Chris Stocker is a well-known voice from the early Diabetes Online Community, launching his blog about life with type 1 diabetes called Life of a Diabetic in 2007. In 2019, he stepped back a bit from the DOC with good reason: his daughter, four years old at the time, had just been diagnosed as well.
Now, two years later, Chris is jumping back into the online community via Instagram and a YouTube channel. He talks to Stacey about what it's been like for his family to adjust to their new situation. He also has a great message for any men who live with T1D.
In Tell Me Something Good, one of the scientists behind one of the COVID vaccine.. is one of us!
And some new books are our for the littlest ones of us..
This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.
Use this link to get one free download and one free month of Audible, available to Diabetes Connections listeners!
Get the App and listen to Diabetes Connections wherever you go!
Stacey Simms 0:00
Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dario Health – manage your blood glucose levels increase your possibilities by Gvoke Hypopen, the first premixed auto injector for very low blood sugar and by Dexcom take control of your diabetes and live life to the fullest with Dexcom
This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 0:27
This week a well known voice in the early diabetes online community stepped back for a bit stopping his blog and his brand new podcast when his daughter at age four was diagnosed with type one herself.
Chris Stocker 0:39
Do you want to help me do it? Do you want to help me I you know decorate my infusion sets and things like that. So we shared those common bonds and that's how we looked at it from the day of diagnosis was Hey, you're like daddy now.
Stacey Simms 0:51
It's been two years since Chris Stocker’s daughter's diagnosis, and he's jumping back into the online community. Chris shares his story as a dad of a child with T1Dwho lives with it himself
in Tell me something good. One of the scientists behind one of the COVID vaccines is one of us and some new books for the littlest ones of us. This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.
Welcome to another week of the show. We aim to educate and inspire about diabetes with an emphasis on people who use insulin aim host Stacey Simms, my son Benny was diagnosed with type one right before he turned to more than 14 years ago. My husband lives with type two diabetes. You know, I started blogging just after Benny's diagnosis. And that blog, which I eventually called off the dial led me to the DOC the diabetes online community at that time, and this is 2007. When I started, it was basically blogs and some online chat rooms. And you know, gradually social media exploded and everything changed to what it is now shorter posts, influencers, more podcasts, that sort of thing.
The Twitter chat remains DSMA on Wednesdays, if you're not familiar with that, that is a 10 year old now more than 10 year old chat on Twitter, I'll put a link in the show notes, but it's just hashtag DSMA Wednesday evenings at 9pm. Eastern for anybody in the diabetes community we'd like to give it a plug it's not separated by type or if you're a parent or a person with type one. And that's one of the ways that I first remember meeting Chris stocker and it was great to talk to him this week for so many reasons, but it really brought me right back to those early days. You know, when we had diabetes blog we can you know, to feel like we're finding all these really to me amazing, cool people in my computer, which depending on your age, either sounds ridiculous or you know, right on you, you know what I'm talking about.
But before we get to Chris, I do want to share a Twitter post that I was tagged in this is self serving, but I just I have to share it. A gentleman named Hugh Stimson retweeted my episode release about Lily and Ypsomed and my conversation with with Mike Mason from Lilly diabetes all about that. And he wrote, “I wish political journalists asked follow up questions, the way Stacey Simms asks health device executives follow up questions.” Whew. Thank you so much for writing that. It's hard to describe what that means to me. And and compliments are always nice. But that right there is why I started the show back in 2015. I would listen to podcasts. And I'd be yelling back at the hosts, I'd be asking my own questions. I'd be like, follow up on that. He didn't ask. You know, look, radio people are interesting. And well, I am really glad to be built like this. It is an odd thing sometimes. But I'm glad it came in handy. I'm glad it helped. And I'm really glad that you feel like I'm doing a service by asking those questions and trying, you know, sometimes we don't get answers, but you got to ask. So thanks again. I really appreciate it.
All right, Chris Stocker in just a moment. But first, Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dario health. And you know, one of the things that makes diabetes management difficult for us. It just really annoys me and annoys Benny, it isn't actually the big picture stuff. It is all the little tasks adding up, you know, are you sick or running out of strips? Do you need some direction or encouragement going forward with your diabetes management with visibility into your trends help you on your wellness journey? The Dario diabetes success plan offers all of that and more. No more waiting in line at the pharmacy. No more searching online for answers. No more wondering about how you're doing with your blood sugar levels, find out more go to mydario.com forward slash Diabetes Connections.
Chris Stocker’s blog back in the day was called life of a diabetic and he wrote about everything from his diagnosis as a college student in 2009. To Day in the Life stuff to product reviews to what dragged him down and made him mad and what lifted him up. When his oldest daughter was diagnosed just before she turned four. Chris felt like he had to pull back and face this challenge before venturing back online in such a public way. But he never really left the community. And I think dads and men with type one as you listen, there is really great advice here for you in terms of support and asking for help.
Chris, welcome to the show. I'm excited to talk to you. I feel like we have talked before, but it's only been on Twitter and Social Media. Thanks for jumping on.
Chris Stocker 5:19
No problem. I'm definitely happy and honored to be a guest here.
Stacey Simms 5:24
Well, you're a podcast pro and a YouTube Pro. So this should be fun. But we do have a lot to talk about. Let's just start at the beginning for you. Because your diagnosis story happened when you were in college. Right? You were 19. Tell us about that.
Chris Stocker 5:35
Yeah. So I was I was a freshman in college, I was playing football at King's College up in Wilkes Barre, and the season was over. And I just was I was working out I was losing a ton of weight. I was drinking a lot of Gatorade and water. So I was urinating quite frequently. And I just thought I was losing weight because I was working out. And then this one night, I didn't have an appetite. I started getting sick all day long. And I ended up in the emergency room with 858 blood sugar.
Stacey Simms 6:05
What year was that? If you don't mind me asking.
Chris Stocker 6:07
That was in 2000. Wow. 2004.
Stacey Simms 6:10
What was the diagnosis process? Like? Did they you as a young adult like that? Did they believe you had type one? Was it an okay, diagnosis?
Chris Stocker 6:17
Yeah, it was. I honestly don't remember too much of it. Because I was kind of in in like a foggy state. My mom has worked at a hospital for almost 40 years. She took me to her hospital. So of course, we got the VIP treatment went right into the ER. And, you know, they took labs, and immediately The doctor came in and was like, You have type 1 diabetes. So there was no real question or debating anything whatsoever. Then I remember seeing the on site endocrinologist, probably I think it was that night. This was probably around 2am. So yeah, there was no discussion ever about whether it was type one or or another type of diabetes.
Stacey Simms 6:56
And what did they start you want? You immediately put on? I think 2004 elantas was around for adults, but not necessarily for kids. Like what what was your beginning entry into diabetes tree?
Chris Stocker 7:07
Yes, my very first night home, I can remember almost exactly the ratios and everything. I was taking 14 units Atlantis at night, the carb ratio was about 51 to 5015 to one. And that was Yeah, I was on lantis. And I think I started on probably either human log or no blog at that time. I can't remember that. But I didn't know anything about pumps or was never even brought up to me at that point in 2004. Either.
Unknown Speaker 7:36
Did you go back to college,
Chris Stocker 7:37
I I was not able to go back to King's College at that time. So I stayed home for a year I went to community college. And then I got this bright, awesome idea that I wanted to go to college away from Pennsylvania. And so I decided to go to Boca Raton, Florida and finish up school at Florida Atlantic University. So not only was I only a year or so maybe a year and a half, after diagnosis, I was then telling my mom that I was going about 1200 miles away to go to college. So it was definitely a rough conversation to have with her for sure.
Stacey Simms 8:15
Okay, well, it is sometime later, let's say right, it's, you know, we know you did pretty well in college, I assume. Can you give us parents the reassurance that you know, you You did? Okay, and that was the right move for you?
Chris Stocker 8:27
Yes, I mean, it definitely forced me to really grow up pretty quickly. I mean, I was 20 by the time I went there, but I was a little bit more mature than a lot of my, you know, my roommates and a lot of my classmates, because I was managing this disease pretty much by myself. I had no family, no friends down there. So it was really it was on me, I was in constant communication with my diabetes educator up here in Pennsylvania. So I was able to communicate via email with them quite often. So you know, there were some times where I had some pretty high blood sugars. I did actually end up at the ER one night, because I was getting my insulin through the school on campus pharmacy, which was not open on the weekends. And I thought that I could go from Saturday afternoon till Monday morning with just about 10 units of insulin which I use in one meal. So I actually ended up in the ER, I had met my girlfriend who's now my wife down there. And this was all new to her too. And she ended up taking me to the hospital and think I was probably up in the five 600 range. And then that was an interesting phone call to my mother as well. Who at that time, then flew down and did the motherly thing and came down and spent a few days down there with me.
Stacey Simms 9:49
I'm wondering though, I mean, my kids, my daughter's in college far away. Then he is a sophomore in high school and we're starting to talk about college and I've told him you know, you can go wherever you want. I'd love for him to stay next year. We're at least in this state, but I doubt that he will. I'm curious looking back What made you want to go so far away? I mean, do you feel I don't wanna put words your mouth I wonder like, did you want to prove something to yourself? Did you just love that school always wanted to go to Florida like why from there's so many great schools in that Pennsylvania northeast corner?
Chris Stocker 10:16
The weather? Yeah. Yeah. So I was playing football. I played football my whole life. I was playing football, I kings, I actually left the football team because I had no energy. I couldn't I didn't want to work out anymore. Later to find out that that was diabetes related. And I just said, You know what, like, I don't wanna play football anymore. I just want to go somewhere that's totally different than than where I grew up. I love Pennsylvania. I'm actually back here now. But I wanted to go somewhere totally different. And I started looking at colleges. I'd always wanted to go to UNC Greensboro. I don't know why, but I always wanted to go there. And I started looking online. And one day I was watching a tennis tournament, and Andy Roddick was my favorite tennis player and it popped up that he lived in Boca Raton. So I went on the internet, looked up colleges in Boca Raton, I found Florida Atlantic and I fell in love with their website. So I always used to joke that I have Andy Roddick to thank for meeting my wife. Even though I've never met Andy Roddick, and Andy Radek has no idea who I am.
Stacey Simms 11:22
Well, you wouldn't be the first to go to college because somebody either lived in that town or went to that town that you admired. But that's a great story. I love it. I want to talk about the diabetes online community, you were a very big part of this. You still are. But there was this time when there were so many bloggers and we were all just finding each other on Twitter. But I at first like to skip ahead in your story to when your daughter was diagnosed. I think that's such a fear of so many people I know who are adults with type one. But it does happen of course and you do deal with it. Do you mind sharing her story too. When was she diagnosed?
Chris Stocker 11:56
She was we're actually coming up on her two years, in about a week and a half year so she was diagnosed on February 12 2019 in the middle of a snowstorm. And that was when we decided to take her to the ER was when we had about eight inches of snow on the ground.
Stacey Simms 12:19
Right back to Chris in just a moment Diabetes Connections is brought to you by g Bo hypo pin. And almost everyone who takes insulin has experienced a low blood sugar. And that can be scary. A very low blood sugar is really scary. And that's where GMO hypo pen comes in. It's the first auto injector to treat very low blood sugar Jeeva hypo pen is pre mixed and it is ready to go with no visible needle. That means it's easy to use in usability studies, 99% of people were able to give g vote correctly. I'm so glad to have something new, find out more go to Diabetes connections.com and click on the G book logo. g Vox shouldn't be used in patients with pheochromocytoma or insulinoma. Visit chivo glucagon.com slash brisk. Now back to my conversation with Chris about the night his daughter was diagnosed. Had you suspected I mean I, you know I don't wanna get too personal. But
Chris Stocker 13:14
the signs were there. And I feel that I had maybe been living in denial for a little bit. It is something that I had thought about every single day from the day my wife told me she was pregnant, that that what if scenario and it was something that I talked about a little bit, but I didn't talk about it a lot because I felt too vulnerable, I guess. So I shared that because I knew I would not be the only one that had those feelings. But when I would see her, she was potty trained. So she was waking up probably three or four times a night asking for water and having to go to the bathroom. And I really started to see a change in how frequently she was going to the bathroom. And then that kind of was going on for you know, a couple of nights. And then just one night, I just had a gut feeling. And I said well let's pull out my meter. Let's check her so you know, of course, she didn't want that to happen. And you know, I can remember just looking at the meter. The number was in the 250s but I just remember looking at the meter and then just knowing and just knew and just being just crushed. So it was it was something that I had kind of mentally prepared for but it's just one of those things I don't think you're ever prepared. You know you think you might be but it's just you know, it was just a crushing feeling. But then the dad and the type one in me kind of just said hey, it is what it is. We just got to do it. And you know we took it to the hospital. I'm amazed by how she handled the entire thing. It was just unbelievable being in a in an ambulance to go from the ER on hospital to the pediatric unit at another hospital. I mean she loved that still talks about it to this day. Really
Stacey Simms 14:57
what did she do what she did like she was feeling Okay, and she was excited.
Chris Stocker 15:01
Yes. So she didn't really know what was going on exactly our local hospital, which was, you know, a few blocks away, they didn't have a pediatric unit. So it's a system hospital. So they just, you know, put her and my wife in the ambulance and took them to the hospital that had a pediatric unit for her. So she got to watch TV pretty much all day long. She got to play with toys in there. So it was different, you know, getting getting those first round the labs done and putting her into the burrito as they called, it was probably her only bad memory of the entire process. So she definitely still talks about those days, even, you know, she was a month away from turning four. What is the burrito? So sorry, later down on the table to draw labs and freaking out? Yeah, so they kind of, you know, they put like a weighted almost like a weighted blanket over her to kind of strap or in and they just called it a burrito, I guess to make it sound not so terrifying.
Stacey Simms 16:00
How long did you stay in the hospital? And then what did you have to do? I assume you know, your you and your wife are pretty well educated about diabetes. So I don't know that you needed much of that. But it's different when it's your child,
Chris Stocker 16:09
I would assume? Yeah, it's totally different. And we were in the hospital for about two and a half, maybe three days, I do know that they kind of rushed us through the process. Because when we first went there, I basically just said, Hey, listen, I have type one. I know what it's like, you know, I know what to do. But I don't have a child with it. So I know I need to, you know, relearn some things, and things are going to be a little different. But the, you know, the staff there and the whole diabetes team was very helpful. And really, they directed most of the education, most of the conversations towards my wife, which was something that we kind of asked them to do, because I really, you know, my wife had lived with me for 14 years before that. But my diabetes was kind of just my own diabetes, I didn't ask her to take an active part and help managing if she knew if I was low to give me Skittles, she knew if I was high, I needed some more insulin, but she knew that I counted while I was supposed to be counting cards, but she knew the basics, but really, she needed to start, you know, learning. What is basal? And what is this? And what is that? So a lot of that education was geared towards her. And I think it was, you know, very helpful, not just for her, but also for me, as somebody that was living with it for at that time, I guess it was 15 years, then that there was like a refresher course that I that I needed. Because I was in my I was in my my own habits. I'm in my own ways. And it was it was really good to kind of take a step back and relook at how you know, what is diabetes one on one, you know, what is the right way to kind of do some of these things.
Stacey Simms 17:48
I'm picturing that, you know, your daughter has watched you do this, even if you haven't been doing it in front of her the whole time and everything that this is now something that while that's not great, but she can share with her father,
Chris Stocker 17:59
absolutely. 100%. And that's exactly how I looked at it was, how can I make this easier for her and just like a parent with anything, my initial instincts were, what can I do to make this better for my child, and it was just instantly that put on a smile for her show her that my diabetes is not a burden on me, it's not something that I don't like doing. So I made sure that when I had to check my sugar, or she, we were going to check our sugar, I would do mine also. And you know, now we share some of those same things. So it's like, oh, when when I have to change out my CGM, you know, my sensors is, do you want to help me do it? Do you want to help me, you know, decorate my my infusion sets and things like that. So we share those common bonds. And that's how we looked at it from the day of diagnosis, as well as Hey, you're like, Daddy, now you and Daddy, we both have diabetes. And my niece was actually diagnosed about two years before my daughter. So that was a whole whole nother thing of trying to you know, help my brother and my sister in law with with dealing with that diagnosis. So, you know, now she shared that with her cousin as well. So it was kind of something that, you know, with her daddy having in it, her cousin having it that that she was able to not. And also she didn't at that time really even know what it meant to have diabetes. She just she thought it was just cool that now she has daddy. So it was definitely the way that we decided to kind of take is to be able to share that bond with her. And that's what we have in common.
Stacey Simms 19:23
Do you use the same technology as each other?
Chris Stocker 19:25
We do. We do. Now, we did it at the time, but the same CGM and we both use the same insulin pumps,
Stacey Simms 19:32
you don't have to answer this but you know when you say to your your daughter and this is what I think we would all want to say to a newly diagnosed child right? It's not going to be a burden. You can do this it's okay to have diabetes. And I think for me as the adult with my son ignorance was a little bit of bliss, right? You know, you can do this it's gonna be okay and it's not gonna stop you. You can play sports, you know, you can. Now they can fly planes, right? You can you can do what you want to do. But for somebody with type one who's lived with it for as long as you have Do you know that it is a burden? Sometimes you know that it is really hard. And I know this is not something you're gonna take, you're now, you know, almost six year old decided to Hey, by the way, you know, I mean these are conversations from they're much older,
Chris Stocker 20:10
we've had some conversations I mean, as much of a conversation as you can have with an almost six year old about living a life with diabetes. So we really kind of talked about it in Scituate, you know, take today, for example, it's been snowing for almost three days, we were out in the snow. And I can I already know, as soon as we go to that, in that snow, she's going low, it's just 100% guaranteed every single time. So we had to stop playing in the snow. So we could drink juice. And you know, she doesn't want to stop playing. So we try to you know, just let her know that, hey, just because you know, the other kids in the neighborhood happen, you know, they're still out playing and whatnot, we just need to take a little extra precaution steps here and just sit down and have a juice and you know, we frame it that day, they don't get to have a juice right now, right? You're the one having giggles and juice. So you know, but it's just you know, so we use those kind of, it usually comes up during Lowe's, where we may say like, hey, let's let's settle down for a little bit. Let's not run around or play rough right? Now let's just sit down. And, you know, we'll play a play game of checkers or something just sitting on the couch. So we kind of have those conversations with her, like why she has to sometimes stop doing what she's doing, she can get right back into it. But we might need to take 10 1520 minutes here or there to just settle down a little bit, have a little snack or juice or something like that. But I think about how I'm going to have additional conversations with her in the future. And I've gone back and forth, you know, talking in the mirror how I'm going to handle it, it's probably going to be one of those situations where I have a great plan going in, and it's just not going to go anywhere near how I play it.
Stacey Simms 21:50
Um, I do want to ask you a few more questions about your children because you have another child as well. But let's take a couple of minutes and talk about the diabetes online community from a few years back, if you're a longtime listener of the show, you know, we started this in 2015, which was probably the beginning of the end of the like the hybrid if we were to check blogging and that kind of thing. And the whole, you know, I guess what some people would call the Oh g diabetes people, you know, maybe that's when it peaked my non scientific method here. But you were, you know, you were right in there and all of those conversations, and I'd love to know, how did you find the online community? What was your first entry.
Chris Stocker 22:26
So I first started blogging or even finding out about blogs back in 2009, I was working for a, I was interning actually at a diabetes supply company. And they said, Hey, we want to start a blog. So I started to write blogs for the company. And then I was like, Okay, this is I kind of enjoyed this. And then I started finding other type one, blogs. And I thought, you know what, I have so much that I want to say, and I felt that I didn't have anybody to talk to about it. Because I didn't know anybody with diabetes, I went to high school with the kid. But I knew we drink Gatorade at halftime of football games. But that was it, we had water in a Gatorade, that was all I knew about diabetes. So I just started writing things that were in my mind that I think I just wanted to get off my chest, I just started writing about them. And I didn't even care that nobody was reading it, I just wanted a place to be able to just share my thoughts. And it just helped me just help my mind mentally just be able to get it out on to you know, typing on the keyboard and just reading it. So that's kind of how I started. And then I can't remember getting my first comment, I got a comment on a post, it was probably after about six months of writing daily. And so I mean, I can't do the math that fast. I mean, I, I was well into 100 posts before my very first comment, and somebody said, Wow, I was going through this exact same thing. And your feedback here really changed my mindset on it. And I'm going to try this and you know, make changes in my life and whatnot. And I just thought, wow, I just changed somebody's life. Like I just changed how somebody thinks about something simply by me just typing on a computer. And then it just that was kind of that first, like, I'm actually helping other people by just getting out the words that are bothering me. And then it just kind of took off. From there. I just started writing daily and just I started meeting other people. You mentioned previously speaking to people on Twitter and a little bit of Facebook back then, but just meeting a ton of different people online, and just writing and writing and writing and writing and just sharing my story. And it was just, you know, I was never very edited in my blog post. And even my wife would always say, Did you know that you spelled this wrong? Or you said this? Like No, because I type and I wrote the way that I speak and it came out that way and it was just how, you know it was I didn't have a you know, a very like a very edited style. And it just kind of, you know, people kind of just connected with it and it was just Every time I would get a new comment or a new share or something it felt it just felt motivating to know that I was helping people by getting those stories out there.
