Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms Type 1 Diabetes

The T1D news show you've been waiting for! Long-time broadcaster, blogger and diabetes mom Stacey Simms interviews prominent advocates, authors and speakers. Stacey asks hard questions of healthcare companies and tech developers and brings on "everyday' people living with type 1. Great for parents of T1D kids, adults with type 1 and anyone who loves a person with diabetes.
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Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms Type 1 Diabetes







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Now displaying: 2020
May 26, 2020

In-depth with a teenager who lives with type 1.  Stacey interviews her son Benny, who was diagnosed just before he turned two. They talk about Control IQ, explaining what diabetes is to people who don't know and what he does these days for sports and other activities.

Check out Stacey's new book: The World's Worst Diabetes Mom!

Benny answers listener questions and looks back on 13 years of T1D.

Join the Diabetes Connections Facebook Group!

In TMSG – graduation good news, two popular diabetes books get an update and more

This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.

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The "Pink Panther" Book update

Think Like A Pancreas update


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Episode transcription: 

Stacey Simms  0:00

Diabetes Connections is brought to you by One Drop created for people with diabetes by people who have diabetes. By Real Good Foods real food you feel good about eating and by Dexcom take control of your diabetes and live life to the fullest with Dexcom.


Announcer  0:20

This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms


Stacey Simms  0:26

this week in depth with a teenager who lives with type one, okay, it's my son Benny. We covered a lot of ground here answering your questions including sports, what he tell his teammates when they travel for sports and stay overnight.


Benny  0:41

I tell them that nasal spray thing - Baqsimi if I don't wake up or if I pass out, do that and then go get coach.


Stacey Simms  0:47

We talked about feeling self conscious about diabetes gear, what he remembers about being a little kid with type one and his feelings about the new Control IQ system. I think this interview was a good idea?

Tell me something good graduation news two popular diabetes books get updates and more. This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.

Welcome to another week of Diabetes Connections. I am so glad to have you along we aim to educate and inspire about type 1 diabetes by sharing stories of connection. If you are new Welcome, my name is Stacey Simms. I am your host, my son Benny, who you will hear this week was diagnosed right before he turned two. He is now 15. My husband lives with type two diabetes. I don't have diabetes at all. But I have a background in broadcasting and local radio and television and that is how you get the podcast.

Before we get to Benny and oh my goodness. Like I've already said I'm hoping this was a good idea. I think he has good information to share. It's a little odd to interview your own son. But before we get to him, I have some great news of my own to share the world. First diabetes mom, my book that's been out for a couple of weeks now won an award, my publisher sent me an email. And by now I've probably shared it over social media, as you're listening to this spark publications announces that the world's worst diabetes mom has won an award of distinction as part of the 2020 communicator awards. This is part of the Academy of Interactive and visual arts. I'm really excited about this.

Of course, it's not just about the writing, but about the design of the book. And we work really carefully on that the cover alone, we went back and forth quite a bit, but then inside to make it really easy to read. And a nice experience. I mean, oh, my goodness, I was who knew so much went into things like this. I mean, when you think about it for more than a minute you get it. But Wow. If you've ever been involved in any kind of book publishing, there's a lot of steps to it. So it's very exciting to see all of our hard work rewarded with this award. So thanks for indulging me and letting me talk about it a little bit. The book has really been an incredible excuse. For me, and I hope if you've read it, you've enjoyed it. I hope if you haven't read it, you'll consider giving it a chance. You can always learn more, of course at the website Diabetes But the book is for sale on Amazon paperback ebook, you know, Kindle and audiobook which I married.

And if you're listening to this episode as it first airs on Tuesday, the 26th of May, then tomorrow night I'm actually doing a world worse diabetes mom event with jdrf a couple of the southeast chapters got together we're doing a zoom presentation all about it, sharing our mistakes and mishaps what we learned from them and why they're just the best way to go right? You got to make all the mistakes when it comes to diabetes or parenting in general. And I'll put more information about that in the Facebook group and on social media. I'd love to have you join us.

All right, my conversation with Benny in just a moment but first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by One Drop.  Getting diabetes supplies is a pain. Not only the ordering and the picking up but also the arguing with insurance about what they say you need and what you really need. Make it easy With One Drop, they offer personalized test strip plans plus you get a Bluetooth glucose meter test strips lancets and your very own certified diabetes coach. Subscribe today to get test strips for less than $20 a month delivered right to your door. No prescriptions or co pays required. One less thing to worry about not that surprising when you learn that the founder of One Drop leaves with type one, they get it One Drop gorgeous gear supplies delivered to your door 24 seven access to your certified diabetes coach learn more, go to Diabetes- and click on the One Drop logo.


My guest this week was pretty easy to book because I know his schedule. He lives in my house. He is my 15 year old son. And if you've listened to the show for a long time, you know I really try to balance how much I share about Benny's experience with type one. It's a balance of, you know not oversharing to compromise his privacy, but also sharing them To help people, he's always been a really good sport about it. And we've really weighed and measured over his entire life because he was diagnosed at 23 months, how much to talk about him. I mean, even really before that, because I was on the radio when he was born. I mean, both of my kids, I was a local TV reporter when I was pregnant with Lea, my daughter, and I was in radio, I was at WBT where I worked for a decade doing the morning show there. I think I was there for a year before I got pregnant with Benny. And so my listeners went through that process with me. You know, they saw me out at events and it was a whole big deal about, you know, how much are we going to talk about how much are we going to share, and when he was diagnosed with type one, and my listeners wanted to learn more, we had to go through it all over again.

So I err on the side of sharing less, which may strike you as bananas because I just talked to my book where we talk about all our stories and our family stuff. But I really do I mean, if you look at a lot of the mom bloggers out there, and especially the Instagram people, you know, I really don't share our day to day. I don't think that's fair to him. I'm saying all this I'm sorry for the big lead up. Because it's hard for me to interview Benny, it's hard for me to kind of push and probe for more. He's funny, as always, he gives great information, I think, of course, he is 15 years old.

A couple of quick notes to that. 15 years old, and really goofing around on the microphone. There's probably more editing than usual in this episode. So please forgive us if parts of it sound a little choppy, although I'm sure my editor john, you can smooth most of that out. But really, there were times where I really I just, we were goofing around so much, I had to cut it out. And there's a little bit at the end to give you a taste of that. And I mean, the very end of the show, I included it's not really a blooper, but it's just oh my god, what he was doing with the microphone.

Also, he does say this is the only correction I'll make. We talked about Control IQ and he says he's in range 80% of the time. I wish. It's still excellent. It's closer to 70% of the time, which is wonderful and it's certainly a lot less work. We talk about that a little bit too. But I have to correct that he is not in range 80% of the time. And the only other thing is listening back to this. I don't want anybody to misunderstand. We are mean to each other. I mean, I call him a couple of mean names. It's just our relationship. I mean, it's kind of the way we pick on each other. If you don't know us, too well, I'm just a little worried that you might think we're really mean to each other. I think you can hear that. It's all in good fun. We are so fortunate to have a great relationship. But it's been a while since I had him on the show. And you all had a bunch of questions for him. So I asked, he answered. Here's my conversation with Benny.


So how are you holding up? I'm good. All right. Well, we got lots of questions for you. From listeners and the Facebook group, you started on Control IQ at the end of January. And we were well past three months now. Use any perspective Any comments? What do you think Vinnie? You'd


Benny  7:55

No, it's much better than it was before cuz I'm in range. Like 80% of the day?


Unknown Speaker  8:02

Yeah, it's wild. What have you noticed in terms of me?


Benny  8:06

I'm curious if you're much more now you like, Is it working? Is it working? Is it working? No, I'm not.


Stacey Simms  8:15

Any tips or tricks? You don't bolus when you're on the higher side, right? Because we found that that kind of


Benny  8:21

plummets you. Yeah. Don't do to see but in Control IQ, it won't bring you up from lows.


Stacey Simms  8:27

But you still do to receive and Control IQ


Benny  8:29

because I like juice.


Stacey Simms  8:31

Cuz you like juice? Yeah. You're an idiot. What?


Alright, so you use Control IQ, and you still take a daily shot after Seba, even though your insulin needs have gone way down. Why do you continue doing that your Seba?


Benny  8:47

I don't know.


Stacey Simms  8:48

Well, you know your mother mentioned you might want to stop and you said no, I thought you had a reason less insulin usage. You mean like in the pump, you don't use the cartridge. You should try it. You're not really using balance. Well, now we have to talk to the endo again and okay. Would you think of the telehealth visit that we did by the way? That was rough.


Benny  9:08

It was rough about it. You guys couldn't find any. Oh, yeah, we had probably his first one.


Stacey Simms  9:14

And he didn't have clarity and he didn't have to connect up even though the office said that they did. So it was a little weird, but were you okay with just talking to him that way? Well, yeah, I mean,


Benny  9:22

it's better in person. Because that our interests are pretty cool guy. Let's get to the questions


Stacey Simms  9:29

in the Facebook group, Rodney Miller. Hi, Rodney, who runs bolus and barbells he said Why am I Benny's favorite? strong man diabetic.


Benny  9:38

My favorite strong man diabetic actually for your information? Cuz I'm the best Oh, you're those favorite strong man. Oh, all right. Well, we'll see you guys in competition. Maybe I can guide when armwrestling contest. I don't know man. my biceps are massive friends for


Stacey Simms  9:52

life. 2021 showdown. Rod me and Betty. Okay. Ronnie says does he feel does Betty feel like having Such a strong advocate for a mom has provided him unique opportunities to connect to the diabetic community.


Benny  10:06

Yes, would have never met Rodney. Ernie almost got the chance to meet the rock was very close to that. Brick bassinger those people are pretty cool friends for life is a lot of fun. Justin Thomas, Jeffrey, those guys are pretty cool, too. I don't think I would have really met them without mom. You know, no one's putting us in trials. So you know, is that


Stacey Simms  10:30

isn't that funny that we can't get you into a clinical trial?


Benny  10:33

I think they it's obvious that they know we're just too cool. They don't they don't want to risk something not working on people that are just so awesome.


Stacey Simms  10:41

But we'll keep trying. All right. Shelby wanted to know, when you were younger, what did you say when other kids asked about your pump or CGM? How did you handle the curiosity of other kids


Benny  10:52

said I'm a robot. I still say I'm a robot and then I actually explained it. I remember one time a gorgeous went What's this and ripped up my pump? Wow, that was Fine. I don't really remember anything. Besides that.


Stacey Simms  11:02

I remember when you were, and this might be the same story when you were in preschool. They told me that you were all kind of like lining up to go to the bathroom or something. And the kid behind you said, Hey, what's that and started to pull on it, and you turned around, and you were like, three? And you're like, that's my diabetes. And you were very straightforward. Like, don't mess around with that. Don't touch that. That's mine. Or I guess, like, touch my diabetes. You're like, but you were always we're very lucky because you were always very straightforward about it very open about it. And you never have seemed to minded


Benny  11:36

Well, yeah, no, I don't care. Like if you don't like me, because I have diabetes go away. You suck by God, what am I gonna say? Like, Oh, no, darn.


Stacey Simms  11:45

Well, you know, you're not self conscious about it, which I think is, is wonderful and made it easier for us. But I don't know how you teach that to somebody, right? You just have always been that way.


Benny  11:55

I just kind of like I need it. Don't touch it.


Stacey Simms  11:58

So I guess the answer is you've been very straightforward about it little humor, but mostly not hiding it and saying here it is.


Benny  12:03

Sometimes I trick my friends into thinking they're giving me insulin, I disconnect my pump and I give them the pump and they still think it's connecting. They go, can I kill you? I say yes. And then I let them give me like six units, and they think that I'm gonna die. And it's really funny. Why would you tell me that? Because it's funny.


Stacey Simms  12:20

Why that is terrible that your pumps all messed up, especially with Control IQ. We think I don't


Benny  12:25

do that much anymore. Okay. So like, once, once, once every other month. This is more like a fifth grade thing. Yeah. Please tell me you don't do that anymore. I do it like once. Maybe I did it once with Jackson.


Stacey Simms  12:37

I'm gonna kill you. Okay. Let's see. Dee writes as a teen athlete. What are your best tips to manage on your own during a sports event or overnight sports trips. We have a lot of those this year.


Benny  12:49

We have but I wasn't


Stacey Simms  12:50

competing. I know which is why I wasn't which is why it was very easy for me


Benny  12:55

to let you go. I don't think it's very smart to be on your own with anything. ports, you should have at least one person with you that knows what's going on. Just you know, just in case but like, if you are alone, which is again, not smart,


Stacey Simms  13:08

she means on your own without your mom or dad, because you're on a trip is not going to be like the coach is going to be there. The team is going to be there. So why don't you talk a little bit about what you told the kids when


Benny  13:18

I first joined the team coach made us all sit down and made me tell everyone what was up. Basically all I told them was I have diabetes. It sucks. If I faint there's a thing in the in the pouch that you stick up my nose or you go to coach or the athletic trainer. Don't let me die.


Stacey Simms  13:39

Well and when you go on overnights you're not alone in the room, but there's not an adult anymore. Yeah. So what do you tell the kids that are with you?


Benny  13:48

I tell them the thing like the the nasal spray thing. So like see me if I don't wake up or if I pass out, do that and then go get coach.


Stacey Simms  13:57

What do they say? Are they like okay, yeah, they don't Nobody seems freaked out in there.


Benny  14:02

I mean, a bunch of them are scared of needles and it's fun to mess around with them but


Stacey Simms  14:07

and I do send you you know you have a kit, we make sure that there's lots of food and drinks and all that stuff. And you have your snacks and your your Welch's fruit snacks. That's one thing that made it easier in a way last year you weren't competing because you had your knee injury. So I wasn't too worried about the ups and downs this coming year, assuming all goes well and you wrestle again. I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do for those first couple of overnights. Well, you said it like I was gonna ask you what to do. I'm not I'm either going to come near and stay nearby. Oh, no, dad,


Benny  14:43

if anyone's coming is that


Stacey Simms  14:44

that's a great idea your father can go. I don't think I would like I'm not gonna make you stay in the hotel room with me. You can still say with your friends, but especially with wrestling until we kind of figure out what your body's doing. I think it's really important to get a baseline and then get some protocols and figured out out from there, but I don't I don't intend to sit on You don't worry. I like this one. Kristen says, Is it true that Benny has the best mom ever?


Benny  15:08

No. Oh, you're off the show. No one has the best mom ever. It's literally not possible. There's like a couple billion moms. You know, Mother's Day is just passed.


Stacey Simms  15:20

But that was a missed opportunity, my friend.


Unknown Speaker  15:22



Benny  15:26

I mean, she's pretty good, but


not the best missed opportunity.


Stacey Simms  15:31

Best you ever had. Okay.


Right back to our conversation. And the next question is going to be advice. What would Benny tell his younger self? We'll get to that in just a minute. First, diabetes Connections is brought to you by Real Good Foods. And on their website. They have real reviews from real people, which makes sense because you know, this is all about real food. You feel real good about eating. And what's nice is with the record As you can see, it's not just people who eat super low carb or who eat keto. There are people who have celiac who can't eat grain. There are people who just love the way the food tastes right? There are people who talk about the airfryer, which is a great way to make so much of their food. It is delicious. We are big fans of their they can put this in the airfryer we're big fans of their new ice cream. And we really love the cauliflower crust pizzas as well, which do really well. In the airfryer find out more, just go to Diabetes and click on the Real Good Foods logo. Now back to my talk with Benny asking him your questions.


Mary says what advice would he tell a younger version of himself about being a teenager with diabetes? So I guess she means what would you say to yourself back


Benny  16:52

then? Keep doing what you're doing. You'll be fine.


Stacey Simms  16:56

I think that's an excellent advice.


Benny  16:57

Yeah, I was a pretty good child. Questions like, Oh, I wish I had depression. No, I was the best.


Stacey Simms  17:04

I think the only advice that you should give your younger self is, if you take your pump off to play football in the neighborhood. You might want to put it someplace smart like a mailbox, just because I lost it a couple of times worse,


Benny  17:17

just because I lost it a couple times. It doesn't mean you have to bring it up again. We always found it. Yeah, I'm pretty good. You're pretty good. Yeah. Your mother had to go your mother. Who is that? Oh,


Laura says does he have any good one liners when people ask about his tech? I'm a cyborg. You have so bad. And people believe me and it's really funny.


Stacey Simms  17:39

Okay, so here's an example. We'll go to someplace brand new and you make friends everywhere you go, which is


Benny  17:43

amazing. I'm kind of jealous of that. So we'll go to the beach where a smile. Yeah, we're just I just wear a smile, where it doesn't have to be real. Where I


Stacey Simms  17:52

smile. We'll go to the beach. And you will, you'll make friends but you have your shirt off your decks calm with the beginning. Put thing on, you know, either on your arm or your stomach. Do people ask about that? And they want to


Benny  18:04

tell him I'm a cyborg.


Stacey Simms  18:06

I'm so serious. And then do you kind of go into any more detail? Not if they don't ask. They just leave it at that. Most of them most of the time. They just leave it at that. That's funny. Okay, so this the next couple of questions came from a different Facebook groups. So while I know a lot of people in the podcast group, these came from a different on a group of moms with elementary school aged children, you know, saying this just as much for the listeners as I am for you. smart alec. has been he ever been bullied over having diabetes. So


Benny  18:36

let's talk about that. Then. No. Okay, unless I don't remember.


Stacey Simms  18:40

No, no. Let's talk about why you think you haven't been bullied about diabetes or picked on? I think part of that is because you were always a bigger kid. Right? So nobody was mad. No. As you listen, I've been trying to edit out that I'm saying And he keeps saying it so now we just have to leave it but but you were you were a bigger kid and you were a nice and fun kid. So nobody ever picked on you for much of anything. Right? I mean, I think the only time that we were in a quote bullying situation was when you were in like fifth grade and a little kid was so trying to pick on you. And you he was like it was like poking the bear with a stick. Luckily, you didn't you didn't take the bait. But I think one of the reasons why nobody picked on you is because nobody picked on you anyway. But also, you were so upfront about it. Yeah, that there was what are they gonna pick on you about


Benny  19:38

how your pancreas doesn't work? What if What a nerd


Unknown Speaker  19:42

but you were always there first to tell people about it and to explain and I was also like, the most popular kid in my elementary school. So


Benny  19:52

there's that too modest to ah, am I wrong?


No, I remember explaining At least there was a time where we were in the gym, and I was running around giving everybody high fives. And they were all chanting my name.


Stacey Simms  20:08

Well, that was I don't want to burst your bubble. There's fifth grade. Well, yeah, but it was also like a jdrf event.


Unknown Speaker  20:13

Oh, that was that school?


Stacey Simms  20:15

Oh, really? Yes. It was gonna be like one of the beam team. No, that that was


Benny  20:19

that was beam team at school.


Unknown Speaker  20:20

frayed right. I'm saying it was a purpose. Yeah, but I'm okay.


Stacey Simms  20:25

But that's a perfect example of how a diabetes thing made you feel great. Yes. And it's hard because I think some kids don't embrace it naturally, which I understand everybody's personality is different. I don't understand it. Well, you will when you grow up. But like, you know, your sister has a completely different personality. She's very introverted. She would not have enjoyed that. And I think she wouldn't have had the same experience you did. So as I'm talking as you're listening, I'm not talking to Betty right now as you're listening. I think it's harder for kids who are Shire, and I don't have that kind of advice so much because Benny's not that way.


Unknown Speaker  20:57

Some of the best. Well, you think you're the


Stacey Simms  20:58

best and as I said, And modest rude, but I think it's okay if your kid isn't out there saying I'm a cyborg and yeah, diabetes and get well not you never said da da da da let's rephrase, yay, beam team and jdrf and all that kind of good stuff when you were younger. I think it's okay if that doesn't happen. But I think that can also the more you keep it into yourself, the harder it can be when other people ask about it, and I think that can kind of lend itself to some difficult situations. Let's put it that way.


Benny  21:27

The lesson from all this tell everyone you have diabetes so you can't get bullied.


Stacey Simms  21:31

Well, I think it helps to be upfront about it. But you know, it's it's not my lessons. Your lessons better also be a big dude. always have a smile on your face. And I hate that you're thinking I'm talking about when you were like six or seven years I was still chunky.


Benny  21:47

I was cute though.


Stacey Simms  21:49

Hey, let's talk for a second because you're bringing it up. Let's talk about your


Benny  21:54

weight loss lost 50 pounds since the summer 50


Stacey Simms  21:56

pounds which is bananas.


Benny  22:00

Turn on, keep going.


Stacey Simms  22:01

Okay, that's fine. But can you talk about how you've done it a little bit only because as your mother, I was really worried when you start it, our dog is going crazy. I was really worried when you started because between diabetes and just body image and eating disorders and all this stuff, I was really concerned, but you seem to have done it in a really great way.


Benny  22:19

I'm gonna be so honest, I've absolutely no idea like how to describe what I did. I ate when I was hungry, but just enough, and then I drink a lot of water and Gatorade.


Stacey Simms  22:27

I can also chime in on just a little bit of what I observed. Because I was, you know, you know, I was making sure you were eating, you know, I was worried.


Benny  22:33



Stacey Simms  22:34

um, you seem to really just cut out empty calorie stacking. We never had a lot of junk food in the house, but you know, no crackers or you know, or things like that. And you stopped eating dessert. Not, not all the time, right. You do have dessert sometimes. But you really stopped eating when you're on the computer. Yeah. Because I think our house helped to now we didn't move until the beginning of March so you were already losing weight. The reason I bring up the new house is because In the old house, the playroom where you had your computer and stuff is right next to the kitchen. Yeah. So obviously it's really easy to snack. Yeah, but you get a lot of willpower and you stop that. But then we moved here. You have been away. The playroom is upstairs and the farthest corner of the house which is, which is great, because we have to hear you screaming. So do I know. But when you play Xbox, you're so loud and I don't really hear you until the hall has this quiet, dude, just don't scream. No, you


Benny  23:26

don't understand. Screaming it's part of the enjoyment.


Stacey Simms  23:28

But the point is, you've you've been able to have a lot of willpower. And also it's helped that you are farther away, but you eat dinner. You know, you eat breakfast, you eat food. It's really been amazing to see I would never have said you had 50 pounds to lose. So, you know, to me, you look you look really thin. Are you okay? I mean,


Benny  23:48

he's kilo. 15 pounds to lose.


Stacey Simms  23:49

Yeah, well, we're gonna talk about that off the year. With wrestling. We'll see


Benny  23:53

17 actually. All right.


Stacey Simms  23:54

The idea here is to be safe and be smart and get where you want to go without the interoceptive Okay, all right, you know, I'm right. We're gonna talk about that off the air. But, you know, the other things that comes with weight loss is you know, you're using a lot less insulin to, which has been really interesting to say, but you're doing great. Okay, and you need some new clothes.


Benny  24:13

Just an entire new wardrobe. I mean, we can't go shopping because of the quarantine stuff. So it's been wild.


Stacey Simms  24:20

I'm not taking you shopping. Okay, this is an interesting question. Elaine says, When did he start total self care, and then separately waking to CGM alarm. I don't wake up to CGM alarms.


Benny  24:32

Okay, I woke up to my blood sugar.


Stacey Simms  24:33

Oh, I was gonna say I know that. I was gonna say it wasn't true because I know you treat overnight and stuff so you feel that you wake up to your body. Yeah, I


Benny  24:39

never once woke up to an alarm. I'm a deep sleeper. When


Stacey Simms  24:45

I don't know because I'm not in your face all the time. But it seems to me that I've seen you go low and I know you treat and then you go back up. So you're waiting on wake up to alarm you're waking up because your body is alright. I've never woken up to an alarm. I will as the mom We'll let you say that I'm going to slightly disagree all


Benny  25:04

tell me about what happens if you wake up and you're filled up. And I'm sweaty. And I'm like this does not feel right. And then I stumble out of bed and if there's low stuff in my room, I take it and if not, I go downstairs and get juice and sit down there until my blood sugar goes back up.


When the dog comes, visits me, Oh, that's nice. When the dog comes as it comes visits,


Stacey Simms  25:25

that's nice when the dog comes to visit. I said I said, to answer the question here, too, we still use Dexcom. Share. We got the Dexcom when you were nine. We started share two years later when it came out. But we spent the first seven years of diabetes with no CGM.


Benny  25:41

That was scary. wasn't scary how we did it.


Stacey Simms  25:44

Well, you really you think that was scary?


Unknown Speaker  25:46

No, you don't remember it? Yeah.


Stacey Simms  25:48

How did we do it? We did it and it was a lot of blood sugar checks. We'll do a show on that sometime. Or at least a discussion of like the olden days, but I'll tell you what, I never really remember being scared. Well, that's not true. There was one time when you were low and you would not come up. That's when I was scared. But I knew you were low. Oh, well, it happened at home and then you threw up and you were fine. You just need to throw up and then retreated. And you were great. I don't know what that was all about. Well, you're gonna say,


Benny  26:15

so I had a counselor at a CCT diabetes camp. Yeah, name, Chris. And the entire week his blood sugar was just like 60 I remember that. He was not like a big dude. Like he was a tiny scrawny little dude. And he ate so much food. And his blood sugar just didn't go up.


Stacey Simms  26:35

Now. I remember he telling me about that. It's crazy. Maybe he needed to throw up


Benny  26:40

there, but it was the entire week. It's crazy. Like I had never seen a person eat so much food. And his blood sugar just didn't go up.


Stacey Simms  26:48

But it didn't go down. Right? It just


Benny  26:50

it was just 60 it was like 60 to 65 the entire week.


Stacey Simms  26:55

Well, the thing I was getting to with CGM is that I used to check You overnight when you were very little. And then as you got a little older, we would only check you overnight if we'd had a weird day, like we just knew something was going on, or you know you were very active. But I also went to work at 330 in the morning, so I would check you at 3am. When I got up, it was kind of easy. That was I wouldn't in my head. That wasn't an overnight check, because I was getting up to go to work. But obviously it was an overnight check. So when you got to CGM, and now that we have share, you might not wake up to the alarms, but I do so I mean, with Control IQ. And with our living situation with you upstairs here. I think I've treated one overnight low. And it was a compression though, right? You were laying on your CGM and I came upstairs and just enrolled you over and went from there. But to answer Elaine's question for real is he hasn't started total self care. No, no. Well, I don't think it's appropriate. You're 15 years old, and you're wonderful, you're independent. I could send you away for a week with anybody and you'd be fine. But in terms of real true self care, we're saving that minute do that it can you do that? A Ken Coleman right. But we're saving self care really here at home until your senior year of high school to give you a year at least maybe. Well, that isn't always talking about that's nice that he thinks that was that really threw dead under the bus. Yeah, well, that's what I do. I were thinking senior year, you're only a freshman. You're finishing your freshman year here. So we're we're still working on it. But I think senior year is good. And yeah, you do total self care when you go to camp Coleman, which is your regular month long camp.


Benny  28:30

The stories I could tell about the nurses. Well, some interesting ones. There's


Stacey Simms  28:35

a medical staff there but not a diabetes staff. So


Benny  28:38

there's a couple that are very good, though. Yes, that's a story for another But no, she only has to stay for two weeks.


Stacey Simms  28:43

We love Karen. Okay, so the best


Benny  28:45

she's the only Karen I like


Stacey Simms  28:46

no that's me. Like how can my best friend grant was a Karen weird name. All right. What were the most helpful accommodations for us school asks Heidi, I'm going to be very interested in what you say here. Repeat. What were the most helpful accommodate for you at school,


Benny  29:01

What was her name Miss? Oh, Miss Hyman Simon?


Stacey Simms  29:05

Yeah. Okay, so Miss Iman was absolutely. I guess the school called her a floater. She was a teaching assistant, who in kindergarten would come in and help you know, she was like the our elementary school always had a teacher and a teacher's assistant for kindergarten, but in first grade they did not have that. Your first grade teacher though, who was a take charge and take care of business lady. Oh, Harrigan, Miss Harrigan? Yeah, she was like, we are not fooling around with this. We need more help. So she got permission to have this time and float in and out and do and help you with your blood sugar checks. And then by the end of first grade, there was another kid by the beginning of second grade, there were four kids in elementary school and Miss Hyman was like the diabetes lady. And she would just help. That's so nice that you remember that?


Benny  29:51

I remember. Like I was with her all the way to like third grade.


Stacey Simms  29:55

Yeah, well, she left the school it was in


Benny  29:57

first grade to third grade.


Stacey Simms  29:58

Yeah. And then you Didn't you really didn't need any of the diabetic nurse? Oh, Julie, who has diabetes? Yeah, she was on the islet cell thing, right? Yes. She had an islet cell transplant. She's been on the show before. So as you listen, yeah, she told all about her islet cell transplant. And yeah, she's a really interesting story. So we'll, I'll link that up in the show notes. You can go back and listen to that past episode. Like Kumbaya,


Unknown Speaker  30:21

like if I Oh, yeah.


Benny  30:24

Um, do you have merge? conflict? The merge?


Stacey Simms  30:26

I don't have any marks. Yeah, one of these days I have my book. The thing that's nice about my book,


Benny  30:31

Lincoln bio,


Stacey Simms  30:33

Instagram, it's audio.


Um, but I would say for accommodations, we had a very, very light 504 plan. And our 504 plan revolved almost all about testing. Because in our school district, unlike many school districts, we actually had a written out diabetes management plan, and every child with diabetes whether you're on a pump or shots or whatever you would Have a de m MP diabetes medical management plan. And you had to fill that out. So that was kind of like your 504.


Benny  31:06

I have a question. Yes, of course, if like, let's say my 504 says I have to have my phone with me, right? Yes. And a teacher takes my phone.


Stacey Simms  31:13

Yes. What do you do? That's a great question. If you felt that your health is at immediate risk, I would excuse yourself and go to the administration office and call me. If you felt your test was at risk. I would take the test. And then upon completion, I would like does that teacher get in trouble? Like what happens? Oh, it depends on the school district. If it was a mistake, it depends on the parent. Okay, so let's say that happened to you. And you were like, I took the test anyway. Okay, and you got a 95 on the test. Okay. I would go into school. And I would say or call the school and I would say, Hey, I understand there's a misunderstanding. Let's talk about it. Let's talk through it. And I would escalate if she was like, if she was great and said, Oh, my God, I'm so sorry. I didn't realize that's one thing. She says. That's outrageous. You couldn't possibly then I escalate, right? We go to the next person, we go to the next person and this person, let's say you take the test, you get to 65. I would lobby for that score to be thrown out. And you could retake the test. We've never had to do that. Because everybody's good. Yeah, everybody's been very cooperative and accommodating. But I'm all for fighting for you. But I wouldn't start out with a fight. Yeah, I would start out with a Hey, what happened? and go from there. But I don't think it's fair to make you totally advocate for yourself.


Benny  32:29

I would hope you would. I mean, oh, yeah. No, if I knew something was wrong, I would leave the class I'd be like, ministration something's wrong.


Unknown Speaker  32:37

Right. me right.


Stacey Simms  32:38

Like if your blood sugar was high, and they wouldn't let you see the nerve. Here's a really good example. And let's not name the teacher. You used to have migraines. Oh my God, when you were growing up.


Unknown Speaker  32:50

Your teacher didn't believe you.


Benny  32:52

Even after I threw up right in front of her.


Stacey Simms  32:53

Well, I think that was that was the action I was gonna say. What do you think you did that made her listen a little throw up right in front of her threw up in the classroom. I'm right in front of her all over the books. Now, if you were not in the what was that fourth grade? Okay, so let's say you were a freshman in high school, you probably would have left a classroom and vomited in the bathroom and then gone to the nurse. But because you were in fourth grade, and you were probably really nervous to leave, or, you know, there's all these things going on. It's really unfortunate that had to happen. But, you know, it's good to talk about, but back to accommodations, because we have the diabetes medical management plan, which spells out how diabetes was treated, and also said things like, you know, you have to leave the classroom to the bathroom, you're not limited to water, how much water you can drink, all that kind of stuff that was laid out our school district, which is a huge one in the Charlotte area is wonderful about that. So our 504 was all about how he's going to take tests. And we started it in. I had a 504 plan, but we never really used it because of the testing situations. Don't ever use it. Well. Yes, you do. It didn't come into play until third grade finals, right into grade. So in third grade, we started kind of testing at different ways. Big to take tests, the beginning of grade tests. So we decided for For Benny, he wouldn't do anything differently except he's allowed to have his phone with him. He doesn't need his phone right now, really, because your pump has everything on it. But you still take it in, I assume you lay it on the desk at the front of the classroom, sometimes you'll keep it your pocket. Well, so


Benny  34:13

normal testing, like not finals and stuff. It's just in my pocket. But teachers are like, just don't cheat, but during and agree, like finals and stuff when like they like go and collect your phone. I just like, it depends on who's there. Sometimes it's just don't cheat, or sometimes I'll keep it at the front of the class. And if it buzzes, I'll tell you.


