T1D struggle

Hi y’all. I’m Haley. I’ve been having diabetes for almost 12 years. So, I’ve been struggling to keep up with it like I’m supposed to and I’d like to know, how do you just get back on it and keep going? I feel like I’ve burnt out from this. I’ve had DKA six times and lost two babies from this… and I am training to be a pro wrestler, but I feel that diabetes gets in the way of living my dreams… I just need some help and guidance again I guess… I’d love to hear any suggestions. :blue_heart:

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Hi Haley. Welcome!

I’m very sorry it’s been so rough for you. Especially the miscarriages must have been difficult to bear. And wrestling is a difficult job for us.

I wish I could give you an easy answer. But it comes down to making peace with it in your own mind, and that’s always going to be a unique process for every individual.

I can tell you that it’s not insurmountable. There have been diabetic pro athletes. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched Stargirl (the CW superhero show), but the main actress is a gymnast, beauty pageant winner, actress, and diabetic.

You can do this. But what’s holding you back? What in particular makes it hard for you?

I found for myself that getting into a daily routine with my diabetes makes it easier. It just becomes part of regular life. Recently, I switched from pens to a pump and CGM, and that’s improved my control.

But two things in particular made it easier for me: I had a good role model in my diabetic grandfather and I learned when and how I could find flexibility in the diet and regimen to safely indulge myself. Oh, well, finding good quality sugar-free chocolate helped, too…

Your dreams are possible. Being pregnant and diabetic is hard, but a good medical team can help you do it. (The fetus deliberately messes with your body chemistry in order to raise your blood sugar so it can grow faster, which is why some non-diabetics get temporary gestational diabetes. So it does have to be managed very carefully. But it’s possible.) Being diabetic and an active athlete is difficult, but you can do that, too, as long as you take care to eat right and take precautions against low blood sugars.

You might want to see if there’s a support group near you with other diabetics who can help you stick with the program.

But what is it that specifically makes it hard for you?

Hi @QueenHaley14 and welcome to the forum (love your name by the way!). Thank you for sharing your struggles, your dreams and your photo! BTW, which meter are you using? I have a Dexcom G6 CGM and since I rarely need to do fingersticks I got a super compact Dario that works with my phone.
I find it helps sometimes to get a “refresher course” on the basics. Most often it’s with my nutritionist but it could be with my doctor or - more likely from a time perspective, the nurse educator. I can do something so much of of habit, that I forget the background details that explain why I do it - then I find myself slipping further and further away from the good habits I once had.
Is a CGM an option for you? In addition to saving your fingertips it gives you find of valuable information. You do not need to use a pump to have a CGM - they have their own receiver and may be compatible with your cell phone. As your wrestling (way to go!!!), training, out running errands or wondering how certain foods affect your glucose, you can glance at your numbers to see how you’re doing. This can be valuable in determining if your basal insulin and carb ratio/s are working as well. Given your goals of being a mom and a wrestler, I would encourage you to look into one along with a refresher. Also some people do just fine on injections, but if you’re not getting the control you want and need a pump could help with that as well. My Dexcom CGM communicates with my Tandem pump to adjust for possible low and high numbers. I still have to put in my share of work, but it’s an incredibly valuable tool.

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That’s excellent advice. I certainly benefited from a diabetic education course at the local hospital when I was starting out. And, yeah, a CGM can be really useful even without a pump. It can help you keep track of your sugars all day instead of a couple of checks for an entire day. It can show you the effects of food and activities. It can warn you when you’re going high, so you can address it before things get really bad.

But what I came back to add was that your training as a wrestler and your being diabetic can actually go hand in hand. While the diabetes does put you at risk of going low from exercising, the heart of diabetes management is staying healthy. Weight Watchers built a hugely successful program based purely on the exact same dietary approach designed for diabetics. If you want to be a wrestler, you’ll need to be conscious of what you eat. A balanced diet suited to your nutritional needs is essential for keeping your body in shape as an athlete, and it’s exactly what you need to keep your sugars under control. Likewise, the regular workouts needed to maintain your strength and stamina for wrestling matches is great for keeping a healthy diabetic metabolism.

If you can plan things out with a nutritionist, you’ll be in a better position to progress in your career and your diabetes management.

hi @QueenHaley14 , welcome to Type One Nation.

