Interviews

She became Diabetic at 31 years old. But that’s just the start of her run story.

by On Oct 5, 2018

Dealing with a medical condition is tough! Well not for Angela Lim! How does she do it? Read on to see what drives her!

She became Diabetic at 31 years old. But that’s just the start of her run story.

Angela Lim, a 39 years old who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Despite that, she is determined to still lead a healthy and fit lifestyle.

However, coming to terms with her diagnosis has not always been a smooth journey. When Angela was diagnosed back in 2010, she immediately starts diving deep into denial and refused to accept her medical conditions. Nonetheless, her health took a turn for the worst towards the end of 2017, when fear of potential retinal eye and kidney failure were detected. These discoveries left her totally flabbergasted and jolted her back to reality, wanting to recover fully or at least keep her conditions stable.

Angela decided to start with sports activities such as Volleyball, Badminton, and Zumba. However, none of them feels right. Running, however, was one of the easiest and achievable forms of exercise to start with. Additionally, having a sprinter background during her heydays back in school makes running resonated with her completely. Thus, her running journey began and she will be participating in the Great Eastern Women's Run this October.

Currently, she constantly trains at least thrice a week, running and clocking miles to prepare her for her first 10km despite never being a long distance runner before. Additionally, she does other recreational activities such as Yoga on weekends.

We decided to ask her a few questions about her journey up-to-date.

RS: How has diabetes changed your life?

Angela: Complication of my health took a turn for the worst towards end 2017 when fears of potential retinal eye damage and kidney failure were detected. I had self-admitted to the A&E for a chest pain and difficulty in breathing in June 2010.

When my urine and blood tests resulted came back, my glucose level hit the ceiling. I was being admitted immediately for emergency Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), to monitor my intravenous fluids, insulin and glucose levels. Never would l had expected to be diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on that fateful day.

When the news broke, there was a euphoria of mixed feelings. Anger, denial, disappointment and finally, acceptance were experienced during the week-long hospitalization in ICU. Like clockwork, the nurses religiously tested my glucose level and high blood pressure, every 2 hourly. Even the team of Endocrinologists worked relentlessly to ensure I understood and realized the severity of my condition.

She became Diabetic at 31 years old. But that’s just the start of her run story.

Angela, second from the right.

In the initial 6 months post-discharge, I was on a roll. Major changes were made to my diet. Out goes fried, oily, starchy, sweet food/snack and soft drink. In comes nonfat/low-fat, wholemeal bread, rice, noodles, broth-based food, vegetables, and fruits. A brisk walk of 30 mins daily was incorporated as well.

Also read:  Go, Jasmine Goh! This Singapore Running Star Was Born to Shine at Gold Coast Airport Marathon 2017

However, the initial plan for a healthy diet and active lifestyle were short-lived. One of insulin side effect was weight gain. This didn’t sit well with me. I started my journey of insulin non-compliance and allowed my condition to deteriorate. For as long as my objective of being waif-like is met, I was prepared to put my life at stake. This went on for several years.

The turning point was during one of the quarterly medical reviews, the urine and blood test results weren’t promising. The Endocrinologist explained my optical eye pressure was on the high side and there was leakage of blood in my urine. His words left me flabbergasted and it sure, jolted me back to reality, wanting to nurse my health back. If not completely cure, but at least to improve and keep my condition at bay.

Good news for me, both possibilities of eye and kidney damage in my situation were not at a high-risk level and early prevention can help to lower the chances. It then dawned upon me; to face up to reality, to stop living in denial I’m a diabetes patient and to embrace and cherish my health and life, especially since, I was given this new lease of hope.

RS: What gives you the drive/motivation to push on for a healthy and fit life during tough times?

Angela: Both my Brother and Mother!

My brother had an annual health screening in 2015 and was suspected of Type 1 diabetes. Being a responsible family man, he understood the undue stress and burden, it may bring to the family, should his health be at stake. He took upon himself with great strides and determination and turn his condition around and adopted a healthier lifestyle, coupled with regular exercise and nutritious diet. He earned his clean bout of health, one year later (in 2016) from the doctor and has never looked back since.

My greatest motivational is My Mother. Seeing my aged mother, still in the pink of health, makes me embarrassed of my own selfish way of life. Here she is, the woman who has breathed life into me and has given me all the best, living her life to the fullest; makes me want to take charge, shape up and make it a prerogative to live healthier and fitter.

