Grade four in Halifax, Nova Scotia is a big year for most students. No, it's not because we change schools or have a longer recess, it's because it's the year that you can try out for the school track and field team.
At my primary-to-nine school, there is no club, sports team or extra-curricular to join until you reach the fourth grade. It's anticipated from your very first day of primary, when you see the kids in the field at recess racing each other to get ready for the big day. Tryouts are held after school in mid-May, on the gravel track circling the field.
I wanted a spot on that team more than I wanted anything (or at least it felt that way at the time). I went out on that cold day in shorts, a t-shirt and a new pair of sneakers I had been saving since my birthday for the occasion, and I tried out for every event. Long distance running, throwing, sprinting, jumping, you name it I did it. My efforts were not fruitless; I was rewarded with a spot on the 4x100m relay team.
Thus began my love of track and field.
The next year was a great year. I made high jump, the 100m dash and the 800m run, placing second in high jump and eighth in the 100m dash. This was also the year I was diagnosed with type one diabetes.
I was diagnosed on the sixteenth of October, in 2008 (my fifth grade year). The week of the diagnosis was a whirlwind of education sessions about counting carbohydrates and insulin doses. One thing that was missing from that load of information was how to manage diabetes while exercising.
Fast-forward five years, and this is me today. I still have type one diabetes and I still pursue my love for track and field. As with most things, after this amount of time you gain knowledge and skill. This is true with both managing my diabetes as well as competing in track. In this case, the more I learn about controlling diabetes, the better I am able to train and compete. This works vice versa as well, the more I understand the stress, exertion, adrenalin and endurance required in track and field, the better I am able to achieve a good blood sugar reading.
Not to say any of this is easy, of course. It’s important to know that what you do one day, may not work the next. Listening to your body and compensating accordingly is always the best bet. Celebrate the small victories, like when you get that perfect blood sugar. I like to take a picture of every 5.5 reading I get, and share it on social media. (5.5 is the goal blood sugar for me, A.K.A 99) Remember that an off reading is certainly not the end of the world; it’s just another opportunity to learn about your own diabetes.
All the very best,
Hello everyone! I'm Hannah! I'm 16 years old and have been living a normal life with type 1 diabetes for 10 years! I'm so excited to share the journey of Penpals United with you through our blog!