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Jim Cormier: Type 1 Diabetes Success Story

Learning that his A1C was below 7% for the first time was music to his ears

Jim was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) at around two months old in 1967. He recently switched to the combination of a Tandem insulin pump using Control IQ technology, paired with the Dexcom continuous glucose monitor (CGM). “My first A1C using this new pump & CGM was 6.1%...the lowest I can remember,” said Jim with a big smile. “I’ve never been below 7%. This is as close as I’ve ever been to having a normal pancreas in my life!”

His pediatric endocrinologist retired from private practice when Jim was 18 years old. After that his primary care physician would prescribe his insulin and syringes, which is how he managed his diabetes through his mid 30’s. It wasn’t until Jim was planning to become a father that he started to make his health a priority. “When I was younger, I had always been athletic and played sports year-round,” he said. “But I started to gain weight and became winded easily.” 

His A1C was occasionally above 8%, so in 2008 his primary care physician referred Jim to endocrinologist Dr. Richard Haas, who at the time had a private practice in Worcester. “He changed my life,” said Jim. “Dr. Haas was straight forward about what I had to do. He also connected me with a dietician who helped me understand nutrition and the importance of portion control and healthy eating.”  

The birth of his daughter was the motivation Jim needed to finally take control of his diabetes. “It made me realize that I needed and wanted to be around for her,” he said. “Dr. Haas finally convinced me to try an insulin pump for the first time.”

He used a different insulin pump for nearly 20 years; however, this new combination has resulted in immediate success. Jim credits his diabetes care team at the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence with changing his life. “Dr. Haas and my nurse practitioner Nancy [Sidhom] work closely together, and two sets of eyes help in different ways,” he said. “Sharon [Chan] is my diabetes educator who helped me nutritionally and also helped me transition to the new technology. I appreciate how they all work together to implement changes to my care.”

In addition to paying attention to his diet, Jim recently started playing street hockey and added physical activity back into his life. He is also passionate about music and performs in a duo called Functional Drunks. “I heard my former wife use that term on the phone years ago and thought I’d like to use it for a band name someday."

They perform a combination of covers and original music throughout New England. Their original song “Work, Weekend, Repeat” was released in 2022 and it was picked up by internet radio stations that led to them being booked at festivals nationwide. The song is available on Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon.  

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