Meet Anthony and Megan – also affectionately known as Mum and Dad to their two sons.
Christian, was diagnosed at age 14 with type 1 diabetes. With the support of his family, healthcare team and Dexcom G5 Mobile Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM), he hasn’t let this slow him down on or off the racetrack! Here, we heard from Christian’s parents, Anthony and Megan, about his journey with diabetes, the support he has received along the way and where he is at now with his racing.
Q: Can you tell us about your family’s journey with diabetes?
As parents I think it’s unanimous, all we can ever ask for is healthy children.
We were fortunate to have two healthy boys and in our eyes, we still do. However, we first became concerned about Christian a few days before being diagnosed. He was drinking, eating and going to the toilet like it was going out of fashion but all the while losing weight. We took him to the hospital and before we had even finished being triaged, a nurse took him and checked his blood glucose level where the test showed a reading of 28mmol/L.
After the initial shock of it all, you soon realise that this is a big game changer, but it is manageable. For our family, Christian played a big part in how we, as a family, pulled ourselves together and worked toward a ‘new normal’.
Day two after being diagnosed and having spent nearly 30 hours in emergency, I took Christian for a shower, he walked out, still very slow and said “Dad, this is just a new challenge and let’s go and smash it.” I kid you not! What choice did we have? For a 14 year-old boy to have his world change overnight; going from having the freedom of being able to be spontaneous and be able to do and eat whatever you want when you want, to then have that taken from you. His attitude and acceptance of having type 1 diabetes has played a massive part for all of us as a family, in keeping him healthy, not only in his body but mind as well.
Very soon after diagnosis, we were introduced to Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM through the diabetes educators at John Hunter Hospital. Being so quick and given that your head is already full of carb counting and insulin injections, we really didn’t know too much about it.
The educators went through the process of the sensor insertion…which was initially met with a lot of resistance! Given that prior to diagnosis he had a phobia of needles, he was now injecting himself 4 times a day and now, he had to have something else jabbed in him. He wasn’t happy.
The ladies explained the upside of having Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM: not as many finger pricks, not having to be woken at 11pm and 3am to test blood glucose levels, being able to see how your tracking at school or out with your friends. With that, Christian agreed reluctantly. He did admit that it didn’t hurt but it was more the thought of it.
From there, Christian has taken to it right from the start. Having Dexcom has given him the confidence to get in the car and race at speeds of up to 200 km/hr. The team were able to secure his phone to the inside of the car, so Christian can simply glance to see his levels.
Having the Follow App gave us peace of mind as well, especially in the beginning. Being able to track him, whether it be at school or when he is racing, is very comforting as a parent. Being able to sleep through the night and not worrying if his blood glucose levels are going to go too low or too high is a game changer. It has certainly reduced a lot of the angst out of our everyday life.
I think having Dexcom and being able to access it early on in his diagnosis has been instrumental for him to get on with it. He was obviously worried when he returned to school about how the kids would treat him and he was very self-conscious, but when he got Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM, his mates all wanted to know how it worked and why it would alarm. He now wears it with pride…it’s part of him and it plays a big part of him, being just like every other 15 year-old.
Editor note: Christian’s parents, Anthony and Megan, wanted to share their story as Anthony pointed out the ‘more we live with type 1 diabetes, the more it becomes necessary to have support not only from others living with type 1 diabetes and their family members, but also organisations that can really provide extra support to get that positive message out there.’ Christian is still competing and has recently been signed with the Carlin Racing Team in the UK, where he will compete in the British Formula 4 Championship. He is the youngest driver to date.
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“Being able to sleep through the night and not worrying if his blood glucose levels are going to go too low or too high is a game changer. It has certainly reduced a lot of the angst out of our everyday life.”
Sam believes that T1D doesn’t need to hold you back from accomplishing your dreams. In 2007, Sam debuted in professional AFL for the Western Bulldogs, and since then has gone from competing on the field to fatherhood. In 2020, Sam upgraded from Dexcom G5 Mobile to Dexcom G6 to monitor and manage his diabetes.
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