Diabetic & Me

Natalia Angelica Luciano

Natalia Angelica Luciano

Hello! Who are you? And tell us a little bit more about your diabetes.

Hey everyone! My name is Natalia Angelica Luciano. I’m 18 years old and currently living in Puerto Rico. I have Type 1 diabetes for a total of 7 1/2 years.

I’m a sophomore at college and I’m majoring in General Biology with a minor in Human Biology. I have two dogs which I love and I’m a vegetarian. I’m the youngest sibling out of five and I love spending time with my family.

I grew up with diabetes since I was 11 when I was diagnosed. I didn’t hide it, everyone I know knows that I have T1D, and I think that the people I know are understanding it and it really helped me. Especially when they ask questions to understand better and try to help me.

I think it was emotionally, not for me, but for my family. Since I’m the youngest sibling out of five it think it’s hard to see someone you care about get sick. Especially when they were always healthy.

Natalia Angelica Luciano

“Not everyone works the same way.”

Your treatment

How do you treat your diabetes, did a lot change over the past years and are you able to manage it well?

I receive the most support from my family, friends and medical staff. Right now my pediatric endocrinologist is the one that makes the biggest decisions followed by my pediatrician.

I use the Medtronic’s 630G indulging insulin pump with Humalog insulin plus  the Dexcom G6 CGM. Before I used Humulin insulin.

I think I manage my diabetes pretty well.

Natalia Angelica Luciano
Natalia Angelica Luciano

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?

Sometimes, I can recognize them. It’s really rare for me to get low symptoms, but when I get them I usually feel like my face is asleep, specially my mouth.

Since I have the CGM most of the times I don’t check my blood sugar unless I think that my symptoms don’t match the level being represented.

To treat my lows, depending on the level, I drink 1 or two 4oz (120ml) juice boxes.

Food and diet

How does your diabetes affect your eating and do you find being on a diet restrictive?

This is my usual routine (even though quarantine due to COVID-19 has changed it up a bit)

I’m a vegetarian, so my food doesn’t include meat, milk or cheese.

At 7:30 am I eat breakfast. I eat multigrain toast either with hummus, avocado or peanut butter and some vegetables plus a 4oz (120ml) banana, blueberry, raspberry and oatmeal smoothie.

At 10:00 am I eat my snack. Usually some fruit.

At 12:30 pm I go for lunch. I eat a grain salad wrap with vegetables.

At 3:30 pm another snack. Some fruit and yogurt.

At 6:00 pm I eat dinner. Vegetable salad with some white rice and beans.

At 9:00pm I eat my evening snack. Fruit.

I never skip any mails and for snacks I always eat fruit in between my meals. Peanut butter and bananas are my favorite food.

I vary my insulin dose, if I want to eat something I eat it, I don’t limit my self. I make sure to bolus and try to maintain my routine.

I drink approximately a gallon (3.8 liters) of water a day.

Yes I feel restricted when I diet, because I don’t think we should diet. I think that we should build a healthy lifestyle based on my needs, meaning that I can eat something that makes me happy by still being careful.

It’s annoying when somebody asks me about certain food I can or can’t eat. Because many people are miseducated on what diabetes is and want to give an opinion on something that they don’t know much about.

Do you believe that a plant based diet can improve diabetes? Did you ever experiment with this?

Yes and yes!

Do you have a hard time eating out in a restaurant? And what are you thoughts on making this easier?

Yes, but it’s because of the food I prefer to eat. Many restaurants are starting to include vegetarian and vegan options. I like to go to places where they have something I can eat without worrying.

“Relax, you can get it controlled.”

Natalia Angelica Luciano

Exercise and work

Does your diabetes restrict you from exercise or your daily job?

I do cardio 7 days a week for a minimum of 40 minutes.

I’m a full time student and it affects my diabetes because it causes a lot of stress which alters my blood glucose.

Natalia Angelica Luciano
Natalia Angelica Luciano

Final

Do you have any positive or negative effects because of your diabetes?

To manage my diabetes better I try to maintain a balance.

The hardest part about having diabetes is knowing people that don’t understand.

But the best thing is people that do understand and try to help you by listening to you. And, of course, the whole diabetes type 1 community.

My diabetes causes small problems like when I’m having an exam or some professor doesn’t understand my condition.

What is the best advice that you can give to non-diabetics, new diagnosed diabetics and diabetics?

Not everyone works the same way.

It’s going to be okay.

Relax, you can get it controlled.

Want to publish your own story?

Hey! I’m Ely Fornoville, the founder of Diabetic & Me.

We interview people with diabetes share the stories behind their lives.

By sharing these stories, we want to help others to understand life with diabetes.

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