Category Archives: people

3 Questions: Rick Storm, Type 2 Diabetic from Beaverton, Oregon

3 Questions: Rick Storm, Type 2 Diabetic from Beaverton, Oregon

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We ask Everyday Diabetics three questions and they record themselves answering from the heart. Real people, real answers, unfiltered and uncut for the real world.

This week we put three questions to Rick Storm. A 52-year old native of Sacramento, California, now living in Beaverton, Oregon, Rick’s 9-5 is for a fire protection company where he oversees the day to day business.

Rick is also active in the world of mixed martial arts on the The Underground at MixedMartialArts.com, where he works as an admin for a public forum as well as dealing with fighter stats and promoters. The Mixed Martial Arts organization is the official record keepers for mixed martial arts worldwide.


Three Questions:

1. What was your reaction when you were first diagnosed?
2. Tell us about your experience with diabetes and how it has affected your life?
3. What advice would you give to someone who has recently been diagnosed?

Want to be featured? Email us! editor@everydaydiabetes.com

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Q&A: Stephen Clancy of the World’s First All-Diabetes Professional Cycling Team – Everyday Diabetes

Q&A: Stephen Clancy of the World’s First All-Diabetes Professional Cycling Team

A conversation with one of the members of the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, who are set to compete at the 2018 Tour de France.

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On the 16th and 17th of November the Diabetes Professional Care 2016 will return to London Olympia. The leading free-to-attend two accredited conference and exhibition provides a forum for discovering and developing the future of diabetes care.

It also allows visitors to check out state-of-the-art technology, hear about the latest thinking and research, while also networking with like-minded industry experts.

Among those holding a workshop session is Stephen Clancy, part of the Team Novo Nordisk cycling team – the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, who are set to compete at the 2018 Tour de France.

Stephen will be running a ‘meet and greet’ workshop, looking at how the team balances racing at the top level of cycling with managing diabetes. Here, Stephen shares his thoughts on diabetes care, tips and advice.


How did you first discover that you had diabetes? How would you describe the initial care you received?

I was part of the Irish U23 Cycling Development team who recommended to get routine blood tests done which showed up the elevated blood sugar levels. Once the results came back it explained the reason why I had been showing all the symptoms of pre-diagnosis, which I hadn’t realized meant I could have diabetes.

Don’t let it hold you back. You don’t have to stop pursuing your dreams. It’s an obstacle that can be overcome, not a barrier.

How has cycling helped you deal with your diagnosis?

For me, being a cyclist is already a good reason to watch my diet, but also the activity helps my insulin sensitivity. When I am sick, injured or during my off season and not cycling much, I find it more difficult to control everything.

How do you and the team balance racing at the top level of cycling with managing diabetes?

We all wear a continuous glucose monitor which helps. Also through experience, each of us has a good idea of what works best for us in relation to foods and dosages. Of course every day is different but we use the information gathered to continue to improve our control.

The team competing at a race in China.
The team competing at a race in China.

Do you have any clever tips when it comes to diet that you could share with other sufferers?

Figure out how different types of foods affect your blood sugar levels. Even if you count the carbohydrates, every meal is different. Learn from your mistakes and try to improve each time.

What do you like most about being a diabetes ambassador?

When I was diagnosed, I didn’t really know anyone with diabetes. And when I was told that I should only cycle a mile when diagnosed I thought my dream was over. Now I feel like I can help people who are in a similar situation to how I was. It’s such a rewarding feeling to be part of a team that educates, empowers and inspires other people with the conditions and this gives me even more motivation to train and race.

What advice would you give to someone who has just found out they have diabetes?

Don’t let it hold you back. You don’t have to stop pursuing your dreams. It’s an obstacle that can be overcome, not a barrier. Give it the attention it deserves and step by step you can get things under control. It could be a lot worse.

When I was diagnosed, I didn’t really know anyone with diabetes. And when I was told that I should only cycle a mile when diagnosed I thought my dream was over.

What advice would you give to healthcare professionals who are trying to encourage sufferers to take more exercise?

Don’t be too scared to prescribe exercise as a way to balance their condition. Sometimes they have such a fear of lows because of exercise but with the correct knowledge this can be avoided.

What innovation in the diabetes sphere would have the biggest impact on your life?

