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Donald Blette


Donald Blette was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1967 at the age of 26. He was a healthy young man who enjoyed playing softball and umpiring. Suddenly he began to feel lethargic, thirsty and lightheaded, and went to see his doctor. Donald’s blood glucose was over 600 and he was immediately sent to the hospital. They diagnosed him with what was then called 'juvenile diabetes' but today is known as type 1 diabetes.  

"My life was flipped upside down and changed forever,” he said. "I learned how to check my blood sugars throughout the day and inject myself with shots of insulin."  In his mid 50's, Donald transitioned from multiple daily shots to an insulin pump, which he calls “life changing.”

He still routinely checks his blood glucose 7-8 times every day. Donald advises anyone living with diabetes to check blood sugars often. When he experiences unexplained highs and/or lows, he checks in with his care team at the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence (DCOE). “The older you get your body changes,” he said. “I stay on top of it by checking my sugar levels all day long.”

When his endocrinologist of 35 years retired a few years ago, Donald moved his diabetes care to the UMass DCOE. “They have all been very helpful. They take their time with me, which I really appreciate.” 

He sees Dr. Nina Rosano and nurse practitioner Nancy Sidhom. “If my blood sugars get out of control with highs or lows, I call Nancy. She'll see me and makes adjustments to my pump as needed.”   

“We are very proud of Donald,” says Dr. Rosano. "His perseverance pays off and after more than 50 years with type 1 diabetes, he's kept his A1c between 6.3 - 7.1 with minimal complications. I hope his positive story and personal example will motivate other patients to stay closely connected with their care team.”

Despite Donald’s long-time experience living with diabetes, he never hesitates to call when he has questions or concerns about his blood sugars. "I hope his positive story and personal example will inspire others to stay closely connected with their diabetes care team," added Dr. Rosano. "We're here for you and always ready and willing to help!”

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