“Diabetes: all the barriers are in the head”
Sergei Boronin is 38 years old, of whom he lives with diabetes for 33 years . Doctors warned: there may be problems with conceiving children. And there is nothing to think about professional sports . But today Sergey is a successful businessman, athlete and father of four children. How did he do it?
“I became ill at 5 years after suffering a cold and a strong fear. Later I learned that stress and the virus often provoke diabetes. We lived in a military town in the German Democratic Republic, where my father served. I teased German teens with friends, and one day they chased after us. Arriving home, I overslept 12 hours, my mother told me, and after that I began to lose weight and write sharply. I was diagnosed with cystitis. Only a month later, one of the doctors suggested checking the blood for sugar. He was prohibitively tall. My parents were afraid to treat me in Germany and put me in the Morozov hospital in Moscow.
Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease: the body attacks its own cells that produce insulin. And without it, glucose is not absorbed and sugar levels fluctuate greatly. This is dangerous: high sugar can lead to loss of vision and kidney disease, too low (hypoglycemia) – to coma and death. Any stress, joy, excitement before the exam, physical activity, even a walk with the dog lowers or raises sugar. Therefore, until the end of my life I was waiting for total control, strict calculation of carbohydrates and regular injections of insulin.
At night I cried and asked: “Why did I get this?”
Parents never showed their fears. But I think they were very worried, especially my father. He is a military man, I am his son, and my future was not becoming the way he painted it for himself. I am grateful to my parents for doing everything so that my diabetes does not radically change our lives. Yes, there are certain features that need to be considered, and that’s all. We still traveled a lot, traveled to the sea – we just took an iron tray with us and boiled syringes on the road. I ate fruit – sugar flew up, insulin was injected – it leveled off.
I was seven when my father asked: “What kind of sport do you want to do?” I chose football and daily went to the section. We came up with a scheme: my mother made jam in a bottle, I drank it before training and the same bottle after. This helped maintain sugar levels. But sometimes sadness came over me – you get tired of total control. I understood that I am different from other children who can eat what they want and when they want, run and jump. At night I cried and asked: “Why did I get this?”
At fifteen, I was a good player, but when serious tournaments started, they put me in the reserve squad. I asked for a basic, but they refused me: they say they are afraid for my health. I went to another club, where I did not tell anyone about the disease. By that time I had the first glucometer, and it became easier to control sugar.
However, a trip to the USA really changed my outlook on life. At 16, I learned about the program of American physician Sam Wentworth: he was recruiting adolescents in a diabetic camp. There were two conditions: to know English and to be able to ride a bicycle. I applied and was accepted. All summer we lived in tents, traveled. I saw that Americans do not treat diabetes the way we do. I still remember how one doctor in Russia said: “Forget about sports, your maximum is medical gymnastics.” The Americans taught us how to live like everyone else, just to take into account their own characteristics.
When my wife and I, two diabetics, told the doctor that we were expecting a baby, he twisted his finger at the temple
I began to travel to the camp often, now as a counselor. When I was 19, I met Lena there, she is four years younger. We started dating already in Moscow, and Lena became my wife. As a teenager, I dreamed of a future family, but was afraid that I could not have children. I was reassured by a man with whom I once talked: “I have diabetes for 20 years and have a son and daughter. So no problem – just keep the sugar in the norm. “
When Lena and I, two diabetics, came to the doctor and informed about the pregnancy, he twirled at the temple: “Are you crazy ?! This is risky for both women and children. ” Now we have four daughters, the youngest half a year. When I think about how I learned with diabetes to withstand the whole game on the field, to run marathons, compared to Lena’s heroism, it seems to me nonsense. She was not lazy to get up seven times a night to measure sugar, eat carbohydrate if it falls, or inject insulin if it grows. Our children are healthy. What will happen next – we do not know. We wondered a lot about what would happen if they developed diabetes. Won’t they tell us: what were you thinking when you started us? But we both believe that giving life to a person is more important than solving problems with diabetes. And now it’s easier to control sugar than 20 years ago.
I don’t even know who I would be without diabetes. Maybe even a bully. As a teenager, hormones walked with me, and aggression was required. And I got into the company of radical football fans. He ran, fought, though he understood that I could not afford stupid things that were dangerous to my health. What if I hit a bottle on the head and I have lain unconscious for several hours, skip hypo glycemia, all – good-bye, Mom.
The body is a smart machine, it will adapt to any situation
I was offered a professional contract in football, but I refused: I decided that it was better to be a very good lawyer than just a good athlete. Now I have my own law firm, and sport has remained with me as my main hobby. I have been doing marathon and triathlon for six years. On the run, my maximum distance is 50 kilometers. When I decided to run my first marathon, the doctor said: “Say thank you for being alive.” In the triathlon, I tried the Olympic distance: 1.5 km swimming, 40 km bicycle and 21 km running. And this is not the limit.
The body is a smart machine, it adapts to any situation. When I started to run, my sugar dropped sharply, I could not understand why: after all, for a football training I ran 10 km, but he did not fly so down. He began to understand: football is a competition, so the body releases adrenaline, which raises sugar. And running is a constant, uniform movement, so sugar will go down. And I trained the body, tried to lower my pulse. I have accustomed the body to different loads, now I dream about Ironman – this is a long distance triathlon competition. In the USA, 3,000 diabetic athletes have already participated in them.
I am often approached by young people, adolescents, their parents – I tell them about the sport of diabetes. Now I am launching a football club for everyone. And when I speak at conferences, the days of diabetes, I say: “If your child wants to fly into space, let him fly. Now this is not a fantasy. Let him go to aerospace college. Wants to join the army? Let it go. He wants a family – please. ” Diabetes is not a reason to give up one’s desires; one should not succumb to fears and patterns imposed by the media, doctors, and society. Diabetes will adapt to any profession and any lifestyle. All obstacles are only in our head. ”