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Since he was diagnosed at age 9, John has not let his type 1 diabetes (T1D) hold him back from anything as a teenager. He plays competitive soccer and hockey, is active in school sports and loves to fish, swim, ATV, spend time with his family and hang out with his friends. Since his diagnosis, John has experienced severe sugar lows and his mom, Sue, has had to learn how to balance his active lifestyle while managing his type 1 diabetes mellitus. Find out more about Sue and John’s story below.
What are the challenges to managing John’s T1D while balancing his active lifestyle?
John's activities keep us busy, and his blood sugar tends to drop a few hours after intense activity. We do a lot to prepare him for his sports and keep him going strong during and safe afterwards, including setting a temporary blood glucose target and managing his food intake tightly before and after a game or practice.
But the only thing consistent with diabetes is its inconsistency, which is why we spend so much time preparing.
How has your family been impacted by severe hypoglycemia – how do you stay prepared?
John struggled with low blood sugars since he was diagnosed and while we do everything we can to prevent and treat them, he typically does not feel a drop in blood sugar until he is at 3.0, or below, and it is challenging to bring it back up.
John’s worst severe hypoglycemia episode happened over two years ago, resulting in a seizure. It was the most terrifying experience of my life…because I knew why it was happening and I couldn't do anything but call 911. I didn't have glucagon in the house because I used the kit we kept at home to replace the expired one at his school just a few days before.
Now, I will never be without glucagon in the house or wherever John is. He carries it with him all the time. We also budgeted to have a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) for him. It was worth the sacrifice to help prevent anything like that from happening again.
Do you have a rescue plan? What does it include?
John carries snacks and juice or glucose tablets with him at all times, along with a test kit and glucagon. His family, extended family, friends, teachers and coaches know he is a person with T1D and we have informed them about his condition, what to watch for and what to do in an emergency. We prepare care and emergency plans for his sports teams, his teachers and he wears a MedicAlert® bracelet.
What would you tell Canadians living with diabetes about being prepared for a severe hypoglycemia episode?
You can never be too prepared! Make sure the people you spend time with know how to help if you need it. Always have your test kit, fast-acting sugar, snacks and glucagon kit with you. Surround yourself with people that will love, support and encourage you...this race is long, challenging and relentless and wasn't meant to be run alone!
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the sponsor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Diabetes Canada.
Author: Eli Lilly Canada
Category Tags: Healthy Living;