Chloe was an ice skater before she began living with diabetes. And even though all she could do was cry after she was diagnosed, now she says that not much has changed in her life since then.
“Now, my advice to others with diabetes is, don’t let diabetes get the best of you, because nothing has really changed,” Chloe said. “You are still free to do what you want to do and follow your dreams.”
Chloe skates almost every day during the school year, for two to three hours per day. She also travels out of her home state of Colorado for competitions twice a year.
“Diabetes has taught me that I need to always try my hardest in skating, and that I can push through everything that goes wrong with my diabetes when I’m on the ice, and skating has taught me that I don’t need to be ashamed of my diabetes.”
She shared that the biggest challenge she faces as someone with diabetes is that it makes her feel different from everyone else at school and at the rink.
“It can sometimes make me feel like I am all alone in this, even when I know that I’m not,” said. Chloe. “I have coaches and teammates, and their role in my life with diabetes is to support me, lift my spirits, and make sure I am safe when I am on the ice. I share with them everything about diabetes that I can, and when my teammates are in a hotel room with me for our travels, I am able to show them what it’s like to poke my fingers and change my infusion sets so they know more about what it’s like for me.”
These teaching moments may have contributed to her desire to be a pediatric endocrinologist.
“I hope one day to help other people with diabetes,” Chloe says.
In the meantime, she will continue to learn through her own experiences. She’s adapted to life as an athlete with diabetes by listening to her body and putting technology to use.
“I feel and decide if I need to treat a low or if I need to give a correction for a high blood sugar. I carry my CGM on the ice too, and every once in a while, I check it to see if I’m trending down and need to change my basal rate. My blood sugar varies quite a bit between practices and competition because of adrenaline. Usually, I go quite high during practice, but then tend to drop low afterward. Sometimes, though, it is the opposite, and I have to aggressively treat a low in order to continue practicing.”
Chloe shared that for her preferred treatment plan she prepares for treating low blood sugar in the rink by making sure she has Smarties and peanut butter crackers in her skate bag, "So I can quickly get off, treat, and get right back on the ice,” she said.
Chloe hasn’t always used an insulin pump. Like most, she started using multiple daily injections when she was first diagnosed, but had the opportunity to use a Tandem pump when after participating in a market research study.
“I loved it as soon as I saw it and used the features,” she said. “I also liked that I wouldn’t have to use long-acting insulin, and I could bolus more without having to poke more needles into me. Only one every three days! I got my t:slim Pump just five months after my diagnosis.”
It is not uncommon for active people to ask questions or worry their pump will get in the way of their activities, or that they might hurt their pump while doing the things they love to do. There isn’t much extra space in a skating costume…
“I wear it in a belly band designed for carrying insulin pumps,” Chloe said. “It keeps the pump safe and cushioned and allows me to tuck in some tubing so that it doesn’t get caught on anything. I also can program my pump right through the window without even having to pull it out of the band!”
Chloe’s diabetes packing strategy includes:
- one pump site change for every travel day
- one extra full vial of insulin
- one extra CGM sensor
- plenty of snacks for treating lows
Be sure check out Tandem’s list of essentials that might be easy to forget if you have limited time to pack.
Chloe also makes sure to contact TSA Cares before traveling to make sure she can get through airport security quickly.
Planning to travel by air with your insulin pump? Click here to download our air-travel note to carry with you and share with the TSA or airport representative. We hope this will help make the path through security smoother for Tandem pumpers.
From time to time, we may pass along: suggestions, tips, or information about other Tandem Insulin Pump user experiences or approaches to the management of diabetes. However, please note individual symptoms, situations, circumstances and results may vary. Please consult your physician or qualified health care provider regarding your condition and appropriate medical treatment. Please read the Important Safety Information linked below before using a Tandem Diabetes Care product.