Stacey Simms  34:31

Yeah, I think for us, we're gonna find out this year about accommodations for the AC T and the SA T, and things like that. And that'll be an interesting thing to go through as well. If your child is diagnosed younger, this is really easy. Because you you figure it out as they get older. Right. And by the time they're in middle school, I think High School is when testing really starts counting. But I mean, it counts in middle school too. But by the time they're old enough to take these tests that really matter. Yeah, you're understanding what they need because some kids need a lot more money. than you do, your blood sugar doesn't skyrocket because of test stress. We have friends who they walk into their final exam and their blood sugar goes to 300. Really? Yeah. But I think right in terms of most important accommodation, I would say it's actually on the parents side. And that is being able to work with the school as a team, being able to go into those meetings and say, I want to be I want to work as a team. I want to see how this goes like let's work together, which sounds very Kumbaya and woowoo. But it really helps it helps me rather than going in and saying, I'm gonna fight for my kids rights. Like there are a lot of situations, unfortunately, where you do have to fight. But you know, going in without guns blazing is very dark principles.


Benny  35:37



Stacey Simms  35:38

Well, your elementary school principal was he loved you.


Benny  35:41

I was his favorite. I don't know he was he didn't name favorites, but I was


Stacey Simms  35:44

he was fascinated with diabetes. He was really interesting. I mean, he wasn't he wasn't fascinated, in a weird way. But he just he admired the kids with type one. He really did. I was his favorite. Well.


Benny  35:55

He didn't say


Stacey Simms  35:56

he really admired what you guys were doing. It was interesting. School. Yes, your school counselor was great. He was a good guy. He and he did our 504 plans, we would meet with him to go to the fiber floors and he was he was very nice.


Benny  36:09

He was the guy that like if you got to go into his office, you were one of the cool kids.


Stacey Simms  36:15

We were very lucky to have a great Elementary School. Okay, and has been principal


Benny  36:19

had a lifted red Jeep. Like how much cooler does it get than that? I guess cool was an elementary school. Principal is the eye of the beholder.


Stacey Simms  36:29

has been he had burnout. If So when did he have it? How long did it last? And how did he deal with it?


Benny  36:33

Yes, yes.


Stacey Simms  36:34

Yes. Ever? Yes. So explain.


Benny  36:37

I don't want to do diabetes. Too much work.


Unknown Speaker  36:39

You get that often.


Benny  36:41

Yes. But how do you deal with it? video games?


Unknown Speaker  36:44

Do you just change the subject? Yeah.


Benny  36:46

I find that most of the time I just go Oh, well. It is what it is.


Stacey Simms  36:50

Well, I find it interesting cuz I wouldn't have said you've reached a lot of burnout.


Benny  36:53

Like I have my own opinions about that. I have been able to shoulder shrug a lot of things


Stacey Simms  36:59

like kind of compartmentalize. I don't know what that means, like, put it in the back of your brain and move on with your life. Yeah. So what helps you should play video games? Is that also like, just you're with your friends? Yeah. Do you ever talk to people from Camp or no? Well, you mentioned Justin and Jeffrey early on, is it? Like knowing that they're there? You'd have to call them?


Benny  37:18

I mean, I guess but like, I've never been the kid that's like, and life is terrible. I gotta just like, yeah, it is what it is.


Stacey Simms  37:27

All right, I have two examples that I want to bring up and see how you react. And we don't have to share these two examples. The first is when you were about 10. And you want them to take a pump break. Do you remember that at all? Yeah. What was going on? Like, can you share anything about that?


Benny  37:41

I remember talking to Michael. And like, the pens just seemed a lot easier. But then I was like, wait, there's too much math.


Stacey Simms  37:49

Well, your pump requested about three days, but that's when you started because


Benny  37:51

I was like, wait, there's too much math.


Stacey Simms  37:52

Yeah. And that's when you started giving yourself your own injections. Because you had only used us we don't use syringes. Remember before that, I don't


Benny  37:59

ya Yeah, I remember when I was like four.


Stacey Simms  38:04

And so to switch to an insulin pen seems really scary to you, but you did it, which was awesome. And it's helped us a lot since then there's too much math. Yeah. And there's also too many shots because you'd eat breakfast, then you'd get in the car and want an apple. You'd be like, what I do another shot. But then the other time, I wouldn't call it burnout. But we had I actually wrote about this in the in the book, you had a really bad night, you had a night where everything hurt, your inset hurt your Dexcom hurt. I think you had to do the same night. You're doing both and it was tough. You were really upset about it. And those things happen. I think it's important to acknowledge even for a happy kid like us, that was a terrible night.


Benny  38:40

But tomorrow morning, I was fine. The next morning, tomorrow. Ya know why?


Stacey Simms  38:47

But really can do mine. You don't have to share about it. But can you talk a little bit about?


Benny  38:51

I remember one time, like my incident didn't work like three times and then my Dexcom didn't work like twice. I gave up and I was like, I'll do it. The morning


Stacey Simms  39:02

that was the week that you actually met Rodney, the pan guy who we already mentioned him he was the first question dangling. I love Rodney and, and Colt Scott, the American Ninja Warrior dude. So we met them a couple nights later because we were out to dinner and you didn't talk about the night that you were so upset. But I think don't


Benny  39:20

remember what we talked about. I remember is Ronnie eating a lot. And I was. It was really fun.


Didn't barbecue there too.


Yeah. It was a fun night.


Stacey Simms  39:29

Yeah, but I think that just helps to kind of breathe the same air as other people with diabetes. Even though you've had a crummy night, it helps to be with your people because your mommy is helpful, but only to a certain extent. All right, I don't know that you can answer this question, but this is one of the last ones. Okay. How did you realize like, when did you realize you had diabetes? And how did you feel about it? You know, I can't answer that. I just I've just always had it. This mom says I keep wondering for those who are diagnosed early like my daughter with the healthiest way of thinking about it is and how I can help with that.


Benny  39:58

It's life. What are you going to do?


Stacey Simms  40:00

Well, I think a non 15 year old person answering that question a parent might say, I think that there are ways of explaining it that change, because there's different age appropriate ways of talking about it. When Ben he was teeny tiny right after he was diagnosed, my parents got him a Curious George doll, who we'd love Curious George, and he's just not better. Right. And we thought that he would do like imaginative play, right demo demonstrative play right here. I'm gonna give he did not do that with the curious church, but he did. Oh, yeah. And so Elmo got shots. Elmo had juice boxes, Mo got insets


Benny  40:34

mo love juice boxes,


Stacey Simms  40:35

right Elmo love juice boxes. And that's something that helps kids process that they have diabetes when they're very young. And as he got older, we would read stories, we would tell other people, we did a presentation for your class every year that changed as you got older. And then we started talking about age appropriate stuff. So when you're talking about like independence, what has to be done? When you're talking about driving what has to be done right Later, we'll talk about about when you're living by yourself, right? Well think about it as a parent, how much?


Benny  41:04

It's fine. You guys have no responsibilities,


Stacey Simms  41:08

I'm going to touch on driving just a little, because somebody did ask about that. You're doing really well with driving. But you


Benny  41:14

want to talk about what you have to do before you drive. I checked my Dexcom.


Stacey Simms  41:18

And right, that's it, you check your blood sugar. If you're below 80, you can't drive. That's our simple rule. And we have to make sure there's stuff in the car. And I'll be honest with you, I'm going to make sure that you have low stuff in your car for the first year or two because it's just like anything else. You have to learn. You have to get used to it, they'll be independent. So with driving that's, that's I'm terrified, but not really because of diabetes, but you're pretty good driver,


Benny  41:39

the best


Stacey Simms  41:40

and modest to I am honest,


Benny  41:43

like I'm really modest. All right, and then


Stacey Simms  41:44

do you do any diabetes goals in the next couple of years like are there certain now


Unknown Speaker  42:00

You're listening to diabetes connections with Stacey Sims.


Stacey Simms  42:05

See, Why weren't you about how we are to each other, I can't believe I said, I hate you there at the end. Oh, although I gotta say, Oh my goodness, I am going to play a little bit more at the end of the show the very end so you can understand what I was putting up with for a lot of that interview and some of the stuff that we had to take out, but I hope some of that helped you. I'm also going to link up a few of our previous interviews with Benny, I've talked to him a couple of times on the show. And it's interesting. Not only is his voice changed a lot as you can imagine, but just to hear how things have changed. I'll do that at the episode homepage. There is always a transcription. I have no idea what this transcriptions gonna look like the first time I run it through the computer. That's gonna be fun, but we'll put that there as well. And update. Interestingly, after this interview, he really did agree to stop taking the true Seba. So for the first time in almost two years, we started the trustee but in August of 2018, he is not taking long acting With his pump it because his insulin needs have gone down so much, obviously with the weight loss, but also with puberty. He loves what I talked about that, and I'll keep you posted on how that's going. I'll tell you what, so far what he's not eating. It is amazingly steady just like it has him with Control IQ. It's maybe on average, 10 to 15 points lower. So if he was running at like 110, he's now running at 85, that sort of thing, because just that little bit more control of the algorithm is really helping, at least in the short run. But for the last two days, I swear that kid has forgotten to bolus for every single meal, everything he eats. I don't know what's going on. But I'm trying not to make a big deal about it. We're just gonna move on. We're just gonna remind we're not gonna nag. I'm sure he would say something different. All right. Well, anyway, I'll keep you posted on that, but he really is doing great. And I like that he comes on and talks about diabetes, even if it may not be what I want to hear or I want you to hear something. Tell me something good in just a moment, but first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dexcom when Benny was very little, and in the bathtub or at the pool, I always noticed his fingertips. I mean, you know exactly what I mean, right? When you've got diabetes and you're checking and checking and checking and poking and poking, when your fingertips get wet, somebody in the community called it Franken fingers. They were just full of little pinprick holes that you could really, really see. And you know, he is 15 I don't see his hands too much. Although I did peek when he was looking at the microphone and hanging out in the studio here, studio. Well, it is a studio, it's my office. I noticed and his endo looks at them every single time we go in that they are just normal. They are not those Franken fingers anymore. I mean, we've been using Dexcom for almost six and a half years now. And with every new iteration, we've done fewer and fewer finger sticks. The G six eliminates finger sticks for calibration and diabetes treatment decisions. Just thinking about doing 10 finger sticks a day, which is what we did in the past. I mean that was pretty every day makes me so glad that the Dexcom has helped us come so far. It's An incredible tool. If your glucose alerts and readings from the G six do not match symptoms or expectations, use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions, learn more, go to Diabetes and click on the Dexcom logo.


And tell me something good this week, a quick book update, not my book, but some other terrific books in the diabetes community. And these are books that have been out for a while that are highly recommended. And we all pass them around to each other, but they're getting updates. And I think it's really important because Gosh, think about how much has changed just in the last couple of years. So the first one I want to tell you about is understanding diabetes. This is better known as The Pink Panther book. I still have no idea why the Pink Panther is involved in this. And it's the actual Pink Panther. I mean, they had to have gotten a trademark but if you've seen this book, you know what I'm thinking. This was the first thing I thought when they handed it to me in the hospital. Why is the Pink Panther affiliated here, but that's a mystery for another time, I suppose. Anyway, they're on the 13th edition which you Come get us a discount because the 14th edition is coming out this summer. This is put on by the children's diabetes foundation. I will link this up in the show notes so that you can order a new book, let your endo know as well, if they're interested and it does come in Spanish. It is also available in an ebook form in a Kindle, so you can get them in lots of different ways. The Pink Panther books, the mystery continues though as to why that character How do they get the trademark anyway? All right, the next book is think like a pancreas, which is a must have, in my opinion, A Practical Guide to managing diabetes with insulin. Gary doesn't need my seal of approval here he is already the number one new release in nutrition and medical health sciences on Amazon. But I think this is really important because I recommend this book all the time. And this is the newest update for it. It's a paperback and an E textbook. And as the description says the all in one comprehensive resource for the millions of people living with diabetes who use insulin. The updates here include, as you would expect new medications, new technologies, injection devices, dietary recommendations. We've had Gary on the show many times he describes himself as a human guinea pig, because he lives with type one and he tries all of these devices, but he also talks about the science behind them in ways that I think is really clear. If you've listened to my interviews with Gary, you know, I generally feel kind of like a goofball. When I talk to him, he's very calming as well. If you haven't gotten this book before, highly recommended. If you have and you're looking for the update, probably the textbook is your best bet and I will link that up in the show notes as well. And finally, and tell me something good, lots of graduations to celebrate. Of course they're not the usual graduations people got very creative with how to celebrate their kids this year, but I know a lot of you were hoping for bigger ceremonies and more tradition. I want to take a moment to highlight just one of the many valedictorians that were spotlighted in some of these Facebook groups that I saw Jeremy bright was valedictorian and thank you so much to his parents for letting me share his story. Jeremy was diagnosed with type one at age 14 and he has a scholarship to Florida Polytechnic University to study computer science this fall. And once Jeremy's parents posted about him in this Facebook group, several other people chimed in with my tea Wendy is a valedictorian as well and you know, they kind of went and listed a few other kids didn't get permission to share their names and or their stories and and that's okay, but I think it's great that so many kids are at least getting the credit that they're due for working so hard through high school I don't know about you guys but it seems sometimes that for these kids I know the workload on my daughter High School was almost worse than college maybe it's just the pressure of you know, they have to do so well and I tried to eat that off for my daughter, but man it is hard when all the high schools are telling them you know, take this class get this college credit all these tests AC t sad. Oh, all right, just a little bit of editorial on my part and we shall see Right with all the wackiness that's happening this year with some colleges not you know, counting the standardized tests, we'll see what happens going forward. But anyway, congratulations to these great kids. If you have a Tell me something good story, please let me know you can reach out Stacy at Diabetes post in the Facebook group, you know, send a carrier pigeon, whatever it takes. I would love to feature your child or you in our Tell me something good segment.


Before I let you go, it's worth noting that we are right at the five year anniversary of the podcast I had Episode 300. A couple weeks ago, I made a bigger deal about that. The five year milestone is something I'm sure I'll mark on social media and talk about a little bit but I'm bringing it up here because well first of all, I can't believe it's been five years. I can't believe that I'm still doing this. I didn't have a timeline in mind when I started the podcast but I don't think I thought five years later I'd still be doing it and loving it as much as I do and it would still be growing but I bring it up because If you're listening to this point in the show, then you are a true listener. And I appreciate that. And I would urge you to please join the Facebook group Diabetes Connections, the group, I'm going to be doing some polling in the next couple of weeks. I'm not sure what we're going to do with the podcast in 2021. And I know it's a little bit early to start thinking about it. But I plan for the next year. I mean, in terms of sponsors, let's be frank, I usually have all that sewn up by August or September. And I don't want to be in a situation where I decide to make some changes. And then I'm scrambling at the end of the year. So I'm going to be asking questions like you know, frequency length, what do you want to hear? I think after five years, it's time to take a tough look at this like a hard look at it and decide what do we really want to do? Where are we going with this right? And if it stays the same, fantastic. I love doing it. But if there's something that you would prefer to hear, you know, maybe it's all technology news, maybe we go once every two weeks, but we only do news updates, that sort of thing. Maybe you really like the personal stories and we stay with that we do a mix. Maybe we make up Longer show a shorter show, you know, there's lots of options. But I want to hear from you. So please watch for surveys over the next couple of weeks. But you got to be in that group. I'm not going to make these public. I don't want people who don't listen weighing in. I mean, come on. And I really can't thank you enough, five years later, to have as much fun as I'm having and to keep doing this and hearing from people who enjoy it. That's the best. Thank you as always, to my editor john Buchanan's from audio editing solutions for making sense of this week's interview and everything else that he does. And thank you so much for listening. I'm Stacey Simms. I'll see you back here next week. Until then, be kind to yourself.


Unknown Speaker  51:41

Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Sims media. All rights reserved. All rounds avenged


Stacey Simms  52:04

You can you can take that to your room when we are done.


Unknown Speaker  52:09



Unknown Speaker  52:11

No, take it with you Why? And I


Stacey Simms  52:13

have a place to put it or leave it over there because I'm going to throw it away. If I well why would I keep it I take that two places with me like here. Let me interview with a man with a microphone that's been inside my son's mouth. I think you would love it especially in this day and age.


Transcribed by

May 19, 2020

Dr. Nat Strand is an anesthesiologist who lives with type 1 and a mom of two young children. She just contributed to a paper all about pain management guidelines in this difficult time, when many people can’t see their doctors to face to face. You also may know her as the winner The Amazing Race in 2010. Of course we also talk about having T1D and that crazy travel show!

Check out Stacey's new book: The World's Worst Diabetes Mom!

In Tell Me Something Good: virtual events, fire fighters and a lego master

Join the Diabetes Connections Facebook Group!

This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.

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Have a diabetes product or something to promote to the community? Check out Stacey's new Book to Clinic program. She's looking for sponsors - this program fits just about any budget.


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Episode Transcription: 

Stacey Simms  0:00

Diabetes Connections is brought to you by One Drop created for people with diabetes by people who have diabetes by Real Good Foods real food you feel good about eating and by Dexcom take control of your diabetes and live life to the fullest with Dexcom.


Announcer  0:20

This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.


Stacey Simms  0:25

This week, Dr. Natalie Strand is an anesthesiologist who was diagnosed with type one as a teen. And she says people who live with chronic pain and people who live with diabetes have a lot in common.


Dr. Nat Strand  0:39

and we may think the person who lives with it is thinking about all day long with every activity you know before they go to bed when they wake up in the morning, but the people around them even loved ones, you know and household. kind of forget because you look healthy.


Stacey Simms  0:53

Dr. Strand just contributed to a paper all about pain management guidelines in this difficult time when many people Can't see their doctors face to face. You may also know her as the winner of The Amazing Race in 2010. Of course, we talked about having type one and that crazy travel Show. I'm a huge fan By the way.

In Tell me something good: virtual events, firefighters and a Lego master. This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.

Welcome to another week of the show. I'm so glad to have you along. I know Stacey Simms. We aim to educate and inspire about type 1 diabetes by sharing stories of connection. And I am so excited to finally talk to Nat Strand. I can't believe that we haven't crossed paths before. I'm a huge fan of the amazing races. I mentioned I started watching it in 2001 when I was pregnant with my daughter, and I actually remember the commercials when it was like coming soon. And then of course September 11 happened and how are they going to be able to do this they thought the show might not have a second Season. So, gosh, that was such a long time ago. But it is amazing to see that even with COVID-19, which stopped the show again, they're going to be continuing that in the future.

But that's neither here nor there. I mean, we're talking to Dr. Strand about pain management her life with type one. And of course, we'll talk about the amazing race as well, but she wanted with her partner and fellow doctor in 2010. So taking a look back, I want to bring you up to date before we get to the interview about something new that I just announced really a couple of days ago on social media, and that is my book to clinic program. Of course, the book is the world's worst diabetes mom. And one of the things that I have found really fascinating is that although I am obviously a lay person who wrote an advice book for parents of kids with Type One Diabetes, I've been really fascinated by two things. One is that adults with type one are buying and reading the book and then giving it to their parents to talk about, you know, their childhood if they were diagnosed as a kid or wants to learn Learn more about the parent perspective, which I thought was fascinating. But I'm also hearing from diabetes educators and endocrinologists who have told me and I know I sound surprised here and this is genuine. I'm not trying to make this silly. They have told me that they have learned things from the book. And you know, when you think about it, it really isn't a surprise, because it's the layperson perspective. These are things you do not learn in medical school, right? These are things you learn when you mess up diabetes, when you're at the beach, you're in the car. It's the middle of the night, you're macgyvering stuff together. This is stuff you've learned when you live with type one.

And to that end, a few clinics reached out and said, Can we have copies of the book to give away and so I started a new program, it is called book to clinic. Bottom line, I'm looking for sponsors to pay for these books, so we can get them to people who need them. It's very reasonable. It's a very easy system. I will put more in the show notes and there's a video that's on social media you can see the whole thing and how it works. big thank you to my first two sponsors because the books have already gone to clinic. Thanks to T one d 3d year, and Big thanks to frio so you know I really appreciate the faith that they have shown and if you have a product or a blog or another podcast and you're looking for some very reasonable advertising that is targeted to an audience that is looking for you, please let me know and you can reach out to Stacey at Diabetes I’m really excited about it. It's one of those things that you just don't expect to happen. But you know what, we'll see where it goes.

Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Real Good Foods, and they have already new ice cream flavors. We love their ice cream and they're kind of hard to get right now. they've they've silted up a couple of flavors. But man they are so yummy. I cannot wait to try the mocha Java chip ice cream. I'm a huge fan of coffee and chocolate and their original flavors that we tried way back when beginning of March. I think we did that Facebook Live where Benny and I tried the ice creams. They were so delicious. We really liked them in chocolate chip, everybody in my household Loved the peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream or big peanut butter people. The new flavor sound amazing. I mentioned the mocha Java chip, the cake better ice cream. My kids love that. And something called super premium almond charcoal ice cream. That sounds amazing. So let me know what you think if you've sampled the new flavors, we haven't been able to try them yet, but I'm really excited and of course Real Good Foods has real good food. They have a whole line of high protein, low carb grain free gluten free. Good for a keto diet if that's your thing. Everything from cauliflower crust pizza to stuffed chicken and breakfast sandwiches, find out more Just go to Diabetes and click on the Real Good Foods logo.

If you've already heard of my guest this week, chances are you're a big fan of The Amazing Race TV show. Dr. Nat Strand won the whole thing in 2010, part of the first all female team to cross the finish line first, along with her friend and race partner, Dr. Cat Chang. Dr. Strand is also the first winner with diabetes and she might really think We'll be the only contestant to compete with type one. I started watching The Amazing Race. As I mentioned when I was pregnant with my daughter and I have been meaning to talk to that for a long time. I'm so thrilled we finally worked it out. She's an anesthesiologist and a pain medicine specialist working at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. Recently, she contributed to a paper on caring for patients with pain. During the COVID-19 pandemic. She was diagnosed with type one at age 12. So we have a lot to talk about. Here is my interview with Dr. Nat Strand.

Dr. Strand, thank you so much for joining me. I am excited to learn from you and to hear your story. I followed you for years on social media. So thanks for coming on.


Dr. Nat Strand  6:42

Oh, well, thank you so much for having me. It's an absolute pleasure,


Stacey Simms  6:45

so much to talk about. We will get to the stories and living with diabetes and your diagnosis story. I want to start out and just jump right in with what caught my eye recently, which is a study to what you contributed about caring for Patients with pain during this pandemic. I don't know that you can really share too much about the study. But I'm curious like, you know, your anesthesiologist, let me start with asking you what are you seeing right now? What's going on in your world,


Dr. Nat Strand  7:14

where I'm located in Phoenix, Arizona, we are thankfully not experiencing the surge that we thought we were going to have. So four to six weeks ago, there was a lot of work as far as preparing on a community level. All the hospitals governor mandates to increase capacity of hospital beds, things of that nature. So we were certainly preparing for a surge. But I think a lot of people in our community have made personal sacrifices with the social distancing and the stay at home. And I think that that has helped us flatten the curve, as I say, not quite bend the curve because we're still increasing cases here but flattened the curves. Right now. What I do is practice pain medicine, we largely transition to telemedicine to avoid face to face visits and allow patients to access health care. While they stayed safe at home, so predominantly in the last few weeks, I have been treating my patients with telemedicine.


Stacey Simms  8:08

And how does that work? Because I would imagine that pain management is already a very delicate balance. You know, we hear about, Oh, you don't want to take too much of this medication or you can get addicted. And then when people are concerned about not seeing their doctor face to face, you've got to be worried about well, are they even managing their pain? Or are they suffering? Can you share a little bit about how it's been going?


Unknown Speaker  8:27

You know, I think for the most part, it's been excellent. With two way real time, audio and visual, I think you can get a good sense of how patients are doing. And as far as managing medications, you know, certainly the opioid crisis was there before we call the pandemic that the word crisis is still there during the COVID pandemic. So, you know, it's not the answer isn't just to prescribe a bunch of opioids. Now, some people benefit from it, but a lot of people can do manage with other texts. Consider that the anti inflammatories, neuropathic pain medications, lifestyle alterations, weight loss therapy and even with you know, the social distancing and stay at home, there's a lot of physical therapy that you can do from home too. So I think this challenge in medicine is really forcing our hand taking advantage of telemedicine and taking advantage of remote care and certainly providing access without being face to face now we are now open for elective procedures in Arizona so we are able to keep patients face to face but for a period of time there we really were forced to jump on the telemedicine bandwagon, maybe a little sooner than most of us were prepared to do that. I've been very pleased with the ability to offer access to patients, especially patients who are at higher risk, whether that be due to health concerns or age or even for patients that have to travel long distances to see a physician. So I think easing the burden on those patients and their situations to allow a little bit lower barrier to entry. healthcare access has


Stacey Simms  10:01

pardon my ignorance on this question, but when I think of seeing a doctor for pain management, and fortunately, I haven't had to have a lot of that in my life. So again, I'm ignorant on this. I don't think of an anesthesiologist. Right as the person that I would see I think of you all in the operating room.


Dr. Nat Strand  10:18

You're not alone. You know, when you do a residency in anesthesiology, you basically spend three years after your internship focusing on ICU level care, operative care, regional anesthesia, select nerve boss, epidural catheters, those kinds of things. So you become an expert at acute pain management, both with medication bandwidth intervention, so there's a fellowship option afterwards. And one of those planners either you can go into ob anesthesia, you can go into cardiac anesthesia, you can go into intensive care, you can also go into interventional pain medicine, so you kind of utilize that and there's a small skill set you developed during the anesthesia residency to further hone that Then focus on mega spinal injections, radiofrequency ablation of the spine or large joints, implantation of spinal cord stimulators or implantable pain pumps. So, you know, it doesn't seem like a natural progression at first glance, definitely. But when we kind of think about what we do in the bar and how that can translate to an office setting for chronic pain patients who kind of come to the bridge to the specialty,


Stacey Simms  11:27

yeah, yeah, of course, that makes sense. So tell me about this study. Because this is all about caring for patients with pain during the pandemic, not necessarily patients with COVID-19. This is something that is more of a guide for physicians,


Dr. Nat Strand  11:42

who's our recommendation, we worked with the American Society of we China presenting medicine to put out recommendations and then we also the paper you're referencing with that International Paper with the European society, of regional anesthesia also, and we just kind of want a different side provides some guidance during this pandemic early on, know how to handle urgent procedures, semi urgent procedures, you know, what was the risk of using steroids? You know, what can we do to manage our patients that were on chronic opioid therapy. So they really was sort of a set of guidelines after discussion of a panel of international pain medicine experts.


Stacey Simms  12:22

It does seem that chronic pain as I read through a little bit of the study, you know, just the introduction, things like that. It seems like chronic pain is so debilitating, especially for older people. I know we're a diabetes podcast, we're going to talk about diabetes in just a moment.


Unknown Speaker  12:37

But is there


Stacey Simms  12:38

you know, any advice that you would give someone who is suffering who feels like I don't think there's something for me? I've had this pain for so long. I'm afraid of being addicted. You know, we hear all those stories. Any reassurance?


Dr. Nat Strand  12:48

Absolutely. And one thing I want to say, You reminded me we talked about the food diary podcast. I think we're a lot of similarities between living with chronic pain and dealing with diabetes. I mean, they're totally different disease states. But if you talk about an invisible disease, that the person who lives with it is thinking about all day long with every activity, you know, before they go to bed when they wake up in the morning, but the people around them even loved ones, you know, a thing household, kind of forget because you look healthy or you look okay, you know, so yeah, that experience of living with diabetes is very similar to the experience of living with chronic pain.


Stacey Simms  13:27

That's really interesting, especially and even to my question of people are almost afraid to speak out because they're afraid they won't be taken seriously, or they'll be blamed. I didn't even think about that.


Dr. Nat Strand  13:38

Yeah, I mean, and, you know, you don't want to be a complainer or you want to put on a happy face. You feel like it's not interesting to other people, because it's the same thing it was yesterday and so, you know, I think living with diabetes myself, I bring a lot of that to counseling people who live with chronic pain because I get it, you know, and a lot of times they feel really, you can tell they can feel like, Oh my God, that's the first time anybody's really related to me on that way, you know more than just diagnosing the underlying cause of their pain, but actually, what it means to them to live with a condition like that. So I think that actually me having my experience of living with diabetes helps me relate to patients who live with chronic pain.


Stacey Simms  14:16

So let's talk about type one. Let's talk about your experiences. You were diagnosed as a young teenager, really, pre teenage 12 to remember your diagnosis story.


Right back in just a moment and telling your story there, but first, diabetes Connections is brought to you by One Drop, and I spoke to the people at One Drop, and I was really impressed how much they get diabetes. It really does make sense their CEO, Jeff was diagnosed with type one as an adult. In fact, I just talked to him last week about something else. It's always so good to talk to him because he gets it. He knows what this is like. Right? One Drop is for people with diabetes by people with diabetes. The people at One Drop work relentlessly. To remove all barriers between you and the care you need get 24 seven coaching support in your app and unlimited supplies delivered. No prescriptions or insurance required. Their beautiful sleek meter fits in perfectly with the rest of your life. They'll also send you test strips with a strip plan that actually makes sense for how much you actually check. One Drop diabetes care delivered, learn more, go to Diabetes and click on the One Drop logo. Now back to Nat and I had asked her if she remembered her diagnosis story.


Dr. Nat Strand  15:34

Do I remember that summer being really annoying and my family's road trips I remember going up to Northern Arizona and having to stop use the restroom all the time and it's a short like two hour drive. So I do remember my parents saying we'll stop drinking so much. You know of course now we know that the opposite. And then I went to like a three day sleepaway camp and at camp I was getting some notoriety for how many cans of soda I was drinking, I was going to the vending machine. And I was drinking so much that point I'd like built a pyramid of all the cans. I think, obviously I was going into either some decay or you know, just hypoglycemic diarrhea. So, I came home, my dad is a radiologist, he started to suspect that I might have diabetes. And I think he brought home some like urine ketone strips or something and tested them. And I remember it was like black. So he actually took me into the hospital. And I remember him telling me I was going to the hospital. And I had this bag of gummy bears in my room. And I vividly remember looking at those gummy bears. And you know, in a typical kid, that was what I was sad about was like, Oh, I'm not going to believe me. There's I had no idea what the rest of the diagnosis meant. But at that time, you know, you were admitted. I think I stayed in the hospital for 10 or 12 days and learned how to give myself injections and carb counts and there you have it. That was kind of my guide. It was truly not traumatic in a way. I mean, I didn't have some big bad events that veiled the diagnosis. It was kind of suspicion. Then that was the summer before I went into middle school. So I got to carry a purse everywhere. So the diabetes supplies I thought that was pretty cool.


Stacey Simms  17:17

Did you know you wanted to go into a medical field when you were that age?


Dr. Nat Strand  17:20

No, I don't think so. I had dreams of being like an oceanographer or a National Geographic photographer, kind of more creative, worldly, growing, no roots type of careers. But it wasn't until later. I think I had an interest in medicine through diabetes and my you know, you get a lot of exposure to physicians and hospitals at a young age. But it wasn't until I was in college that I really solidified my desire to go into medicine.


Stacey Simms  17:46

And what made you choose anesthesiology? Do you remember having a process


Dr. Nat Strand  17:49

for that? Well, it's certainly you know, matters a lot about what rotations you get. And if you have a great attending on a certain rotation that makes you know just kind of lights it up for you and that kind It happened to me for anesthesiology, bad reputation as a third year medical student and I just had a series of phenomenal attending physician to let me you know, place IVs Let me place lines, I intubated patients, I was in on some bigger cases. And I remember at the time, which of course you you changed your mind on this as you get older, but at the time, I wanted to be, you know, really where the emergencies happened. I wanted to be, you know, a first responder I wanted to be someone went down and had an emergency, I wanted to be there to be part of it, you know, traumatic, and now that I'm older, I kind of like No, I'd like something with Office Hours. You know, nobody needs you in the morning. But at the time, I wanted to be right in the heart of the action and there's nowhere better for that than being you know, in an operating room every single day and you get to help people. That's often the most terrifying thing they've ever done. And you have just moments for them to establish trust with you. Even if it was pediatric cases or you know, even on babies, you know, a parent literally can do their baby. And then you take it down the hallway. And so there's this intense trust that needs to develop over a very short period of time. And I always felt like that was something I really helped sacred as that amount of trust that someone had any for their loved one or for themselves.


