TCOYD Champions: Nicole Piccetti & Family

Pictured in photo: Nicole Piccetti, daughter Gianna, husband John, and son Dominic (son Nick not pictured)

Like so many people with LADA (latent autoimmune diabetes in adults), Dom Piccetti was diagnosed incorrectly with type 2, even after seeing various doctors for over a year. His mom Nicole shares more about his diagnosis story and offers words of advice for anyone living with diabetes (and their families).

What was it like for your family when Dom was diagnosed?

Dom’s diaversery is December 19, 2019. Despite going to multiple doctors for over a year exploring why he was feeling so poorly, only one doctor noted the high blood sugar but was slow to follow up, thinking it was an aberration.

With no family history of diabetes and Dom’s age (35), great weight, and a rigorous exercise regimen, the diagnosis was truly unexpected. We are forever grateful to family friends (Dr. Bruce and Jennifer Lehnert, RN) who, with their medical expertise and experience with their own diabetic son, evaluated Dom’s blood work and counseled Dom on controlling and monitoring his blood glucose until he could get an official diagnosis and, most importantly, insulin!

Per Dr. Bruce’s recommendation, Dom went to the ER that night for quick access to medical care and an insulin prescription, but after many hours, he left with a type 2 diagnosis and an RX for Metformin. On the second trip to the ER the following night, and under the Lehnerts’ instructions of “DO NOT leave without insulin!”, it still took impassioned telephone calls from Dr. Bruce and his colleague Dr. Jake Kushner (a pediatric diabetic specialist in Houston) to the on-call endocrinologist to get any traction, all while Dom was literally sagging in the examining room. At 11 pm that night, Dom had an RX for insulin – no training on it though – and no syringes. Another long, hard night, with Dr. Bruce guiding Dom and us with phone calls and texts. Our first blessing.

How did you first learn about TCOYD?

A week or so later, Dom connected with TCOYD and Dr. Edelman’s office (both Dr. Bruce Lehnert and Dr. Kushner guided him there). Our second blessing! Dr. Edelman immediately got Dom on a CGM and the right medications. Dom’s stress (and ours) immediately lessened with a caring and expert champion in the ring with him.

With Dr. Edelman’s referral, Dom has another caring and expert fighter alongside him – Dr. Jeremy Pettus and the team at UC San Diego. This is our family’s third blessing.

From TCOYD’s recommendations, our other two adult children have followed up on the study for their own risk screening, and to add their data to the ongoing study.

Have there been any other unexpected positives?

These direct quotes from Dr. Pettus in a recent TCOYD segment cannot be said often enough:

“I AM HEALTHY!”  And, “Set a goal, and when you hit it, BE HAPPY!”

This mindset is a huge positive to keep uppermost in your heart for you and your loved ones. It doesn’t dismiss any of the life changes that come with diabetes, but it is a banner to rally yourself. As a 3-year lymphoma and stem cell survivor, to me it is a simple and most profound message.

Another unexpected positive is Dom’s living in San Diego. We are Bay Area folks, and San Diego seemed so far away.  But his new home put him into the TCOYD “family”, and it’s a great gift to us to know he has not just expert care but is part of an entire community of concern and care.

How has TCOYD had an impact on your life?

The better question might be, how has it not? Dom and the two of us attended our  first TCOYD seminar (in Santa Clara) within 2 months of his diagnosis. It was an amazing and encouraging experience that taught each of us so much, and showed us a hopeful path.

The feeling of being ‘faulty” has been turned on its head; replaced by hope, perspective, humor, practical knowledge, and tips for living and enjoying life. Each seminar, conference, “A Dose of Dr. E”, the Edelman Report, and Zoom programs are well-thought-out, instructive, humorous, and worth every minute of time.

What inspired your contributions to TCOYD?

Gratitude for Dr. Edelman’s vision for a diabetes community that is informed and supportive. Knowing how many people are diabetic (or will be diagnosed diabetic), and for all the people who love them. (“Type 3” won my heart the moment I heard it!) The energy and outreach of TEAM TCOYD are inspirational. To know Drs. Edelman and Pettus (and others on the team) have type 1 diabetes makes them so approachable.

I see even more outreach and Zoom events since Covid quarantines, and salute the creative brainwork of providing the most current information that goes into these events for us in the U.S. and all across the globe. We are so happy to add our support to all the efforts of TCOYD.

What advice would you offer someone newly diagnosed with diabetes?

Dom and our entire family were so blessed by the Lehnerts and Dr. Kushner, who guided us in those first days and helped us reach TCOYD; and, to Drs. Edelman and Pettus. We share our story willingly and encourage people to get second opinions when confronted with a stonewalled medical professional. Hope and positive action are out there! We refer people to the TCOYD website and video vault (even a dear friend, receiving medical care for type 2  diabetes for over 30 years, has been amazed and empowered by the information she has learned).

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Our family are 3rd and 5th generation Californians, and were raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dominic went to San Diego for college and found his special corner of the world there. Our other two adult children live in Portland, and we count ourselves lucky to be between the two cities with short flights north or south. Although we are both retired from formal working life, we are active winegrowers in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma.  Dom’s happiest news in those early days of diagnosis was when Dr. Edelman told him he didn’t have to give up the wonderful world of wines!


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