VIEWING TYPE 1 "LIKE A MARATHON."
I was born and raised in Costa Rica in a exercise loving family. My dad a marathoner, my older brother a professional biker and both my sisters amazing runners as well.
Growing up, me and my siblings were a extremly active kids, soccer, gymnastics, ballet, running, dancing, hide and seek, biking, roller skating you name it, we where there.
All of a sudden, on my older sister birthday - March 21'st everything changed.
I was 10 years old back then, and all of a sudden, out the blue I was diagnosed with type one diabetes. I remember not understanding one bit of what this was, I had nerver heard of it or meet anyone living with such a thing.
Whilst being in the hospital, I can remember asking my mom everyday when would I be able to go ballet dancing again, but for some reason I never had an answer.
After a while of being in the hospital I was allowed to go back home but not before listening to the doctor tell my parents I was not allowed to workout or do exercise anymore as it could be "dangerous" for my health.
"WhAT??? Dangerous how? How could this be?" - This made AbSoLuTeLy NO sense to me.
I truly could not understand any of this, how I was suppossed to be still my entire day? I wanted to go out and play and apparently that wasen't not an option anymore. I was not even allowed to take my P.E classes in school, I could not play or run with my brother and sisters or anyone else.
I was StUcK and I hated it!!!!
After a few months living this way and noticing my BGs were far from "ideal" ( I was Hyper most of the time) I started to feel desperate, I was annoyed the whole time, I was sad, angry, TiReD!!!!!! I was definately not the girl I used to be before my diagnosis, and this took a toll not only on me but my family as well.
After a while of living this way, in came my dad to the rescue. I can still see him sitting down on my bed telling me he understood why I was feeling so crappy and sad. All of a sudden he said "you dont need to worry no more I have a plan" and then he said something that stuck with me forever :"Dani, I have been thinking about your diabetes and exercising situation and I believe we need to think of this as a marathon, although they are all the same distance, they are never the same. They demand training, discipline, smart thinking, paying attention to your body at all times and a good coach, I think the same goes with your type one."
Following our talk, my parents and I were determined to find an endo that would help us to fully understand my condition, that would help us with our plan of "regaining my life." Luckily after a few weeks of looking we found my doctor, he was someone who believed in the importance of education, independence and support and after we talked to him, he was very much into my dad's marathon metaphore. He agreed that if we were smart, careful and disciplined (specially regarding hypoglycemia) I would be able to do whatever I set my mind to.
Its been more than two decades since that first doctors appointment and I still believe is one of the biggest things that have happened to me, as it freed me from all that fear and anger. I wasen't stuck anymore, I had the chance to get my life back.
In the past few years, hiking has become on of my biggest passions, I am lucky to live in a country filled with amazing mountains to discover, being out in the wild for hours is one of the things I cherish the most. It is wonderful to me as in a way, the mountains remind me of my father's words, they are all different, they are all a challenge, but with proper training, attitude, discipline and decisions I get to learn and grown from all of them.
Today I can say that what I probably value the most about hiking is how much every hike has taught me about myself, they have given me the opportunity to understand the way my body works, how my T1D reacts to different meals, lenghts, altitudes, insulin dosis and much more. They have allowed me to stay healthy 25 years after my diagnosis, healthy not only in regards od my T1D, but my emotions, my stress and my body.
At times fear, lack of education, myths, even personal experiences can make us believe "we are not capable," if this is your case try and remember you are not meant to live trapped in your own body, on the contrary you are allowed to chase after your goals and dreams, and with the propper tools you are all that is standing in the way! Trust and strenghthen yourself, make sure to fight in your favor!!!