A few months after diagnosis, Max won its first real adult tournament. We experienced lows in the first rounds, but Max was playing against lower skilled opponents so they did not matter much. We took a more conservative insulin approach in the next rounds and discovered the drawbacks of having not enough insulin: Max became sluggish, extremely tired and lost his lucidity: it took an extremely honest opponent to tell Max he had won the game with his last forehand for him to realize he could stop playing. We fined tuned our preparation and Max finally won that tournament: quite an achievement at 13 against players aged 20 to 30, when your C-Peptide is at zero...
Unfortunately, the school+tennis program Max was a member of ended up being cancelled at the end of that year (this was not diabetes related). We soon discovered that it was easier, in terms of diabetes management, to play 10 to 12 hours of tennis each week on a regular schedule than to play less hours on a bi-weekly basis.
In terms of competitive games, In his pre-diabetes year, Max had played 49 games and won 4 tournaments, with a 73% win rate. The "diabetes" year saw only 34 games, with a 64% win rate, most of the losses occurring pre-diagnosis. Post diagnosis years saw 17 games (68%), 9 games (67%) and, this year 4 games (100%) so far.
A very mixed bag, indeed: on one hand I can only admire a kid who gets out of an hypo being led 3-5 in the third set to win 7-5... but on the other hand, the whole process is so frustrating.
I can't resist posting a small training video: the coach calls the serve type and location and Max is supposed to hit the correct cone. Easier said than done (and something I certainly couldn't do myself)
Our problems are, in decreasing impact
- the Belgian weather and custom of playing outside on clay court whenever it is possible. This sounds a bit ridiculous, but is true. The best plan falls apart when you encounter a 6 hours rain delay. This could probably be partly addressed from switching to a pump from our current MDI scheme. Maybe we'll get to that.
- our desire to maintain a very tight control (latest HbA1c was 5.1% on a high carb diet) which definitely rules out hovering in the 180-220 mg/dL range for hours while waiting to play.
- the fact that it is hard for a normal teen to start worrying 12 hours pre-game, take all the correct decisions during the game and then, the correct decisions for the next 24 hours.
- maintaining a daily training routine (running a bit at least every day) is non-obvious when you are coming back from school a bit late, could not adjust your meal time and doses, and happen to have a mild hypo that needs a correction. Running too late could also lead to a delayed hypo, which then restarts the unfortunate instability cycle we all know too well...