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I joined a burlesque troupe. And I am so excited…. I’ve been rehearsing two-four hours two times a week and in the interest of looking super cute in burlesque styled costumes – I’ve been running in the between days. I danced for years as a youngster and have found that getting back into dance is actually not all the difficult – it’s somewhat like riding a bike, apparently!
But the diabetes challenges abound, as usual. Dance does not seem to have the same impact that other aerobic activity has on my body. Instead of the instantaneous drop within a half hour of starting, I can be at a fine – or sometimes slightly elevated – blood sugar all through warm up, learning choreography, and cool down – and then boom, and hour post-rehearsal I’m battling an extreme and extremely stubborn low blood sugar. Or just the opposite, I run fine through rehearsal and end up high later on. I’m playing like crazy with pump settings to try to get it right, but it can be discouraging as heck. Thankfully, I’ve been stable enough during rehearsal to get all the way through routines, remember steps and not fall on my face.
Next in line: Costuming and pump sites. I’m dancing a can-can at my first show on the 13th of April, I’m grateful that the costume (corset, bloomers, skirt, stockings) will leave space and hiding places for my pump. But I’ve got two other routines – one I know I’m going to want to wear an acrobat costume for – and I’m struggling to find ways to wear and stow my pump. I’m thinking I made need to chat with my doctor and get some Lantus just for that weekend. Moving forward though, I may be dancing lots of weekends and some weeknights – so this is something I’ve got to figure out. Thigh straps never work for me – even just walking, let alone dancing. Tucking into costume just won’t be an option in some cases and having a site on my thigh won’t work in other cases. The good news is, the girls in the troupe are supportive and seem to have lots of great suggestions for making the pump work. More to come on this – as I start figuring it out!
Although diabetes does present these couple of challenges, in the grand scheme of things, they are minor. What counts is I’m having a great time, enjoying myself thoroughly and learning new things. I have the opportunity to engage in creative expression I haven’t exercised in quite a long time and I’ve met some amazing ladies in the process.
If you have suggestions about how to balance dance against insulin/food or where to stow a pump in dance costumes, I’d love to hear them… Since comments are down, you can email me any suggestions at email@example.com!
Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes. (Read More)
Nicole Purcell lists having type 1 diabetes last when she's asked to provide information about herself - because that's where it belongs. (Read More)