Stacey Simms 25:08
It is funny. That's one of the reasons why I love podcasting, because there is no editor for my grammar or my spelling. And I have transcripts now. And those are very difficult for me because I usually we clean up the diabetes language because my transcription software doesn't speak diabetes very well. But I'm not correcting the grammar and the spelling from pot. Yeah, it's really, really interesting. And I'm going to link up your your blog if that's okay. Because I think a lot of those older posts in itself, a lot of residents, I mean, I blogged as well. It's starting in 22,007. And I think two people read that blog, but I've kept it up. Well, I just like you I got so much more out of it right. For me, it was perfect for me, I got I got a lot of help, just mental health assistance for writing it almost like a diary. But it has been in the last couple of years, people have found the goalposts and it's helpful because diabetes issues change, but not really, right technology changes things, but not really,
Chris Stocker 26:03
you know, I still get notifications of comments on posts that I wrote back in 2010 2011. And one of the areas and this kind of circles back to my daughter's diagnosis is that I wrote maybe, I think I wrote two posts total about my fears of one day having a child B die, those with diabetes. And to this day, those are still some of my most, you know, most read posts and most commented posts and people to this day still comment or send me emails like, hey, how did you go about this? Or how did you deal with this? And, and it's just, you know, those are things that I wrote, five, six years ago before I even knew I was having a child. And it's still relevant today as well.
Stacey Simms 26:43
Well, you're dipping your toe back into social media with, you know, YouTube videos, you're on Instagram, are you podcasting again,
Chris Stocker 26:49
I, I am not as of now, but I'm not saying that I'm not going to. It's funny, I did start a podcast, and I recorded two episodes. And my daughter was then diagnosed. So I kind of stopped. You know, I
Stacey Simms 27:05
mentioned that when I started this podcast in 2015, it seemed to be kind of like, I don't know, for sure. But from my experience, it was like this high point of activity online for certain a certain group of people. And a lot of those folks have kind of moved on or paused and come back. And, you know, I wonder too, if there isn't just a natural life to some of this old natural burnout to some diabetes stuff. And you've been very open about those kinds of things. Can you share that part?
Chris Stocker 27:31
Yeah, absolutely. So once my daughter was diagnosed, kind of everything just kind of went on Paul's it was this is our focus. Right now, this is everything that we want to focus all of our efforts on that I was actually going back to, I was getting my real estate license at that time, as well. So there was a lot, a lot going on at that time. And once I decided to start getting back into writing, I sat at the computer probably 20 different times to start writing about my daughter being diagnosed. And I was just filled with diabetes just all day long, whether it was I was managing my own diabetes, and my alerts were going off, and then it was time to check my daughter's blood sugar and then give her insulin and do her calculation, then do my calculation. And it was just too much that at the end of the day, or the the start of the day, I just didn't want to, I didn't want to think about diabetes anymore. I didn't want to write about it, I just kind of wanted to manage it. And that was it. And I definitely felt a disconnect from the diabetes community. Because I just kind of just left I just I shut down. And I just didn't want to be involved with anything. I didn't want to see posts, I didn't, I didn't want to read people's posts, I didn't want to watch videos, I didn't want to listen to anything, I just wanted to kind of just deal with that. And and it was just, it was a lot at once. And that's kind of what shut everything down for almost a year and a half. And then I started to write again a little bit, and they kind of came back to me where it was, I can remember the exact moment I was writing a blog post and my low alert went off and within five minutes, my daughter's low alert went off. And then my Omni pod alerted me that I had a low reservoir. And my daughter's went off about 15 minutes later that hers was being changed that night. So we were both having a low both theater pots change that same night. And I think that I actually had to change out my CGM that night as well and it was just a complete overload and I said are stopping again and I can't deal with this I need a mental break from from diabetes and I need to be at my strongest in order to be that you know role model and example to my daughter and I felt that let her see me get frustrated with with an alert or an alarm and and be like oh, I have to change that tonight or hi we have to do this or I'll have to drink a juice. I tried to never let her see that and never let her see that. There may be some frustrations that come with living Diabetes,
Stacey Simms 30:01
I'm hesitating, Chris, because Far be it from me to armchair psychologize anybody, but I want to plant this in your brain. And I agree six years old is not the time to do that. But I hope as she gets older, you do allow her to see some of those frustrations. And again, I'm not your doctor, or psychologist, right? I think if you were my dad,
Unknown Speaker 30:22
I hope this really is not at a place, I'm such a nosy person. Mom, I
Stacey Simms 30:27
become that we're my dad, to share those experiences, you know, when somebody shares the bad as well as the good, it just makes your bed feel not so bad. So when she's like, 10 1112, you know, those are the times when you guys I know, I know, it's in your future that you're going to share all of that, and she's gonna appreciate it so much. But I I agree, because I remember with Benny, you know, at six years old, you're just, you know, it's like, you know, you gotta brush your teeth. So you don't, you know, you don't get carried away. Everything's fun.
Chris Stocker 30:55
Yeah, I mean, it's, you know, it's a struggle at times, just to every three days, when a new pod has to go on, you know, she has to be watching either a cartoon or using the iPad, some some type of distraction. Now, we don't plan on doing that forever. And we've already kind of slowed that down a bit of what we let her do to kind of distract her from it. But I know that that's going to change in the future. And those are definitely, you know, some conversations that I would definitely have with her about the frustrations and stuff. But I think my thought process behind it is that if she sees that I'm getting frustrated of having to put on a new ami pot or put on a new Dexcom that she's going to think that it's so you know that she's going to put up by force who and and it's just something that I know will come one day, but I'm just trying to push it off as far as far
Stacey Simms 31:44
and I think you're very wise, because I will share with you that Danny ran away from insets. He had to bid pump his whole life. And you know, every three days, you're teaching the inset, and we tried everything Chris, we did, you know, numbing cream and ice cubes and rewards and he ran away from them. It was a struggle until about age eight or nine. And then it amazingly got better. And now he does everything himself for the past, I want to say three or four years even. And it's and then some kids start doing everything themselves very early. Right. I think when you're diagnosed tiny the trend that I noticed anecdotally is that it takes them longer just to be completely independent, because that's how they've been taught. So I don't take that iPad away before she's ready. She'll let you know when she's ready.
Unknown Speaker 32:26
Stacey Simms 32:27
she will, it'll be fine. And I will tell you one funny story. I don't know if I'll keep this in because I'm talking too much in this interview. But we were laughing the other day because I used to let Benny say what we called potty words when he changed his incident. So right, we put it on and he could be like, oh poop or whatever. And I said to him in the kitchen the other night, he came down to change. And I said do you want to yell some potty words? And we were hysterical of the thought of thinking of my preschooler yelling real curse words, like Could you imagine if you know what he thinks of potty words today, so you can fill in the blank on that.
Chris Stocker 32:58
I like that. I like that idea. Actually, she will probably enjoy.
Stacey Simms 33:03
I think we would all like to yell some potty words when we're doing stuff.
Unknown Speaker 33:06
Stacey Simms 33:07
Let me ask you about your your second child because your wife was pregnant, which had to be so stressful when your daughter was diagnosed during that time. And you had, as you've said, you'd already been nervous about any of your children being diagnosed. Again, I feel like I'm being very nosy. But What went through your mind at that time.
Chris Stocker 33:25
So initially, I mean, my initial thought was the stress that was going to be put on my wife and her being pregnant at that time, and making sure that she was okay with it, and trying to comfort her as much as possible and try to take away as much of the stress that I could possibly do, you know, from a mother, and, you know, knowing that she was pregnant, we knew there were chances. And it was just a decision and conversations we had throughout our relationship. And before we were married, we're gonna have kids no matter what it's what we want to do, and we're not going to let the thought or the chance of something stop us from doing anything. And that's kind of our, our thought process in life in general. So we knew that we were going to, you know, have wanted to have a second child. And we actually were scheduled to find out whether we were having another daughter or not. On February 13, I think and my daughter was diagnosed on the 12th. So it was actually in the same hospital. My wife left and went, you know, down the hall and oh, my God on the elevator and went like two floors down. And, you know, she did what she had to do there and then so we were you know, planning on having this big celebration to find out if we were you know what we were having and next thing you know, we're we're in the hospital for a totally different reason.
Stacey Simms 34:48
I gotta be honest to Chris, I love talking to dads of kids with type one because we hear so much from moms, right, so many of the bloggers and the writers and podcasters like me Moms. So let me ask you as a dad, now not as just a person with type one, but as a dad of a child of type one. What advice would you give newly diagnosed families, I mean, you're almost you're two years into this. Now you know what worked.
Chris Stocker 35:12
I would say that just being open, especially with you know, your spouse about how you may be feeling about it, I think a lot of times that the reason why we don't hear dads speak out too much is because they want to be the backbone, they want to be the strong one they want to, to not show that they're upset and show their feelings. And for me, I've been open with my wife, me and my wife, we've had conversations, we've cried together about it, we've talked about things that I let her know, my fears that I may have over things about it, it has helped tremendously, because there are times where I just say, like, Hey, listen, I need a break tonight, I can't do this, I've had a bad diabetes day, I'm stressed out by this, I'm just getting upset about it, I need a break. And that open communication has really helped us become an amazing team. And quite honestly, my wife almost entirely manages my daughter's diabetes. At this point, I cannot express like how grateful and like, just proud and I'm amazed by how my wife has taken this on and have she just tackled this head on. And I mean, she's pretty much almost managing my diabetes at this point, telling me how many carbs are in my meals and this and that. So going back to being the dad is that I just think that it's okay to you know, you just have to be okay with having those uncomfortable and vulnerable conversations and, and just know that it's for the better good, like, let your guard down, let it out, it's going to help that you don't have to just be you know, the strong one, you know, every single day in every single situation where it is okay to just let your fears out. And if you need to talk to somebody, talk to somebody find somebody that you know, you may have something in common with and just get it out and talk it out. And it feels so much better. Even having diabetes for 1415 years before she was diagnosed, I reached out to other dads have type one kids that I knew from meeting in the community and had, you know, conversations with them, like, what do I do from here? Like, I know how to manage mine, but like, What do I do? How do I do this? How do I tell her this? How do I explain this, and that helped me tremendously. And that's part of that community feeling and knowing that, you know, for all those years, I was, you know, putting into the community to be able to reach out when I was the one in in need of help. And it was great to have that community there to let me know, like, You got this.
Stacey Simms 37:40
I'm curious, if anything in the last two years with your daughter has surprised you any of your reactions to things or anything that she's done, you know, you were not six years old or four years old, when you were diagnosed, did anything surprise you about her diagnosis or your experiences with it or your reaction?
Chris Stocker 37:57
I am not kind of glued to the Dexcom as much as my wife is. And my wife is with my daughter a lot more during the day than than I am as well. But one thing that my daughter does is she knows that if she's going to be you know, she's playing upstairs in her room, she needs to now take her phone with her or her Dexcom actually with her and she will let us know. I think she was only diagnosed for maybe three or four months, the first time where she said to me, daddy, my knees feel wobbly. And my initial reaction was, first of all, how do you know what the word wobbly means. And second of all, let's get the meter out. And let's check real quick. And I can remember we were in target which another place no matter every time I go in there, it ends up in a low, but we are in target and she said her knees felt wobbly. We checked her she was 41. And I just remember picking her up and sprinting to the front of the store and just finding the first juice I can find and just said just start drinking and I remember her asking about paying for it or something. I'm like drinking it don't you don't have to worry about that. I'll figure that out. Just start drinking. So that was probably a surprising moment to me of her letting me and this was before she had Dexcom. So that was very kind of surprising moment to me that she used the word wobbly and she knew that she fell off. So now she does that quite often now where she she says I feel low. She'll Look at her Dexcom and just randomly I'll just hear her scream out 125 or something. Okay, I guess that's what her number is so low that she she has taken that on as you know, she's kind of proud, not kind of she's extremely proud to have diabetes. You know, she in her classes. She talks tells people that she has diabetes and whatnot. So she definitely surprised me of how proud she is to wear it. That's awesome. That means you guys are doing an awesome job as parents. That's something we actually did kind of talk to her about that she doesn't ever have to be ashamed or, you know, she doesn't have to be scared to tell somebody that she has diabetes. In fact, you know, because my philosophy has always been I want to tell you that I have it because in case something Goes go wrong. I want somebody around me to know
Stacey Simms 40:04
this before I let you go, you have been posting you know more on Instagram and you're really getting back into it. And I noticed you posted a lot about your daughter and her reaction to the virtual friends for life conference. And I, I was part of that. And I gotta tell you, I wasn't sure what to expect me this isn't a commercial for friends for life, even though we love them. But I was stunned at how good it was to connect even virtual with people. You know, we're all stuck at home, we can't get out to meet up. But I loved that conference, did your daughter have fun? There was so much for kids.
Chris Stocker 40:35
She had an amazing time. I mean, she still talks about it almost every day. To this day, she talks about the different events that were going on, she talked about playing bingo with with the guy from Toy Story. She talked about the all the animals that are Parker Ranger that was there. And I mean, she loved it, she loved seeing other kids and hearing other people talk about it. And we were planning on going, you know, this year in 2022 it so it was something that she already knew was going to happen. And you know, the day was over, she was she started crying. She was so sad. She couldn't wait till the next one. And it was just, it was a you know, it was life changing to her because, you know, she had only known me and her cousin that had and a few other people that she had met that had diabetes, but to be opened up to this world of all these other kids that were living with it and we're all sharing their different CGM and their different pumps and seeing a different perspective other than just her life and you know, my life with it was just absolutely amazing for her to experience that even virtually, it was just amazing how smooth it went. And and all the activities that were there for the kids. Yeah,
Stacey Simms 41:50
I mean, I gotta be honest with you, I didn't put a lot of time because I figured, well, you know, I'll do my speech. And I'll watch one or two, the research updates. I was hanging out in the social hallways, you know, with my mom, friends, it was great. I was I thought it was a very well done. And so we'll put a plug in because they've got the march one coming up. And we put a link in the show notes. Is there anything else Chris that you wanted to push people to or to you know, to put all your links to follow or anything that you've got coming up that you wanted me to make sure to mention,
Chris Stocker 42:14
people can follow me on on Instagram, it's just life of a diabetic, it is a newer account, because I am trying to keep it separate it from a personal Instagram account that I had previously. And it's just just to keep things simple and clean. I've just kind of started a new one. And I am putting out weekly YouTube videos now so they can check that out, you know, with the link in the in the show notes, but I just hope that you know, I can continue to help people and share my story and also my daughter's story. And as long as it helps one person, I feel that all the work and effort that goes into it is well worth it. That's awesome.
Stacey Simms 42:51
Well, no doubt you'll be helping other parents and other adults with type one. Chris, I can't thank you enough for coming on. It was so much fun to talk to after connecting online for all these years. I really appreciate it.
Chris Stocker 43:00
Absolutely. I appreciate you having me on.
Unknown Speaker 43:07
You're listening to Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 43:13
More information including Chris's YouTube channel and his Instagram and all that good stuff will be in the shownotes. And that is always on the episode homepage as well. So if you're listening in an app and it doesn't show you what you want, just go to Diabetes connections.com and find the episode should be very easy to do.
I should let you know he mentioned it went by quickly when he was talking about friends for life. He mentioned the Toy Story guy playing Bingo. what he's talking about there is john Ratzenberger who people might remember as Cliff Klavan from Cheers, but who has been a voice of a character in every Pixar movie, his son lives with type one. And Tom Karlya who's a very big part of friends for life, and also the Diabetes Research Institute. He knows him through his work through the DRI together. So Tom brought john to friends for life this year, which is really, really cool. And as I mentioned, they have another event coming up in March and I will put a link in the show notes on that.
Tell me something good in just a moment. But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dexcom. And we started with Dexcom back in the olden days before there was share. I think we had Dexcom for two years, almost two years before Cher was added as a feature. So you know, we know using Sharon follow makes a big difference. To this day Benny and I set parameters about when I'm going to call him how long to wait, you know, that kind of thing. It really helps us talk and worry about diabetes less. It helps if I need to troubleshoot with him. I love this you can see what's happening over the last 24 hours and not just at one moment in time. The alerts and alarms that we set help us from keeping the highs from getting too high and jump on lows before they're a big issue. Internet connectivity is required to access separate Dexcom follow up. To learn more, go to Diabetes connections.com and click on the Dexcom logo.
Our first tell me something good story is one I wish I had jumped on myself. But I read about it at diabetes mine and Mike Hoskins always does great work over there. And I had to share it with you. Dr. Drew Weissman at the University of Pennsylvania is one of two key researchers behind the science used to develop the first COVID-19 vaccines. And he lives with type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed more than 50 years ago, he didn't announce that he had type one, you know what he was in the news for this vaccine. But apparently some eagle-eyed folks by the photo of him getting his own COVID vaccine shot and they saw that he had an insulin pump on and I'm looking at the photo, as I'm telling you this, he's getting the Pfizer vaccine. And you can see it looks like a Medtronic pump on his waist. I will link up the story from diabetes mine, which is a great conversation with him, including photos, and Great job guys getting that done. Maybe we can grab Dr. Weisman and get him on the show.
Our other bit of good news comes in the form of more books for very little ones with type 1 diabetes. We've had folks on the show before who are authors of children's books, which I think are a really vital part of young children's care when it comes to type one. I know reading books like this to Benny, and bring these books to preschool and kindergarten and really willing to elementary school helped give us friends a good understanding. And you know, just seeing yourself in a book is a wonderful, wonderful thing. So I just want to mention a couple that are newer out there.
The Adventures of Captain Lantus is one that I have seen a lot of this focuses on seven year old Maxs, who has type 1 diabetes, and it's kind of a fantastical adventure, because everyone in beta town has type 1 diabetes. So this is a real fantasy story and very cute stuff. Brandy in our Facebook group in Diabetes Connections, the group published her T1D toddler book, it's called Little shots for little tots. And it is also very cute looking.
And one that I think is actually a pretty important one is called when I go low, a type 1 diabetes picture book. This is by ginger Vieira. And Michael Lawson. And we have talked to both of those folks on the show about other books that they have put out there. But this is a book that I wish I'd had when Benny was younger. The other ones are great stories and always fun. But this teaches about when a child is low, what does that feel like? What How do you articulate it? You know, what should you know about it, it's a great way to get young people with diabetes to talk about what low blood sugar feels like, and to help explain to their friends and friends, families and kids at school and that kind of thing. So I will put the links to all of these guys. They're all on Amazon. And I'm sure they all have their own author pages as well.
But there are so many great books about diabetes right now, if you've got tips, or you'd like to hear more, I had thought about in the past doing book reviews, but I don't have the time. So if that's something you're interested in, let me know, we could have an ongoing segment or something. I'm gonna be looking for new Tell me something good stories in our community. So please keep an eye out for that. I love to ask in the Facebook group. And you can always give me your good stuff.
Before I let you go quick reminder, if you are a podcast person, if you are thinking of starting one, if you have one, I have a podcast course it has nothing to do with diabetes. This is all about podcasting, and learning about podcast sponsorship in an ethical way, in a way that makes sense for small businesses. You know, I'm not Amazon podcasts here, or Wondry, or Spotify. This is about independent podcasters who want to serve their communities and make some money, enough money to cover the costs of the podcast or perhaps make a living at it. So I've launched a new course there's a free webinar coming up, I'll put all the information in the show notes.
And if you're just here for diabetes, which of course I think 99% of you are we have another classic episode coming up later this week, we're going to be talking about spare arose. But this isn't any spare a rose, informative interview. This is my very first game show that I did here on Diabetes Connections and it features some very familiar names, some very silly stuff, and a couple of mistakes along the way that we left in. So that should be fun, and that should be out on Thursday.
Thank you so much to my editor John Buckenas from audio editing solutions. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time, I'm Stacey Simms. Be kind to yourself.
Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms Media. All rights reserved. All wrongs avenged
What is it like to actually give someone emergency Glucagon? What happens next? This week, Stacey talks to Bonnie O'Neil whose son was diagnosed with T1D at age 5 and is now 24. They had a scary situation while on vacation and out of the country. Everything worked out; Bonnie shares what she learned and what she wants other families to know.
Bonnie is the author of a brand new book: Chronic Hope (learn more here). She has a unique family history of diabetes, losing a brother before she was even born and has a older sister who is still thriving today.
In Tell Me Something Good this week, a big honor for one of our favorite frequent guests and fun news if your child plays Minecraft.
This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.
EPISODE TEXT HERE...
Use this link to get one free download and one free month of Audible, available to Diabetes Connections listeners!
Get the App and listen to Diabetes Connections wherever you go!
Stacey Simms 0:00
Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Daria health. Manage your blood glucose levels. Increase your possibilities by Gvoke HypoPen the first premix auto injector for very low blood sugar, and by Dexcom take control of your diabetes and live life to the fullest with Dexcom.
