Diabetes and Cancer: An interview with Antoane Fernandes

testicular ribbon

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:

testicular self test

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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.

Blue November – part 6: Youth Support Group

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November 24th, on ADJ Diabetes Brasil Youth Support Group, physical activity was the theme. Besides rising awareness about WDD between the participants, we invited the Prof. Erácliton Viana to give guidelines about exercise and diabetes.

The group started with a chat on our mainly goals and barriers to exercise regularly. Many myths and doubts were elucidated. After this, Viana taught us exercises we can make anywhere to keep stretched and active!

Dia 24 de Novembro, no Grupo de Apoio para Jovens, o tema foi atividade física! Além de aumentar a conscientização do grupo em relação ao Dia Mundial do Diabetes, nós convidamos o Prof. Erácliton Viana para nos orientar sobre diabetes e exercícios.

O grupo começou com uma dinâmica de apresentação e seguiu com uma conversa em que trocavam experiências sobre objetivos e barreiras para realizar exercícios físicos regularmente. Após o bate-papo, o Viana nos ensinou uma pequena série de exercícios para nos mantermos ativos e alongados! 

 

ADJ Youth Support Group – September

Last saturday we had our september support group at ADJ Diabetes Brasil.

We started with a relaxing exercise to shorten the distance between body and mind (very common at Yoga).

After this we started an “ice-break” introduction exercise in which people had to tell their names and an important moment in their lives.  Birth of their children, get into college, diabetes diagnose, unforgettable trip…

This lead us to our mainly activity. We applied the Lilly Conversation Maps (Map 1: Managing my diabetes) and we had a very nice discution guided by Glaucia Bechara and Dra. Denise Kaplan.

Can´t wait for the next meeting in October.