Diabetes and Cancer: An interview with Antoane Fernandes

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diabetes awareness

Every October the entire world celebrates the Pink October regards to breast cancer prevention. Last year’s post about Pink October was informative and exclusively about breast cancer.  This year, the proposal is to understand a bit more and support people who have type one diabetes and receive a cancer diagnosis.

So I kindly invited Antoane Fernandes to share his life experience with us. Antoane is 26 years old and he lives in São Paulo (Brazil). Since he was young he dreamed to be a great actor, voice actor and singer. But he doesn’t stop there, he also has plans to make a skydiving course. He clearly has a huge thirst for knowledge reflected in his passion to met people, to experience the world and to discover himself continually.

Antoane was 5 years old when his parents got worried about him drinking too much water, constantly urinating and losing too much weight and took him to the hospital. He was diagnosed with type one diabetes. “The most significant (change in my routine) was to avoid eating too many sweets”, he says.

About two years ago, Antoane was feeling an extremely unbearable pain in his right leg. This was the symptom that he later discovered to be a testicular cancer (germ cells), which he says he is almost healed. He explains that all the pain he was suffering was there “(…)”thanks” to the tumor that compressed the veins of the leg and caused a thrombosis”.

Below is our interview. I´m not a journalist. All the questions I did Antoane were based on my curiosity to understand this situation better and thinking about you that read my blog. Being you someone curious about the topic, someone passing (or supporting family or friend) through a similar situation.

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1)      How did you receive the confirmation that you had cancer and how did it change your routine?

I accepted the diagnosis quite well. I didn’t surrender myself at any moment. I’ve always been an optimistic person and very playful. Honestly, the only change in my routine was the “monotony” because I could hardly leave the house and also could not work.

2)      Since I met you, you seemed a very optimistic, cheerful and happy person, making it look like cancer treatment is easy. You looked at the whole process with this positivity from the beginning?

Exactly, I did that since the beginning. I tried to always keep this way to also do not make my friends and relatives worry too much. Now I’m brand new, just can’t say I’m ready for another!

3)      Do you think that the fact that you have had the diagnosis / treatment of diabetes previously helped you cope with the diagnosis / treatment of cancer?

Probably, because the diabetes treatment made me adapt to many “harder” things, in terms of health, not to mention that I got used, since the age of five, with syringes and holes in the fingers every day.

4)      How did you with both treatments, cancer and diabetes?

Dealing with both treatments was easy, since no chemical prevented another and as I use insulin pump it made it smoothly and easier to control my glycemia.

5)      Speaking directly with someone who now goes through cancer treatment and who also have diabetes, what you have to say to this person that would have been important for you to hear back then?

To try to remain as calm and optimistic as possible, be always close to your friends and family and always look for fun in all ways as possible, at least that way I could get away!

6)      What are your plans / dreams for the future?

First, I intend to return to my old job at Livraria Cultura (famous bookstore in São Paulo) as a salesman. Then, in the near future, I plan to become a known actor and voice actor!

book7)      Do you think about create something to help people who are / have gone through what you went through?

I am currently writing a book about everything I went – with diabetes and with cancer – but is not finished yet. I’m doing in a way that is not boring as some biographies that have cancer theme, hope to finish it soon.

8)      Do you have any form of contact where people can get in touch with you?

Yeah, sure! People can find at my facebook profile or by e-mail antenauta@hotmail.com

Thank you very much for your inspiration, your time and all the luck in the world to your projects!!!

For more information about testicular cancer:

American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/testicularcancer/detailedguide/testicular-cancer-risk-factors

Self-test:

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Diabetes Voice – Volume 58

Last week I received the International Diabetes Federation magazine, the Diabetes Voice of June! DSC00373

Among so many excellent topics in this volume, such as breaking barriers to live your dreams with diabetes, reforming the global food system and guidelines for type 2 diabetes, I´ve found two amazing friends reporting their life with diabetes.

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I met Mohammed Hamoud last year in Tanzania (He is the one in red, in both pictures) during the Young Leaders in Diabetes Training in Africa.

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And Maria Hilinger (with a gray t-shirt right in the middle of the picture), I met in the Young Leaders in Diabetes programme, at Dubai, in 2011. Coincidentally I´ve just talked about her on DIABETES WITHOUT BORDERS post.

Would you like to read this Diabetes Voice issue (in English, Spanish or French)? Oh, that´s easy! You can subscribe to receive the printed version HERE or, even easier, read it online RIGHT HERE!

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Diabetes Without Borders

On June 15th, I did a presentation at  ADJ Diabetes Brasil entitled  “Diabetes Without Borders” which included the participation of Ronaldo Wielseberg (IDF Young Leader  from Brazil), Júlia Silveira (IDF Young Leader  from Portugal) and Alexandra Costa (IDF Young Leader  from Portugal) and Renan Jacomassi (Musician).

