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Navigating life,  movement, and diabetes with the FreeStyle Libre 2 system

Finding Your Own Path For The Best Rewards

 

 

 

By Dillon Judge, competitive figure skater who lives with type 1 diabetes

Disclaimer: The information provided is not intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your healthcare professional about your diabetes management. Individual symptoms, situations and circumstances may vary.

 

Having explained my sport to my doctors from the first day, I was put on the FreeStyle Libre 2 system; they considered it would make my life easier1, which it honestly has.

A shock diagnosis

My diabetes diagnosis came at a unique time for me, I was 15 years old and had just been selected for the first time to represent Ireland at an international competition in Budapest. A couple of weeks before travelling, I had started to experience some symptoms which I could not understand at the time. After a week this became concerning and I went to the doctor’s. At the appointment I described my symptoms, I had a blood glucose test and a ketone test. Whilst there my condition deteriorated rapidly, and I was rushed to the hospital.

My mum was with me at the time, we were both in shock when I was diagnosed with diabetes. There was no history of it in my family.

Adjusting to a new routine

My biggest concern at the time and my first question was would I be able to continue to ice skate? I was assured I would be able to continue and it would help manage my condition. Knowing this I was happy under the circumstances and could start my journey to adjusting.

The first few months were the biggest challenge, getting my insulin ratios right and making sure my blood glucose would not drop in the middle of training. My parents during this period were very supportive with the new challenges we would have to experience.

 

A dream come true

I got into figure skating after the 2014 Winter Olympics. My mum loves winter sports and we were watching many different events. Figure skating caught my eye due to its uniqueness and the ability to express yourself.

Shortly after, a friend had his birthday party at an ice rink. I could not skate and fell a lot. My mum thought this was dangerous and got me some lessons to learn the basics. At the start of the lessons, I wanted to quit because I found it difficult and was told “if because you simply did not like it, you could quit; but just because something is difficult it is not a reason to quit”.

This has stuck with me because the things that are the most difficult give the best rewards and lessons for life. This has helped me get better at what I do and focus on the future. To date I have worked hard and achieved a lot by not letting diabetes hold me back.

I am most proud to have been selected and to represent Ireland to compete at different International Skating Union competitions.

A helping hand when I’m training

Whilst training, the FreeStyle Libre 2 system really helps; it gives me constant feedback and I know when to take on some carbs to ensure my glucose stays in range. This means instead of pausing training constantly to check via finger prick2, I simply pick up my phone3 and have an instant glucose reading4.

Also, if you have ever experienced trying to get blood out of cold hands, you’ll know it's like drawing blood from a stone. At this level of sport, it makes the difference between an optimal training session and one that does not work at all. When running high, your body does not perform to the best of its ability. When running low, you simply cannot train or perform or even do much of anything.

A sense of freedom

The FreeStyle Libre 2 system gives me a sense of security whilst training and freedom in everyday life, I never have to guess what my glucose levels are and all the information is at my fingertips – no pun intended! I also set custom glucose alarms5 whilst training to maintain even more control over my levels and my diabetes.

I would say my experience is that diabetes does not hold you back, sometimes you must find your own path and way of doing things. This makes it even more special when you achieve your goals and aspirations.

My next career goal is to qualify for the European championships. This season I was very close to achieving the required score. However, some small errors resulted in point deductions which resulted in me just missing the required score.

I believe if you want to do something enough, you will find a way to beat the obstacles in your way. 

Dillon Judge is a men’s singles skater who represents Ireland. Originally from Lisburn, Co. Down, Northern Ireland, Dillon is the 2023 Irish Senior Men’s Champion, 2020 and 2022 Irish Junior Men’s Champion, and the 2019 Irish Advanced Novice Men’s Champion.

Dillon Judge received a fee to write this blog. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of Abbott.

References & Disclaimers

 

1 Haak, T. Diabetes Ther. (2017): https://doi.org/10.1007/s13300-016-0223-6.

2 Finger pricks are required if glucose readings and alarms do not match symptoms or expectations.

3 The FreeStyle LibreLink app is only compatible with certain mobile devices and operating systems. Please check the website for more information about device compatibility before using the app. Use of FreeStyle LibreLink may require registration with LibreView.

4 Glucose readings are automatically displayed in the FreeStyle LibreLink app only when your smartphone and sensor are connected and in range.

5 Notifications will only be received when alarms are turned on and the sensor is within 20ft unobstructed of the reading device. You must have override do not disturb settings enabled to receive alarms and alerts on your smartphone.                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                             ADC-89883 (v1.0) 05/2024                                                 

Navigating life,  movement, and diabetes with the FreeStyle Libre 2 system

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