Let Laughter Lower Your Blood Sugar

By Sarah Neiman '18
Communication, GMercyU

Lipstick. Check. Insulin and glucose tablets. Check. Microphone. Check.

Trisha Porretti '97 always remembers to pack plenty of doses of mercy-infused comedic relief on her many journeys towards inspiring those of all ages with diabetes to follow her humor-filled road towards personal and professional fulfillment.

Flashback to a rainy day in the fall of 1993. Trisha's life took a 180-degree turn when she got into a car accident leaving Gwynedd Mercy University's campus during her first semester of nursing classes. She was already faced with the challenges related to her diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes and a major accident seemed like a giant roadblock in her path towards helping others embrace diabetes with confidence. A woman of faith, Trisha prayed for a miracle. It wasn't long before her prayers were answered and the roadblocks were removed.

In customary Mercy tradition, two unknown nursing classmates of Trisha's showed up at her house to drive her back to school. Shortly thereafter she became known on campus for her "laughter therapy."

We would meet in the ladies' room before an exam and I would imitate all of our teachers until we laughed away our test anxiety.

Fast forward 20-plus years and Trisha has taken her nursing career in countless directions and is a guiding light within the diabetic community. Her "laughter therapy" has made it all around the United States and back to where it all began. Her new book The Sweet Blessing: My Adventure in Diabetes recently hit the shelves of GMercyU's Keiss Library and Learning Commons.

Laughter has been proven to be a safe, effective and healthy coping mechanism. Try it.

The eternal optimist, Trisha has inspired, entertained, and educated with her presentation Let Laughter Lower Your Blood Sugar at numerous diabetes conferences and stand-up comedy events throughout the United States.

Trisha earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Gwynedd Mercy University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1997. Throughout her career, she has spread her contagious optimism as a Registered Nurse, Certified Diabetes Educator, and Insulin Pump Trainer.

I was a non-traditional student and the only grandmother in my graduating class. GMercyU welcomed me with open arms and transformed me from a bartender to a registered nurse. Gwynedd changed my life, and helped me take my career in directions I never would have imagined.

When Trisha is not infecting the world with laughter, you can find her teaching yoga, conducting tarot card readings, and relaxing with her blind "grand-dog" Elvis, who has recently become certified as a Diabetes Alert Dog. Trisha is looking forward to the morning when she can write in her gratitude journal that she is thankful for "Type NONE Diabetes." ❂

*This article was originally published in GMercyU's Summer 2017 TODAY Magazine. Sarah Neiman '18 is a GMercyU Communication student. Read more about Sarah's GMercyU experience!*