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SHAQUANA'S DIABETES STORY

Shaquana and her son, Allen, both live with type 1 diabetes. We are excited to highlight her story today!



Shaquana lives in Brooklyn, New York along with her husband Ernest and their 11-year-old son,  Allen, who was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2023.


The family enjoys traveling together and going on cruises in their free time, with a few of their favorite spots being Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic and Grand Turk Island. Here is her diabetes story:


Have you ever experienced diabetes burnout? 


From 9 until 20 years old, I used insulin injections, but I kind of rebelled when I was about 18 — I was tired of sticking myself all the time. That's when I got real sick.


I remember when I was younger and went into the hospital, the doctor said, “You're going to have to take care of yourself, otherwise you'll get sick. You'll go blind. You'll lose your limbs.” So I knew I had to start taking care of myself again. After I got married in 2000, I was able to get an insulin pump and I started using a Medtronic pump.


How has being on the MiniMed™ 780G system made your management easier?


When I first got on the MiniMed™ 780G system, my sugar was about 80, but I had an arrow going down. I was getting ready to eat dinner, and the pump was like, “No, I'm not going to give you insulin because I see your sugar's going down,” and I was like, “Oh! Well, excuseee me! It knows!” so that was a really fun thing to see.


Do you remember the moment you realized your son may have type 1 diabetes? 


Allen got diagnosed in 2023. We were on a cruise, and he had gone to the bathroom before me. You know young boys — they don't always clean up after themselves! When I came in, I thought that his urine looked oily. 


I said to my husband, “I think there's sugar in his urine.” So when we got back, I took him straight to the doctor and told them he needed his A1C checked — it was 11.4.


She told us to take him to the hospital, where he stayed for a couple days and learned how to administer insulin himself. He was kind of scared at first. He was crying, but I told him, “Listen. If you don't show them you know how to do it, you better get comfy because this is going to be your new residence.” 


He looked at me like he didn't believe me, but I said, “If you don't take care of yourself, you're going to keep ending up in the hospital. I know it's hard, but I'm here with you, and we'll do what you need to do.”


How has it been teaching your son to manage his diabetes?


When I taught my son how to count carbs, I said, “Even if you don't know anything else, you're going to know math after this!” 


I remember his doctor said, “You're not playing!” and I was like, “It's not a game!” I want him to start good habits now. I'm not always going to be around, so he has to know how to manage.


At school, they asked if I wanted a paraprofessional (in-school support for those who have a 504 Plan) with him, but he said no, he didn't want someone following him around —  he wanted to do it himself. He's really adjusted; he'll tell me what his sugar is, especially at school. 


He started on the InPen™ smart insulin pen and went to the MiniMed™ 780G system last year. It's been so much easier for him! Before he was sticking himself [with insulin injections] four times a day and testing up to six times a day. Now it's down to just when the pump asks him to put in his blood sugar. He loves it.


Sponsored By Medtronic


MiniMed 780G System Safety Information

The MiniMed™ 780G system is for type 1 ages 7 and over. Prescription required. WARNING: Do not use SmartGuard™ feature for people who require less than 8 units or more than 250 units of insulin/day. See https://bit.ly/3ZnVUoN


InPen Safety Information

The InPen is a reusable insulin pen for people living with diabetes. It can be used to deliver insulin, help calculate insulin doses, and estimate carbohydrates for meals. Those under the age of 7 should only use the device with an adult's supervision. A healthcare provider must prescribe InPen, provide dosage settings, and discuss all potential benefits and risks. Using the device with incorrect therapy settings may lead to severe highs and lows. The InPen should not be used by those unable to test blood glucose levels or the visually impaired. For additional product and important safety information, click here.





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