This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms
Stacey Simms 0:27
this week, what is it like, what really happens, when you need to use that emergency glucagon, I talked to a mom who found out while on vacation out of the country,
Bonnie O'Neil 0:37
I was just all I could do to stop my hands from shaking and mix that glucagon and get it in him. So point number one was when you go on vacation, make sure that glucagon doesn't stay in your hotel, keep it on your person you just never know.
Stacey Simms 0:52
Bonnie O'Neil's son was diagnosed at age five and is now 24. She has advice about using and carrying glucagon. She also has a unique story. She'll talk about growing up in the shadow of a family tragedy with diabetes, and how she and her sister have overcome that
in tell me something good this week, a big honor for one of my favorite frequent guests. And does your child play Minecraft? Stay tuned.
This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.
Welcome to another week of the show where we aim to educate and inspire about diabetes with a focus on people who use insulin. My son was diagnosed with Type 1 14 years ago, my husband lives with type two diabetes. I do not have diabetes myself, I have a background in broadcasting. And that's how you get the podcast.
longtime listeners will know that this show is not really about our experience my family's experience of diabetes week in and week out. I don't share a ton of personal information about Benny, but we do talk about our experiences. And I bring that up because I did a show recently with him to mark 14 years, which was a pretty big milestone. And we've done a couple of shows together over the years. I always say Benny is a big goofball. But you know, he's got good things to say I like to talk to him. I'm very proud of him, even though I give him a hard time. And I got a really nice review that I wanted to share. I don't ask for reviews very often. Maybe I should if you'd like to leave a review, you can send one to me at the email address at Stacey at Diabetes connections.com. You can leave them on whatever podcast app you're listening to. You can drop them in the Facebook group.
But this one really was nice. And so I wanted to share it and say thank you to Ruth Ann, who posted it following that 14 year episode where I talked to Benny and she says “I listened to it yesterday and came away feeling understood. I've had type one for almost 45 years diagnosed at age 12. Then he was honest in the way teenagers can be when they don't feel pressured to spin things to make other people happy. I found him incredibly inspiring.”
She goes on to write “To me The message was you can be upbeat about life. But don't succumb to pressure to sugarcoat the hard realities of managing type one. I think being real is the healthiest approach to coping with a challenging chronic illness. Please tell him thank you from a grandma in Utah, Ruth.”
And I will say thank you to you. That meant the world to me. I agree. I think it's so important to be honest to write that line of diabetes can't stop you from doing the things you want to do. But it will stop you and slow you down sometimes right not to sugarcoat things too much. I really appreciate you taking the time to write that down and share it with me. And of course, I will share it with Benny and Wow, good luck to you. 45 years with type one, you're the inspiration. If you would like to tell us something always happy to get nice messages like this. I'm always happy to take constructive criticism as well. I do have a few people over the years who have yelled at me. But I think I'm pretty easy to find either on social media or via the email address. And you can always go to Diabetes connections.com and get all the contact information there. But Ruth boy you made my day
All right, we're gonna talk about using glucagon what that is like, and Bonnie's really interesting story in just a moment. But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dario health. You know, over the years, I find that we manage diabetes better when we're thinking less about all the stuff of diabetes tasks. And that's why I love partnering with people who take the load off on things like ordering supplies, so I can really focus on Benny, the Dario diabetes success plan is all about you all the strips and lancets you need delivered to your door one on one coaching so you can meet your milestones, weekly insights into your trends with suggestions for how to succeed, get the diabetes management plan that works with you and for you. Dario has published Studies demonstrate high impact clinical results, find out more go to my radio.com forward slash Diabetes Connections.
My guest this week is here to talk about using glucagon and I think we can all From that, but she has another important story that I don't want to gloss over. Bonnie O'Neil has been part of the diabetes community since before she was even born. bit of a warning, this may be hard to hear Bonnie's older brother died when he was eight, his type one went undiagnosed until it was too late. Now, this was back in the 1960s. But we know that's still gonna happen today. Her older sister was later diagnosed, she survived and is still thriving now. And Bonnie has a new book out. It's called chronic hope. So there's a lot to unpack here, including that very valuable information about her family's experience with glucagon. I found this to be a very valuable and eye opening conversation. And I hope you do too. Bonnie, thank you so much for joining me. Congratulations on your book. And I'm excited to learn all about you. Thanks for jumping on.
Bonnie O'Neil 5:48
Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here today. Stacey,
Stacey Simms 5:51
tell me about your son. But he's doing now because he was diagnosed as a little kid. And he is all grown up now.
Bonnie O'Neil 5:57
Yes, I've lived all the stages with him. So he was diagnosed as a five year old and he is now 24. So he's living not too far away from me about 15, 20 minutes, which I guess is every T one D mom's dream when their kid grows up that they live independently, but yet, we can still get our eyeballs on them and our arms around them from time to time. So yeah, he's doing great.
Stacey Simms 6:22
You it's funny because being diagnosed, what does that 19 years ago? Isn't that long ago. I mean, my son was diagnosed 14 years ago. But in some ways, it feels like a different world. Do you mind taking us back to that time, if you could tell us the diagnosis story. And I'd love to also talk about what you all started in terms of management.
Bonnie O'Neil 6:41
Sure, yeah, that's actually an interesting story. So I have diabetes in my family. So my brother was unfortunately died in the diagnosis process when he was eight years old. And that was before I was born. And so my parents had me in their 40s, basically to, you know, replace the child that they had lost. And then my sister was diagnosed when she was 16. And I was eight years old. And so I just grew up with it. We grew up with this fear of it being there. So I was always on the lookout for it. And I remember my first pediatrician when I want to have my first child, I said to him, so how do we test for this thing? Because I don't want it to be in in my child. This wasn't Austin. This is my oldest son, Alexander. And, and he's like, oh, Bonnie, you know, it comes on acutely. We can't just run a blood test every every few months, but you'll know it if you ever see it, frequent urination, and intense thirst.
And so I was always looking and so the day that I noticed that in my son, Austin, you know, obviously, there's the major panic, but I had grown up through my three pregnancies, I had done the urine testing for gestational diabetes. And so I knew exactly what to do. I went to the pharmacy, I bought a test kit, and I dipped Austin's urine in it, and it turns deep crimson. And so I diagnosed him at home freaking out going to the doctor and saying, they're like, calm down. This is Odile, like it, maybe it's not type 1 diabetes. I'm like, Well, do you know what else it could be? And so we, you know, I bundle up the three kids and we're living in Connecticut at the time, I took them over to the pediatrician. And he didn't have ketones, because we caught it so early. And so their practice was leaning into something that they told me was what Yale was practicing at the time, although I have an endocrinologist friend from Yale, who assures me they never offered, I suggested that, but the thinking was, if your child doesn't have ketones, you don't admit them to the hospital. Hmm.
So we went home, we literally went home without so much of the shot of insulin. As you can imagine, I was just freaking out because my brother didn't make it through his diagnosis story. So I was like, you know if you can remember Terms of Endearment and Shirley MacLaine, like shaky over the crib. Yeah, that was me that night, just like leaning over my son and just making sure all night long that he stayed alive anyway, that the pediatrician, the endocrinologist that my pediatrician was able to find for us was one who really didn't work with pedes. The youngest children they saw were really about 15 or 16. So we saw him The following day, and the long acting insulin that he gave him was Lantus.
Stacey Simms 9:37
I was wondering if that was even approved, because I remember was not really 2000 so it was for little guys.
Bonnie O'Neil 9:43
Okay, it was not it was it was not under age 10 and so I don't I didn't know any of that you know, and so, so that was the first there's two things that were very interesting in our in our care different so that was the one and then when we got to CHOP the Children's Hospital. Philadelphia. A week later, I forgot to say all this diagnosis happened exactly one week before we moved house from Philadelphia. Oh
Bonnie O'Neil 10:08
I never recommend that moving house be part of your diagnosis to be that as it may that was our case. And so when we got to CHOP our the endocrinologist there was actually very keen to see know what would happen to this child being on Lantus at age five, I'm pretty sure that it's going to work out well, I can't prescribe it. But he came to me that way. So I can leave him on his protocol. So that was interesting. And it worked beautifully. So my son never used NPH. And I had friends at that time, who were very familiar with that insulin and just told me how fortunate we were that he never had to be on that. So that was one thing. And the other was, so my sister, the reason I gave you the backstory on my sister was that I grew up in a family of using exchanges, where you counted your you didn't count carbohydrates, but you looked at food, in terms of whether it was fat, or protein, or carbohydrate. And you gave each one an exchange. And so I was used to that world. And I literally was given a counting book that had both on it, it was the exchanges and the carbs. And it was kind of you could do it however you wanted. They were recommending I just use the carbs, but the exchanges were there as well. So that was interesting. Oh, and then there's a third one.
Bonnie O'Neil 11:33
But I remember. So his diagnosis was shortly after the DCCT trial, results came out and talking about intensive insulin therapy and how important that was. And I remember several visits, going in and talking to my CDE and saying, I'd really like Austin to be on that intensive insulin therapy. And she would, she would look at me like I had 12 eyes and like to say something, and I didn't understand what she was saying. And she didn't understand what I was saying. And it was many months later that I realized that Austin was
Stacey Simms 12:11
using Lantus and short acting together. Yes, exactly, was
Bonnie O'Neil 12:14
exactly. So yeah. So I was sort of living in some a couple of old paradigms and had to get with the program pretty quickly. Yeah,
Stacey Simms 12:22
but what a transitional time. Here was that that he was diagnosed,
Bonnie O'Neil 12:26
it was 2002. Yeah. And I'm so thankful I that is it is that so spot on Stacey, because just a few years earlier, and and the story would have been very different. My sister's story is very different. Sure.
Stacey Simms 12:37
And let's talk about your family for a moment. If we could be there's so much information there. You mentioned your brother, gosh, I can't I'm not even sure what to ask. But he died before he was diagnosed or during his diagnosis story. Was
Bonnie O'Neil 12:48
this in the 70s? The 80s Yeah, it was 1962
Bonnie O'Neil 12:57
Yeah, yeah. So my sister was six years old, my my sister Barb, and my sister Johnny, my brother, Johnny was eight. And so it was Christmas week, and my sister had the stomach bug. And a couple of days later, after she got better, my brother started throwing up. And they assumed that he just had the stomach bug as well. And he may have had that, but it clearly he then slipped into decay. And so by the time he got to the hospital, which was actually New Year's Eve, what he was in a coma. And so he passed away three days later, to make the story even more unbelievable. My mother delivered my sister Betsy, just nine days after that.
Stacey Simms 13:43
Oh my gosh. Oh my goodness. Yeah. You know, DKA is I don't have to tell you this. You know, it is the most dangerous time for people with type one and it's amazing to me how now. Gosh, we are you know, more than 50 years after what happened with your family with your brother? Yeah, we are still having something like 30 to 40% of people who are diagnosed with type one diagnosed in DKA, I know you work a lot are you you've written a lot with beyond type one. You know, are you involved in efforts? Do you see the you know the DKA awareness that's something that you you talk about.
Right back to my conversation with Bonnie and we are going to hear her talk about glucagon in just a minute or two. And when you hear her talk about the emergency redbox, please remember, there are more options now and Diabetes Connections is brought to you by one of those by Gvoke Hypopen. Almost everyone who takes insulin has experienced a low blood sugar and that can be scary. A very low blood sugar is really scary and that's where Gvoke Hypopen comes in. It's the first auto injector to treat very low blood sugar. Gvoke Hypopen is pre mixed and ready to go with no visible needle. That means it's easy to use. Find out more go to Diabetes connections.com And click on Gvoke logo. Gvoke shouldn't be used in patients with pheochromocytoma or insulinoma, visit Gvoke glucagon.com slash risk. Now back to my conversation with Bonnie and I just asked her about her family's tragic experience with DKA and how that's influenced her with what she does now in the diabetes community.
Bonnie O'Neil 15:22
Yeah, I mean, I do write for beyond type one, and I'm very active with JDRF. I'm on the board of the founding chapter, the greater Delaware Valley chapter. And I know that we're doing a lot of advocacy work around that and, and even just trying to get the shift in titling someone has type 1 diabetes, a JDRF, has done a lot of work around that, and is seeing that that shift so that it's, you know, reframing it, so it's not Oh, they got diabetes, or my son didn't get diabetes on June 19 2002. That was when we discovered that he would be insulin dependent for the rest of his life. He was developing the disease before that. And so we're trying to change that language. I think we're making progress. So that there's there's an understanding that you are, you know, certainly with some of the antibody tests, that testing that is being done now to be able to know that, you know, this person's body is being set up to get the disease, you know, if you have, I think it was three out of the four markers. It's, yeah,
Stacey Simms 16:31
well, and I was gonna ask you about that, about T one detect, we just did a show on that. We did an episode on that a couple of weeks ago. And when you think about something like that a person who has type one in their family, like you had and was so front of mind, I would imagine that you would have taken advantage of that with your kiddos, you know, years and years ago.
Bonnie O'Neil 16:48
Yeah. And, you know, back then, and that was something that I asked my endocrinologist was, so should we do any sort of testing and their response, and I had to agree with it was, well, there wasn't anything that they could offer. Other than Gee, I'm really sorry, it looks like your child is probably going to get type one. So the way I've handled it now, as a mother of two adult children who don't have diabetes, is that decision is yours. If you want to be tested, we can get you tested. If you don't want to, I have to respect your decision.
Stacey Simms 17:25
One of the things I really was looking forward to talking to you about and looking forward as a term I really should not use there. But I was very interested in is you were one of the few people I know who has had to use glucagon on their child, and then wrote about the experience. So I really appreciate you talking about this publicly. It is a fear that so many people have, you know, we have never had to break out that red box. And I'm so thankful for that. Would you share that story with us? You're even at home, right? You're on vacation?
Bonnie O'Neil 17:54
Yeah. And I'd be happy to because you know, it's a it's a story that still brings up a lot of emotion in me, but it does have a happy ending. And there are some good takeaway points for your listeners in terms of preparedness. So yes, I'm happy to share the story. My family went on vacation to Costa Rica. So it was my oldest son's first year in college, Austin, that would have made him a sophomore, I think in high school and my daughter would have been eighth grade. And we realized that all the spring breaks were aligning all three kids were in three different schools. And we're like, Yes, let's go and do something fun. So we plan this, this sort of dream trip, you know, where you're going to be renting, staying in a treehouse. And like, I'd have some time at the seaside all kinds of great stuff. So adventure, but fun. Yeah, so we get there and the very the very next day, I think we got there like late afternoon. So the next day, spent a little time poolside and then decided to go to this restaurant for lunch that was literally like an oasis on the seashore. So like in the sand cluster of trees and this restaurant was in these trees on the sand. And so it's just a walk up the beach, it was probably, I don't know, 20 minutes of a walk.
We get up there. My son Austin actually ordered the only sensible meal he ordered a pizza which is cooked my husband and I ordered cbj which is raw and my other two kids ordered some sort of salad again raw and when you're in a developing country, you should go cooked rather than right anyway. So you know it was a big piece of pizza and or you know, personal pizza. And so we give this was before wearing a Dexcom so we have no arrows indicating the dress. In which his blood sugar is going, we just have a blood sugar of somewhere around 250 probably. So we have to give a nice correction dose, I have to give the combo bolus that we were doing for the pizza to accommodate for the, for the fat. So it's gonna be dripping in for a while. And I didn't factor in the walk that he had just had. So right after lunch, he and his brother asked to go into the sea and play. I'm like, Sure, that's fine. So they did about five minutes later, he came back and he said, I feel shaky. So I tested him and he was in the mid 60s. And we ordered him a coke. And he started to drink. And still his blood sugar wasn't going up. Eventually, he drank the whole big bottle of Coke, and still really wasn't going up. And I was getting a little suspicious. And then he said, I don't feel well. I feel nauseous. And then I knew we were in trouble. And your mind just immediately goes to like, the cheese was tainted. The basil on it hadn't been washed and was in was unclean. Something, you know. Yeah. And I knew that he had like, over 10 units of insulin on board. And then the next thing I know he he starts vomiting. And I mean, pardon me, but projectile vomiting. And this is one of those moments when you just snap into too high alert gear. And it's to my son, and my, my oldest son and my husband go back to the hotel, get the glucagon because of course the glucagon was with us. But it wasn't with us.
Unknown Speaker 21:39
Right? It was
Bonnie O'Neil 21:40
in the hotel, helping the pillows in case they had a low but now it was it was tucked away with all the other supplies. And so the two of them ran back along this shoreline. And I knew it would have to be at least 30 minutes before they would get back. Right? Because there and back. And actually my son got back before my husband did because the roads were so rutted and so circuitous, that it just took him forever, it seemed to get back in the car. So all the while I don't speak Spanish, I speak fluent French, I don't speak a lick of Spanish. And all of these people were trying to help me and they didn't speak any English. And they all they could do is bring towels and bags for my son. And you know, I knew that if he drank any more, he was just going to vomit it. So there was no point in trying to give him more to drink. And so we just waited. And I have never seen a sunset so fast in my life. Oh, I don't know if it was where we were located on the Costa Rica coast. I know we were having a late lunch. But anyway, it just started to get dim. And by the time my eldest son got back with the the glucagon and cuts all over his bare feet, it was just all I could do to stop my hands from shaking, and mix that glucagon and get it in hand. So point number one was, when you go on vacation, make sure that glucagon doesn't stay in your hotel, keep it on your person, you just never know. Point number two with practice that injecting or at least mixing up glucagon. Every year, when your glucagon expires before you throw it away. Don't neglect that gift of having the opportunity to practice drawing it up because I was going to ask you,
Unknown Speaker 23:27
did you ever do that?
Bonnie O'Neil 23:28
I did it every year, I never threw one away without mixing it up. Because I knew that if I ever needed it, I wasn't going to be able to stop and read the directions. I just needed to know what to do. Because the only reason you would use it is if you're in an emergency. And in an emergency. We don't think so clearly, or our hands are shaking, you might be thinking but your hands are shaking so much that you just need to go from muscle memory. So eventually my husband got their like gate. So I drew it up. I gave him the glucagon. My husband got there. And we're in the car. And I was just surprised Stacey, his blood sugar didn't come right back up. I expected it would come up to like, I don't know, a perfect 110 would have been nice. You can even give me a question 150 I'd be happy with and if it didn't, it was I don't even know if it hit at oh well. And so I remember being in the dark in the backseat of that car just like trying to get every little whiff of the glucagon out and into him.
And, and then I just realized I don't have another glucagon. I brought one. I didn't bring two and he's not in a stable enough place. Like I we need a doctor. So thankfully, this was probably the nicest hotel we had ever stayed at. And and I'm really thankful because they had a doctor on call. So we as soon as we got back to the hotel, we asked the concierge to call for a doctor and he was there. Oh probably within 45 minutes, something like that. What did he do for you? Did he give him more like IV glucose? Yeah, so he unfortunately was this big, you know, had a big headboard, big posters on it, and like a poster board sort of thing. And he just hooked an IV up to him and tied it up to the to the bedpost. And so the following morning, when he came back, Austin had a fever by that point. And he said, You know, I can't rule out that this isn't appendicitis, you have to get an emergency surgery in Costa Rica, this was not what I had in mind. And long story shorter, what ended up happening was he said, You've got to get him down to the Capitol to San Jose, four hours back down the way we had come up, you know, just two days before. So we have to do that, you know, it could have been the fever could have been from the food poisoning, which it was, but he said, you know, we have to be safe, it couldn't be appendicitis or something else. And so that was the longest four hour ride I've ever had in my life.
Stacey Simms 26:02
Yeah, it was not appendicitis, it turns out to just be
Bonnie O'Neil 26:07
a lot it was it was just the food poisoning. And he spent three days in hospital. And there again, you, as a diabetes parent know more about diabetes than emergency room physicians do. And it's important that you know that and that you believe in yourself about that. My son, his freshman year in college had to go to the ER for the stomach bug. And there to the emergency room, physicians relied on me for what I knew about how to take care of his diabetes. And so when we were in Costa Rica, the attending physician gave me her cell phone number, and said, I want you to be in touch with me. If this doesn't come around, if his numbers don't go in the way we want them to, we're going to take the pump off. And we're going to do it our way. But I will give you it was basically I'll give you six more hours, I think this was like on day two or something. Because she was letting me manage his diabetes. Right? And but then she said, You know, we're gonna do it six more hours this way. And let me know how things go. And it did it worked out fine. So here's two more points coming to my mind when you're traveling. Don't just take one glucagon, you might need to use a second one when we were leaving the hospital. Among the other prescriptions that the doctor wrote for me. I said, Could you write me a prescription for glucagon because I use the only one I had. And clearly, my son didn't get a stomach bug. It was food poisoning. So food poisoning could happen again. And I want protection from that. And she looked at me with these beautiful, innocent eyes and said, Bonnie, we haven't had glucagon in this country in over 10 years. Wow. And so just don't imagine that it's going to be available for you. So travel with to glucagon when you travel. The other thing was, when we were in the hospital, the only ketone tests they were doing were blood ketone tests, they weren't doing any urine ketone test. So I had to wait until they would come back. You know, they weren't doing blood tests as frequently as we would expect to be doing our ketone tests. So again, don't just travel with a bottle that has maybe 10 ketone strips in it. I had a nearly new bottle of 50 ketone strips, and I was worried that I was going to run out
Stacey Simms 28:29
going forward. I assume you're filming like to travel? I mean, this was obviously a big trip and a big treat. Did you hesitate about traveling again?