Stacey Simms  19:22

We have had to have, you know, anesthesiologists, we've had surgery, both of my children over the years, and I always in the consultations, or when they come in, I always say to the anesthesiologist, you are the most important person in this room. And I try to say it when the search is not around, but I don't care. Because to me, that's the one and I, you know, it is such a huge responsibility. And I have such respect almost all and when you said, you know, you take your child down the hallway, if you've been there like I have, you know, your heart is in your throat for the entire time, and it must be such intense, not only the training, but just the experiences that you go through. Do you all Good, this is kind of a personal question, do you will have a community? Do you help each other out? Do you think there's Okay, mental health among anesthesiologists, because that's gonna be so difficult. So that's a huge weight to bear.


Dr. Nat Strand  20:11

It's a huge weight to bear. And I think, you know, I don't want to pretend like I'm on the frontlines right now, because again, I do outpatient pain medicine for the majority of my practice, but especially some of the anesthesiologists that have been called to intensive care units, and that are on COVID airway teams. And some of my best friends from training are in hospitals that are saturated with cases and other states. And so I think that mental health is a huge issue, the amount of stress, the amount of burnout, the amount of anxiety, the amount of fear even about you know, PBE and that kind of thing, especially in the beginning, when some of the supply chains weren't, you know, as mature again, I'm not talking about my personal experience, but people at other hospitals. So, you know, I think in general, it's an issue and I think acutely, it's even a bigger issue. I do see resources. I think people do In the pandemic are very aware, I even read a story about a physician suicide in New York for an emergency medicine physician, you know, so people are aware, and I think there are resources available now, especially that are free for physicians. But in general, I think mental health is unfortunately still kind of has a stigma where in medicine, I think self care is often last care. You know, people go to work when they're sick. For the most part, people go to work when they're tired. People work long hours overnight, you know, into the next morning, so I think mental health kind of goes along with physical health and, you know, you just kind of do what needs to be done and the needs of the patient come first. And so for a lot of physicians and all specialties, I think self care, including mental health really is a challenge.


Stacey Simms  21:42

I have to ask well, I have an anesthesiologist who also has type one and I mentioned you know, my kids, one has type one and one does not have both had surgeries where they required hospitalization and anesthesia. Are there any best practices or any bits of advice that you can share with the diabetes community to help us make the hospital stays, you know, we're not talking about COVID-19, obviously, but you know more routine stuff. Is there anything that we can do or better prepare, so that when we go to the hospital, if it's an adult or child with type one, that we can kind of help the healthcare teams take better care of us.


Dr. Nat Strand  22:16

So I think one of the things is to try to speak with your anesthesiologist ahead of time if possible. So if you're having a plan surgery, and you know who the group is going to be, you may find people within that group that have a little bit more experience and interest in managing type one, that would be number one is to really see if you can identify someone, even if there's not someone who has specialized experience just so you can come up with a plan. I would definitely suggest having a plan with your endocrinologist written out that can be given to the anesthesiologists. You know, I'm thinking of when I've had surgery or when I you know, had my C sections with my kiddos. I think that having the endocrinologist involved so they can, you know, give their support and of course, the You're going to do what they're comfortable with and what they know how to do. And sometimes that's changing, you know, insulin pump to IV insulin. And you also have to balance that with if someone's not familiar with it, and they don't have trust in it, they have to administer the care that they have trusted. So there might be some education involved. Of course, it depends on you what the case is the length of the case, the intensity of the case, those kinds of things. So I think if you're able to, if it's a short case, if the anesthesiologist is comfortable with the plan, I would love to always keep my insulin pump on and my guests come on, but I do know that sometimes, that's just not possible and you have to switch to, you know, other types of influence. So it's kind of uncomfortable for everybody. But I think if you can communicate ahead of time and create a plan that's most comfortable for everybody involved. That's important. And of course, you know, whatever is going to keep anybody safe. You know, avoiding any hypoglycemia, avoiding any severe hyperglycemia. And of course, just getting you to the other side when you can take over management yourself again.


Stacey Simms  23:59

Yeah, what We did the last time but he had surgery because the first the first time he had surgery, he was teeny tiny, I think had been diagnosed for, I think he was seven or eight months in. So he was about he was still two. And he had no, he had no decks. And he did have an insulin pump when this was like 13 years ago. So everybody was all excited to see the pump. It was very interesting. But he did great. And then this last time, he needed surgery, he had knee surgery late last year, and they were amazing. But we decided that it would be easier for the anesthesiologist to just look at his Dexcom numbers on his pump, not his phone, because the pump you unlock 123 right, the tandem pump is super simple. We figured the phone could lose signal, the phone could be harder to unlock, you know, just he's got like an, you know, a six digit code, and why would I remote monitor from the waiting room? What the heck was I gonna do? You know, they would know, they would know I had faith. They were great, and it really worked out well. So it was a really positive experience. And interestingly in the 1213 years that had come by that hospital Steph was really well educated about pumps and CGM, which was a really pleasant surprise for us. So that was good.


Dr. Nat Strand  25:06

Yeah, that's awesome.


Stacey Simms  25:08

All right. So I think I'm not alone in that the way many of us were introduced to you was on national television was on The Amazing Race, which is, it is the best reality show. It's my favorite of all time. I started watching it. I looked this up the other day that I couldn't believe it. I started watching it in 2001, because I was pregnant with my daughter and I couldn't sleep. And I used to watch it all the time. And I adored it.


Unknown Speaker  25:31

And you guys


Unknown Speaker  25:32

want it?


Stacey Simms  25:34

I know a lot has been said a lot has been written over the years about this. What was that? Like? I mean, what do you most remember about it?


Dr. Nat Strand  25:41

Yeah, that was 10 years ago now it's really crazy. But you know, there's there's the experience of doing amazing race of traveling around the world was nothing. I mean, you have a backpack but you know, you're going to the Arctic Circle, you know, you're going to go to sub Saharan Africa, you know, you're going to go we we didn't know exactly where we're going. Go back, watch the show myself enough time to know I'd be really cold, really hot, really dirty. But you have a backpack, you have no money, you have no maps, you have no cell phone, you have nothing. And so just being stripped down to sort of your just immediate resources to figure things out like that, because that was as interesting as it was to see the world. I mean, I had never been so stripped down of things I had access to, you know, being a study or I would have references for everything I kind of just get thrown into the world and open a clue and say, make your way to Stonehenge, you know what I mean? It's not like you get direction. So it was while that I did it with one of my very best friends, who's another anesthesiologist, Dr. Catching and we we had a blast. We went around the entire globe and I think it took us 21 days total. And then I came home and slept for like six. And after that, you know, the show starts airing in the fall and it airs. I think it aired from September to December or did at the time. So what sticking it was a whole nother like phase two.


Unknown Speaker  27:03

Oh yeah, with all the


Dr. Nat Strand  27:04

editing and the production that they do to their production, what the other teams were doing, you know, you see a lot of backstory or parallel stories that you didn't see at the time, right? Because you were just with your team, so very interesting to watch it after having lived it. And then I think phase three of it is getting to be like a C list celebrity for a year or two, which was also very weird. So there's like three phases of The Amazing Race that totally kind of changed my life. But overall, I was so positive, I have nothing but fond memories of doing it and the people that I met and, and I also remember thinking the world is a lot safer and friendlier than I would have thought, you know, if you just drop off to Bangladesh for 48 hours, with no plans, you know, people just kind of help and you and you're frenetic and you're tired and you're racing and you run up to strangers and you asked them questions really quick and, you know, now I would never go to Bangladesh for the weekend. You know what I mean? Like work to go somewhere for a weekend. But it was worth it, you know, you You definitely got to see things and get a taste of it. So afterwards I tried to tell myself, you know, even if you don't have a huge chunk of time to go somewhere still go, if you can, and, you know, to see the world and everybody was friendly, I don't think I had one time where I felt like somebody that's, you know, rude or aggressive or unwelcoming. And I think that was a very wonderful experience too. Because sometimes I think we can kind of become afraid of going places or being with other cultures and being there in person in so many different cultures. And having everybody be so warm was was phenomenal.


Stacey Simms  28:34

Did you learn anything at that time about managing diabetes? Because you you I mean, I know you're stripped down, but you had your diabetes supplies, but I saw the show you're testing while you're driving. I mean, you know, to some extent, you don't have all the stuff you know, you don't you're not sleeping, right, you're not eating right. And I'm just curious, I think sometimes with my son, he'll go and forget something and muddle through when he learns from that. And even though we have all this wonderful technology, he kind of has learned that he can make it work. You can always MacGyver something. I'm curious if you had that experience.


Dr. Nat Strand  29:03

That's the word I was just thinking. I mean, any type one becomes, you know, kind of a MacGyver where you're learning how to, if you need to draw and slip out of an old reservoir for a new wine or you're learning how to reuse parts of an infusion set because one part ripped off if you don't have enough to replace the whole thing, or you're learning how to keep insulin cold or you're learning how to package things. They don't take as much room by taking them out of their packaging and putting them in a Ziploc, you know, all together, I think, you know, I remember even the test strips, you know, opening the test strip bottles and filling one bottle with two bottles worth of strips just to save space. So, you know, you kind of by force have to get very creative with faith and efficiency and also problem solving. So yeah, I learned a lot about traveling with diabetes. And you know, one of the things I did was I typed out a letter that said I have type 1 diabetes. In case of emergency please help me get sugar or please You know, I'm getting 200,000 to a hospital and I printed that out in several languages. So, you know, if I found myself in Russia, for example, and didn't know how to say what I needed, you know, I would have that kind of to give. So I think, you know, just learning how to prepare, you know, anticipate what problems you might have, or where you're going, and then, you know, trying to bring the selections with you as possible. That was definitely a skill set that was honed,


Stacey Simms  30:24

that's a great point. We were in Israel A while back. And, you know, we were on a guided tour, and everyone spoke English. But at one point, a guy wanted to take my son's medical bag to examine it, and he didn't speak English and then he figured out what was going on your tour guide kind of spoke to him and he was like, Oh, you know, kind of funny exasperated, like, come on, make this simple for me. And he wrote out this is a medical bag in Hebrew, and attached it to our bag. He was like, here Now you won't have any other problems like what's wrong with you people? Why couldn't you just do that to me? He was very funny back to us, like, you know, nicely exasperated with us, but I think in the future, that's Something that is just very helpful. You know, this is a medical bagger. I have type one diabetes in different languages. That's great advice. So I mentioned you have two children. Now you have I was gonna say toddlers, but you have preschoolers, right, five and four years old. You mentioned c sections. I'm not going to get all personal about type one pregnancies and that sort of thing. But when you were diagnosed at 12, I doubt you were thinking about children at the time. But you know, as you were getting older with the diabetes diagnosis, did you think about children? Was this something that you thought might be difficult or not possible with type one, or was it always in the plan?


Dr. Nat Strand  31:32

You know, I actually, again, sitting with my adventurous plan for life. I wasn't one of those girls that really thought I would have kids. I never really thought about being a mom and stuff like that. I kind of was more thinking about how I was gonna travel the world. And so, I mean, we had all seen Steel Magnolias. And so I think, you know, I had this awareness but at the time, you know, I think it was more of an awareness that that movie was wrong. I think I thought it would be fine. If I had wanted Kids. And then once I got a little older, I met my husband, we got married and I started, my switch flipped and I was like, I need children. And then I was like, Okay, I started getting into the details of, you know, diabetes and what the control needed to be and what the risks really were. And, you know, that I think was overwhelming. I think, you know, type one pregnancies, it's definitely a full time job. It's not regular diabetes management is like, very, very intensive diabetes management. So I knew that people would type one could have kids, I just didn't know if I could do what it would take to be that strict for that long. You know, so I think I, I pleasantly surprised myself that I could, you know, I think when the stakes are there, you do your best. But you know, I think there are different personalities, obviously, that have type one and my brother also has type one, he was diagnosed in his 30s and he's very mathematical. He's got an engineering mind and I think Not that anybody is well suited for diabetes, but if someone was to be well suited personality wise, he is, you know, he is regimented. He charts everything. He stacks his thing. You know, he's like that, and I'm the opposite. I became like him when I was pregnant.


Stacey Simms  33:14

So speaking of your kids, though, you you know, you've said you've been doing mostly at home consoles for your work. I assume that for the last couple of weeks, at least you've been home with your kids, maybe more than usual. How's that going?


Dr. Nat Strand  33:28

Well, you know, I think that everybody will look back on this time with different different experiences. Some people are bored and they've organized every room in their house and they make all these new recipes and I will look back on this time and remember what I had a three to five year old, who didn't have anywhere to go and any preschool or any day until my house apart all day long every day. My couch cushions haven't stayed in place for more than 20 minutes of full time. I mean, it's just crazy, but it's gonna be exhausting. I mean, they're like feral animal. But it's been cool to see them develop their relationship. You know, they're they're playing together from sunup to sundown. They're imagining things. They're making no jungle. So it's been nice to see them spend some time together, but certainly be at home with two young kids and nowhere to go. That's not for the faint of heart.


Stacey Simms  34:26

I salute you. Before I let you go. I know as you've said, you you're not in the ICU right now you're, you know, you're not seeing patients with COVID-19. But as a person with type one, I assume you're trying to stay on top of the medical literature and, you know, seeing what this may mean for people with type one who who get it who catch it who are at risk. Can you talk a little bit just either you know, your thoughts for yourself advice for the community? I'm just curious what's going through your mind on


Unknown Speaker  34:52

this these days?


Dr. Nat Strand  34:54

Well, you know, when they when it first kind of came out, I was reading a lot about what had happened in China. And also in Italy. And when I thought it was I kind of assumed it was type two diabetes, you know, because we were seeing a lot of age related and comorbidities. But you know, we've now seen with position statements from like the a DA and the jdrf, you know that they're not really differentiating type one and type two. So, you know, I know for me that my risk of catching this is not hired because of the diabetes, but my risk of a more negative outcome definitely is higher because I live with diabetes. So, you know, the way I look at that is I'm doing all you know, the recommended social distancing, masking thing at home, those kinds of things. And at the same time, I'm using this as an opportunity to really focus on all other aspects of wellness. You know, I'm kind of re engaging to bring my diabetes control into a tighter range because I know that's helpful. Now, as far as like rest, nutrition, exercise, all of those things are sort of, you know, you can think of it as like prehab instead of rehab, you know, what you can do before you deal with something to make you as resilient as possible. Physically. So I would just say, we know our risk of getting it's not higher, but our risk of complications if we get it is higher. And that's something that I think we should not let us talk on a topic from a place of fear, but rather from a place of preparation, and using that knowledge to just, you know, get our diabetes under the best control possible. Whether that means, you know, changing to a pump, or getting a CGM, or just re engaging with your endocrinologist or CDE. And then I think making sure you consider all other aspects of wellness to this to make you more resilient, which is, you know, nutrition, rest, stress management and exercise. So, I think we can use this knowledge to just put ourselves in the best position possible. A great defensive is really the best offense in this case.


Stacey Simms  36:42

Well, thank you so much for talking to me for sharing your story. And for just giving us a little bit of an insight into the medical community these days. I really appreciate it.


Dr. Nat Strand  36:53

Oh, and thank you so much for having me. I mean, like you said, I followed you on social media for so many years, and it's just an honor to be included on your project. Cast and thanks for everything that you do for our community. We all appreciate it very, very much.


Unknown Speaker  37:10

You're listening to diabetes connections with Stacey Simms.


Stacey Simms  37:16

That was so nice of her to say that at the end, it's funny, isn't it? The diabetes community, you know, we all kind of know each other from social media, or, you know, we've maybe we've met at a conference, but there's a lot of mutual admiration out there. It's always nice when people say that, but you know, as you listen, it makes me think if for some reason you feel like you're not really a part of this community, you know, maybe you listen or you're lurking in the group, and you've never reached out you're wondering if you know, what's it like, it's great. definitely reach out, definitely jump in. I mean, if you if you're fine, and you just want to listen, that's awesome. But we're doing a lot of really fun stuff in the Facebook group with zoom calls and surveys, and I'd really love to see you there and I really want you to know as you listen that your voice is really important too. So I'll link up more about Dr. Strand and her study and other information that we talked about in the show notes there's also always a transcript there at Diabetes And up next is tell me something good which is all from the Facebook group this week love it. But first diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dexcom. Now we have been using the Dexcom g six I looked this up it is two years now. We did a goofball video two years ago a little bit over Actually, it was the night that Avengers Infinity War came out and that's the night that we slept on the G six for the first time and we did a facebook live in for Benny wanted to do it but he was also really reluctant because he wasn't sure if it would hurt. So I will link up that video but I will tell you when I looked it up where to start because it's like an agonizing 10 minutes before he does it. But you know, the Dexcom g six FDA permitted for no finger six for calibration and diabetes treatment decisions. You do that to our warm up, the number just pops up. And after so many years of the previous dex comes we had to calibrate a couple of times a day you know you wouldn't get any blood sugar readings till you did so. It's amazing. We have been using the Dexcom for almost seven years now and it just keeps getting better. The G six has longer sensor were now 10 days and the new sensor applicator is really easy to use. You'll see on the video he was shocked, you know no pain. Of course we still love the alerts and alarms that we can set how we want. If your glucose alerts and readings from the G six do not match symptoms or expectations. Use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions. To learn more, go to Diabetes and click on the Dexcom logo.


Tell me something good this week a bunch of great I'll call them little stories from our Facebook group. Last week I talked with these big athletic accomplishments, right, the Appalachian Trail marathons, but this week was a little different and I think these are worth celebrating as well. James said AP exams were easy on accommodations this time simply allowing students with type one, double the time so they could test treat etc during what was already A weird testing cycle. That is good news. Samantha says we sent out birthday cards to any kid among our friends that had a birthday this month since they can't have a party. And that was really fun. Her husband and her son are training for the new virtual jdrf ride. And they all just signed up for the Disney run again in January. She also wrote we are all alive. I see you, Samantha, that sense of humor. And speaking of the ride, Elizabeth wrote in that the reimagine jdrf my ride is good news. And she'd like to see me talk about the new program with one of the managers we have that in the works. I'm going to be talking about that. So the jdrf rides in person for the fall, unfortunately, were canceled, which I think was the right thing to do. But you know, there were a lot of people who really enjoy that and we're banking on it, and we're already fundraising. So jdrf my ride is a way for people to participate, even though they can't travel to these locations. I will put more in the show notes on this, but I will also be doing hopefully, a whole podcast on it soon. You're off Emil Altman, who is part of the Facebook group wrote in I don't know if this is what you're looking for, but I will be hitting 39 years of pumping the second week in June, and I hit 23 years of CGM use in March, he will mark 59 years with type one in November. I had him on the show a while back. He was an early adopter of diabetes technology. In fact, he worked in the industry for a while. So really great stories from him. Perry who lives with type two and is in the group. I'm always happy to see him. He said that his dad survived heart surgery that he is needed since March and finally had the valve repair last week, which would have been early May. Perry works with the fire department in South Carolina and he says good news. My crew has not liked masks gloves or hand sanitizer. And I gotta say, this is my favorite of the week. My dear friend and Sutton who is also the Outreach Manager for our jdrf is so creative, trying to keep people connected online. And she created two events for children who you know aren't able to meet up right now because we do a lot of that in our area. So she created And this isn't just for girls. And it isn't just for boys, anybody could go to anything. She created a tea party, a virtual Tea Party, and she created a virtual Lego build. And I'm going to share the photo of one of the kids built a meter out of Legos. And it's unbelievable. It looks so good. So I'll be sharing that and I hope you check it out really good and creative stuff. Do you have a Tell me something good story it can be. I think this is a great example of what I would call you know, these smaller stories, but still big accomplishments. Good news in our community. I mean, if you running a marathon or you're celebrating 59 years with type one, we want to share that too. But I just love this segment because it gives us a glimpse into the good stuff that's happening. You can share it in the Facebook group or you can ping me Stacey at Diabetes and tell me something good.


Before I let you go tell you a story about something bananas that happened in my house recently and I think this might be the first chapter in my novel Next, The World’s Worst Diabetes Mombecause that book stops really right in the middle of middle school. And it's not as though we haven't continued to make mistakes. So I will tell you the punch line first in that everything is fine. Benny is fine. It's all good. But what happened was, he had had a day, just one of those Perfect Storm days where the decks calm had expired, I accidentally left his pump off. And of course, a few hours later, he was a very, very high now I since COVID-19, and we've been around each other so much. I've actually been less on him than I think I have been any time in recent memory. his bedroom in our new house is upstairs. Mine is downstairs, which is totally new for us. We have control IQ with the tanta pump, which has been a dream and he's doing really really well. But you know, things happen. So it's about six or seven o'clock at night. He realizes he's having the pump issue. Of course he didn't have the decks calm. So you know, we didn't know that there was an issue for a lot Longer than we would have otherwise, we did a blood sugar check and it just gives you that high, you know, there's no number associated with it. And, of course, we did all the protocol you're supposed to do. Huge shot, you know, gave him the correction by injection, change the pump inset slapped on the dex calm, drank a ton of water and checked for ketones. And I went downstairs because Ben he never has large ketones. I mean, in all of his years, he's had medium once I'm not would not get anything I can get. But you know, he's been high for a sustained amount of time through illness or just wackiness or you know, dumb stuff with diabetes, and he's never had large ketones, but we still do check because I just don't want to get lulled into complacency, right, people change things go I just I don't want it to slip. So he texted me and he said, Mom, the keto stick is black, which we've never seen before. So of course, I run upstairs and they look at it and it is it's super dark purple. So I'm like, Alright, well, you just had the injection because it's a urine stick. It's probably a couple hours behind. Drink a ton of water. We'll monitor From here, if in two hours, we still get a really dark, large ketone reading, we'll call the endo and he'll walk us through what to do next. Okay, so I'm freaking out, right? I'm thinking to myself, why don't I have a blood ketone meter? What's wrong with me? I'm the worst. Why don't I have so I'm online, I'm looking for blood ketone meters, you know, like, How fast can I get one and we just, you know, we, we've never had the need, so don't yell at me. Then two hours later, blood sugar is coming down nicely, he's feeling a little bit better, right? Things are gonna be fine. And I sit in his room and he goes to the bathroom and it comes out and he's like, wow, it's still really dark. And I look at the strip


Unknown Speaker  45:33

and I noticed it looks really weird. We use the regular old keto sticks that have little square at the end, and it just has one square.


Unknown Speaker  45:41

this stick


Unknown Speaker  45:42

has two squares, and one is dark purple, and one is light pink. I thought


Unknown Speaker  45:47

to myself, what


Stacey Simms  45:48

the heck is this? So I look at the bottle. And if you know you've already know what happened, I had purchased diagnostics. These are sticks that measure glucose and ketones and The dark purple was the glucose hidden of large ketones. He had small ketones, maybe medium, maybe. So for, you know, big sigh of relief, and that was it. But oh my gosh, I was flipping out before that. So now we know now we have to be more careful. But that's the next chapter. I've already got The World’s Worst Diabetes Momstuff ready to go? Never a dull moment. All right, a big thank you to my editor john Lucas from audio editing solutions as always, for helping make sense of a lot of my nonsense. Thank you to you so much for listening. Don't forget about the book to clinic program. If you want to jump in on that or you know, a clinic that would like to get on the list to receive books. I'd love to hear from you as well. I'm Stacey Simms. I'll see you back here next week. Until then, be kind to yourself.


Unknown Speaker  46:52

Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms media.


Unknown Speaker  46:56

All rights reserved. All wrongs avenged


Transcribed by


May 12, 2020

There's a new superhero coming to the popular CW network lineup. Stargirl features actor Brec Bassinger, who lives with type 1 diabetes. We first spoke to Brec a couple of years ago, just after her run on Nickelodeon's "Bella and the Bulldogs." She shares what’s changed with her diabetes management since then, advice about speaking up for what she needs without feeling weird about diabetes & much more.

Check out Stacey's new book: The World's Worst Diabetes Mom!

It's an athletic edition of Tell Me Something Good with marathons! Hiking! And that feeling when you do something your middle school coach told you you’d never do because of diabetes.

Join the Diabetes Connections Facebook Group!

This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.

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Episode transcript:


Stacey Simms  0:00

Diabetes Connections is brought to you by One Drop created for people with diabetes by people who have diabetes. By Real Good Foods real food you feel good about eating and by Dexcom take control of your diabetes and live life to the fullest with Dexcom.


Announcer  0:20

This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.


Stacey Simms  0:26

This week, there's a new superhero coming to the popular CW network lineup. Stargirl features actor Brec Bassingerwho lives with type one. After they started production, she found out another person in the cast and on her superhero team also lives with T1D.


Brec Bassinger  0:44

I think it's more of having that companionship, that person who understands when we're on the 17th hour of work and they bring out another snack that just as carby but we're hungry and sleepy but we don't want to eat all these carbs and just being able to look at like okay, you get it, and talk to each other and understand that was just so nice to have.


Stacey Simms  1:02

She'll share more about what it meant to have that actor Cameron Gellman on the set with her. We first spoke to Brec a couple of years ago after her run on Nickelodeon, in Bella and the Bulldogs. She talks about what's changed with her diabetes management advice about speaking up for what she needs without feeling weird about diabetes, and a lot more

and athletic addition of telling me something good this week, marathons hiking, and that feeling when you do something your middle school coach told you, you never do because of diabetes. This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.

Welcome to another week of the show. I'm so glad to have you along. We aim to educate and inspire about type 1 diabetes by sharing stories of connection. I have a feeling that this interview is gonna bring a lot of new people into the show. So just a quick word. I'm your host, Stacey Simms. My son was diagnosed with type one right before he turned two He is now 15 years old. He's had diabetes for more than 13 years. My husband lives with type two diabetes. I don't have diabetes, I have a background in broadcasting. I spent a lot of time in local television and radio news. And that's how you get the podcast.

A reminder popped up on my phone this morning about one of the trips I was supposed to be taking, like many of you, you know, of course, we had travel plans for this spring and this summer, and I was going to a lot of diabetes conferences. And it's so sad right to see those reminders pop up. But we have been doing a lot of virtual stuff. And that's been really fun to not the same, but a wonderful way to stay connected.

And I'm bringing that up because I'm going to put links in the show notes. I've got a couple of events coming up jdrf and other organizations. I did one for Project Blue November not too long ago. They've been really great about scheduling these talks, the online summits, the webinars, and I've been thrilled because my topic right now is the world's worst diabetes mom, and it's been so much fun to share the information That's my book that is just out. And I'm still so excited about that. But it's been really fun to share it to people that I wouldn't have been able to meet, right? Because if I was going to Detroit, which I should have been going to this month, then we would be meeting people just at that summit. But instead, I get to meet people from all over the country. I'm trying to look at the silver lining on it. And really, that's about all we can do right now.

But thank you so much the support for the book and just the last couple of weeks has really picked up if you want to check it out. Of course, I'll put a link in the show notes. It's on Amazon, The World’s Worst Diabetes Momis a parenting advice and humor book. It's kind of part memoir, kind of part, advice column and all about our experiences, making every mistake in the book when it comes to diabetes, and watching my son grow up as a confident and responsible and healthy kid, despite my many, many errors along the way. So thanks for letting me tell you about that. And boy, I hope we get back to see each other in person. Soon, it'll be a while, but it'll get better

Right to Brec in just a moment. But first diabetes Connections is brought to you by Real Good Foods, nutritious food delivered straight to your door. They have so many options. They have pizzas, I think they were first known for their pizzas and they have this great cauliflower crust pizza, chicken crust pizza, and the pizzas come in different varieties or just plain crust and then you can make your own. We also really enjoy the breakfast sandwiches. They are seven carbs per sandwich. 22 grams of protein, they always post up on their Instagram, they have these grape varieties that what they show it you could really do to jazz this stuff up and people put all sorts of things to add to their sandwiches. I like them just the way they are. You can find out more about all of their products, where to buy How To order, just go to Diabetes and click on the Real Good Foods logo.


My guest this week is the star of the newest superhero show on The CW Brec Bassinger plays Stargirl aka Courtney Whitmore, and this show is getting great reviews. I will link some of that up in our Facebook group. And if you're not familiar with the CW lineup, this is the same people behind the hit shows Arrow and Flash and Supergirl. I will put this clip in the group as well. No, you can't see it. But here's a little taste.

(Show Clip here)


Stacey Simms  5:38

Stargirl is set to premiere May 18. Now I first spoke with Breck three years ago, and since then she's moved out she's living on her own. And as you'll hear, that is a big reason why she now wears a CGM. I need to tell you we did this interview back in January before COVID-19 and the quarantines and all the changes we're going through right now. So I tell you that just So you're not surprised at the tone, right? It's a little bit different, a little bit lighter than we might have done right now. And she's also talking about travel and conventions and things that you know have absolutely changed. Alright, but here is my interview with Brec Bassinger

Brec thanks so much for coming back on the show. It's been a while. It's great to talk to you again.


Brec Bassinger  6:18

Yeah, three years. It's good stuff.


Stacey Simms  6:21

A lot has certainly changed for you. This is so exciting. I mean, you were busy then. You're busy now. But what can you tell me about Stargirl? I mean, we'll talk about diabetes eventually. But let's talk about the show.


Brec Bassinger  6:33

The important stuff in life. All of last year 2019. I was in Atlanta filming it. I've seen a few of the episodes and I'm really proud of it. I've never been part of something that I'm so like, shamelessly proud of where like the sounds are put doesn't like bragging I'm just so proud of I want every single person to see and I feel like that has to do a lot with the show runner. His name is Geoff Johns. He worked on like wonder woman and he just so amazing and like this spirit and happiness he brought to us that I feel like really just rubbed off on everyone. That was a part of it. So I I really am shamelessly. So excited for everyone to see it.


Stacey Simms  7:10

I think that's great. And you know, we've been watching the CW, DC heroes comic book shows for a couple of years now. And you know, they're just fun. And they're for families. They're good hearted. Is this in that same spirit?


Brec Bassinger  7:23

Yeah, it totally fits in with those. I've had. My family they got to all watch the first episode of the holidays with me, and they all really enjoyed it. I feel like as a whole, this one's more comparable to a film like a movie just the way films like the way it's written, like, like Flash and Arrow. It's normally like a villain per episode. And ours is more kind of like one season story arc like you can't just sit down and watch one episode and know what's going on. You kind of have to watch the full season more like a stranger things. I'd say that's kind of the main difference, the odds of like fear and it's just like happy it's not too dark. It's not Raise you like it's definitely a family friendly show, which there's not much of those. Yeah.


Stacey Simms  8:04

a that is great to hear. All right. So I know nothing about TV process and CGI and everything else. But to watch what's out there already. It looks like not only are there a lot of special effects, there's a lot of practical effects and you're, you're doing a lot of stunts. Are you doing all of those stunts or some of those stunts? I mean, it looks like it's a very challenging role physically.


Brec Bassinger  8:23

Yeah. So Stargirl, she has her her cosmic staff. So before we started filming, they put me in training with like staff training and stunt training. And so I got to do a lot of it. It was it was so funny because like at the beginning of the series, even with a couple weeks of training behind my belt, they would hand me the staff in a scene. And I just, like forget how to act because I would be so overwhelmed with having to like fight with this six foot long, both staff, but I thought that was really special because at the beginning like Courtney or struggle, like she shouldn't be as comfortable with that staff. And then towards the end of the season, when they gave me some staff, I felt so confident wasn't even thinking that it was coming. have like an extension of my arm at that point. And that's where Courtney should have been. So it was cool to kind of have that journey with Courtney.



Stacey Simms  9:11

Yeah. All right. So let's jump in and talk about diabetes.

When you're training with a six foot both staff and you are not six feet tall. What does that do to your blood sugar? I mean, I'm assuming that there was a lot of planning that had to go into that and you really had to stay on top of things.


Brec Bassinger  9:24

Fortunately, like I exercise a lot so I know how to regulate my blood sugar cuz definitely like when I'm more active, it causes my blood sugar to drop. But with the stunt training stuff, it's a lot of just staying still and moving the staff around me so bad and it actually dropped my blood sugar. It was more trying to figure out like on fat I was working like one day I work 20 hours obviously that messes with my blood sugar and I really just have to learn to accept the circumstances and some days I was gonna have highs and lows and stop beat myself up about it because I I was I was working hours that aren't humanly normal.


Unknown Speaker  9:59

Can you share your diabetes management. Do you wear a CGM? Do you use an insulin pump? That sort of thing?


Brec Bassinger  10:04

Yeah, so I've always done insulin injections. I have my pin and actually have a half unit pin, which I got this past year, which has been really helpful. And then I have a CGM, a Dexcom.


