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Overcoming Diabetes with a Positive Mindset

A Sunday morning in his grandmother’s house in Binan, Laguna found Joby Belmonte watching a public service program about diabetes and its symptoms. Then 17 years old, Joby casually shared with his lola how he could easily relate to the described manifestations of diabetes. Aside from being skinny and eating heavily, he always felt thirsty and frequented the bathroom many times a day. Knowing that diabetes ran in the family, Joby’s grandmother advised him to go see a doctor. The next day, they both went to a hospital in Makati and consulted a doctor about his situation.

His lola’s hunch proved right. Joby indeed was found to have diabetes. During his fourth year in high school, he already started injecting insulin thrice a day.

Sweet Tooth
Besides the fact that diabetes runs in the family, Joby believes his sweet tooth must take the greater blame as he is definitely guilty of addiction to sweets. Anyone up for a mixture of rice and that yummy and endearing taste of chocolate? Well, Joby can’t resist that combination!

But with all the sweet temptations just within arm’s reach, Joby must take caution. Having diabetes required Joby to control his sugar intake. Good thing he has discipline, one powerful tool in managing diabetes. Although he still longs for sweets, just a bite of a tempting dessert is enough for him to kill the craving. And just to be sure, Joby pumps a little more insulin to his body so as to balance his sugar level whenever he eats sweets.

Hypo Attacks
In 2006, Joby started using an insulin pump when his frequent hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) attacks began. “I’ve had a lot of hypo attacks since then because I’m still finding the right adjustment for the dosage,” shares Joby. He had his share of trips to the hospital accompanied by his mom, sister or brother-in-law whenever he fell unconscious and had to be revived.

Fortunately for Joby, someone always seems to find his or her way to get to him whenever hypoglycemia attacks. “Sometimes, I am talking to someone over the phone and then I’d just lose consciousness,” Joby relates. But since his friends know about his “hypo” attacks, whenever these happen, his friends would call his mom or sister right away so that they would be able to attend to him.

As the years passed, “hypo” attack incidences began to lessen as Joby learned the right insulin dosage his body needed. His most recent hypo attack was Christmas Eve of 2007.

A Different Outlook
In his 25 years of having diabetes, Joby has bravely accepted and positively faced the changes that came, to be able to control the illness. Joby’s secret lies in his optimistic mindset as well — no complaints, no regrets.

He was surprised but never frustrated or angry when he first learned that he had diabetes. He just continued living with it. He was even thankful that at least he acquired it during his teens and not during childhood. “Imagine the trauma when you are attending a children’s party and then everybody’s eating cotton candy, ice cream, and cake while you cannot kasi diabetic ka [because you’re a diabetic],” he shares. Despite having the ailment, Joby manages to find a reason to still be grateful and happy.

“I took it positively. Sometimes you get cancer. Sometimes you get diabetes. I’m lucky I only have diabetes, not cancer,” Joby says. “Sometimes, the solution to our problems is just inside our heads. People just fail to pick the right thoughts and mindset to dwell in,” he adds.

In Harmony with Diabetes
Joby is the founding president of Diacare Foundation (1988) and remained president in its first six years. Diacare was established to help indigent diabetics, particularly those with type 1 diabetes.

Joby also now enjoys his success in the field of interior design. His clients include celebrities and big names in the industry. While continuously expanding his network of clients, Joby is currently in school to complete his Doctor of Business Administration Degree at the De La Salle University Graduate School of Business.

His physical activities include badminton three to four times a week. He would also like to go back to swimming. This is possible as long as he has a soft drink or sports drink on the side to prevent rapid sugar level drop. Whenever Joby has to do a physical activity such as lifting furniture when setting a house or doing sports to keep fit, as long as he has a can of regular soft drink in hand, diabetes can’t get in his way.

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