Chris Scully, Athlete & Type 1 Diabetic

Chris Scully, athlete and self-proclaimed “endurance junkie”, was absolutely shocked when she was first diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Read about how diabetes affected her and how this unstoppable athlete doesn’t let diabetes get in the way.

Can you tell us more about your diagnosis story? What was going through your head when you were first diagnosed? Does anyone else in your family have diabetes?

The first thought that went through my head was that of utter shock. I really had no idea what diabetes was all about in fact I’m not even sure I knew there were different types. I had sudden onset as a result of taking some steroids to help with a poison ivy rash. I had never been exposed to diabetes.

It didn’t help that my doctor didn’t do anything to help me. He didn’t prescribe insulin or oral meds. He just told me to eat fat and protein and avoid carbs. Since at that time I was 22 and didn’t know any better, not to mention I felt horrible so I don’t remember a lot of it. I was left for 2 months without insulin until the kind instructor at the support group (for T2 that I was sent to) told me that I should have died. That’s when I started to finally feel better and get a grip on what Type 1 diabetes really was.

Nobody in my family or extended family has either Type 1 or Type 2 so we were all totally shocked. It just came out of nowhere. I was fine one day and the next, diabetic.

When did you first begin blogging and why did you begin blogging?

I started blogging in June of 2010 after lurking on other T1 blogs as a lot of us bloggers typically do. I had never met another diabetic in real life and was suffering from not having anybody to relate to.  I started because I wanted to belong to this community in more ways than commenting on blogs anonymously. I wanted to interact and share my stories and it just went from there. NOW, I look at my own blog as a resource for myself. I love that I can go back and read about experiences or race reports. I naturally document my life in pictures so being able to document my diabetes and exercise in writing has become something I cherish.  It makes me want to put all my blog posts into a book that I can go back to later on in life.

What are some essentials in your diabetes management and care? Can you name a couple of your favorite diabetes resources?

The best resource is the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) in general. Connecting with people through blogs and Facebook has been amazing and helpful. I couldn’t possibly name just one. Joining groups like Connected in Motion has been integral to my management. I’ve been able to connect with other type 1 diabetics in my area while doing outdoor activities. I’ve created lifelong friendships with people I know I can rely on for help and advice.

Being someone who is very active, how does diabetes affect your exercise and marathon training? What motivated you to begin running in marathons?

I was big into exercising before I got diagnosed with diabetes so it wasn’t a big change. It was just about learning how to merge the two. When I decided I wanted to run and cycle long distances it wasn’t because of diabetes. I was just an endurance junkie and relished the challenge of trying to manage my blood sugars with exercise. Diabetes really affects my training. It can make or break a race at any given time. Sometimes I walk home from a run, sometimes I call for a pick-up and sometimes it all goes swimmingly. I have to accept that there will be times I have to pack it in. Although preparing blood sugars for exercise takes planning and time it also helps to be able to act on any given situation should it arise. The best way to do that is through experimenting and being prepared with the necessities like fast acting carbs and insulin.

What are your top three health and fitness tips for other people living with type 1 diabetes?

  1. Your glucose meter is your best friend. Test often to see what certain kinds of exercise does to your blood sugar. Take notes until it becomes second nature.
  2. Expect the unexpected even if you think you’ve experienced it all, be prepared! Carry a phone and/or cab fare as well as snacks and insulin.
  3. You Can Do This! There are type 1 diabetics that run 100mile ultra marathons, compete in Ironmans and climb Mount Everest all while managing their blood glucose.

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You can keep up with Chris on her blog, Canadiandgal.blogspot.com

Tags: type 1,diabetes,type 1 diabetes,marathon runner,endurance,training

Category: Interviews