Diabetes is just one of many passions in life
Anyone with diabetes knows that the disease is just a small part of their complex being. Life is more than diabetes. When I work with you, I like to get an idea of what is happening in your life as it helps to get to know you better and put things into context so I can be more effective.
You deserve the same, to get to know me a little better. My intent here is to share some of my interests when I’m not up to my eyeballs in all things diabetes. Although I don’t have diabetes, my career is focused on making improvements for those who do and helping others, including myself, to prevent it. I am friendly and dynamic, never acting like a robot in a white coat spewing out unrealistic A1C goals!
I grew up in a large, fun Italian family in Monterey, California as the youngest of 7 kids.
In my younger days, I was a track star, volleyball player, bowler, tennis champ, wanna-be-mechanical engineer, and a competitive figure skater (having trained with Brian Boitano and competed against Debi Thomas back when I used to land triple jumps – before breaking my hip on one of them and shattering my Olympic dreams). I also studied classical piano for ten years. In the beginning, we didn’t have a piano for about a year so I managed with my homemade paper keyboard until my instructor pleaded with my parents to get a piano (we were not wealthy). I later got into jazz piano and taught basic classical piano to a handful of students. Not wanting to be a starving musician, I answered an ad to become a nursing assistant and found my path into the field of nursing.
I graduated as an RN in 1987 from the Maurine Church Coburn School of Nursing at Monterey Peninsula College, later obtaining a masters degree in the science of nursing, and finding my niche in diabetes in the late 90s. As a young educator, I found the approach to diabetes to be a bummer with a focus on complications from uncontrolled glucose and blood pressure – ever see those posters of organs gone wrong? How uninspiring! I set out to change that, first by removing the posters, then using humor shared with me from people with diabetes to draw diabetes cartoons, and later by combining my love of dance by starting a non-profit community-based diabetes program.
I enjoy family and friends, trying to beat my mom at Scrabble, art in many forms, cartooning, and long walks where I combine my love of music, nature and photography. (Check out some of my work.)
My passion for Italy, researching the stories of my Italian roots, and the language of my ancestors continues to flourish. I’m working on a novel about it. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, that is why I will occasionally post things in italiano.
And then there is dance! It is not uncommon for me to be the first and last person on the dance floor or get into a silly dance contest of a good cause. Currently, I still ice-skate (without jumping), I cut hair, I am a connoisseur of stracciatella Italian gelato (vanilla with chocolate chips) whenever I can get over to Italia, and I enjoy once in a blue moon Brunello (fine red wine). I’m working on being a better cook.
Now you know too much! But this should give you a better idea about my interests and why I believe in looking at the big picture, not just one blood glucose or A1C number. Thanks for reading until the end.