Fellow Grinder – The Diabetes Advocate, Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas

The DDG recently met Dave Thomas, a T2D who raised a ton of cash for the American Diabetes Association, Tour de Cure.  He was a total hoot and fulfilled the DDG mission of Real Support For The Diabetic Life, by honestly answering the questions we presented.

1. What would you like to tell all of those people who don’t understand the type 2 diabetes diagnosis?  All the people that I run into who don’t understand diabetes have never taken the time to look into it or someone with diabetes hasn’t taken the time to explain it to them.   There are a lot of stereotypes associated with being diabetic.  I would like for them to ask me about it when they see me checking my sugar, or in my case taking some insulin.  It would open up a great conversation about my diabetes and an opportunity to educate them.  If it’s someone I know pretty well I could share what to look for if I am high or low.  Just about everybody in my office knows now that I have diabetes.  It didn’t always used to be that way.   I still get the occasional remark,  “you can’t eat that, you’re diabetic”.  I just smile and talk to them later.

2. You’ve been a diabetes activist and fundraiser for a few diabetes organizations. What advice could you give them in order to get more people involved?  You have to be passionate about it.  Sharing about diabetes and educating people whenever and wherever you can.   You can wait to raise money at the time of the event but then that’s is all you do.  If you want to bring awareness to the facts and the effects of diabetes then you have to be an advocate year round.

Continue reading

What A Crock!

What A Crock Event

A few years ago my dear friend and owner of Native Roots Market created a crockpot challenge to benefit Dreamer Concepts: A Community Art Space.  The event was a total blast and everyone was fighting for the top prize – CREAM OF THE CROCK!  There were four categories: Meat Entree, Vegetarian/Vegan Entree, Dessert and Vegan Dessert.  The rules are fierce and were not to be taken lightly.

1. The entire dish must be cooked in the Crock Pot, only in the Crock Pot, and stay in the Crock Pot.
2. Fill the Crock at least 3/4 full. The more people who get to taste your dish, the more votes you can get.
3. You don’t have to disclose your secret recipe, but please list your ingredients so we don’t have any allergy mishaps.
4. Contestants should arrive with their fully-cooked Crock Pot by 6:30 PM for set-up & pre-judging.

As the Executive Director of Dreamer Concepts, I couldn’t go down without a fight.  After weeks of crockpot research, I found what I believed could take home the gold, Chicken with Macaroni and Smoked Gouda Cheese.  HEAVEN!

Ingredients: Continue reading

5 Disturbing Diabetes Observations from the Fair


state fair

The DDG was recently out and about at a September institution: The Oklahoma State Fair. Amber took in the sights during a weekend afternoon and Ryan reveled in the Friday night lights. What we saw, well, isn’t all that surprising I suppose–all things fried, parents spanking in public, and 14 year olds smoking cigarettes. All that being said, only judgment through diabetic eyes was passed. Here’s our list of the most disturbing observations from the fair:

#1 – Deep Fried Gummy Bears

fried gummy bears Do you really need to deep fry something that is already so unhealthy? What joy does a deep friend gummy bear bring to someone? Wouldn’t they taste better normally? Please explain.

#2 – Corn Dog Stands

corndog standWhile making an hour long lap around the fair grounds, I counted 18 corn dog stands. Do we really need that many options for battered, fried meat on a stick?

Continue reading

5 Ways to Back Off the “High” Cliff

Walking off the "High" blood sugar cliff

High blood sugar sucks. Really though, it changes who you are. You become angrier. Patience has no meaning anymore. The idea of a nap rules over everything else in the world. Things that you love, my example would be cycling, sound detestable. Someone could ask me to go cycling and I’d want to respond with “I hate bicycles!”.

Okay, I know you get it. So how do we still function as human beings while high? I have a few hacks that I’ve learned via trial by fire over the 15 #blessed years of my life:

1) Repeat “Life is impermanent. How you feel now, will soon change.”

– Just reminding myself that all will be okay again is reassuring. It’s easy for us to believe that our current struggle will last forever but it’s just not reality. It always gets better. Continue reading

Tuesday Topic: Relying On, Well… The Relion

Relion

For at least the last decade, I can recall the same test strip options being available: Freestyle, Freestyle Lite, Accucheck, OneTouch, and Precision.

