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Christine Croteau

Date Posted: Thursday, February 01, 2018


Flights of Freedom: Diabetic Test Strips Metamorphosis into Butterflies

  

Since her diagnosis with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at the age of 31, Christine Croteau has not let the disease control her.  She continues to find new ways to challenge herself through mind, body and soul.  Her mechanisms for coping with T1D include teaching and practicing both yoga and meditation.  Christine has completed a full marathon as well as a 35km backpacking trek through the back country of Newfoundland. 

What impressed Christine the most about the UMass Diabetes Center of Excellence is, “the providers care.  They're knowledgeable, and they are invested in the well-being of their patients."  She credits Dr. Samir Malkani with helping her keep her blood sugars in target range.

She also is passionate about art.  Her latest piece titled “Flights of Freedom: Diabetic Test Strips Metamorphosis into Butterflies” was recently part of an exhibit called “Healing Fibers” at Worcester’s Sprinkler Factory art gallery. 

View the butterflies "in flight" and hear from Christine in her own words  

She enjoys creating sculptural installations made from found objects and recycled materials.  Christine created this piece using test strips, used multiple times each day by people living with diabetes, to check their blood sugar levels.  Using them to create a print plate, she used red ink to create 80 double sided prints.  She then cut them into origami squares, which were then folded, with the help of members of her art class. 

“I wanted to create a piece which conveyed my both my frustrations and sense of liberation from the U.S. Health Care System.”, Croteau said.  “Outside of living 24/7 with T1D, a huge portion of my life is spent at a medical appointment.  I spend a lot of time ordering diabetes supplies, scheduling appointments, and getting approval for supplies from health insurance, pharmacies and medical suppliers.”

When hit by the air of a fan, the paper butterflies fly around nets, although some were inside the nets.    “I find our health care system to be quite fragmented and nonsensical.”, she said.  “I often feel as though I am caught in a net or swarming around in circles getting nowhere.  I must remind myself that I have a full life full of hope, outside of the nets, free and liberated from both this illness and health care system.“