Age: 21  Year Diagnosed: 2003  Location: Davis, Ca

"Type 1 Diabetes can be difficult to manage, but experience and practice allows handling diabetes to become second nature. I am currently a member of the Women's Basketball team for UC Davis and have balanced diabetes and basketball my whole life.

I've learned that perfect days are hard to come across and unexpected highs and lows are a natural part of having diabetes. In basketball, for example, some days you'll make every shot and other days you'll miss every shot, but you can always practice and make adjustments to minimize the bad days. The same concept applies to diabetes. There will be days that your blood sugars just don't seem to work out, but you can always put more effort into checking and counting carbs on a regular basis to help control your levels.

One thing that has helped me tremendously with managing my blood sugars is recognizing highs and lows and understanding how my body is affected by certain foods and the amount of insulin that I give myself. It's very important that when I am playing during a high-intensity game that I can recognize when my blood sugar may be dropping in order to give myself time to sub out of the game. My athletic trainer always has my blood glucose meter and low snacks ready for me so that I can check back in whenever I'm ready.

While my coaches, athletic trainer, and teammates have been educated on Type 1 Diabetes and the symptoms of low and high blood sugars, there's no person that understands my body better than myself. Because of my experience, I can tell the difference between normal fatigue and a low blood sugar by staying aware of my body and how I am feeling, especially during basketball games. For example, a strong indicator for when my blood sugar is dropping is that my tongue gets slightly numb and tingly and I start sweating more than usual. Small changes such as these make a big difference in noticing blood sugar levels. In addition, I always experiment with different snacks for lows and keep the ones that work best for MY body. I not only need a snack that can get my blood sugar up and stable but also a snack that won't make me feel sick for the rest of the game (I prefer fruit snacks and granola bars).

The most important message that I want to get across is that having diabetes does not limit you. Follow your dreams and understand that having diabetes has made you a stronger person. You've conquered a disease and you can conquer anything else you put your mind to!"