Tour de Cure cyclist John Burger was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes almost 30 years ago. One of the coping mechanisms he found uplifting was becoming involved in diabetes advocacy, including participating in ADA’s Tour de Cure event to raise funds to stop diabetes. John found a real sweet spot for diabetes control with exercise and food, and shares how his CGM plays a role in it all.
Ever just want to go somewhere fun and be with others who not only have diabetes, but are finding their own ways to cope and thrive?
I recently participated in two Tour De Cure bicycle rides on back to back weekends. I recommend you finding one and giving it a try. What you’ll find is a world of activists who are combining their efforts to find a cure for diabetes, with the joy of riding their bike. It is a fundraising event, so I set a high goal (don’t sweat it), became part of a team, and got the backing of my friends and family to give common positive purpose to the obstacles we face.
People with diabetes know and understand how to “combine” things, because everything we do is connected to something else. You can’t just change one thing.
A little about me…
- Living with type 1 diabetes for almost 30 years
- Pumping for 10 years
- Using a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) for 3 years
- Riding my bike for 2 years now
I have found a real sweet spot for diabetes control by combining exercise, technology, food, and reduced insulin in an easy regimen that I want to share.
I ride my bike every day. Before heading out, I make sure not to bolus because I’ve found the time and duration of my bike rides tend to decrease my BG levels. No going low while on two wheels!
My CGM displays my current sensor glucose (SG) and trends. Of these two, I find the trend the most useful piece of information. The data helps me see my sensor glucose trends prior to, during, and after I’ve finished biking. If I’m trending up before the race, I’m usually good to go since the exercise will bring my glucose levels down. A downward trend means I need to check my blood glucose (BG), and if I’m low, drink a diabetes shake, which provides me with a spike-free glucose supply during my ride, and I’m good to go again.
In my bike bag, I always carry glucose tabs for unexpected lows, but almost never need to use them. When I do, it’s like fixing a flat tire – a slight delay, but I’m back going again. My insulin pump (not my tire pump) works with the CGM to alarm me when a low is coming, and I check my CGM every few miles to confirm. I also carry an extra diabetes shakes that allows me to either extend my ride, or cover a BG that is trending down too quickly.
All this good information, especially the trend, allows me to have the confidence to make the right therapy adjustments that work for me. Think about it. Let’s say you get a BG meter reading of 120 while biking. Hmmm…what to do? With a BG of 120, you can keep an eye on your CGM trend to see if you can keep riding or stop. If I’m trending up, I keep riding. If I’m trending down, I better stop quickly to confirm the reading with a fingerstick, and then feed the beast with a snack.
After the ride, I find the active insulin from my basal insulin (insulin already in my body) helps keeps my glucose stable or on a slight downward trend for a long period of time, without an additional bolus. Again, the trend is my friend.
I encourage you to participate in the Tour de Cure! You’ll learn a lot about how your body responds to different types and levels of activity, amongst many other things. Very quickly, you’ll command your BG AND the road. Just remember, what works for me, may not necessarily work for you. It’s important to talk with your healthcare team before starting a new exercise routine to determine what works best for you.
Anyway, that’s my share…biking, Medtronic technology, diabetes shakes, and Tour de Cure fund raising, just for fun. Cyclists make the best people. See you out on the road!
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
– Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
– Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.
Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
– Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
– Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.
Medtronic Diabetes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems
– The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to treatment.
– Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected.
For more information, please visit http://www.medtronicdiabetes.com/important-safety-information.
, continuous glucose monitor
, insulin pump
, Tour de Cure