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: April, 2020
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.

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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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