Ice Dancing and Diabetes: What's the Connection?

Kerri Sparling Health Guide
  • I'm watching the Olympics, right?  And all this ice skating stuff?  During which, when the judges scrutinize these athletes, I get a little peeved because I'm impressed that these skaters can stand without toppling over on ice skates, nevermind doing all these spinning and jumping moves that make my muscles tense out in empathy nervousness.  And just before a jump is scheduled or a complicated part of the routine is expected, one of the judges always clucks their tongue and says something along the lines of "This is a difficult move … and one that they aren't known for landing during competitions."

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    Now why, on Earth, would you want to jinx people before they are about to tackle an impressive physical feat?  And it's not like the judges only say it once or twice - these kinds of comments jab into every round of ice skating commentary.   How can the skaters even enjoy watching their performances on replay after they hear the less-than-inspiring commentary?

    (Looking for the diabetes connection?  Hang on - it's coming.)

    I do this to myself all the time.  I totally psyche myself out before having blood work done for my A1C.  Because I'm basing so much of my perception of "diabetes control" on that one number, it's a mental battle every time I have those vials of blood drawn, and as I wait for the results to be returned.

    I am my own Olympic commentator.

    Just before the appointment, as I'm walking from the parking garage into the hospital, I can see my diabetes skating out onto the ice in its sassy little unitard.  (Often employing the use of sequins, of course.  I opt for a full, fictional snowsuit with knee pads and a helmet, knowing my own limitations when it comes to grace.)

    "Oh, that's the pairs team of Kerri and her Diabetes.  Yeah, they've had a tough time training for this event, but Kerri has really been working hard to make this round turn out okay.  She's been testing, carefully counting her carbs, and trying her best to follow all the rules, even when she's quoted as saying 'It sucks sometimes.'  So we're expecting great things in the blood draw today …"

    (And then it comes in.)

    "But we know it's going to be a crap result, anyway.  Okay, and off they go!"

    Part of the chaos of diabetes is that literal dance between the physical aspects of diabetes and the psychological effects.  Living with diabetes isn't entirely about the technical aspects of the disease (i.e. the A1C result, the blood sugar average on my meter, the total carbs I'm ingesting every day, my weight).  There's a balance of "diabetes stuff" and "life" that needs to be maintained, and that balance is just as important as any lab work results that come back from our medical teams.  A person with diabetes who has an A1C of 5.8% but living with diabetes-related depression issues is just as unhealthy as a person with an A1C of 7.3% and who laughs and feels happy most of the time.  Quality of life counts, too, right?

    I'd like my mental Olympic announcer to be a little easier on my pairs team.

  • "Taking the ice, we have Kerri and her Diabetes.  They've had a rocky past, but at least they're both wearing helmets this round.  And I think they've worked out the lift enough that Diabetes doesn't drop Kerri on her head.  That's progress, guys.  That's real progress."

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Published On: February 23, 2010