Bonnie O'Neil 28:37
I don't think I'll go to Costa Rica. I'm nothing against Costa Rica. It's just the memories are. They're profound. I do try to pay attention to where there is a hospital, which is an easy enough thing to figure out. We have continued to travel that is for sure. In my book, I talk about another episode that happened after that, where he his insulin pump broke, and we were in France, and he had to get a we had to locate him a pump in a foreign country. So that's another fun story. But no, we've continued to travel, but I think it's just being safe, bringing your supplies with you and an abundance of supplies, checking to know where the hospital is. And I think it's it's just about being comfortable. Making sure that you feel comfortable where you are. Well, you
Stacey Simms 29:32
mentioned your book. Let's talk about that. Sure. Yeah. Oh, congratulations. That's Thank you.
Unknown Speaker 29:39
Thank you very excited.
Stacey Simms 29:40
Yeah. So why'd you call it Chronic Hope? Tell me about where that title comes from?
Bonnie O'Neil 29:44
Okay. Well, you might want to edit this out. I'm not sure so I was I was thinking about how much you know, I loved my my son and the care I give for him. This As a chronic condition and the title chronic love came to my mind. And that actually had been my working title for a little while. And as I was working on my book proposal, I did a little research little Google search on chronic love, and it was a porn site. So I changed the title. And actually, once I came up with the subtitle, chronic hope, is exactly what I'm writing about. We all love our kids, we do in a way that we show our love to them, especially as full time caregivers, that just cannot be disputed. But there's some times when we as the parents just lose our way on the hope journey. Because it's, it's so long and so complicated and can be so unforgiving. And we can be unforgiving of ourselves. The message really is hope for us.
Stacey Simms 30:57
I may have to lead with the chronic love, I think that forget about editing that out. That's pretty funny. Oh, my goodness. But you've had this story and you for a long time. I'm curious what caused you to kind of write it now to release it now?
Bonnie O'Neil 31:14
Yeah, good question. Well, I love to write. That's the first starting point. I've been writing for a number of years and have been honing that craft. And as I was thinking about what the next topic was, that I wanted to write about, it just felt like it needed to be a story that I've been living, something that was really true. And that it wasn't just something I'm going through now, which so many of my blog posts words like, you know, it's that short, quick blog post is almost like an instant word. It's like what you're going through at that moment, and you write, but I felt like I needed to write something where I had come out the other side, and actually had some wisdom to share. And once I sort of landed at that place, it was well, this is what I know better than anything else. And living this story out first with my nuclear family. And then with my family with my children, I just have been steeped in that for so long. I speak for the jdrf education conferences, that type of nation summit, and that one of the earliest ones that I did, I was speaking on the psychosocial impact of T one D on the family. And it was the first time I had delivered the that talk and I was I was sharing about, you know, my nuclear family and then Austin's diagnosis and how that impacted me. And I was just really honest, and, and raw, and I talked about my anger, you know, the disease coming back into my family, and just the challenges with my husband, when the two of us were not on the same page and the fear, I carried my need for control, wanting to control the disease, and all of these things. And as I'm looking up at the group that I was speaking to, like, everybody's dabbing their eyes, and sometimes, like really crying and at the end, one man said to me, So when's your book coming out? And I chuckled and kind of tucked that away. And it later, I think informed me very well as to what I should write about next.
Stacey Simms 33:32
What is your I mean, you have more than one son, and I'm sure they are your children are all featured in the book in their own way. curious what Austin? Right Austin? Is your son with time? Yes. I'm curious what what Austin thinks of this?
Bonnie O'Neil 33:44
Well, Austin is a man of few words that he's not
Unknown Speaker 33:47
going to do. Much.
Bonnie O'Neil 33:51
I made sure that in the advanced copies that I have, that he was, he received the first one. And he very graciously accepted it and then said, Thank you. He has congratulated me a few times and said he was excited. I did ask him before I really started the writing, and was just sort of outlining things. I asked how he felt about it. And he said he was fine. And I did say to him, and it's the Absolute Truth. If there's anyone who looks ugly in the book, it's me. It's never hand because I am raw with how I processed my emotions. Because one of the things I feel like in that for us, parents have a child that lives with such a complicated disorder. 24 seven, we take so little time to attend to how we feel, you know, because it's how can I complain when my child has to go through so much. And so we don't really ever name what it is that we're feeling and give ourselves permission to feel what we're feeling. And so then we can't really attend to it and move along from some of those stuck places and I really feel that the You know, the emotional health of a family begins with that center of the mom and the dad. And we need to get our stuff together so that we can create a healthy family emotionally.
Stacey Simms 35:14
I agree it's so interesting because we, as you know, an initial diagnosis. And though those first few years, we as moms, I think so define ourselves by diabetes, it almost seems like we have it like and you come to a realization that Yeah, do not be do not have diabetes, we do not have our child's experience. But it doesn't make the experience of being a mom of a kid with a chronic condition, any less valid. It's just a different experience. And I think I'm hoping, kind of saying the same thing you are in that once you realize that it's a mom, that it's okay to take care of what you are going through, knowing that's different from what your kid is going through, you kind of name it and take care of it and acknowledge it and talk about how tough it is. And right now until you can do that. It's so difficult. Yeah,
Bonnie O'Neil 35:58
it's a kid. It is. And I'm so glad now that there's such increased talk about soul care, because that at least is putting it into the forefront of everyone's minds now. But I think parents of a child with a chronic illness just really need that permission to say, I too need this soul care. I am going through mourning. This wasn't what I was expecting. I was expecting my child to have the freest life imaginable. And they still do. But especially in those early years, it's a lot, we have to mourn the loss of this perfect health we had envisioned for our child, and we have to deal with the fact that Yeah, we are tired,
Unknown Speaker 36:42
Bonnie O'Neil 36:43
And it's okay to say I'm really tired. And I think even under, like coming to terms with the fact that a lot of our friends just aren't going to get it. And there's a loneliness that we carry here as the caregivers of our children. And it's okay, and it's not it's once we begin to name it and look at it and explore it a little bit, and how it's affecting us. That's the beginning of healing and freedom.
Stacey Simms 37:09
And I meant to ask you earlier, and it's okay, if you don't want to talk about this at all, how is your sister doing?
Bonnie O'Neil 37:15
She has struggled in the last few years with some complications. She has had, I believe gastroparesis for, I think it's close to 10 years that I think, went largely undiagnosed, and then has been quite problematic in the last few years. She's begun going actually to my son's retinal specialist for some treatments for her eyes. And her second or third treatment, this most recent one, they found that the retinopathy had had gone away. So I'm very thankful for that. So she just maintains the most positive attitude through shouldering this disease through the longest time, but I can see that it you know, it has taken its toll.
Stacey Simms 38:06
And so in your family, you know, you have two people diagnosed at different times, but still almost, it's hard to describe how different it is. We talked about Lantus And then off air, you and I were talking about control IQ,
Unknown Speaker 38:19
Stacey Simms 38:20
just a guess of reflection before we go of the technology and the advances of not only I assume your sister has is using different tools than she did when she was first diagnosed.
Bonnie O'Neil 38:30
She is for sure. And I think that has been a great asset to her. So yeah, she's using now the Omni pod and the Dexcom as well. I am so grateful for the time in which we live and for the medical advancements that Austin has been able to take advantage of. I know one of the my friends through jdrf. She said recently, I am so thankful for all of you parents who came before our family did who paved the way because my daughter her daughter was diagnosed at age two or three. I've never known what you have known. She's had the Dexcom as long almost as long as she's had diabetes. I don't know the sleepless nights that you know, I'm confident now like that each generation or micro generation is going to be able to say that to the ones who came before them that we're going to continue to advance and are the lives of our loved ones are going to continue to get better. And that also just gives me a lot of hope.
Stacey Simms 39:36
That's great. Well, thank you so much for joining me, Bonnie. I really appreciate your time. Best of luck with the book. I'm really excited for you. There's nothing like a book launch. And I hope we could talk again soon.
Bonnie O'Neil 39:47
Thank you so much. This has been such a joy to be with you. Thanks,
Unknown Speaker 39:50
you're listening to Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 40:01
Learn more about Bonnie and her book and her story at Diabetes connections.com. In the episode homepage, as always, I put lots of links and info there, you could read an episode transcript, if you prefer to. Some people just like to read rather than listen to that it's fine by me as long as you get the info. In conjunction with this episode, I have a contest on social media. This is on the Facebook page for Diabetes Connections, not in the group this week. This is just on the page. And you can win a copy of her book chronic hope.
I also want to point out and I know we had a commercial in there, but I think it's really important especially for newer families to know that there are now options when it comes to using emergency glucagon because since the 60s, we've had the red box or the orange box, which were basically the same thing as you heard Bonnie talked about there mixing it up, and the big needle and all that stuff. There are new options. gfo hypopyon, is one that I spoke about, they are a sponsor of the show, they are a you know premixed ready to go shelf stable glucagon. And it's very easy. It's all in the panel ready, nothing to mix and you don't see that huge needle, it's very different. It looks more like an epi pen or an insulin pen and simple to use. There's also baxi me, which is a nasal spray. And that is also very easy to use, I will link up more information about that.
I just think it is enormously important to know that these things exist, knock on wood, knock on my head, knock on anything I can find. We haven't ever had to use emergency gun with Benny in 14 years. But as Bonnie illustrated, you just never know. So it's so important to be prepared. I'm also really interested in the future of this stuff. Because I keep hearing more and more people say that we're gonna be using it not just for Super lows, right? I mean, like me, you were probably told if He's unconscious, you know, if you can't keep anything down, that's when you use it. But now there's a new school of thought about using these in much smaller doses for less severe lows. So I don't have a lot of information on that. So I'm not gonna talk too much more about that. But I think that is very interesting. And something to watch. And certainly glucagon in an insulin pump is something that, you know, companies are working on, most notably the iLet from beta bionics. So, as we say all the time, stay tuned.
Tell me something good, a big honor for a wonderful member of our community. And that's about Minecraft to just ahead. But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dexcom. And you know, when Benny was very little, and in the bathtub or in the pool, anytime his hands would get wet. I always noticed his fingertips. You know exactly what I mean. Right? We poked him so much. They were just full of these little pinprick holes. It looks horrible. I mean, you can really see it when he got wet at age 16. I am not inspecting his hands. I rarely see his hands anymore, but his endocrinologist does. And we went for a checkup in early January, his fingertips are normal. It's incredible. We've been using Dexcom for seven years now. And with every iteration, we've done fewer and fewer finger sticks G6 eliminates finger sticks for calibration and diabetes treatment decisions that we used to do 10 finger sticks in the past. It makes me so glad that Dexcom has helped us come so far. It is an incredible tool. If your glucose alerts and readings from the G6 do not match symptoms or expectations, use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions or more, go to Diabetes, Connections comm and click on the Dexcom logo.
Over the almost six years of this show, I have been so fortunate to have some guests that really made an impact on me, who I'm really lucky, I think to call friends now, but who I turned to again and again for information. I know I can rely on them. They'll give it to me straight and in a caring way. And one of those people is Dr. Stephen ponder. Many people know him because of his sugar surfing talks and books, but he's a practicing endocrinologist. He's right there in the thick of things in Texas when he can pray and hopefully post COVID runs a fabulous diabetes camp and has lived with type one himself for more than 50 years. He got a really great honor recently, and he says he was stunned to learn that he has been selected for a big honor at the University of Texas Medical branch in Galveston. This is where he went to medical school. And then he stayed there another nine years where he says he became a husband, father, pediatrician and pediatric endocrinologist and the award is the Asheville Smith Distinguished Alumni Award. He will receive that formally in June during the graduation ceremonies at Galveston and the to read his post about this was it was really inspiring he gave a lot of credit to others and he finished by saying never in my wildest dreams did I imagine an honor such as this so congratulations to Dr. Steven ponder for a great award well deserved that's just fantastic.
Another Tell me something good comes from Samantha Merwin who is the mom of Logan the elbow bump kid we've talked to them on the show before she is working to roll out a national program about Minecraft. This is a Minecraft t Wendy play project. She says she had a successful pilot and She's working to roll it out nationally, working out a lot of logistics apparently to roll it out for people outside of her home state. So more to come on that. And she's also been working on a project with the college diabetes network along with Cigna. This is a really cool program all about mentorship applications are going to open in February, I will link up the page that is already there for college diabetes network. Basically, it's a program for junior and senior undergraduate students, you got to be current junior or senior, and it pairs you with a Cigna employee who has a similar career interest. So if you want to learn more again, I'll put a link in the show notes. But this was really great. Samantha love the work that you're doing here definitely going to help a lot of people and keep us posted on both of these programs. My son used to love Minecraft he still plays it but man when he was like 12 or 13 that was all they played. It was pretty wild stuff. I don't know what he's moved on to now. Although that's a lie. He his friends are playing Uno. They were screaming and carrying on get the card game Uno. I asked him I was like why are you so loud? Kind of Be quiet. I figured there's like shooting people or doing something crazy. They're playing card games on the computer? I don't know, is there any sign that you're getting older than you don't understand the games your kids are playing. If you have a Tell me something good story, please send it Stacey at Diabetes connections.com or posted in the Facebook group.
Little bit of housekeeping before I let you go, starting next week, I'm going to be doing something different. I'm going to be releasing an additional episode every week. So we'll have the regular interview on Tuesday, the long episode with segments like Tell me something good and innovations and all sorts of stuff. The regular episodes on Tuesdays will continue that way. I'm adding an episode on Thursday. And these are going to be what I'm calling classic episodes. If you're a sharp eared listener, you will know that I dropped in a couple of these last year kind of as a test. They are interviews from several years ago, as I mentioned, we've been doing the podcast for almost six years now. This is Episode 347. So there's probably a couple that you have missed along the way. And what I'm going to do is put context to the interview, you know, kind of catch up with the person let you know what they're doing now, and then replay the interview from several years ago, we have really great stories from a lot of really terrific people that you may have missed. And this way, if you're newer, and you haven't heard it, it's super easy enough to scroll back. I mean, Apple podcasts only shows you 300 episodes Anyway, you don't have to go anywhere. It'll be delivered right to you. And you can catch up with some of the really cool people and stories that I spoke to back in 2015 and 2016. So that starts on Thursday, February 4. Right now I am scheduled to do it for about half the year. We'll see how it goes. And you'll have to let me know what you think. Because after all, the show is here for you. If you don't like it, don't wait half the year. Let me know right away. If you do like it, of course I would love to hear about that as well.
Next week, you'll be hearing from Lily I talked to the folks from Ypsomed a couple of weeks ago. Ypsomed and Lily are partnering to bring a new insulin pump to the United States. It's not a new insulin pump elsewhere in the world, but it could be here as early as 2022. We're going to talk about why Lilly decided to pivot and go in this direction. That is next week. And thank you to my editor John Bukenas from audio editing solutions. Thank you so much for listening. I'm Stacey Simms. I'll see you back here next week. Until then, be kind to yourself.
Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms Media. All rights reserved. All wrongs avenged
It didn't take long after my son was diagnosed for someone to tell us, "Kid first, diabetes second." Benny was diagnosed in 2006, but that phrase has been around a long time in the diabetes parenting community.
I get it. We shouldn't take away all the things that make childhood fun and special, because of a diagnoses of T1D. We also don’t want diabetes to be the first thing people think about when they consider our children and we don’t want diabetes to dictate every decision we make.
But the more I think about it, more I think that phrase misses the mark.
Use this link to get one free download and one free month of Audible, available to Diabetes Connections listeners!
Get the App and listen to Diabetes Connections wherever you go!
Stacey Simms 0:00
This episode of Diabetes Connections is brought to you by The World's Worst Diabetes Mom: Real Life Stories of Parenting a Child With Type 1 Diabetes available at Amazon as a paperback eBook and audiobook. Learn more at Diabetes connections.com
This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 0:26
Welcome to a mini episode of the show. I'm your host, Stacey Simms, and I'm really glad that you joined me for this now these episodes I do occasionally are more. I'd call them more editorials. I do interview shows week by week if you're a longtime listener, you know that but this year I added in these mini episodes these minisodes just me, I am not a medical expert. This is more mom to mom advice. Just from my experience as a longtime parent of a child with type 1 diabetes, what I've learned and what I think can help. My son was diagnosed with type one when he was 23 months old.
Stacey Simms 1:00
that was back in 2006. He is now 15 and a sophomore in high school. Oh, my goodness, he is he's very comfortable with diabetes is very confident. He's very independent. And while we are far from perfect, we are doing a great job according to our endocrinologist, and that's all I really need to hear.
This subject has been on my mind for a while. So let's just get into it. I want to talk about the saying, kid first, diabetes. Second. It's been around our community for a very long time, probably longer than I've been a part of the community almost 14 years now. But I just don't think it works. It doesn't work for me. I don't think it works for anybody. So let's talk about it. What is kid first diabetes second all about? I think we know what it's supposed to be right? You hear this most often right after diagnosis. And it means that you know, your life shouldn't change that much.
Stacey Simms 2:00
From what it was before, or you know, you shouldn't take away all the fun things that make childhood childhood. And we don't want diabetes to be the first thing people think about when they consider our children. And we don't want diabetes to dictate every decision that we make. Now for some people, kid first diabetes second means letting them have a giant Sundae, or go to a pizza party. Now it doesn't have to be all about food. I did say it to myself years ago when I let my son go to regular sleepaway camp, not diabetes camp for two weeks when he was eight, and he has gone a month every year since then. So I've said that to myself, right kid first, diabetes, second, let's do this. But the more I think about it, the more I think it misses the mark. Kid first diabetes second, isn't right. It seeks to separate the diabetes from the kid, which is impossible to do. Or maybe it's not impossible, but it doesn't sit right with me.
Stacey Simms 3:00
Here's why implies that you're sort of cheating on diabetes. We're going to put diabetes aside, we're going to put it second. So we can do this other thing that every child should be able to do. Put the kid first, what we're saying is that kids with diabetes, shouldn't be able to do that shouldn't be allowed to do that. You're just letting this be a special case, because it's fun. And it's about being a kid. It's as though we're saying diabetes can't be part of a real childhood, a good fun, a wonderful childhood. take it one step further. And we're actually implying that diabetes can't be part of a good fun, wonderful child, or ultimately a person. It sounds dramatic. I know. But I really don't think it is. Looking at this a slightly different way. I talked about it just a bit in my book, the world's worst diabetes Mom, I use the analogy of the Hulk there. Alright, so when Benny was very young and ready
Stacey Simms 4:00
He was diagnosed just before he turned two. We couldn't explain to him exactly what was going on, you know, you know, when your blood sugar is high, you can be so grumpy, you can be unreasonable not that a three year old is always reasonable to begin with. But it was so hard to explain to him what was going on. And it wasn't until, I mean, really till about age four or five, that we were able to start working on a few strategies to help and one of the best involve the Hulk. We started telling Benny that he was a lot like the Hulk. I don't have to explain to the Hulk is right, the Marvel superhero, big green guy, comic book, TV show, movies, that whole thing. Okay, so we started telling Vinny that he was a lot like the Hulk when his blood sugar was high, and he felt angry and mean. But unlike the Hulk alter ego, Dr. Bruce Banner, we said he could learn to control the big green guy. So we started by having him recognize that he was high. This was before the days of Dexcom for us, so we would just test blood sugar, and then Benny would work on removing himself from the situation. He could go
Stacey Simms 5:00
It was room and beat up a stuffed animal. Or he could yell into a pillow. He could sit quietly with me, he could color he could drink water, he could be mad. But he couldn't release the Hulk on other people. It wasn't perfect, but it really helped him process what was going on in language that he could understand as a little kid. So fast forward to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And this is, of course, the movies, the Avengers movies, and we're big comic book people. We have seen every MCU movie together by family, we all have our favorites. This was really as an aside us such a fun part of our, I don't wanna say our family history that sounds very high and mighty. But my children really were old enough to see these kind of movies just as they were coming out. And now they're older and they don't want to be with us as much and we were able to see all of them together. And it was fun in between arguing about the theories and talking about the characters and we saw the last I want to say four or five movies on preview night I would get tickets on the Thursday before they were released and we always will
Stacey Simms 6:00
A big deal about it. So it was great. And if you're familiar with the movies, or even if you're just familiar with the character that you know, the Hulk is always struggling, but the character is right. He has two distinct sides, Bruce Banner, and the big green guy, and they work in opposition. And that's kind of what we were telling Benny right this side can't understand that side. Or you know, when you're high. You're not you. You've got to get control over that part of you. Then we saw Avengers endgame. And I almost fell out of my chair when smart Hulk showed up. I What is he? I guess he's called Professor Hulk. But whatever he is called. Bottom line is that Dr. Banner has figured out a way to embrace his Hulk side, and the two are at peace. I looked this up. Yes, I did some research into Professor Hulk. Marvel says equal parts intellect and brute strength. The professor represents banners ideal version of self. And that's it. That's my hope for Benny. Now I have to stop for a second and say I can
Stacey Simms 7:00
Knowledge I am saying all of this as a person without diabetes, I'm the mom, I'm not the one living it. So I understand he has to find his own ideal point. This is exactly what I'm working toward. My son can't take diabetes and pretend it's somebody else. Yes, that worked when he was three or four. But in his young adult and adult life, he can't take his bad moods and its highs and lows and push them off on the other guy. I'm of course not saying highs and lows are not real. Obviously they are, they need to be acknowledged. And they in many cases need to be accommodated for by the people around the person with diabetes. But those highs and lows are part of diabetes, so they're part of him. And if Benny is able to embrace the side of him that he sometimes wants to reject, he will be that much stronger. And that brings us back to kid first diabetes. Second, it needs to change. It needs to change in our thinking to simply kid with diabetes. So what is that
Stacey Simms 8:00
That mean in practice, birthday cake? Yes, that is a life with diabetes, sleep over sure that's a kid with diabetes, soccer practice without me there. Same thing. I think if we treat these events and foods, like we're somehow cheating on diabetes, or somehow separate from it sends the wrong message. I mean, think about for us without diabetes. I am not eating birthday cake every day. But I sure I'm gonna have it the next party I get to go to knowing that. Do I then have to say, woman first birthday party attendee second? Or maybe mom first mom who really needs to eat more salad and fewer desserts second, I mean, you share that right? There's that guilt. Right mom, first mom who shouldn't be eating cake second. And it's not always about food. As I've mentioned, milestones and events are very relevant here too. So if you're saying kid first diabetes, second about, let's say a trip with the grandparents, you know the older sibling when
Stacey Simms 9:00
The grandparents did a special trip. And then a couple years later, the younger sibling with type one wants to go insure kid first diabetes. Second. Well, you're really telling your family that kids with diabetes shouldn't be able to do that. You're just allowing it, because it's fun. And it's about being a kid. It's just being a kid with diabetes. It's not easy to change our language about diabetes. I've been saying kid first, diabetes second for years. I looked it up. And it first shows up in my blog, in 2011. But words matter how we talk about diabetes matters. And our kids are listening, even when we think we're being careful. So I'm gonna stop saying kid first diabetes. Second. That is not how I actually parent and teach. It does not work for us. And it's not how I want Benny to think about his life with type one. So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Remember, I am the world's worst diabetes mom.