I struggled with depression and burnout for a long time. When I was ready to begin again I did just that. I got a new doctor and I got myself a CDE and I started over. At the time I started over, I was over 30 and had over 20 years experience as a T1, but none of my coping skills were working anymore.

It is never too late to start over, you can decide for a positive change anytime you want. I am glad to hear you say it because I think those feelings start when you are ready to move on, and that is courageous. It also takes courage to talk about it.

There is no trick or magic words. Different things work for different people. I don’t like to “yell at myself to do better” I cope better when I think about making changes that I can sustain, one example is I realize I will never be good at keeping a diary of diet and exercise, so I don’t get angry when I don’t and I will commit to taking great notes for a month for evaluation purposes. I say it over and over but it is a personal truth, I am not going to bend my life around diabetes, I do much better when I get strategies to bend diabetes around my life. cheers and good luck.,

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One somewhat off topic question, if you don’t mind:

I don’t want to stand in the way of you pursuing your dream, especially when I understand that you’re already working to overcome obstacles on that path, but…

Professional wrestling is a difficult field to break into. There’s a high rate of injury along the way. The contracts are notoriously bad. It’s even harder for women. Those who do make a career of it can usually only do so for a decade or so, and they retire with a high rate of disability due to the repetitive impacts inherent in the job. And there are no retirement benefits to see to the cost of treatment, despite the injuries having been sustained as part of the job. There are so many places things could go wrong even if you do everything right. Do you have a fallback career option in case you need it?

Hello @QueenHaley14
I am so proud of you!! You are pursuing your dreams and they seem challenging and interesting to you. Find what is right for you in terms of diabetes, to achieve your goals. Work with your diabetes care team and work with yourself to get where you want to be with diabetes and with life.

I am sorry to hear about losing two babies. It must have been really hard!! You deserve every happiness in the world and if being a pro wrestler is what you want in life then go for it. Obviously, manage your health the best you can, but don’t let it get in the way either! I personally don’t have any experience (in not taking medication), but I feel like even with just letting go of management a little, it takes me some time to get back to better habits. I think that easing back into diabetes might be good. I don’t think it is so simple to just get back on it. I think that it is almost like starting over and working to learn about your body more than before and realize that things are changing.

You are awesome and your dreams are awesome!! Finding your passion is so Important. You can do anything you put your mind to (as cliche as it might sound) You are obviously strong if you want to be a pro wrestler and it must take a lot of work. Diabetes is a lot of work too, but I think if you are strong enough to pursue your passion then you can put similar effort into diabetes. Then, eventually, it may become a little easier to understand and manage as you learn how diabetes, food choices, and wrestling (and More) affect you. P.S. I love your hair.

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It’s not the same as wrestling, but many years ago I discovered I enjoyed lifting weights at the gym. About that time a Type1 friend was diagnosed with retinopathy. Connecting the two I asked my doctor whether or not weight lifting would be a good choice for someone with eye problems and he said it would not - the extra pressure could further compromise the blood vessels of the eye.
I’m not sharing this to discourage you. Treatment for diabetic eye problems had probably come a long way since a couple of decades ago, and we know much more about management now that might help prevent it in the first place. I’m just saying this so you’ll remember to look out for your eyes. It’s important whether we weight lift/wrestle or not, but you may want to pay close attention as you work on getting into the field. You may need to see your eye doctor more frequently and they may recommend treatments to protect your eyes up front. As with any plan, it’s good to have a thorough evaluation from your doctor - PCP, endo and perhaps others - to make sure you train safely to meet your goals and dreams.

I’m guessing it’s the motivation to do what I have to do. I wish I didn’t have diabetes. I want to have a normal life and I know I can’t. :pensive:

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I hear you. Having diabetes is hard. And it’s limiting. I wish I didn’t have it, either. Or fibromyalgia (which has kept me in unnecessary pain for nearly 30 years). Or chronic fatigue syndrome (which does exactly what it sounds like). Or non-24 circadian disorder (which keeps me permanently jet lagged and makes me nocturnal half the time). Or sleep apnea (where I stop breathing during REM sleep and need a machine to help me). The hair loss and thyroid disorder aren’t so bad, but still not what I would have chosen. But… You play the hand you’re dealt. Just have to make the best of what you’ve got.