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The intention was to show:

  1. Diabetes scenario Worldwide: why diabetes education and prevention is such a big issue;
  2. How young people can make a difference: give audience a glimpse of how simple it can be with a group activity in which they had to help solve a “case”
  3. Those who are already doing: interactivity and activism on diabetes and how IDF Young Leaders in Diabetes have been doing that.

To reach that I started with a  brief presentation exposing my history and what brought me there, emphasizing dreams, purpose and cause (the desire to live in a more just and equal in opportunities to treat and prevent diabetes). Showing undiagnosed and untreated diabetes in numbers and how it impacts one´s health, public spending, prejudice and stigma in our society.

The audience was invited to sit in groups to discuss and come up with suggestions on how to attract young people with diabetes to participate on youth support groups. We had inspired people with many ideas!

Brazil lives, what many calls, a transition moment on its history. A moment that we can dream about our future. Internet connects its vast territory, many emerged from poverty, young people start to make “micro revolutions” on its own community while a bigger change is expected from politicians.

Ronaldo is a living example of how young people with diabetes are already working and making a big impact. He showed the history of diabetes, emphasising on how we have a lot of things today that we can count on to have a good control. Julia and Alexandra from APDP (Associção Protetora dos Diabéticos de Portugal) showed the Núcleo Jovem project , how is diabetes in Portugal and what are their dreams.

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Julia & Alexandra

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We also counted, as you can see in all the pictures, with a mural that compiled projects from the IDF Young Leaders Krystal Boyea, Rachel Lamb, Timothée Froment, Annelieke Overbeeke, Koen Biesemans, Aminath Rahman, Jan Twachtmann, Maria Hillinger, Pauline Vignal and Margot Vanfmural

And in the end, a simple homage to our mentor Mark Barone, who runs the Treinamento para Formação de Jovens Líderes em Diabetes (Young Leaders in Diabetes Training). Thanks to his contribution we are able to make what we do today.

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Here goes more photos of the event:

Youth Support Group on: Dreams!

Saturday, March 16th. ADJ Youth Support Group on: Dreams.

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Funny thing is that when we have to put it in words what is our dreams, it is extremely hard. Here goes a very interesting activity that can be used in any culture. It consists in drawing a river on a piece of paper (at the “river mouth” they write the dream they want to achieve), give the participants fishes and stones .

É engraçado como é difícil dizer quais são os nossos sonhos quando temos que colocá-los no papel. Aqui vai uma atividade muito interessante que pode ser utilizada em qualquer cultura. Consiste em desenhar um rio em um papel (e na foz deste rio escrever o seu sonho, ou um deles!), peixes e pedras.

The participants should write their opportunities (on the fishes) and difficulties (on the stones) and insert them in the drawing. Inside the river goes the “fishes and stones” that are within our reach and on the margin of the river are things that are out of our reach.

O participante deve escrever as oportunidades que tem nos peixes e as dificuldaes nas pedras e inserí-los no desenho. Dentro do rio vão os peixes e pedras que estão dentro do nosso alcance, logo o que está na margens vão as oportunidades e dificuldades (peixes e pedras) que estão fora do nosso alcance.

In this image is a common result this exercise promotes: we tend see more clearly that our dreams is more in our hands than we think.

Esta imagem nos mostra um resultado muito comum que este exercício promove: nós conseguimos ver mais claramente que os nossos sonhos dependem de nós mesmos do que achamos.

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If you want to use this tool in any activity and want more details, you can get in touch with me. It would be very interesting to share its results!

Se você quiser usar esta ferramenta e precisa de mais detalhes, por favor, entre em contato comigo. Seria ótimo saber sobre os resultados que você obteve também.

And you, kept thinking about your dreams? Hands on!!!

E ai, ficou pensando sobre os seus sonhos? Mão na massa!!!

Youth Without Borders

The year began (so fast!) and with it I received an invitation to write on the diabetes magazine “Vida Saudável e Diabetes”.

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There I talked a little bit about myself, but mainly I had the space to talk about the work I´ve been doing as a Young Leader and how young people and associations could get involved, once our selective process is opened.

The thing I want to share about this activity is that last week I received a message from a man who lives in another state of Brazil, saying:

” I recently read your story in a magazine focused on diabetes, I liked the initiative. I am a diabetic and has not accepted it very well, although it is under control and I´m super healthy, is always a limiter. I don´t have contact with diabetic people in my routine and would like to meet more people with the same situation as mine. Success forever.”

It was great to receive affection and know that we´ll probably have his presence in some of our next meetings/activities. So, very soon, I hope to present this illustrious stranger reporting an awesome activity.

Guest Post on Diabetes Mine

A few months ago I was invited to write about “Life with Diabetes in Brazil” on Diabetes Mine Blog. For those who doesn’t know it, Diabetes Mine is one of the biggest diabetes themed blogs in the world. Take a time to explore it, there you’ll find the most different issues related to diabetes.

So, HERE is my Guest Post.

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Blue November – part 7: Social Media

This is the last post about the 2012 World Diabetes Day activities. The most important actions that the Blue Power did are written in those 7 posts about the WDD.

