This story is written by Elizabeth's mother Yvonne Profit
My daughter, Elizabeth Profit, an elite tennis player currently ranked 996th in the world with aspirations of becoming a professional, has lived with type 1 diabetes for almost 14 years.
Correction - the entire family has lived with this chronic illness for 14 years because her diagnosis continues to affect all of us.
I had numerous questions whirling in my head upon her initial diagnosis:
“How could she appear so healthy but yet so sick?”
“Did I nurse her long enough?”
“What did I do wrong as a parent?”
“Type 1 doesn’t run in our family, so how can this be?”
The list goes on and on.
There Are No Perfect People
However, I realized I had to get down to the business of learning everything necessary about diabetes so Elizabeth could lead a full life bankrupt of any long-term medical complications.
I simply explained to her, “Elizabeth there are no perfect people in this world. My normal will be testing your blood glucose around the clock, even while you sleep. That way you can sleep comfortably knowing during that time you will not have to think about your diabetes.”
This consistent and intense management has paid incredible dividends by foregoing any complications from diabetes. After receiving results from Elizabeth’s extensive blood work her endocrinologist said, “The results are perfect!”
An Invisible Disease
Type 1 diabetes is an invisible disease because Elizabeth appears very healthy; a coach may mistake low blood sugars for lack of effort, low motivation, lack of focus, and low energy. On the other hand, having high blood glucose may be perceived as poor attitude, lack of patience, poor sportsmanship, and easily prone to frustration.
Her physical appearance is the epitome of a healthy person. That is why it is important for Elizabeth to maintain acceptable blood glucose levels during practice and tournaments to level the playing field against her competitors by monitoring her insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (cgm) carefully. Both devices play a tremendous role in maintaining excellent control during professional tournaments.
Roadmap to Success
The roadmap to optimal diabetes management is comprised of charting food intake, carbohydrates, insulin dosages, lengths of physical activity, and blood glucose which allows us to determine trends in whether her blood sugars are going high or low.
As Elizabeth continues to work hard to reach her aspiration of becoming a world-class professional tennis player, she refuses to let diabetes be an impediment to her. The parent’s positive and proactive role will make the child realize his or her life matters and is encouraged by the support.
As Elizabeth’s parent, I must teach my child that diabetes can be controlled and dreams can be realized and are obtainable. She is a living reminder that we can Stop Diabetes and the outcome is a winning combination, both on and off the court.