Why Does Trevor Recommend Type 1 Diabetes?

Trevor Torres, Student, Patient, “Diabetes Evangelist”

Hi. I’m Trevor Torres. I have eczema, asthma, I suffer from sleep deprivation, I’m allergic to nuts, but the fun one is Juvenile Diabetes or Type 1 Diabetes. I was diagnosed with diabetes probably two years ago. I used to describe myself as a “professional diabetic,” except the problem with that is that I haven’t figured out a way to get paid yet. So, until I do that, I like to call myself a “diabetes evangelist” because I would recommend Type 1 Diabetes to anyone — and I’ll get to that in a second.

Just to describe a little bit with my situation, I pretty much do everything on my own. I check my own blood sugar, give myself my own shots, calculate my meals and insulin, and I have pretty much memorized the carbohydrate content of every food in my house just because of how much I use it. So, it’s kind of a fun party trick: “Hey, Trevor, how many carbs are in this soda?” “It’s 42 for one can!”

I would definitely recommend diabetes to everyone for two reasons, mainly, all though there are a lot, I’m not going to list them all. One, it’s so much easier to be healthier if you’re a Type 1 Diabetic because you’re already looking at all the nutrition facts on your foods anyway. I think that a lot of the diet problems people have is just because they kind of unconsciously eat something bad. They look at their day and they say, “Oops, I probably shouldn’t have eaten that many cupcakes,” or something.

And another thing I really like about diabetes, I feel like it makes me more confident. This might be a little irrational, but it’s like any accomplishment I have, I feel like it’s that much cooler because I have diabetes. So, I accomplished this thing, and I had diabetes at the same time!

[What do you expect from your health care providers?]

There’s two main things. One, don’t condescend. Especially for me, I don’t really like that because I am one of the smarter patients. I guess I could’ve said, “Stay out of my way,” but that doesn’t really help very much.

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, they said, “You can give yourself insulin in one of two ways. You can do it based on your blood sugar. If you have higher blood sugar, give yourself more insulin, and so forth. Or, you can do it based on what you’re going to eat. If you’re going to eat “X” amount, give yourself “X” amount of insulin. I said, “Well, that doesn’t make sense. Why don’t I just come up with an algorithm that incorporates both variables?” So again, that’s probably a little atypical.

But, if you already have something figured out, you don’t necessarily need to lower the level of your explanation down to what you perceive your patient’s level to be. You can explain something, and then if your patient doesn’t understand it, [the patient] can ask for clarification. Now, that may be just me. But I really hate it when I feel like I’m being talked down to. And that also might be my age. I know we kids are a little upstart about that.

Another thing I hate is, never say “poke.” I’m going to “poke” you. No, you’re not going to poke me; you’re going to stab me. A poke is where you prod someone with your finger. A stab is where you insert a sharp metal object with the intent either to inject a foreign substance into the body or to draw blood by breaking the skin. Alright, little rant there.

Another thing that’s important is to understand how your patient learns. And I don’t have all the answers here, but I know that for me, I really like to know why something is being done.

If a doctor just says, “You need to eat this way; you need to do this thing; take this treatment” — anything — if they tell me to do something, they better tell me why I have to do it. Because, one, that way I know I actually should do it. (Because people tell you to do things all the time. And if I did everything that I know I should do, I don’t have time to do that. “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”)

But if my doctors says, “You need to take this medication because this is what it’s going to do scientifically in your body. This is what’s going to happen if you don’t do it; this is what’s going to happen if you do,” then I know exactly why I should, and then I’ll be much more likely to do it.

If a doctor is complaining that, “Oh, my patients didn’t do X, Y, and Zedd,” and [the doctor] didn’t tell them why, just told them to do it, well of course they didn’t do it.