Cathy Hartung: Runner, Painter, T1D Warrior

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.

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.

 
Cathy & her daughter climbed Rocky Peak in the Adirondacks

Cathy & her daughter climbed Rocky Peak in the Adirondacks

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.

Cathy & her daughter Genna on race day!

Cathy & her daughter Genna on race day!

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.


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