Thirty-eight female athletes who’ve done amazing things despite their diabetes are profiled in this new volume by Judith Jones-Ambrosini: The Sisterhood of Diabetes: Facing Challenges & Living Dreams. How in the world she found all 38 of these women is a mystery to me.
For example, who knew there was a type 1 female speed skater with her eye on winning Olympic Gold for Canada? (Mallory Zorman). Or another Canadian female T1 hockey player who was diagnosed at just 17 months of age? (Makyla Sever). Or a college basketball player who was training to play professionally overseas when she was suddenly diagnosed with T1 just before turning 21? (Shaakira Hassell)
Author Judith Jones-Ambrosini manages to deftly tell each of their stories, in concise sections of about 10 pages each (some shorter, divided into 11 chapters), while including informative little break-out sections on diabetes, diabetes camps, and the sports these women do. Like did you know that Dragon Boat Racing dates back to ancient folk festivals about 2000 years ago? Today, Nicole Marcelin, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes four days before her 5th birthday, is a competitive dragon boat racer, and also recently gave birth to a healthy baby girl.
In the book, Nicole is quoted saying:
“I never forget I have diabetes. It frames almost every thought I have… how I’m feeling, where my blood sugars are going, what I’m going to eat, when I’m going to exercise and what effect stress or sickness is going to have on my blood sugars… I sometimes think this attention to detail makes me nervous or anxious. But then I say to myself, that’s how I roll.”
That’s a pretty good encapsulation of how many of these women seem to cope. Diabetes is what it is; you do what you need to do to keep it in its place so you can get on with the things you love in life. Great philosophy, IMHO!