Podcast 63: Hulk Sightings & Jiminy Cricket Life Saving Moments

My adventure to Arkansas, as one of the first Real Life Diabetes “taking the show on the road”, was a smashing success. This couple had me tearing up within the first hour and laughing out loud at the same time. They were welcoming, kind, a ton of fun and not scared to share very personal stories of living, as a couple, with Type 1 diabetes.

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Podcast 61: A Glamorous & Glittery Perspective on Life with T1D | Paloma Kemak

While on the road with the Real Life Diabetes podcast in Scottsdale, I had the pleasure of having dinner with Paloma Kemak (aka Glitter Glucose). Her story is very different from mine, but her diagnosis and overall mindset is entertaining and up-lifting. Paloma’s energy and ability to laugh while sharing her story is contagious and inspiring to PWDs from across the globe.

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Ryan’s Fondest Farewell And Cheers | Real Life Diabetes Podcast 55


It’s funny how the thing you set out to do ends up being done to you. We had one goal when launching Diabetes Daily Grind back in 2014–give real support for the diabetes life (it was once ‘diabetic life’, but we got with the times, thanks to Kelly McKeever). I had it all figured out, the whole living with diabetes thing. I’d write articles for the website about how to run marathons or how to go vegan, dispelling all this great wisdom to help others, and it would be a fun, creative outlet. Turns out, I didn’t even know what real support was, because I’d been missing it all along: community. Turns out I needed the real support. Continue reading

The 670G Sleep Solution | Mark Carter, Round III | Real Life Diabetes Podcast 53

For all of us, this was a new season. In the time away from each other (less than a year), Mark has moved back to Northwest Arkansas, started a new job with Medtronic, and committed to a diabetes life with the new 670G insulin pump. And, as expected, the conversation went off the rails from the anticipated agenda and into even realer subjects: sex, sleep, and chick-fil-a.
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You Can’t Stop The Waves, But… You Can Learn To Surf | Stephen Ponder, MD, and Founder of Sugar Surfing | Real Life Diabetes Podcast 41

Listening to someone give advice, you can usually tell the level of authenticity behind the statements. When chatting with Dr. Stephen Ponder, there’s no question about authenticity–this sugar surfing wisdom is a part of his being. Growing up with type 1 diabetes (for 50 years), becoming a CDE (certified diabetes educator) and then a pediatric endocrinologist, passion fuels a life committed to inspiring people with diabetes to live a normal, possibly extraordinary life. Continue reading

Returning To Pediatric Endocrinology As A Medical Student (My Refresh On Diabetes 101)

With crossed fingers and pump tubing, I hoped for a one week placement on Endocrinology during our six week Pediatrics rotation. All that crossed tubing paid off–granting a chance to be around my people for a week. During a four year education, opportunities for type 1 diabetes exposure are slim, surprisingly.

It felt good to be back in the peds endo office after a 10 year hiatus, although a tad disorienting. Lies about logbooks were absent (all numbers are now downloaded straight from the meter), parents know even more than they used to (thanks to Dexcom share and all those other meter apps), and 504 plans are a mainstay (my plan used to involve proving to my high school teachers that I was low with my meter and stumbling to the vending machine). Continue reading

Just One Pancreas Hijacking Away From A Better Life

At the age of 21, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes during my first semester of graduate school. I was a go-getter, an over-achiever, and on track to take the career world by storm. The months leading up to my diagnosis were painful, as my pancreas began to deteriorate, unbeknownst to me. Slowly, my energy levels depleted and I struggled to find an ounce of motivation to complete the simplest tasks. My body had been hijacked. Continue reading

Own Your Diabetes Journey | Kim Boaz-Wilson, CDE and PWD | Real Life Diabetes Podcast 38

When seeking diabetes healthcare, it’s rare to find a person who delivers advice that he or she has felt. In speaking with Kim, you know she lives and breathes every word of her life lessons with a no fear philosophy. Ryan and Amber went to school. Continue reading

Wisdom In Wichita (The 24 Hour Road Trip Of Enlightenments) | Amber and Ryan | Real Life Diabetes Podcast 33

real-life-diabetes-podcast-33

The DDG hit the road and headed to Kansas for the Live Well Diabetes EXPO. We had less than 24 hours to spread the DDG love to the people of Wichita. Along the way, we picked up a few stories from folks in the great plains area who are living the real life – diabetes style. In this episode we share our take aways and life philosophies from our time with SO many fellow PWDs and their families.  Continue reading

