A Lean Six Sigma Marathon

I am an avid marathon runner, but with the Rotterdam marathon in 2015 things went wrong. After 5 kilometers I got cramp my calves and every drinking post was like a pub for me. Where other runners drank 1 cup of water, I drank at least 5. After 30 kilometers, I pushed aside my pride and quit the marathon.

The Diagnosis

The next day I went to the doctor just to make sure everything is all well and good. Unexpectedly the doctor went to check my blood sugar level.
Because of the abnormal height of my blood sugar level, the instrument could not measure it.
The doctor sent me off to the hospital where their test indicated I had a blood sugar level of 44. This number won’t convey much meaning to most, but the normal blood sugar level is between 4 and 8.
The diagnosis was diabetes and later showed type 1 diabetes. Something became clear to me during the stay in the hospital.
I had to take control of my blood sugar level with an effective approach.

The approach

As a black Belt you learn how to permanently solve problems. You learn how to find root causes that influence the problem.
In my case I had a problem with the spread of my blood sugar level. My blood sugar level is sometimes too high (hyper) and other times too low (hypo). I started an experiment to determine which factors influence my blood sugar level and how big the influence of these factors would be. My goal was to to regulate my blood sugar level, without having to use insulin for as long as possible.

The influence factors

I soon found out that exercise had a positive effect on my blood sugar level. And that eating carbohydrates has a negative effect on my blood sugar level. Going to bed late and being under stress had negative influence aswell.
I now knew what influence factors there were for me, but i did not know how big their influence was.
I therefore went on to qauntify the influence factors by measuring them. These measurements included: number of carbohydrates of a meal, intensity of exercise and deep and light sleep. I connected these measurements to a continuous measurement of my blood sugar level and then analyzed them.

New York 2015

By analyzing my blood sugar levels in combination with these factors, I got very good understanding of the connections. I knew how to stabilize my sugar level without injecting insulin. This ment strict guidelines when it comes to eating, exercising, sleeping and working. Six months after the Rotterdam marathon, I ran a fantastic New York marathon with a personal record. I ran this marathon on 1 energy bar. After the finish I fainted from the hunger in my sister’s arms, but that aside. I did not have to inject insulin for a year or so and the doctors were amazed by the duration of my honeymoon. Now I spray very little insulin, because my body no longer produces insulin. I am happy living proof that Lean Six Sigma works and that running marathons with diabetes is feasible.

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