Dr. Shawn Peavie: Living with Diabetes, Helping Others, and Pursuing a Career as Doctor in Endocrinology

Today we speak with Dr. Shawn Peavie, and he shares the story of his diagnosis with Type 1,  pursuing his goal of becoming a Doctor, and some lessons learned along the way.  Dr. Peavie provides real insight into his experience with T1.

Shawn Peavie is a compassionate endocrinologist with years of experience helping and supporting patients and seeks to help as many people as he can.

When you are diagnosed of Type-1 diabetes at five years old, there are a lot of adjustments – both mental and dietary – that you need to make. In 1989, Shawn Peavie was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes and, for him, this was by far the toughest news he had to deal with during his childhood.

When Shawn was diagnosed, the classic diabetes symptoms were present: excessive urination, always drinking water, and more. The fortunate thing for Shawn (if we can call it fortunate) was that he had a cousin who was also living with Type-1 diabetes, so it was easy for his parents to figure out that he might have diabetes.

Shawn was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes at his local university hospital in Kentucky. When he was told he had Type-1 diabetes, the first thought that came to his mind were the shots he’d need to start taking because he had seen his cousin take regular shots and understood.

Like every person diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes, the news was overwhelming for Shawn and his family. Type-1 diabetes can be difficult for anyone, but it is can be especially difficult and overwhelming for a five-year old.

The social challenge of being the only kid taking snacks in the middle of class and before lunch break was a lot for Shawn to deal with. He recalls feeling so ashamed being the only one having snacks in class that he started to ask permission to leave the class to avoid embarrassment.

After Shawn came to terms with his situation, he was able to overcome the initial social awkwardness. During the second grade, he was even able to teach his classmates and teachers about what Type-1 diabetes and his experience with it.

Shawn’s transition from middle school to high school was relatively easy because he attended school within his local community in Kentucky. However, things got awkward when he had to leave for college. Leaving the comfort of his family and friends, it was hard adjusting to life as a Type-1 diabetic in college.

Shawn advises that people living with diabetes should be open about their condition, speaking up when they find themselves in new communities and among other people. He says telling people about your condition will enable them to help you should an emergency arises and will also help them understand you even better.

Shawn also stresses the importance of finding and joining a Type-1 diabetes community, both online and offline.

For people struggling to come to terms with having Type-1 diabetes, Shawn says finding a community to share experiences with and draw inspiration from is a good way to adjust to your new health reality.

In addition to finding a community of support, Shawn also advises, if possible, switching up your routines and regimens, whether they be dietary, exercise, technological, etc.

Shawn is grateful for how much technology has helped people living with Type-1 diabetes manage their health. He believes CGMs have immensely helped Type-1 diabetics live healthier lives.

Type-1 diabetes can be managed, Shawn says. “There will be good and bad days. There will be days when you’ll do everything right but still experience high blood sugar. Don’t beat yourself up,” Shawn says.

Shawn would love it if the insulin that Type-1 diabetics take acted faster when taken.