You never know when you’ll run into someone who shares a similar life philosophy, but after a chance meeting in college, Mark Carter resurfaces on Okie soil. He’s real and doesn’t hold back about his love of Equal and Chik-Fil-A. In this episode, our longest one yet, he shares his journey of being an ambassador for people with diabetes who don’t have a voice. If you’re brave enough to listen to the whole thing, we hope you’ll leave with the thought – is diabetes a blessing or a curse?Continue reading →
I’ve read a lot about the word “no” this year. It all started with Shonda Rhyme’s Year of Yes in which she actually wrote an entire chapter about saying no. She explained how learning to say no fortified her yeses. She says, “No is a complete sentence. I’ve heard that cliché over and over. So I decided to treat no in the same way I treat saying thank you. Say no and then don’t say anything else.”
Amber loves to travel so she hit the road and ventured to Texas (one state away from our OKC home). What better way to meet fellow PWDs than traveling the southwestern countryside? Before heading out she contacted the American Diabetes Association to see if anyone in their part of town had a story to share. They totally hooked her up with Deirdre Murphy, a lovely woman who went from an original Type 2 diagnosis to eventually being re-diagnosed with Type 1. In the 30th show, Deirdre shares her 12+ year journey and reflects on living life with T2D… and now T1D, eventually coming to a place of relief at the type 1 prognosis (a rare event).
When I received my invitation to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine, it included a primer on life in Ukraine, with general information on history, geography, transportation, culture and a small section on food. It should come as no surprise to other PWD, but I have a sometimes wonderful and sometimes dangerous relationship with food. The information shared they’re heavy on meat and vegetables, with seasonal access to produce, and the majority of grocery shopping is done in open air bazaars and small shops. This was helpful, but didn’t minimize my anxiety when it came to carbohydrate counting or questions about glucose tab availability. Continue reading →
Imagine putting your child with type one diabetes (T1D) to bed with less fear of a dangerously low blood sugar. If you have T1D, imagine doing a triathlon or a belly dancing class your friend keeps bugging you about with confidence your blood sugar will remain stable along with your energy levels. The process I used to achieve near normal blood sugar took some time, commitment, experimentation, and sacrifice. All people with T1D have unique physiologies and my experience may not extrapolate to anyone else. However, the process I used is inexpensive and has no side effects, but the benefits could be priceless. Continue reading →
Remember doing those paint-by-number sheets when you were a kid? It seemed magical when a confusing canvas of intersecting lines and random numbers transformed into a circus elephant or something equally amazing. I remember the joy I experienced when I produced my first masterpiece and the new found love I had for being an “artist.” Continue reading →
Amber and Ryan sweet talked past guest, fellow T1D, and long-time diabetes camp enthusiast, Kelly McKeever, into joining a summer edition of the show. Kelly’s had 13+ years at camp and shares what keeps him coming back, now in a medical personnel role. In this episode they catch up on life with diabetes, cutting edge developments in diabetes tech, the camp life experience, what we learned about ourselves, and the value of having “a diabetes community in person”. Continue reading →
I arrived in Ukraine with my life packed into two suitcases (one of which was half filled with medical supplies). My first stop as a Peace Corps trainee was an old sanitarium just outside the capital city of Kyiv. There, my group of volunteers had a few buffer days in which Peace Corps became real: we learned which language we would study, where our 10-week language and job training would take place, which other volunteers would be in our 4-5 person training ‘cluster’, and we filled out a lot of paperwork. This is also where I had to decide how and to whom I would tell about my diabetes. Continue reading →
What started as a mini pod quickly blossomed into a full blown podcast once Amber began diving into the nitty gritty as to how Tara Layman (T1D Exposed co-founder) scored a new pancreas and kidney. The question of the hour – Will two pancreases and three kidneys reverse her Type 1 diabetes diagnosis? Well, in this episode they chat openly about the pre surgery process, switching from insulin shots to a handful of pills, how important it is to have a support team and what the future holds for someone who no longer “technically” has Type 1 diabetes. Continue reading →
Several years ago I set off for an insurance appointment about 60 miles from my home in Carlsbad, CA. I had eaten lunch and felt pretty good so I hit the road. It was a rainy day in Southern California and when I was finished with the appointment I headed home. After a few miles I started to feel a little light headed began to sweat a little, but I didn’t think anything of it. I kept driving. Continue reading →
What’s the recipe for innovation? Funny you ask, we were thinking it went a little like this: timing, drive, wit, guts, luck, and a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. At least in Amy Tenderich’s story, all of those factors came together magically when she received her diagnosis in 2003. Continue reading →
I was diagnosed with type 1 when I was thirteen. Shortly after, a fellow traveler broke it down for me: you can either control your diabetes or you can let it control you. A rabble rouser froma young age, I decided quickly that if those were my choices, I’d choose option A. At the time, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to make that decision each day, but gradually it helped me develop a personality trait I see in a lot of folks with type 1: we love a challenge, and we love to prove people wrong. When I decided to be a Peace Corps Volunteer, I went into it with that same bullheaded mentality that had been an almost constant companion since diagnosis. Continue reading →
I have a friend who had her first baby a week before I had my Lily. She announced her pregnancy one week after taking an over-the-counter test. She posted an emotionally ecstatic, over-the-moon announcement on Facebook, posted pictures of her dog with baby shoes on Instagram, and from that day forward used social media daily to share ultrasounds, belly photos, pregnancy workout selfies, baby clothes, and so much more.
