25 Aug Trey Terricciano
T1D Doesn’t Define Me
I remember my parents driving in silence on our way to the hospital. It was the quietest it had ever been in my family’s car, and all I could hear were the windshield wipers dragging across the windshield, wiping off the snow. Something was wrong with me. I was getting up more than five times every night to go to the bathroom, and I wasn’t eating very much either. My pediatrician had advised my family to go to the hospital after taking a urine sample from me. I was admitted to the hospital on January 28, 2013, and by the end of the night, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
One year after I was diagnosed, my football journey began. At the first practice, my parents sat on the sideline and every 15 minutes, I would run over to them to do a fingerpoke and check my blood sugar. My first season was my hardest by far. I wasn’t quite in tune with my body, I struggled to feel my lows, and it made it extremely hard to focus on football when all I could think about was making sure I didn’t go into hypoglycemia. The next couple of years got a little easier because I could feel my lows; however, I still couldn’t keep my mind off my T1D while I was playing. As I got older, I started to realize how high and low blood sugars affected how I played. When high, I am sluggish and slow. When low, I had to sit on the sideline and eat simple sugars to avoid severe hypoglycemia.
Diabetes has given me a view on health and wellness from a young age, and an awareness of what I eat to manage diabetes which extended to staying healthy. That awareness has greatly helped me in my journey with football and weightlifting. Eating healthy and taking care of my body has helped me gain significant amounts of muscle in the gym and enhanced my performance on the football field.
Having Type 1 diabetes has taught me lessons that extend from diabetes to everyday life. The challenge is: “How do I set myself up in a situation to succeed?” In a T1D sense, I need to focus on what I am eating prior to the event and my activity level, then adjust insulin dosage as needed. I started applying that lesson to my everyday life. Sometimes setting myself up to succeed at work is having a quick snack so I don’t get hungry and short-tempered throughout my shift. In other instances, setting myself up to succeed is clearing my mind before having a conversation with someone so I can fully digest what they are saying.
Then there are times where I feel like giving up when nothing I’m doing is even making a difference and it feels like there is no point in trying to manage this disease that controls my life. It overwhelms me and can add a lot of stress to my life. However, I need to always remember that my choices on how I manage my T1D now will affect me in the future. Even when things are hard with it, I think of that little seven-year-old (me) making a promise to my parents that I would never let T1D defeat me.
I promised myself then that I would be the one to prove to everyone that T1D is not what defines me. That little voice inside me brings me back to reality. Even though the worst days may be the ones that I remember, it’s how I recover from them that defines me. Not by the challenges I am faced with but how I overcome them.
This coming school year, I am headed to Vermont State University at the Castleton Campus to continue my football journey. I plan on finishing school in a five-year Athletic Training Master’s Degree program.