Eshaan Shevate was diagnosed to have Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 12. But instead of despairing, he continues to display a resilience of spirit that encourages youngsters with Diabetes to also expand their wings and fly towards their goals. He has successfully reduced Diabetes to a medical condition instead of allowing it to dictate his life.
Name: Eshaan Shevate
Age: 25 years
Occupation: Mechanical Engineer
A little bit about me
My name is Eshaan Shevate and I'm 25 years old. I'm a mechanical engineer and was supposed to go to Ireland for my MS this September but my intake got deferred due to the COVID pandemic. At present, I'm interning as an Associate Solar PV Engineer with Suryatech Solar Systems, Pune.
I've been into sports since I was 5 years old. I first started with roller skating and developed a liking for swimming when I was 7. After winning a few accolades in roller skating, I decided to take up swimming as my main sport and continue roller skating just as a hobby. Since I took up swimming competitively, I used to practice for around 6 hours every day split into 2 sessions of 3 hours each during the competition season.
During training for one such competition in 2007, I started losing a lot of weight. I was frequently thirsty and urinated a lot as well. My coach Mrs Kalpana Agashe advised my mum to get my routine blood and urine check-up done. I remember my blood sugar levels being too high and the value was highlighted in the test report. That's how I was diagnosed at the age of 12.
Impact of the diagnosis
As no one in my family had a history of Diabetes, neither Type 1 not Type 2, we had no formal awareness about the seriousness of this condition. Luckily, I met Late Dr Abhay Mutha and he was extremely patient and supportive. He helped me and my parents in understanding and gaining awareness about Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. However, he told me to stop all my sports activities since I was put on insulin and my body was now going to react to it. To avoid any mishap, he told me that it was better I took a sabbatical and resumed swimming and other sports once my blood sugar levels were in range at all times. This was certainly a blow at the time. As a 12-year-old, I wasn't very comfortable with the idea of being told to stop swimming, but Dr Mutha assured me that he would help me get back to swimming as soon as possible.
I was too young to understand the seriousness of having Type 1 Diabetes and sulked over it by taking it negatively. But eventually, I accepted that I had Type 1 Diabetes, a life-long condition. I just had to adapt and learn how to live with it. Everyone around me was pretty supportive too and never made a big issue out of my condition.
Since I was already swimming, I had a perfectly balanced diet. However, there were a few restrictions I had to follow like not eating a lot of chocolates, junk food and avoiding cold drinks. My mother met a lot of nutritionists and dieticians and found out healthy and diabetic-friendly snack options for me to munch on. My parents made sure that I never forgot to take my pre-lunch insulin dose. While at school, my parents sought the help of my teachers and my peers to remind me.
After my sugar levels showed a decent graph, I resumed swimming almost a year after diagnosis. It took some time to get back to my previous speed but I managed and went on to win a few competitions and participate at the State level swimming championships. I was happy with these achievements and my come back but I always wanted to try something more.
I got that perfect opportunity in 2014. Dr Mutha called me to his clinic and told me that there was a global Diabetes expedition organised by Sanofi Diabetes and World Diabetes Tour. He told me that for the very first time, they had decided to select someone from India. The competition for the one place was tough as there were other contenders as well. I would have to get a specific check-up done before I could be deemed fit to go. My reports were as expected and I was selected to represent India at the Type 1 Diabetes Expedition to Machu Picchu. The first and the only Indian to get selected for this expedition!
Hiking had always been a hobby of mine and I loved exploring new places. When this opportunity showed up, I had to make sure I made full use of my potential and test my limits. There were 10 athletes with Type 1 Diabetes from all across the world and I was the youngest one amongst them. The 5-day trek was truly magical with the finishing point being Machu Picchu – one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It has been 6 years but the memories are still so fresh yet so difficult to put in words. The hike via the Inca trails is considered as one of the most rigorous hikes in the world with the highest altitude being 4600 meters. Being able to complete the entire hike without any difficulties and managing my sugars well made me feel extremely proud and confident. This helped reinforce my belief in my ability to successfully manage Diabetes. Diabetes could only be a burden if I allow it to be.
My current lifestyle
After returning from Machu Picchu, I made it a point to start hiking around the mountain ranges in Maharashtra. I go hiking with my uncle regularly. Recently, I've started running and cycling to participate in at least one triathlon.
I feel comfortable talking about Diabetes. I discuss my having Type 1 Diabetes with my friends and also people who are acquaintances.
Now that I have started working, I have retired from competitive swimming but I still go to the pool sometimes. I go cycling every day in the morning and go running after returning from office in the evening. Keeping active and fit has always helped me manage my blood sugar levels well. I do not follow a specific meal plan as I'm on an insulin pump.
I always make sure to check for a diabetic-friendly menu online before visiting any new place. And I also mostly go for low carb meals when travelling. Using an insulin pump makes managing very easy.
I have been using an insulin pump since 2011 and managing Diabetes with it has been easy. I have used the pump for many years and knowing its functionality, have reduced my stress substantially. I do not have to remember to take daily multiple injections and pinpricks. I also use CGMs which has made managing my blood sugar levels extremely stress-free.
My message to all the Diabetes Health readers would be to not hold yourself back because you've been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. If you do this then Type 1 Diabetes will never hold you back. In my case, it has given me wings to fly much higher!