Hello! Who are you? And tell us a little bit more about your diabetes.
I’m a ginger actor and comedian. I am currently studying a postgraduate degree in acting at the academy of live and recorded arts. I was a former maths teacher graduating from Warwick University.
I did not grew up with diabetes. I was diagnosed in my twenties. Since my diagnosis 3 months ago I am very open about my diabetes.
Emotionally it was hard for me, mainly with coming to terms with how it may effect my acting career more than anything.
“You are not alone.”
How do you treat your diabetes, did a lot change over the past years and are you able to manage it well?
My girlfriend is my main support network. She is amazing, I actually owe her my life as she made me get the check up, I certain without her I would have died. She saved my life. I am treating myself by giving multiple daily injections of Novorapid insulin before meals and a long lasting injection of Lantus.
My diagnosis had a positive effect on my life. It gave me more drive. Found a new place with my girlfriend, started to push my acting career and trying to get more information out there on diabetes.
I believe I manage my diabetes excellently. But I am in the honeymoon period. During acting, performing or competing in pool tournaments my nerves do shoot my blood sugar levels up. I still have to work that out.
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. When my blood sugar is low I mainly get the shakes and feel faint. Doesn’t happen that often anymore but a lot initially, especially in the heat. When my blood sugar levels go up I just get aggravated.
I test my blood sugar levels 4 times a day. Never miss one. To treat my hypo I use jelly babies.
Food and diet
How does your diabetes affect your eating and do you find being on a diet restrictive?
For breakfast at 8am I generally eat cereal and a pastry. Sandwiches and assortment of accompaniments for lunch at 1pm. And for dinner at 6.30pm I eat anything I want, provided the carbohydrates are 40g on average. I never skip any meals and my favorite food is Chinese.
For snacks I try to eat anything less than 10g of carb. Some crisps, surprisingly, but biscuits or nuts.
I try everything I to stick to my insulin schedule, however have upped it a bit on the occasion of eating something a bit naughty.
I try to drink about 3 liters of water, broken up throughout the day.
The diet is and isn’t restrictive to me. The three square meals are fine, so no issue. It’s when you are hungry during the day or at night, want to get a snack, go out for a get together or a movie, that is when it becomes difficult.
I do get annoyed when someone asks me about food that I can or can’t eat. But that’s through ignorance, only way is to educate.
Do you believe that a plant based diet can improve diabetes? Did you ever experiment with this?
Haven’t, protein has been my main focus however my vegetable intake has increased exponentially.
Do you have a hard time eating out in a restaurant? And what are you thoughts on making this easier?
Occasionally. Really research all foods you like and the maximum and minimum of carbs they could be. I love to go out eating at a Chinese restaurant.
“But the best part, ironically, it improved my diet.”
Exercise and work
Does your diabetes restrict you from exercise or your daily job?
I play cricket, badminton and cue sports if you can call that exercise. Not as much since becoming an actor.
Being an actor can affect my diabetes if I haven’t got my food right that day, having nerves or if I over do it. Rehearsals are a pain but going potentially low during a performance are a bigger fear.
Do you have any positive or negative effects because of your diabetes?
To manage my diabetes better I record every score I take, do constant research and try go for a walk every single day.
The hardest part is that you are thinking about it constantly but the best part, ironically, is it has improved my diet.
The only problem my diabetes causes at the moment is that I won’t shut up about it.
What is the best advice that you can give to non-diabetics, new diagnosed diabetics and diabetics?
Type 1 and 2 are very very different.
Give it two weeks when you are diagnosed then it will already become the norm.
You are not alone, with the communities out there.
What would you ask the other diabetics?
Why did you decide to go pump or needles and not the other.
Feel free to answer in the comments below.
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Hey! I'm Ely Fornoville, the founder of Diabetic & Me.
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