Olivia Medina-du Cros
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes recently in 2016, a few days after my 16th birthday, and got out of hospital on Christmas Eve. I had been experiencing excessive thirst and lost 9kg in 2-3 weeks.
I’ve been a competitive swimmer since I was nine years old and had been training 5-7 times a week. The last six months of 2016 I noticed I was not improving and my times were getting slower. I was adding 5 to 20 seconds onto my times and had no idea why. In the first week of summer holidays we went to the doctor and I was told that I had type 1 diabetes. I was upset and confused as I didn’t know what it meant or what diabetes even was.
I thought my whole life was going to be turned upside down and I would not be able to do the things that I used to do. Luckily with the support from my family, friends and diabetes educator I was able to continue swimming and other activities.
A few days after getting out of hospital I went back to swimming. Training with diabetes is challenging as every session is different and I never know what my blood sugar will do.
Since I’m in year 11 and about to go into year 12, the stress has increased compared to other years. During exams it can be challenging to keep my blood sugar levels from going high. Sometimes it means I have to reschedule exams and assessments. At school I always have people asking me ‘How did you get diabetes? You’re so active and healthy’ or ‘Can you not eat sugar?’. Since I didn’t even know what diabetes was until I was diagnosed, I don’t mind explaining it and answering questions.
I have been anxious to go out with people who don’t know I have diabetes as I was scared they would judge me. Every now and then I’ll be testing my blood sugar levels and I notice people looking away or being disgusted by it. I’ve recently learnt that it really doesn’t matter what others think.
I’m always very thankful for all the support from my family, friends, teachers, coaches and doctors. I hope that one day I’m able to show others that living with a chronic illness does not define you or mean that you’re restricted from what you want to achieve.