Do these brands come up with new, more precise technology? No doubt. They do. Are the most up-to-date options, with the most accuracy and painless application, ever covered by my insurance? Never. Take for example the IBGStar testing machine, Sanofi’s development for the iPhone. This is real cool but not cool enough to pay $1.50 per strip. Continue reading

Thriller Alarm Clock

Thriller Alarm Clock

I spent 12 days in Children’s Hospital and was lucky to have met a few fellow sick kids.  One in particular humbles me to this day.  John woke up every morning and blasted Thriller on his record player.  I didn’t mind waking up to that song, but God it was early.  John was a permanent resident because his parents abandoned him due to his condition and insane medical bills.  I am not sure how long he had been there, but his room was a bedroom, not a hospital room and the nurses treated him like a son.

I have no idea what was wrong with him, but he was in a wheelchair and had a number of tubes coming out of every part of this body.  I was pissed about the one IV – ridiculous.  I couldn’t help staring at the hole in his neck and he explained at some point in me stalking him that it was the only way he could breath. The tube and the snotty nose were pretty appalling, but it didn’t keep me from visiting him every day. Continue reading

Simple Recipe To Feed Your Kale Addiction – #1

Eat More Kale

I recently posted on Facebook, that I had a new addiction – KALE!  You wouldn’t believe the outpouring of kale dietary comments, recipes and products.  I decided to start a new series of posts – my addiction to kale.   I will continue to post new and exciting discoveries with this leafy green as I feed my healthy addiction.  We will begin with kale chips.  Who doesn’t love a nice salty chip, but this one won’t leave you feeling guilty.

Ingredients:

  • Bunch/Bushel or whatever it is called of kale (any color)
  • Smoked Salt – check out Native Roots Market
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 375 and find a large baking sheet. Continue reading

Zen and the Art of Diabetes Management, Part I

Zen and the Art of Diabetes Management

I’ll admit that I could be more without diabetes. Not acknowledging that, to be blunt, is ignorant. Don’t mistake me, I subscribe to the power of positive thinking, knowing that it improves the quality of each moment. However, I will not use that methodology to convince myself that my life is better with the disease.

Diabetes is a grind, never ceasing. Yet, it’s forged who we are. Most of us will give it responsibility for great things in our lives. Still though, deep down, on occasion or daily, we ask the question, “Could we be more without it?” Being content knowing that we could, that’s the Zen in diabetes. Continue reading

Tuesday Topic: Killing Your Kids With Food

 

Toddler Lunch IdeasI stumbled across an article that actually offended me last night, Ten (Quick and Easy) Toddler Lunch Ideas.  I am not a dietician, but feel confident stating that dried cranberries, potato chips, crackers, cheddar cheese, and a fruit burst do not add up to even a remotely healthily lunch.  I can’t imagine how horrible a child would feel after eating this for lunch.

While working on this post, I happen to catch a few minutes of The Doctors, where they were discussing a controversial campaign to combat childhood obesity.

The episode featured a powerful public awareness video campaign created by Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.  The video shows an obese 30-something-year-old man being rushed to an emergency room after having a heart attack. It then flashes back through the past 30 years showing the man eating fast food and candy and sitting on the couch playing video games. The video flashes forward to the ER again, and the tagline on the screen reads: “Your child’s future doesn’t have to look like this.”  The Doctors say  the “Rewind the Future” video might seem harsh to some, but parents need to understand its strong message: Unhealthy food choices that start as children can have deadly consequences.

The Doctors share a few alarming statistics and food swap ideas: Continue reading

News For The Cleaning Lady

It has been an incredibly busy two weeks so I decided to spend my first day off deep cleaning my home.  Happy Sunday to me.  I have a confession, cleaning makes me happy and I know that the rest of my week will be more productive because everything is in it’s place.

I kicked off my cleaning spree around 10:30am and even put on gym shorts and running shoes.  I wanted to be on my game for this day long adventure.  At around 2pm I realized I had about 412 projects going and most of them were about 64% complete.  Bed is stripped and sheets are in the dryer, shower is ready to scrub and dust bunnies are begging for mercy.  Unless the bunnies can pay rent, I am evicting them and their friends.

At some point around 2:45 it dawns on me that I am not completing anything.  DING, DING, DING…  this sounds like low blood sugar. Continue reading

Cottonmouth Confession

I recently woke up in the middle of the night and realized my mouth was SUPER dry.  First thought –  high blood sugar.  I scrape myself out of bed and test my blood sugar.  I was relieved my blood sugar was 107, but was left wondering what was causing this sudden dry mouth.  I went back to bed and woke up a few hours later and realized I had been sleeping with my mouth slightly open.

