As we wrap up Diabetes Awareness Month, I’ll be featuring stories of fellow type one diabetics. Today, I’m sharing with you a Q&A interview I had with Parker Nunes.
Parker Nunes was recently diagnosed with type one diabetes on June 22, 2017. His diagnosis story intrigued me so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to dive in deeper. Parker is from Massachusetts and is currently a college student. After graduating with a degree in Landscape Design, Parker plans to attend nursing school. Read how Parker chooses to live diabetter!
Q: Tell me your diagnosis story.
A: I was diagnosed with type one diabetes a month before my nineteenth birthday. Every morning I woke up with the inside of my mouth and throat completely dried out. I was drinking about four to six gallons of beverages a day and using the bathroom about twenty-five times a day. I thought the many bathroom breaks were due to me drinking more frequently so it didn’t alarm me. One night, I knew something was wrong because, in my sleep, my legs locked up making me feel paralyzed, unable to move without feeling sharp pains. The pain went away after an hour or so and I went back to sleep. That morning, I went to work and I started feeling the same pain. I immediately went to my physician’s office to do a routine check-up; everything came back clear except for two things. My sugar level was extremely high, with an a1c of 12.6 and large ketones. This day forever changed my life.
Q: What was your first reaction when you found out?
A: Once the physician’s assistant told me what the diagnosis was my heart literally dropped to my stomach. After nearly having a heart attack my physician contacted my father and told him what was going on. He was very surprised too. After getting off the phone with my father he called my mother and she had a very hard time understanding why this was all happening.
Q: How has it been adjusting to your new lifestyle?
A: Adjusting to diabetes was hard at first. As time passed, it got a little easier to manage but still difficult.
Q: How does type one interfere with sports?
A: When playing sports like hockey and golf it is difficult. Hockey is more difficult because I can’t wear my pump when playing. I have to disconnect the pump and load up on a bunch of carbs so I can keep my levels even throughout the entirety of the activity.
Q: What resources have been of help to you?
A: I always talk to my regular physician, four endocrinologists I see at Baystate, and my nurse I see about anything diabetic related. I’m surrounded by my helpful resources.
Q: Any advice you have for new diabetics?
A: For any new diabetics of any age, I would say watch what you eat for the first month or so to see how you adapt to your diabetes and insulin/ carb ratio. At nineteen years old, I joined the gym to keep up with exercise and to maintain a healthy weight. Insulin does have an effect on your body, you just have to get used to the changes. Whenever I’m at home or somewhere and in public, I normally keep my bag full of supplies with me and of course food.
Q: What’s your go-to meal?
A: Who doesn’t love food? My go-to is beef/bacon jerky. My all-time favorite snack is low in carbs and it’s very accessible anywhere you go.
Q: How do you manage diabetes in everyday life?
A: Managing diabetes in my everyday life can be difficult at times. When I first started on pens it was more of a hassle than it was with the pump.
Q: What devices do you have?
A: I have the Tandem Slim X2. I will be getting the Dexcom G5 continuous blood sugar monitor. The CGM reads your sugar level every five minutes to let you know how you are doing. If you have a pump without a CGM I would consider looking into it.
Q: What does “living diabetter” mean to you?
A: Living diabetter means being conscious of what I eat and being aware of my numbers, but still finding that balance. I still love my sweets 🙂