Stacey Simms  10:14

Oh, and when did you start using that, if you don't mind me asking


Brec Bassinger  10:17

two years ago,


Stacey Simms  10:18

so it's pretty recent.


Brec Bassinger  10:20

Yeah, I started living by myself. And it was either that or one of the diabetes service dogs. And I had the CGM for the very first time I was like, Okay, I can't imagine a life without this just for safety reasons. And my mom wanted me to have something where she could feel more secure.


Stacey Simms  10:36

I was gonna say who gave you that choice because as a mom of my child,


Brec Bassinger  10:40

still in high school, especially during that time, I was having so many lows during the night, actually, when I started eating really healthy and working out a lot but because of that, I was just having lows all the time. And she's like, I do not feel comfortable. You living by yourself with all these lows. This is not safe. And so


Stacey Simms  10:57

do you share with your mom like she just said does she see your number Is that not Yes,


Brec Bassinger  11:01

I share with my mom, my dad, my boyfriend and my fellow diabetics with OnStargirl with me in Cameron Galvin, we have each other's follow apps. And that's really fun.


Stacey Simms  11:12

Well, there's another person with diabetes on the show.


Brec Bassinger  11:15

Yes. And we're both superheroes on the show. I'm like, come on.


Stacey Simms  11:18

So did you know each other before the casting?


Brec Bassinger  11:20

No. Well, that's the thing we had never met. I had a film something with one of my one of my friends. And she had reached out to me, she was like, Hey, can I give this guy your number? Like, you know, type one diabetic. He's talking about when you involve with Jr. And I told him, I thought you were so can I get in your contact info. So I got this random text like saying, Hey, are you going to the walk next month, if you are about to join you and your friend, Christina. And we just like it kind of sprinkled away. We never connected again. It just never worked out. And then he booked it in like, he goes to give me my number. And we're like, oh my gosh, we talked like three years ago. And he's like, Oh, it's all coming back to me. So it was like Cuz we hadn't met, we had talked it was really funny and weird.


Stacey Simms  12:03

That's great, though. I mean, obviously not everybody who has diabetes is going to be friends. Right? I have my son accuses me of that sometimes like, Oh, you should meet this person. But it's like it worked out really well.


Brec Bassinger  12:15

But I have to say like, I, maybe this is like an optimism or not not just rose colored glasses. Definitely. Every time I need a diabetic, they're the best person to my eyes and like, Oh, I lost them. We go through the same things for soulmate best friends, at least with my experience. Yeah, like I said, first podcast is might be a part of that as


Stacey Simms  12:35

well. I think it's more, you know, a 15 year old boy doesn't want his mom making friends for him. Right. But everybody could definitely do that.


Unknown Speaker  12:44

So all kidding


Stacey Simms  12:45

aside, though, I'm sure you don't talk about it all day on the set. I don't want to imply that you do. But has it come in handy. I mean, do you both kind of help each other is there is it just a kinship and a friendship on set.


Brec Bassinger  12:58

I think it's more of having Got companionship, that person who understands when we're on the 17th hour of work and they bring out another snack that just is carbee. But we're hungry and sleepy, but we don't want to eat all these carbs and just being able to look you get like look at each other and talk to each other and understand that was just so nice to have.


Stacey Simms  13:18

And you're both Well, obviously you're playing the superhero, but the other actor is playing a superhero as well.


Brec Bassinger  13:23

Mm hmm. Yes. Okay, so that


Stacey Simms  13:24

will lead me to my one of my questions. I had a couple of listeners who wanted to know if you have any issues wearing diabetes technology under the costume.


Right back to her answer, but first diabetes Connections is brought to you by One Drop, and One Drop is diabetes management for the 21st century. One Drop was designed by people with diabetes. For people with diabetes. One Drops glucose meter looks nothing like a medical device. It's sleek, compact, and seamlessly integrates with the award winning One Drop mobile app. sync all your other health apps to One Drop to keep track of the big picture and easily see health trends. And with a One Drop subscription you get unlimited test strips and lancets delivered right to your door. Every One Drop plan includes access to your own certified diabetes coach have questions, but don't feel like waiting for your next doctor's visit. Your personal coach is always there to help go to Diabetes and click on the One Drop logo to learn more. Right back to my interview. I'm asking Breck about wearing diabetes gear under the costume.


So you don't wear an insulin pump. But you were a CGM. And the Dexcom is just a little bit of a raised bump. Do you have to do any accommodations for that? And I know it can be personal So


Brec Bassinger  14:44

no, no, I'm, I'm an open book. When I was doing the cuts to the costume. It took in about 12 to 15 sittings hours and hours upon work like dozens of people touched and worked on it. And while we were doing the city I saw the G five which was bigger than the G six. It's still small but bigger. And they're like oh, but you can take that off. And I was like I can, but I'm not going to because I just I for safety reasons. It makes them feel more comfortable. It helps me like everything in Lj the costume designer, she was super understanding. But yeah, I haven't come my super suit is super tight. So I'm sure if you watch close enough in the series comes out, you'll be able to spot it sometimes but like it is what it is.


Stacey Simms  15:30

Well, you just gave a challenge to everybody with diabetes in their family watching they're gonna be freeze frame. I know.


Brec Bassinger  15:37

You're gonna be able to see it. Fortunately, I think a lot of times they would go in and edit it out. We do have that. Oh, yeah. And editing budget, which makes it nice, but I like some of the episodes I've watched. I've spotted it. So I'm so curious to see if other people will be able to as well.


Stacey Simms  15:52

And let me ask you about Cameron, if you don't mind. And again, this is too personal. I'll take this part out. Let me ask you about Cameron, just as he were up. pump for CGM, can we be spotting for stuff on him?


Brec Bassinger  16:02

Yeah. So see, I know he's had more experience in like the pump world than I have. I've never had one. So that doesn't take much. I'm not exactly sure. I know he was more lenient to take it on and off than I was. But that would be a question for him. I'm not really sure.


Stacey Simms  16:20

All right, well, we'll just get a remote controls that will just stop it as the show goes. That's really funny. Yeah. You know, it does have to be difficult because as you said, there's crazy hours, they are feeding you, but maybe it's not exactly what everybody wants to have at those long hours. Those long days. As you mentioned, the carves, you've been in television for a long time. I mean, I'm curious, are you able to talk to people on the set and say, you know, I really would prefer this or I need that or is it just a question of you kind of finding your way through what's out there?


Brec Bassinger  16:51

I have a couple things with that. It's really interesting. As an actor, it's so easy to get this diva persona you ask for anything in someone gonna call you a diva. And so I always felt really bad or that I couldn't ask for things because I never, I never wanted that. But then at some point, you have to realize there's people there that want to help you that will help you. It's their job to help you. And so walking onto this site, I made a pact with myself that when I needed help, I wasn't gonna be afraid to ask, because of what other people were going to think just for my own health, I say health as well. And so I went into the show with that new like perspective, and it definitely was helpful like, we have like a craft service guy, who who provide all the snack foods, and I became best friends with him. And they were absolutely amazing to me, they would get any like if ever there was a time I wanted something special. They never made me feel like a diva for asking for it, which is so great of them. And then also Karen and I share something else we both actually have celiac disease as well. So our diet is extremely strict and once again, not health that's not me being like a diva like Oh, I can't eat gluten because I don't want to it's I I can't. So once again, like I think maybe having these health issues makes it easier for me to ask because I kind of have an excuse. But it still was difficult to like, get over that hump.


Stacey Simms  18:13

Well, and I know that there are going to be younger people, maybe more than usual listening to the show, because you're on it. And I'm so glad you said that, because it's very difficult to ask for things. Right? It's difficult to say, I'm different. I need nobody wants to be a bother or as you're saying, like a diva. You know, nobody wants to be perceived that way. And I'm curious, were you always like that? Or you said you made a pact on this show? Do you feel like it took you a while to build up to have the confidence to ask for those things.


Brec Bassinger  18:42

100% I have to give a lot like living by myself for the first time. I think living in LA as I was 18 my mom and dad prepared me as much as they could, but it's hard living by yourself. And I think that's the time when I really learned to not be like diabeetus I, that's the time of my life that I learned that it's okay to ask for help. But it took practice, I think asking for help. It's a skill that you have to work on. And sometimes you have to swallow your pride. And sometimes you have to feel like a diva or needy. But in the long run, if you can do that, you'll be so much happier.


Stacey Simms  19:17

That's fantastic. I know you've gone to jdrf children's congresses, and you've been very involved with jdrf What's it like for you when you meet these kids? Because they're so excited to meet you. You know, there's somebody on TV who lives with type one and goes through what I go through and take shots and has to put the CGM on and their mom worries and wants to follow just like my mom. Is it still for you talk to these kids?


Brec Bassinger  19:38

Oh, yes. Like I said, maybe it's a rose colored glasses. But every time I meet another diabetic, I have like, this instant connection with them. I'm like, Oh my gosh, do you miss drinking a regular coke without having to pay for it for the next 24 hours? Like, oh my gosh, I can't remember the last time I did like, it's so funny. It's like what I like when you can connect to someone on such a personal thing. Like it's just fun and then yeah Like, I was a kid with diabetes, and so like, being able to, like, have these things that I've learned throughout the years and kind of helping them like if they've had questions, I think, oh, I've been in your shoes. Let me tell you what helped me. Hopefully it'll help you. I mean, all bodies are different, but kind of like that older sibling. I think that's so fun.


Stacey Simms  20:19

Yo, I wanted to ask you, and this may be a really dumb question, but I'm gonna ask it anyway. I wanted to ask you, there was a movie that you were in and I couldn't see it. I'm sorry. I don't do any kind of horror movies. I don't do scary stuff. 47 meters down on K. Yeah. Right, which was water and scary and AR and was that and again, I don't know anything about how they make movies. So I don't know maybe it was in a swimming pool. But was that hard to film with somebody who has type one I did that presented a unique challenges.


Brec Bassinger  20:47

That was the best experience for me. It's because I actually never was in the water. Not once the filming process that you were in the water was insane and like in hindsight, Cuz I actually originally auditioned for one of the main girls but whatever it was maybe I wasn't right for it shooting schedule a Stargirl didn't align for whatever reason I didn't get it, but they, they offered me a smaller like, I'm like the mean girl in it. And in hindsight like it would have been a really big team to overcome having to be under what they were under water for eight hours a day, I'm sure like, my blood sugar would have I would have figured it out because I refuse to let it stop me from doing anything. But it definitely would have been a battle that I haven't had to deal with yet.


Stacey Simms  21:33

All right, sorry. For my ignorance. I find seniors I'm sure it would have known that but there's no


Brec Bassinger  21:38

okay, every like every time someone finds out, I'm like, how'd you get killed by a shark? I'm like, I don't get killed. Like, oh, you're the one that survives the shark. I was like, No, I never see the shark.


Unknown Speaker  21:51

Totally Okay, I got it. That's hilarious.


Stacey Simms  21:53

Oh my god. That's too funny. When you were diagnosed, you were eight years old. And I'm curious. Did your family meet other people with diabetes right away. Did you do the jdrf walks and things like that? Or did it take you a while to find people?


Brec Bassinger  22:06

I got involved with jdrf pretty quickly. I think I was diagnosed in January. And I think that October I did the walk. And that was actually I think the that year was the year I was most involved with jdrf not talking about like, recent years like ambassador, things like that. But we raise so much money, we had a team of like 40 people come out and all walk with like breakfast buddies shirts on pretty instantly I got involved with jdrf they've always been that sense of community for me, and I'm so grateful for them. Actually. Funny enough, I think when I was kin to be chosen for children's Congress is one of like the type of kids that goes you have to like write an essay. And I wrote an essay trying to get chosen and I didn't try it. Eight years later, or nine years later, whatever it is, I got to come as like one of the people speaking on the panel and one of like, the role models for all the kids who got Cuz I'm like, wow, that's full circle. I felt so blessed. It was such a cool like thing to look back on. That is


Stacey Simms  23:06

great. Oh my goodness yeah children's Congress really is incredible. So your schedule for the next couple of weeks months is going to be bananas I would assume How does it work? So the whole the whole series is shot.


Brec Bassinger  23:19

Yeah, so we shot for eight months last year and actually like the past few months has been pretty not busy for me because I'm just we call it the hiatus and we're waiting to hear about season two. So fingers crossed about that. But right now it's kind of like the waiting game and then I imagine I'll start doing press promoting first season I heard I can't talk too much about it. But I've heard about me getting to go to some of those conventions like similar like Comic Con or writer con things like that. And I'm just like, above the moon I think that's the coolest I'm so excited. Yeah.


Stacey Simms  23:53

Well, and you know, superhero movies of the whole genre is obviously goes without saying is so huge right now. Is this something that When you were younger, that I mean not even as an actress because it means are great roles to play. But as a consumer did, is this your thing? Did you go to these kinds of movies? Did you are you into comic book characters,


Brec Bassinger  24:10

so I never read comics growing up, but I've always been like the first one to go see the comic movies that come out. That being said, though, like, I remember one day on set in particular, I was in a harness, because I was supposed to be flying in the scene. So I was in our green screen room on set, hanging in this harness in my superhero costume with this like custom, beautifully made cosmic staff. I was like, Oh my gosh, my dreams have been made. I did not know this was my dream. But this this exact thing is my dream. He must


Stacey Simms  24:41

be wild to work in the green screen setting. So I mean, as an actress, you know, you don't know what's around you.


Brec Bassinger  24:47

It is so weird. I had never done anything like it before. And so in it, there's their strike. he's a he's a 15 1615 or 16 foot robot and while we had a practical one, any Time like we were fighting together, or a lot of times, if we were in random places just talking, it was all CGI. So I was talking to that tennis ball. Like if you've ever watched like BTS videos like, I had that as well. And I'm really I'm really hoping from many reasons that we get picked up for a second season, but particularly because like, I'll have watched the whole first season by the time we go back to phone. And so I like when I'm talking to that tennis ball. I'll know exactly what I'm talking to. For first season. It was pure imagination. I was just doing the best I could. I was like, What second season I would have more point of reference, but it was it was definitely hard, but it's really, really cool.


Stacey Simms  25:38

I'm gonna dive in. We're gonna start wrapping it up here. But so here's a question I got from a listener. It's actually from Jessica wanted to ask her her daughter's question. And this is a might be a tough one. She wants to know why you like acting. This young woman is nine years old and has typed on herself.


Brec Bassinger  25:54

Oh, why do I like acting? It's funny. So the only Everything I've ever wanted to be in my life was an astronaut because I thought the moon was made of cheap. And then when I found out the moon wasn't made of cheese, I said, Well, I don't want to be an astronaut anymore. I'm gonna be an actress. Like little six year old Breck was running around and people will be like, why do you want to grow up and I'm like, I don't want to be anything, I'm gonna be an actress. And so I feel like it really was just put in me. And I think I love it. Because the way it stimulates my creative side, and also the way it makes me, it's created this, I'm able to have empathy for other people in my work. So like, as I take on another character, I feel like while studying and becoming this character, I learned so much about the world and different people in it. Just that I'm such a people person. So it's like a job where I literally get to play other people and learn about people is such a perfect fit for me.


Stacey Simms  26:52

And before I let you go, I don't want to make too much of an issue of it. But I do think it's worth talking about that in the last few years. It's been really Nice to see a lot of the superhero shows and movies be led by women. I mean, this show is Stargirl. And I think that's just phenomenal. I'm so excited to have young women and little girls watching this show. Does it make you a little nervous though? I mean, when you're filming this Did you kind of think of the back your mind, I'm gonna be somebody's role model. Somebody is Halloween costume.


Brec Bassinger  27:22

Unfortunately, I feel like fell on the Bulldogs, which was the Nickelodeon show I was on for a couple years, like prepared me for that or prepared me for this. Like I played a female quarterback, very strong female lead. I had girls dressing up for me of Halloween. So I think that was like a good stepping stone for what the school be. I mean, I'm not sure what this will be. But I hope it's big and I hope girls are watching it and feeling inspired. I feel prepared. I'm not scared.


Stacey Simms  27:49

Yeah, that's a great point because that show was terrific. And really was it was different to which was fun. You know, it really was different light. brick. Thank you so much for talking with me. Please tell kameron that we said Hi, and we're excited to watch the both of you on this show. I really appreciate you spending some time with me. We'll be looking for the CGM outline. And I hope we get to talk again. Thank you so much.


Brec Bassinger  28:13

Thank you. Good to talk to you.


Unknown Speaker  28:21

You're listening to diabetes connections with Stacey Simms.


Stacey Simms  28:26

You can find out more about Stargirl and about Rick, just go to Diabetes and click on the episode homepage. We have transcriptions. Now I've been adding for 2020 and hoping to go back into that for many more episodes. But if you know someone who would prefer to read the show, rather than Listen, you can send them to the episode homepage. You should all be there along with the clip I was telling you about earlier and some more information about BRAC I think this is going to be a big hit. I'm so excited for her and I will follow up and see if we can talk to Cameron as well. nice thing to have support and somebody who gets it on the set. All right up next is tell me something good but first diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dexcom. And you know when you have a toddler diagnosed with type one like we did you hear rumblings for a long time about the teen years right over the treaded teen years, but it did hit us a little early. And I was really glad that we had Dexcom Benny's insulin needs started going way up around age 11. He looks like a completely different person. I was going through photos, my cousin was asking me to send some photos for an event that she's having. So I was going through photos from three to four years ago, right when he was in the swing of this right at the beginning. He looks like a completely different person. He's probably grown six or seven inches just since age 11. I don't have to spell out what else has happened. He's shaving. I mean, he looks completely different. It's so wild. But along with the hormone swings, I just can't imagine managing diabetes during this crazy time. Without the Dexcom continuous glucose monitoring system. We can react more quickly to highs loz see trends and adjust insulin doses with advice from our endocrinologist. I know using the Dexcom g six has helped improve Benny's agency and overall health. If your glucose alerts and readings from the G six do not match symptoms or expectations, use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions. To learn more, go to Diabetes and click on the Dexcom logo.


In Tell me something good This week we have some great stories from athletes. I'm going to start with Zoe cook. She was told by a coach when she was younger that she would never be an athlete because of type 1 diabetes. So he says she was diagnosed at 10 kicked off the competitive swim team because the coach said she was too high risk that in middle school when she was 13. Her test coach told her that because she went low running sprints, she would have to leave the team. That was the coach who said she would never be an athlete. So he says she's really glad that she had parents who could tell me he was ready. Wrong way to go. So we and she also says that last year she ran the New York City Marathon with her mother who also has type one way to go. So we and way to show that dumb coach. You know what things really are all about. It is amazing how I always think that that's ancient history, right that someone will say you can't do this because of diabetes, but it still happens and we still have to advocate for our kids. Or if you're living with type one I know you know, you have to advocate for yourself. And you know, we'll get there. It's just a lot of education. Julie's Tell me something good is herself. Julie Raiden has been type one for 53 years. She posted all her wonderful numbers. She has a pretty extraordinary one c 4.9. She has incredible time and range and she is 61. If you listen to the show, often you know that I don't often share numbers. We all do this on our own way. But man Julie, I wanted to share that because I can't even imagine how hard you work. Good for you. She also is a hiker and stays very active. I did ask you I sent a note back and I said, What's something you didn't think you could do when you were first diagnosed that you have been able to accomplish? And I thought she would say, you know, hiking or staying active or something like that. And she really hit it on the nose when she said, I hate to say this, but successfully living to 60. I was always told I wouldn't. So that does give you perspective. Julie, thank you so much for responding and sending that in. I appreciate it. And finally, Mike Joyce. Mike shared that last year he hiked 2200 miles from Maine to Georgia. And this year, he is going to hike the Pacific Northwest trail that's a 1200 mile trail from Glacier National Park to Olympic National Park. I think I've profiled him before or mentioned him because I remember this last year when he was on the Appalachian Trail, right Mike? He says he uses a phrase of the inhaled insulin and packs a ton of food. Remember this Mike, I'm gonna have to look you up and put up a link from from last year when we talked about this. And he sent me some pictures that I'll share on social media. And one more story for today. Something good. I got a review that I wanted to share. I sometimes share reviews, I get reviews on podcast apps like Apple podcast player or whatever, you know, there's a bajillion of them. And it's always wonderful to get a nice review. So I appreciate that if you want to do that, you know, I love it. Thank you so much. It does help the show. But you know, frankly, Apple podcasts is kind of a pain to leave reviews on. But I got one that made me really smile and I wanted to share it. T Piper writes, Stacey is a diabetic. I love it. Thank you for being so Frank and direct with the head of Dexcom. You are our voice and we are so grateful. Our family is so appreciative. You know, that refers to the Dexcom interview we did recently, I believe about the CGM in the hospital. And if you haven't heard, I did ask about assistance, financial assistance during this time because other companies are doing that with Dexcom follow suit and they said at the time while we're thinking about it, we haven't done anything. And more recently, they did announce Some help so I will link that up as well. But t Piper, that's very cool. Thank you very much for that review. I have to tell you it made my husband really laugh. I showed it to him and he thought that was amazing. A diabetic, I appreciate it so much. All right, give me your Tell me something good stories. I love to share them on the show. I post in the Facebook group all the time, or you can always email me Stacey at Diabetes


Working on a couple of projects behind the scenes, if you have a homegrown diabetes, a company or a smaller diabetes company and you are looking for advertising, I'm going to be posting in the Facebook group and probably on the public page as well pretty soon about a new project that I'm working on. And it's an opportunity for smaller companies to get attention from the type 1 diabetes community so be on the lookout for that. I'm very excited about it. I already have a couple of partners on board and you know, we're just going to keep moving forward. Things do not look the way we thought they would look this year. But we have no choice but to keep moving. And thank you all for all of the support you show not only by listening, downloading and sharing the show, but by taking part in the zoom chats that I'm doing by just having the community in the Facebook group. It really helps me personally, I just feel better about things and I hope it's helping you as well. thank you as always to my editor john Buchanan's from audio editing solutions, who is slam packed jam busy Is that even a word phrase? Because everybody wants to do a podcast now and everybody wants to do one, you know, remote at home and doesn't know how to do it. So they're all calling john and he's really busy right now, which I guess is good. There's another silver lining. And thank you so much for listening. I'm Stacey Simms. I'll see you back here next week.


Brec Bassinger  35:48

Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms media. All rights reserved. All rounds avenged.


Transcribed by

May 5, 2020

We started the show in Summer of 2015. This week, Stacey takes a look back at what was happening in diabetes technology at that time. Tandem had just announced you'd be able to upgrade without getting a new pump, Dexcom gave up on the Share cradle an Bigfoot & Beyond Type 1 were just coming on the scene.

Check out Stacey's new book: The World's Worst Diabetes Mom!

In Tell Me Something Good, we share your stories! What was happening with your diabetes in 2015?

April Blackwell on Instagram

Renza's Tiger Blog

Join the Diabetes Connections Facebook Group!

Sign up for our newsletter here


Use this link to get one free download and one free month of Audible, available to Diabetes Connections listeners!

Get the App and listen to Diabetes Connections wherever you go!

Click here for iPhone      Click here for Android

May 1, 2020

Chris Wilson helps run some of the largest diabetes technology groups on Facebook. He's also always on the lookout for the latest news from these companies and very involved in clinical trials.
Chris also shares his diagnosis story, inside scoop on Facebook groups and even talks about bowling in sandals. Yikes.

Check out Stacey's new book: The World's Worst Diabetes Mom!

In Tell Me Something Good, a middle school 3D printing class helps out a 9 year old with type 1 and a running event goes virtual & big

Join the Diabetes Connections Facebook Group!

This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.

Sign up for our newsletter here

Check out Aaron Kowalski's virtual run Twitter thread here 

3-D printing club news story


Use this link to get one free download and one free month of Audible, available to Diabetes Connections listeners!

Get the App and listen to Diabetes Connections wherever you go!

Click here for iPhone      Click here for Android


Episode Transcript 

Stacey Simms  0:00

Diabetes Connections is brought to you by One Drop created for people with diabetes by people who have diabetes. By real good foods real food you feel good about eating, and by Dexcom take control of your diabetes and live life to the fullest with Dexcom.


Announcer  0:21

This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.


Stacey Simms  0:27

This week, Chris Wilson helps run some of the largest diabetes tech groups on Facebook. It turns out he's also very involved in clinical trials. This one for a new emergency glucagon,


Chris Wilson  0:39

kind of an interesting experience. They hook you up to IV and so on and push your blood sugar down, I want to say under 50 and then turn off the IV and give you the injection and watch what happens.


Stacey Simms  0:52

Chris tells us more about participating in trials. Staying on top of diabetes news and bowling in San Jose. Tell me something good. A Middle School 3d printing class helps out a nine year old with type one. And a running event goes virtual and big. This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.


Welcome to another week of the show. I am so glad to have you along. I'm your host, Stacey Simms. And you know, we aim to educate and inspire about type one diabetes by sharing stories of connection here. How are we doing these days? I gotta tell you, I'm having good days and some rough days. I think like everybody out there. I don't know. I feel like I'm not doing enough. Right? I have this weird feeling some days where it's not like I'm not doing enough in my house, which I am not because we moved to a new house at the beginning of March. I know great timing. And so when I tell people that they're like, Well, you've had so much time to set things up and get organized. I kind of Yeah, I guess We haven't really jumped right in and set everything up the way I think we might normally do. We certainly have the time. And many rooms look very nice. Many rooms still have stuff in boxes. Because I don't know, there's there's some days where I have a lot of urgency. And I feel very efficient. There are some days when I lie on the couch and watch YouTube all day. So I'm trying to be kind to myself, like I always advise everybody else to be, you know, I don't think this is very unusual. There are some people doing amazing things out there. I mean, I don't so, you know, I'm trying to figure out what I can do. I'm trying to serve the diabetes community, certainly, but you know, I think we'll find ways to help as we move forward here, certainly in my local community as well. But I was talking to my kids about school. My daughter was concerned about the number of credits she was able to register for, I mean, long story short, like a lot of colleges out there. They're making some changes they're adjusting. No decisions have been made yet, but the way that people registered for classes changed a little bit. And so she was really concerned about Getting the number that she wanted as an incoming sophomore. And I said to her, you know, why? What's the big deal? Because this school year may look totally normal. Everybody may go back to college, everything's fine. You know, who knows? It may look extremely different. Nobody goes back to college, they continue online learning or they get there and things change. I mean, who knows what's going to happen this fall? So all we can really do is act like it's going to be, quote, normal, register for the classes that you can, but expect the unexpected and realize that, you know, maybe you'll take some summer classes. Maybe you won't graduate in exactly four years, which horrified her you she's a very good student. And I was able to say to her look, did you have big plans for 2023? Yes, she's not on a set schedule, which kind of made her laugh, but also made me realize I've got to be more kind to myself, too. I mean, the podcast is not getting out on Tuesdays, like clockwork, as it has been, and I very much pride myself on that schedule. I think it's Hey, to let these things go, right. I mean, we want to come out of all of this with our mental health as best as it can be. And if that means tonight, I need to watch the what's up with that skit from Saturday Night Live on repeat, because and if you haven't seen this, I'm not really into Saturday Night Live lately, but I saw the one from home. I laughed so hard at the what's up with that, and I couldn't believe it was an ongoing sketch. It's so stupid and so funny. And it was just remarkable. And the one with Zach Galifianakis where he's playing the flute, I'll link it up in the show notes. That's how much I left and it's so dumb anyway. But if that's what I need to do that night, I'm going to let myself do that. So a long way of saying, I hope you're hanging in there, I hope you're not being too hard on yourself. For You know, when we went into this, we all thought I'm gonna organize my house and I'm gonna work out every day and you know, there are people doing wonderful things, but it's okay to do ordinary things and be there for each other and just come out the other side of This was a feeling that we made it through. I keep reminding myself we're doing something important by staying home. Right. That's how we're helping. One thing that really has helped me a lot through this is doing some of these live events and chat events and just the zoom calls. I've been doing a bunch lately, had a lot of fun last week doing the world's worst diabetes parent meetup. That was amazing. Thank you Project Blue November for letting me do that on your page. We got a great group chat with some parents told our mistake stories and gave away some books gave away some amazon gift cards. I'm doing stuff this week with the college diabetes network. And of course, I will be doing the 300th episode taping. As you listen, that will be Wednesday. So I believe this episode is going to be coming out either late Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. So Wednesday, April 29. I will be live on Facebook answering your questions and talking about the diabetes community in June of 2015, which is when I launched the podcast holy cow So that's the episode 300 taping. Okay, all right, getting to Chris in just a moment. Diabetes Connections is brought to you by real good foods. And last night Ben he came downstairs and said, Hey, do we have any ice cream? And we're at the point of this where we have quite a lot of ice cream we have, but we didn't have what he wanted. We had like regular I think my daughter had some Ben and Jerry's. We had some mini ice cream sandwiches, but he wanted the real good foods ice cream that I've talked to you about. And I said, I think maybe there's some in the garage freezer and he went and looked and there wasn't any love, so I have to order some more. And as I'm looking right now there is a sale 20% off on their ice cream, so I forgot to get Benny's order today. He really liked the peanut butter. They have the super premium peanut butter chocolate chip ice cream is so delicious. I happen to be a big fan of just the chocolate and my husband likes the mint chocolate chip. We didn't try the salted caramel list. I'll have to put an order in for that. This ice cream is so tasty. It's not like that. A lot of lower carb ice creams, you know that chalky kind of chunky weirdness that you can get sometimes, but this is, as they say, a real ice cream experience with real ingredients, low sugar, 200 calories per serving, they list all the ingredients online so you can read everything that goes in it. And of course, when they ship it to you, they ship it in a cooler with dry ice when we got our first shipment of ice cream. It had we're in North Carolina, we're in Charlotte where it's already warm. 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My guest this week is well known to a lot of you who are on Facebook, or maybe his profile picture is you may not actually know too much about him and that's why I'm talking to him today. Chris Wilson is one of the admins for two very large closed Facebook groups. We're talking thousands of people in these groups all about tandem and Dexcom. Well, if you're not familiar, and I know some people still aren't on Facebook or have left, you know, an admin is somebody who may have created the groups, but is always there to make sure things run smoothly. They can add or remove people or kick you out for bad behavior, that sort of thing. I run two groups on Facebook, and it's a lot of fun, but it can be a lot of work. And Chris always seems like he knows an awful lot of behind the scenes stuff. He doesn't work at tandem or at Dexcom. He gets asked that a lot. And we also talked about his clinical trial experience. I didn't realize like he had so much to say about that was very interesting. So here is my interview with Chris Wilson. Chris, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for jumping on to talk to me. I really appreciate it. Well, thanks for the invite Stacey. You know, it's one of those situations where I feel like I know you because we talk on Facebook all the time and I see your posts and you know, I read the valuable information you provide And then


Chris Wilson  9:00

I realized as we were recording as I, as I hit record, I don't really know that much about you at all. I'm not sure I've been less prepared for an interview in a long time. So I appreciate you writing this out with me. Well, I mean, that's kind of the the nature of the the online community is we interact with people, you know, we get to know them, at least in one aspect of their lives, but somebody that you've never met in person, you never had a chance to sit down and have a drink with or whatever. So,


Stacey Simms  9:29

well, I'm gonna start with a very hard hitting question. I did my research and I looked you up on Facebook. And it was very difficult because we're already Facebook friends, but it does say the last time I wore shoes was January 2015. Is that true? And if so, what's with the not wearing shoes?


Chris Wilson  9:47

That is true? It just sort of I mean, I wear sandals.


outside the house, it just sort of happened by accident. My job's done. don't require me to, you know, wear close toed shoes or anything I live in Southern California on a really cold night in the winter it might get down into the 40s there's you know, no real need to wear close toed shoes and insulate one's feet.


Stacey Simms  10:18

All right, okay, so I have a much better mental picture of your day to day life. No close toed shoes do formal wear. You're not going to the office with a briefcase.


Chris Wilson  10:28

Right? I even actually have a pair of custom made bowling sandals that I use for bowling.


Stacey Simms  10:33

You do not you? I do. Can you post a picture of that when we do the when we hear this? Because that just sounds like you never got hurt wearing them


Unknown Speaker  10:42

now. Oh, man. That's funny.


Chris Wilson  10:47

Well, when I had the idea to do it, because bowling was at that point, the only time I was wearing shoes, and I sort of had the idea of Hey, I could you know, take the soul off of these a tournament a bowl of cheese, replace it with a bowling soul and be Half of my friends said, Oh, that's awesome. And about the other half said, That's the dumbest idea I've ever heard in my life.


Stacey Simms  11:07

Well, now that I know you're not getting hurt, I'll refrain from commenting, but I'm what my initial reaction was. Okay, so we're going to talk bowling, we're going to talk all sorts of stuff. But let's start with diabetes, which is really kind of how we know we found each other. Certainly, Tell me your story. When were you diagnosed?


