Updated: Feb 11, 2018
Rachelle Glantz, left, Triabetes athlete, cooking with Karen Rose Tank at The Suppers Program
Athlete Rachelle Glantz (#rachelleglantz) might seem like your typical nursing student. Like most nursing students, she is a bundle of energy, swimming, running or biking nearly an hour every morning and taking spinning classes midday.
She has run the New York City marathon and is a triathlete. “I wouldn’t be able to get to sleep at night if I were any less busy,” says Glantz.(#triabetes)
But unlike most nursing students, Glantz battles Type 1 diabetes. Life changed dramatically once she received her diagnosis at age 17 after a throat infection.
Currently Glantz is in a part time Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program at Borough of Manhattan community college (BMCC). Once she achieves her RN after she graduates next Spring, she wants to complete her BSN and then her MSN to be licensed as a Nurse Practitioner . Eventually Glantz would like to be a certified diabetes educator (CDE) and registered dietician (RD), because eventually she wants to help others with diabetes.
Diabetes is a serious and life-changing disease. Learning how to exercise with diabetes is only half the challenge. Glantz, like other people with diabetes, not only depends on insulin to survive but has had to change the way she eats and prepares meals.
Through a connection to a health coach, Glantz recently visited the Suppers for Stable Blood Sugar group, located in Princeton, New Jersey. Glantz was there to learn how to cook a wholesome meal that would help stabilize blood glucose levels and to talk to other members of the group about exercise. (#suppersforstablebloodsugar)
Glantz spoke to the group about her experiences as an athlete with diabetes. In November, she trained and raced through an injury, tendonitis of the posterior tibialis, but managed to finish her first New York City marathon. She races most weekends, saying it keeps her motivated.
Glantz has lived with a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes for nearly fifteen years. She is on the insulin pump, which delivers insulin throughout the day, and allows for more flexibility with diet as well as eliminating the need to inject oneself with needles.
Her focus is to provide an example to other people living with diabetes who may be afraid to exercise. Glantz told the group that she races with a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) that lets her track her glucose without testing her blood. Her aim is to treat her blood glucose levels before she becomes hypoglycemic.
“When I race,” says Glantz, “I keep glucose tablets and energy gels with me. I use them to keep my energy up. Every race has things like oranges and Gatorade on the course, and I like to keep a bottle of flat Coke with my race gear when I do triathlons.”
Exercise is important to people living with diabetes because it increases insulin sensitivity. Ultimately, an athlete may need less insulin than someone who does not exercise. “And the more active you are,” says Glantz, “the easier it is to tolerate a chronic disease.”
Glantz is a member of numerous athletic clubs and groups for people living with diabetes. She is a member of insulindependence, whose mission is to inspire people with diabetes to exercise. (#insulindependence)
A resident of New York City, Glantz also hosts monthy fitness events called Dawn Phenoms.
Insulindependence reaches people nationwide with its volunteers and Team Captains for its active clubs One club is Triabetes, of which Glantz is a Team Captain for the Northeast region and is one of four activity clubs under Insulindependence. There are 250 members in Triabetes and 3,000 members in insulindependence.
“The NYC Marathon in November 2011 was just one of my many competitions,” says Glantz, “though I represented the organization as a team captain and helped spread the word about its mission and vision.”
Glantz has been a member of insulindependence for three years. She is the first person the organization tapped into in New York City. “It’s great to be surrounded by other athletes with diabetes. You don’t feel awkward taking insulin in front of others.”
“It may take a lot of planning, but it’s not as hard as it seems. Since you must keep your blood sugar stable twenty-four hours, seven days a week, exercise is no different than anything else,” says Glantz. “You already have the disease; don’t let it hold you back.”