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Christine Croteau

Type 1 Diabetes Success: Mind, Body & Soul


Since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at age 31, Christine Croteau has never let the disease control her.  She always finds new ways to challenge herself through mind, body and soul.  Teaching and practicing yoga & meditation helps her cope with T1D.  Christine has completed a marathon and a 35km backpacking trek through the back country of Newfoundland while living with diabetes. 

Christine with Nurse Practitioner Nancy Sidhom at a half marathon in Worcester

What impresses Christine the most about the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence is “how much the providers care.  They are knowledgeable and they're invested in the well-being of their patients."  She credits her care team of endocrinologist Dr. Samir Malkani and nurse practitioner Nancy Sidhom with helping her maintain her blood sugars within target range.

"The way Christine manages her diabetes is impressive and proves that when you put in the effort, results will follow.  She continues to inspire others by example and through her creative artwork.”

Dr. Samir Malkani, Clinical Chief, UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence & Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism

Expressing herself through art 

In March 2023 Christine was featured during an art exhibit at UMass Memorial Medical Center 
In 2021 Christine used diabetes testing supplies to create a triad of art collages that she framed and presented to Dr. Malkani.
In 2017 “Flights of Freedom: Diabetic Test Strips Metamorphosis into Butterflies” was featured in an exhibit called Healing Fibers at Worcester’s Sprinkler Factory art gallery. 

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

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

“That piece conveyed my both my frustrations and sense of liberation from our country's health care system,” said Croteau.  “Outside of living 24/7 with T1D, a huge portion of my life is spent at a medical appointment.  I spend lots 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 flew 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'm caught in a net or swarming around in circles getting nowhere.  I must remind myself that I have a full life of hope outside of the nets, free and liberated from both this illness and the health care system!“

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