I'd love to know what you think you can email me Stacey@Diabetes-connections.com, or find me on social media, I'm linking up everything in the episode homepage. The show notes for this will be at Diabetes connections.com. You can find all 320 episodes of Diabetes Connections there. We also have an extremely robust search. So you can search by keyword by topic by date, and find whatever topic you are looking for. But I'd love to get your reaction here, especially if you've listened this far, and you're an adult with type one. What do you think about all this? The World's Worst Diabetes Mom: Real Life Stories of Parenting a Child With Type 1 Diabetes is available on Amazon in paperback eBook and audio book. I hope you check it out and read some reviews. It is all about our journey with type 1 diabetes, but it also features some mom to mom advice. And it gives you some suggested questions to bring to your next doctor visit that always confused me. How am I supposed to know what to ask if I don't even know what I don't know. Hopefully I can help you out there. All right, I will see you back here next week for our regular interview episodes. Thank you so much for joining me.
Stacey Simms 11:00
I’m Stacey Simms, until then be kind to yourself.
Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms Media. All rights reserved. All rounds avenged
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
When a child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, most of the time the parents are told that T1D won't stop them. People with diabetes play sports, climb mountains, pursue acting and singing careers and much more. But what happens if a young child is scared to get back in the swing of things?
Stacey has advice for a family she met whose little boy is so afraid of low blood sugar, that he's sitting out his beloved soccer games.
Get the App and listen to Diabetes Connections wherever you go!
Stacey Simms 0:00
This episode of Diabetes Connections is brought to you by the World’s Worst Diabetes Mom real life stories of parenting a child with Type 1 diabetes available on Amazon as a paperback eBook and audiobook and at Diabetes Connections.com.
This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 0:27
Hello, and welcome to a minisode of Diabetes Connections. Today I want to talk to you about a question that came up. When I traveled to Maine. This was a couple of weeks ago, I visited a group called the Maine P-Pods. It was a really fun event where I did my World’s Worst Diabetes Mom presentation. And we also had a presentation from Dr. Howard Wolpert who is a renowned endocrinologist and he talked about carbohydrates and really did a good medical presentation as you would expect. And then the two of us - this was really cool -. We got to Do q&a with the audience. So you had me, the mom, the lay person partnered with a pretty terrific endocrinologist. And then there were other healthcare professionals in the audience who were there kind of for support and popped in as well. I'm pretty sure they were also there to make sure I didn't go off the rails, because they hadn't heard me speak before. And when you're billed as the World’s Worst Diabetes Mom, I think they want to make sure you're not going to give the world's worst diabetes advice.
I want to share with you a question that came up that I think probably comes up more often than we realize. This was a mom and dad of a recently diagnosed I probably a couple of months in I'm sorry, I don't remember exactly. But my impression was, let's say six months ago, maybe four months ago. This was a six year old, and this six year old had been so excited to play soccer, really wanted to play soccer, loves soccer, can't wait to join the soccer team. But now with type 1 diabetes, the mom is sharing that the six year old is terrified to play soccer, because he is afraid of going low. And it's really breaking her heart, because he has a brother who is playing soccer and is doing just fine.
So the question was, how can I get my child over his fear of low blood sugars? And I thought this was a great question. Because what we normally get is all the rah rah cheerleading of, you know, our kids can do anything, and diabetes won't stop you and get right back in there. And, you know, that's probably what happens. Most of the time if the parents go along with it, right. It's for the parents to say, right, we're going to get right back in here we go, here we go. But this can't be the only child who is frightened for some reason. So what's going on?
I asked her a couple of questions. And I told her not to answer because, you know, there's only so much information you really want to put out publicly right and I don't want to pop psychologize that's really the turn of phrase, but you know what I mean? I didn't want to play psychologist when I'm certainly not in a, an educated position to do so. But no, it had the medical people there to back me up. I thought it was on pretty safe ground. So I asked her, What is he afraid of? Is he just afraid of that awful feeling? Right? He doesn't want to feel low? Is he afraid that it's going to be embarrassing that he has to leave the field for juice or that his mom is going to be checking his blood sugar? You know? Is he embarrassed about it? Or he wants to hide his diabetes? Or is he truly afraid that something bad is going to happen that he's gonna pass out on the field or he's going to die from a low blood sugar?
And then I asked her, again, not to answer in front of all these people. But where do you think the fear is coming from? Because a six year old is not going to decide that a low blood sugar is dangerous. Somebody's going to tell him this. And if that's what he's afraid of, where did that fear come from? Right. Take a cold hard look. Is it coming from the parents? Is it coming from a YouTube video he said did an older kid at school telling something?
I had a situation with Benny years ago, I want to say he was seven years old at a day camp. And if you're new to the show, my son Benny was diagnosed right before he turned two. He is now 15. And we've been all sorts of crazy situations. But he was about seven years old at a regular day camp. And he came home and he said, Mom, there's a kid at Camp who said, If I keep sticking my finger, I'm going to bleed to death. can that happen? So these kids get this fear, sometimes just from other kids who are just being kids, that other child, maybe thought he was helping? I mean, who knows? Right? Obviously, Benny and I had a whole conversation about how actually, the more you check your finger, the longer you will live, the better you will feel and the happier everybody will be. And he went back to tell us friend No, not gonna bleed to death. All right, one problem solved until the next one.
But my point is you don't know where the information is coming from. So these are a couple of things to figure out. And then what do you do? Well, I suggested that they talked to their kids care team, talk to their endo about this talk to their diabetes educator, because there's a lot you can do to try to avoid those lows. The most common suggestion is usually, to adjust your basal rate if you're using an insulin pump two hours earlier, you can adjust the insulin rate or just take the pump off right before you play and expect your blood sugar not to go down. It takes about two hours for those basal rates.
Part of the reason and I was very interested, I hadn't heard this before. Dr. Wolpert from the stage also answering this question said that there is often insulin on the end or in the canula. So even if you take off the insulin pump, that insulin is going to drip in over about two hours, which is one of the reasons why they recommend that you start adjusting two hours earlier. And I know you're thinking the canula that holds barely any insulin. But remember, this is a little kid, and there are very insulin sensitive adults as well. But when you think about a six year old, what does a six year old even weigh 50 pounds Maybe I should probably look that up. But you know what I mean? They're pretty tiny. Even a big six year old really isn't that big, and a little bit of insulin can make a difference. That's just one thing you can do.
Give a bigger snack, try to set things up a little bit better. Tell the coach, I mean, this is six year old soccer player, tell the coach he's going to play for 10 minutes, we're going to ease our way back into it to even play for more than 10 minutes. I mostly remember soccer at five and six year old as being five minutes of play. And then 20 minutes of snacking. I remember and I think I wrote about this in the book to the hardest part of soccer was that it was all snacks when they were little kids. And Benny never even ran around the field that much. His favorite part of soccer, was trying to stand as far back on the field. He only played when he was five and six years old, standing as far back in the field as he could kicking the ball as far and as hard as he could and trying to make a goal. And he did that a couple of times. So our soccer experience was a little bit different.
Something else that I thought about later but didn't think to suggest the time is talking to This child about professional soccer players with Type 1 diabetes. And I'm mad that I didn't think of this because this was a trivia question in my game show. I want to say last year, maybe the year before I do a game show every summer at friends for life, the big diabetes conference. And this was a trivia question. There is a footballer right a soccer player in Spain, Nacho Fernandez, he has type 1 diabetes, and he's the first person with T1D to score in a world cup. Nacho was told that he needed to quit the sport that his days were done. footballing days were over when he was diagnosed at age 12. He said, No, thank you, I will continue to play and he did so and he has done another world stage. There are lots of footballers and professional soccer players with Type 1 diabetes. So you can look that up. If you have a child who's concerned you to find those people playing the sport or doing the activity. And there's a lot of articles about these people. Sometimes they'll give you tips and tricks and what they do and what they eat. It's really interesting. They can do it on a professional level, you got to have the confidence that your six year old can run around the field on a Saturday afternoon for a couple of minutes.
And then the final thing I'll say, and I did give this advice to the parents at the at this conference was, sometimes you just have to be the parent and tell them, it's time to do this. You're going to be okay. And we're going to go play soccer. I know it sounds harsh, but it's okay. And it's okay to say you are going to go low, and you are going to go high. And that's just diabetes. Maybe it's, you know, an age appropriate conversation about you are your own science experiment. We talked about that a lot with Benny, you know, we're not looking for perfection here. But we're going to learn from it this week. So we can do better next week. And we're just going to keep learning and learning. We're going to make mistakes. We're going to make different mistakes next week, but I'm here you're safe. It's fine. Let's do it.
And this is probably not a great example. But it's the first thing that pops into my mind when we say tell kids to do it sometimes. When Benny was potty trained. And please don't tell him I told this story. But when he was potty training, my daughter was potty trained in three seconds. She turned to that was it were done. She was Piece of cake. And Benny turned to I said to him, Hey, let's do this. Do you want to like, do you want to use the potty? And he said, No. So I said, Okay. And every couple of weeks, I would say, Is it time? Do you want to, you know, and he was saying, No, finally, when he was two and a half, I said, What am I doing asking my toddler? So I said to him, today's the day we're going to do it potty training. And he was like, fine, because right, and we did it. I mean, it was unbelievable to me looking back that I asked, stop asking, just tell them, and sometimes that can work. Now, obviously, you have to kind of figure out what feels right for your family.
And please, the best advice I think I gave here is to talk to your endocrinologist and your care team. But I really believe that if our kids are scared to do something because of diabetes, that fear is coming from somewhere and it can be addressed. So we it's up to us. Find the resources to get them over that fear. You're not a bad parent, if your child is scared, right? You're not a bad parent. If this lasts for a while, we're all just doing the best that we can. And sometimes, like with Benny at camp, the information, the bad information is coming from someplace that you don't suspect. You have these conversations. Keep trying, keep encouraging. Sometimes you're just gonna tell them this is how it is. What do you think? Do you have any advice for this family? You can always let me know I'm going to put this in the Facebook group at Diabetes Connections, the group you can email me Stacey at diabetes dash connections.com. Let me know if you think it this is off base. If any of this is helpful. I am the World’s Worst Diabetes Mom after all, so keep that in mind if you're thinking about taking any advice that I offer, but I will say the health care providers in the room back to me up, I'm answering this question and added some information.
In fact, the best thing I almost forgot the best thing a pediatric endocrinologist stood up and said, I want to reassure these parents, although I think it really is the kid. I don't think this fear was coming from these parents. They really wanted to get him back on the soccer field. He said, I want to reassure you that in the thousands of kids I have seen and that I think he was like 30 years in practice. He says, nobody's ever passed out on a soccer field. And certainly, nobody's ever dropped dead on a soccer field. He said, it just doesn't happen. And we have to get over this fear that our kids are on death's door, when they're diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. They are not. He was amazing. You know, those are important to treat. You want to take care of business, you got to do what you gotta do. But don't be fearful. I really wanted to cheer. I was so excited to hear him talk about this. Because I think a lot of endos are reluctant to say those kinds of things, and certainly not on a public stage like that. It was great.
So let me know what you think. Tell me what your opinions are on this. How would you encourage a kid To not be fearful and get right back into sports, he will a lot of adults are reluctant to exercise because they're concerned. So what's your advice?
Coming up on our regular episode next week, I am scheduled to talk to the CEO of Dexcom. I do have a lot of questions. I know you have a lot of questions as well. I will be putting a post in the Facebook group there as well soliciting and finding out what everybody wants to talk about. We'll see how much time I get and we will try to get through as many questions as I can. So that will be our regular interview show coming up on Tuesday. I'm Stacey Simms. I hope to see you back there then. And until then, be kind to yourself.
Unknown Speaker 12:45
Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms media. All rights reserved. All rounds avenged
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Sharing photographs of our kids on social media has become second nature. But what happens when we post photos of our children in distress? Stacey says stop. No more photos of your child in the hospital, when they're feeling sick or in distress.
What about "keeping it real?" What about fundraising? Stacey argues that there are better ways to accomplish important goals around chronic conditions like diabetes than posting photos which, ultimately, exploit and embarrass our kids.
Links referred to in the episode can be found in the transcription below.
Get the App and listen to Diabetes Connections wherever you go!
Beta Transcription - please excuse grammar, spelling & punctuation
Stacey Simms 0:28
Welcome to a minisode of diabetes connections, one of our shorter episodes where I share some thoughts on one topic of diabetes management. I'm your host Stacey Simms, and my son was diagnosed 13 years ago just before he turned two.
Before I jump into this week's topic, which I really feel pretty strongly about. I want to give a thank you to Diabetes Forecast Magazine. We are in their January February issue as one of the top trending items for winter. It just cracked me up. When I opened, I get the magazine. So when I opened it, I laughed only because of the picture that they shared. I knew it was coming, they had asked to review it in the fall, but I didn't know that there would be a full picture. And I certainly didn't know it would be so funny. It's a woman, you know, with the book over her face, kind of like, Oh my god, I can't believe I'm reading this. And I can't believe what I'm reading.
But the funniest thing is that a lot of people thought that woman was me. It's not, but I can kind of see it. And it's so funny to think that even with social media and everything else, because this is basically a radio show, you probably have a picture in your head of what I look like, I always do that for people on the radio, and then you meet them and you're like, that's not what I thought they would look like at all. So if I get a chance to meet you, you can tell me what you thought I looked like. But anyway, thank you so much diabetes forecast. I really appreciate that. And thank you to everybody who's sharing the book. After you listen to the show today. You might say I really am the worst. But I really do feel very strongly about this.
So let's talk about it. This topic of sharing photographs, of children in the hospital, sick day photos. This is something that is very sensitive to a lot of people. But let's talk about why I truly think it is a bad idea to share what I'm going to call these photos of your child in distress. So for the purpose of this episode, let's say children in distress includes hospital photos, Sick day photos, a child upset about aspects of care, like getting a shot or an inset. Any photo that shows your child in a moment of distress or pain or hurt. We see these all the time on social media, a casual post of a tough night of lows, you know, and a sleeping child with a juice box next to them or something maybe a little stronger. You know, we're in the ER today couldn't keep fluids down and needed hydration. And then you see the child miserable in the hospital bed. We see these photos used by organizations and news outlets, Beyond Type 1, JDRF, Diabetes Daily. I am affiliated with a lot of these groups in terms of sharing content, right? You've seen - they'll post my stuff, I'll post their stuff. But I think it's important to call it when I see it. And every time I see it, I just cringe.
Now, I know what you're saying already, right? This is important. We need to show the real side of diabetes, right? We need to show more than the smiles when a kid gives himself a shot for the first time or you know, gets over the fear. If you listen to my longer show that airs on Tuesday, you know that every week we do a Tell me something good. And I very happily show pictures of those people who are featured each week, and I have been accused of being more positive and you know, too rosy sometimes. And, you know, but we're talking about realism. Right? Everybody says we need to show the hospital days they happen. We need to show diabetes isn't fair. Well, of course we do. Yes. Yes. We need to show that that is important. And I am all for realism. I promise it is not sunshine and unicorns and rainbows over here. But you know what we don't need to do to show that we do not need to exploit children. And that's what's happening here. These are kids who cannot give consent to be featured. They can't give consent. They're too young. And they have just as much right to their privacy as we do. How would you feel if someone took a photo of you at your most vulnerable, and posted it on Facebook?
Let's just back up and think about this. And I will get to when I think it can be done and how it can be done in a way that educates and informs and brings out emotion and still protects the child. But right now, let's say on these photos of distress, I did a little bit of research on this and there are a lot of articles about social media and photos. There's not a lot of research because this is Still so new. And when I see research, I mean real scientific published paper, that kind of research. But I did find some interesting articles. And I'll link all of these up in the show notes on the episode homepage. So here's an article from Dr. Kristy Goodwin, She's the author of “Raising Your Child in a Digital World.” She has a PhD in the impact of digital technology on children's learning. And she says that right now, sharing every part of our lives has been normalized by social media. But what happens really, when you dial it down is that it's a desire for a like, which is really a desire to feel connected, which she says is one of our biological drivers as a human, and it is needed to experience empathy. It does fulfill a purpose.
Dr. Goodwin says and here's a quote, “For many parents when their kids are seriously sick, they have lost all control and their world is literally spinning out of control. When parents go on social media, they have a sense of control over their life again, They can post things and choose exactly what aspects of their child's sickness that they want to post.”
Another article is from a pediatric hospitalist from St. Louis Children's Hospital, Dr. Shobha Bhaskar. She says, “We are all looking for support when our loved ones are not well, but when your child is running a fever or has a broken bone, please put down the camera step away from the screen. I'm sure if your child had a choice, they want to look their best to like you do. And your child would not appreciate a picture of them looking tired and rundown on the emergency room that we talk so much about patient privacy rules and rights. But what about the privacy rights of our little ones? Or do we think they just don't have any,” she says,
I'm going to take this one step further. Because I do think while we're on this topic of digital privacy, it's a good time to sneak in something else. In my Facebook group. I have a local Facebook group in the Charlotte area that I started, I don't know, maybe five or six years ago and when I wrote the rules and regulations for the group, the admin announcements. Here's what I wrote. “Please think twice about any pictures you post of your children. A picture of a pump inset on a naked toddler’s backside may be completely innocent, but there are creeps out there. This is a closed group, but there is no guarantee of privacy on any social media outlet. Please, please crop pictures like this very closely. So we can't tell what body part of it is for your child protection.”
And then I go on to say, “Same warning for posting pictures of your child in distress. This includes hospital pictures, pictures during illness, etc. You have our support and sympathy already, your child has his or her own right to privacy and may not appreciate being pictured online in such a manner. These pictures aren't banned. But take a moment to think about why you might want to post something like that.”
If you listen to carefully you might be saying Stacey what? They're not banned in your group but you just got on your high horse and told us how terrible they were? Well, they're not banned in my group, at least, and they are banned at some other groups. But here's why I felt like banning them outright would take away the conversation and the thinking, if you know that you're allowed to post them if you really need to, perhaps you'll stop and think about whether you want to a little bit more. And whenever anybody posts it, I usually send them a very gentle, private message, reiterating what I already talked about here in this episode, we support you, we love you, we're so sorry, Your child is hurting. But why are you posting that picture? Can you please think about your child's privacy? Sometimes I wait, because if the child's really ill, there's no reason for them to hear from me when they're in the hospital. Don't worry, I'm not direct messaging, a parent whose child is in a critical situation in the hospital and saying, could you please check your photo on Facebook? I mean, really, I'm not that cold. But I do if they're not in an emergency situation. I do do it right away, but it rarely happens in my group anymore.