We got the green light to interview IndyCar driver and fellow guy with type 1 diabetes, Charlie Kimball. He not only keeps his car on the track, he stays out of the low BG pits. In this episode he shares his father’s in-car orange juice invention, his daily attitude, and how he became the (sort of) first T1D IndyCar driver. Continue reading →
Everyday I work with people with diabetes who struggle to lower their A1C on their own, with losing weight, with insulin resistance, with achieving stable and predictable blood sugar levels, with getting into an exercise/nutrition routine, and with controlling food cravings. Continue reading →
When I was ten years old, my doctor told my mom I would never have children. I didn’t hear these words; I was laying in a diabetic coma that lasted for 4 days. When I woke up, I woke up to a new life, a diagnosed life that included injections, meal planning, and glucometers. When my mom finally broke the news to me a few months later, the last thing on my mind was having kids someday.
I’m settling into my life with diabetes and ultimately, the whole experience has been a lot easier than I thought it would be. However, there are a few pretty annoying aspects of everything. I’ve decided to make a list:
The Bag: I left the hospital with the most hideous bag I’ve ever seen to carry my supplies. It was a smushed cheap camouflage lunch box. Seriously. I had to be seen at Panera with that thing. Short-term, I bought a black make-up bag from CVS. I was surprised when I found some great bags online made specifically for carrying diabetes supplies. I got mine from this SITE and love it.
As a freshman in high school, if someone had asked me what type 1 diabetes was about two months ago, I would have been clueless. I kind of knew about Type 2 and I might’ve had a sense that there was a second type of diabetes, but… that was about it.
A few weeks before my diagnosis, I hadn’t been feeling like myself and was thirsty all of the time. My mom and I decided that should it persist throughout the next week or so, I would go to the doctor. On Thursday morning I felt fine, except for this new usual thirstiness. About mid-morning my stomach started hurting a little. It wasn’t that bad, so I figured it was just something I ate. I had biology class right before lunch, and we were doing a lab on yeast fermentation. While my teacher was explaining part of the procedure, I started feeling dizzy. It got worse and worse, and by the time I realized something was actually wrong, I couldn’t really do anything. Out.Continue reading →
Routine–we love to hate it, especially with a demanding disease like diabetes, which requires hyper-vigilance. No sane person would set their alarm to wake up during the night to check their blood sugar, diligently count carbs before a meal, or force themselves on the treadmill at 9 pm. But we do it, because without the effort, where would we be? The science speaks for itself.
So, how can we turn a ‘have to’ into a ‘want to’. This is where the sister science of Yoga and Ayurveda take center stage. The word Ayurveda means the science of life. As a traditional Indian method of healing, it uses the natural world to help us understand what creates balance and imbalance. Continue reading →
Nearly 15 years ago in September, my 10 year-old brain and body was forced to comprehend an absurd and sudden diagnosis that has subsequently shaped my life as an adult. Type 1 diabetes (T1D) in my eyes then, was something I had never heard of, and surely I’d end up blind like my aunt, taking several shots a day for the rest of my life.
