I am the mother of a T1 diabetic daughter. Her name is Nicole and she was diagnosed at the age of 6. She is 19 years old now. Nicole had just started swimming competitively when she was diagnosed. Back then, kids were put on injections twice a day, and that’s what we did with Nicole. We kept her swimming everyday on her team. It was difficult. Her coach didn’t want to learn anything about diabetes because “his mother in law had T2, and she managed it just fine. If Nicole didn’t get her numbers right she would be dead by 30” Yes, he told her that! She still holds the records for 8 and unders in the 25 and 50 yard free styles. She now swims Division 1 for Oakland University in Rochester Michigan. She is on a academic and athletic scholarship. She has had a rough 2 years. She tore some cartilage in her knee and needed surgery. She then had appendicitis during her Senior State swim meet and had surgery again. She got back in the water and pulled her hip flexor. She started swimming her freshman year in college and hurt her shoulder due to overuse. It was also the first time she was dealing with her diabetes on her own. Her pump broke one day and she had to deal with Lantus insulin, and the fact that her parent’s sent the insulin with her, but no injection needles with it. Aghhh! So she made phone call’s to her Dr for help. Her shoulder injury lasted over a year. She is now swimming her Sophomore year, and her coaches don’t understand diabetes at all. Her team mates respect her one minute and rag on her the next for getting out with low or high blood sugars. Mind you, they swim 5-6 hours a day, lift weights and run. She is also in the Alpha Lambda Beta honor society with a 3.8 GPA. In high school Nicole was a Top 8 finisher in the State of Michigan all 4 years. She was on the honor roll as well all 4 years. She was in the Spanish National Honor Society and the National Art Honor Society. It has been a tough 2 years with injuries and becoming an adult with T1 diabetes. She loves music and art, and our Lord Jesus Christ. It was during one of her injuries that she realized she was idolizing swimming and not God. It was a huge moment for her! I just wish there were coaches out there (people really) that understood how much it takes just to suit up and show up. She is working her way back to the elite swimmer she once was. She is getting her fight back. It has been so hard to watch her struggle, but as parent’s we know we have to pass the torch. We will always be her to support her, but she has to be her own best advocate! We have complete faith in her and the process. She would watch Bret with me on Celebrity Apprentice. He gave her encouragement just by watching him because she knew it couldn’t have been easy being on the show. Or when he has concerts or even recording. Diabetics can look at one another and “know” them immediately. I saw that in her face when she was watching. Just wanted to share that kids and adults can do whatever they want to do, even with T1 diabetes. Nicole is an example to many. But if you ask her, she would say “No, I’m just a college student who swims”. It’s all she knows.
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