By Marianna Rivera
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on January 9, 2012 when I was 13 years old (now 16). During the painful months leading up to my diagnosis, my family and friends noticed that I was literally withering away before their eyes. I weighed about 82 pounds at 5’3, was constantly battling infections, I had horrible bloodshot eyes, and worst of all I was losing my lively spirit. Due to these symptoms, my mom decided it was best to go to the doctor’s office. As a part of a routine physical, the doctor tested my urine and was unusually concerned by the results. We were then quickly shuffled into an endocrinologist’s office, where they preceded to test my blood sugar…..the meter read 540 and my A1c was 11.6. The doctor knew instantly that I had Type 1 Diabetes and before I knew it, their was a baggie of shots and a vial of insulin in my hands. However, unlike most diagnosis stories, I was never hospitalized. They showed me how to inject myself in my stomach (which I refuse to do to this day) and sent me on my way. After troubleshooting for months on end and researching with my mom late into the night, we discovered that diabetes could be better controlled on a diet that resembled what we now call the “Paleo” diet. By steering clear of dairy, wheat, grain, and sugar I was able to lower my insulin intake which later resulted in more stable numbers throughout the day. This leads me to my discovery of the amazing Crossfit community.
I discovered Crossfit on Youtube when I was about 15 and was instantly mesmerized by what the female athletes could achieve and also how strong they were. I have always been a competitive and active person so naturally I gravitated towards the idea of one day becoming a games athlete. After about a year of pestering my parents and showing them every single crossfit video available, they decided to take me to a “box”. 9 months later, that “box” a.k.a Crossfit Kratos in Riverside, California is my home, my crossfit family, and a place that means the world to me. I have achieved things that I once thought were impossible, especially as a Type 1 Diabetic. I believe that Crossfit helps the management of diabetes in more ways than one, not only does it help you to learn how to eat accordingly and be aware of your body but it also builds “mental toughness” and your ability to conquer Type 1 Diabetes mentally. To me, Crossfit is my cure. It might not take away this illness but when I am working out, I am no different than any other athlete and diabetes has never and will never stop me from achieving my goals in this sport. Overall, Crossfit has shown me that I am not defined by my “disadvantages”, because adversity only makes you stronger.