Keep Calm and Carry On:
You wouldn’t expect to hear the words “international sprinter” and “Type 1 diabetic” in the same breath. But for 27-year-old Melanie Stephenson of the United Kingdom, diabetes is merely something she has – not who she is.
“It can feel really overwhelming when you’re diagnosed with a condition like Type 1 diabetes, or any other health condition. You might feel you don’t know enough about the situation, or like it’s taking over your life,” says Stephenson, who blogs at Life, Sport and Diabetes and is an active member of the European diabetes community. “Taking control of your condition gives you a sense of well-being,” Stephenson says. “It can throw challenges at you, but you can overcome it.”
Around the world, says the International Diabetes Federation, about 415 million adults and more than half a million kids have a form of this chronic condition. In the United States, for example, where November is Diabetes Awareness Month – people with diabetes number more than 29 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some people with diabetes are professional athletes. World-famous musicians and artists. Scientists. Mountain climbers. The list goes on and on.
Living their best lives through good health is a balancing act, for sure. But by eating well, staying physically active, taking medicine as prescribed, and regularly monitoring their blood sugar, it can be done.
“Taking control and not being afraid of Type 1,” says Stephenson, “is what has made me become an athlete, made me want to become a blogger, because I’m not letting it stop me.”
Whether you’ve got a chronic condition like diabetes – or just find yourself bumping against everyday hurdles and hassles – challenges are an unavoidable fact of this thing called life. Stephenson’s tips on pushing past barriers and achieving in spite of offer lessons for us all.
The views expressed are not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for professional medical advice. Individual symptoms, situations and circumstances may vary.