Meet Kyle – he’s a sport and exercise enthusiast who doesn’t let his diabetes get in the way!
Kyle loves being involved in sports – Taekwondo, mountain biking, weight lifting and triathlons to name a few! Kyle has also lived with type 1 diabetes (T1D) for over 19 years, which sometimes meant fingerpricking more than 10 times a day just so he could compete!
Having a passion for living well with T1D, Kyle set out to raise awareness of T1D by challenging himself to complete the iconic Munda Biddi trail in Western Australia, a gruelling trail covering 1000km in just 10 days. He overcame many barriers on the ride and with the help of the Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM, Kyle was able to keep his glucose levels in check.
We wanted to talk to Kyle about his journey with diabetes and his belief that keeping an active lifestyle has supported his diabetes.
Q: Tell us about your active lifestyle and how this influences your diabetes?
I was diagnosed with T1D in February 2000 and for me, I consider maintaining an active lifestyle critical to optimal management of my diabetes. Keeping an active lifestyle has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember.
Through regular exercise and competing in a variety of sports, I have found that not every type of exercise or sport affects my blood sugars the same way. I’ve always enjoyed experimenting with different types of exercise to understand how it affects my blood sugar but also what management strategies I need to develop to make that particular sport or exercise work for me.
Over the years, I have competed in Traditional Taekwondo (achieving 3rd Dan black belt), mixed martial arts, half marathons, off road triathlons, weight lifting and long-distance cycling (both road and mountain bike).
Q: You often chat about your active lifestyle within the online T1D community. Do you find it rewarding chatting to others living with T1D?
Absolutely! I am actively involved in the online T1D community and am passionate about sharing as well as mentoring and motivating others to live well with T1D, especially on topics like fitness, exercise and nutrition.
I recently spoke at the 2019 AMSL Diabetes ‘Sports & Exercise Weekend’. This was my first time public speaking to a room full of people living with T1D and although I think my speaking skills need some work, I found the experience uplifting and rewarding – especially given the multitude of one-on-one conversations that followed. This has now lit another fire in me which I plan to pursue.
To connect with the T1D community, I also host a podcast called ‘My Lazy Pancreas.’
Q: Incredible stuff! Can you tell us more about your podcast?
Sure – the idea of the podcast came about through my constant exposure to people who either did not know others living with T1D or were afraid of exercise or achieving their life goals because of their T1D. On ‘My Lazy Pancreas’, I interview people living with T1D who are thriving in life and making great achievements, in both exercise and life. I have met so many people like this on my journey and I wanted other people out there to hear their stories.
Q: And for you, what would you say is one of your biggest achievements?
I would say the Munda Biddi Trail cycling challenge. The original plan was for myself and my good mate to complete the trip for fun and take our time doing it. We soon realised it would be a great and rewarding idea to complete the ride as a fundraising initiative for the Type 1 Diabetes Family Centre, an invaluable not-for-profit resource in WA for families living with T1D. From there, the campaign grew.
Q: The ride was a mammoth 1000km over 10 days. What kind of challenges did you face during the ride and how did you overcome them?
Due to the commitment of countless hours of training leading up to the event, I felt good physically however there were definitely challenges with the amount of off-road climbing I was doing everyday – it was so taxing on my legs!
Other than that, the biggest barriers I faced were my mindset, cycling in isolation; in the middle of what felt like nowhere, knowing how many kilometres and hills lay ahead whilst constantly thinking about my blood sugar and energy intake strategies – that was the hardest part for sure.
When I had breaks and phone signal, I would check up on the campaign’s social media – and honestly the comments and words of encouragement often made me feel quite emotional. It did however, encourage me further, providing me with a sense of motivation and drive to continue showing those following the campaign, what is possible when living with T1D.
Also, my insulin strategies during the first four days were blown out of the water as what I had predicted would happen with my blood sugar didn’t occur. Those living with T1D will understand the frustration that comes with this. I worked through this challenge by sharing and talking with my close diabuddies, to understand what was happening and adjust the strategy to suit.
I also wore Dexcom G5 Mobile throughout my ride. Knowing what my glucose level was at a glance of my watch was invaluable. This was crucial as when you are riding hard, I think it is quite easy to miss or mistake symptoms of low or high blood sugar. Having the share feature also allowed my family and support crew to see my glucose levels, which was particularly important for the times when I was in very remote areas.
Q: How did you find out about Dexcom CGM and now that you wear it, what are your favourite features of the Dexcom G5 Mobile system?
Years ago, while researching CGM systems for the Police Legacy road cycling ride from Karratha to Broome in Western Australia, I was put onto Dexcom CGM by my healthcare team. I started on the Dexcom G4 PLATINUM system but eventually moved onto the Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM as being able to have my phone* as the receiver was a big selling point for me, that and the higher accuracy.
For me, the share feature is great, particularly when I’m off on one of my crazy adventures as it allows me to link up with other apps and smartwatch features. Having great accuracy, even at the end of the sensor life, is impressive as well.
I’ve found wearing Dexcom CGM allows for a more in-depth strategy development and testing. I’m able to monitor my glucose levels and trends while I ride, allowing me to keep the flow going and not have to stop all the time. Having all this information at the flick of my wrist also helps to reduce the anxiety of not knowing what my blood sugar is doing between fingerprick tests.
Q: Has Dexcom CGM assisted in any other ways?
Definitely. I now have a greater understanding of how particular foods and various exercise activities affect my glucose levels.
Q: Do you have any tips for others looking to CGM?
A lot of healthcare professionals can provide trials for CGM systems. I would suggest trialling as many different systems as possible to see what works best for you. Also, talk to other people who are on CGM to get tips and tricks – a great place for this is the online CGM communities.
Q: And why did you choose Dexcom CGM from AMSL Diabetes?
After trialling multiple CGM products on the market, I found Dexcom was the only one to be accurate enough for me, easy to use and could withstand my active lifestyle – so it suited me.
Editor note: Kyle is passionate about communicating about T1D to raise awareness and offer support to others living with T1D. He enjoys monitoring his glucose levels in response to changes in his nutrition and fitness regime, and for Kyle, using Dexcom G5 Mobile allows him to gain further information about his diabetes. Whether cycling the Munda Biddi Trail or speaking at the ‘Sports & Exercise Weekend’ – he knows he can rely on the Dexcom G5 Mobile for support.
Learn more about Dexcom G5 Mobile CGM today!
*A list of the current compatible smart devices can be found here: https://www.dexcom.com/dexcom-international-compatibility. For more information, please call our Customer Care Team on 1300 851 056.
Always read the label and use only as directed. Read the warnings available on www.amsldiabetes.com.au/resources before purchasing. Consult your healthcare professional to see which product is right for you.
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“Having all this information at the flick of my wrist also helps to reduce the anxiety of not knowing what my sugar level is doing between fingerprick tests.”
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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