What actually happens is we have conversations about why it's not a great idea, and what we're looking for, and what else we can do when someone's in the hospital. I mean, Benny had knee surgery a couple of months ago. And you bet I took pictures. We took funny pictures when they shaved his leg. I took a picture of his pump in the hospital gown. I took pictures of him and sent them to his grandmother, you know, going in thumbs up, that kind of stuff. I also took a picture of him coming out, because he was bundled up in so many blankets. He was so cold from the anesthesia coming out of it, he was fine. But that's not a picture he'd want me to post. But it was a picture he wanted to see later on. I knew he'd want to see how, you know, kind of funny he looked, but I knew he wouldn't want me to post it. So I'm not talking about not taking pictures, right. I mean, he had a terrible injury when he was about seven or eight years old, and we were in the hospital. And I took pictures. This was when we knew he was going to be okay when things had calmed down and he was stable. And I was sitting there with nothing to do feeling helpless. I took some pictures and sent them to my mom and my sister. And I showed them to Benny later on. I mean, they weren’t gruesome or anything. You know, if you're a longtime listener of the show, you may be thinking, I've never heard about this. And I'm not going to tell the whole story right now. You know, and I also it's a good time to point out that I don't share everything that's happened to Benny, I work hard to protect the privacy of my kids and my family in ways that make sense. So I have these pictures of him in the hospital at the time of that accident, but I didn't post them.
I did mention earlier, there are ways to do this. So how do you do it? Well, when he was in the hospital for his knee surgery, I posted a picture of I don't even know some of the hospital equipment, right, the IV bag, I posted something and I said, here's where you know, we're going in, everything's good. I'll keep you posted. That kind of stuff. And I've posted pictures of him drinking a juice box, you know, he's low and you can kind of see in his face he's look you know what to look for. Rather than a more dramatic picture I've posted on I use it to my presentations. Several years ago, I took a picture of his bedside table, which was just it was one of those horrible nights it was covered with juice boxes and test strips and, you know, inset changes, it looked like a war zone. And that conveys the difficulty of type one diabetes in a very similar way.
I posted this on my personal Facebook page, just to say, Hey, I'm going to be talking about this topic. And I was curious what other people in the community thought, and I got so much feedback. One of the pieces of feedback I got, which I thought was very, very interesting. And by the way, the vast majority of adults with type one that I heard from said, Please, please, please tell parents not to post pictures of their children. It really is something that I know people feel very strongly about. But I did hear from advocates who said, we need to get our cause across. We need to push we need to fundraise. I've two responses to them. One is we've been fundraising for JDRF and some other causes for 13 years. We have raised 10s of Thousands of dollars, we might be close to $100,000. If I sat down and added it all up, we have never posted a picture of Benny in distress. Has he been in distress? You bet. have I written about it? Have I talked about it? Sure. But we have found creative ways to show what goes on with diabetes. And I've never felt like I've exploited him to fundraise. And I know many, many other people who have raised a lot more money than me, who have never posted a picture of their child.
I also heard from people about what the DKA campaign. Now, if you're not familiar, there is a campaign and it's a great campaign to diagnose Type One Diabetes sooner. There are so many cases of children and adults diagnosed while they're already in DKA, while their lives are in danger. The most dangerous time to be type one diabetic is before anybody knows that you are and the thinking was, you know, we need to show the faces of this. We need to show what can happen so that laws can change. And as I'm speaking about this, I'm also thinking about the insulin for all campaign and People who are dying because they're rationing insulin, but I'm going to give you the example of Reegan Oxendine and this is a little girl here in North Carolina. She was a toddler. She died. She had type one diabetes, it was misdiagnosed again and again. Finally she was hospitalized but it was too late. And her story has been told several times, I'll link it up in the show notes. Previously Healthy was a wonderful bit of journalism, photojournalism done by the folks at Beyond Type 1, but I bring up Reegan because it actually illustrates the point I'm trying to make that we can affect change and we can get the point across even if in this case, it is a terrible point, without photos that are exploitive.
If you're familiar at all with Reegan’s story, what may come to mind is the most impactful picture in my opinion. And it's not her in the hospital, and it's not her looking ill and in distress. It's a devastating photo. It's just her mother's hands, holding Reegan's tiny little shoes. Her Shoes fit in her mother's hands. I'll post this picture. It's incredibly powerful. It's disturbing in its own way. But it is not exploitive at all. And it is a photo that really affected change. The law changed in North Carolina. Now is it as a strong laws everybody wanted and we've done episodes on this, I will link up more information on the episode homepage. As you can see exactly what happened. It's frankly, more of a recommendation for pediatricians but got the awareness out it got legislators talking about it. There are other cases of children and adults who have died. And they have been pictured online in many different ways. I am not going to judge those parents. You know, frankly, that takes us down a different road. I'm not sure how I feel about that. And it is certainly not for me to judge how those parents how those families react. However, that's not exactly what I'm talking about here. And I think we all know that I'm talking about the case of your child who's throwing up, run of the mill sick, you know, maybe has ketones that you're treating, who just looks awful. And you know, you grab the camera, because isn't that what we do?
It's so interesting to me how much things have changed. I mean, when Benny was diagnosed in 2006, nobody had a camera because it wasn't on our phones. Right? It never occurred to us to take pictures of Benny in the hospital with Type One Diabetes, being diagnosed because who would bring a camera to something like that? And you know what, I wish I had those pictures. Only because there were so many funny and touching and wonderful and and sad moments that I remember, but I'd like to see I'd like to see little baby Benny ripping off all the stuff that was on him. We had such a hard time keeping anything on him. He's like little baby Hulk pulling off the sensors and things like that. I'd like to see him maybe getting his first shot. He was so brave. I'd like to see his face. Sister hugging him, you know all the things that are in my head, but that I don't have a photo of. And it's because times have changed so much that we don't think about photos.
I have thousands of pictures on my phone, right? I don't even know what they're up anymore. We just take them in a screenshot and I save things and we don't even think about pictures anymore. But I'm telling you, these are pictures that we need to think about. I also think it's important to keep in mind and we all know this, but we don't really think about it when we're posting the internet is forever. And if you've posted a picture of your child in distress, child might be five years old, that photo will live forever. Your child will probably find that photo at some point in their life. So before you post another photo, just stop and think for one moment. I don't care if it's a closed Facebook group. I don't care if it's a private Facebook group. That's a bunch of bull. Nothing is private. In social media. The minute you hit post, somebody else can screenshot Somebody else can save it, somebody else can forward it, you have no idea where it's going, right? So just take a moment to think, why am I doing this? What do I need right now? If it's support and sympathy, I promise it's out there. If it's showing the real side of diabetes, I promise there's a way to show that without exploiting your child. And if the next time you post you're thinking, well, but think carefully, what comes after that. But what is stopping you? Is there a little bit of doubt in the back of your mind? If there is, you know, which other 10 minutes Think it over? You can't take it back once it's out there. I promise. There was love and support and sympathy and understanding and empathy and fundraising and awareness without posting these kinds of pictures.
Agree? Disagree? I know a lot of people feel very strongly about this. And I know when this gets posted, most people aren't going to listen to all the way to the end, they will see the headline and they will tell me I'm a terrible person. So keep in mind, I am the world's worst diabetes mom. You know, what do you think I really would love to hear from you. All kidding aside, we will put this in the Facebook group. I'll be talking about it on social media when the episode airs. And of course, I'm Stacey at diabetes connections.com. You can find that a lot more about the show about the book. And about this episode on the website. Of course there is a transcription. all the episodes beginning this year, have that transcription on the episode home page.
All right, back to our regular full length episodes every Tuesday, and then these minisodes on Thursday. I'm Stacey Simms. I will see you back here next week. And until then, be kind to yourself.
Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Sims media. All rights reserved. All wrongs avenged.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
When 11 year old Elise Sammis applied for the Food Network's Kids Baking Championship, she didn’t think twice about telling them - right up front - that she lives with type 1 diabetes. She says she wanted everyone to know in order to show that diabetes wouldn't keep her from her love of baking, or anything else.
Turns out, there's another young woman with type 1 on the show this season! You can learn more about Naima Winston here.
Stacey met Elise & her mom, Natalie, at an event in South Carolina. They spoke about the show, the stress and her diagnosis two years ago at Disney world.
In TMSG - good news at the dentist - and it wasn’t about cavities.. and we'll share a story of a lot of spirit at Walt Disney World Marathon weekend.
Get the App and listen to Diabetes Connections wherever you go!
Episode transcript (rough transcription, please forgive grammar, spelling, punctuation)
-----------Stacey Simms 0:00
Diabetes Connections is brought to you by One Drop created for people with diabetes by people who have diabetes, and by Dexcom take control of your diabetes and live life to the fullest with Dexcom.
This is diabetes connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 0:23
This week, when 11 year old Elise Sammis applied for the Food Network's kids Baking Championship. She didn't think twice about telling them right up front - she lives with Type 1 diabetes.
Elise Sammis 0:36
No, that was very important to me, because I wanted like everyone to know that if you have diabetes, you can still do the things that you want to do. And it was super cool because there was another girl named Naima. She's my super good friend and she had also had type one, and she's super sweet. And we were both like, yay, we both have type one!
Stacey Simms 0:52
That's right. There are two young women with T1D competing on this season of the show. I met Elise at an event recently, and I talked to her and her mom about the show the stress, enter diagnosis at Disney World
in Tell me something good. Good news at the dentist and it's not about cavities and a lot of spirit at Walt Disney World marathon weekend.
This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.
Welcome to another week of diabetes connections. I am so glad you're here. We aim to educate and inspire about type 1 diabetes by sharing stories of connection. I'm your host Stacey Simms. My son was diagnosed 13 years ago right before he turned two. The show this week is airing a little earlier than usual. Yeah, we almost always drop the interview show the longer show of the week on Tuesday. But because the Kids Baking Championship is on the Food Network on Monday nights. I thought it would just be fun to release the show with Elise on the day of her show.
I love the baking shows, and we used to watch them. I feel like it was around the clock for a couple of years my daughter got into them right around the same age as Elise between the ages of like nine and 12. We've watched so many of these baking shows, we made cupcakes, we didn't ever compete. My daughter never wanted to be on TV like that. But it was great. And we certainly got a lot of comments about the cupcakes because I would post them on social media and I'll put some pictures up in the Facebook group because these were, you know, really big. I mean, they weren't beautiful, but they were sharks and cupcakes that look like popcorn and you know, all the dramatic fun stuff. And people would say all the time. Oh, it's too bad that your daughter has that hobby. What are you doing about your son? And I'm like, I'm not letting him eat 17 cupcakes, but I'm not letting her eat 17 cupcakes either. You know, it's fine with Type 1 diabetes, you just have to know exactly what you're eating. Right? It does take extra work. But now go ahead eat the cupcake.
And with those memories right in the back of my mind, it was even more fun to talk to Elise and to Natalie It is always a bit dicey talking to reality show contestants. You know, we've done this before, and it is always fun. But it's not just about what they can't say because here obviously they can't talk about the show, even though it's taped weeks and weeks months ago, but because you never know they could win the whole thing. They could be off the show before this episode even airs. But I'm so thrilled that Elise is is one of two girls on the show with Type 1 diabetes and it was great to talk to her and her mom and no matter what happens on the show, she is well on her way quite a personality and really just a fun kid.
All right, first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by One Drop and getting diabetes supplies is a pain and not only the ordering and the picking up, but also the arguing with insurance over what they say you need and what you really need. Make it easy with One Drop. They offer personalized test trip plans, plus you get a Bluetooth glucose meter, test strips, lancets and your very own certified diabetes coach. Subscribe today to get test strips for less than $20 a month delivered right to your door. No prescriptions or co pays required. One less thing to worry about. not that surprising when you learn the founder of One Drop lives with type one. They get it. One Drop, gorgeous gear supplies delivered to your door 24 seven access to your certified diabetes coach. learn more, go to diabetes connections dot com and click on the One Drop logo.
My guests this week are Elisa Sammis and her mother Natalie. Elise is a contestant on this season's Food Network kids baking show. She was diagnosed with type one at age nine and we talked about her diagnosis. But she was already baking a lot by then. And luckily her family realized you can continue to bake and enjoy dessert even with Type 1 diabetes. Being on a big show like this is a great chance to educate and what's really fun is as we mentioned, Elise isn't doing it alone. There's another young woman on the show Naima Winston from Baltimore is her name and I will put some links and information on our episode homepage, where there is also a transcript about Elise about Naima about the show and more information. So please check that out. That's a diabetes dash connections.com. And while you're there, please note every episode from the last four years is there you may be intimidated to scroll through I get asked all the time, what's the best order? I actually think the best way to listen is either to use the search box and put in whatever interests you Disney, Dexcom, Tandem, Omnipod, right or you can search by category as well. If you click on the tab that says all episodes, you'll see another search box to the right and then filter by category. And that is a really great way to dial into what you want the categories including advocates, athletes, artists, actors, education, technology, travel, family, you know, there's a whole bunch of ways to narrow this down because we've got more than 270 episodes now Holy cow. And I really urge you to go take a stroll through and see what interests you. Quick note, this interview was done on the road, I was speaking at the JDRF chapter, the Palmetto chapter in South Carolina. So the sound quality is a little bit different than when I'm doing things in the studio. And I may be a little soft at times. I'll tell you about the technical nonsense that happened. I'll tell you about that at the end of the show. So let's get to it. Here is my interview with Elise and Natalie Sammis.
Let me start with you, Natalie. How did you guys even find out about this? How do you get your kids on a show like this?
Elise Sammis 6:38
Well, actually, I didn't get my kid on the show. Elise put herself on the show. Basically, we live in the south and hurricanes are prevalent. And about a year and a half ago, at least you think it was Hurricane Matthew and we got five days off of school. And so I was very bored around the house. So I looked up, like, because I like to bake and I was getting into it. So I looked up like baking competitions and I saw like form so that we could, like fill out a form so that we could try out. And so I made a video for it and I sent it into them. And after that we didn't hear until like six months later.
Stacey Simms 7:23
So during that five days and your home and baking was that your first foray? Was that your first time into baking or is it something you'd always like to do?
Elise Sammis 7:30
I'd pretty much always like to bake from like, I guess like when I got diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was nine, it was really stressful. So it was just really like stress relieving to be able to bake and it was like creative.
Stacey Simms 7:46
Alright, so we have an audience that knows about diabetes. But what you just said when I was diagnosed with type one I found it really stress relieving – that could sound strange. What were your thoughts as she was enjoying this as a younger kid?
Natalie Sammis 8:06
The two background stories, I think that are important in this piece are that a I am an avid Baker. And so literally, sugar is in my blood at all times. No, I my motto is dinner is always just a means to dessert. That is my life motto since a small child. And also number two, I'm actually an RN, I have my Bachelor's of Science and nursing. So I understand the principles. I understand that Yeah, you skirt the line a little bit closer. When it comes to desserts. It is a little bit more complicated in your carb counting. But it's also it's very doable. It's not off the table. It's not something that someone should be terrified of. It's something that you can balance and put into your life. And also we realized that half the time that we bake, we don't even eat it really we are sharing it with our friends or we're posting it like on social media to feel unify with other people. People It is really, truly a creative outlet for us probably like how people feel with art, but I don't get art and I cannot eat art. So we just go with the dessert side of the world and we like it and we make friends by giving people desserts.
Stacey Simms 9:15
How old were you when you were diagnosed?
Elise Sammis 9:17
It was the day after my ninth birthday, and we were in Disney. And there was my birthday and my mom actually fed me a chocolate chip cookie for breakfast. Right there. So we were like noticing a lot of symptoms. I was really thirsty all the time. So then my mom took me to the urgent care clinic, the CBS for CBS. And like the MinuteClinic the MinuteClinic Yep, yep. And I got and she got a glucose meter and she thought as a UTI at first.
Natalie Sammis 9:52
Right. So she took a blood sugar first and it just read error. When the very first meter read error. The nurse in me problem solving. I thought, ooh, there's something wrong with the machinery that that Wait a second, I know how to litmus test this. So I stuck my own finger, I tested my own blood sugar and it said 96 I still remember the number and my heart sunk. I knew at that moment, deep down that she had diabetes, but I didn't even then didn't want to admit it. Because, you know, that's the worst. So we went to the urgent care and the urgent care. I still remember they looked at us like we were crazy because we walked in. And Elise is holding a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. And she's just flipping through and reading it and she has a bottle of water in one hand, because at that point, I said, You drink as much as you can. Right? Right, right. Just drink this. And I said, I think my daughter might have diabetes. They look at me, like, does she fall down? Did she pass out? Like I'm like, No, but she's drinking me. Are you from the area? No, we're on vacation at Disney. And they're like, so you stopped your Disney vacation and you think she has diabetes? I'm like, I know. I basically said tell me I'm crazy. I want to walk out of here laughing like I'm just a paranoid Mom, I just cannot in good faith just go back home after seeing the error recording and having those symptoms and I just need to know so we waited quite a while because we were not on the urgent list at that point. And even the doctor said, I think it's probably just a UTI. But he respected my wish to check your blood sugar. And at that moment, their meter read error Hi. And they said he pulled out his personal cell phone and said go directly to Orlando Children's Hospital.
Stacey Simms 11:31
Do you remember any of that? I mean, nine is old enough, but sometimes things get confusing. Do you remember like, anything that your mom was saying? Or what's going on in the hospital?
Elise Sammis 11:39
Well, I remember that like when I got in there. I was asking like, Is it ever going to go away and everything then I remember the turkey bacon was disgusting
Natalie Sammis 11:49
They put her on this restricted carb diet. So all she could eat with like a massive amounts of turkey bacon,
Elise Sammis 11:57
turkey bacon. like sugar free jello.
Stacey Simms 12:03
So did you ever get back to Disney World?
Natalie Sammis 12:05
Yeah, we did we After that we went to Hollywood Studios. We took it that Disney paid for us for a taxi or an Uber. I can't remember which one back to our place that we were staying in the other. My Elise is the oldest of four children. So the other kids and my husband were already at the party because we said go on without us because we had been in the hospital for about three and a half days. And we got in that taxi cab we threw our suitcases in there and we saw the next bus to Disney and we ran our little hearts out and barely caught the bus and we didn't get to do too much that day. And then we went home the next day but Disney was kind enough to give us passes to come back and when we had kind of our life under control a little bit more and we understood more about diabetes in real life. We came back probably three months later in May
Elise Sammis 12:52
is a lot better experience than the last. It was a lot more fun. Okay,
Stacey Simms 12:57
so after Disney World when you go home You say you figured out diabetes in a bad life? You were already enjoying baking at that point. After all that turkey bacon. Were you worried? Like that's it for baking or cupcakes? Or did your mom kind of jumped right back into it with you?
Elise Sammis 13:14
Well, for about a week later, I was like, I don't even know like what I can or can't eat. And so we like kind of researched a lot. And then I was like, wait, I don't have to just not eat sugar. I can just take insulin for it. So then I was like, Well, I can still bake and stuff. And so that's I was like, yeah, you know, it's got really excited about it.
Stacey Simms 13:39
That's great. So what a whirlwind diagnosis and hopefully we'll have time I want to talk a little bit more about Disney World later, but let's talk about the bacon. You send in the video. You wait six months later, what do you hear what happens?
Elise Sammis 13:53
So like, I've been waiting and then another season came out, and that was like, they just didn't see it. The following, never gonna happen. And then like, six months later after that, I was on the bus and my mom called me She's like, you're not gonna believe who just called me. And I was like Harry Potter.
Stacey Simms 14:14
well, she was almost 11.
Elise Sammis 14:18
And then she's like, no, it's the kids baking championship people and they want to interview and I was like, Oh my gosh, yeah. So I ran home. We did a lot of Skype interviews, and I had a lot of assignments and I had to make a ton of desserts. And there's a lot of other videos I had to make for it. And there's a lot of interviews as the mom you know, please seeking I mean, this is an exciting time but at the same time it's a lot of hopes for a young woman to have Yeah, yeah. Nervous that after all of this work, she wasn't gonna get on the show. Oh, very, very guarded, I guess will be the word.
Natalie Sammis 14:53
I mean, I'll backtracking when she said mom can I turn in the video and I did have to click like I agree and I help fill in. Some of the, like contact information so it was correct, because at that point, you were 10 years old when she turned in the video. And I told I still remember and people laugh at me still, at least still less than me. My caveat was sure I'll turn in this video but you need to understand that you will never hear back from them, they probably will never see it and you're never going to be on that show. And if you're okay with all those three sentences, I'm feeling okay with letting you turn this in. Because I'm more of a realist. I am Elise is a is a goal setter and a go getter and a dreamer. And she proved me wrong every time so I don't know why I keep doubting it. But I just I think I do that out of protection as a mom and so yeah, as time went on, you couldn't even the process is when they Skype, the parent in the room is not allowed to be in the room. You can't be there. They want the kids to stand on their own. They don't want some mom in the corner given them most of coaching and so I would put my ears to like the door but I have a he was four at the time. And he would be like read to me we've got this new dog that was like two months old and an idiot, so I'm literally like hearing every fifth word. And even then I'm like, oh, like so excited out of my mind that I couldn't even concentrate. So I mean, it was crazy. Just week after week, it went on for from March until June, just on and off on enough like, yes, you made it to the next step. Then we would hear crickets, crickets crickets, and you don't want to be the annoying mom. And then they not pick you because you're this weirdo psycho. So you had to play it cool. You have to kind of just wait for them. And then the next kind of like little piece of cheese would come and he would chase after that.
