Carolina Fernández Dominé
Hello! Who are you? And tell us a little bit more about your diabetes.
I was born in Argentina and I live in France. I am an Engineer and a globetrotter, I love sports and languages! Pierre and I got married 4 years ago and he is the best T3D I could ever ask for!
My diabetes was discovered in July 2019, I was very shocked. Actually, I realized I did not know anyone and I was not sure to know much more than “Diabetics don’t eat sugar”.
I’ve spent 3 days in the hospital. When I came out I’ve started using the FreeStyle Libre, which was extremely helpful and the week after my husband and I was walking the St. James Portuguese Way as our holidays were planned before Diabetes joined. We did 170km in a week with an 8kg backpack (which I did not carry for 2 days because the hills were a bit too much and I did not know how my body was going to react).
I was so glad that we made it. It showed me that diabetes should adapt to my life and not the other way around.
I’ve never thought this could happen to me, being “this old”. After the initial shock and letting to know my family on the other side of the Atlantic, I understood it was not something I could fight against. It was a new version of me! So go for it!
Honestly speaking, the hardest part was the social part. The meetings around food and meals’ timetables could be late. That was stressing me a lot! Not finding what to eat, not sure people were understanding that once you inject your insulin then…you have to feed yourself! I’ve ended up always taking a Tupperware container with me and some people were looking at me. It wasn’t very comfortable, but it was helping me participate instead of staying home.
My parents did not really accept my diabetes, we argued during Christmas on FaceTime because it was like a bad word to them and they were not understanding that it can’t be dissociated. My diabetes and I are one! Now it’s much better and they have been very supportive when I was switching my treatment to the insulin pump. However, I have the impression that once we are together they will keep telling me; “eat some more, you can do an exception, can’t you?” Grrrrr…
“I’ve never thought this could happen to me, being this old.”
How do you treat your diabetes, did a lot change over the past years and are you able to manage it well?
I get the most support from my husband, he has been always there, curious about understanding the illness, how it works, and how do we need to manage it. He even tested the 640G insuline pump (empty) to understand what we feel. Some friends and the type 1 community also help me not feeling alone and speaking up about T1D.
Since last Friday I have a 640G MiniMed insulin pump with Novorapid for my current treatment. Before I was using Novorapid and Tresiba. I’ve been using the FreeStyle Libre since the beginning and I’ve recently added the MiaoMiao2, I’m glad I did 🙂
I can’t say much has changed in the last years since I am only diagnosed a year ago … but it has been positive to me.
I think I do pretty well to manage my diabetes. My levels are good, I do a lot of exercises, and I’m a healthy eater.
Can you recognize the symptoms of a low/high blood sugar? Do you test often and can you tell a bit more about your experiences with low blood sugar?
Yes, I can recognize them. I feel dizzy, a bit shaky sometimes, and very tired. I have some vision troubles. This happens not pretty regularly.
I go to the hospital every quarter and I monitor my levels daily with my continuous glucose monitor.
To treat my low blood sugar levels I drink fruit juice right away, if not I try to eat complex food not to get a high blood sugar just after. Sometimes both.
I fainted one time from low blood sugar. I woke up my sugar level was 58mg/dl so I got my juice and I ate something but it was too late. I fainted and the convulsions started. My husband called the emergency number, an ambulance came and took me to hospital.
Food and diet
How does your diabetes affect your eating and do you find being on a diet restrictive?
For breakfast early in the morning, I eat toast with cheese and white coffee or mate (typical argentinian drink). For lunch at noon and dinner at 8 pm, I eat some carbs; lentils, quinoa, or veggie burgers with vegetables or salad and eggs for protein. I rarely eat meat. I have a quick bite around 5:30PM before I do some sport
My favorite food is Arroz con pollo (chicken with rice), a very typical Spanish dish my grandma prepares lovely.
I never skip any meals and for snacks, which I don’t eat usually, I have yogurt and a cereal bar.
I’ve been taught to count the carbs and use ratios (ITF in French) for each meal so I do adjust the amount of insulin each time I eat.
I’m very bad at drinking water. I’m keeping a close eye on it and I am drinking almost a liter every day, but I am nearly there … 🙁
I do not feel like being on a die. I’ve learned a lot about nutrition since my diabetes was diagnosed. I read the nutritional tables of products and I’ve never done that before. I choose better products and cook better, making sure I eat carbs, vegetables, and protein in every meal.
When people ask me about food I can or can’t eat I don’t get annoyed. I explain why I choose not to eat it or why I just take one and not the whole package 🙂
Do you believe that a plant based diet can improve diabetes? Did you ever experiment with this?
Yes, during the Corona lockdown I just ate at home, homemade food and it did really help.
Do you have a hard time eating out in a restaurant? And what are you thoughts on making this easier?
Yes! I travel a lot because of my work and I struggle eating out. It really depends a lot on the person who is serving, if you ask about ingredients if they know or try to ask in the kitchen or if they choose just to answer without really thinking how that can impact your health, even when you tell them that you are T1D. Menus usually do not list the full list of ingredients and we are not taught how to eat properly.
I think nutrition basics should be learned at school. We need to know what we eat and how to use ingredients in a better way.
I do not have a preference of food, as long as it is simple and tasty.
“T1D will adapt to your life and not your life to diabetes!”
Exercise and work
Does your diabetes restrict you from exercise or your daily job?
I exercise 3 or 4 times a week.
I am an Aerospace auditor and I travel a lot. Long flights, too many restaurants, and changing time zone regularly is not easy to manage my diabetes but it’s not impossible.
Do you have any positive or negative effects because of your diabetes?
To manage my diabetes better I have a MiaoMiao2 to survey better while I work. I choose food carefully and keep doing sport because it really helps with insulin sensitivity!
The hardest part of having diabetes is having meetings with friends and family around food and the fact that people don’t know anything about it!
The best part is that I take care of myself very closely now and much better. I’m learning to listen to my body and acting according to my needs.
Diabetes caused some vision troubles. I’ll be checking on that soon but maybe it is just that I am getting old. Haha!
What is the best advice that you can give to non-diabetics, new diagnosed diabetics and diabetics?
To understand what T1 diabetes is and how we manage it.
There is a lot to learn but T1D won’t be a limit.
T1D will adapt to your life and not your life to diabetes!! 💪🏻
What would you ask the other diabetics?
Please share your experience with the ups and downs. We learn a lot from achievement but much more from our errors!
Feel free to answer in the comments below.
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