When I ask Rebecca the rather routine question of how old she was when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I get a rather non-routine response: “March 7th, 1990. It was a Wednesday,” she says matter-of-factly as we speak over the phone one evening, “It was right before March Break. I spent the entire break in the hospital. I was eight.”
Knowing that Rebecca played competitive hockey from the age of 6 years until the end of high school, I wonder how her habits had to shift upon her diagnosis. It sounds as though her and her family took it in stride. It turns out that March Break was perhaps the best time for her diagnosis, as her parents—both educators with time off for the break—were able to be there every day to learn more about adjusting to life with Type 1 diabetes. When she got out of hospital and back to hockey, her parents were fully prepared to take on the challenge of sports and diabetes. “We still had to figure things out, but my mom was one of the trainers on my hockey team, so she would always have a juice box at the ready, if I needed it,” Rebecca explains.
But the mother-daughter team didn’t stop at hockey, as this will be Rebecca’s second Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend running with her mom, Debbie. The pair wanted to build on the success of having completed the 10k race together at last year’s event, but challenges—both good and bad—presented early on in their plans. Originally they had hoped to run their first half marathon together; however, their plans changed after a stubborn foot injury prevented Debbie from training for the longer distance. They sold off their half marathon bibs, and picked up a pair of the more familiar 10k distance. “She was pretty disappointed,” Rebecca notes of her mom’s reaction, “She was surprised how long the injury has been bothering her; it’s been almost a year.” In the midst of that disappointment, however, came a far more exciting piece of news… about six months ago there was an unexpected third family member added to the team: a baby. Very unlike the affects of an injury on training, though, Rebecca’s news of being pregnant never fazed Debbie and Rebecca’s plans to keep running as a team.When I ask about how she has managed carrying a baby, training, and Type 1 diabetes, Rebecca responds with the same matter-of-factness that she did her diagnosis story, “I’m a list kind of person. I keep a log book and review it every three days. I highlight the highs and lows and adjust my basals as needed. It’s what works for me.” This close monitoring of her blood glucose levels has helped her tweak her approach to activity throughout her pregnancy. “I found that the exercise helped in the beginning. First trimester I had a lot of lows, and really reduced my insulin,” Rebecca explains about the effects on her blood glucose and exercise habits, “I also had to change my routine. I don’t usually eat to manage exercise, but usually do a basal reduction or just time it around meals. I had to change my strategy, with more snacks involved in the first trimester. I was probably the most active at that point—going to the gym, and running, and CrossFit.” But, she notes, as insulin resistance becomes more of an issue after 24 weeks Rebecca expects things to shift in her care routine any day now, but hopes that keeping active and tracking her numbers will help in keeping her blood glucose levels balanced.
From all of us at Connected in Motion, a huge CONGRATS to Debbie and Rebecca on the upcoming new addition to the family! We can’t wait to cheer all three of you on at this weekend’s race 🙂
In addition to running and cheering at this year’s Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend event, Debbie and Rebecca are also fundraising in support of Connected in Motion. If you would like to contribute to Debbie and Rebecca’s fundraising campaign, please visit her page by clicking here.
And don’t forget to check out all of the amazing people running and cheering with Connected in Motion, by visiting our Team CIM 2014 page!