How I Thrived as a T1D Peace Corps Volunteer (Pt. 4): For a Good Time, Call a Pharmacist

doner-in-turkey

I spent an unnatural amount of time trying to start this post – wondering how I’d weave the tale of diabetes supplies lost and broken during my two-year stint in Ukraine. Looking back on a few instances, I could have done a number of things better or differently to improve an outcome or expedite solutions. However, I didn’t. In a previous post, I mentioned my “diabetes doesn’t control my life” mantra. I’m proud of my how I control my T1D, but I’m sure I’ve managed to terrify several medical professionals with my “put some duct tape on it” approach to T1D troubleshooting. I can’t help it! Continue reading

The Power Of The Pause (And Its Ability To Save Others From The Low Or High You)

Type 1 Diabetes

I used to think it was untouchable–beyond reach. Out of my control and me at its will. But, as time often allows, things soften. A small sliver of space has opened; the space to be me inside of a low or high blood sugar.

A conversation sparked last weekend at the JDRF One Walk in Oklahoma City, surrounding just this concept. I was catching up with an old friend (who also has T1D) and we discussed the subtle impacts that diabetes has on a day, by changing the course of a single moment; his feeling that blood sugars alter the flow of conversations. Citing specifically how it impacts his engagement in meetings, and I chimed in with how it sometimes impacts empathy with patients. And, in an accumulation of altered moments, he mentioned a friend of his had recently attributed a divorce to type 1. It’s there, the invisible (sometimes visible to others) blood sugar force. Continue reading

The Reason I’m Sticking With Shots… For A Couple More Weeks

How To Exercise on Levemir or Lantus

Never fails. The thought enters, I love my pump, never had better control, and so thankful for it. Then, subtly the morning sugars are a little off.  Then, I find myself chasing blood sugars. Then, I start doubting the pump and begin thinking about insulin resistance in pump site locations. Then, I switch back to the ol’ long-term/short-term game. Every couple of years this sneaky process plays its way out. Continue reading

Diabetes In One Trip To The Plate (This Is A Baseball Metaphor)

Diabetes and Baseball

Welcome to the dog days… and the unofficial closing summer ceremony, with Labor Day less than a week away. In this window of time, I usually remember that baseball exists still. To the baseball purist, my following of the sport is somewhat reprehensible, as most of my interest peaks in October (after neglecting the first 5 months of the season). We sit roughly 1 month out from the beginning of playoff baseball, meaning this is where I start to tune-in. Continue reading

Embracing The Club You Never Signed Up For | IndyCar Driver Charlie Kimball | Real Life Diabetes 23

Charlie Kimball - Real Life Diabetes Podcast

Photo Credit: LAT USA

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

Another Happy Hour Full Of Enlightenment (Proving To Parents That Normalcy Is Possible)

Real LIfe Connection - T1D Happy Hour

It’s time for Round 2. We’re hosting our second happy hour, this time centered around parents and adults with type 1 diabetes. One might ask, why would we choose those two populations? Well, there’s wisdom to be gained from each other. For the parent of a kid with diabetes, the adult with the same disease can provide perspective (the DDG will not guarantee the quality of this perspective but suspect it will be a positive experience). For the adult with diabetes, hmmm… perhaps we will be enlightened as to how it felt to once be our own parents. Continue reading

The Enlightenment: Why Did I Wait So Damn Long To Return To The Stomach?

Best Pump Site Location - Diabetes Management

 

As is par for the course with much of my decision-making, the original reasoning escapes me. Was it done out of boredom? Just a random change of pace? Perhaps I grew tired of my belt nudging it. Maybe it was the other morning in the shower when I felt the dense scar tissue building on my hips. Possibly, I realized those hundreds of microscopic white scars on my stomach aren’t going away, even after a 4 year break.

