Surfing

By Alfie Opie
Hi my name's Alfie Opie I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in October 16th 2000, which was like a earthquake had just exploded in front of me from that day I never stopped learning about my condition and never wanted to make my self reclusive from anything I enjoyed. At this time my favourite hobby was a extreme sport called surfing it took me 8 months to get surfing not through fear of diabetes but waiting for summer to come my first year surfing with diabetes was incredible I let nothing get in my way not even the hypos I managed to surf for hours with two chocolate biscuits my levels were good and my hbc1 monthly levels were brilliant. As I got older the adrenaline of surfing got me wanting to surf more and more. In 2004 I moved on to 4 a day injections which took bit of adjusting and caused my surfing to fluxuate my diabetes as I wanted to keep my sugar levels really high so I could not just surf but do everything which I didn’t realise was very dangerous as time showed where I would surf taking not a lot of insulin I was never stupid enough to stop taking my insulin. But I would just cut it right back to 6 units of insulin on every jab that was for eating times. I was quite happy to be 18-22 blood glucose level this is what I did all summer in 2004 by the end of the summer I kept getting really ill sick bugs temperatures ear aches generally feeling rough all the time as the surf was wrapping up I stared coming to my senses realising my hb1c sugar levels were over the roof not a surprise. After I had that sick bug my mum challenged me to a new surfboard as I was using a surfboard with so many dings and being filled by house filler all I wanted was a new surf board she said if you can get your next hb1c sugar level down from 9.3 to lower than 8.5 I’ll get you a new board the devil made work for idle hands in my opinion I worked my ass of to get the sugars levels keeping them in normal range I started to feel better again and felt good as It got to clinic and found out my hb1c sugar level was 8.6 just one out I was gutted but my mum the dear of her she is got me the board for trying and boy when I got the board I was surfing mad but keeping my diabetes under control with cutting my insulin back at lunch time to 8 or 7 units and would take a substantial carbohydrate lunch and sugary snacks and keeping my insulin in tight range I felt much more healthier as my next hb1c blood test was 8.2 lower and my my hb1c sugar level did creep quite higher again throughout the year but (my last test was 7.4) but I knew I was trying to keep my sugar levels down ands that’s all you can do in my opinion . Diabetes is something you have to be ready for you never know what’s coming with it each day you learn from experiences because in my years I have had loads of traumatic experiences with surfing and diabetes. In 2006 the year started good the hb1c blood test were coming down by me surfing loads and I found this great creation hypo fit sachets which made my life much more independent most people go surfing taking a bag and food I just took my hypo fit sachets and would surf for hours. As my teenage years are fading and maybe my insulin resistance was beginning to go which does happen and the main problem for teens which I phrase the teenage kicks. But 2006 I was working and surfing loads my hb1c sugar levels was amazing it was 7.6 which was emotional to get back to that good I kept my sugar levels so normal.
The only problem which annoys me with diabetes is that every year since I started secondary school I kept getting sick bugs but I think you body’s immunity to viruses are much weaker, that’s why emphasise keep your sugar levels as good as possible there will probably are teenagers out there reading this saying he doesn’t know what he’s on about all I say is don’t take the risk. Currently this year in 2007 my surfing has took a turn for the worse I haven’t been surfing due to stress of gcse exams and my final year of school and I had a very scary experience and one I have learnt most from back in May where I was surfing for a couple of hours as I was walking up from the beach I saw my friend walking down for a surf he said are you coming which this was biggest mistake I made all year I went in really excited and took a hypo fit before I went back in again 45 minutes late I didn’t know where the hell I was I was so scared and shocked I took my hypo fits got out of the way and sat down, walking up the hill again I saw these two guys working I said can you help me im diabetic and im going to pass out this is the biggest knock back I’ve ever had im still surfing bit by bit I refuse to give up im class my self as a robust person im currently getting my confidence back with diabetes and surfing.

All I can say to other people is try to look at the positive sides of diabetes like not being able to drink much eating normally and drugs which are the main problems people are having today. So this makes us healthy in the future.

I have also travelled extensively all with Trish my diabetes nurse helping me with travel plans, and so far I have been to Hawaii, Hong Kong, and last year we did a road trip in the states from Chicago to LA crossing time zones and encountering snow and heatwaves. And without too much hassle .

All the best

Alfie

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