Interview with Diabetes Educator, Carol Lezack
Carol Lezack (centre) poses with her husband,
children and grandchildren for a family portrait.
Carol Lezack is a certified diabetes educator (CDE) who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at the age of five and has been living with the disease for 56 years. Carol’s son was also diagnosed with T1D at the age of six. She currently works at a Wal-Mart Pharmacy in Winnipeg and provides diabetes advice, one-on-one consultations, and mentors 182 pharmacists in Wal-Mart pharmacies across Canada. Carol’s personal commitment to diabetes doesn’t stop there. She organizes numerous charitable community events, implemented Diabetes Foot Screening at Wal-Mart and Wal-Mart employees now benefit from a Diabetes Screening Program, which Carol implemented eight years ago in Winnipeg.
We recently had the chance to speak with Carol and ask her a few questions.
Q. What advice would you share with those living with T1D?
A. Your pharmacist is a fabulous resource, especially a pharmacist that is a CDE. These pharmacists are focused on your well-being. I am a CDE and when I am giving advice, I don’t look at the clock; I give people my focused attention. I often give my home phone number out and will take calls whenever people need me. I would tell those living with T1D to take advantage of this valuable resource, especially at times when you can’t get in to see your doctor.
Q. What tips or advice would you give to a parent of a child newly diagnosed with T1D?
A. For a parent this is a very stressful and upsetting time. Your whole world is different but it is manageable. I would tell parents they don’t have to start completely cutting sugar from their child’s diet but they need to learn how to count carbohydrates and should teach their child how to as well. Parents need to learn the groundwork early on in order to help their child properly manage their T1D.
Being active is vital to the health of someone living with T1D and parents need to introduce exercise to their child early on so that it becomes a part of their daily life, just like brushing your teeth. If you make exercise a part of your daily life you will be able to live a long life without complications. You need to make sure you always have something on hand to treat a low while exercising as it is always safer to be a little high than low.
Q. What are some common misconceptions about T1D?
A. A common misconception about T1D is that the person with the disease can no longer consume sugar. Everybody always seems to think it’s about sugar when really it’s about carbohydrates. Sugar is just one component of a carbohydrate. If you learn how to count carbohydrates properly than you can still have sugar.
Q. Is there any other information you can offer the JDRF community in your capacity as a diabetes educator?
A. I’d like people to know that with diabetes, nothing is a stupid question! Sometimes things just don’t make sense and that’s normal. Having diabetes takes discipline but if you can manage it properly it is a very livable condition and diabetes research has come a long way. When I was growing up with T1D, I used to have to sterilize glass syringes to give myself multiple and often painful injections. Now I have a pump! With the help of JDRF I believe we will have a cure in my lifetime.
Everyone has their own techniques and tricks for managing T1D. Share your tips with us below.