I’m not sure. Of course a cure would be perfect but I wouldn’t say no to anything which is a step closer towards achieving that.


You car read more about the team here.

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Interview: Margaret Jaques, Mother, Wife, Business Owner, Type 2 Diabetic – Everyday Diabetes

Interview: Margaret Jaques, Mother, Wife, Business Owner, Type 2 Diabetic

Margaret was diagnosed with Type 2 just last year, but has dealt with it head on and is an inspiration to all.

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A native of Atlantic County, New Jersey and now an 18-year resident of Savannah, Georgia, Margaret Jaques was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in November of 2015. 

Following her diagnosis, she refused to be on insulin, but took the necessary steps needed to manage her condition and has done so successfully.

The 48-year-old mother of a 13-year-old daughter and wife to a husband with whom she shares the same birthday, Margaret runs her own company called Savannah Generations, a service which provides care to the elderly in their home.

When she’s not busy, Margaret occupies her time doing her favorite activities such as gardening, cooking, writing, reading, hiking, traveling, and taking care of her pets.

She recently spoke with Everyday Diabetes Magazine about living with diabetes.


After being officially diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, how did you feel?

I was always insulin resistant due to PCOS. Undiagnosed diabetes had me in really bad shape over here. When I was diagnosed in November, I had an A1C of 7.8. My doctor threatened to put me on insulin and I cried. I’m also simply afraid of needles. It broke me thinking I had to go on insulin, which was basically poisoning me. She gave me five months to bring it down via diet and exercise, and that was the option I chose.

“I refused to buy a new bathroom scale. I promised myself to not check my weight every day.”

What is your main support system? How did your family react to your diagnosis?

My husband Jon is my main support system and he is wonderful. However, I haven’t openly shared my diagnosis with many friends or family. Diabetes seems to be a very misunderstood disease that I’m not really willing to educate everyone on, or to feel like I always have to explain myself. I belong to a private FB group called Diabetes Type II Support and feel more comfortable there with like minded people who share the same struggles.

Is there a family history of diabetes?

In my family, not a single case of diabetes popped up until my mother was diagnosed with it when she was 58. She was fiercely battling breast cancer a decade ago, then the cancer came back at her five year remission mark, and she had to start over again with treatments. My mother is cancer free now, but still deals with diabetes daily by using insulin.

Margaret Jaques family - Everyday Diabetes
With the family

What was your routine for diet and exercise that made you so successful in your 5 month journey?

I started watching my carbs closely. I had been on Atkins twice before and did well, but that was never sustainable. I ate more of a South Beach style of diet with portion control. I made wiser choices when it came to carbs. Instead of potatoes, I would substitute the cravings with mashed cauliflower or french fried turnips. I doubled my veggie portion which was/is mainly my bulk of carbs. I switched from sugar to Splenda.

As my weight came off by just becoming more active, my neuropathy pain went down, as well as my depression. I started a garden, organized the house, and exercised more frequently. I feel so much better. My main exercise was to move with purpose. I had no purpose before.

How much weight have you lost in total and what do you have planned to keep the weight off?

By March 15th, I had lost 40 lbs and had an A1C of 5.8. I see her again on June 15th and I’m now 58lbs down and I’m certain that my A1C is down also. I haven’t done any training yet  but I am considering it for toning certain areas where I have loose skin. Due to a bad umbilical hernia, ab exercises are impossible at the moment.

The diabetes has kept me from getting that umbilical surgery, and I’m hoping she will approve it in the next few months. Currently I eat 1550 calories and 120 carbs or less per day. I’m taking advantage of thermodynamics (calories in/calories out), and my meter. I lose at least a pound every week or more consistently, and have yet to stall. I’ve gone from 240lbs to 181.

“Thankfully, I don’t feel like I’m 98 anymore.”

What was your doctor’s reaction to your weight loss and what is her plan from here?

I left her in shock in March, having lost 40lbs. We set a goal for me to lose 10 more by June, and I’ve lost 25 at least. I also promised myself not to look at the scale every day. My A1C went from a 7.8 last November to a 5.8 this past visit in March. She was so happy. “Nobody does that!” She was hopping up and down over it. I just started getting my fasting morning numbers under 100 for a month straight. My appointment with her in mid June will give me my new A1C report and blood panel to see what she thinks.

