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Understand What It Means to Live Well with Diabetes

Diabetes has many faces and each person has a different story tell about their diagnosis and experience with diabetes. While Shawn Farrier, Stephanie Villa and Harry Parker have each found a variety of approaches helpful, they share one thing in common:  All are working hard to manage their condition and minimize the impact it has on their lives.  

Shawn Farrier, 45, has lived with type 1 diabetes since he was 8 years old. Over the years, he has poked his fingers thousands of times to test his blood sugar level.

“I started using the Personal Libre continuous glucose monitor a few months ago, and it’s exceeding my expectations,” Farrier said. “It’s so much better because of all the information you can put in and get back. That makes my diabetes easier to control because I know what I need to do. I’m really happy with it!”

Farrier checks his monitor 25 times each day, entering his carbohydrates and the amount of insulin he takes. The Lebanon diabetes team prints a report from the monitor at each appointment and Farrier takes it home to study.

“Shawn has done such a great job, and I’m so proud of him,” said Lindsay Spurlin, RN, the diabetes educator who works with Farrier.

Stephanie Villa, 30, developed gestational diabetes while pregnant with her son. She wanted to make sure her baby was healthy, so she started making changes immediately.

Her gestational diabetes was resolved after giving birth but she continues to practice the healthy habits she learned from the diabetes team.

“I’m still counting carbs and I check my blood sugar,” Villa said. “The silver lining in my experience with gestational diabetes is the diet information that I learned has not only helped me to eat healthier, but also my three children are now making healthier diet choices."

Her advice to other moms with gestational diabetes? Don’t give up and don’t try to manage it alone.

“It’s hard at first, but it gets easier and the dedication to a new lifestyle makes everything worth it,” she said. “Find support from your family and friends and share what you are going through. I encourage anyone with gestational diabetes to meet with a diabetes educator, for the support you will need.”

Harry “Butch” Parker, 78, loves a good challenge. The diabetes team has been happy to put him to the test repeatedly since he was diagnosed with diabetes eight years ago, and he has thrived with their encouragement.

“The challenge that helped the most was to keep a food log of everything I ate,” Parker said. “This was helpful so that I could go back and see what foods would raise my blood sugar and try to avoid them in the future or eat less of them.”

His advice to others who have diabetes? Challenge yourself and take on the challenges given by your health care team.

Get inspired by more patients who are successfully managing diabetes.