Vaulting to Success
Gymnast Lisette Bair, 8, learns what’s she capable of doing with type 1 diabetes
Our daughter, Lisette, started gymnastics when she was 5 and began competing in second grade. In November 2012, shortly after turning 8, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. She had been losing weight for about a month.
Lisette spent several days in the hospital. When she went back to gym practices, it was only half time at first. We had to check her sugar levels hourly to see how practices were affecting her. She had to make a lot of adjustments, especially in what she ate. It was difficult sometimes, but she handled everything amazingly well.
We also had to learn how to manage Lisette’s sugars for gymnastic meets. We were unprepared for how her sugars shot up the day or night before a meet from stress, even though she seemed calm. We learned to check her sugars every one to two hours and to make tweaks starting almost 24 hours before a meet.
At her first meet, when we were surprised with a sudden high, the usual correction dose of insulin dropped her so fast that her body had low-sugar symptoms, which made her shaky and affected her performance. At her second meet, she had a low-sugar episode when it was her turn on beam—not a good combination. She was wobbly and fell off once.
Those meets taught us a lot. Now, Lisette checks her sugars between almost every event. It takes micromanagement to keep her at peak performance. She had a great 2013 season; at her third meet, she won first all-around and was named outstanding gymnast.
As we walked out of the meet, Lisette said, “I guess I can do anything with diabetes. I didn’t think I could, but I really can!”
It’s still challenging for Lisette to balance school, gymnastics, and diabetes. But we are happy that our daughter has learned that even with diabetes, she can be successful at anything she wants to do.