BINGO – sleeping with your mouth open = incredibly dry mouth.  I pray I didn’t swallow a spider.

As a diabetic, I constantly second guess everything in my life (dry skin, blood shot eyes, even a minor scrape).  Every once in awhile when you discover that your recent ailment is just allergies or something “everyone” else experiences, it is kind of nice.

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Walgreens Worked a Wonder

Insulin at the pharmacy

No, I have not been paid off. No, I am not in the pockets of big pharma. No, I do not purchase all prescriptions from Walgreens. Yet, my perspective on pharmacy refills took a turn for the grateful last week with the singular effort of one pharmacist.

In accordance with a common theme, I was looking to pickup a prescription right as I need it. Picking up a prescription early has never crossed my mind. Due to some insulin resistance from scar tissue (referenced here), I made the switch back to the pens (Lantus and Novolog). When I called Walgreens expecting it to be ready within the next hour, relayed to me was the news that each prescription would be costing $150 under my coverage (BCBS Oklahoma under HealthCare.gov). Continue reading

Early Menopause or Just a Low Blood Sugar

Sweaty Woman

 

You would think with 30 years of diabetes under my belt I would have a pretty good handle on this disease, but I am still amazed by how my blood sugar affects my body.  A recent middle of the night low reminded me of an interesting conversation I had years ago.

Barbara, my former high school teacher and recently diagnosed adult Type 1, was kind enough to attend an outdoor event I was hosting.  She sat down next to me as I was suffering a serious low blood sugar (sweaty, not able to put together a complete thought, etc.).  We cursed how the serious lows seem to pop up at the most inopportune times.  She has a dry sense of humor, which I totally appreciate, and made a comment that only diabetic women could understand – “Menopause will be nothing – you experience the equivalent of an unbearable hot flash with any major low blood sugar.”  Good to know!!  This inspired me to to compare the symptoms of menopause (Healthline.com) and diabetes.

Similarities:

  • Hot Flashes – Hot flashes can be a sudden feeling of heat either in the upper portion of your body or all over. Your face and neck might turn red, and you may feel sweaty or flushed. The intensity of a hot flash can range from mild to very strong, even waking you from sleep.
    • Every T1D has woken up in a pool of sweat or even worse – had a sweatfest during a social event.

Continue reading

The Weekend Workout

Yoga is back. YouTube is THE resource for yoga on the internet–many teachers with so many styles. To make a wide-sweeping, not all that educated generalization, I see two different ways to practice:

1) Classic – This is your flow-based, Vinyasa style. Based on a traditional pose oriented routine. Think Sun Salutations.
2) Workout – This is the new age. Without a care about peace and mindfulness. Savasana what? Sweat and fatigue are the primary goals here. Continue reading

How Going Vegan Changed My Type 1 Diabetic Life

Vegan Type 1 Diabetes

In one year, my life with type 1 diabetes changed in ways I never thought possible.

After 12 months of eating a plant-based diet, my insulin needs decreased by 50%. As a 24 year old with Type 1 diabetes, I injected on average 60 units of insulin per day. Now at 25, I dial up 30 units per day. While defying conventional wisdom, I achieved these results while doubling my carbohydrate intake – effectively increasing carbohydrate consumption from 100 to 200 grams per day.

For those not familiar with Type 1 diabetes, let me clarify. People with Type 1 diabetes make no insulin. Every carbohydrate I eat is compensated for with insulin. We with diabetes do not know why our pancreas went on permanent vacation, but it did. I can exercise, eat right, and meditate until the proverbial cows come home, and I will still be using insulin.

How then, can we explain that I am eating more carbohydrates (fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes) but taking less insulin? Continue reading

Tuesday Topic: Medical Research Donations vs. Deaths

Fundraising ChartI came across a recent article, The Truth About the Ice Bucket Challenge by VOX.com, that sparked a bit of anger.  As someone in the non-profit world, charitable gifts are a HUGE component to the success of your organization or cause, and in my industry we have to be transparent as to what the donation will be used for (capital improvements, programming, general operation expenses, etc).  The recent ALS challenge and the statistics from this article brought that gut wrenching question to the surface – where is this money going?  Will it focus on finding a cure or just advancing methods/medications to treat the disease.  Both are very important, but my blood begins to boil knowing that a few companies actually benefit from the focus being on medications instead of a cure.   Continue reading