Marcel Somerville is a former Love Island finalist and member of the former hip-hop group Blazin’ Squad. He founded the record company DMODE Music where he works there as a producer bringing together vocalists and creatives with a fresh and unique wave of music.
In June 2020, shortly after discovering that his partner was expecting a baby, Marcel was suddenly hospitalised. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and has since worked with Quin to help us refine our app. Here’s what Marcel has to say about the experience and how Quin has changed the way he looks at life with diabetes.
Tell us about finding out you had type 1 diabetes.
I was diagnosed with diabetes in June 2020, shortly after I discovered I was going to be a dad for the first time. I started to get a few symptoms, little warning signs, but they all seemed insignificant. I was thirstier, and I went to the toilet more. I only really noticed that things were wrong when I started losing weight. I called 111 after I started vomiting, but due to the coronavirus they wanted to limit the number of patients in the hospital.
After my condition continued to get worse, I was rushed to hospital and diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). My blood had turned acidic because my body wasn’t producing enough insulin. I spent a week in a high dependency unit. It was the most shocking ordeal I’ve ever experienced in my life: within a week of learning that I’d be a dad, I was fighting for my life.
I almost fell into a coma, and people can die from DKA if it’s left too long, so it was an incredibly scary time. I am so grateful to the doctors and nurses; they did a great job.
The diagnosis of diabetes was a shock to me: I had no history of diabetes in my direct family, and out of the blue I’d been diagnosed with a condition that would affect me for the rest of my life.
Had we not been in a pandemic, you would’ve seen a doctor sooner?
Yes, definitely, but they still needed paperwork sent first, then bloodwork. My GP didn’t identify that I had diabetes because I wasn’t able to see him in person, but the signs were there – the paramedic worked it out immediately. It’s essential to see your GP, make sure you’re on top of it, otherwise you could be missing something major and end up in the hospital.
What did you find out about type 1 diabetes?
It’s very unclear in my case, but generally, trauma and stress can be triggers. My case could also be hereditary, I’m not sure. Ultimately, it’s a mystery why type 1 diabetes comes on, but it’s extremely widespread. In the UK, 400,000 people live with type 1 diabetes, and 29% of them are children.
How are you managing your condition now?
I was concerned at first about managing my diabetes and becoming a new dad at the same time. Doctors give you the initial guidance but with fatherhood coming, I feel like I’d need daily reminders. I’m doing well, but my life has totally changed. Now I test my blood sugar and take injections every time I eat something. I’m counting the carbs I eat so I can determine the right amount of insulin to inject.
I’m fortunate that I have apps and technology to help me. I’ve been using Quin, and it has everything you need to do in one place.
The app learns from your routine and knows exactly the amount of insulin you need.
The app has changed how I manage my lifestyle – it’s like having a personal diabetes nurse in my pocket.
How do you feel about having to live with type 1 diabetes?
I don’t feel angry about anything at the moment, I’m just so excited for fatherhood. Obviously, my lifestyle has had to change, but you can’t be bitter about these things, that’s life. We have to focus on the things we can control – it’s about you taking control so you can live your life to the best that you can.
I’m a positive person and I’m always looking for the bright side. With diabetes, that means being prepared, mentally and physically, to make healthy lifestyle changes. My time in hospital taught me to appreciate the everyday, and I need to manage my condition as best I can so I’m the best I can be for my baby.
Everyone at Quin wishes Marcel, his partner Rebecca and their child the best, and we want to thank him for sharing his personal experiences. All too often, diabetes symptoms go overlooked or unrecognised, so sharing your story is a powerful way to help others.
To learn more about how Quin can help you manage your diabetes, download the app.