Or, in the more likely and less melodramatic version of the story, the moment happened in Metabolism class, when my teacher mentioned that blood glucose is absorbed most effectively by visceral adipose tissue, that stuff surrounding our internal organs or hanging over the belt, when signaled by insulin. Haven’t we all been told “stomach, butt, thigh, or back of arm”? But to hear that it acts fastest and best around the stomach, that struck a cord. Thus, I made the move back to the stomach. Continue reading

What Happened When Bread Broke Back Into My Life

Bread and Type 1 Diabetes Management

 

Somewhere along this health journey I discontinued my bread habit. Was it the rising tide of gluten poison talk? Probably a contributing factor. Could it have been proximity influence from a family member with gluten intolerance? That made it convenient. Did I stop consuming it because subconsciously I knew my diabetes life would be simpler? Don’t think that was it, too much credit given to me.

This is not to say I haven’t enjoyed the occasional sandwich (if you’re ever in Boulder, get the Tempeh Reuben at Mountain Sun Brewery), but I rarely purchased bread at the store over a two-year period. My quality of life was remotely unchanged. I substituted in sprouted tortillas occasionally. Ended up finding some amazing gluten-free cereal at Sprouts (Love Grown Bean-Based Cereal). I ate more rice and quinoa. Continue reading

The Extra 10%: Useful Knowledge For Anyone Who Knows A PWD

The 10 Percent Rule: Diabetes Management

 

This is for anyone searching for insight, perhaps into someone they know or themselves. Diabetes, on the surface, is simple. Deep down, it’s full of complexity. This isn’t breaking news. The 10% rule has held true, time and time again, through various meanings in my life.

 

Meaning #1: No matter the day, the hour, or the minute, our mental load consists of an extra 10%.

Given that my experience is limited to my own mind since the age of nine, the exact percentage shouldn’t be trusted completely. Just a guess. I suppose any given person has their worries. For me, minute by minute, I am checking in with my vision, tongue dryness, mouth taste, leg strength, thought patterns, and mood, all in the predictive goal of tracking blood sugar continuously. Why do we do this? Well, because it’s nice to be yourself. Not being yourself happens when your blood sugar moves out of range, resulting in the aforementioned symptoms. Now’s the perfect spot to move into the next meaning. Continue reading

The Dawn Of Vegan Diabetes Management: A Few Surprising Findings

(Photo Credit: Red Dirt Ruminations)

(Photo Credit: Red Dirt Ruminations)

I am no hero–nor am I trying save the free animal world–but just a guy trying something out, just to be a little healthier, just to feel a little better. That’s always been my mantra when it comes to going plant-based (vegan). Right now, a day’s meals consisting of purely kale smoothies and kale chips works for me. Just kidding, I like to treat myself with cacao dusted goji berries when I really need a splurge.

Okay, in all seriousness and devoid of another vegan stereotype, it’s been an awesome journey over the past two years. I feel more connected to food’s power to energize. I understand more deeply the effects of various foods on my blood sugar. Yet, I’ll admit that no consideration was given to how it might affect my blood sugars, insulin levels, or diabetes in general. For those who know me this will come as no shock, I am firmly in the “not a planner” camp. I tend to take action and make diabetes adjustments on the fly. Does that always pan out for me? No, it does not (proof here).

So, when I jumped off the carnivore cliff and explored uncharted vegan territory, surprises were aplenty: Continue reading

4 Rules For Better Boundaries With Your CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor)

Yes, I know it's a phone but for our purposes they might as well be the same.

Yes, I know it’s a phone but for our purposes they might as well be the same.

I knew what I was getting when I signed up for this CGM thing. I knew full well what could happen to myself when given the chance to know my blood sugar, all the time. The consequences of that gift have been two-sided. First, it’s drastically reduced really high highs and really low lows. Secondly, it’s created another distraction in a world full of attention grabbing things. I cherish the ability to be present, let things unfold, and react accordingly. At times, the CGM has challenged that mantra. With each alarm or urge to check it, that takes away undivided attention from studying, conversations, and work projects. With a set of rules developed through experience, I am now apt to deal with the CGM with balance, well, at least sometimes.

Here are those rules for diabetes management with a CGM:

1. Employ multiple ranges.

Most continuous glucose monitoring devices allow for flexibility in your CGM alarm ranges. At night, I prefer to loosen up the reins. Instead of being buzzed and beeped when I approach 200, I prefer to buzzed and beeped when I approach 250. Sleep is the priority. During the day, I take the opposite approach with the goal of being below 200, to optimize brain function. Continue reading