Also read:  Run Around the Earth? If You Are Thomas Picard, No Compass Required!

Such is the power of kinship and family love and truly they are my heroes and inspiration!

RS: What are some of the greatest challenges you have faced during this journey?

Angela: I must admit my fitness knowledge was zilch when I started running this year in May 2018. I was thrown off the course with terminology like Cadence, Pace, VO2 Max, Aerobic. However, bit by bit I started reading up on related articles on techniques and advises from running professionals. Taking heed of the Do’s and Don’ts, I came up with my own personalised training KPI.

  • Strength – Only when my body is fitter and stronger, will it propel me to go further.
  • Heart Rate – To better conditioned my heart muscles and make it more efficient, as running is in a long haul for me.
  • Nutrition – I am what I eat! With a balanced diet and correct eating pattern, I can have more energy to yield maximize results.

RS: What achievements you were most proud of during your days back in school as a sprinter?

Angela:  For 3 consecutive years in primary school, I topped the podium for all short distance events; 50m, 100m, 200m, 4x100m relay and winning the overall championship, for my category and schoolhouse. Even on a National level, I was able to smash my 100m record and claim the trophy, from our competitors. That was stoked. We trained 5 days weekly after school, come rain or shine. Though grueling, the sweetness of your hard work and perspiration, whilst crossing the finish line, was beyond words.

RS: Will you be trying to achieve those moments again?

Angela: Glorious moments should be left as is. Each milestone achieved are a testament of the past, that shape our present self, towards a beautiful future; with even more accomplishments waiting to unravel.

She became Diabetic at 31 years old. But that’s just the start of her run story.

RS: Who is/are your greatest support during this journey?

Angela: Family and close friends, who have been with me throughout my roller-coaster journey. Their unconditional love and strong pillar support is the greatest motivation for me.

Also read:  Interview with Marie Purvis, Master Trainer, Nike

RS: What is your training routine like for your upcoming 10km run this October?

Angela: I rekindled with running recently in May 2018 (after 2+ decades) and do not have a comprehensive training routine. Though it’s all baby steps now, I am really pleased with my current progress, as my weekly regime has increased from once to thrice weekly run.

  • Monday - Zumba (1h bi-weekly)
  • Tuesday - 5km Run (Weekly, Approx 45 mins)
  • Wednesday - Kick-Boxing (1h bi-weekly)
  • Thursday - 7km Run (Weekly, Approx 60 mins)
  • Friday - Yoga (1h bi-weekly)
  • Saturday - 10km Run (Weekly, Approx 90 mins)
  • Sunday - REST!

RS: How do you ensure that your training doesn’t affect your medical condition?

Angela:  Must-Do's (Before) is to ensure l do not run on an empty stomach, having a hypo moment can be morbid. Must-Do's (After) is also, ironically, to fill up my stomach, to bring the zest back to life.

RS: How has running changed your life?

Angela:  Funnily enough, when l first started running in May 2018, I do not see myself running beyond a weekly distance of 5km. Today, I have quadrupled to 20km. It’s beyond me, how much further l can go and will go. “Do or Do Not” – for the human anatomy is an amazing marvel!

RS: Why do you choose to participate in the Great Eastern Women’s Run?

Angela:  In my search for a healthier and fitter lifestyle, I have tried various activities, such as Volleyball, Badminton. None were my calling. Whilst muddling through what’s next, Great Eastern Women’s Run were flashed on major social platforms. Guess the caption, “Women’s Run” struck a chord with me. Hailing from a sprinter background, it resonated with me completely, that running is one of the easiest and achievable forms of exercise to kick-start.

RS: What advice would you share with those who suffered a medical condition for their road to recovery?

Your medical condition is but a mindset, exudes positivity and embrace it with a steadfast attitude. Setting a KPI and development plan, will also allow one to be focus and scale the impossible. The word impossible also means I-M-POSSIBLE. Remember, YOU are your own competitor and champion. Choose the latter and enjoy the process.

We are glad that Angela is willing to share with her story to the world through RunSociety. We hope her story has inspired you to live great no matter what life throws at you!

What used to be a couch potato, now an active sports person. A person that enjoys all kinds of sports, especially Ultimate Frisbee. Running constantly on the weekends to keep himself fit as a fiddle.

Location
Singapore
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