Chris Wilson  11:26

I was diagnosed my freshman year of college. Oh, wow. I had and I was probably starting to really get the beginnings of symptomatic as I was leaving for college. But you know, you go away in August and I went to school 3000 miles away from my parents on the other side of the country, and so no interaction with them. You know, they didn't see me for anything like that. And I started losing weight in the classic symptoms thirsty all the time having to go to the bathroom all the time, but you never crossed my mind that something that could be diabetes. This lasted all the way until Thanksgiving. I went to go see my grandparents for Thanksgiving. And my grandmother took one look at me and said there's something not right with you. My grandfather was type two. So he had a meter and two mornings in a row, they prick my finger and got readings in the three hundreds. And I went to calling the advice nurse for my health insurance and said, you know, hey, what should I do? I'm from California. I'm in DC going to school. Right now I'm in Pennsylvania, my grandparents house and they said, stop whatever you're doing, do not pass go do not collect $200 get yourself to the nearest emergency room. When I got there. Actually, the meter wouldn't even read. They had to send my blood to the lab to get a blood sugar reading and it came back at almost 1000 milligrams per deciliter. And I was well into DK And the doctors looked at me and they said, We can't explain how you're alive, let alone conscious. Oh my gosh. And so I got to spend a couple of days they actually sent me to the pediatric ward even though I was an adult, because that's where all the people that knew type one were right. So I spent a couple of days in the hospital there my my mom flew out to come and collect me and they taught me how to give myself shots and prick my finger and everything else. And then after that, I went back to school when finished out the semester.


Stacey Simms  13:32

Okay, I have a couple of quick questions for you. Do you remember what it felt like when you got your first dose of insulin? I've heard that that's just an amazing feeling after you've been feeling lousy like that for so long.


Chris Wilson  13:43

Oh, it is it's you can almost like feel the the ketones leaving your blood is sort of the the way that I think about it. almost feel like pins and needles inside as things get really bad. And if it's happening slowly and building up, you don't necessarily feel it acutely. You just sort of build up a tolerance to it when they started me on the insulin and everything else it was just like this weight was lifted and I didn't even realize how bad I had been feeling until I felt better. Yeah, that's amazing. I


Stacey Simms  14:14

you know, obviously not living with diabetes myself I don't have I can't I can't relate to that at all. But I can only imagine how much better you must have felt. But then to go back to college, what was that transition? Like? Because I assume your mother did not move into your dorm


Chris Wilson  14:27

always wanted to? She did not. She made me tell my roommate and all the other people on my floor. What was going on? Some of them or were actually like oh, wow, cool. You know, you get syringes and stuff. It's almost like we're living with a druggie. Lots of joking about it, but at least the first couple years actually, it was almost like an extent I had a really long honeymoon phase. And so I didn't even really need it. You know, I gave myself the insulin and I ate when I was starting to feel hungry. You're low and didn't really even think about you know, managing intensely or correctly or the way that we do now. It was just okay this happened. We'll we'll deal with it. And


Stacey Simms  15:15

and when when was this What year was this? If you don't mind me asking? This was 1997 Okay, so before certainly before CGM, and well before a lot of people even had an insulin pump,


Chris Wilson  15:25

right he will log was I believe brand new at the time.


Stacey Simms  15:29

It is wild to think about that stuff. I mean, Lantus had just been approved pediatric Lee when Benny was diagnosed, we thought Wow, this is so cool. We get to use this new insulin that just got approved. You know, it was really it's amazing when you look back on it. When did you start getting interested in technology and I say it like this because I assume you are pretty interested since you run these these groups now on Facebook.


Chris Wilson  15:50

I didn't pay too much attention to it because for the longest time, I was surviving uninsured haha and the over The counter Rnm I actually couldn't get to a Walmart. There wasn't a local Walmart. I was getting it from CVS in the basement of the Watergate hotel, if you believe that. That was the the local CVS. Wow. And that was just, you know, kind of what I knew. I mean, even at that point, anything newer than that, the more modern analogs and stuff like that was just prohibitively expensive without insurance. So I figured that out, I figured out you know, which meter had the cheapest test strips that I could could get and I didn't test nearly enough wound up in it DK and hospitalized briefly, once during that time, although not entirely due to the insulin regimen. My parents had come to visit me and I, being a impetuous college student got mad at them and decided I was going to take a road trip so I hopped in my car and drove to Florida from DC without any insulin. By the time I got back, I was feeling pretty awful and went and checked myself into the yard.


Stacey Simms  17:00

I feel like I want to say something. It's funny, Chris, as a parent, I'm, you know, I hold my breath when I hear stories like that, but as someone who's talked to people with diabetes for a long time now, so many people have done things like that it's just life, you know, and if you as you're listening you're I could never imagine, you know, things happen, right? It's nobody's perfect. So I'm glad you were okay. That is kind of scary.


Chris Wilson  17:24

Well, I wouldn't do that now. Oh, of course. I know. I know a lot better. Now.


Stacey Simms  17:28

Of course, when were you able to get insurance and then to get you know, a pump or CGM and everything that you have now. Right back to Chris in just a moment, but first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by One Drop and getting diabetes supplies is a pain. Not only the ordering and the picking up but also the arguing with insurance over what they say you need and what you really need. Make it easy with One Drop. They offer personalized test trip plans, plus you Get a Bluetooth glucose meter test strips lancets and your very own certified diabetes coach. Subscribe today to get test strips for less than $20 a month delivered right to your door. No prescriptions are Kobe's required. One less thing to worry about not that surprising. When you learn that the founder of One Drop lives with type one, they get it One Drop gorgeous gear supplies delivered to your door 24 seven access to your certified diabetes coach, learn more, go to diabetes, connections comm and click on the One Drop logo. Now back to Chris talking about when he was able to get coverage for what he really needed.


Chris Wilson  18:39

It was with the ACA when in fact, I had actually looked at insurance options briefly and the one insurer in because I've moved back to California by this time, the one insurer in the state that would even offer me a policy quoted me a premium that exceeded my gross income once the ACA went into effect and they couldn't raise the premium Just because I had type one diabetes, all of a sudden it became an option and you know, we went through the the standard of Okay, we're not going to do the the regular the mph anymore, we're going to get you on lattice and get you on human log. And after trying that and tweaking things here and there and figuring out what worked and what didn't, and they decided that really, my basal needs fluctuated so much throughout the day that I needed to, to be on a pump. Then after I was going through, I don't know 1015 test trips a day cuz I was testing about once an hour, trying to catch the spikes and dips and figuring out where things were. And I was regularly having my blood sugar dip into the 50s and 40s without feeling it. At that point, my endocrinologist looked at me and said, You know what, we should probably put a CGM on you. Hmm.


I said, Okay, yeah, let's let's do that.


Stacey Simms  19:58

What did you think? When you got on Dexcom,


Chris Wilson  20:01

my first thought was, oh my god, this is amazing. I can actually, you know, see, maybe not quite in real time but basically close enough what's going on and where I need to make adjustments to things that are crucial say, you know, make knowledge your superpower. And then a lot of ways it really is. And that kind of actually dovetails in with my job because as an IT consultant, I do a lot of working with data and data analysis and stuff like that, and actually having enough data to be able to analyze it and then make changes based on it. Yeah, was almost a perfect fit.


Stacey Simms  20:40

So how do you get from being you know, a regular guy, work for yourself and you're on a pump and you're on a CGM, taking care of yourself. You're doing well to suddenly having thousands of people in these Facebook groups where you big Facebook guy from the beginning?


Chris Wilson  20:54

Well, I've actually been on Facebook. Basically since there was a Facebook. I was in college. We were, I want to say the fourth or fifth school to get Facebook. That was number one was obviously Harvard, that Stanford was second. And then they started expanding to two other schools. And where did you go to


Unknown Speaker  21:15

college? I don't know that you said it


Chris Wilson  21:16

was it was George Washington University. I see.


Stacey Simms  21:19

That's funny. I mean, I went on, I got on in 2008, which I thought was really early. If you go, there's no record of that. Because long story short, I messed up my Facebook when I left my old job at the radio station, and went from like a friend to a pub, whatever I did, I messed it all up. But I was on in 22,008. And I thought that was early. But oh my gosh, you've been there really? Since the beginning?


Chris Wilson  21:40

Yeah, I want to say it was like 2001 or two, when it was the Facebook when it was the Facebook. My endocrinologist actually had encouraged me to when I was even just starting to research pumps, and then CGM and the other things. I was encouraged to go online, find user groups, do some research. So I joined initially the the tandem t slim pump group. And as I got better at using it and more familiar with it and figuring out how things worked, and at least the best way to do things for me, I started answering more and more questions. After a few months of that, I think one of the, the original admins of the group asked me if I would be willing to help out with admitting and you know, making sure people didn't do things that violated the rules and answering questions and stepping in when incorrect information was given out, and that sort of thing. So that happened, and not too long after that happened. Then, when the G five came out, one of the admins of that tandem group started the G five CGM users group. She sort of tapped me to come in and help out with that. So that's sort of how I wound up there. I mean, both of the groups have have grown significantly since then. It used to be that we, you know, let anybody post whatever they wanted pretty much. It that's, you know, had to be clamped down on somewhat just to keep things orderly.


Stacey Simms  23:12

What's the what are some things that people should know about Facebook groups? Like, is there anything that's kind of behind the scenes stuff that would help us either post better or use them better? Or they just drive admins crazy.


Chris Wilson  23:24

One of the big things that that gets me at least is Facebook is not Twitter. There's no character limit. You don't have to cram whatever question it is that you're asking her describe the situation in 140 or 280 characters or less, you know, by all means, use lots of words be as descriptive as possible, because sometimes in there, there's a little curl that have a little nugget that gives away what the actual source of the problem that person is having is the other


Stacey Simms  23:56

thing that was really interesting. We saw this so much with control IQ When it first came out was people don't search the group to see if their question has already been answered. I mean, I run to smaller groups, and they're usually really great. But that's kind of drives me crazy.


Chris Wilson  24:12

It used to be, it drives me crazy less, because I've just kind of learned to shrug it off. In large part, it's a function of just the way that Facebook's algorithms and ranking in the way that it orders the posts that people see works. Facebook's always trying to get the most recent stuff up at the top, or the stuff that it thinks you might be most interested in based on stuff that you've interacted with in the past. And there's, I'm sure tons and tons of algorithms and things that go into deciding what you see and when. And it's not even intuitive, especially looking at it on a phone or on tablet versus on the desktop website. There's even really a search to group option in a lot of cases. And there are Tons and tons of people that do search that that's one thing. But the people that do search, almost never actually post a question because they get their answers by searching the group. So those are the people that that we frequently interact with. It's you know, and you, you wind up seeing somebody posts a lot, because they've never realized that there's a search function. Good point.


Stacey Simms  25:24

So when control IQ came out, and this is particular to the tantum group, like hundreds of people, thousands of people, it seems like came into that group. Was it that many or is it just, you know, I'm sitting on the outside wasn't really that many people,


Chris Wilson  25:37

I want to say, because the group's kind of, you know, had a long steady growth. But I want to say for especially that few months when it was approved and not yet released, and then right after it was starting to roll out, there was definitely a spike in interest. We were seeing the group grow at almost three times the rate that it had been before that Wow.


Stacey Simms  26:00

So if you don't mind, let me ask you about your experience with control IQ because there's still you know, certainly a lot of people who haven't who have tanto haven't tried it yet. And there's a lot of people who've listened who haven't switched over to it, you post a lot of, you know, very publicly posted about your experience. How's it going now?


Chris Wilson  26:16

It's so going along, okay, I've actually backed off because, of course, when it was new, I'm paying attention to it all the time, right? I'm looking at it, I want to see what it's doing. I want to see why, you know, see if I can figure out why it's deciding to do what it's doing right now. Now, I've gotten to the point where I trusted enough that I frequently just let it go. And sometimes that means that I don't catch or foresee something that I would have otherwise. So my time range has dropped back down a little bit from where it was I'm not running, you know, 9597 90% time and range. It's closer to being in the low 90s still, but a slacker in all honesty The low 90s is fine. And my average blood sugar has come down significantly. And the biggest thing that I was anticipating getting help with from it, I'm still getting out which was gone phenomenon. I'm still seeing that improvement. I'm not as a general rule waking up at 180 or 200. Even though my basal rate doubles before I wake up, Wow, it's so definitely helping. And I've kind of decided I'm gonna let it go and try to be a normal user, not a someone who's focused on it all the time, and sort of see how that rides out.


Stacey Simms  27:38

I think that almost in a way, it's better. I think that and I have because I have a 15 year old son, who is very responsible. I mean, I don't want to put him it's gonna sound like I'm putting him down. I'm not he's very responsible. But truly being a person who really would prefer to never touch this pump again, has helped him so much because I know people who overreact everything and they're not doing as well with control like you He bonuses for food and then leaves it alone. And you know, four or five hours later, he'll be like, Oh, yeah, it's good. You know, he doesn't, you know, and I'm not I'm not checking him as much as I used to because he's a teenager. But it's amazing. When you would let it do its thing if your settings are right, which is a whole other story. It really works out great. So, you know, we'll see how it goes for you. But I think that you know, anything you can do to think less about diabetes is also very nice.


Chris Wilson  28:23

That's right, it gives you you know, more time to think about the other things in your life.


Stacey Simms  28:27

So let's talk about other things in your life. You're okay, so you bowl, you're an IT guy work for yourself. There's some surfing stuff in your bio, do you surf or is that a company that you work with?


Chris Wilson  28:37

It's primarily my biggest client is a nonprofit organization that focuses on ocean waves of beaches that includes access for recreation. So there's a lot of surfing related stuff there. I can surf I have served. I'll be honest wearing a pump and CGM is is not necessarily conducive to being out in the water recreating, I would need to figure out some sort of untethered regimen or something if I wanted to do it regularly, I can at least paddle out and catch a wave or two and not get tossed around too much. But actually, the the big surfing thing is comes from my dad. My dad who's now in his 70s, you know, started surfing when he was 15 or 16. And still goes out and in surfs, usually two or three times a week at least when he can when we're not all under house arrest.


Stacey Simms  29:38

Yeah. Oh, that's great, though. That's really cool. Do they live nearby?


Chris Wilson  29:43

They do. They live about a mile mile and a half for me. Oh, that's great. So how


Stacey Simms  29:47

is everybody doing? I you know, I I don't know exactly when this will air but I assume it was it will not be at a time when we're all running around outside yet. So how are you holding up?


Chris Wilson  29:57

We're all doing okay. The nature of my job is such That I can largely work from home. Most of the time anyway, that hasn't been a huge impact for me. My parents have figured out Netflix and zoom, and doordash. And so they're adjusting to their new restrictions, although they still do get out and walk around and make sure they get their exercise in as well. So


Stacey Simms  30:25

well, who knows what it's gonna look like on the other side of this. So we'll just do what we can. But one of the questions that you I've seen you answer in the groups and I want to talk about is, you know, people sometimes think you work for them, or you work for Dexcom and you don't, but you get a lot of really good information. Can you talk to us about what you do? You know, how can lay people stay up on information from these companies, because it's all public, I assume the things that you're looking into.


Chris Wilson  30:55

It is, none of it's a secret. It's just a lot of it isn't well publicized. I pay attention to every press release that the companies put out. You know, I have one of the stock tracking apps and I have it set up to notify me whenever any of the companies on my list put out a press release, and it's not just Dexcom in tandem, it's insolate for the Omni pod. Medtronic psionics. Basically, almost anybody in the diabetes space, I try to at least keep up with what they're doing. I listened to the conference calls that they have for investors.


Stacey Simms  31:33

I salute you, because I have been on some of those conference calls. And they are so boring, but they are they have great information, but they are a slog, sometimes


Chris Wilson  31:42

they can be most definitely and if it doesn't work out schedule wise that I'm able to listen to the call. Honestly, sometimes I prefer to go back through and read the transcript after it's done. There's that I follow the diabetes media. You know, I read everything that gets Put just about everything that gets posted on diabetes mind or diatribe, or any of the other publications that sort of track what's going on in the diabetes world. And well, I do have some friends that do work for those companies living in San Diego or near San Diego, where they're headquartered is kind of inevitable, but they don't share any inside info with me or anything else. It's just a matter of really paying attention. I'm curious why you


Stacey Simms  32:31

do that. What is it that makes you so interested? Obviously, you have diabetes, you were the technology, but most people don't


Chris Wilson  32:38

follow it that closely. I think part of it's just sort of the way that I brought was brought up, I have sort of the the engineering bent to and that goes again, with with the job, but, you know, I like looking at things and taking them apart and figuring out how they work and how they're put together. And that's not necessarily always a option with diabetes technology. Although obviously the, the we're not waiting, the CGM, the crowd group has has done a lot with reverse engineering, what goes into these devices and how they're communicating with the radio signals and figuring out ways to sort of hijacks some of that to use for their own purposes, in ways that the tech wasn't necessarily originally designed to be used. But I've got some of that same sort of inquisitiveness about how things work. I mean, I remember when I was eight years old, I took apart my mother's computer that she had at home to install an expansion card so that I could attach a joystick to it to play games. And I remember being told that man, if you put that to get back together, if it doesn't work, you're not getting your allowance for the next four years.


And you were eight and it worked. And I was about eight and it worked. was safe there.


Stacey Simms  34:01

It's funny. But that says a lot. Right about being curious about, you know, having a knack for things. And for having the I don't know, there's something different about people who take a look at technology and say, I can do that. It's like you said that like the night scout people in the DIY crowd to be able to look at something and have the confidence or just even the curiosity to say we can make this better. I think that's really admirable. I don't have that. There's no doubt I'm, I'm scared of it.


Chris Wilson  34:28

Well, a lot of it just comes down to looking at it looking at what is the data is going into it, looking at what the actions are, that are coming out of it and figuring out what must be happening in between those because you don't necessarily have any insight as to exactly what the system is doing. But if you input a two and it gives you a four, and then you input a four, and it gives you an eight, and you input an eight and it gives you a 16. It's probably just taking whatever the input is and multiplying it by two and giving you the answer.


Stacey Simms  34:57

When you look at the technology and I No that, you know, who knows exactly what timelines are going to look like after this situation that we're all in right now? What's coming that excites you down the road for diabetes technology, because there's a lot that's on the horizon.


Chris Wilson  35:13

I think the biggest thing that I see and it's actually sort of already here is the option to be able to infuse multiple hormones both insulin and glucagon. Now that we actually do have a shelf stable liquid glucagon on the market, that being the G voke. from Paris, I would assume that Zealand's product isn't too far behind that since that's what's being used for the for the island with beta bionics. So we should have two options before too much longer. Hopefully, just having the ability to not just take your foot off the gas, so to speak, but actually be able to apply the brakes is I think, going to be a major thing and then going along with that and something that I haven't really seen talked about too much is Lily's faster humalog which I mean, that's one of the big challenges is always that food is fast and then slow, the slow. And so anything that that can be done to speed up the insulin action to get it closer to what you would actually seen that happen naturally when your pancreas dumps that insulin straight into your veins, I think gonna be a big improvement.


Unknown Speaker  36:26

You mentioned g Volk. Did I read you were in one of the trials. Did you talk about that at some point? I did. I've discussed it.


Chris Wilson  36:33

From time to time I do various clinical trials as they as they pop up. A lot of the research gets done here in San Diego, and if nothing else is an option to get paid for having diabetes, which is nice to have happen. Once in a while. I did participate in the phase three clinical trial for for the G Volk, where they actually compared it to the standard glucagon kit to prove that it was of equivalent efficacy. That was Kind of an interesting experience, they hook you up to IV insulin and push your blood sugar down, I want to say under 50 and then turn off the IV and give you the injection and watch what happens. And the sort of the cool thing was that they actually didn't make me take off my CGM when I was doing it. So I saved and screenshotted the data from the days that I did both the traditional glucagon kit and then the, the product that they were testing the G voke to be able to look at and sort of compare the two, but doing that kind of stuff. And I also did the G six clinical trial, proving that it was good for 10 days if you wore it and also that it would block at least up to a certain dose of Tylenol.


Stacey Simms  37:43

Oh, that's interesting. I didn't realize you're in that trial too. Did they give you a bunch of Tylenol?


Chris Wilson  37:47

It was thousand milligram pill of kill of acetaminophen. They had as a saw, I want to say it was you know, 15 ish people and all basically crammed into a clinic room. IVs in so they could do blood draws every five or 15 minutes depending on what stage we were in of the of the testing. And they were running them through the lab grade glucose meters right there in front of us and comparing the readings from the CGM because we were all wearing both the G five and Digi six so they could compare the two. That's wild. And it was it was basically controlled chaos for about six hours.


Stacey Simms  38:28

Yeah, I've signed up any for a few you know, to get into some clinical trials. But here in Charlotte, North Carolina, we really don't have the access. We could drive to Virginia sometimes sometimes there's some stuff in the Raleigh area, you know, the Research Triangle, but and the pediatric ones are hard anyway, but we'd love to do one that's really interesting. I'm going to tell them about that thousand milligrams of Tylenol in one pill


Chris Wilson  38:51

which actually isn't too much more than the extra strength the normal extra rectangle


Stacey Simms  38:56

so Oh, wow. I used I thought it was like 200 milligrams in one And then so it would be five. But I didn't think that the extra strength oh my goodness,


Chris Wilson  39:04

well, if nothing else, I mean the the clinical trials also give you a chance to have testing done that nobody would ever pay for as a normal patient. They're looking at all kinds of stuff I've done at various stages of research trials for other things where they're looking at measuring your resting metabolic rate. And they've actually got a giant plastic hood that they put over your head to measure how much oxygen is going in and co2 is coming out. And based on that they can calculate how fast your normal metabolism is running. And they'll do it under various conditions where they're running extra insulin into you and extra sugar to counteract that insulin in an IV. Under normal circumstances, I would never do think it was 100 gram of carbohydrate challenge to see what would happen but I do Did a trial where they did it before and then after giving the medication that they were experimenting with to see what the difference was how high did your blood sugar peak? How fast did it come down? And nobody would ever do that. They're laying in the bed and they're practically doing blood draws and you've got your CGM on and you can see exactly how your body responds to various things. And it was actually kind of cool because if I had not done that trial, I would not believe that in score lasted five hours in my body. Oh, yeah. But because I did that, I've now actually got documented proof that I can show that no, like, here's where I had the hundred grams of carbs and gave myself the the bolus of insulin. And I could then watch as the blood sugar's slowly comes down and tails off. And that was six hours of measurements. Well, I


Transcribed by

Apr 22, 2020

What happens when you're diagnosed with COVID-19 and you live with type 1 diabetes? It happened to Patric Ciervo in early March. Patric shares his story, including how his diabetes reacted, hospital issues with people who don’t really understand insulin pumps and how he’s doing now.

In Tell Me Something Good, a familiar name in the diabetes community, recovering from COVID 19 and now donating plasma, we salute more health care heroes.

This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.

Check out Stacey's new book: The World's Worst Diabetes Mom!

Join the Diabetes Connections Facebook Group!

Sign up for our newsletter here


Use this link to get one free download and one free month of Audible, available to Diabetes Connections listeners!

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Episode Transcription

Stacey Simms  0:00

Diabetes Connections is brought to you by one drop created for people with diabetes by people who have diabetes by real good foods, real food you feel good about eating and by dexcom take control of your diabetes and live life to the fullest with dexcom.


Announcer  0:21

This is diabetes connections with Stacey Simms.


Stacey Simms  0:27

This week recovering from COVID-19 while living with Type One Diabetes, Patrick servo was diagnosed with the virus. In early March,


Patric Ciervo  0:36

my temperature started going down like a 101 to five times 5am it was about a 93 I woke up in a puddle of sweat, we call 911. Fearing that I was going into some type of shock


Stacey Simms  0:50

Patrick wound up in the emergency room with a committed he shares how diabetes was managed issues with people in the hospital who don't really get insulin pump And how he's doing now and tell me something good a familiar name in the diabetes community also recovering from COVID-19 and now donating plasma and we salute more healthcare heroes. This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider. Welcome to another week of diabetes connections so glad to have you along. I'm your host Stacey Simms, we aim to educate and inspire about type one diabetes by sharing stories of connection. My son was diagnosed with type one right before he turned two back in 2006. He is 15 now and a freshman in high school. My husband lives with type two diabetes. I don't have diabetes. I have a background in broadcasting and that is how you get the podcast I used to work in local radio and television news. Before I jump in with Patrick a little bit of housekeeping, we are fast approaching Episode 300 This is Episode 298. I have never made a big deal about numbering episodes because I don't know, it doesn't really matter what order you listen to the show in. I do number them internally just for organization, you know, keep track that way. And depending on what app you use, I know Apple podcasts will number them, you can see it right there in the app. Depending on what you use, it shows up or it doesn't. But we do have a very robust search engine on the website. And that does not rely on numbers. You just search by topic. And for me as I listen to podcasts, that's how I want to find previous shows, right? If I want to look something up, I'm gonna put the word into the search. I'm not gonna remember Oh, that was Episode 212, or whatever. I bring the numbers up though, because at 300 episodes, a lot of podcast apps start limiting what you see, when we get to 301 or you know, 350 or who knows 400 You're still only going to be able to see 300 episodes in the app. I'm not quite sure how many people are scrolling through to see everything. I am putting something new at the website you should be able to with one click to see all 300 episodes something unfortunately we don't have right now, because frankly, it just takes forever to load. But watch for that at diabetes, connections calm, they'll be a way to click and see all 300 episodes, if you're interested in kind of going back and scrolling through back to 2015. I should also mention if you subscribe on a podcast app like Apple podcasts, which is a really easy, easy way to listen to the show, if you listen through social media, that's fantastic. Listen, whatever, you know, whatever is easiest for you. But if you use a podcast app, and you subscribe, that 300 episode limit doesn't apply. you subscribe for free, I wish it was called something else. But when you subscribe to a podcast, it has nothing to do with buying a subscription or signing up for a subscription. You're literally saying to the app, give me all the episodes for free. So there you go. Gotta say a quick thank you for getting me to Episode 300. I'm so thrilled when we started I wasn't sure how long it would last. I certainly wasn't looking five years into the future. So thank you So much for listening for sharing these episodes and for frankly, becoming part of a community. We have an unbelievable Facebook group and I've connected so much with people over zoom and the chat over this time. I really appreciate it. So thank you for letting me continue to serve you. Diabetes Connections is brought to you by one drop. And I spoke to the people at one drop and you know, I was really impressed at how much they get diabetes. It makes sense because their CEO Jeff was diagnosed with type one as an adult. One drop is for people with diabetes by people with diabetes. The people at one drop work relentlessly to remove all barriers between you and the care you need. Get 24 seven coaching support in your app and unlimited supplies delivered no prescriptions or insurance required. Their beautiful sleek meter fits in perfectly with the rest of your life. They'll also send you test strips with a strip plan that actually makes sense for how much you actually check. Imagine that one drop diabetes care delivered, learn more, go to diabetes connections calm and click on the one Drop logo.


My guest this week was one of the first people in his community officially diagnosed with COVID-19. And Patrick servo was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes more than seven years ago. So like you I had a lot of questions about what it is like to live through Coronavirus, while also living with type one. Now, of course, keep in mind as we're speaking here, every case is different. Every case of Coronavirus of COVID-19 to be specific, presents a little differently, some very mild, some much more severe, a lot of asymptomatic cases we hear about and type one diabetes kind of goes without saying on this show. Everybody handles that differently as well. So please remember that this is about Patrick. We can extrapolate some information from here. Frankly, I find it very reassuring. But at the same time, please talk to your healthcare provider. Don't jump to conclusions and I will link up much more information at diabetes dash connections. Calm the episode homepage in the podcast show notes. So here's my interview with Patrick servo. Patrick, thank you so much for joining me. How are you doing? How are you feeling


Patric Ciervo  6:09

these days? I'm feeling well, thankfully, my symptoms have been gone for a while. And yeah, I've been feeling good.


Stacey Simms  6:19

Wow. All right. So from where I sit, not knowing anything really sad. It just seems so scary. So I appreciate you sharing your experience. Let's back up. How did this all start? You've been living with type one we should say for for seven, seven and a half years now. So you're not exactly new to type one. But what happened in terms of feeling ill a couple of weeks ago.


Patric Ciervo  6:40

So basically, early in March, I had a busy weekend and everything. There was a work event on Friday, about where we went out because there was someone's last day, but I was running around Friday and Saturday, Sunday night. I was at my girlfriend's apartment and we were just beat from the weekend she works with me. So we were just beat from the whole thing. And she noticed that my body temperature had started feeling hot. But because we were both rundown, we didn't really think too much of it. So, the next day I woke up, I felt good. I didn't really feel bad at all, like maybe a minor thing, but nothing to worry about. So I went to work Monday, but that night, my body temperature was hot again, and her roommates a nurse, so we had a thermometer, and my temperature was 103. So we went to the primary doctors on Tuesday, I was tested for the flu, which came back negative Faker really diagnosed me with anything. I didn't mention Coronavirus, but he didn't think it was that he tested me for the flu again with a more accurate test but the test will come back the next day. So in the meantime, he gave me an A biotic and Tamiflu and told me to take Motrin Tuesday night, my temperature started going down like a 1012. By the time was 5am. It was about a 93. I woke up in a, like puddle of sweat, we call 911 fairing vows going into some type of shock. And I was in the car since then.


Unknown Speaker  8:19

So when you guys called for an ambulance, were you thinking this is diabetes related? or What did you


Patric Ciervo  8:25

think? Well, she had looked up and everything that diabetics have more like more of a chance to go into a shock from fever or something like that. So she was kind of the one pushing the 911 call. So we did that. I didn't think too much of it until a little bit later on. When I was like in the ambulance, I still wasn't feeling well. By the time I got the ER, I was feeling good, and my temperature was normal.


Stacey Simms  8:53

It's so hard to be the person in that circumstance, right? You're not thinking exactly clearly the person that called you know, is trying to figure out What's going on? When do you remember? Do you remember when they said okay, this is gonna be COVID-19


Patric Ciervo  9:06

they didn't they test me again for the flu in the ER, they tested again twice, and that both of them came back negative. We got the call from our primary the second flu test that he did came back negative, but I was already like things were back to normal, my temperature was fine. So they tested me for COVID as a precautionary, and because they tested me, they put me in the ICU and my own room and they want me to be there until the test results came back, which they were told would be the next day. I didn't get it back till that Saturday. I was in there on a Wednesday. Wow. But the doctors that would come in saw me like I was immediately getting better and everything. My only symptoms before the diagnosis were the fever and a cough. I didn't have trouble breathing, but they thought I looked good enough that they didn't think It was COVID


Stacey Simms  10:01

That's amazing. So you start feeling better and that's when you find out that's what you had.


Patric Ciervo  10:05

Yeah, I know. So I'm thankful I can't like I was already on the mend when I found out and it was a little bit before like all the craziness started in the world and so I didn't go in in too much of a panic state. When I found out I was diagnosed with it. There was still like a shock like, oh God, like diabetic and I've been hearing these things aren't good, but I was getting better each day. So after like a deep breath and everything able to get back to a good mental state.


Stacey Simms  10:35

I know everybody wants to know about diabetes and you know what you now looking back what you think of that part of it, but I want to ask before we move on, How bad was that test for COVID-19 you hear like it's really far up the nose is that How bad was


Patric Ciervo  10:49

it? Yeah, it was. It was exactly that out the nose and everything as they did in both nostrils, two different ones at once. It was not fun at all. You know, it was something I could live with and everything.


Stacey Simms  11:04

I'm sorry to ask. I just you know, I think about what how they test you for strep. Yeah, right. It's always like you gotta gotta gotta get it far enough to gag a little bit. Uh huh. Your


Patric Ciervo  11:12

nose. Oh my god. Yeah, it was pretty much yeah, exactly like that only your nose and I was like, flinching and everything. But it was totally doable.


Stacey Simms  11:23

And I know it's worth it. Please don't send me nasty emails like, yeah, it's just one of those things that I don't want to ask about. But looking back, what about your diabetes during that time? I think people do get very concerned about you know, treatment and blood sugar's you didn't know you had it. So it was kind of difficult or different to think about managing that way. But looking back, anything stand out?


Patric Ciervo  11:45

Well, in the hospital, my blood sugar was higher than normal. For the most part. I'm not sure how much of that was the illness related. I was very stressed in the hospital and could not move at all. So I think that also had part to do with it. Because I didn't have a problem coming down from the highs, there was nothing with my diabetes to think like something's off. I need to get checked out the days leading up to it. I've been fairly decent you know for the most part


Unknown Speaker  12:14

so you didn't notice any like really wacky high blood sugars before the diagnosis. No, no treatment, right like that.


