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My Diabetes Brief Note

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

I am THRIVING with Type 1 Diabetes. This is a story about how I beat the negativity and toxic mentality towards my life. I'm THRIVING and you can too!


"Mrs. Baker, please have Gregory Lafortune report to the front office for early checkout." This was one of the most random early checkouts ever. It was March 11, 2005. I'm in the 6th grade and was getting ready to go to a band concert. I LOVED the band. Why in the world would my mom come and check me out knowing how excited I was for this concert? I went to the front office, and my band concert dreams were crushed. When mom told me that she wanted to take me to the hospital, I thought that was weird too. Well, kind of, but not really. The days before this, I had most of the the symptoms:


  • Constant dehydration

  • Nonstop thirst

  • Dry skin

  • Frequent Urination

  • Unexplained weight loss.


My mom knew something was up, but I thought it was just puberty. As they say, mother knows best. When the tests began at my primary care physician's office, all I could think about was how the band was doing. Do the tuba players sound good? I need to be there. My body was there at the doctor's office, but my mind was at this band concert.

 

THE VERDICT: The start of a new life journey related to complications of Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus as evidenced by an A1C of over 11 & blood sugar >700 mg/dL and all the above-mentioned symptoms. I HAD TO BE RUSHED INTO THE EMERGENCY ROOM.


As I'm getting rushed to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA), Scottish Rite, a whirlwind of emotions goes through my body. My mom was even keel but emotional, my grandma was at home screamin' and prayin', my dad was calm as ever, my sister was trying to figure out what was going on, and on top of thinking that I was about to die, I'm still mad that I'm missing this band concert. "GOD, WHY?!" I got to CHOA and was treated with so much love. I have a lot of great memories of seeing my family come together to rally around me at the time. What blew my mind the most was the number of calls I was getting from my extended family and my church community. I'll just say this, I'm Haitian. I hadn't even been in the hospital for 2 hours yet. The news spread like wildfire. GREG HAS DIABETES. We were getting calls from friends and family in New York and even Haiti (If you know, you know).


MY FIRST IMPRESSION OF THE FIELD OF DIETETICS WAS MADE DURING MY STAY AT CHOA. I remember my Registered Dietitian (RD) Jodi very vividly.



I remember the education she provided to me on the effects of high sugar and processed sweets on my blood sugar. I don't know why, but I remember these gummy snacks being in her presentation. I didn't eat fruit snacks like that, but because of you Jodi, I started eating fruit snacks. (just kidding). Jodi cut through complex nutrition information and made it easy for me and my family to understand. I loved it and said,


"I COULD SEE MYSELF DOING THIS."
 

Fast forward 17 years, and here I am Gregory Lafortune, MS, RDN, LD. After I passed my RD exam and became official, I posted on LinkedIn that I passed the exam. I could never forget this one comment. A white lady Registered Dietitian congratulated me in Haitian Creole..... She was a white lady....... A white lady who comfortably spoke & wrote Haitian Creole and not the Google Translate version either. It was odd but cool. Nonetheless, I was impressed. I ended up getting on a Zoom call with this Dietitian. I was in the networking phase at that point in my early Dietetics career. Well, guess what?

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It was Jodi!!

Yes,

the same Jodi who left a life-changing impression on the field of dietetics.

The same Jodi who inspired me to become a dietitian today.

17 years later, Jodi is still doing impactful work in the area of Diabetes and Obesity. What a full-circle moment. Thank you, Jodi!

 

WRAP-UP



What was at the time my biggest TRIAL has now become a TRAILblazing opportunity for me to inspire, encourage, and empower those living with a chronic disease that this is not the end of you. On my website's "About Me" section, you'll find my core beliefs. Core belief #2 was inspired by the fact that people will label you due to your circumstances. For me, it was:

  • Greg, you can't eat/drink this because you are diabetic.

  • Greg, you can't worry about it because you are diabetic.

  • Greg, you can't have children because you are diabetic.

  • Greg, you won't live a great life because you are diabetic

At a time, I even had the family members of certain people who told them that I wouldn't make a good husband or a long-lasting friend because I am "SICK." It's wild. LOOK AT ME NOW!

  • I am a Dietitian with diabetes who provides medical nutrition therapy.

  • I am an entrepreneur with diabetes looking to shake up whatever room I'm in.

  • I am a husband and father with diabetes to an amazing wife and fantastic daughter.

  • I am a visionary with diabetes who seizes every moment and opportunity God gives.



I OWN DIABETES.

DIABETES DOESN'T OWN ME!




I'll leave you with this:

1 Corinthians 12 7 Therefore, so that I would not become arrogant, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to trouble[h] me—so that I would not become arrogant. 8 I asked the Lord three times about this, that it would depart from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in[o] me. 10 Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with troubles, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ, for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.



What is YOUR THORN? WHAT IS THAT THING THAT IS KEEPING YOU HUMBLE? I implore you to WEAR IT PROUDLY and turn it into something that can feed the world.



Gregory Lafortune, MS, RDN, LD.

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Amazing full circle moment…wow! God is an expert in turning our struggles into tools to show His glory to the world! It’s only up from here and I’m happy to know you and celebrate with you!

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