Although I have a chronic disease, one that I will manage for the rest of my long life, I am pretty lucky. I have great health insurance that covers such things as a pump and a continuous glucose monitor, expensive tools to purchase and maintain. I won't go into the cost or thank Obamacare here since I moved out of the permanently uninsurable category four years ago. Nobody teaches you that, about the importance of health insurance until you actually have a need for it. Then you figure it out quickly.
I also have been lucky to have a team of medical experts that I have been working with for over three years to help me manage, but that hasn't been enough. I had been lacking a great coach\mentor for this process. My team is responsive with listening and answering my questions, but they don't have all the answers. I realize that great coaches don't have to play the sport to have insight, but those who have played the sport have insight that only playing the game will reveal.
Fortunately, my great coach, Mike, entered my my life in January 2012. He is a PA, who not only has the same disease I have, but runs marathons. One of his specialties is diabetic athletes. You only have to listen to other Type 1s across the country to realize how rare he is. He provides unique insight into aspects of my disease that my endo cannot provide. My endo understands the science and treatment of my disease; Mike understands the art of living with it.
Mike works with me every six weeks to review my data, evaluate my progress, and reset my goals. He is helping me reach my long-term goal. He understands the balance of managing the demands of work with the nature of the disease. Many don't. He understands the hard work and confusing results. He understands how our work can be fraught with disappointment and how the science of our disease is actually not so perfect after all. He understands the life circumstances that might make you forget a critical step in your daily life...actually putting your pump on. He understands that there is an art and a science to managing my disease. Therefore when my numbers were down on my visit yesterday; he understood the cost of that achievement and the value of celebrating. One of the few areas in life where lower scores matter most.
I'm lucky. I only have to participate in a few support groups or read the d-boards to figure out how lucky I am. I not only have a wonderful supportive community of my colleagues, friends and family, but I am also fortunate to have an expert coach mentor me through this tricky world.
PS: I celebrated by purchasing an expensive pair of running shoes at The Track Shack.