Patric Ciervo  12:21

No, no. Yeah, thankfully.


Stacey Simms  12:23

So when you got the test back at the hospital You said you were already kind of on the mend. How much longer did you stay there?


Patric Ciervo  12:28

They released me Friday, and I got the test back Saturday. So I was self isolating just to wait for the test result. And then that's when I got the call.


Stacey Simms  12:40

What do they tell you after you test positive what happens next even at home?


Patric Ciervo  12:44

Yeah, they had given me in the hospital what to do if it does come back positive. They gave me a worksheet like to do less than everything. Just basically everything we've been hearing, you know, self isolate for two weeks. I think it was something like 72 hours, but two ways you can be like out of the quarantine is for 72 hours, you can't have a fever and other symptoms have to be gone. And the other one was or you have to get tested again, it has to come back negative. And I didn't get tested again. When I was at home quarantine. I only had a fever one other time.


Stacey Simms  13:21

So you feel pretty confident your past.


Patric Ciervo  13:23

Yeah, I did develop a headache and the quarantine.


Stacey Simms  13:27

So again, back to diabetes. Did you ever sound like the mom now? But did you call your endocrinologist and loop them in? Right back to Patrick as he answers that question. But first diabetes Connections is brought to you by real good foods. high protein, low carb, grain free, gluten free and terrific. If you're trying to eat keto, their line of foods just keeps getting bigger. We've been talking about them for so long. Now. I think when I started they only had pizza. Right, but now they have stuffed chicken breakfast sandwiches, you can get the pizza, just the crust, so you can kind of make it whoever you want. They have entrees. They are of course available in the grocery store freezers, but they're also so easy to get to your door, their whole line can be delivered. And they have a lot of specials right now. There's free shipping specials, but also on their website. If you sign up, you can get all the coupons and promos delivered directly to your phone, make it very, very easy. Find out more go to diabetes, connections comm and click on the real good foods logo. Now back to Patrick and I was asking him if he caught his endo when he was admitted.


Patric Ciervo  14:44

You know what, I had an incident in the hospital where when I got there, they asked me if I had an insulin pump. And I told them I did and they asked me if I wanted to like you know, administrate my own insulin. I said yeah, and there was a bit of a next up with The nurse who was under the impression she was giving me insulin shots, but they weren't not taking the fact that I already had insulin on board. And that, like they would not be calculating that. And so the insulin they gave me and they seem to not want to give me any type of basal insulin, they just wanted to do like check every two or three hours. If I was Hi, give me a correction. I didn't call my personal endo, because they're kind of hard to get ahold of. But I have a, I go to this camp for athletes with Type One Diabetes called diabetes training camp and the endo that has that, that ended that runs it. I texted him about that initially. And every day since then, he had texted me or called checking in how I'm doing. I told him my blood sugar's were high. He told me don't try to get to like 100 to 120. Don't aim for perfect, just as long as you're able to get to 140 to 180. You should be fine. I have any problems.


Stacey Simms  16:01

And yeah, I mean, that's one of the worries that I always have in the hospital. I mean, I'm there with my son being crazy mom. So you know, they're not going to give him extra insulin, but it's so frightening for you if you're there by yourself, which you had to be clear that up. I mean, I'm envisioning this nurse trying to give you a shot and you holding up your pump, you know, you're trying to ward her off. Did you argue with them?


Patric Ciervo  16:24

Uh, yeah, I mean, I'm not like, I like I don't like conflict at all and everything. But this was like, there was no way I wasn't standing my ground this and everything because I had like, four or five units on board, because I was trying to come down from like a 260 or something. And I'm explaining it to them, and explained that the doctor said that eventually they understood what I was saying after a few minutes. They said, All right, they'll talk to the doctor. And about 15 minutes later, they called me saying that the doctor says fine.


Stacey Simms  16:56

No, thank goodness. Do you use a CGM as well? Yeah. And did they let you kind of use that in the hospital? Did they insist on doing finger sticks?


Patric Ciervo  17:04

They did do finger sticks for their own record, they said, but that's all my phone. I was just going off that the whole time.


Stacey Simms  17:11

All right, so have you followed up with your endo? I mean, it sounds like you're on the mend. Doesn't sound like you needed to check in with him. I'm not trying to mom you


Patric Ciervo  17:17

right? Yeah, chicken. I mean, he was texting. We were texting and calling back and forth when I was doing the two week quarantine as well as my primary. My primary had called and everything I told him I had a low grade fever the one night he said, You know, sometimes that happens, I won't be too worried about it unless it's kind of a stays. And it the was one night and I woke up the next morning fine.


Stacey Simms  17:44

Alright, so I'm gonna ask you some personal stuff you do not have to answer. All right. Here we go. One of the things that I that we see so often when people in the diabetes community are talking about the fears of Coronavirus is you know, you have to have quote good Control to come out of this in good health, you know, and that we've seen that people, especially with type two diabetes, and all those comorbidities don't do well, but COVID-19 and I hit I always hate asking people I actually I don't I don't ever ask anybody in the show with their agency. And I'm not going to ask you, but are you a perfect diabetic?


Patric Ciervo  18:18

I'd say a B plus student. I'm definitely not perfect, but I overall I pretty well control.


Stacey Simms  18:27

I just think it's important to ask because, you know, I think there's a lot of fear that if you're a one c isn't 5.9 or 6.1, you know, consistently that that illnesses are just going to knock you down. And it's just not the case. Obviously, you want to be in good health, in quote, good control. So you know, share as much as you'd like. I think that's important to hear. I have seen a video or two of your Oh, yeah. You should say your comedian. Yeah. And you know, I've seen some of your blood sugars. They're not all the time.


Unknown Speaker  18:56

Right, right. Yeah. Which videos are you talking about?


Stacey Simms  19:00

Seek specifically there. I was thinking of the drinking game. Okay. Yeah.


Patric Ciervo  19:05

So yeah, just along with this episode. Oh, cool. Yeah, I that was a few years ago. So I kind of forget what was going on that I did that about three years after I was diagnosed three or four years. And my whole thing was FM pi, it's fine. But as long as I like, come down, I'm not gonna stress about it. Because in the beginning, my educator introduced me to one of her, like interns one day or, and she goes, like after I've been a diabetic for a year. And she says, This is Patrick. He used to call us every time he was about 200. And well, because I was told I wasn't supposed to be 200. So like the first like, year and a half, I was kind of like, going like crazy, making sure I could blood sugars. But once I realized I could be a little higher, and I'll be fine. Just as long as I came down. I was happy.


Stacey Simms  19:56

Yeah, definitely. I think we all handle this in a different way. You I have long decided that perfection is not an option.


Unknown Speaker  20:03



Stacey Simms  20:04

exactly. So I think it's just important to, to just kind of spotlight that a little bit and I appreciate you sharing that. I'm not gonna make you the spokesperson, I promise for people with diabetes who have been through something like this, but having gone through it, you know, what is your advice for other people with type one? You know, is there anything that you would tell people to to concern themselves with more or less?


Patric Ciervo  20:27

I mean, I kind of feel like basically, I didn't have that too hard at that experience, which is, in some ways I kind of feel bad because you know, I would like to say that like I fought all genders everything, like in spite but and I know everyone's experiences not gonna be like that. So I feel very fortunate, but like, I think a lot of the things like me recover quickly, was that the second I got to the hospital, I got there like when symptoms were early, and I've shot up with like fluids early. I think that's the number During my quarantine, I was drinking water, like non stop and take and taking vitamins. I was just doing everything I could to make sure even though I was feeling better that I wasn't going to let this slit, if you had to be in the hospital, I'd say definitely advocate like the hell of your diabetes management and how you go about it. I think for nurses who like work great, otherwise, they kind of have misinformation about what to do. Yeah,


Stacey Simms  21:29

I'm curious too. Did you bring a bunch of supplies with you? I've seen some people recommend, you know, take up to two weeks, you know, if supplies if diabetes supplies to the hospital if you have to go?


Patric Ciervo  21:40

Yeah, I mean, I'm on the on the pod so I grabbed all that I grabbed strips, and my my Omni pod and I grabbed pumps. I had my girlfriend put like juices and gummies in her purse, and then my parents did come up and everything from South Korea. They would go to my apartment and they bought more stuff when I need it.


Stacey Simms  22:04

It's so interesting because you were in the hospital before much of the lockdown or I shouldn't call you know, the the states that decided to self quarantine whatever we're calling it stay at home shelter in place. This would be for most of that went into place, wasn't it?


Patric Ciervo  22:20

Yeah, I mean, my first day in the hospital was the day Tom Hanks was diagnosed. So that's then. So that's basically my buck marker for how early it was you in Telmex? Yeah, same day.


Unknown Speaker  22:34

Uh huh.


Stacey Simms  22:35

You were diagnosed as a young adult. were you diagnosed correctly right away because I keep hearing more misdiagnoses at that age.


Patric Ciervo  22:41

I was diagnosed correctly. I really like my primary from South Jersey. I was in Ireland for a week, the week before. And I was drinking water non stop. I was in Ireland with my family. And my mom noticed two days later, we had a surprise birthday for At the surprise party all our friends are saying I look super skinny. So about two or three days later actually one day after her birthday, her actual birthday, she made me go to the doctor she talked to me and I told him my symptoms and he looked at me and he told us nurse to get the stuff to test me with instead tell my patients I'm going to be a while And so yeah, so my blood sugar was like 500 something and he made arrangements for me to go to the hospital and all that and gave me his personal cell phone if I need him at all during the night or something like that. And thankfully I didn't but yeah,


Stacey Simms  23:38

and you mentioned the the camp and then in the athletes that you've been involved with and you know, you believe I've done a lot of bike rides. Haha, did you find all of that because that makes such a big difference once you find that community?


Patric Ciervo  23:49

Yeah, that's definitely been like my lifesaver and everything prior to the diagnosis, went against into cycling, and I wasn't spiking like that much but Now my friends went to bike. So I was looking for a group to bike with. So in the hospital, I googled cycling and diabetes. And I found that jdrf ride to cure. And I contacted one of the coaches, who is also a type one. And the endo that runs this camp is his personal endo. So he gave me his information. And I think going there since


Stacey Simms  24:23

Oh, that's great. Yeah, going forward. Now, have you been instructed to do anything different? Are you just kind of back to full health? Do they monitor you? Do you diabetes wise or otherwise have to think about anything else?


Patric Ciervo  24:34

No, I did get a call from the health department and and Hoboken where I'm living now and in South Jersey, where I'm from, but other than just kind of initially checking in on me. I haven't heard anything. We get a call from my primary doctors nurse. I got a call from her a few times, just checking in, but since I recovered, no one seems to be concerned about me. I guess I Have a lot on their plate. But I've been self isolating. I've been doing everything. Basically everything everyone else has been doing washing hands. What? If I go out to walk the dog? I'll wear a mask and everything. You know, I don't know what's what. So just kind of be precautious in any area I can.


Stacey Simms  25:18

And I meant to ask when you were isolated for those 14 days. Did you live with your girlfriend? Did you live with anybody else or was that difficult for you guys?


Patric Ciervo  25:26

When my test result came back Saturday, she had already thought she had it. But she got tested then after my test result, and she came back positive. So we don't live together. But I have a roommate up in North Jersey, and my sister has a house to herself. She said she would go to Mar parents beach house for those two weeks and that I could use her house. So I was there for like a few days by myself. But once my girlfriend was diagnosed and everything, she has two roommates as well and she didn't want to be around them. They would still be isolated. together


Stacey Simms  26:00

in the hospital or otherwise they didn't treat you with anything did they? It doesn't sound like you were you know ascribed anything special?


Patric Ciervo  26:06

No they basically they did give me an A biotic when I left. And I think I don't even remember they were giving me lots of fluids and everything. Maybe they did give me some type of tail or something. I don't even remember what that was.


Stacey Simms  26:18

Yeah, yeah. But nothing on an ongoing basis.


Unknown Speaker  26:21

No, no. Well, Patrick,


Stacey Simms  26:23

I'm so glad you're okay. And thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Yes. Posted if you get the call to I don't know, donate plasma, or whatever the heck they're doing. Haha. You know, let us know what where you go from here, but I really appreciate you sharing your story.


Patric Ciervo  26:37

Yeah, thank you for having me in everything.


Unknown Speaker  26:45

You're listening to diabetes connections with Stacey Simms.


Stacey Simms  26:51

More information at diabetes I will link up more information about generally speaking, you know COVID-19 type one diabetes and other interviews with people with type one who have been admitted, diagnosed officially with COVID-19 and have recovered and are speaking about it. So I will I'll post all that information. I will also put the guest Patrick's blood glucose drinking game video that we mentioned, that's in the Facebook group. And I will post it in the show notes as well just go to diabetes, connections comm and click on the episode homepage. Patrick and I talked off the air briefly about the new policy or the provisional approval from the FDA to have CGM used in hospitals. And that would be hospitals would actually give the people admitted a continuous glucose monitoring system. dexcom is involved. Abbott is giving the Libra array. So it's very, very new. In fact, it was after Patrick was released from the hospital. I believe that the FDA approved that provisionally but what I'm trying to figure out still and maybe by the time this airs, we'll have the answer to this. I'm trying to figure out if that is Only for people who come in without their own system, right? mostly people with type two diabetes, as we had talked about in the conversation with dexcom CEO Kevin Sayer, or if you come in with type one diabetes, and they're more willing to use your own system, or if they give you one if you don't have one, so there's still a lot to figure out there. But as you heard, he still had to do a lot of educating. And that, to me is so difficult when you're the person who has type one and who is in need of medical care. I mean, not everybody is going to be as able, as Patrick was to describe the situation and say, you know, I've got this. So man, um, you know, we've got to keep advocating, we've got to keep educating, time for Tell me something good, which is usually a good segment for that. But first diabetes Connections is brought to you by dexcom. We started with dexcom back in the olden days before share, and I always meet people who have no idea that there was a thing before share, right that there was a time when you couldn't look at your kids blood sugar on your phone. So trust me when I say using share and follow up really made a big difference. Benny and I have always set parameters about when I'm going to text him, you know how long I'm going to wait, that kind of stuff. And it really does help us talk and worry about diabetes less. If he's asleep over if he's away on a trip. It gives me so much peace of mind. It really helps me if I need to troubleshoot with him, because you can see what's been happening over the last 24 hours and not make a decision based in just one moment in time. The alerts and alarms that we set also help us from keeping the highs from getting too high, and help us jump on lows before there were a big issue. Internet connectivity is required to access separate dexcom follow up to learn more, go to diabetes, connections comm and click on the dexcom logo.


Tell me something good. Recently, we have shifted to talking about healthcare heroes and stories of people with type one diabetes who are in healthcare fields. And I'm going to talk about one in just a moment. But first, I want to share a great story about a gentleman who doesn't Have Type One Diabetes doesn't have diabetes at all. But he is very much a part of a diabetes community. You may know Mike mangus, because I've talked about him here on the show. And I've certainly talked about his products. Stay put medical is not a sponsor, but I love them. After all these years of trying different products. I think about two, maybe three years ago, we finally started using stay put, and this is gonna sound like a commercial, but it's unbelievable for Benny, everybody's skin is so different. So it can take a while to figure out what's right for you. Here's the example I give last summer stay put kept his decks calm on the entire week of diabetes camp. And then for three and a half days at the beach. Yeah, we restarted the sensor. So they were in the water every day at diabetes camp. They were sweaty, they were gross. And then we went to the beach and did ocean swimming and all the gross stuff in the sand. So that thing is unbelievable. But I'm supposed to be doing a commercial for state but sorry, just kind of setting it up. But Mike who heads up state but he was diagnosed with COVID-19 In early March, and he spent four days in the hospital, he is also fully recovered. And he's able to donate plasma in the hopes of helping others. Plasma donation for COVID-19. I mentioned at the very end of the interview with Patrick, it's newly regulated, it's experimental. So it isn't widely available or used yet. But Mike was right in the front saying I want to do this. He was knocking on doors as soon as he recovered. I will link up more of his story. He's got some coverage in the media, especially in Florida, where he lives. So I just think that's a great news story. And we'll follow Mike and kind of see how that goes and see what happens with plasma donations that could be really interesting, and hopefully helpful. I also want to tell you about Amy She is an RN. She's a mom to Marcus Marcus is 16. He was diagnosed in June of 2016. And he was 12 at that time, so Amy is a nurse at a rural health clinic in Oregon. And she says finding the balance between the demands of work she does have reduced it hours now, but even so, managing medical costs and keeping her and her loved one safe these days is a big challenge. She says I'm a quilter. So I've been making fabric masks for my co workers, high risk patients and acquaintances to keep myself busy. These are crazy difficult times. But I firmly believe this world would be a better place having made it through until then she says I'm taking T one D mom life by the horns, and one day at a time. Amy, thank you so much for sending that in all the best to you tell Marcus we said hi. And if you have a Tell me something good story, please go ahead and share it. You can shoot me an email Stacey at diabetes, connections calm. You can post it in the Facebook group. However you want to get it to me, you can message me on social media. I would love to tell your good news stories. And of course we post them on social media every week as well. Hey, can you hear that? Benny is playing video games. And the kids you can call them video games anymore, but you know what I mean, he's on his Xbox or whatever. He's screaming soul. Right now that if I didn't know better, I would think he was being, you know, physically attacked. And I've talked to my friends, this is very typical of teenage boys. Oh my god, they're so loud. So I'm gonna go yell at him when I'm done taping, I think it's gonna be all good. And maybe I'll go secretly record him some time. Just you can hear it. Oh my god. But hey, that's one of his big social outlets right now. You know, he gets in the headphones and plays with his friends and they're all together. So I'm not gonna complain too much. I'm gonna go in there and tell them to knock it off. The big threaten my house these days is you better behavior. I'm changing the Wi Fi code, you know, fate worse than death right now. And we're all on the systems all day long. I don't want to look at my time on my screen time, right or the time on your phone. They all have those features. Now you can tell how much you've been on the phone. Oh, my goodness.


Well, this is the part of the show where I generally talk about where I'm going. And I have been going a lot of places online recently. Yeah, I mean, it's all virtual. But I only bring that up because I want to tell tell you about a discount that I'm doing for the world's first diabetes mom right now. Yes, of course, if you're new, this is my book. It's available on Amazon. There's an audio book, you can get the Kindle version, of course ebook. So I'll put the link. It's always in the show notes. But I bring it up because I was talking to groups this week online, and I did a special discount code for them. And I want to pass it along to you. As I am taping this, I am scheduled to talk to jdrf in Michigan, and I'll be doing a world worth D parent meetup, which will probably already have happened by the time this episode comes out. But I've got a promo code not for Amazon, you have to go to diabetes and order the book through my website to get the discount. And it's very simple. The discount code is worst, just the word worst w o r s t. And that promo code will be good. Until next week, April 28. Again, that promo code is worst. I believe it saves you five bucks off the cover price. Unfortunately, you still have to pay for shipping. I know a lot of people go to Amazon because of that, but this will actually still be less than it costs on Amazon. promo code again is worst. And I can't wait to get back on the road, not just to sell books, although that's a lot of fun too, but you know, to meet people and do these presentations in person. There's so much fun to still do, but it's a little weird to talk to my computer and not talk to a crowd of people. I like the people a lot better. Well, thank you as always to my editor john McKenna's from editing solutions. Thank you for listening. I so appreciate you being here every week. What a time we're living through. I'm Stacey Simms. I'll see you back here next week. Until then, be kind to yourself.


Unknown Speaker  35:48

Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms media. All rights reserved. All rounds avenged


Transcribed by


Apr 16, 2020

This week.. making CGM available to hospitals.. something new because of the healthcare crisis caused by COVID 19. We talk to Dexcom’s CEO about training and more. Kevin Sayer explains how the program came about, why it’s needed and how he hopes it will help people with all types of diabetes in hospitals. We also talk about other Dexcom news, financial issues and more.

More about Abbot & Dexcom in hospitals from DiaTribe

In TMSG – taking flight.. finally and a birthday, a diaversary and a family of healthcare heroes.

This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.

Check out Stacey's new book: The World's Worst Diabetes Mom!

Insulin assistance due to COVID19 crisis:

NovoNordisk 90 day no cost 

Lilly Diabetes $35 copay

The first pilot with T1D gets FAA clearance for commercial flights

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Episode transcript: 

Stacey Simms  0:01

Kevin, let me let me start by asking how are you doing everybody staying safe and staying home as much as possible?


Kevin Sayer  0:09

I am staying home and staying safe as much as possible I since the office is deserted quite frankly, it's safer than home is respect because there's no one in the neighborhood. So we're I've just been going in maybe once once a week for a little while to take a couple of calls and then working from home I have learned I have learned a lot of things about work at home tools that I that I need, like I needed a better camera on my computer and some better it's interesting as you go through this and realize just little things. Our company. So me personally, my kids are all great. So that's good.

Our company Stacey  we have done absolutely everything we possibly can to to take care of our people and our employees. We you know, mid March when we Send everybody home. We were definitely the first in our area one of the first in our area. I think Illumina might have been a little bit ahead of us, but we were very quick there and we have work from home tools that we put in place. Our IT team has just been tireless and getting people the type of connectivity and voice services and stuff they need from home. That's been great.

We've had to keep the manufacturing plants open, obviously, because patients need product. In light of that, and light the fact that we are taking a group and making them come to work. We've provided them with economic benefits to whereby we can compensate for the fact for example that they are leaving their kids are home from school home. Whereas you don't have the summer daycare plan or the camps you could put them in so we've compensated our people a bit more to make sure they can take care of their families. We've reorganized the place and manufacture train with respect to small pods of people working together. So if someone went might get exposed, they we don't wipe out a manufacturing floor of 800 people just a few. We're making take breaks in groups, we're making them take it literally, we've got thermal scanners, we've we we've got time between shifts, so we're not at full capacity, but we're close. So I think our company's been absolutely as responsible as we possibly can. Through this to our people.

And we said that in the beginning that aren't you know, our first goal is our, our employees our second priorities can be making sure is our patients to make sure that they our product and our third goal for community and making sure we're good citizens in the community and do our part and I think our hospital efforts fall into both two and three diabetes patients but also this community in general because when we think of the risks our healthcare providers are going Through to find this. My, my second son is 36. Now so obviously this back many years, but when he was 10, he had bone cancer and he went to a camp called dream Street, a kid's camp, kind of like the diabetes camps, but it was really just a lot of fun. And one of his counselors there was a young man trying to be a stand up comic who abandoned comedy becoming an ER doc in New York City. And our family gets text messages from him on it on a daily basis, just he's giving us a diary. And when you read that, it's like, oh, my goodness. And that's what we need to do to help the community is is a burdens for guys like him.


Stacey Simms  3:42

Let's talk about the hospital program then. So tell me what Dexcom is doing the the release is shipping continuous glucose monitoring systems directly to hospitals, indeed, what is the thinking here?


Kevin Sayer  3:55

Well, let me take you back a little bit. When this all started More than a month ago when things started getting very big here in the US and even before that in Europe, it became very clear that people with diabetes are more at risk. If they get contract COVID than those without diabetes statistics, statistics are pretty, pretty staggering. I mean, it's, it's plain black and white here. And we had heard from hospitals in Europe and back east. This thing started to grow. They wanted to use our system in the hospital, where we are not approved for use yet. Our system has been used in a hospital and some IRB approved studies in the past because we were preparing for that day and trying to develop a body of evidence that would support this. But it you know, it early phases by us in early discussions with the FDA, because before we roll on full on commercial into the hospital, we need to understand all the things about how our Bluetooth interacts. With all the other communication protocols, in hospital rooms, what is going to talk to where it's going to be displayed. And also make sure that the actual sensor from a chemistry perspective functions the way it's labeled on people in a hospital who are on multiple compounds versus those of us who are home and other routines who are on the compounds we're used to. And so we've done some work on that, but once it started heating up, particularly in centers where an endocrinologist who knew of Dexcom got involved, it quickly became we want this and we want it now. We didn't have FDA approval there.

So we started speaking with the FDA. We did get an emergency provision that All right, go ahead. ship to hospitals. And we we we've looked at this and and and we've taken a lot of time on this Stacey . We got 100 f he's worked on this hospital thing full time. We put that many of our people into this to make sure that works. We needed to build a pricing structure for how they could buy it. We're charging the hospitals less than the commercial patients as part of our, our contribution to the community. We know that the sensor, the transmitter has to talk to something either a Dexcom, receiver or a phone. The phones are better options. So we are giving the hospitals phones and or receivers for the beds to manage the patients. We've developed separate training materials for the hospital, devoted our entire Education team, pretty much to them full time right now as they're training the hospitals get upon the system. We have developed a surveillance team literally to take calls to if we are anything going on with sensors to investigate and make sure we understand so that there's not something that we would have missed. We devoted a lot of time and effort to this as a company. We want to make sure it works. We want to make sure we're getting Go there, we are going to help people.

The most appealing thing about Dexcom in the hospital over anybody else in the space, there's a couple you know, the first one is the connectivity, like connecting to a phone. Theoretically if the phone can be outside the room where a patient is, or even if it just hangs from the bed, from the from the bullet the bed, but it's a phone and you can use Apollo on an iPad out in the hall, you're able to monitor patients remotely. You know, I've been an ICU use around the country as we studied this market. And I've seen ICU is where the protocol is a finger stick every 30 minutes 48 finger sticks a day. Don't think nurses are following that protocol right now they're too busy. So to the extent we can make that labor much more efficient, and if we can take and the problem in the hospital is not hypoglycemia as it is for the patients in the field so much it's hyperglycemia not only our They they're getting too high because they don't want to be too aggressive on on a direct insulin. If they're not going to be sticking the finger every half hour, they don't have a CGM. So they're monitoring less aggressively. On top of that the steroids treatment and some of the other treatments for the respiratory ailments can go Cause glucose to rise much faster than it would if you weren't in that environment. So what we're seeing is patients going DK and fighting DK at the same time they're fighting to breed. And that's what the physicians and the hospitals are saying. So we have developed a plan and a protocol as to shipping products to the hospital supporting the hospitals, educating hospitals, training hospitals, giving them a place to call, learning as we go, because the other thing remember, most of the doctors here are not people who are used to CGM every day right there, your docks.


Stacey Simms  8:57

That's the question I wanted to ask is Can you tell us a little bit more about the training? You said you had people who develop this? I, you know, I'm a huge fan of CGM. We've unfortunately we had to take Benny to the hospital - not diabetes related. But having the CGM was fantastic. It helped so much, but we brought it in, you know, they didn't provide it. But how is an ER doctor? How is a nurse in an ICU? going to take the time to be trained? Can you share any of kind of the process here?


Kevin Sayer  9:28

We started with 108 slides user guide and realized that was never going to work


Stacey Simms  9:33

108 slides like a PowerPoint?


Kevin Sayer  9:36

Yes, slides because that's what you do you become FDA compliant, and you do a follow on user guide and try and walk them through every page. And after one training session. We said yeah, that's not gonna work. And so we condensed it. We have a two page quick starter. And then we have, I don't know, just a several page, other user guide and then we have people available by the phones that they need to solve. For that, and then what we're providing is video training. And we find we can get those trainings done in just under an hour. And then what really is happening, I will tell you where the early phases of this hospitals are phasing it, they're putting it on a few patients and watching seeing what they learn seeing what the outcome is. And then after they do that, then the roll it out bigger are constraining items so far has been getting phones, we've had to go procure the phones ourselves. We've had to buy them from the usual sources and pay cash to get them so we're getting the phones, we're pre configuring the phones. We've got another entity involved who's literally pre programming the phones whereby the only app running on the phone is going to be the dexcom g six app. So again, we are learning what physicians aren't gonna want to do.

You talk about training, we don't want to have to train them to program phones. It's easier if we have somebody else program the phones when we're funding that effort as well. But every day you come across a new barrier and a new hurdle to jump over to make this work everywhere. Some of the stories we've gotten so far, anecdotally have been extremely positive. The, but I can tell you the the hiccup today that I heard from one facility is we got we got phone shipped to this hospital, one of the first ones to get phones. And their ID department won't let him use them on the wireless network, because they haven't been tested to meet the hospital security. And so you think you know everything about the hospital environment. And Stacey, that's why we have been so deliberate and thoughtful, and methodical as we do this. We don't want to just drop sensors on a hospital and say use these because if we do what we're going to get as a bad outcome, we have an opportunity to make this work and to make this For patients going forward, so we are really heavily invested in making sure we do this the right way. And, and so yeah, we train them, we get calls back in the cases and several of the hotspot hospitals.

We're dealing directly with an endocrinologist who's training patients because there's so much diabetes in the hospital that the endocrinologist literally got involved in the training. Yeah. And and, and so that's been good, but it has been. It's just been crazy. And we have, we very much appreciate the FDA willingness to let us go here. We're going to gather all this data. When we're done. We're going to gather every bit of data that we can gather, and use this as real world evidence and then go back to the agency and say, Look, here's what we've learned about use of the product in the hospital. What do we do next? Yeah, I think that is a great use for this product.


Stacey Simms  13:00

You had mentioned that the you're going to be giving the phones and possibly the receivers to the hospitals and selling the sensors. And I believe the transmitter correct me if I'm wrong, a discounted price. What happens to the patient? Because I would be very concerned, having you know, the most notorious - you get an aspirin in the hospital and it costs you $800. You know, if I come in with my own Dexcom sensor, it's one thing but if a hospital puts one on me, is there a guarantee here that the patients that are using this discounted system are not going to be charged full price or even more on the other side?


Kevin Sayer  13:44

These people are so sick, that's the least of my concerns.


Stacey Simms



Kevin Sayer  13:44

I think I guess I would hate that. This is not being used to keep somebody there to keep somebody safe at school. This has been useful. Thanks. somebody's life and and if our data can can make somebody healthier and better one of the initial stories I heard, for example, young woman comes into the hospital type one, she's in total renal failure. Things look bad. They're gonna put on our ventilator. They said, Wait a minute, she's DKA, let's put her on CGM first. Four hours later, her glucose levels are back down in the range. And not only did she feel well enough to be conscious, but they didn't even put her on a ventilator. And she got Well, what's that worth?


Stacey Simms  14:34

Well, Kevin, and let me ask you this, why not then give the sensors free and clear to the hospitals so that they won't I mean…


Kevin Sayer  14:42

I will tell you, I will go through that as well. First of all, they don't have devices to receive the data with. Second of all, we've been very thoughtful and plan this as much as we can. Because I don't want to be the person who tells all the parents of Children that you don't have sensors anymore. So when we started this process, we have three groups. We're considering our employees, our patients and our community. We are going to make sure our patients who have CGM in the field still have CGM. And we and we will do that we are charging the hospital some we're giving away the phones to the receivers. This is not a money making endeavor for us, given the amount of people we have working on it, or we're going to get enough to cover what we put into it at best when all of a sudden done. The reason we're charging and we're limiting demand is because the last thing we can afford would be for our patient community to have every patient in a hospital walking on maglev CGM slept on can't do that. We don't have the capacity for that. We have the capacity. We're very familiar with the number of we built models Stacey , based on the number of ICU beds, based on the projected number of cases based on peaks by state Based on everything you could think of the percentage of the patients that have diabetes, the percentage that don't we have a sensor forecast. We said in our initial news release, we've allocated up to 100,000 sensors. And that also means 50,000 transmitters to this, and if the need comes for more, we'll certainly evaluate it. But those allocations are based on what we could see being used in ICU beds. And the demand, we believe we'll have enough. And we'll make enough available demand from the hospitals and supply everything to all of our patients.


Stacey Simms  16:37

Kevin, my question was not about Dexcom making money. The question was about the hospitals charging patients and the unintended consequences.


Kevin Sayer  16:47

They won't. They won't. if they do, like I said, if they do, I can't control it. The hospital does but but if you look at a hospital and I've, I've had discussions here, Stacey  and it's, you know as we go through this crisis, And we look at this as a country and as an economy now I'm getting way off base, I apologize. But it's fascinating to me how the the, the ramifications are going to reverberate through the community. elective procedures in the hospitals are not being done. So because nobody's going in, if you can get that knee replaced in two months, you're probably not going in today. And so you have, you have an economy that's going to be affected long term by all this.


I have no idea what hospitals will charge for these sensors. They'll build what they'll bill we've made it as as affordable as possible. And if we can get all these logistics worked out, and the connectivity and all the other issues, we think it's just going to be a win for them all. Going forward. We're also relatively convinced based on the data that we have seen and again, you go to the University of Washington, john hopkins, we've mapped out the peaks in all the states, how many people they think will be in hospitals, and we're very comparable, we can serve that with what we have and then we'll go from there.