Before losing 40 lbs.
Before losing 40 lbs.

You don’t like the scale, why is that?

I refused to buy a new bathroom scale. I promised myself to not check my weight every day. One of my elderly clients is a retired doctor and he has a great old scale in his bathroom and I weigh myself there once every other Wednesday. That is mainly to confirm to me that I am doing this to fix my health and eat for my meter, not my ego or weight. I also don’t want to go through the anguish of going up and down day by day, or have a bad water retentive day and think I messed up my diet. There are so many factors in losing weight, and I wanted to avoid the drama. My meter will tell the truth.

You are living proof that people don’t always need to go straight to medication. What advice would you give to someone who was newly diagnosed?

For anyone newly diagnosed I would highly advise them to buy a cheap notebook and start a daily journal. Use a free fitness application to log in their meals so they can see their nutrition intakes. Journal everything from your meds, your meals, macros, blood sugar readings, and how you feel.

If your meter reads over 140 two hours after eating, glance back at what you’ve just ate- particularly the carb/starch, fruit/sugar dishes and make a note to half the serving of them next time around. We don’t have to “diet” or deny ourselves anything; just control our portions and eat to our meter. After a few weeks of journaling you will soon get to know your own body and how it responds to your normal food fare. You’ll be more empowered to harmonize the two.

“For anyone newly diagnosed I would highly advise them to buy a cheap notebook and start a daily journal.”

What is your proudest accomplishment to this day?

Accomplishments is a difficult question, as I have met many goals and survived many tough obstacles in my 49 years. I’m certain that there are many more lessons to learn and milestones to meet in my future. When it comes to my health, quitting smoking is my next goal and one that scares me silly. Such things just have to stand down and it’s up to me to make that happen.

On the same level, I don’t like anyone or any situation to tell me what I cannot do. Doctors told me that I was infertile and would never have a child on my own without medical intervention due to PCOS. Once I knew that my condition had a name back in the late 1990’s, I stuck my nose in every medical book under the sun to learn about it. I was pregnant by 2002 with  my greatest accomplishment, my 13-year-old daughter who I am still growing. I’m so proud of her.

I don’t have an heir to spare, she’s my only one and I can’t fail in parenting. I fully understand that she is going to fail and fall at many things just like I have, but I will not fall as a parent. I’m going to support her and love her unconditionally so she knows as I have learned, your life for the most part is what you’ll make of it.

In your opinion, what do you think America could do as a whole to educate others on diabetes and diabetes prevention?

The FDA food pyramid had a slight revamping, but not nearly enough to break us from this unhealthy western diet. I truly believe that a solution to our ever growing health problems is to become rebellions. I homeschool our daughter and am responsible for her health and physical education credits.

This past year we focused on learning about our own individual bodies and how to listen to them and realize that every day we’re given opportunities to make our own choices. That’s the key, make our own choices in response to what we learn that our bodies individually want. An athletic Olympian may have a body and lifestyle that requires 3000 calories a day and carbs to power through training, whereas a school Librarian would fare better with one fruit serving per day and not the 2-4 that the FDA pyramid recommends. Empowering one another with self discovery tools is key.

I love gardening and when it comes to being patriotic or American, what’s better than establishing your own Victory Garden? Remove the government and corporate control over our diets, our lives, and in a sense our paychecks. Most of my garden has been grown from seeds or kitchen waste.

I have pineapples, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, green onions, bok choy and peppers. I’ll soon have enough for my family and to share with neighbors and co-workers. I belong to a local FB co-op who share and trade our extra seeds, rootings, and seedlings. It costs me nothing except the beneficial activity and exercise that it takes to get on my knees and dig in the soil.


You can find out more about Savannah Generations on their Facebook Page.

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Interview: Margaret Jaques, Mother, Wife, Business Owner, Type 2 Diabetic – Everyday Diabetes

Interview: Margaret Jaques, Mother, Wife, Business Owner, Type 2 Diabetic

Margaret was diagnosed with Type 2 just last year, but has dealt with it head on and is an inspiration to all.

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A native of Atlantic County, New Jersey and now an 18-year resident of Savannah, Georgia, Margaret Jaques was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in November of 2015. 

Following her diagnosis, she refused to be on insulin, but took the necessary steps needed to manage her condition and has done so successfully.

