The Lowdown -
1. What were some of your initial struggles with having diabetes?
I definitely struggled with low blood sugars the most. Because I was diagnosed so early on, my body still made some insulin just not the right amounts. So usually I would go high, my body would realize I needed insulin, it would give me way too much, and I would crash. It was definitely hard to regulate for a while.
2. Is there a story that comes to mind where you realized that having diabetes is really hard?
When I was 12 I started to notice some changes in my diabetes. Up until then I was taking little to no insulin which made me feel almost like I didn't have the disease. Until one night I tested my blood sugar and it was over 400! I knew my extended honeymoon phase had come to an end and that I was going to need insulin fast. I went to the endo and they started me on mealtime insulin; I had very low body weight and a higher A1C (7.4). It really felt like I was being diagnosed all over again! I started taking more insulin and testing more often and I finally started to realize how hard it all was and how lucky I was, getting to have such an easy first few years (even though at the time it didn’t feel easy at all!).
3. What are some struggles that you still experience now?
I have always struggled with type 1 and sports. Pre-game/race anxiety always makes my blood sugar spike then crash. I don't even really remember running my first race because my sugar crashed so bad. Everytime I think I've figured it out (the right foods, blood sugars, times of day), diabetes goes “PSYCH!” and does something completely different than normal! It’s an ongoing learning process.
4. How have you dealt with these struggles?
A whole lot of trial and error! Diabetes is a really difficult disease to manage and treat correctly and I’m always trying new ways to keep myself in as tight control as possible. Another thing is just reminding myself that I'm going to have hard days and I'm not any worse of a diabetic or athlete because I had a bad day. Trying to have a positive attitude is honestly one the best ways to cope with diabetes struggles.
Stay tuned for next week's installment of our December Spotlight, Damage Control