From Team Type 1 SANOFI's Run Across America: Aretaeus Returns


Aretaeus Returns by Marcus Grimm

Most people are unfamiliar with Aretaeus and the place he holds in medical history. A disciple of Hippocrates in ancient Greek, he was the first to name “diabetes,” based on the Greek word “to siphon,” emphasizing the symptoms of excessive thirst and frequent urination common when the blood sugar is high.

Aretaeus referred to this, mostly incorrect, “as a melting down of flesh and limbs into urine.” And despite the fact that Team Type 1 SANOFI is made up of a group of remarkably well-controlled diabetics, it’s possible that Aretaeus might feel otherwise had he come upon them, running their way across the windy plains of Kansas.

The group, fit and trim when they started the journey a week ago, are thinner to a man. Their lives are as simple as could be, consisting only of running, eating, sleeping and managing the mathematics of a disease that demands you know how these factors will affect your blood sugar at all times. And make no mistake – simple and easy are unrelated perhaps more often than they are. The runners are balancing all of these factors on little sleep, and without the benefit of the comforts of home.

To succeed, the excesses of their lives have been stripped away. Phone calls home are necessary, but their fatigue necessitates, too, that they are brief. Meals are consumed with passion, but quickly, so that there is more time to sleep. Everything has changed for them. Everything, that is, except the running and the diabetes, the two unrelenting factors in their lives right now, that refuse to let up.

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