Stacey Simms 16:34
so then this is going on for a while. When did you really start to get close? What happens? I don't know how much you can share. So don't tell us what you can't. But how do you know that? This is going to be it?
Elise Sammis 16:44
Yeah. Well, we were doing all these interviews and videos and I was it just kept going. And I was like, when are they going to cut to the chase and like, actually do it. And so then we got a call in like early June. They're like, we want to fly out 15 kids, we're gonna send three home and all the other ones are going to be able to be on the show. And I was like, we're finally going to LA.
Natalie Sammis 17:09
Yeah. So we knew flying out there all the way to all this work. I mean, this is now we've been up till 2am, baking things having to print that present the next day unless it's work. I mean, huge amount of work. And it's a risk. It's
Stacey Simms 17:24
already going home. And then the competition, you know,
Natalie Sammis 17:27
oh, yeah. So our goal was to get on the show, and knock it out the first episode. And we didn't do those things so that we can just hang our head forever.
Stacey Simms 17:36
What happens when you're there? I mean, you know, kids are generally pretty friendly, I would think. I mean, you want to be friends, you're hanging out. There's got to be a lot of downtime. If you're not familiar with TV production, there's so much downtime, is it hard doing that knowing that they're not going to stay?
Elise Sammis 17:52
It was super hard because like, the first day like all of them were super nice, and they're all like super friendly, and like we went to the mall, and we hung out at the pool together. And like, I didn't want any of them to go. But they had to, there was no thing in me that was like, I want so and so to get out. Yeah.
Stacey Simms 18:13
So yeah, be nice if everybody could win. But that's not how the show works. Yeah. All right, what can you tell us because a couple of episodes have aired already, but when this podcast airs will probably be further down the road. So I'm curious if you can share anything about what goes on behind the scenes because I've seen the show and some of it looks very ordered. Some of it looks very chaotic. is some of that chaos planned? Or is it just you guys are really doing what you're doing? What do people really knock stuff over?
Elise Sammis 18:38
Sometimes they would tell me to ask how are you doing so and so? And they really like good. And then sometimes they would say like, tell all the other bakers you have 15 minutes left. And the other stuff we would just say random things. Yeah, your mind.
Natalie Sammis 18:56
Well, it was funny to that. I think there's a couple times that the cameras People I thought it was interesting. They have 13 different cameras going to get all the angles. They have one big overhead camera. And she said, anytime anyone made a mistake, you knew it, because you'd feel the crane. Whoa, hovering over you. So you didn't want the big camera to go on you. You knew that either something's on fire or going downhill fast. So no one wanted the big camera to be swooping in their direction.
Stacey Simms 19:27
we haven't really talked about diabetes and the show. That was in your video, some of your audition. Yes. You mentioned it. Was there any hesitancy on your part to put that in? Was that important to you
Elise Sammis 19:37
know, that was very important to me, because I wanted like everyone to know that if you have diabetes, you can still do the things that you want to do. And it was like super cool, because there was another girl named Naima. She's my super good friend and she had also had type one, and she's super sweet. And we were both like, yeah, we both have type one.
Stacey Simms 19:55
I was gonna ask you about Naima because I'm obviously we're not interviewing her for the show, but I've seen her story. Well, and it was incredible to me. So far the posts have all been, oh, there's two kids with type one on the Food Network. And everybody's been saying no, no, no, you're confused this name and no, you're no, you're confused. Oh, it's really
Natalie Sammis 20:12
well, well, even we were confused. But we walk in the first day and its orientation and all the sudden I'm hearing Dexcom alarms and I'm going Elise, Like what? Like, like it is because it sounds too far from us. And she should have it in your bag. And I said, Who's next column? What Where's your Dexcom? And then this other little girl pipes up and says, Oh, that's mine. And that moment, it was that instant bond of like, you have to wait, we have to. It was our first I think your first real friend like you have acquaintances that have type one, but this is the first time she connected with some one else on this kind of level who has type one and I think that's special.
Stacey Simms 20:48
So you guys have kept in touch.
Elise Sammis 20:50
We have a big old group chat. We all talk every day.
Stacey Simms 20:54
That's cool. I wish I can ask you more but I know Yeah.
Elise Sammis 21:00
Did any of the other kids talk to you about diabetes? I mean, kids don't always do that. I'm just curious. They were pretty curious. And they're like, what's on your arm? And I was like, Oh, that's my insulin pump and everything. They were super nice and they're like, they didn't really care about it. They were just super sweet.
Stacey Simms 21:29
Did any of the parents because I mean my son doesn't bake and I remember when I've been parental settings for sports or there's always somebody who's like, well can you really eat that? You know, anything like that?
Natalie Sammis 21:30
No one really I think because we had gotten that far. And they knew we were that serious about baking. They can't bear Yeah, there's two of us they dare not I think what we are all became like very good friends. I think it's always eye opening when you get to know other people that the little bit of understanding of what type one really means day in and day out and on vacation and we were in a very stressful situation and we were up I mean, her blood sugar would just go crazy every time she baked it every time she was on set I wouldn't even let her eat a single carb because I already knew her blood sugar would be through the roof when she's getting stressed her her levels go high and so her Dex have just been going off. I can't believe we can't hear it at the show you you are only there but it almost felt a little good to be able to just kind of explain and see what is really like it Yeah, we were up at 2am and 3am and 4am treating highs and then treating lows and this is our everyday and oh at least go change your pod or and they kind of like look at you with like huge eyes like you do this every day and you're kind of like Yeah, we do. It's all right that like what I am so proud of at least and I don't know if everyone told you this really but she did not once ever use diabetes or her blood sugar level as an excuse whenever she didn't perform how she wanted to perform or when she was stressed or other kids won certain competitions. She Never ever, ever even had that in a thought like it does not hold her back physically or mentally ever. I want to have my little mom sign like “do you know her blood sugar is 328, do you know hard it is to be thinking clearly?!” like, I just wanted to say that like you don't understand how cool she is right now.
Stacey Simms 23:19
So but let me ask you because obviously diabetes did not stop you from doing this. But did anything happened during the competition where you did have to leave to change a pod? Or it Did you know, mess you up? Did anything ever happened along the way because it does happen sometimes.
Elise Sammis 23:32
Thankfully, like nothing like sometimes the medical my medical person, she was super nice. She would like come over and give me some insulin but I would just keep on baking and she would like BB
Stacey Simms 23:46
Yeah, so was this somebody that the show provided
Natalie Sammis 23:48
that they had two medicd, so they had one assigned to Naima one assigned to Elise and I'm sure they would cover the other kids who like cut themselves to cut themselves on fire, but they were basically there to hover over The two diabetics.
Stacey Simms 24:01
Did you ever catch yourself on fire?
Unknown Speaker 24:02
No but someone did we had to slap it down with a giant pan.
Natalie Sammis 24:07
Yeah, yeah, there's some fire soon. Yeah. Spoiler alert. Awesome.
Stacey Simms 24:13
So much to ask you about the show. But I'm curious as you watch the show, the judges are a big part of it. You know, were you nervous meeting them? Was it fun? Anything stand out. I don't know what you could tell us.
Elise Sammis 24:25
It was super exciting meeting them and like Valerie was super nice. And she was just like a mom like the whole time she like was very nice. That was nice.
Stacey Simms 24:37
Sweet the judges of Valerie Burtonelli, who we all know from one day to time, all those great shows and then Duff is the.. he did Charm City cakes, right? Yeah. Duff Goldman. We were huge fans. My daughter is in college now. But we watched Charm City cakes a ton. He was our guy. Yes. And you said he was interesting?
Elise Sammis 25:00
He really funny and like sarcastic and he was really, like nice about the judging and everything and he was really, like supportive.
Stacey Simms 25:08
Maybe you can answer this. They also seem like they're taking it seriously. I mean, they're Valerie's nicer. Some it seems right to the kids, but they're straightforward. They're not telling you Good job when it wasn't right?
Natalie Sammis 25:20
Yeah, well, what's actually funny on I never got to meet them. They only let the kids talk to them meet them. I saw them through like closed circuit TV with no audio feeds, because their parents had to have some sort of eye on their child, but I didn't even get to meet them. But when those kids would come back from tastings and judging things and just baking during the day, they would just say, oh, def came over and talk to me and he was funny, and oh, Valerie, like gave me a hug and I trusted the kids in that setting there. They're not the other I don't want to call it other people's judges names and other shows, but they're not harsh. They're not on kind but they are they are very, they're.
Stacey Simms 26:03
Yeah. They seem to balance the fact that there weren't a kids show. Yeah. But if you're going to be good feedback,
Natalie Sammis 26:07
yeah. If you're going to get that far, though, and how hard we work to get there, those kids can take it. They're not delicate flowers at this point.
Stacey Simms 26:15
So of course, you can tell us how everything went in the end of the show, and you won't get in any trouble. even letting a word well done. I obviously can't ask you about the outcome. And I would never. Was it fun are you glad you did it?
Elise Sammis 26:29
It was super fun. I'm so glad that I did it because it's such like a good experience. Like you got to meet so many friends. It was really like a lesson to me about patients. Because all those interviews and all the time that was like put into it. It was a lot and yet there's a lot of waiting. So that was a really good lesson for me. Do you still enjoy baking? Is that something you think about? Please do? Yes, I feel like I would always do baking is really fun. In like, it likes me be creative.
Unknown Speaker 27:02
This is a good experience for your families.
Natalie Sammis 27:04
It was a really good experience me and at least had a great time. We were kind of out there as buddies. And then my, my husband and the other three younger kids flew out for a couple days to visit us. And they decorated our hotel room with balloons galore and messages on the mirror of good luck. And the little kids and me, myself included this kind of trail along on her coattails and got to have this amazing experience. So it was wonderful.
Stacey Simms 27:30
I have to ask you, she was three younger children. Do they know the outcome? Because I wouldn't trust my kids. No offense, I don't know your family.
Unknown Speaker 27:41
No, they don't.
Natalie Sammis 27:42
They even will sometimes, like try to guess and like act like it's real. They're like Oh, so and so did this and they probably did this or that and will be like, oh, whatever you want to think like we don't even validate it because the the what's the number at least that we will be sued if we let information that we
Elise Sammis 27:58
will be sued 750,000
Natalie Sammis 28:00
Yeah 13 page contract saying that we will not disclose information so we didn't tell the five year olds Yeah.
Stacey Simms 28:07
Anything something else exciting that you all are a part of and I guess this is pretty brand new is your clinical trial for horizon from insolent which is the hybrid closed loop system using Omnipod? So Natalie, can you share a little bit about what is being tested? Is it the full system with the phone app?
Natalie Sammis 28:26
Yes, it's the full system. So it involves they gave us a brand new Dexcom transmitter that has the capabilities of obviously talking to the the Omnipod and to the new I don't do they call it a PDM Do you remember lease, I don't know. They still called the PDM. But it's basically a locked out Samsung and they provide that as well. Along with pods that look identical except for this little blue tab. That worked just the same. Also, what I really really like about this, the whole point of it is that you are able to put it in that Automatic mode they call it and with the auto mode, it's every five minutes the Omnipod index home will talk to each other and adjust the Bazell every five minutes as needed. What's cool about it too, is let's say you forgot your PDM you're locked out Samsung somewhere. Even if it has no range, if you could throw it off a cliff even for at least three days, your basal insulin would still be being adjusted because the Dexcom and Omnipod can talk to each other independently.
Stacey Simms 29:29
Have you used any hybrid closed loop stuff before?
Elise Sammis 29:32
No, this is our first time.
Stacey Simms 29:34
All right. How many days? It's only been a couple of days. We started last Wednesday today. To 60 All right, though. Yeah. So have you seen a difference?
Elise Sammis 29:42
Yes, it is crazy. Like even we went to Disney World last week, and I ate a ton of junk and everything. And I like went to sleep and it would be a little high but that's what your blood sugar does. And I went to sleep and for the night It would be like a straight line I was so amazing it was it's a big difference. Just the normal taking insulin every time you hear ringing
Natalie Sammis 30:09
Yeah, it is just made me feel like less of a nag to like, oh at least check your blood sugar. Oh, I heard your alarm three times a baby. Have you looked at that like that is now silencing our neck. So I have high hopes for it and it really is giving us better control. She's in that crazy stage of life being 11 about to be 12 where it makes no sense. She goes to sleep it looks like she ate a box of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for no reason and it's nothing but hormones and I don't know unexplained highs and lows. So already this week, it is refreshing to see so many more straight lines. I mean, there's still today we were stuck in the three hundreds for hours and that's just what it is. And but I'm really pleased so far and I'm ecstatic to be able to have it for longer than the three month trial period.
Stacey Simms 30:57
All right. Before I let you go you said you have at Disney World, you ran in half marathon full marathon
Natalie Sammis 31:04
on Team JDRF. The half marathon half marathon.
Stacey Simms 31:07
Yep. So you went back to Disney World. You ran the team JDRF half marathon. Let me ask you first though at least what's it like for you to go back at Disney World? Do you think about diabetes you just have fun when you're there.
Elise Sammis 31:18
I have like weird flashbacks kind of. Because I like like remember walking in that same spot being like, all frazzled, like what am I going to do? But then like going back and feeling like Well, I'm kind of normal now. Like, I got it under control. So like happy for me.
Unknown Speaker 31:35
That's fantastic. So like,
Natalie Sammis 31:37
I had some a mom, I'm going to get weepy no problem very silly. But to see it come full circle to leave Disney World that first time. And you know wonder what your future is going to be like wonder what your daughter's life is going to look like. It's kind of being scared out of your mind. And then to come back to the literally the same place in Disney. I don't know. It has some feel to it. Like, even if you had gone 20 years ago, there's something magic. There's that little spark of Disney that kind of remains the same. So it puts you right back where you were in this time to feel so much confidence. And I still remember on the half marathon, you turn a corner and run into the Magic Kingdom in the it was still dark because it's a ridiculously early marathon. But the castle was all lit up. And I had this like moment of like, Oh my goodness, we've made it so far. I am so happy where where we're at now. We're beating diabetes. I'm not being beaten by diabetes. And at that very moment, as I'm like, getting all bizarre and emotional. I look up and there's Team JDRF fans, right? They're saying that moment of like, oh, then I'm like, wait, I can't praise because I'm practice. So I stopped crying and I kept running and that was it. But yeah, it is a quite a journey, I guess, to come full circle and to go back in that way with so much support and so much like people behind you and helping you raise money for a cause, you know, to help your kid just live a happy, normal life. So it was great.
Stacey Simms 33:18
Thank you both so much. I would say Best of luck, but it's all. So excited to watch. To see how this goes. I hope you'll come back and talk to us again. Thank you so much.
Unknown Speaker 33:29
Unknown Speaker 33:35
You're listening to diabetes connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 33:41
Alright, so fingers crossed for Elise and for Naima. I am taping this just after the second episode has aired. So who the heck knows what has happened since and what will happen going forward, but we will certainly be following cheering these girls on. Up next. Tell me something good but diabetes connections is brought to you by Dexcom.
And you know, when Benny was very little, and his fingers would get wet, right? I'd give him a bath or we'd go in the pool. I would always notice his fingertips. And you know exactly what I mean, right? They were poked so much that they were just full of little little pinprick holes. You could see when they got wet. He is 15. Now, I don't really see his hands much anymore. But the other day, he's such a ding-a-ling. He was doing a project for school. He was using a hot glue gun and he you know, he burned himself a little bit. He's fine. He's fine. But when he came into show me I noticed again and every time I do see his hands, it just knocks me out. his fingertips look normal. We've been using Dexcom for six years now. And with every iteration, we've done fewer and fewer finger sticks, the latest generation, the Dexcom g six eliminates finger sticks for calibration and diabetes treatment decisions. Just thinking about doing 10 finger sticks a day in the past. Makes me so glad that Dexcom has helped us come so far. It's an incredible tool. If you're glucose alerts and readings from the G six do not match symptoms or expectations. Use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions. learn more, go to diabetes, connections calm and click on the Dexcom logo.
It's time for Tell me something good. I've got two great stories one was sent to me via Facebook Messenger. The other one I saw in a Facebook group and if you've got a story for me, the easiest way is in my Facebook group at diabetes connections the group or email me let me know what's going on. What is good for you.
Melissa wrote in “I have a Tell me something good. I've been listening to your podcast since maybe the summer and my four year old daughter was diagnosed March 28 2019. You are very optimistic. I haven't found a positive thing with my daughter's diabetes. Until today. It's been a horrible nine months with everything. We had our first dentist appointment Since diagnosis I've dropped a lot of ball since April, when the dental hygienist saw the pump. She knew what it was. I didn't have to explain. The conversation got direct to where we treat for Lowes, Skittles and starbursts and gummies. All bed for her teeth. When the dentist came to check, we had a discussion about the candies. He asked for her Endo's name, and he knew her. He's the pediatric chief of dentistry at the local Children's Hospital where her endo is affiliated, he texted an email to find better candies to use instead of the sticky kind. He went on to say collaborates with a lot of specialized doctors in the Children's Hospital to take better care of the kids. And he said get back to me after a discussion with the endo. I found the experience relieving that I wouldn't have to fight this battle. The dentist got it and my daughter was in good hands being cared for. I didn't think I'd ever find anything positive about our new normal. Today I did. So that's my Tell me something good.”
Melissa, I'm getting emotional reading what you're saying here. Thank you. She writes for your podcast your optimism, and having somebody to tell the story to understand. Her daughter's name is Katarina, beautiful name. And she told me that it's been difficult to find care for her. You know when they're that little it can be so hard preschools, that kind of thing. But she went on to write that they have been blessed. She's been taken care of by her school nurse in an all day preschool. Her endocrinologist who they love and her mother, Melissa's mom, the grandma, who was able to watch her while the parents are at work, and now the dentist, she writes, “I didn't realize until this how lucky we have been. These are battles. I do not have to fight. Your optimism about any life with T1D is something I was envious of. I wanted some of the burden of this disease lifted off of my shoulders, and I was able to see that I have that after this visit. So I'm a little bit emotional here because of all the nice things she said and just having a place to share that with right. It's important to have people who get it and know important it is that the dentist didn't scold her and say you shouldn't be doing that. But said, Let's find a way to do this that works with Type 1 diabetes. And I think that's fantastic. But if it was a little strange for me to hear, even though I know it, I am very optimistic. I am very positive. I put these rose colored glasses on a lot and diabetes is hard.
Type 1 is difficult. Being a parent of a kid with type one it's difficult to it's not all sunshine and rainbows over here. Trust me, I hope I'm open and honest about it. But at the end of the day, we've been really lucky. And I am optimistic and if you're feeling down or things are hard, no judgment, man. It is hard all around. I think I do an okay job of being honest and sharing the ups and downs. But I do know that my general outlook with type one is is an uplifting one. I hesitate to say it because I feel like it's an odd thing to say I feel like it puts me like I'm trying to be uplifting, but the truth is that's how it was presented. To us when Benny was diagnosed, and that makes all of the difference. When you're diagnosed on the very first day you meet a nurse who says, he's going to be fine. I have type one. And I have one child at home and I'm pregnant with my second and don't listen to the scary stories and don't listen to the hard stuff. It's fine. And then the next day, you pick up the phone and call three local people that you know who have kids with type one, because you've met them in your health reporting over the years, and they all say that he's gonna be great. My kids Is this my kid does that it's fine. It really changes than if you don't have those things. And I know how lucky I am to have them. So Melissa, thank you for reaching out. Thanks for a little bit of the gut check, as I like to say the rose colored glasses, but send us any good news and send us anything you want to vent. I hope you join the Facebook group. I'd love to hear more about Catarina. Our other Tell me something good this week comes from the Walt Disney World marathon weekend. That's where Natalie Sammis was when they said they were in Walt Disney World again. Very recently. She was running the half marathon. You talked about with all the jdrf people, they're getting emotional. Well, there's so much going on for that weekend. And I wanted to spotlight Julia Buckley, who's a friend of mine and I've mentioned her on the show before. She is a flight attendant and she is amazing. And she won the Spirit Award for jdrf. She ran on Team jdrf. I don't know how she does it. She flies all over the world comes home runs at Walt Disney World. She always has a smile on her face. So Julia, thank you so much for all that you do. I love some of the pictures maybe we'll throw some of those in the Facebook group as well but to everybody who ran at Walt Disney World, hats off man and now it's a fun race but it's still a lot of work. If you've got to tell me something good story, send it my way. I am so excited. We're getting more and more of these all the time or put them out on social media every week. So I'd love to hear from you tell me something good.
