As an elite athlete whose sport is the 400 m hurdles, Megan Dixon, 22, has unique needs when it comes to managing her Type 1 diabetes.
Her workouts average an hour to two hours a day and vary from high-intensity activities to endurance training, be it running, sprinting or jumping.
Megan needed an insulin delivery system that could keep up with her active lifestyle and take care of her blood glucose levels, so that she could concentrate on perfecting her stride.
When she was introduced to the Cellnovo Diabetes Management System, it ticked off several boxes on her wish list.
She was looking for something small and discreet that wouldn’t obstruct her movements: The Cellnovo System is about the size of a box of matches, and is detachable.
But the feature that appeals most to the young athlete is that she can take it off and put it back on very easily, at any time.
“My races only last about 60 seconds so I can take it off during the competition and then put it back on right afterwards. It’s perfect for my needs.”
Another bonus feature that has come in extra handy? The Cellnovo System’s built-in activity tracker.
For Megan, whose training schedule plays an important role both in her athletic performance and her diabetes management, the tracker has become a useful tool for recording her daily activities and identifying how they affect her blood sugar levels.
“I use that feature all the time. It allows me to look at which sessions have the biggest impact on my blood sugar levels and helps me better manage my diabetes,”she said.
Since her diagnosis at the age of 15, Megan’s journey has been a long and difficult one.
After being forced to pull out of training due to an injury, she became fatigued and unusually thirsty.
Doctors say she had likely been living with diabetes for a prolonged period without knowing it: The intensity of her physical activity suppressed the other symptoms and misleadingly helped keep her blood sugar levels in check.
Despite the physical setback, and being told it was the end of her athletic career, Megan went on to compete nationally and rank No. 1 in the West Midlands and in the top 20 in the UK.
But while the diagnosis couldn’t stop her from realising her full potential, it did cause setbacks to her emotional well-being, causing her to retreat from the world.
“It was really hard to come to terms with my diabetes.”
“I stayed in a lot and segregated myself from the outside world and hid away. I went through a lot of anxiety about leaving the house.”
In the last year, with the help of a therapist and after taking the time to think deeply about what it all meant for her, Megan says she’s learned to accept her diabetes and is making a real effort to re-enter the world she had avoided for so long.
This summer, she’s headed to Gran Canaria for a beach holiday, where the Cellnovo System’s multi-use features will again help ease the burden of the day-to-day management.
While the device is waterproof, she can opt to take the pump off altogether when going for a swim, and if she chooses to wear it in the water, she won’t be worrying about it get pulled off with the current.
She also admits to being self-conscious about others being able to see the pump, and appreciates that she can take it off while walking around the beach in her bikini, or sunbathing.
“It makes me feel much more comfortable about going on holiday.”
If there’s one bright spot in her ordeal, Megan says she’s gained a deeper understanding about how her body works — not insignificant for an elite athlete turned sports therapist.
“As long as you’re motivated and determined, you can do whatever you want.”