Cathy Hartung: Spotlight
We're so excited to share Cathy Hartung's story and vivid painting. Cathy has had Type One Diabetes for 30 years, and has found exercise to be one of her favorite ways to manage her chronic illness.
The right combination of exercise, diet, and insulin can make life with T1D much more manageable. Most importantly–know your body and be aware of what exactly works for you.
We love to hear your stories! Join Chronically us to meet other strong Chronically Healthy people (and to share the not-so-fun stuff as well).
This is my "Runners on the Beach” painting. I actually did it when I was thinking of my daughter who is a very good runner and she was visiting friends on Long Island.
I developed diabetes when I turned 28. I’m now 58. Initially I didn’t fit in either the type 1 or type 2 diabetes category. I was an adult who developed type 1 diabetes. I actually made some insulin but not enough. I was thin, so I didn’t develop diabetes from being overweight. Since developing diabetes at 28 I’ve become totally insulin dependent. I no longer make any insulin and therefore I need insulin every day. For the past 10 years I’ve been on the pump which delivers insulin to me at a steady rate all day long. When I eat carbs, I bolus insulin according to my carb exchanges.
My husband is a doctor. When I first developed diabetes we were engaged and he was finishing med school. He bought me a book on diabetes to read. The doctors who wrote the book said that one way to control high blood sugars was to exercise. So thats what I did. You have to be careful because if your sugar is very high, you don’t want to do something too strenuous, but walking, riding and exercise bike is a great way to bring it down. Exercise allows the body to use the extra glucose thats in your blood without the aid of insulin. This has been a really good way for me to keep my blood sugars steady. Sometimes when I bolus with insulin to take down a high, I end up with a low later on. Then I seesaw between high and low sugars. Or it just takes too long and I feel awful. Exercise makes me feel better sooner and I think its a happier way to combat a high sugar.
I started by using an exercise bike. It allowed me to exercise in the morning before work or in the evening when it was too dark to walk or run. Now I run, hike, bike, exercise bike, treadmill, etc… I park in the furthest spot in the parking lots at stores so I can walk. I take the stairs instead of the elevator. People are meant to be active. I think that I’m a healthier diabetic because of the exercise. For years I was a competitive runner. I’ve won my age group in numerous races, Mohawk Hudson Half Marathon, Stockadeathon, Plattsburgh Half Marathon, Turkey Trots … I’m not quite so competitive lately but I still run, walk, hike every day. I do it because it makes me feel good.