Managing Diabetes: It Takes a Team

Bob Shustack, Head of Global Support Functions Finance, North America, talks about how his team of supporters has rallied together to help him manage his diabetes.

I’ve always had a passion for fitness and felt proud to be in control of my health. But when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2016, I was caught off guard and felt anything but in control. However, I would soon learn that having a supportive team would make all the difference in helping me manage my diabetes.

Learning the cause of my symptoms at the time – extreme thirst and loss of weight – I was confused and lost. I didn’t know where to turn for help and was overwhelmed. But like I do with any challenge, I did my research and found a wide range of support in my local community and at work. Soon, I was connected with a dietician, endocrinologist, certified diabetes educator, as well as other people living with diabetes. From there, I started to build a powerhouse team that would help me to not only manage, but live well with my diabetes.

At work, I receive support through DiabetesConnect, one of Sanofi’s nine Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). This group is a central hub for providing education and support to employees, their caregivers and families impacted by diabetes. The compassion and fellowship as a member of this close-knit ERG has empowered me to take charge of managing my diabetes. As a result, I’ve been inspired to pay it forward as a member of the DiabetesConnect leadership council, a role which has allowed me to leverage my personal experience to connect, encourage, and support my colleagues on their own personal journeys. In 2018, we have brought members together with our monthly “Let’s Talk Diabetes” meetings as we strive to realize our ERG’s vision: “Together, we can improve the lives of Sanofi employees affected by diabetes.”

More importantly, I have the support of my family, including my daughter who was quick to make sure I have my “Daddy-betes” kit handy. The kit is a container that she artfully decorated, which includes all the supplies and medications I need for the day-to-day management of my diabetes. The support my wife and two daughters provide motivates me to manage this disease daily!

Living with diabetes is not a solo sport – it’s a team effort. And every day, I give thanks to my powerhouse team for reminding me that I have a support system behind me, pushing me forward.