to life with diabetes is an ongoing process that we all experience in different ways, and I only have five months’ worth of this experience to draw from in my reflections, but I’m thankful for the progress I feel I’ve made.

Let me first say that one of the greatest sources of comfort and inspiration for me has been other people with diabetes.  In these past two months, I have spent a substantial amount of time locating and getting involved with various social groups, support groups and informational workshops designed by and for people with diabetes.  My first welcome committee was through a Meetup group of people with type 1 and type 2 who go out to different restaurants monthly.  Through the educated and encouraging people I met there, I went on to join the Sports and Diabetes Group Northwest.  Being in a room full of healthy people who have type 1 was an overwhelming, but positive, experience and it helped me decide to train for a sprint triathlon with others in the group.  I’ve also had conversations with new-found friends and fellow bloggers who have helped to ease my fears and boost my hopes.  I am thankful for and the connections it offers.

Another significant factor to adjusting to this new part of my life is the time I spend participating in a clinical trial.  My time with Protégé continues to bring me hope and reassurance.  After my infusions in May, I had weekly check-ups for the first couple of weeks, followed by monthly check-ups in July and August (that will also take place in September and October).  Each check-up involved a quick blood draw and sometimes an additional procedure like an EKG.  My favorite part of these check-ups, however, is talking with the people involved in the study.  I am so encouraged by the staff who work with Protégé and by the cause they hold as their priority.  The more people I meet, the more I hear about the hope for a cure.  And until then, they always say, we are working for sustainable, aggressive treatment that will offer people more options.  Coming in for a 15-minute blood draw may not seem like a major achievement, but if I am contributing to a clinical trial that aims to prove the effectiveness of a new drug to be used by the diabetes community, then I do see my efforts as important.  Within days of being diagnosed, there was nothing I wanted more than for someone else with type 1 to reach out to me and assure me that there were options for treatment.  I keep those people in mind at every check-up visit and remind myself of the reason for my commitment, especially during the traffic I face with getting to the hospital after work.

Lastly, I must lament that I have not yet pledged allegiance to a single climbing gym.  There are plenty of options in the Seattle area and I have visited several, but have not yet decided where I’ll invest in a membership.  Climbing has still been a regular part of my life, however, and it brings me a grounded feeling, however ironic that is.  Each time I climb, I am aware of the connection I feel with navigating my diagnosis.  I am reminded of the “Going on a Bear Hunt” song that I sang so many times when teaching preschool:  sometimes you “can’t go around it,” and you “can’t go under it,” so you have to climb over it.

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