Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes is not an easy task. More of a chore. It takes time to get used to the daily questions and concerns for your health. Sometimes it may get irritating. However, being diagnosed with T1D is manageable. It’s not something you need to think about every second of your life. After first being diagnosed, it’s okay to be scared and concerned, I know I was. Whether going to school or going to hockey practice, I was worried that I might cause a scene after going low. Although it isn’t easy, you have to accept this, and once you do, you won’t have to worry about going low or anything like that because you’ll have it handled.
It can be scary, after being diagnosed, hearing about the fingerpricks, the shots, and the bloodwork. However, these are very small things that don’t affect your life in any different way. Technology has come so far, that managing diabetes is no longer the rigorous task that it once was. Today, there are ways around the fingersticks and the insulin shots; however, you still have to do the bloodwork.
When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I was scared. Scared school would never be the same, and scared I might have to quit hockey. However, I talked to several people my age that were diagnosed and realized there were no drastic changes I needed to make in my life to manage diabetes. Since I was diagnosed in the summer, I had a lot of time to figure out how I would manage hockey and diabetes at the same time. One of the people that helped me, was Luke Kunin. After sitting and talking with him about managing diabetes while playing hockey, I realized the task ahead of me was not as rigorous as I’d imagined it to be. Managing diabetes and physical lifestyle is much easier than one may think. Exercise and activity are an important part of staying healthy, and that fact is part of managing diabetes. Whether it’s a friendly game of pickup basketball or a competitive game of football, diabetes can be managed effectively.
Diet is a very important part of being a diabetic. However, just because you’ve been diagnosed, you don’t have to give up your favorite foods or sweets. It may get a bit aggravating being asked, “Are you sure you can have that?” by a naive peer, but it’s important to know that the things you eat won’t affect your diabetes as long as you effectively count your carbs. You may not always be precise–meals at restaurants don’t have food labels–but you won’t always have to search for a food label to count your carbs effectively with practice.
For teens especially, snacking can be a bit of a step back for your sugars. It can be very easy to visit the pantry and grab a bag of chips and start eating without monitoring how much you eat. It’s ok to eat as long as you take insulin, however, you must keep track of how much you eat so that you can properly dose for it. One way to monitor the amount of food you eat is by pouring your snack into a bowl. In other words, don’t eat chips from a large bag.
Going through highs and lows is very important. When my blood sugar is high, I get very irritable and lash out to the people that are trying to help me. It’s very important to watch your blood sugar for highs because it can take an hour or two to finally stabilize your sugars, so it’s important to act fast so you can be back to your normal self. For lows, I suggest that you keep food or drink at hand so you can treat right away.
These topics and many more will be discussed further down the road. My goal for these blogs and this web page is to help those struggling with diabetes find a way to manage it and be able to do anything they desire while maintaining it. I had the support of friends and family, and I aim to give everyone else that same support. It can be a bit daunting to be diagnosed and have to juggle diabetes, sports, and school, but hopefully, with my help, you may be able to find a way to balance those things or change the way you treat your diabetes to do so. Maintaining diabetes and playing sports is not a hard task, and it’s different for everyone, but if you are struggling, I am here to help.