As someone living with type 1 diabetes, staying on top of my health – making sure I’m tracking my blood glucose levels, carbohydrates, and insulin intake – can already feel like a full-time job. However, I won’t let that stop me from achieving my goals as a collegiate track and field athlete.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in eighth grade. I remember I would experience severe thirst, fatigue, and feeling like something was not right. When I was diagnosed, I didn’t know anyone else with type 1 diabetes, so it was a confusing and difficult time for me. I was upset that it happened to me, not sure where to go from there, and not sure how to manage it. Once I was able to develop a consistent schedule with my doctors, start on a treatment plan, and get started with technology like insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors, I began to learn the basics of diabetes and adjust my life accordingly.
When I was first diagnosed, I thought I wouldn’t be able to run track again. But my dad encouraged me to get back on the track, and with my doctor’s guidance, I was able to not only get my strength back to what it was before I was diagnosed, but I was able to run faster and improve so I could achieve my goal of running track and field in college and beyond.
Being diagnosed with diabetes can be a challenge at times to constantly maintain my health and make sure I’m doing what I need to do to stay healthy. From eating a balanced diet to counting carbs and making sure I’m getting the correct amount of insulin to maintain a healthy blood sugar level, a lot goes into ensuring I’m able to live a full, healthy life while also pursuing my athletic, personal, and academic goals – but it isn’t impossible.
Keeping a positive mindset and having a strong support system in place is just as important as keeping watch of your glucose levels. I’m grateful to my parents, teammates, trainers, and coaches for always being there to help me chase my dreams. It’s true there are no days off when you’re living with diabetes, but getting a diagnosis doesn’t mean you have to give up. Take it from me: living with diabetes will not slow you down.