With this I leave here ideas that can be spread with a little bit of the experience I had making them, so feel free to contact me and ask anything about them.

This last action was purely virtual/digital made on the young leadership facebook page (created two years ago and has today 2.428 followers). I particularly appreciate social media because it improves communication between very distant places in Brazil. This is, for me, the best way we can connect people to share, learn and develop.

We combined different messages to call for attention on the internet:

1. Brazilian Flag – Let’s protect our blue!  311424_495979070435740_177081384_n

National Flag of Brazil

This image was made to be highly spread on social media on November 14th. It connects the blue circle on our national flag with the blue circle of diabetes. In which the message was to protect the color blue of our flag. Along with the picture was shared the following   text:

“ Brazil has 12 million people living with diabetes, 50% are undiagnosed! Today is World Diabetes Day, a day of spreading this message as much as we can so that these 6 million undiagnosed people are aware of their condition and those diagnosed search for their treatments goals in order to avoid complications and premature death. Share this image, stay tuned to the main symptoms of diabetes and make exams regularly! “

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It reached 30. 613 people on Facebook, shared 558 times.

2. Countdown for WDD

A countdown was made during October and November reaching  13. 346 views in 18 publications. The message was “____ days for WDD” and the pictures had the “ (Act) United for diabetes”. Examples:

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3. Give Away

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A pin and a bracelet were given away on facebook. This activity reached 3.453 views and explained that the blue circle is the symbol of diabetes because, as the International Diabetes Federation says, “across cultures, the circle can symbolize life and health. Most significantly for the campaign, the circle symbolizes unity.” Also ” the blue border of the circle reflects the color of the sky and the flag of the United Nations.”


4. Post about the Blue Monuments

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Post about the Monuments in São Paulo city lighted in blue explaining why the monuments were blue. It had 3.138 views and the following text: “Worldwide locations are being illuminated by Blue World Diabetes Day. Pictured below are some monuments of the city of São Paulo. Share this post and help spread the blue lighting for diabetes!

 5. Publicizing

And at last, but not least, we empowered the dissemination of side events and interesting articles about WDD that Blue Power contributed, such as:

– Blue Power activities

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– TV Show with Heloisa Fagundes, an influential youngster with type 1 diabetes, that you can check HERE.

– Magazines: The interview with the american football player and type 1 diabetic, Daniel Santamaria.

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Blue November – part 5: Videos

The Blue Power task force helped organizing the SBD (Brazilian Society of Diabetes) flash mob. It took place on during an Endocrinologist Congress in Goiânia (Brazil) with more or less 70 participants and more than 530 views on Youtube. It was idealized by Juliana Baptista who was as well the coordinator of this action. You can check it in this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvQf1KuE6cg

 The ADJ Diabetes Brasil also made a flashmob for WDD. A cheerful and fun event that you can check here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnyAblcxChQ

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For the second year ADJ won a prize for its flashmob! Congratulations to everyone involved!

Here are some ADJ flash mobs of previous years:

Blue November – part 4: WDD Blue Bike Tour

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November 11th we held the 1st Blue Bike Tour for the World Diabetes Day, in São Paulo city. We distributed glucose tablets (provided by Glicofast) and shirts for all entrants (provided by Roche, Accu-check, debemcomavida.com.br) and just before getting started we checked the glycemia and warmed up with the guidance of  Prof. Junior.

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We cycled in line with a stop (halfway) to check blood glucose levels and make necessary corrections.

It was a great team, during the activity everyone respected each other limits and were concerned about the safety of the group. During the activity, besides calling the attention of the cars passing by, we were questioned by other people using the cycle track, at the departure and arrival point (with diabetes, health care professionals, friends of people with diabetes), about the event and the cause.

At the end of the activity we gave away squeezes and glucometer provided by Roche Diagnóstica, debemcomavida.com.br and ACCU-CHECK!

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Can´t wait for the next Blue Bike Tour!!!!

Blue November – part 3: Connected in Motion

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Saturday, 10/11/12, at Paulista Avenue in São Paulo, happened the Connected in Motion WDD Scavenger Hunt.

The event was held by the Blue Power task force for the World Diabetes Day in partnership with Roche Diagnóstica Brasil. This same Connected in Motion event was replicated in many parts of the world such as Ethiopia and USA.

Participants, in teams, were given a list of items that should shoot through the city, but could not use any type of transportation. This list included such challenges as shooting a person with type 2 diabetes in the street with the entire team, the team doing a different activity to lower blood glucose levels, the whole team with his feet off the ground (in the air), among others.

The activity took three hours of activity, starting from and ending on one of our most important Museums: MASP. After walking Paulista Avenue, lose calories, correct hypo-and hyperglycemia, with Roche´s support, we gave prizes like for the participant with most items in his clothes. The feedback was very positive and everyone left asking for the next Scavenger Hunt.

The Blue Power task force thanks Connected in Motion for allowing us to host this event!!!