Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Solutions Companies had got an intranet…

Johnson & Johnson består av ett antal företag, däribland McNeil ( finns i Helsingborg) och Animas (som tillverkar Animas Vibe, dvs min insulinpump.

…..and one of their staff made an interview with me in April. They had heard about me in a congress in Paris and seen me on Sydnytt. 

So, here is my story ;

For Josefin Palmén, movement means running, swimming and cross country skiing. Movement means being alive and free. So imagine her worries in May 2010, on a trip to Melbourne, Australia, she became very thirsty and lost vision. Back home in Sweden a week later, she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

A travel agent based in Helsingborg, Sweden, Josefin in her youth was a long distance runner. Now in her late 30s, she participates in high-level outdoor events, including Ironman-length triathlons which consist of 2.4-mile (3.86 Km) ocean swim followed by a 112-mile (180.2 Km) bike ride followed by a marathon run (26.2 miles). Competitors in these events are a different sort, to say the least. Josefin is definitely one of them. After the bike ride in these events, according to her, “You say to yourself, ‘Only a marathon left to finish’.”

Completing these events lasts hours and requires boosts of energy through food and drink. But Type 1 diabetes requires constant vigilance of blood sugar and insulin levels, which can break the Zen-like persistence needed to complete a triathlon.

OGSM: Lead With Purpose

“I mean, life did change,” Josefin said about realizing what it meant to manage the disease. “I always have to think if I exercise a lot I have to bring extra stuff with me; I can’t choose to not be a diabetic.”

She thought it over and decided T1 wasn’t going to defeat her. In fact, after being diagnosed she promised herself that in a year she would participate in the Swedish Classic Circuit, an event that required, over a period of one year, to swim three kilometers (1.8 miles, run 30Km (19.2 miles), cross country ski 90Km (56 miles) and cycle 300Km (186 miles) around a lake.

“I didn’t know how my body would react, but I wanted to do it anyway,” she added. (For the Cross country ski event, Vasaloppet, Josefin said more 16,000 Swedes signed up and all entries were filled within hours after registration was opened in.)

She started training but had difficulty managing proper glucose levels. “I wrote that on a Facebook site for people with diabetes, and someone wrote that I needed a pump,” Josefin pointed out.

Josefin consulted with a doctor, and afterward she chose the Animas VIBE® because it’s waterproof, essential for those ocean swims at the start of triathlons, not to mention those luxurious dips with sea turtles on vacations to the Maldives (pictured left).

IMG_1132

Also, it helped that the Animas office was in Malmo, a short distance from Helsingborg. Josefin’s hobbies would definitely test the Animas durability. Consider that competing in cross country ski events means enduring extremely low temperatures – like minus-41 Celsius.

“The Animas VIBE™ provides me with much more freedom than having to manually give myself insulin injections,” she said. “And in competition, there is no way to do that without a VIBE™.”

Josefin has her eyes on traveling to Finland for the Rajalta Rajalle-hiihto, which translates literally as “from border to border-cross country ski.” It lasts seven days, covering 273 miles, or an average of 39 miles a day, of skiing, from the Russian border near Kuusamo to the Swedish border at Tornio.

For such an active, self-driven woman, learning about how to handle a potential debilitating disease and then continuing on with her high-intensity athletic endeavors, you’d think that would be her proudest achievement. It’s not.

That comes about when she learns through her blog, “medsockeriblodetochenviljaavjarn,” which roughly translates to “With sugar in my blood and the willpower of iron,” that she inspires others.

“I use my willpower to run over the fact that I have too much sugar in my blood while I’m competing,” she said. “Like with my running friends who do not have diabetes, sometimes they don’t want to run. But if they see Josefin running, then they say, ‘I’ll go run’.”

- 41 degrees.......

– 41 degrees…….

And she continues to inspire. Through a Facebook post she learned of a young girl who no longer wanted to participate in gymnastics due to her diabetes. Her father showed the girl the pictures of Josefin from her blog as a way to inspire her back into gymnastics. The father wrote that Josefin inspired the girl to give gymnastics another try.
“The nicest thing to me is to help others,” Josefin added, “because then there’s meaning with the disease.”

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