Pixy Shahrour’s Journey From Diabetic to Athletic

Monday February 11, 2019               ًBy: Hadeer Taha

How Exercise, Determination And Commitment Changed Pixy Shahrour’s Life
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Pixy Shahrour – Photo courtesy Brace & Forge

“Your daughter is diabetic.” This is how it all started. Nineteen years ago, when I was 9, my family and I learned that I have diabetes. I will never forget how shocked my parents were when the doctor told them the news. They both started crying at the doctor’s office and I didn’t have a clue why. All that I understood was that I was sick and I had to take an injection in my abdomen to get better.

Living with a secret

To protect me from hurtful comments, sympathy from friends or anyone else on the planet, and the usual, “poor girl, she’s diabetic,” statement, they advised me not to tell anyone; not even my closest friends, uncles, aunts, or cousins.

For 18 years after my diagnosis, I didn’t tell a soul about my diabetes. I even denied it if someone found out. It was one hell of a journey, going from one doctor to the other; from those who never really understood anything about my disease, to those who told me barley any useful information on how to cope with it. “Play sports and eat well, salads and stuff like that, so your sugar level won’t get high,” the doctors recommended.  That never got me anywhere other than lots of hospital visits, comas, high A1C’s, and worried sick parents who I felt guilty for what I put them through; all the sweets I ate as a kid.

Becoming Friends with the Enemy

When you are diabetic, they tell you to befriend your disease. Well, my 17 years old self with diabetes didn’t know how to do that. It wasn’t even until two years ago when I met my miraculous coach that I understood what diabetes is.

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Lidia Mahmoud

A Miracle in the Making

My fitness and CrossFit coach, Lidia Mahmoud, came into my life in October 2016. She was the one who made it all happen. She took my hand when I was desperate and hopeless and made the biggest change IN MY LIFE!

I had signed up for one of her CrossFit classes together with a group of people. She was very experienced in her field and I enjoyed how she coached us; how she explained the details of the movement, to understand what muscles we are working and the benefits of the exercise.

The Confession

Three months after I started training with Lidia, I decided to tell her  my secret; which defied my code of living for the past 17 years. Telling her about my diabetes felt like I was confessing to having two children out of wedlock. Honestly, it used to make me feel hurt, ashamed and humiliated.

Eventually, I told her, and she was all calm and understanding. I didn’t see  the shock on her face that I used to hide from. How she cared for everyone on the team gave me the courage to tell her all about my story with diabetes. She started keeping up with me on every little detail, every step I took on the training field, every meal I ate and everything I drank. On the field, she neither pushed me to do an extra exercise, or eliminated any of the ones I did.

T for Transformation

Lidia transformed me from a person whose biggest knowledge of practicing is cardio, to the person I am today! We started working on my eating habits and how small changes can do miracles. She read about diabetes and collected information from doctors and CrossFitters with diabetes. But she learned the most about diabetes from studying me, as a person not as a diabetic.

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It’s easy to create a workout and diet plan, but it’s not easy to make people fall in love with the process and persist on doing it . Lidia knew how stubborn I can get sometimes, but also knew how vulnerable and weak I am because of my diabetes.  She began to study me and my emotions, including that I don’t like to feel weak, and we took off from there!

Confidence Comes First

I was Lidia’s first diabetic person she trained and she was my first real coach, by all means. We talked about my A1C, my blood sugar levels, why it changes every hour, how to stabilize it, and how strong I am.

In May 2017, and after six months from building up my self-confidence, I decided to tell everyone that I have diabetes. Then the next step was to figure out how to make my life easier with diabetes. She researched diabetes supplies, especially to find me something that won’t make me prick my finger every time I need to check my blood glucose, especially that my life style demands me to do so.

Lidia found out about a glucose monitoring system, which unfortunately was not available in Egypt, but she managed to finally get one.

Side by Side

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I used my glucose monitoring system for the first time on November 18th2017.  Lidia managed to learn all about it and taught how to use it. She was the one by my side when I held it in my hands for the first time and cried.

For me, to write all this is truly overwhelming! I am smiling and at the same time my eyes are filled with tears, as I remember everything Lidia did for me and still doing after so many ups and downs.

A Happy Ending

In January 2019, we managed to get my A1C from 7.8 to 6.3, and from taking over 40 units of insulin per day to only 3 units! I know we are supposed to love our parents and siblings the most, but Lidia has a special part in my heart. She gave me life, literally. And made me believe in miracles again.

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