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[IP] Boston Globe story on golfer Michelle McGann, a pumper
Subject: Boston Globe Online: Print it!
Date: Thu, 05 Aug 1999 09:06:54 -0400
From: Lee Lockwood <email @ redacted>
To: LEE <email @ redacted>
[Boston Globe Online: Print it!] [Image]
THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Battling diabetes, McGann is on course
By Joe Burris, Globe Staff, 08/05/99
SUTTON - You see the power and fluidity in her swing, how the ball
soars off the tee when she attacks it, and you know it is just a
matter of time. You probably haven't heard much about Michelle McGann in
recent months; battles with diabetes have hampered her golf game and put
her confidence in a sand trap.
That could be changing soon.
Upon arriving at Pleasant Valley Country Club for this week's areaWEB.com
Challenge, McGann was told you couldn't hit driver well on the course. She
kept that in mind as she took the course for yesterday's ''Cuz'' Mingolla
Memorial Pro-Am - then took her driver and proceeded to attack the
fairways as if they had insulted her.
''It's getting there,'' said McGann, 29, about her steady improvement.
''I'm feeling good about it and it's a great golf course, so you can just
stand up here and hit away.''
The Singer Island, Fla., resident was once one of the hottest players on
the LPGA Tour. In 1995, she finished the season ranked eighth after
posting two of her seven career tournament victories, the Sara Lee Classic
and the Youngstown-Warren Classic. A year later she finished eighth and
posted $498,561 in earnings, a career high.
The success came despite medication struggles in her battle with diabetes,
which was diagnosed when McGann was 13. Eventually the illness took its
toll. Her earnings dropped to a seven-year low of $152,280 last year and
her ranking dipped to a low of 45.
''I've been struggling a bit,'' said McGann, who is currently ranked 83d
after earning $70,775. In 19 events, she has failed to make the cut eight
times, including last week's du Maurier Classic, an LPGA major.
''In 1997, I played all right, then in 1998 I was on some blood pressure
medicine that wasn't agreeing with me. That took about three months to
figure out,'' said McGann, who had taken experimental drugs for five years
after being initially diagnosed, then stopped after it was discovered the
drug was toxic to the kidneys. ''You work hard, you practice hard, but if
your body insides aren't right, what good is it? In 1998, I practiced hard
and I went out there the first couple of weeks, and I could tell my
emotions were affected by the way my blood sugars were elevated and
But over the last six months, McGann has been using an insulin pump called
the Mini-Med. The pager-sized pump attaches to the abdomen and delivers
insulin as programmed by the wearer, reducing the need for injections.
''The pump is mimicking a pancreas,'' added McGann. ''It gives you insulin
24 hours a day, but you have to figure out what you need, everyone is
different. Based on the amount of carbohydrates you eat, that's how much
insulin you give yourself at that time to cover that amount of food.
''So you're just trying to keep your blood-sugar level at all times
because you're having a constant flow of insulin, whereas when you're on
shots two or three times a day, it's a little harder to keep that steady
flow. So you don't have to take shots every day.''
Using the pump, McGann said she has learned more about her game, and how
much it is affected by the disease. ''I'm finally getting adjusted to
it,'' said McGann about the Mini-Med. ''I haven't been hitting the ball
that bad, but I haven't been scoring real well.''
That was the case last week at the du Maurier, when McGann fired a
1-over-par 73 the first day but shot a 5-over 77 the next day to miss the
cut by two strokes.
''You hate to ever blame anything,'' she said, ''but if you're not
healthy, it's a bit of a struggle. I hit the ball really good and one bad
hole hurt me.''
McGann knows it might take a while for her game to be back to 1996 form,
but she believes the insulin pump gives her the opportunity to be
''Through all that, your body goes through a lot and this game is very
demanding anyway,'' she said. ''I kind of lost a lot of my confidence in
myself and my game. So you just have try to keep rebuilding. I'm feeling
good and that was the main priority, to start feeling better and taking
care of myself. It will come back.''
This story ran on page C01 of the Boston Globe on 08/05/99.
© Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.