Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Olympic Skier with Type I Diabetes


I'm a little behind the eight-ball on this one, since the Olympics were a month ago. But here's an article about a neat athlete named Kris Freeman. As an amateur professional athlete, he was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes at age 19 and told he probably wouldn't be able to continue competing. Instead, he set about learning as much as he could about the disease and his own body. He collapsed during a race with a low blood sugar at the 2010 Olympic games, but he came back to Sochi in February of this year:

"He immediately started taking insulin and testing his blood sugar. He knew that he had to alter his lifestyle but refused to believe his career was over. Freeman read everything he could about diabetes in his spare time, setting out to tame the disease similar to the way he dominated mountains. He gained control over his body and lifestyle, adhering to a strict diet and carefully managing his health. Even though there was no track record to follow in terms of diabetes management for workouts and endurance competitions, he was determined to continue his career...

"Four years later, Freeman continues to adjust his diabetes management in a quest to master his body and avoid the diabetes-induced disappointment of 2010. The difficulty is that regulating blood sugar is a bit like trying to kick a football through moving goalposts; the body constantly evolves, as do external circumstances, such as food differences around the world and varying air pressures. What works one day might generate poor results due to different conditions on another day...

" 'Sometimes if he has a bad race, I feel it should be about the blood sugar, and he doesn't, Caldwell says. 'The last thing he wants is to be defined by diabetes'...

"At age 33, Freeman's hopes of medaling in Sochi are slim. But the ability to represent the United States as well as the diabetic community in the Olympics for the fourth time is a testament to the diligence and intensity that has characterized his training and diabetes management since his diagnosis and particularly in the last four years...

" 'I don't want anyone with diabetes to feel like it's a limitation and that you have to set your sights lower,' Freeman said. 'It certainly makes some things more difficult, but I don't believe the disease has to stop anyone from reaching their dreams.' "

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/-olympics/news/20140120/kris-freeman-diabetes-sochi-olympics-cross-country-skiing/#ixzz2vnyGw22S

I feel like there are a lot of comparisons between being pregnant and having children and competing in athletic events. It seems this man's experience as a professional athlete is very similar to what I have experienced as a pregnant, Type I diabetics: doubt about my ability to do it successfully, determination to know as much as possible about my disease and my body and experiment with treatment options, major low-blood-sugar failure, continued diligence and experimentation, and the conviction that diabetes makes many things more difficult, but not necessarily unattainable or foolish.



No comments:

Post a Comment