Looking back now at the initial diagnosis, T1D has ultimately shaped my goals and dreams. Although, I will say it took me a time or six to get that through my head, especially during college, and to stop putting my diabetes on the back burner, ignoring the fact I had to deal with this disease on a daily basis. That was the toughest issue I’ve had to face and overcome with T1D to date. Ignoring my diabetes and trying to live the life all of my friends were living during college did nothing but land me in the hospital on several occasions and leave me with hospital bills to pay at 22 years old. Continue reading →
“Just remember – life is like a sine graph”, my mother always touted, long before I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (at the “adult” age of 18). Growing up with a dad who was a math professor ensured that I knew from a very early age what the sine function was. It goes up, and then down. And then back up. She always said it to make me feel better – after losing a tennis match, getting a lousy grade on an exam or fighting with my high school boyfriend. “Head up Maria – remember – life is like a sine graph.” Continue reading →
A Little History About How We Met… Liam and I met during our first year at Trent University in Peterborough, Canada as we lived in the same residence building and were part of a pretty tight knit group of friends. The very first time I spoke to Liam was during our frosh week. He was about to run a bouncy castle obstacle course race and I was behind him in the lineup. He jumped into the obstacle course and had been gone for a couple minutes. Our crew began to question why he was gone so long because the obstacle was only supposed to last about 30 seconds. Just then, Liam walked around from the back of the obstacle course (the end of the course was actually at the front) and looked very disoriented and upset. His upper lip was incredibly swollen and cut up and he was complaining of neck pain. He had jumped out of the back of the bouncy castle and landed face first onto the ground.
An Introduction To Diabetes: The next morning in the cafeteria, the first words I EVER said to Liam were “merry Christmas fat lip” because his lip was still swollen from face planting the night before and was wearing a red and green outfit. He was embarrassed, but loved the silliness of my comment and we became very close after that. From the beginning, I had no idea Liam had diabetes. He hid his pump under his shirt and never tested his blood or changed his pump sites around me. Diabetes never held him back from being athletic and energetic so I never suspected this young crazy teenage boy actually had an autoimmune disease.
A couple weeks into university I asked Liam what he was allergic to, after noticing he was wearing a medic alert bracelet. He laughed and said he was allergic to sugar, or a type 1 diabetic. I wasn’t really sure what this meant. I only knew one other PWD, my aunt who was recently diagnosed. I didn’t know Liam all that well at that point and wasn’t comfortable asking him tons of questions about diabetes. I was nervous, didn’t want to sound dumb, worried I would embarrass or upset him. I never thought any less of Liam or that he was fragile or weak because of diabetes. It didn’t change my view on him whatsoever. He was still silly, loud and had an endless amount of energy so I didn’t think diabetes could be that serious of an illness. His explanation was so brief and nonchalant, which helped to show me that it wasn’t something that would stop him from living properly in any way. Discovering Liam has T1D encouraged me to learn more about diabetes and how I could help him. I did most of my learning through asking questions and he was very open about it.
This is something I believe no type 1 should be afraid to do. Asking questions and being open to answering questions spreads knowledge and curbs incorrect and therefore annoying assumptions about type 1.
I was obese, ill, tired, suffering from major depression and diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. My blood sugar was out of control… no wonder I was feeling so unwell!
Back in September of 2014 I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. I had been feeling poorly for quite some time, was overweight and out of shape. At 35 years old and 5′ 8″, I weighed in at almost 20 stone (280 lbs.). I drank a lot of alcohol and smoked roughly 20 cigarettes a day. The alcohol was a big problem and it had been for years. This was more than likely contributing to my depression, but I didn’t want to admit it. The alcohol helped me block out the negative thoughts – and this is the “vicious circle“. Continue reading →
Over drinks with T1D friends one night, we (Kat and Tara) were talking about fundraising ideas to support our beloved diabetes camp (where we had met the summer before), and other amazing diabetes non-profits. It can be so hard to ask friends and family for money all the time when there are so many worthy causes. We laughed about how ridiculous it would be to start a T1D nude calendar. We kept joking about it, then seriously talking about it, and decided we had to make it happen.