Stacey Simms  18:11

I'm jumping off the the point of how things are going to change. And as I know, you saw, obviously the whole diabetes community is following Lilly's move to cut insulin to $35. With restrictions. I got a lot of questions from listeners when I mentioned we were talking today about whether Dexcom had any plans for financial assistance programs for people who have lost their jobs and lost their insurance or and feel that the


Kevin Sayer  18:37

grant we're studying that right now. And putting together they're putting together several alternatives for me. We are studying that. I won't commit to anything but the time absolutely initiative that we are undertaking and looking at, because this does has become that important to our patients. So we're trying to figure out how that works. And I've had calls with Numerous other companies in the industry to discuss what they're planning and what they're doing. Just so I can get a grasp as to how that works. But we were working on something I don't have anything to announce. And it may be a while we'll see. But but we are considering it. Absolutely. As,


Stacey Simms  19:17

as the as you said, as the landscape changes, you know, we're not quite sure what insurance will look like I'm unemployable. Like, there's so many people who have been on the, you know, Dexcom customers for a while. Oh, yeah, I know. We're gonna run out of time.


Kevin Sayer  19:28

Go ahead. No, I I agree with you 100%. There are people now Stacey , who have no idea how to manage their glucose without a CGM, because they didn't even learn on finger sticks. These new patients have learned on dexcom from the beginning. If we have learned one thing through this process, in the diabetes community, and we do hold it very reverently, how important this technology is becoming people's lives. And it's not just the patients we're getting every day. testimonials from dogs saying the only patients I can care for my next commerce, because I have their data in clarity. And I've got this role monitoring capability of my account patients I don't have with the others. This is awesome. Thank you. And that's the clarity.


Stacey Simms  20:16

So making some changes this week.


Unknown Speaker  20:20

Could be


Stacey Simms  20:20

I got an email about that.


Unknown Speaker  20:22

Yep. Okay. Well,


Stacey Simms  20:24

I was just curious what why or if there's any you want to say about that, while we're talking?


Kevin Sayer  20:29

I don't think they're major are going to change the whole system. Okay. We continually try and improve that.


Stacey Simms  20:36

And then another question I'd like to ask is that this month Dexcom announced that in June, it will discontinue g4 Platinum and G five transmitters


Kevin Sayer  20:50

That's a plane I'm sorry. Are you still there?


Stacey Simms  20:53

That's okay. Can you talk about that? You had mentioned that at one point this would be happening. But can you talk about that? And then I'll also ask the same question this on the front end g7 where we stand with that,


Kevin Sayer  21:06

you know, I'll start with the easier one g7 we're working through, obviously, with what's going on clinical trials has slowed down significantly, our ability to purchase equipment on the outwit while we purchase a lot of manufacturing equipment, our ability, set it up and get it in, has been affected by all this will give more color on the earnings call about that. We're still extremely bullish on it, and we will do everything we can to accelerate those timeframes we, we really haven't taken a full inventory of where everything is. We'll talk about that more in a couple of weeks. But there certainly are are environmental factors that will have an effect on it right right now what my team is doing is looking at the mitigation possibilities for any of this stuff and I don't have anything in front of me but it is front and center. I thought it was back to G four and G five From a manufacturing and a cost perspective, it's costing us a tremendous amount of money keep those lines running. We need the space for G six and G seven. And in addition to that, by supporting g four and G five we're supporting. They gave me a list of how many dexcom software apps we were supporting the other day. And I went, yeah, it's time.

We believe g six is the right product for our patients. We believe when they use it, they will find that it is I know why people don't want g five and G four shut that discontinued all always relate to extending the life of the center and I get it. I'm hopeful that over time we can make it easier for patients to get and and a better commercial structure to whereby it's not as important economically as it was before as we continue to drive. For more pharmacy coverage which typically results in lower CO pays for our patients. But operationally It just doesn't make sense for us to continue to, to build those things. And we shut the transmitters off first because we know people will still have sensors. If they have a transmitter that works, they will still want some sensors. But there's a day shut off day for sensors coming Not long after that. And we'll be P six driven and then be getting all our g7 lines up and running. And this is in the, you know, this is in, in conjunction with the plants we had at the beginning of the year. So this is not a data we've moved up from a back that's exactly what we were planning on.


Stacey Simms  23:32

Right. And you have mentioned that here before as well. Um, Kevin, before I let you go, I do have to ask I feel a responsibility as a person with access to you. And again, I appreciate how accessible you are you always come on and answer these questions. It's not always sunshine and roses and I do appreciate that. But I feel obligated to just ask you one more time, or at least put this out there. This is really an unprecedented time. I'm so appreciative of what Dexcom is doing, getting into the hospitals, you know, making things more affordable that way donating what you are donating, putting all these people to work to get this stuff done. But as you consider pricing and help for people who have lost jobs and lost insurance, please keep in mind the diabetes community that has helped Dexcom get to a point where you're about to join the NASDAQ 100. I know with a successful product. Yeah, I mean, it's exciting times. But it's also a time of worry for so many people, our


Kevin Sayer  24:37

hours, our culture from the beginning has been if you take care of the patients, things will eventually work out. We will absolutely consider this and do everything reasonably possible while maintaining obviously our position as a public company and taking care of our shareholders as well. There are a number of things going on internally that we really haven't talked about. As we increase capacity, as you know, as, as we phased out in G four and G five, quite frankly, can double that space to G six and G seven, that might give us more flexibility with respect to to our inventory because a lot of our calls last year Stacey  was me explain to you why we had 10 day weights before we could ship. And we don't want to. We don't want to go through that again. So we are absolutely looking at all these things, all the logistics involved, all involved, everything involved all over the world as well. And that's another thing. You know, one of the things used to be much more simple about XCOM. We were so us focus that we just did whatever we wanted to in the US and now our worldwide basis getting very large. So we were making worldwide decisions to which is really cool, but it's also complex. Everything has to be everything needs to be considered. We'll be more cognizant of that. We will think It, we will develop what we hope will be a good plan.


Stacey Simms  26:06

Because, you know, the fear is that if you can sell the hospitals, you don't really have to worry so much about individually. Yeah,


Unknown Speaker  26:12

that's that's very difficult to hear for people. Well,


Kevin Sayer  26:15

as I said in the beginning, that's why we've taken this hospital approach, very measured, and very thoughtful, and and made sure that we have enough capacity to take care of our next commerce, who depend on this each and every day we have to. And fortunately, as we've spoke with many of the hospitals when they get an endocrinologist involved, they very much know that we have to take care of the diabetes patients first and foremost. So that has been


that has been easy to explain so far.


Stacey Simms  26:50

Kevin, I forgot to ask you one. I have to ask you one technical question that I did not ask earlier. I'm sorry about the hustle. So much of the COVID reporting has been that it's devastating. For people with type two diabetes, obviously we were talking about people with all types of diabetes. But are you finding that are these decks coms going to the hospitals? Are all these people using insulin? Is this for all people with type two who use insulin? Is it just for type two? Are you just leaving it up to the hospitals? Because it just used to be that putting a dexcom on to type two doesn't use insulin? I don't understand why no endocrinologist, I'll


Kevin Sayer  27:24

be able to explain it to you. What is happening with type two patients when they go in as their glucose is spiraling out of control every bit as much as an insulin user. It appears that the effect of the virus and the treatments related to the virus are causing glucose challenges in these people far beyond what one would have anticipated. We're very early in our hospital phases, I believe. haven't talked to all of them, but I believe that they're starting with the insulin using patients. But in all candor, a lot of these type two patients are being put on insulin IV insulin as well, to get there Their glucose levels under control. So it's being used across everybody. I think I need to give the FDA kyudo akuto here because they gave us permission to treat anyone, not just people with diabetes, that's a huge step. For us, if somebody glucose compromised during this time in the hospital, if we can bring their glucose back under control, that that's a big win. And we are reading a lot about, about type twos who have glucose levels that are just going nuts Actually, I'm hearing about people who don't even know they have diabetes, who this glucose levels are behaving like that. So it's like this is it's unprecedented times on a number of fronts. And we're still here we are absolutely working on things and considering things for our patients first, but we see an opportunity. Whereas if this thing works, and we can can save some lives and make health care givers you Better, and make them able to treat this better. We're gonna we're gonna do this and we're gonna do it right. while balancing the two, we're never gonna, we're never gonna ignore patients, Stacey , that that's just not how we're wired.


Stacey Simms  29:16

Well, I really appreciate you spending time with me, Kevin to talk about it and explain the system and we will look forward to seeing how it works out, you know, we'll follow up. So thanks for being here today. Appreciate it.


Kevin Sayer  29:25

Well, thank you for taking the time to chat with me really inspired the airplanes zooming over my head I it's always fun to talk with you. And again, kudos to all those on the frontlines doing this. But kudos to our team, these people. I mean, it's been 24 seven for about a week and a half. They're, they're tired. So getting this this thing rolled out. It's just been it's what we're best at. We are really good at figuring things out


Transcribed by

Apr 9, 2020

D-Podcasters Unite! Stacey teams up with Alan Nolte, co-host of Dads and Diabetes podcast, Amber Clour, host of Real Life Diabetes, part of Diabetes Daily Grind and Matt Vande Vegte, co-host of Pardon My Pancreas and co-founder of FTFWarrior.

They talk diabetes, podcasting tips and tricks and even previous experience with pandemics!

More on Amber's Spanish Flu story

CDC Pandemic Resources

CDC info on Spanish Flu

Check out Stacey's new book: The World's Worst Diabetes Mom!

In TMSG – some wonderful healthcare heroes in a diabetes community.. and a big religious milestone while we’re all socially distancing.

This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.

Join the Diabetes Connections Facebook Group!

Sign up for our newsletter here


Use this link to get one free download and one free month of Audible, available to Diabetes Connections listeners!

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Click here for iPhone      Click here for Android

Apr 7, 2020

Lilly Diabetes announced this morning it would cut the price of its insulin to $35. What does this really mean? How long will it last? Why are those with government insurance left out?

Stacey asks your questions and gets answers from Lilly's US Insulin Brand Leader, Andy Vicari.

Here's the Full Lilly News Release (link)

From the press release:

“In response to the crisis caused by COVID-19, Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) is introducing the Lilly Insulin Value Program, allowing anyone with commercial insurance and those without insurance at all to fill their monthly prescription of Lilly insulin for $35. The program is effective today and covers most Lilly insulins including all Humalog® (insulin lispro injection 100 units/mL) formulations.”

That’s right. Lilly is putting the price of insulin – including Humalog – at $35. You need a coupon, but it’s for anyone with or without commercial insurance, except for those on Medicaid.

“The savings can be obtained by calling the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center at (833) 808-1234. The Solution Center is open 8 am to 8 pm (EST) Monday through Friday. Representatives at the Solution Center will help people with diabetes obtain a card in the most convenient way for them, including through email or the U.S. mail. A card can typically be received within 24 hours by email. If you already have a co-pay card from the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center for an amount higher than $35, no action is necessary. Active co-pay cards have been re-set to a $35 co-pay.”

Link to Stacey's conference call March 16th with Andy Vicari


Check out Stacey's new book: The World's Worst Diabetes Mom!

Join the Diabetes Connections Facebook Group!

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Use this link to get one free download and one free month of Audible, available to Diabetes Connections listeners!

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Episode Transcript:

Stacey Simms 0:06
Welcome to a bit of a breaking news episode of Diabetes Connections. I'm your host, Stacey Simms and I wanted to jump on as soon as possible. And talk about the news from fully diabetes this morning and this is April 7 2020.
I'm going to read right from the press release and then we're going to jump into an interview I was able to do with Andy Vicari, who is the US insulin brand leader at Eli Lilly. So as you may have already heard on social media, or on the news, this is directly from the press release. I'm just going to read what it says here, “In response to the crisis caused by COVID-19 Eli Lilly and company is introducing the Lilly insulin value program, allowing anyone with commercial insurance and those without insurance at all to fill their monthly prescription of Lilly insulin for $35. The program is effective today. covers most Lilly insulin, including all humalog formulations.”
So that's right, Lily is putting the price of insulin, including Humalog at $35. Now, you need a coupon. But this is for anybody with or without commercial insurance except for those on Medicaid, and government insurance. I'm going to link up the entire release in the episode homepage. I will be putting the phone numbers, the call center information, pretty much anything you need. And let me know if I'm missing anything at the episode homepage at diabetes dash And as always, there is a transcript of the interview you're about to hear.
If you are brand new to the show. I'm really glad you found us I hope you continue to listen. I am a parent of a child with type one. My son was diagnosed 13 years ago right before he turned two. And my background is in broadcast journalism. So I hope this is an interview that gives you the information that you would ask if you had Andy Vicari on the phone yourself.
I also I should say if you're new to the show that three weeks ago, I was on a conference call with Lilly, and I was able to ask a question about insulin pricing. We played that bit of the conference call last week. And while I do not get me wrong, I do not think that because I asked this question, that is why this change happened. But I think if you go back and listen to the question and answer, where I did ask, why not at this devastating time, during this world health crisis, why not? Do it now? Why not cut the price to $35 or $25? I had pushed for if you hear that question, and then Andy Vicari’s answer, I do think it gives you some context as to what has changed. But he talks about that here as well.
There's going to be a lot written about this. There is going to be a lot of information yet to come. What will the other insulin makers do? It's possible by the time you're hearing this, things have already changed. So stay tuned to the website diabetes, connections, calm and follow on Social and we will keep you posted. Here is my interview with Andy Vicari, Lilly's us insulin brand leader.
Andy, thank you so much for jumping on the phone on what's got to be a very busy day. I appreciate you spending some time with me and my listeners.

Andy Vicari 3:15
Absolutely. Stacey. We're delighted with this announcement and happy to hop on a call with you.

Stacey Simms 3:19
The news broke earlier this morning. And you've already got calls coming in. We're only speaking about half an hour after the call center opened up. It sounds like it's already very busy.

Andy Vicari 3:30
Absolutely. And we expect that it will be a banner day when we had the press release a little more than a week ago with Dave bricks and some major publications. We had hit an all time high for the calls that we had received in the day and we hope to double that if we can we have it staffed and ready to go. And we want as many people to get us up as fast as possible.

Stacey Simms 3:51
You know, we spoke on that conference call in the middle of March about the insulin pricing issue and about many other things and when I am Then about lowering the price to $35, you had a lot of concerns about supply chain contracts, pbms wholesalers, what changed?

Andy Vicari 4:12
So we were in the works. So this solution was being prepared. But those back end dynamics are things that we have to work through. So while it would have been inappropriate for me, Stacey to promise it at that time, it was something that we've been moving towards for several weeks now all in response to the COVID-19 crisis. And I think, you know, as well as anybody, but for perhaps the listeners that aren't as attuned to some of the nuances of the drug supply chain, we have to work very closely with our partners and the last thing we would want to do is to create any sort of a panic or a rush, and then have this wonderful program that people can access or insulins. We're delighted that we are shipping out 100%. We have no back orders, we have no issues with our insulin, which is outstanding. So that's it timing is right for this program. But yes, to answer you directly when we did speak, this was something we had in the works. We're trying to get ready for market.

Stacey Simms 5:09
Great. I didn't mean to imply that it was as simple as me asking you on that call. But I am curious, you know, is this why it's a coupon? Because you, you have to work through the contracts that you already have. Is that why it's not just a blanket, hey, you go to the pharmacy, and it's automatic.

Andy Vicari 5:27
When I say contracts, or when I say on the back end, yes, we do have partners that adjudicate these claims. So for example, when anybody goes to the counter to be able to pick up their insulin, we want to make sure we had the things in place. So those that already have a card, that they are automatically reset to this $35 and it just takes time with some of our third party partners to make sure all of that is set. So that the experience when someone goes to the counter is as promised in the press release. So That's that's really some of the nuance behind it. But the conversations with yourself, the other advocacy groups, they are critically important. And I really love Stacey, something you had just recently wrote about. People speaking up and speaking out. We listen. I know, it's often a case where people are feeling like Big Pharma in general, isn't attuned to what's happening. But we've tried to lead from the front on the insulin issue as literally the heart of who we are and what we're really trying to do. So we always welcome those conversations.

Stacey Simms 6:32
You know, the press release doesn't mention an end date as I read it, and correct me if I'm wrong there. Is this indefinite after, you know, we get through COVID-19. What's the plan for that?

Andy Vicari 6:45
Yeah, you bet. important question. I think that's on everybody's mind. And what I can tell you is we don't have plans to change this program to turn it off. What we always do is constantly evaluate all of our Savings Programs and other reasons. forward as with legislation that's coming or perhaps going to be in place, it's important for us to constantly evaluate but right now, we have no plans to alter this program in any way. Post COVID-19. We hope we are hopeful for a lot of the legislation that is in the works. But we were I would say appropriately impatient, and not waiting for any of that to change and happen and we need to just get this done and get it done. Now,

Stacey Simms 7:26
talk to me if you could about Medicaid, Medicare, the government insurance programs, why are those excluded here.

Andy Vicari 7:34
For legal purposes we actually cannot they are not eligible for any coupons with any manufacturer on any product. We've taken other steps Stacy with our half priced insulin so that's a nice bro is the most recent that's out as of last year, and we plan to the middle of this month. are 7525 and quick pin Junior versions of those that are also at half price that helps people that are in those government programs get a much reduced insulin experience. Now we also have and have been running for some time through really cares for anyone that is in any of those federal or state programs, but is that 400% or below the federal poverty level. And to put that in perspective for people, that is somebody that makes a family of four would make 100, roughly $105,000. And for an individual, that is somebody that makes about $51,000. So anybody that at or below those levels, is eligible through really cares to apply for free insulin which, given the rates of unemployment and people filing for unemployment, I think that's a it's a well needed resource as well.

Stacey Simms 8:44
So would you recommend that if someone's not sure, someone who is over the age of 65, or was on another government program, another government insurance program, should they just call to find out what they're eligible for because I think a lot of people don't realize that they may be eligible for some discount.

Andy Vicari 9:01
Absolutely, you nailed it, Stacey, that is the most important thing. That's why we have chosen to implement this program the low insulin value program through our diabetes Solution Center. Because it is a little bit complicated out there. Sometimes when these healthcare professionals that answer those calls, they can help navigate that. And most of the time those people that call in that think they're not eligible, frankly, are end up being eligible for something. So yes, get them to that call center. And that is the best way for them to get the most affordable experience.

Stacey Simms 9:33
I don't know if you can answer this question, Andy. But I assume when you call into the center, that you know you give a lot of information. Does Lily collect that for purposes other than pricing? I mean, I guess there's there are some privacy concerns that I've heard a few people mentioned who have not necessarily called in, but who have said well what happens to that information that I'm sharing

Andy Vicari 9:56
it take as little information as possible. For example, but Give a real world example of somebody that's called in as of this morning and wants to access this $35 really influence value program. They'll take name, they'll take a callback number in case they get disconnected. And then for the quickest purposes, if they're willing to give an email address, they'll be able to email them this coupons so that they can go immediately to a pharmacy and start to use it. If they choose not to. We can send it over over mail. But the direct answer to the question is we don't use that information for anything other than to make sure people get the gift the discounts or insolent experience that we can give them.

Stacey Simms 10:38
I also had a question that came in early this morning. If it does end, can you commit to giving people enough notice? In other words, you know not, not the next morning we wake up and say sorry, it ended last night at midnight.

Andy Vicari 10:54
Sure, understood. So terms and conditions on all discount programs across manufacture. They have to be renewed each year. So this program, which again, as you and I talked about, we don't have plans to turn off in January, one of 2021, people will need to access a new card, so that that's no different than than any other program. So in that timeframe, they would know in calling into the call center, we'll be continuing that or not. But like I said, the most important thing we want listeners to take away from this is, we don't have plans to change this. We always evaluate the external environment as legislation changes. But we know this is an absolutely much needed program, especially since it covers those without insurance.

Stacey Simms 11:38
And if that's really interesting, you know, to realize that it will go at least through January and then further as you said, You sound like you're just going to renew it and move forward. You've been in the insulin business and in the pricing arena for a very long time. I'm sure you've heard a lot of angry comments and a lot of concerns why people are going To ask Andy and I'll just ask it for them. Why did it take so long? If this can go on for a long time, I assume Lilly thinks it can stay in business. So why did it take so long?

Andy Vicari 12:10
You know, really, for us it's been this isn't a new behavior, Stacy. What I mean by that is we've been looking for different ways, within the rules of the healthcare system today, to ensure that we can get the direct savings to people with the people that are actually filling their prescriptions and not go to some other third party within the drug supply chain. That's why things like standing up the diabetes Solution Center and insulin lice pro launch was so important. It's why we've continued on the back end, which we will continue with our programs where even if somebody doesn't know about this program, yet, they'll still get bought down to $95 or less. But if they have a card that they're already accessing, it will automatically get them down to $35. So the direct answer to your question is we've been at this for a while and we've been coming You need to find different ways. And the last one of the last gaps we saw Stacey was those that have no insurance. And this experience is one that we'll be able to, to ensure that those people that are paying cash or paying full retail price, get the maximum savings. So it's a it's a way for us to ensure that it happens at the right time, which is right now, given everything with COVID-19. And we felt like our other programs that were in place, we're doing an adequate job up until recently, as you can see from all the unemployment numbers,

Stacey Simms 13:34
and I'm sorry, that went by quickly pardon my ignorance when you mentioned $95 automatically. I'm sorry, could you repeat? That was

Andy Vicari 13:42
sure we'd been running for a couple of years now. programs in the background through a third party called relay health, where it automatically a fewer I go to the counter and say our bill was we're on a commercial insurance and our bill was $150 Unbeknownst to the person at the counter, they would never know that we'll lose doing this. They don't need to sign up for anything. They don't need to activate anything, it just automatically ensures that they pay, right around $100 or less, really $95 is what we shoot for. So that has been happening for quite some time. And it's something that we're certainly proud of to try to give a reasonable experience for people given COVID-19 right now, go ahead.

Stacey Simms 14:27
I was just gonna say, is that something that since the person buying it doesn't know, do they have to ask their pharmacist to run it through? Does the pharmacist know about it?

Andy Vicari 14:35
They do not. So there's pharmacies that participate with relay health and for those pharmacies that do, it just automatically happens. It's Think of it this way, Stacey, if you were I don't know where your favorite grocery store is. But as a customer, they're probably scan your card and you get some automatic savings. It is exactly like that. The difference is you don't need to do anything as the consumer. It just happens in the back end in our actions with really help In the pharmacy, so, for any pharmacy that participates with really help, that automatically happens unbeknownst to the consumer.

Stacey Simms 15:07
All right, let me ask you a pie in the sky issue. do you envision a time with the complicated health system that I know we have in the United States? I know this is not all on Lilly. But do you envision a time where instead of calling to get a coupon instead of thinking Do I really health and you know, scanning my my quote my Vic card at Harris Teeter, that's the grocery store I use? You know, do you envision a time where insulin is just priced lower and we just go get what we need?

Andy Vicari 15:35
I do think there'll be legislation that will happen. I think it's it's less about the insulin. I think it's about chronic medications overall. And I think that is to us, the most important thing is insulin easily the front and center conversation around it. Absolutely. Until that day, we're going to continue to push and find ways but I do foresee with chronic medications from legislation standpoint, I think one of the ones one of the things that I'm most excited about is what Center for Medicaid and Medicare has done in their Innovation Group. All three insulin manufacturers have announced that we're partnering with them as of January 2021, to make sure that those health plans that participate, have their their customers pay no more than $35 a month for those in Part D, which is incredibly important. If we rewind to part of our conversation, we talked about the legality and the rules. Right now those people aren't eligible for some of these savings and coupons. But that is a program that would ensure that this $35 a month is for not just commercial, uninsured. Also the Part D That to me is a significant step.

Stacey Simms 16:46
Well, Andy, I really appreciate you jumping on when we spoke a couple of weeks ago, you know, we were talking about how a crisis is a time to define what companies are all about. I really appreciate this and I wanted to say thank you to Lily. It's going to help a lot Have people it's a it's a great opportunity to stand up. So we blessed you when it's appropriate. But kudos, and thank you for doing this. And I hope it does continue. But thanks for spending some time with me this morning. I appreciate it,

Unknown Speaker 17:13
Stacey, and thank you for what you do for advocacy and helping get the word out. So we can't do it without you.

Stacey Simms 17:23
Again, all of the information that we spoke about is on the website at the episode homepage, diabetes, dash There's a transcript of that interview as well. If you want to share that with people who would prefer to read rather than Listen, I get it.
And as I said before the interview, I do think things are going to change more information is going to come out that sort of thing. And we'll see what the other insulin makers do as well. They usually do follow each other when it comes to price increases. So we'll see what happens now that Lily is offering this coupon and this program indefinitely. It sounds like right.
Look, I know there's already a lot of criticism online about how this doesn't go far enough. And I get it. And I've already this morning been called a shill for Lilly. I do think there is a way to have polite conversations about this and to keep pushing.
So if you have questions, I'm gonna have an opportunity to talk to them again, I know, not everybody is fortunate enough to do that to speak directly to these folks. But I want to bring your questions and your concerns to them. So keep those questions coming. You can always reach me Stacy at diabetes, connections calm. We'll have a big discussion about this, I'm sure in the Facebook group diabetes connections, the group and we will keep it going. But I'm telling you, this didn't happen in a vacuum. This happened because people like you raised your voices, tweeted, spoke out, talk to your state representatives. I really do think I've said this for many years. The pressure from the state legislatures is what is going to change the insulin pricing problem in this country. The drug pricing, the medical pricing In this country, it's going to come from the States. And we're already seeing that happen. I don't think that this movement alone this change of price alone is going to stop what's happening in state legislatures because it doesn't cover everybody and you do need a coupon and there's a lot more that needs to be done. And as I'm taping, it's only Lily it's not noovlog. It's not novo, Nordisk it's not Sanofi. So the work is far from over, but this is a big, big step.
Okay. In terms of the show, our next episode, which would have been the regular episode for today is going to come out on Thursday. If news stops breaking, we'll get back to the regular schedule, which is a regular episode every Tuesday. However, I am more than happy to continue to bring this information to you. And I think it's more than the information right because you can read a press release. But to me, I like to hear the voice of the people behind the stories. I really feel like you get a lot of nuance, a lot of information and a lot of fetal if that makes sense. Thanks for joining me. Let me know what you think. Keep your questions coming. Let's keep pushing. I'm Stacey Simms. I'll see you back here for our next episode.

Unknown Speaker 20:08
Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms. All Rights Reserved all wrongs avenged

Transcribed by

Apr 1, 2020

Since we’re all stuck at home, here's some cooking advice to help you through. Chef Mark Allison has three boys.. one of whom was diagnosed with type 1 as a baby. He has tips and tricks for us.. starting with: just get started. Mark teaches healthy cooking but isn’t above eating smores with his three sons.

Check out Stacey's new book: The World's Worst Diabetes Mom!

Mark currently works with the Cabarrus County Health Alliance teaching needed home cooking skills. He’s been the Director of Culinary Nutrition for the Dole Nutrition Institute and he spent many years teaching classical chefs at the Dean of Culinary Arts Education at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte.

Join the Diabetes Connections Facebook Group!

Mark has a new book out Let's Be Smart About Diabetes: A cookbook to help control blood sugar while getting the family back around the kitchen table

In Tell Me Something Good – a lot of mac and cheese and a lot of help for someone who has always been giving it. Talk about paying it forward… and back.

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Use this link to get one free download and one free month of Audible, available to Diabetes Connections listeners!

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Episode Transcript (Rough transcription, has not been edited)

Stacey Simms  0:00

Diabetes Connections is brought to you by one drop created for people with diabetes by people who have diabetes by real good foods, real food you feel good about eating and by dexcom take control of your diabetes and live life to the fullest with dexcom.


Unknown Speaker  0:20

This is diabetes connections with Stacey Sims.


Stacey Simms  0:26

This week, how are you eating these days? Some kitchen and cooking advice to help us through Chef Mark Allison knows his way around the kitchen with a family he has three boys one of whom was diagnosed with type one as a baby. As a professional chef teacher. He says just get started


Chef Mark Allison  0:45

getting in that kitchen and making something over the next 30 or 40 minutes and then sitting down eating the food but actually having a conversation instead of everybody upstairs playing Xbox or some kind of games. You're actually in one room. Communicate it and you make them so think that hopefully everybody's going to enjoy.


Stacey Simms  1:03

You'll hear Mark's unique story. He and his wife moved to Alaska for an international program back in 1999. And their 14 month old son was diagnosed shortly after that in Tell me something good. A little bit of help for someone who's been giving a lot of it, talk about paying it forward and back, and a lot of mac and cheese. This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider. Welcome to another week of diabetes connections we aim to educate and inspire by sharing stories of connection and in this time, it is so important to stay connected. On this week's show. We are not going to be talking specifically about the corona virus. Rather, this is a show that will maybe inspire you or help you to get in the kitchen at this time when we are all first in our house and I don't know about you, but I've been Looking more than ever, but maybe to look at things a little bit differently, get your kids involved, try something new. I was so excited to talk to Mark Ellis. And we've known each other for a long time. And I've been trying to get him on the show. And it's just one of those. You know, the beauty is in the timing sometimes, because maybe this episode will kind of give you a fun day and some fun ideas to try at a time when boy, we do need a little bit of fun, and a little bit of inspiration. So there will be more information about Mark's cookbook. Let's be smart about diabetes a little bit later on. And I would urge you if you're not already in the Facebook group to please join that it is diabetes connections, the group because I'm going to be putting some of the recipes and notes that he gave me into the Facebook group, I cannot put them in the show notes. It's just a format thing. So I apologize for that. They will not be on the episode homepage, but they will be in posts in the Facebook group. So head on over there to that. And just another quick note before we get started. Thank you to everybody who continues to buy my book, the world's First diabetes mom, if you need a laugh in these times, maybe it's there for you. I've heard from people who are really enjoying it right now who have the audio book to who maybe didn't have time to listen before, although I mostly listen to audiobooks in my car. So my audio book and podcasts consumption, frankly, is way down right now. Because I'm at home, I'm not commuting. I'm not driving anywhere. But I do listen when I clean and do laundry and stuff like that. So maybe that's it. But thanks again, the world's worst diabetes mom is available at Amazon. It is in paperback, Kindle and audiobook. You could also buy it over at diabetes, connections calm but frankly, Amazon's probably the easiest right now. And I was so happy to be involved in the children with diabetes virtual conference that happened recently. I bet you can still find that online. I was able to take my world's worst diabetes mom presentation for them. Of course, as you know, like many of you, I was planning to go to lots of diabetes conferences in the last month and this spring and it's all on hold right now. So a little bit of online goodness. For you, I will also link up the children with diabetes conference which had tons of presentations in it. I think it's going to be a real resource going forward for a lot of people so I'm thrilled that they did that. All right Mark Ellison coming up in just a moment but first diabetes Connections is brought to you by real good foods. We got a sample of the real good foods ice cream. They sent it to us a Benny and I did a Facebook Live. I think it's almost three weeks ago now. Wow. About what we thought our reactions and I gotta tell you, I have been enjoying the real good ice cream since then. It is so delicious. It is a lower sugar ice cream that tastes like ice cream. You have probably had ice creams that are lower carb that tastes kind of chunky and chalky. And there isn't none of that I sat down. I shouldn't say this. I ate almost the entire pint of the mint chocolate chip. I stopped myself but it was going there. So check them out. You can find out more at really good foods calm. They ship. Yes, they're the grocery store for you. Right now I know a lot of you and us included group looking at home delivery, and you can find all of their stuff online. They'll deliver it for you some great shipping deals as well. Just go to diabetes, connections comm and click on the real good foods logo.


My guest this week is a terrific chef, who as you know here teaches healthy cooking, but isn't above eating s'mores with his three sons. Mark Allison works with the cabarrus County Health Alliance, a local county to me here in North Carolina teaching needed home cooking skills. He has been the director of culinary nutrition for the dole nutrition Institute, and he spent many years teaching classical chefs as the Dean of culinary arts education at Johnson and Wales University here in Charlotte. Yes, Johnson Wales does have a campus here in Charlotte. One of Mark's sons was diagnosed with type one as a baby and his wife was diagnosed with stage four cancer in 2008. Now she did pass away But as you'll hear it His wife was able to live longer than anybody expected her to, which he says really made him a believer in the power of a plant based diet to fight disease and prolong life. Mark has a new book out called Let's be smart about diabetes, a cookbook to help control blood sugar while getting the family back around the kitchen table. We are putting recipes in the Facebook group, as I said, and of course links in the show notes. Here's my talk with Chef Mark. Allison. Mark, thank you so much for making some time for me. I know you've got all your boys home. And while we're not, I guess we're not doing much these days. It still seems like the time is filling up. But thanks for being here. I appreciate it.


