What Would Sean Busby Do?

Posted by kim on Tue, 04/01/2014 - 19:11 in

While Omnipod ambassador Sean Busby has been profiling people in the diabetes community who inspire him through his “Sean’s Diabetes Heroes” series on Podder Talk, he is an inspiration in his own right. Podder Talk would like to congratulate Sean on becoming the first person with type 1 diabetes to backcountry snowboard on every continent in the world. Check out this post from professional ski patroller Kim Kircher about the inspiration and motivation Sean provides her.

Sean-Busby-Diabetes-InspirationWhat do you do when you're on the cusp of becoming an Olympic athlete and you get diagnosed with type 1 diabetes? If you're Sean Busby, you turn those lemons into lemonade.

When Sean was diagnosed with diabetes, he had considered quitting snowboarding. But instead he gathered inspiration from the stories of young people with diabetes he found through JDRF's Children's Congress. He figured if they didn’t quit, neither would he. Sean went on to start Riding On Insulin—a non-profit organization—to honor all the kids with diabetes who inspired him to keep living. Most recently, Sean returned from a trip to the High Atlas Mountains in Morocco, completing his goal of snowboarding on every continent. He truly is an inspiration.

The type 1 diabetes world is rife with stories of the newly diagnosed finding inspiration in the lives of veteran diabetics. But what about veteran diabetics like myself? When I need inspiration, I talk to Sean Busby.

Finding my Diabetes Inspiration in Sean Busby

The day-in day-out nature of diabetes sometimes wears me down. I'll be going along, minding my blood glucose levels, marveling at my brilliant A1Cs, then BAM. My motivation begins to wilt like a late summer sunflower. In these moments, I want to hit the "pause" button, to pretend for a moment that I don't have type 1 diabetes. Instead of testing, I consider simply not eating anything and seeing what happens. I'll be headed out the door to go for a jog and think maybe I don't need to check my blood glucose levels or adjust my insulin pump settings before I go. Then I shake my head to wake my diabetic self and wonder, “What would Sean Busby do?”

Kim-Kircher-Skiing-with-DiabetesKim ski touring the Alps.

I work as a professional ski patroller, providing emergency care to others and reducing hazards like avalanches with explosives. Obviously, this kind of laissez-faire attitude doesn't fit with my work responsibilities nor does it jive with my desire to manage diabetes perfectly.

When I first interviewed Sean Busby on my extreme sports radio show, I knew I'd found someone who "got it." Even though I know I must control, reduce and carefully manage all things blood glucose, I still long for freedom. We all do. The question is how.

Then I think of Sean and realize that it's not diabetes that sometimes gets in the way. It's the way I think about the disease. Sean transfers the meticulousness required from diabetes to his approach in the mountains. A careful diabetic makes a good mountaineer.

If Sean were about to embark on an expedition deep in the mountains, how often would he test his blood glucose? How careful would he be about his insulin and his Pod site? How vigilant would Sean be?

Well, I know the answer to those questions. He would be very vigilant. He would test, test and then test again. It is this care that has allowed him to snowboard on remote mountains all over the world, including Antarctica. It is this attentiveness that allows Sean to make a career out of his beloved sport with diabetes. When my willpower begins to flag, it is an example like Sean that keeps me focused on my diabetes management goals.