What started off as a joke between friends turned into something beautiful as we recruited people to participate in the project. It is interesting to us that diabetes is often called an invisible disease. Sometimes it feels anything but invisible with the bumps and bruises, scar tissue and patches of sticky adhesive residue, gadgets and tubing, and constant beeping. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Diabetes can definitely leave its mark on your body, and we feel this is especially apparent when naked. During their photo shoots, T1Ds shared stories of struggle and acceptance, of eating disorders and complications, and also of finding peace.
There was a lot of laughing and a lot of crying. The love for bodies and all their amazing abilities, and the exasperation of living with a chronically ill body that requires so much mental attention to keep alive really resonated with us. It’s about acknowledging the struggle and changes to your life and body while celebrating your existence and abilities. The calendar reminds us to practice gratitude for all the amazing things are bodies are able to accomplish each day with insulin.
Diabetes was by no means how we met or the reason we began our relationship, but throughout the last year, Liam and I were thrown into some surprising situations that have shown me type 1 definitely has a lighter side. With all the advice and moderately frightening anecdotal evidence pointing towards diabetes being a massive challenge and something that should be taken seriously, we forget there are parts of being around a type 1 that are eye-opening, unique and wildly funny. Continue reading →
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 12, in Sydney, Australia, where I called home growing up. The diagnosis was a blur; dropping 20 pounds off my already tall, slim frame and was super thirsty and lethargic. I was sent to the emergency room of the children’s hospital and immediately diagnosed with type 1. No DKA, fortunately, and I only stayed in the hospital for a couple of days, learning how to give shots and test my blood sugar.
I was already growing into a quiet, awkward teenager and having diabetes made me more uncomfortable in social situations. I didn’t test my blood or inject in front of others, but still managed to have decent control, as my parents were quite strict on my management – my A1c was always in the 7’s. Continue reading →
I just finished reading Ryan’s post, The Enlightenment: Why Did I Wait So Damn Long To Return To The Stomach?, about forgetting to use his stomach as an effective pump site location. It made me think about my own system that I’ve wanted to share for quite some time. After 29 years with T1 and 10 years pumping, I’ve come up with a simple, effective rotation. When I was diagnosed, I initially received a site rotation card from one of the hospitals or doctor’s offices I had visited and it illustrated the various sites, but I still felt that it was a little complicated, so I made adjustments.
This is a great method for busy people who don’t always remember their last site, pill, dose or whatever repetitive action you have done day after day. That is me in a nutshell. So, here is the visual aid I created and I’ll walk you through it with a few tips. Continue reading →
The 80/20 rule usually means that 20 percent of the causes create 80 percent of the results. As a TID for 29 years, I think of it a little differently. I like to believe if I follow the rules 80 percent of the time, I can “bend” them for 20 percent.
So, what does that really mean for a person with T1D?
It means that I’m not so hard on myself when I slip-up. It means that I’m not pressured by the illusive perfection in diabetes management.Continue reading →
The DDG is looking to expand in hopes of reaching a larger audience because according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there are 29.1 million diabetics in the United States. We’re willing to bet these folks could use a little real support for the diabetic life – DDG style. We are currently looking for a few fellow passionate folks to share their story.
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.
Here’s John after finishing a recent half marathon
John before the T2D diagnosis
A new lease on life!
Hiking in Colorado
Hiking out in Utah!
The DDG wants to share the stories of fellow diabetic warriors. Meet John B., a Type 2 diabetic who used the diagnosis as a catalyst to transform his life.
DDG: Dude, what are you all about?
JB: I have type 2 diabetes. It is a disease of choice and I choose not to live with the symptoms anymore. I will work hard, play outside in God’s playground, be present and I choose life! That is what I’m about.
DDG: Tell us about your diagnosis day.
JB: I was diagnosed November 30, 2011. I hadn’t been feeling well and I suspected diabetes, so I went in for some blood work. Dr. Ratliff called to tell me that my A1c was critically high and my blood sugar was 434. I have Type 2 diabetes and had apparently had it for quite some time. That was the most important date in my life because it allowed me to move forward with purpose, and live my life by my rules. I just had to learn what those rules would be. I decided the minute I hung-up the phone that I was going to live, not only live, I was going to thrive! As Andy Dufresne (Shawshank Redemption) said, “Get busy living, or get busy dying”. Continue reading →