Before I let you go, this is not a Tell me something good. This is a Tell me something embarrassing. So I mentioned the very beginning of the show that there were some technical difficulties when I recorded the interview with Elise and Natalie. And real quick, the way I taped the show, usually is that I do the interviews right from my home computer. I have a little setup little home studio. But the interviews are generally conducted via Skype, and then into my computer and then into a backup hard drive. Later on, I record this part of it like a round the interview, right and that goes right into the computer. But when I'm on the road, I don't want to slip my computer. It's only got one input for the microphone, and I had basically needed three inputs. my microphone, Natalie's mic, and Elise's mic. So I use I mentioned that hard drive. I use a recorder for all of you audio files out there, I use an H five zoom. It is a wonderful little recording device and i i only scratched the surface. I know I'm not using it to its full potential. I can plug two microphones in there. And I know I can do more with it. I could use a sound mixer or whatever. But generally when I have more than two microphones that I'm using a plug two and two Each five zoom. And then I have another recorder where I put on a lavalier mic and a little Clippy mics that you see on the evening news or maybe you've done an interview or recorded something for work and they put a little clip mic on your collar. That's a level layer mic, and I use that for myself. And here's the embarrassing part. The recorder I use when I do that is an old iPhone. And I'm not even sure how old it is. It might be a four, it might be three. It doesn't work anymore for anything else. I mean, I don't certainly have service on it. But it is a perfect dumb recorder. And it's like a tape recorder back of the day. And I had purchased over the years, these level ear mics that plugged into your phone. They're fantastic. But when you switch to the newer iPhones and you got rid of the headphone jack well guess where the lav mic plugged in. So I'm out of luck. I can't use my newer phone as a recorder if I want to use the lav mics. So we get to South Carolina. I'm setting everything up. I'm there early and speaking doing a book event before First I'm going to interview with Lisa, Natalie. So I set everything up. Everything sounds good. The stick microphones, the regular microphones, the one if you ever see pictures of me the ones that have the logos on them. Those are plugged in. They're working fine. They're a little low. I'm not really sure. I think maybe Elise was just very soft spoken. So I'm trying to adjust audio levels. I plug my stuff in, and the old phone, the editing software will not open. I use a program called twisted wave. And it's a great program. It's it's up to date, but the phone is so old. I think it was trying to update the the editing software. So I said, forget this. I'll just use my voice memo. So every phone has a voice memo app. It's fabulous for podcasting. It really works well. You can just record your voice for however long and then you email it to yourself. I have guests do this. Sometimes if it's a really short interview. I don't do it much. But you know, once or twice. I've had people do a short segment and a voice memo is great for them. So it looks like it's working. Everything's fine. We do the whole interview. voice memo is there I can hear it. It's recorded Elise Natalie are fine. I can't Email the file to myself. I can't get it off the phone. It's stuck on this old iPhone three, four. It's sitting there. It's It's wonderful. Amazingly, the microphones I was using picked up my voice enough so you heard the interview. It wasn't terrible. It probably wasn't great, I'm sure john kennis my editor worked a ton of magic on it every time he gets a file from me probably shakes his head and said, yes, this person obviously worked with a technical producer her entire radio career. So I'm now in the market for a new level ear mic, because if you know anything about audio, and you heard me say the h5 zoom, you know that you can also plug a lav mic or any kind of really smaller mic into another outlet very easily. And this whole thing could have been avoided if I had just done that. So that was my adventure. I figured we'd just soldier on right you just want the stories. You're less concerned with pristine studio sound, right? Haha. Well, look, I'm going on the road a lot this year. So I figured I better learn how to do that. And figure out how to better get it done. So stay tuned for the continuing saga of how the heck Stacy makes her lovely mix work. Alright, the next stop is not too far from me. I'm going to Raleigh the first weekend in February Raleigh, North Carolina for a jdrf type one nation summit. Then I am going to Maine the following weekend to South Portland, Maine, to talk to the main pea pods, very excited to talk to this group. And we have a very busy schedule after that. Thank you, as always, especially this week to my editor, john Drew kennis from audio editing solutions. Thank you for listening. Remember this Thursday, we do have another minisode coming out this week. I'm talking all about untethered, what that means, why we have loved it. I got a bunch of questions after I mentioned this in a couple episodes back. I talked about receiver a little bit which is a newer, long acting. So I'm going to go through untethered, what it means why it's not just for teenagers, and why we've had such good success. With it, and that is our next little mini episode. I'm Stacey Simms and I will see you back here on Thursday.
Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Sims media. All rights reserved. All wrongs avenged
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
Are you worried about sleepovers? Wondering how to plan? Stacey answers a listener question and explained what worked for her and Benny.
Get the App and listen to Diabetes Connections wherever you go!
Stacey Simms 0:00
This minisode of Diabetes Connections is brought to you by the World's Worst Diabetes Mom. Real life stories of parenting a child with Type One Diabetes. Available now as eBook paperback and audio book, Learn more at diabetes dash connections.com
This is diabetes connections with Stacey Simms.
Welcome to another of what I'm calling minisodes of diabetes connections. These are going to be shorter shows just me your host Stacey Simms, sharing some thoughts, advice and experience. As always keep in mind, everything I'm talking about here is through my personal experience as a parent of a child with Type One Diabetes. I am not a medical professional. I am the author of the world's worst diabetes mom. So please keep that in mind.
As you listen. I'm going to be talking today about sleep overs and what worked for us and this was sparked by a message I got from Mike. We talked about Mike and his son Ryan, in one of our last Tell me something good segments of 2019. And Mike followed up and asked me, Ryan is I believe in third grade. And he was asking me about sleep overs for the future. So I thought this might be a really good time to talk about what we did and what worked with the backdrop of Benny, my son being diagnosed before he turned two and he is now 15.
We give him a lot of independence. Just a couple of weeks ago, he went on an overnight with the wrestling team. They were two and a half hours away. We did not go through everything as I would have with a fine-tooth comb two years ago with the wrestling coach or the team mom, although everybody knows he has type one. I made a plan with Benny and he was fine. I don't expect anybody to start out that way. I mean, remember, it's been 13 years of type one for us. And I am I should say, a mom that really pushes independence toward my kids. My kids push back at me, both of my kids wanted to go away to sleepaway camp when they were little. So that's the backdrop that we're working on.
But here's what we did. And here's what I think is important for anybody who wants to start sleep overs. First of all, you’ve got to be okay with sleep overs with or without diabetes. Some people don't like them at all and don't want their kids to do them. That's fine. As long as it's not because of diabetes. I don't think anybody should feel, you know, shamed or embarrassed or bad about that. That's a parent decision. And I've seen online where some people have said, well, it's part of growing up and don't ruin their fun. Look, if it's not your thing, it's not your thing. Don't do it. I'm actually not a big fan of them myself. I find them to be a giant pain to host at my house. And then I worry when they're not at my house and nobody sleeps. Look that some people love them. And if you're listening this far, you're probably thinking about doing it.
Alright, so here's what I think you need to keep in mind. First of all, I think your kid should be able to check his own blood glucose and give insulin - with supervision, right? But a child who's going away for an overnight really needs to be able to poke a finger. Get a blood glucose reading. I don't care if your kid uses a CGM. This is something that every kid needs to be able to do if they're away from home, even for a night and give insulin using an insulin pump, or if on MDI, multiple daily injections, got to be able to do it. Otherwise, you're in a situation where you're really leaning on the host parents to go above and beyond and they probably have other kids to worry about that night. So in my personal feeling and experience, I just did not ever asked any other parent to handle Benny's pump or check his blood glucose. You may have a relationship with your friends where they do that. We did not. And there's nothing wrong with giving your kid a goal. You want to go on sleep overs. Hey, let's work on doing these things.
If you don't have a CGM, it really is okay to let your kids go on sleep overs. We did not have a continuous glucose monitor. Until then he was nine years old. So we had seven years of no CGM. Is life better with it? Heck, yeah. Would I give it back? No, thank you. But my point is that you really can do this without a CGM without remote monitoring. And here's how we did that. Okay, so in the couple of years before Benny had the Dexcom, we would check in with him at dinner, and before bed, and I know this is gonna sound terrible. He didn't even have a cell phone. I feel like a stone age parent. But we would check in with the parents we would call the house or they would call me from their cell phone, or we would just text back and forth, I would check in with the parents. And we would say, What's blood glucose? What are you eating, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and make a plan. Same thing before bed and I use that loosely, we would set up a time with the parents, you know, when they were little, it was probably 10 o'clock. And I would check in what's going on with blood glucose, what's going on with food, and we would decide what the rest of the night would bring.
Ask your doctor about this as well, because you might consider increasing the target range overnight. You know, it means some math with multiple daily injections. And it probably means just changing a pump setting or even a temporary pump setting if you use an insulin pump. Now before you yell at me, “I don't want to increase my child's target range, we keep it tight at 85.” Well, you might have a problem with sleep overs. If you want to keep your child within a super tight range. I don't think the first sleep over is the time to do that. I think you're setting yourself up for a lot of stress. And I think you're setting your child up for a lot of stress.
In most insulin pumps, you have a target number, and then they do they try to do up and down you know within 20 points of that. So if your target number in your pump is 80, move it to 120 for the night. If your target range is 120 to 180 for the night for one night, talk to your endo before you do any of this, please tell them the crazy lady on the internet mentioned doing it. But all kidding aside, I really think moving that target range up helps everybody sleep better for one night.
Now, what about that overnight? If you have remote monitoring, you might think well, that's easy. I'll just watch. I'll stay up and watch the numbers all night long. You can do that. Or you can kind of figure out in your head, When am I going to call, right? When am I going to really decide that I need to intervene. And again, this is personal. Certainly, for low blood sugars. You got to make a plan. And what we did even before CGM is I would always send low stuff now you gotta send it along. I never assume that somebody has it. Because even if their house is stocked and man, Benny has a friend and they keep a giant fridge of regular soda, all different flavors, like it's their thing, but it's all regular, it's all full of sugar in the garage. And you know, you might think, well, he's all set. But you know, your kid may not want to go out of the room in which they're all sleeping or spending the night to go by themselves to the kitchen and the fridge. It's a strange house. They don't want to wake people up. You know, a lot of kids get on comfortable, they want to be polite, they don't understand that the parents are there to help them, you know, so you don't want your kid running around somebody's house low. So I sent everything I want him to eat or drink. If you have particular snacks that you use when their kids low that you know work, send them along.
And what we always did was send Benny with a Gatorade, one of those medium sized bottles, it's a lot more carbs than I'd give for a regular overnight low. I think a bottle has 30 or 35 carbs in it, where we usually give like 10 right, but it's easy. So our rule on sleepers is if you wake up and feel wonky, drink the Gatorade, drink it first drink at all, and then check. So when he was younger, he would drink first and then check by poking his finger. As he got a little older, he would check and look at the receiver. Now we can wake up and look at his phone these days. He really does look before he drinks most of the time. But if he feels low, I don't care what the CGM says, drink the Gatorade. And that has never been a problem. He's never woken up and been high and then had the Gatorade you know what I mean? He's never miscalculated. It's always been, I'm low, I'm drinking, I'm good.
But what are you going to do about overnight lows, this is a time to sit down with your child or depending on age, make the plan, tell the child and tell the other parents, you know, if my child is below 80 for X amount of time, I'm going to call him or I'm going to call you and ask you to treat. If my child is below 60 for X amount of time, I'm going to call you, you know, things like that. I would make a plan in your head. Think about it, think about how you want to handle it, and then share it with the other parents. It's tough, right? Because it's that fine line of not wanting to scare people not wanting to have your child excluded in the future because it's too much work. But it's also a line of information. They need to know these things.
When he was very little, I would send glucagon I would talk about it. I would train my very close friends, just two or three people that he regularly spent time with and I would train them on the glucagon. You know, it's funny, I stopped because I read a study that shows in the majority of cases, caregivers, even trained just messed it up. They didn't use it right, because they were under so much stress. So I always threw it in his bag. But I never trained anybody again, I would include icing, you know, and I had cut the tip off, because I was always afraid that he'd be low. And you know, they have that stupid cap, and then you open it in, you have to cut it or you’re biting it off. I didn't want that happening in the middle of the night. So I would always cut the tip off. And I would talk to them about that, rub a little icing on his guns. But I would also always say, look, it's been X amount of time and we've never had to use it. Right. It's been eight years it's been 10 years and knock wood, right? We've never had to use it. And I think that was reassuring as well.
But when you have a sleep over, you never expect an emergency. But when I was a kid, I had a sleep over and my friend cut her leg on the edge of I think it was the edge of my trundle bed. It was metal. I mean, this was back in the 70s and she could have deep enough that we had to go to the hospital and we had a babysitter. My parents weren't even there that night and we had to go to the emergency room and she needed stitches. Crazy things happen on sleep overs. If you're going to have a sleep over, you're prepared to take care of the kid that's there, whether they cut their leg deep enough to need stitches, or choke on a piece of food or having intense low blood sugar. And that's how I usually phrase it because to us, that is how rare it is. That's the chances of it happening or that rare in your case, if you're if you've used glucagon several times, or your child does go low more often. These are things to think about as well and to talk about, and I'll tell you what, with the newer emergency glucagon kits that are out now with Baqsimi and Gvoke this is definitely a game changer. Baqsimi is the nasal spray Gvoke is the already mixed ready to use kind of like an EpiPen. I think you've got a much better chance of caregivers using that accurately. I would send that along for sure. And tell them how to use it especially if you can say hey, it's like an EpiPen. Everybody knows what an EpiPen is. And I think that gives people a lot of peace of mind.
We also did test run Now if it's a new family, I really like to do this. We would have like a dinner, play date dinner hang out. And I don't know about you, I don't let my kids sleep at strange houses Anyway, you know, where I don't know the people. So this should be pretty easy. So if he gets an invitation, or you think he's getting to be good friends with somebody, and they're talking about future sleepovers, we always did this. So he'd go to that house for dinner. And he'd stay till when he's little like nine o'clock. And that was a good test run for sleep overs because they could eat, they could hang out, they could see what was going on. And I also made the parents promise to call me with any questions, any questions, no matter how dumb and I would tell them, Look, I'm only going to sleep tonight. If I know that you will call me if I think there's a chance that you won't call me with questions. I will not sleep. So do us all a favor and promise to call me and that usually worked and a little bit of humor.
And you know, I don't know why that just reminded me but kind of speaking of humor, did anybody use the share cradle? So if you're not familiar, remote monitoring with Dexcom Share has only been around officially for about four, maybe four and a half years at this point. And I know it seems like it's been around forever, but it has not. And the first iteration of it was this Share cradle. So you would take the receiver, the Dexcom receiver, and you'd slip it into this. It was a cradle it was a little case. And I'll post a picture on it in the Facebook group and show you and you could get the signal then to your cell phone. It was amazing, but it wasn't portable. Well it wasn't supposed to be portable, but people plugged it into a battery pack and threw it in the backpack and took it with them wherever they went. And that was the first official Dexcom portable Share. I mean, not to mention night scout and all the things that that came through the Do It Yourself community. But we had that cradle, and I took it to one exactly one sleep over because it was such a pain in the ass to bring it to find a place where it would pick up the signal where there was Wi Fi. I don't remember what happened. There was a phone issue. And I promise you that night Benny was at a sleep over at Logan's house. And I was gone for 20 minutes. And my friend Karen called me and said, Benny, he says his Dexcom came out. I was like, You know what, spent half an hour sitting the damn thing up in your house. Forget it, just forget the whole thing. Don't worry about it. Tell me not to worry about it. And so I never actually used to the Share cradle at any sleep over.
So fast forward to my 15 year old, who spends the night often at one person's house. Now he's got a really close friend. And that's really the only place where he's sleeping over. But he does do overnight trips with school, that sort of thing at the wrestling team, as I mentioned. So now, we just check in before bedtime, really around 10 o'clock, and I say “you good” and that “you good “means is your insulin pump charged? Is there insulin in the pump. Did you do your Tresiba? because he takes long acting along with the pump. And it also means do you have your Gatorade? Now, I know that sounds like a lot in the secret code, but we talk about it I sit down with Benny and I say, What do you need? How can we keep you safe and happy and me happy and not flipping out and not texting every 20 minutes. And that's what we came up with recently. 15 is a lot different than seven in many, many ways. So I wouldn't encourage you to start out that way if you're just starting sleep overs. But also keep in mind, it is hard to believe that in the next year, Tandem and Omni pod are going to be showing that kind of information that I mentioned like is the insulin pump charged it was their insulin in it, it's going to be shown on the remote app. And even though tandems phone app isn't launching with any kind of share remote monitoring feature, my understanding is that you can log into the T Connect account and you can see what's up. So we'll be testing that out in the weeks after we get control IQ.
I think the bottom line with sleep overs is they are a fun way to start your kid thinking about independence. They are truly not the time to worry about a super tight blood sugar range. There's going to be weird food, there's going to be weird activity. The idea here is to not let diabetes truly get in the way. Is it there? Yes. Is it going to be very difficult the first couple times, of course, but you can make a plan. You can talk to your kid, you can talk to the other parents and you can find ways to make it fun and make it doable for everybody.
One more thing before I let you go, do not misunderstand my attitude. I worry. Every single time that kid goes on an overnight. I worried when he was young. I worry now, I know I'm going to worry when he's older. But the idea here is Look, you're gonna worry you're a parent, but let them do it. You can't let your fear stop your child.
Agree? Disagree? Keep in mind I am the World's Worst Diabetes Mom. I would love to hear from you. What do you thinking of these minisodes? Do you have any questions you have any topics you'd like me to address? You can drop them in the Facebook group at diabetes connections the group or ping me Stacey at diabetes dash connections calm and remember the world's worst diabetes mom is available on Amazon in Kindle paperback and audiobook. Find out more at the website, our regular full length episodes here every Tuesday. I'm Stacey Simms, and until then, be kind to yourself.
It was supposed to be a vacation at the happiest place on earth, instead their daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at Disney world. But that’s when some unexpected good things started happening.
Jim tells us the story – it was July last year – and explains how Disney and a very cool Disney community - went above and beyond to help this family from Canada when they needed a little magic.
In our Community Connection, Stacey talks about dropping her son off at a month-long sleep away camp. She shares how she needed a lift and got it from her local D-mom friends.
And Tell Me Something Good! Scholarships for college students with type 1, a big thank you and a mountain milestone.
Show open: What's on this week?
1:30 Welcome - Stacey talks about the Friends for Life Conferences and announces a limited presale of her book! Find out more here (and use promo code "earlybird" until July 23)
7:10 Interview with Jim about his family's experience when their daughter was diagnosed at Disney World
29:10 Community Connection: Stacey shares her experience dropping Benny off at "regular" sleep-away camp.
A dad thanks the security guard that tracked down a diabetes bag left behind after a school trip.
Use this link to get one free download and one free month of Audible, available to Diabetes Connections listeners!
Get the App and listen to Diabetes Connections wherever you go!
Click here for iPhone Click here for Android
With Father’s Day coming up we’re taking a look at Dads and Diabetes. Two T1D Dads: Alan Nolte and Mark Turner share their perspective on raising children with diabetes.
Alan and Mark met when their daughters hit it off at diabetes camp last year. The girls became long distance friends and so did their dads. They started a podcast - Dads and Diabetes. They share their stories with Stacey, give us the "guy" perspective and explain what they'd love more D-Moms to keep in mind.
In our Community Connection, a quest by two T1D outdoorsmen to summit the highest peak in each state in the US. We’ll find out about Project 50 in 50 and how you can get involved.
Tell Me Something Good features a 5 year old who's finished second grade! And Stacey shares her daughter's high school graduation.
00:00 Show open and "tease" - what's on the show this week?
2:00 Stacey Welcome - Find out about the 2019 DiabetesMine Patient Voices Scholarship Contest. Attend their November conference and learn about new technology.
4:50 Interview with Mark & Alan of Diabetes Dads
39:00 Stacey talks about diabetes camp (continuing the conversation from the interview)
41:00 Community Connection: Project 50 in 50
45:00 TMSG! A first haircut, a T1D Kindergartener who finished the school year by also finishing first AND second grade and Stacey shares more about her daughter's high school graduation. Listen to "Our T1D Decade" episode here; Stacey mentioned this episode as having a good sibling conversation with Lea.
Use this link to get one free download and one free month of Audible, available to Diabetes Connections listeners!
Sign up for our newsletter here
Get the App and listen to Diabetes Connections wherever you go!
Click here for iPhone Click here for Android
The Mure family won 50-thousand dollars in the Great Christmas Light Fight on ABC and gave it to JDRF. Stacey talks to Joe Mure who wasn’t sure he wanted to compete at all. He hung up twice on the producers! Joe’s son was diagnosed with type 1 at age 5 and we get the story behind the Little North Pole and the network competition.
Plus, who is the Hangry Woman? We talk to Mila Buckley about finding support for a younger person with type 2 diabetes.
Also this week, Stacey reports that CW Star Austin Basis (Beauty and the Beast and more) has published his comic books, The Kinetix. We talked to him earlier this year when the stories about a superhero teem of kids with disabilities was launched on Kickstarter. Listen to that episode here.
And, with this last scheduled show of 2018, a look back at an amazing year.
Stacey Welcome: We talk about the Kinetix from Austin Basis
Interview with Joe Mure about the Great Christmas Light Fight
26:30 Interview with Mila Buckley - The Hangry Woman
47:30 Looking ahead to 2019 (sneak peek at upcoming shows)
Use this link to get one free download and one free month of Audible, available to Diabetes Connections listeners!
Sign up for our newsletter here
Get the App and listen to Diabetes Connections wherever you go!
Click here for iPhone Click here for Android