Chef Mark Allison  6:40

They see You're very welcome. And it's a pleasure to be on your show. Thank you very much.


Stacey Simms  6:43

I'm excited to talk to you. We've known each other for a long time. I was thinking I think we met possibly the Johnson and Wales cooking competition of some kind where I was an extremely unqualified judge.


Chef Mark Allison  6:59

The good old days here In the good old days, Yes, I remember you there and you were totally qualified for the position to be church exceptionally well because I enjoy eating.


Stacey Simms  7:11

So there you go


Chef Mark Allison  7:12

to nature, you know, in my opinion chef is fitted very nicely into my lifestyle, because I love to eat. I love it.


Stacey Simms  7:19

Well, you know, I want to pick your brain as long as we have you to talk about how to try to eat well, as long as you know, we're all stuck at home. But let's talk about let's talk about diabetes. First, let's get your story out because I know everyone already hearing you knows that you are your native to North Carolina. That's a beautiful Southern accent that you


Chef Mark Allison  7:37

see I was born in Charleston, South Carolina. People get that mixed up all the time. I'm actually from a little town called at Newcastle upon Tyne which is in the northeast of England. And I grew up there and the place where the usually state calls from Newcastle on Newcastle brown ale on Newcastle soccer club whether the three things that people read knowing you're comfortable, but that's where I was born. I moved to South Wales and lived in South Wales for 10 years, traveled all over Europe and in 2004 landed in Charleston, South Carolina, lived there for yet then moved up to Charlotte and I've been in Charlotte now 15 years and absolutely love living in Charles. That's great.


Stacey Simms  8:20

All right, so but your your diabetes story your son's really starts in Alaska. Can you tell us that


Chef Mark Allison  8:26

I was one of 30 people fit by the Fulbright teachers Experience Program, which is a program that started after world war two to get the world together through education. And teachers apply and they are asked to go to different countries around the world. And I was asked to go to America and I thought Yes, this is going to be fabulous. being brought up in the 70s in the 80s. On Starsky and Hutch and streets of San Francisco. I naturally thought I was going to California, but I would have 500 teachers that apply to come to Europe, there was only one chef and he did not live in California. He actually lived in Anchorage, Alaska. And we actually turned down the position first because my wife said we are not taking a two year old and an eight month to Alaska. So we turned it down. And then Glen, the teacher rang me over to him and said, Look, can you do me a favor? This is the fourth year I have applied. And my daughter has won a four year scholarship at Oxford University and this is her last year. Can you please take the position so we can be with her for the last year that is in the UK. So we decided to move over that and we actually had an absolute fabulous year. But while we were living there, Matthew, my youngest son at the time, who was it month when we arrived, when you go to the age of 14 months, he became ill, and we took him to the doctors and the doctor said he just had a bad case of the flu, he'd be okay. And about a week later, he had lost a tremendous amount of weight. He was drinking a lot of fluids and just happened to be Tom My brother on the forum that weekend who is a type one diabetic and has been since the age of 15 years old. And he said, I think he may be a type one take him back to the doctor's. So we took Matthew back. And we had a young doctor, she was lovely lady. But she said, there's no way as a type one diabetic it normally it's going to be about seven or eight years old. He's only 14 months. And she just said, No, I'm not testing as blood. So of course, my wife who was there, like any mother has said, well, we're not leaving your office until you actually test his blood. So there was a bit of a standoff for about 30 minutes. And then she tested this blood and within 30 minutes, Matthew is in intensive care and he was there for the next seven years. And his blood sugar's were so far through the roof that we were told that we had left her office and went to him more than likely would have been in a coma that night. So we were exceptionally lucky. And the doctor from that stage could not do enough for us as he was at his bedside every day. And as you know, Life changes. So we decided to look at food as sort of medicine and changed all our eating habits for Matthew. So from the age of 14 month, Matthew has been on a really healthy diet, you know, just turned 22 in December, and he's in great shape, but he's at college at the minute, and he's doing exceptionally well. But that's where it all started back in 1999.


Stacey Simms  11:24

And I think it's worth repeating for people who are you who have children who are newer diagnosed or maybe have been newer diagnosed themselves. There really was this thinking because the same thing happened to us, Ben, he wasn't yet two years old. And they said, Yeah, under the age of two, it's Yeah, it'd be type one. There was this thinking and I don't know if it's just that they're getting better at it or there are more cases and infants and babies, but it has changed a lot thanks to people like you push an educated Oh my goodness.


Chef Mark Allison  11:51

You know, it is frightening. Because you've got your doctor and you just think they've got all the answers. And but something like Type One Diabetes is you know, in Now it's becoming more and more people become more and more aware. I remember when my brother was diagnosed that he was in hospital for six months because they were unsure of actually what it was. And the unfortunate thing for my brother, he was 15 at the time, so he was nearly an adult in England. And he was actually on a cancer Ward for six months, and was frightening with him was he was watching people that were dying around him. And unfortunately, that marked him for life. He is now nearly 60 and he's in good shape and he's healthy. But he still remembers them times where people were actually dying around them because they thought he didn't have diabetes for 30 years cancer at the time, but times have changed and I think it's a lot more easy to diagnose now. And we've got great doctors, people like that more fonder. Well, it's just amazing. I think now we can rely on the medical professionals to diagnose a lot quicker than what was said 20 years ago.


Stacey Simms  12:58

And when you're Your son and your brother must have had some interesting conversations about not only the difference of diagnosis, but the difference of treatments. I mean, I'm so your brother is doing well, because I can't imagine.


Chef Mark Allison  13:11

Well, my I can remember my mother have sterilized his syringe and needles every night. Because the other days, whether we're like the one inch long needles, and you could reuse them, and the syringe was reused, and he was getting injected twice a day, now he's on the pen. So you've worked a lot better for him, but I can remember those days and the previous thing, and testing was blurred and then cleaning the syringe and countless cops. It was a difficult time for my mother. I know that.


Stacey Simms  13:44

I feel you never want to say we're lucky with diabetes because it still stinks. Yeah, but also to make me grateful for insulin pumps and pens. My good.


Chef Mark Allison  13:54

Yeah, my back muscles just changed over to a new pump. The Omni pod and you know, he He's been on the pump for at least the last 12 years and what a difference others made. You know, we as parents, I'm sure you have the same feel a lot easier that he's on something that basically regulates everything. And as long as he tests his blood, he knows when he's either going to go low, go high. And these instruments these days are just amazing.


Stacey Simms  14:21

It really is. I feel really grateful. Yeah, let's jump in and let's talk about food. Because not only are you a renowned chef and a you know, an educator of other chefs, but now you work to educate the public which I just think is absolutely amazing because we need all the help we can get mark, as you well know. First of all, let me let you explain what it is that you do you work for the Harris County Health Alliance, which is a nearby you know, county to mine here in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. What do you do right now in terms of teaching the public


right back to mark answering Question, but first getting diabetes supplies is a pain. Not only the ordering and the picking up but also the arguing with insurance over what they say you need and what you really need. Make it easy with one drop. They offer personalized tester plants. Plus you get a Bluetooth glucose meter test strips lancets and your very own certified diabetes coach. Subscribe today to get test strips for less than $20 a month delivered right to your door. No prescriptions or co pays required. One less thing to worry about. not that surprising when you learn that the founder of one drop lubes with type one, they get it one drop, gorgeous gear supplies delivered to your door 24 seven access to your certified diabetes coach learn more go to diabetes connections comm and click on the one drop logo. Now back to mark and he is answering my question about teaching people the very basics.


Chef Mark Allison  15:55

I have a wonderful job and it's funny how I started the shop at 16 and I printed with French cuisine, and lots of thoughts, sugar and salt, and nobody counted calories or anything. And now I've went closer to being a healthy chef. And I tried to teach people how to improve their diets. So I work for the cabarrus Health Alliance, which is based in kannapolis. And my job is a fascinating job. And the fact that I go out to the general public, I go to schools and hospitals and churches, and I also do cooking classes at the cabarrus Health Alliance, and I try to teach people how to cook because if you think about it, Stacy, cooking is a life skill, but nobody knows how to cook these days. What I noticed just last week, when the food stores were out of canned goods and frozen goods, actually the produce section was still full. And my advice to anybody, especially at this time with the corona virus is eat healthy by eating as many fruits and vegetables as you possibly can because they're just packed full of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. So my job at the Cabal ourselves Lyons is basically trying to teach people how to cook and choose better food choices, and not so much processed food, not so much food that is packed with fat, sugar, salt, and try to get a healthy balance. You know, it doesn't all have to be healthy. But if you do choose healthy options, you'll feel better. Your health will improve and it'll fight off viruses.


Stacey Simms  17:23

So when we're all stuck at home and we have this mentality, which is this is very unique, obviously. Yeah, I mean unprecedented. But now that we're stuck at home, what would your advice be? Because I did the same thing I'll be honest with you when I went to the grocery store a couple of days ago, I picked up you know, some apples some oranges, but I wasn't I was thinking hunker down. Yeah, I bypassed a lot of the fresh fruits and vegetables now that it seems and again we're as we're recording this, it seems like the grocery stores are gonna be fine. There's no problem with supply. What What would you suggest we do next time we go to the store,


Chef Mark Allison  17:54

I would look at the air fresh produce and you know, start by Picking the fruits and vegetables that you like to eat. And then why not try something different? Something that you've seen before. But though you know what, I wonder what that tastes like, give it a try. You'll be amazed, I normally teach this in class where we'll have like a surprise ingredient. And part of the classes, everybody's going to try everything I make. And I might have a fresh fruit or vegetable and I chop it up and I pass it around. And it's amazing that nine times out of 10 everybody likes it. We've got these preconceived notions that we'll look at something think No, I don't think I like that for actually when you put it in your mouth and try it more than likely you're going to try something new and it's going to be interesting, then you're going to enjoy the test. So I would go around the fresh produce section and try something new, try something different. And I found the best way so especially with having three boys, if I wouldn't try something new with them. I normally just make a smoothie or soup because you can easily add something new and disguise it and they don't even know that they're in and then we told them that believe in something new. See, you know what, that wasn't too bad. Let's try it again. So I think it's all about experiment. And we've got the ideal time that you've just said, There. See, we're all cooped up at home. Why not get in the kitchen with the boys or girls, or family members and make something delicious to eat tonight? I've got to be honest, people tell me when they asked what I do for a living, I say, well, I've never worked a day in my life because I love what I do, which is I love food, and I love to cook. But our sound, it's the best way to make new friends. It's the best way to keep the family together, getting in that kitchen and making something over the next 30 or 40 minutes and then sitting down eating the food but actually having a conversation. Instead of everybody upstairs playing Xbox or some kind of games. You actually in one room communicate and you're making something that hopefully everybody's going to enjoy.


Stacey Simms  19:50

Alright, a lot of people listening are gonna say, Well, sure that sounds great. But I never learned to cook. I'm afraid to cook. My Stuff always comes out. Terrible. How can you start adults who really did not learn the skill?


Chef Mark Allison  20:05

You know what I was very lucky because when all my friends chose to do woodwork and metalwork, I was doing home economics. And as you can imagine, back in the 70s and 80s, that didn't go down too well with a lot of the guys, but you know what my thinking was, they see one instead of being locked up in a room with 19, sweaty guys, I was in an air conditioned room with 19 girls. And it worked out pretty good, because I found out very quickly two things. Everybody likes people who can cook and it's the best way to make friends. So I understand that a lot of people don't know how to cook. But actually, you can go online now and on YouTube, and you can learn practically any technique that you need. And I'll tell people all you really need to start with is a chopping board and a knife, and then find a recipe that you've always wanted to try. And you can easily download any recipe now from online or watch a YouTube video and cooking There's one of the simplest things you can ever learn. It's all about temperature control. It's either gonna be hot or cold. And if you can control the temperature you can make and eat anything you like. Wow.


Stacey Simms  21:11

Do you remember I'll put you on the spot here. Do you remember what you first taught your boys to make when they were little I pictured them standing on stools in the kitchen, you know, learning from dad,


Chef Mark Allison  21:21

and properly. And this isn't exactly healthy. And actually, we did this last night, we were sitting in the backyard having a fire pit and we all had smalls. So I'm guessing probably smalls are probably one of the very first recipes. I taught my boys. But I also taught them something very important. It's all about moderation. Whatever you make, have it in moderation. But my three boys all know how to cook, obviously, because they've been brought up by a chef. I tell people when I'm at work, I'll text my boys and be the dishwasher, prepare the vegetables, set the kitchen table, and then when I get home, all that's done, and then we get in the kitchen together and we cook dinner That night, but if I forget the text one day, believe it or not today, see, I get home and nothing has been done because boys are boys.


Stacey Simms  22:08

Oh, yeah, I've been there with both of my kids boys and girls. Yeah. Oh yeah, but you didn't send the text that's funny but I'm you know, it's good to know you're human. I think it's always more fun to know with the s'mores, right that you know, yeah. And food and it's fun to learn. And then you can use those skills. I don't know what quite what skills are making but you have to control the temperature.


Chef Mark Allison  22:33

Don't right. Yeah, that was our main skill. I think


Stacey Simms  22:36

that's an important one in the kitchen.


Chef Mark Allison  22:38

people. People ask me all the time, how do you make a healthy dessert mock and I'll say there's no such thing as a healthy dessert. So just enjoy whatever you're going to eat but have a smaller portion.


Stacey Simms  22:50

You're not free and substitutes and things like that.


Chef Mark Allison  22:53

I don't use any sugar free ingredients if I'm going to make something and add sugar and the sugar because normally Even if you make an a cake and asks for half a cup of sugar, when you consider that cake is going to divide a divided into eight or 10 portions, that half cup of sugar comes down to practically nothing. So I'd rather use the ingredients that are meant to be in a certain food items, then start trying to guess, well, if I put sugar free, I mean, it's going to work out the same because I'd rather just enjoy it the way it's meant to be, then try to mess around with it. That's the same with all these gluten free products and low in sugar products. You know, you're taking out one thing, but you're adding something else processed. And to me, you're far better off eating ingredients that you know, are ingredients that are more healthy than something that is a preservative or an additive or colorant.


Unknown Speaker  23:49

So tell us about your cookbook that you have out right


Chef Mark Allison  23:52

now. I brought out let's be smart about diabetes a few months ago and that actually started 2008 but that was the same year my wife was diagnosed with stage four cancer. So the book was shelved. And then when my wife passed away in 2015, I was approached by the American diabetic association to publish the book. And so they, they bought the rights to the book, but then they held on to it for two years. And then unfortunately, they laid off most of their editorial stuff, and said they were only going to publish well known authors, which I was not one of them. So they give me the full rights back. And so I just published that about six months ago. And it's all family recipes that we've used over the last 20 years with Matthew, all the recipes, believe makes a car very easy to use. You know, most of them take between 10 and 20 minutes, and the all healthiest there's nothing outrageous. I'm not asking anybody to buy superfoods. I don't believe in superfoods. I believe in it, eat an apple, that's probably the best food you can eat or a banana or if you had broccoli or cabbage. They don't have to be super foods. They're just packed Anyway with healthy vitamins and minerals and phytochemicals. So it's all based on practicality and what you can actually buy in your local store. And so this is packed full of soups and breakfast ideas, snacks, lunches, and meals for the kids and sort of healthy desserts.


Stacey Simms  25:17

I'd love to ask you and I, we didn't discuss this in advance, but would it be possible to grab a recipe or two from the book that you think might help people who are you know, stuck at home right now? Maybe dollar level or something that would keep and we could post that for the podcast audience?


Chef Mark Allison  25:32

Yeah, please do. Just choose whatever recipe you think is suitable. There's over 150 recipes in the book to choose from, and like I said, very easy to put together. And this could be the ideal time to grab a cookbook and try some of the recipes.


Stacey Simms  25:45

No doubt. All right. How do you stand on we've talked about you know, going to the produce section trying to buy fresh whenever possible. Where do you stand on canned and frozen ingredients?


Chef Mark Allison  25:55

Yeah, I'm a firm believer in fresh wood. If if you've got no option, then throw would be my next choice and then can't but if you're going to buy canned fruits or vegetables, make sure that they haven't got any added sugar.


Unknown Speaker  26:07

Yeah, you know what I saw in the supermarket recently forget added sugar. They were packed in Splenda, their sugar substitute in the quote for juice.


Chef Mark Allison  26:16

Yeah. Well, you know what people have got to make their own minds up on if they're going to use artificial sweeteners or not. I personally don't so you know, it's a choice you've got to make. But to tell the truth, if I've got the opportunity I always buy fresh because fresh normally isn't seasonal. So if you can buy seasonal fruits and vegetables, then they've got the best nutrient dense properties within them. They haven't been touched. Make sure that you wash your fruits and vegetables when you get them home and either eat them raw or add them to some kind of soup or lunch or dinner item. And to me that's the best way to keep yourself healthy. I'm a firm believer and my boys follow this practice as well. If you have half your plate, fruits and veggies But then you know, it's going to go too far wrong from being healthy and the idea with that's great advice.


Stacey Simms  27:05

Yeah, back to the the canned fruit though I gotta be honest with you and you don't have to you don't have to take a stand. But I was appalled to see canned fruit with Splenda added because the big packaging was like, you know, low in sugar, and I thought, Oh, good. Water or something. And I turned it over to look at the label. I was like Splenda, how much processing you have to go through to add that and I was like, uh, so I put that back. But in these, I know, people are worried right now, and many people may have purchased more canned and frozen goods than you ever really do. Looking at me. So we're all looking to try to do the best we can.


Chef Mark Allison  27:38

Yeah. And it's baby steps. It's baby steps. You know, you can kind of just turn your diet upside down because it's not gonna work. And I tell most people start with breakfast and just eat something healthier at breakfast and that's the ideal time to have a smoothie, you know, and you can Pocket full of vegetables, you know, cut back on the fruit so much, but ask or kale to smoothie out blueberries, but look at your your breakfast first and just change your breakfast for about a month, and then work on your lunch. And then finally work on your dinner. So, you know, if you just start slow, then your body becomes adjusted to it and you'll feel a lot more healthier.


Stacey Simms  28:17

What's your favorite movie?


Chef Mark Allison  28:18

Actually, when I used to be the director of culinary nutrition for the dog food company, I came up with a smoothie that obviously included bananas. It had almond milk, bananas and coffee. And that was a coffee fix up and the number of people that complimented that smoothie was unbelievable. But my favorite smoothies as always got blueberries and because blueberries are one of the best fruits you can eat for your memory as you get older and talk about with blueberries and spinach I use gave a banana and I use almond milk and a handful of almonds. And that saves me all the way through to lunch.


Stacey Simms  28:55

I liked spinach, mango and Domino.


Chef Mark Allison  28:58

That's Like mangoes my favorite fruit. Ah,


Stacey Simms  29:02

I'll tell you what, I use the frozen mango because it keeps it cold and gives it that exactly feel. But I was a big I was very reluctant to put anything green in a smoothie. I thought it was disgusting. I really did. I really did. And finally my husband convinced me and it's delicious. I'm shocked shocked. Yeah,


Chef Mark Allison  29:25

you can get your best and fishy and all that as spinach has got more protein than the average piece of meat weird for weird. So if you put four ounces of spinach in your smoothie, then that's got actually more protein than four ounces of beef. So probably I hit it right yeah. Spinach and spinach is one of the best foods in the world you can eat that as well as kale.


Stacey Simms  29:47

Yeah I'm still I'm not around to kale but maybe I'll try it all if I could. Finish I can try to


Chef Mark Allison  29:55

kill you can get away with in smoothie and solid j the like it are you doing


Stacey Simms  30:00

Exactly. All right, well, that's a great idea. Um, and then I know you said start with breakfast, move on to, and then ultimately do your dinners. But I have to ask for people who are listening who have younger kids, easy suggestions for dinners that the kids can help with? Is there anything that comes to mind that you did with your boys,


Chef Mark Allison  30:17

you know, you can always make your own chicken nuggets, that easy to make. In fact, there's a recipe in the book for that. But start with things that they actually like. And then just all the some of the ingredients to more healthy ingredients. Because most of the things you can buy in fast food outlets, or and most restaurants, you can replicate at home and make them a lot more healthier. It's just like anything. If you want to learn something, you'll take the time to learn. And to me, the good thing about coupon is it's a social event that actually gets people together. And it's a great way when my wife passed away five years ago, that was one of the things I insisted with my boys that every night we went in the kitchen now five years on We do exactly the same thing they were, they can't wait to get in the kitchen, see what we're going to eat that night. And usually they choose one of the evening meals during the week. And then we'll all muck in together all your sleeves up, we'll all cook together. And then again, I said, we actually sit down at the kitchen table and spend the next 30 to 90 minutes just having a conversation, which is fabulous. It's the highlight of my day.


Stacey Simms  31:22

I'll tell you what, it really is an amazing thing when you can get everybody away from their electronics sitting at the table. You know, we set we did that too. We set the table every night. Yeah. Even if we're bringing in, we do bring in occasionally, you know, it goes on the table, it comes out of the takeout.


Chef Mark Allison  31:39

What is social experience food is this food is one of the one things that will bring people together. And even if it doesn't turn out great. You can all have a laugh about it. And just try it again the next day. You know, nobody's gonna have a fight over a burnt pancake. You know, they you're just gonna laugh about it and say, You know what, I'm gonna cry better tomorrow.


Stacey Simms  31:58

You know, I'm glad to hear you say that because I I've been there many times. Before I let you go, you know, your life has been so interesting to be touched by type one diabetes in your family. And then of course, you've had that unbelievable experience with cancer and losing your wife and I'm so sorry, Mark, but now working with people who are honestly dependent on you to teach them better ways to manage health, whether it is diabetes, or trying to avoid complications from other illnesses. And I'm curious, you know, when you do meet with these people having, as you said, you started with, you know, French cuisine, fancy restaurants fancy chefs, now you're meeting with people who may not even understand how to fry an egg. You What was


Chef Mark Allison  32:39

that been like? Interesting.


Before, before I took this job, I was a culinary instructor for 20 years, so I could have dealt with a lot of people and different learning needs. And it all always comes back to the basics. If you can pick up the basics of anything that You'll be successful. So when you consider, I'm now working for the health department and I didn't realize these stocks until I actually started working for the health department. But 85% of all chronic diseases such as heart disease, type two diabetes, obviously not type one, and cancer are food related. And we live in an epidemic at the minute with the rise of type two diabetes, and the continuing rise of heart disease and cancer. And if people just realize that food is so important to prevent heart disease and cancer and type two diabetes, but also it's so important once you've got one of these diseases, to actually improve your immune system by eating healthy food, and the healthiest foods on the planet are fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, seeds, and lean proteins and lean dairies. You've got to look at your food supply, try not to eat so much processed food because that's where all the additives are. That's where they put in the colorings the preservatives. You can't buy a loaf of bread that was moldy in a day. And now, you know that loaf of bread will stand there without gathering more for a week to two weeks. Now that isn't good. You know, actually, I just had fresh bread last night. I couldn't get any bread at the store yesterday. So I decided to get the flour out and I had some dry yeast. And making bread is so easy, it took less than five minutes. But just look at the food that you generally eat. And just try to you know, when you consider the rising costs of health insurance, every year, it goes up and up. And you will know because I know with Matthew's insulin and equipment for his pump, it just gets more and more expensive for free and, but if you're healthy, then look at that as being a lifesaver for you, as far as money is concerned, because if you can stay healthy and off prescription medication, you're gonna literally save thousands of dollars every year, and your life is gonna live longer, and you're going to enjoy life more. So A lot of it's all about prevention. But if you do have an illness, then really look at your diet, because the food, it's food is not medicine, but it can help in a way that will make you feel good about yourself and make you lose weight. And it'll keep you alive a lot longer if you pick the right food choices. And the right food choices are eat more fruits and vegetable.


Stacey Simms  35:22

Well, I really appreciate you spending some time with us. It's just always wonderful to talk with you. I'm glad your boys are doing well. Everybody's home now.


Chef Mark Allison  35:29

Everybody, so yeah, everybody. So James got led over school for the next two weeks, possibly more, who knows? Matthews at college, but he's at home at the minute and he's just doing everything online. And then unfortunately, my son who works in a restaurant, he just got laid off yesterday. But you know what, things could be a lot worse. We've just got to knuckle down and stay healthy and hopefully this virus hopefully will be gone in two or three weeks in the golf fleet. The nation can get back to normal. Yes, I hope so, too.


Stacey Simms  35:59

Mark, thank you so much for joining me, we will link up all the information about the book, we'll see how I can go about posting a recipe or two. And I'm just wishing you and your boys All the best. Thank you so much for talking with me.


Chef Mark Allison  36:10

Thank you for having me on the show and you and your family stay safe and stay healthy. And hopefully we'll catch you up with another diabetic conference.


Stacey Simms  36:19

Yeah, hopefully down the road and everything is rescheduled. I think the best thing is gonna be it's gonna be a very busy fall, I think.


Chef Mark Allison  36:25

I think


Unknown Speaker  36:32

you're listening to diabetes connections with Stacey Sims.


Stacey Simms  36:38

Lots more information at the episode homepage. And of course, as I mentioned, we'll put some of the recipes and other information Mark was very generous and giving me an excerpt from the book. I will put that in the Facebook group, diabetes connections, the group, I don't care what he says I am not trying to kill smoothie. I've been there done that. But for somebody like me, having a green smoothie is a big step. I do eat a lot of vegetables. But I never thought I'd like smoothie. But like I said, the spinach smoothie was great. So he just like he said, one new thing, one new thing. Try it, see if you like it. You know, I've tried to teach my kids, although my husband is a really good cook, and he's done a much better job of teaching the kids actual cooking skills, but I try to teach them that mistakes are okay, which is coming out of my mouth. I just realized that just sounds like everything else I say with diabetes. But I mean, it's my philosophy of cooking too, because I make a ton of mistakes and everything somehow tastes good. I mean, sure, I've burned things. The first book I wrote was, I can't cook but I know someone who can. Actually Mark has a recipe. That book is a wonderful recipe. The conceit of that book is that I can't cook so I went and asked all of my restaurant and Chef friends for recipes. And it was a big book for charity for jdrf. And it was a lot of fun, but I did write a whole bunch of kitchen disaster stories into that book. Yeah, I think my life philosophy is make all the mistakes. Hey, it's working out so far. Up next, tell me something good. But first diabetes Connections is brought to you by dexcom. We have been Using the dexcom g six since it came out almost two years ago is that possible? It is just amazing. The dexcom g six is FDA permitted for no finger sticks for calibration and diabetes treatment decisions. You do that to our warm up and then the number just pops up if you like us have used x come for a long time before that. It's really wild to see the number just kind of self populate. You just have to do a lot more finger sticks for calibration. We've been using the dexcom for a long time. It was six years this past December and it just keeps getting better. The G six has longer sensor were 10 days and the new sensor applicator is so much easier to use. And of course the alerts and alarms we can set them how we want if your glucose alerts and readings from the G six do not match symptoms or expectations. Use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions. To learn more, go to diabetes connections comm and click on that dexcom logo


and tell me something good this week. If you saw this post on social media you might have thought Stacy, you're telling me something good backgrounds are usually blue. Why was this one orange? Well, that's because my friends It featured mac and cheese. So let me tell you about Ty Gibbs. Ty is a swimmer at Henderson State University in Arkansas. He was diagnosed in 2017. It was actually very serious. He was being rushed to the hospital at the time. He was in intensive care. He spent time in the ICU, but his mom Cheryl says as he was rushed into the ICU, he was just starving. And he kept asking for mac and cheese over and over again every year since we celebrate with a ton of mac and cheese. So this tells me something good on social media the photo if you saw it was his teammates and friends celebrating his diversity with seven pounds of mac and cheese and a cake. You want to talk about a carb explosion? No, of course the celebration took place weeks ago. I believe this has And very early in March or maybe it was even in late February when they actually celebrated it before the social distancing was taking effect. But I really appreciate Cheryl sharing this story. I love the idea of celebrating with a mac and cheese. That would be something for my daughter more so than my son. When the kids are left to lane. They were asked to empty their dorm rooms of food. They weren't ordered to it was a food drive for people in New Orleans. And a lot of these kids like my daughter, most kids into lane are from far away. So a lot of them were jumping on planes or getting out of there and going long distances and didn't want to pack up everything in their dorm room. So the school organized a big food drive. And I tell you all this because my daughter donated her mac and cheese. I know she had other junk in her room that she didn't share with me but oh my gosh, she's definitely the mac and cheese lover in the family. So thanks, Ty and congratulations on your dire versary hopefully next year we can celebrate again we'll send you some mac and cheese to our other Tell me something good comes from Laura Bilodeau. A familiar name to many of you. She is the powerhouse, behind the friends for life conferences and so much more with children with diabetes. But recently, Laura found herself in the unusual situation of asking for help. She has connected thousands of people over the years. It's no exaggeration, the friends for life conference is 20 years old. And the children with diabetes organization is older than that. And I'm telling you, they have connected so many people to each other, for help for education for inspiration for friendships, including me, I've made so many friends there. But her son actually needed to help her adult son doesn't live with them, but with everything that was going on, came back home to Michigan a couple of weeks ago, and they were having trouble with diabetes supplies. They had been I'm not going to go through all the details. But like many of us, you know, they had insurance issues, somebody wasn't following through. The supply wasn't coming when it was supposed to come. And so they turn to the diabetes community for help. And as we always do, People reached out and so she posted a great picture about two weeks ago now almost that Mike Hoskins who's also been on the show is a great writer over a diabetes mine and his wife Susie. They met for coffee although they met you can see the picture. They're six feet apart each Zingerman's coffee roastery which was still open for takeout and this picture looks great. I bet that's a terrific coffee place. I'd love to check it out if I'm ever in town there but of course the big deal was that Michael was able to help her with the supplies that she needed. Is your community doing that we're having a lot of that here in the Charlotte area where people are just reaching out I already no surprise gave insulin to a friend of mine who's got an adult son who does not have insurance and is really struggling right now. So we were able to donate to them. I've got friends who had you know my Omni pod PDM knocked out and you know, they're going to get us a new one but does anybody have one in the meantime? Anybody spare sensor, little things like that goes such a long way. You know, I mean, they say little things. They They're really not when you come to rely on this stuff day to day could we go without except for the insulin? Of course, we would do finger pokes, we would use shots. But you know, you don't want to be without this technology once you have it. So way to go. Mike Hoskins way to go Laura Bilodeau, because it's tough to ask for help, especially when you've always been in the position of providing it. I'm so glad everybody got what they needed. All right, tell me something good. It's the best segment of the show each week. Tell me what you got. You can send it in Stacy at diabetes connections calm posted in the Facebook group. Or if I see it like I did, Laura, I'll just get your permission to share your story. But I really love when you send them in. So keep them coming and tell me something good.


Not too much to say here before I let you go. I do apologize for sort of the weirdness of the schedule. I always pride myself on every week the consistency of getting the show out there on Tuesdays and then those mini episodes I was doing on Thursdays foot, gosh, I feel I bet you feel the same. It's almost like time has been Meaning right now. Right? what day of the week? Is it? am I eating breakfast? Am I having cocktails? You know, it's just a crazy time right now. So I am giving myself the grace to put out episodes when they make sense. I am listening to podcasts right now when I am listening, that are entertaining and distract me. I'm listening to a lot of my Game of Thrones podcasts, a lot of my history podcasts, a lot of podcasts that make me laugh. So I'm not that concerned about getting my news up to date from podcasts. I hope an episode like this, you know, gave you 40 minutes or 50 minutes. I honestly don't know where that's going to come out to yet of distraction entertainment, something good to think about and a feeling that you're not alone. As we go forward in these weeks, I'm not sure just like everything else. I'm not sure what the podcast production schedule is gonna look like. Of course, I have my sponsors and I will do what is responsible and we'll get those episodes out. But I really liked connecting on zoom calls, Facebook Live, other things like that. So as with everything else after this is over We'll see what the podcast landscape looks like, right? I mean, who knows? I hope to keep doing this, but we shall see. We'll see where you all are. It's gonna be a long, long time before things go back to quote normal. And I don't know what that's going to look like. I do hope and expect that we will be in it together as we have been as the diabetes community always is. So please let me hear from you. Tell me what's on your mind. And I really appreciate you tuning in. As always, thank you to my editor john Pugh kennis of audio editing solutions. JOHN, I hope you're staying safe in Philadelphia and doing well and that your kids are alright as well. And thank you, as always for listening. Stay safe. I'll see you soon and more now than ever before. Be kind to yourself.


Unknown Speaker  45:50

Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Sims media. All rights reserved. All rounds avenged.


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