Sasha has always been an active runner and cyclist, with a dream of running a marathon. She’s had to postpone her dream twice – after being diagnosed with diabetes, and then becoming pregnant. She’s now preparing to run the Brighton Marathon – to raise awareness of diabetes and inspire her daughter.
Living with type 1 diabetes since 2017
“It’s a constant battle each and every single day. But I want my daughter to have the best role model she can. I will show her that anything is possible, regardless of what you are facing.”
Sasha was thinking about running a marathon when she started feeling unwell in October 2017. She found herself being thirstier, more fatigued and lost three stone in six weeks. She was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and was told by her GP to lose weight. Sasha knew something was seriously wrong and felt like no one was listening to her. She began to feel extremely weak and even more unwell.
But then she received a call from the diabetes care team who told her she’d been misdiagnosed and she was type 1 – and to go straight to hospital. By then the ketones in her blood had reached a dangerous level and the doctor stared insulin injections. And she met the diabetic specialist who explained the differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Within a couple of hours, Sasha was sent home with insulin, needles, a meter and a number to contact to make sure she was on the right track.
“The first week of being diagnosed consisted of several insulin injections a day and finger testing every hour. It was a tough time.”
One of the difficulties of coming to terms with living with diabetes was having to cope with misconceptions friends and family had about the condition, she says.
Sasha got so fed up of people making comments that she set up a Daily Fact group on Facebook for a month.
“I got tired of hearing things like ‘can you eat that’ and ‘I couldn’t inject myself, that’s too painful’ so I decided to share the facts and answer their questions.”
She even shared data from her Freestyle Libre showing sugar levels that are in target and how to spot the signs of a hypo.
“People couldn’t believe what my daily life involved: the incessant finger-pricking, checking my blood sugar levels and always having to be prepared for anything.”
If the questions got too complex she sent people to the myths about diabetes page.
She was so keen to raise awareness of diabetes that she decided to set her sights again on a marathon. But, after signing up she discovered she was pregnant. Despite her determination to run, her healthcare team advised that it was unsafe for her to train.
Becoming pregnant with her daughter Amelia posed a big enough challenge. During her pregnancy, there were times when Sasha’s sugar levels were so low that she had to get up during the night to eat a bowl of porridge. There were also times when she needed to triple her dose of insulin because her blood sugar levels were so high.
Now that her daughter is six-months-old, Sasha decided this year would be the one. Signed up and now training for Brighton Marathon 2020, Sasha is taking it all in her stride with the support of her diabetes care team.
And although her training involves a lot more planning than it used to, she isn’t letting diabetes get in her way. It’s no longer enough to run with a water bottle so Sasha takes time to organise a rucksack filled with everything from jelly babies to insulin, to ensure she’s prepared for anything.