Friday, October 3, 2014

Tennis season write up

The tennis season has come and gone: the time has come for a summary. Unfortunately, T1D reared its ugly head too often and the post-mortem is a mixed bag.
Serving Low
Max T1D's emergence in the summer  of 2013 led to several unexpected and catastrophic losses. As a result, Max did not earn enough points to be allowed to play a higher category, where he belonged based on his technical abilities. This had one good side: we would have somewhat easier matches and some time to learn how to manage T1D, prepare for the games, address the recovery issue, etc...

The winter season was extremely difficult to manage, but went well in terms of results. Max won the first tournament he played with victories against a couple of much stronger players. But we had a lot of issues...
  • if we lowered pre-game insulin too much, he would tire and cramp after an hour or so.
  • if we did not lower insulin enough, he would drop like a stone and automatically lose the second set of his matches before recovering in the third set when massive carb intake would finally take effect. 
  • we discovered that it was extremely difficult to predict the type of exercise he would go through. Long rallies from the back would drain crazy amounts of carbs. Quick attacking games would not.
  • delayed nightly lows at 4AM were extremely annoying after either evening games or late practice.
  • the number of finger pricks quickly became excessive.
These issues led us to use a continuous glucose monitor (more about this later).

The summer season, on the other hand, was a bit of a nightmare. While winter tournaments are played indoor, summer games are played outdoor. The worst delay you can expect when playing indoor is around 45 minutes to an hour. The adversary might be a bit late. The previous game might be a bit long. But when you are playing outside on clay courts, the delay can be absolutely anything, from an hour to six, depending on the weather and other matches. When you have timed your food and insulin for a 14:00 game, you'll be way too high if you don't play until 18:00. If you correct and the rain stops at 15:30, you'll have too much insulin on board and will drop like a stone when you start playing. If you are delayed for more than a few hours, the cycle restarts. On MDI, this is completely unmanageable. So much that we decided to join a tournament if and only weather forecasts indicated no risk of rain for the coming week... In Belgium, such a weather dependence does limit playing opportunities. In 2012, Max played 49 competitive games. In 2013, a season truncated by the T1D diagnosis, 35 games. This year, 18 only... Winter season was 6 wins 1 loss, against higher rated opponents.Summer season was 6 wins 5 losses, against equally rated opponents, with 4 losses that can be directly attributed to diabetes (bad timing, running out of insulin, crashing low...)

As much as I hate to say it, our first year saw the victory of Type 1 Diabetes over Max's decision to continue to play tennis...

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