Skip to main content

For Chelmsford Woman, Diabetes Scare Ends With Silver Lining

January 29, 2019

As a Type 1 diabetic for more than 30 years, Clare Gunther is very familiar with the daily routine of monitoring her blood sugar levels.

Diabetic Clare Gunter from Chelmsford
Clare Gunther of North Chelmsford, left, with Judy Pentedemos, FNP, Clinical Manager, Diabetes and Endocrine Center.

“I don’t go for a walk without testing my blood sugar,” says Gunther, of North Chelmsford. “I always have carbs with me just in case it gets low. I keep a juice box in my purse because of diabetes. You have to because diabetes is with you all the time.”

However, when she got a bad stomach virus last fall, her usual dose of insulin delivered through her automated pump that helps her body process sugars wasn’t effective. Unsure what to do and not thinking clearly due to her highly elevated blood sugar levels, she went to bed and her condition worsened.

By the morning, she had developed ketoacidosis, a potentially fatal condition that results from acids forming in the bloodstream due to elevated blood sugars. EMTs saved her life with intravenous electrolytes and then took her to Lowell General Hospital, where she spent three days in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

But from this near tragedy came what Gunther considers “a gift” in the form of Judy Pentedemos, FNP, Clinical Manager of the new Diabetes and Endocrine Center at Circle Health Dracut.

Pentedemos was first called to the ICU to help Gunther get her blood sugar levels back in balance. For two days, she had Gunther calling her every three hours, around the clock, to report her blood sugar levels, then guiding her to adjust her insulin intake and diet accordingly.

By coincidence, Gunther’s long-time endocrinologist had recently left his practice and the day of her trip to the ICU, she was scheduled to meet with a new endocrinologist in Boston. But after meeting Pentedemos, she learned that expert diabetes management services and experienced endocrinologists are available within the new Circle Health Dracut facility.

“It was the resource that I lacked,” Gunther says. “To be able to go up the street and get such quality care means the world to me.”

The centralized services offer a new level of Complete connected care for individuals with diabetes in the region.

“We have extensive knowledge collectively among all of us,” Pentedemos says. “If anything comes up, we have each other as an immediate resource.”

Pentedemos says her primary focus is to help patients create a routine to manage their diabetes on a day-to-day basis. She has 25 years of experience and is backed by a team of dietitians, diabetes educators and board-certified endocrinologists Dr. Miguel Ariza, Dr. Hannah Matthew, Dr. Anca Staii and Dr. Hayward Zwerling.


“We customize a diabetes plan to fit your life,” she says. “It’s about diet, exercise and living a healthy lifestyle.”


For Gunther, the level of experience matched with the convenience was exactly what she needed. She canceled her appointment in Boston and made a new one in Dracut.

“Once I met Judy, I thought, ‘I don’t need to go to Boston,’” Gunther says. “(Judy) is a savant with insulin pumps, and there is an endocrinologist there if I need one. I’m in really good hands.”

Patient Stories
Diabetes Support Sets Dracut Man on Path From Near Death to New Life
Today, Evan Maloney is a tall and slender 21-year-old man, weighing in at a healthy 192 pounds. He exercises regularly and enjoys grilled chicken with lemon and chicken salad as two of his favorite meals.
Patient Stories
Fitness Partnership Pays Off for Lowell City Councilor With Diabetes
Diabetes has been part of Danny Rourke’s life since he was 12 years old.
Patient Stories
New Heart Pump Technology Saves Life of Westford Dad
It was April 8, 2018, and Dana Corr was looking forward to celebrating his 55th birthday that day with his wife and two daughters in their Westford home. He had just returned from a trip visiting colleges in Rhode Island the day before with his daughter. Unfortunately, all celebrations were put on hold that day as his heart seemed to have other plans.

Be among the first to know

Enjoy the latest health updates from Tufts Medicine by signing up for our e-newsletter today.

Jump back to top