I physically couldn’t get out of bed more often than not when I was in high school. I was too exhausted and weary to move, and I had searing stabbing pains and deep aches and pins and needles across my body that just came and went without rhyme or reason. That’s on top of the diabetes, which I’d been managing since middle school. The local public school had to send tutors to my house with homework and lesson plans. One hour per week per subject. Sometimes I could do it while crashed on the couch. Sometimes I had class in bed. Sometimes I had to send them away and just let my parents take the assignment papers. I had to do a year over because I had woozy spells for 8 months and couldn’t focus on anything. But I got straight A’s and got into MIT and had some of the best years of my life.

If you can learn to take care of your diabetes and just accept it as part of your life, you can absolutely have a fairly normal life and be a wrestler or whatever else you want. There have been diabetics in the NFL. You can do it. You just have to be a little more careful and thoughtful about your food and activities and how they can affect your body. Which you need to do anyway in order to be a successful wrestler.

You just have to come to terms with it in your mind. It’s easier said than done. But you can do it. Millions of us live our lives with diabetes every day. We track our calories and exchanges, we take into account our planned activities, we calculate our insulin dosage, and then we do what we want.

And in the 30 years I’ve been doing this, we’ve developed faster and more accurate BG meters that need a lot less blood. We’ve got better insulin. Human analog insulin that works faster and is less likely to trigger insulin resistance. Slow acting insulin that works longer and more steadily. CGMs that can give you your sugar levels 24/7 without finger sticks and warn you of highs and lows. Insulin pumps that can adjust your dosage based on CGM readings. Emergency medication that can be given nasally instead of requiring a stranger to give you an injection if you pass out. The tools we have now are so much better than what we had when I started out.

You can do it. You can eat right, keep your sugars under control, eat what you want (in moderation), and go be a wrestler. If you just get in the daily habit of working with your diabetes instead of against it.

I can’t tell you how, though. Because that’s a battle inside your own mind.

I know that self-taught zen meditation helped me cope. 15 minutes a day to just clear my mind and let go of my emotions. I can explain in more detail if you want. But it’s not for everyone and everyone experiences it differently.

Support groups, classes, and mentors may help. People who can touch base with you regularly and hear out your troubles and give you encouragement.

Likewise, a good endocrinologist and dietician can put you on a better path.

But, in the end, the key part of it all is you accepting your body and learning to work with its limits and make the most of the tools you have. Once you accept the situation and work within it, you can absolutely work towards your dream.

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I’m seconding what @WearsHats just wrote. You’re having a difficult time right now. Are you happy with your endo - so they listen to you and work with you to address your concerns? If they’re not a good fit, find another better suited to your needs. That can make a huge difference in your management and your attitude. No one wants to have diabetes but it’s the hand we’re dealt. You might find counseling helpful as well - it’s not unusual for people who have had it for a while to see someone (not just people newly diagnosed).
While some of us do develop complications that may by their nature limit what we can do, many pursue their dreams in spite of diabetes - I’ll even dare say that some may be successful to some degree because of their diabetes and the discipline they have learned. There are Olympic and pro athletes, a Supreme Court Justice, a British Prime Minister, actors, musicians - and most important the people we encounter day to day (well did before COVID) such as teachers, customer service people, your Uber driver or food delivery person, fellow students, your plumber - and gaia friends and neighbors you may not know are dealing with it too.
I’m sure you know being a pro wrestler isn’t easy. In addition to wrestling itself i imagine there is other training and hard work you need to put in to make it comes true, and the same applies to your diabetes. You’ll get frustrated learning how to pin somebody down and how to apply the rules of wrestling to what you’re doing in the moment, but keep pushing for the sake of that dream, and likewise keep pushing with your diabetes care. It can make all the difference.

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Hi Haley, Diabetes can be so hard at times. You’ve been through a lot. Maybe a new doctor and/or brush up on diabetes education might help you refresh yourself? COVID has put a damper on all of us so don’t ignore that factor. A change in routine, new hobby, something that makes you laugh might help. I’m thinking of you. Hang in there!

Hi Dorie, My most recent doctor has said that lifting weights will not alter the retinopathy!? Years ago, I was told it could. Has anyone heard anything different from their eye doctors?

Things could very well have changed from back then - great news!