Carling Coffing: Pursuing Her Dreams
Meet professional golfer and winner of the Golf Channel’s “Big Break” competition, Carling Coffing. From the moment Carling was first diagnosed, she decided that she would never let diabetes get in the way of pursuing her dreams. Today, Carling shares her story.
I have lived with diabetes for nineteen long years — since the age of five. As a professional golfer and active person in general, I know that my performance weighs heavily on managing my blood sugar levels. With a hectic and unpredictable schedule full of long hours and a lot of travel, I work hard to keep things as simple as possible with my diabetes because, let’s face it, diabetes is a full-time job.
My family has always supported me. My brothers took up golf when I was in junior high and when I decided to do the same, my parents helped lead the way. I wouldn’t let anything stop me. I went out on the golf course each and every day, with a golf bag full of juice boxes. I soon began to play competitively, and when I was in college I decided to make golf my career.
Of course, things on the golf course are not always easy. Normally when a tournament started I had a lot of adrenaline to deal with, which sometimes would make my blood sugar high. Then, typically, by the fourth hole I would start feeling low. When I had these lows on the course, I would attempt to correct by guzzling down some juice. As you can imagine, this was problematic. Sometimes I would drink too much, which would make my blood sugar sky-rocket…and I would get very cranky! Then, of course, I would have to stop and take the time to give myself an injection. Golf is both a mental and physical game, and going through a rollercoaster of lows and highs can take its toll on your mind and body. For me personally, I had a hard time concentrating when my blood sugar was out of whack.
I know a lot of people with diabetes talk about a moment or experience that inspired them to make a positive change in how they manage their diabetes. For me, it was one particular night when I had a terrible low. After waking up from being unconscious, I knew I had to make a change. I had to take control of my diabetes in order to become the professional golfer I had always dreamed of becoming. The next day, I called my doctor and took control by going on an insulin pump. The pump has helped me manage my diabetes better. It keeps things simple which is exactly what I need. I can set a temp basal rate before I start golfing which gives me slightly less insulin and has helped with my “fourth-hole lows.” If I experience a high (and crankiness), there is no more stopping to take injections on the course. Instead, I can punch a couple of buttons and voila — I am good to go! I also wear a continuous glucose monitor that provides predictive alerts. The alerts are great because they give me the heads up before I actually go high or low. My blood sugars tend to stay steady with the pump, and because I am able to keep them steady, I am able to stay more focused on the game. Last summer, I won the Big Break and am proud to say I made the cut in all the LPGA tournaments I participated in.
While my insulin pump and CGM have certainly made life easier, they are not a cure. I still have to keep an eye on my insulin levels and do finger sticks several times a day just like everyone else…I just have a little extra help to manage. The convenience and simplicity that the pump and CGM have brought to my life has allowed me to continue to pursue my dreams. What I would say to a person with diabetes (PWD) is to think of what you really want to do in your life and don’t let diabetes stand in your way of getting there. With commitment and perseverance, you can get there!
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
- Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.
Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
- Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.
Medtronic Diabetes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems
- The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to treatment.
- Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected.
Please visit www.medtronicdiabetes.com/about/safety.html for complete safety information.