Amy Szumel, RN, BSN, CDE, CPT, practices at Ocean County Family Care in Brick, NJ.
Patient Erika S. shares how this diabetes educator made a difference in her life:
"Type 1 diabetes. How can we describe it? A roller-coaster, burden or gift. For me, it was an opportunity. An opportunity to learn about my body and how I needed to take care of it.
Being diagnosed at 4 years old was not easy. It was quite hard. But I’m so thankful to have my diabetes educator. Because not only did she teach me how to count carbs and test my blood sugar, but she also taught me things like how to ride a bike or drive a car. That’s right. My diabetes educator is my mom. I can’t even begin to explain how thankful I am to have her in my life.
At a young age, she taught me the importance of controlling my blood sugar. She taught me how to count carbohydrates. She taught me how to use a syringe by practicing on oranges. She nurtured and cared for me more than anyone ever could. She understood me. Another twist to this story, she has type 1 diabetes as well. She was prepared when I was diagnosed and although it was hard, she did a great job raising me.
And now, as I plan to head off to college in a few months, I will hold all of her tips and tricks with me. I will carry these memories along as I learn the ins and outs of college life and adulthood. I will remember her telling me, “count your carbs Goobie” or “did you test your blood sugar?” I am so grateful for her. She has changed my life in the most positive of ways. I would not have it any other way.
She deserves every award there is, because not only was it her job to care and protect me, but it was her job to educate and prepare me, more than any mother ever should. She took on a huge job when she took me under her wing. She could have sent me to a separate diabetes educator. But she didn’t. She taught me. She stuck by my side through both the good and bad times. Through every high and low, she gives me hope. She reassures me that things will be okay. She understands that this disease isn’t always fun, but that life goes on. My mom is a blessing to me and the people she teaches. She has changed my life for better, and forever." —Erika S.