The 48-year-old mother of a 13-year-old daughter and wife to a husband with whom she shares the same birthday, Margaret runs her own company called Savannah Generations, a service which provides care to the elderly in their home.

When she’s not busy, Margaret occupies her time doing her favorite activities such as gardening, cooking, writing, reading, hiking, traveling, and taking care of her pets.

She recently spoke with Everyday Diabetes Magazine about living with diabetes.


After being officially diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, how did you feel?

I was always insulin resistant due to PCOS. Undiagnosed diabetes had me in really bad shape over here. When I was diagnosed in November, I had an A1C of 7.8. My doctor threatened to put me on insulin and I cried. I’m also simply afraid of needles. It broke me thinking I had to go on insulin, which was basically poisoning me. She gave me five months to bring it down via diet and exercise, and that was the option I chose.

“I refused to buy a new bathroom scale. I promised myself to not check my weight every day.”

What is your main support system? How did your family react to your diagnosis?

My husband Jon is my main support system and he is wonderful. However, I haven’t openly shared my diagnosis with many friends or family. Diabetes seems to be a very misunderstood disease that I’m not really willing to educate everyone on, or to feel like I always have to explain myself. I belong to a private FB group called Diabetes Type II Support and feel more comfortable there with like minded people who share the same struggles.

Is there a family history of diabetes?

In my family, not a single case of diabetes popped up until my mother was diagnosed with it when she was 58. She was fiercely battling breast cancer a decade ago, then the cancer came back at her five year remission mark, and she had to start over again with treatments. My mother is cancer free now, but still deals with diabetes daily by using insulin.

Margaret Jaques family - Everyday Diabetes
With the family

What was your routine for diet and exercise that made you so successful in your 5 month journey?

I started watching my carbs closely. I had been on Atkins twice before and did well, but that was never sustainable. I ate more of a South Beach style of diet with portion control. I made wiser choices when it came to carbs. Instead of potatoes, I would substitute the cravings with mashed cauliflower or french fried turnips. I doubled my veggie portion which was/is mainly my bulk of carbs. I switched from sugar to Splenda.

As my weight came off by just becoming more active, my neuropathy pain went down, as well as my depression. I started a garden, organized the house, and exercised more frequently. I feel so much better. My main exercise was to move with purpose. I had no purpose before.

How much weight have you lost in total and what do you have planned to keep the weight off?

By March 15th, I had lost 40 lbs and had an A1C of 5.8. I see her again on June 15th and I’m now 58lbs down and I’m certain that my A1C is down also. I haven’t done any training yet  but I am considering it for toning certain areas where I have loose skin. Due to a bad umbilical hernia, ab exercises are impossible at the moment.

The diabetes has kept me from getting that umbilical surgery, and I’m hoping she will approve it in the next few months. Currently I eat 1550 calories and 120 carbs or less per day. I’m taking advantage of thermodynamics (calories in/calories out), and my meter. I lose at least a pound every week or more consistently, and have yet to stall. I’ve gone from 240lbs to 181.

“Thankfully, I don’t feel like I’m 98 anymore.”

What was your doctor’s reaction to your weight loss and what is her plan from here?

I left her in shock in March, having lost 40lbs. We set a goal for me to lose 10 more by June, and I’ve lost 25 at least. I also promised myself not to look at the scale every day. My A1C went from a 7.8 last November to a 5.8 this past visit in March. She was so happy. “Nobody does that!” She was hopping up and down over it. I just started getting my fasting morning numbers under 100 for a month straight. My appointment with her in mid June will give me my new A1C report and blood panel to see what she thinks.

Before losing 40 lbs.
Before losing 40 lbs.

You don’t like the scale, why is that?

I refused to buy a new bathroom scale. I promised myself to not check my weight every day. One of my elderly clients is a retired doctor and he has a great old scale in his bathroom and I weigh myself there once every other Wednesday. That is mainly to confirm to me that I am doing this to fix my health and eat for my meter, not my ego or weight. I also don’t want to go through the anguish of going up and down day by day, or have a bad water retentive day and think I messed up my diet. There are so many factors in losing weight, and I wanted to avoid the drama. My meter will tell the truth.

You are living proof that people don’t always need to go straight to medication. What advice would you give to someone who was newly diagnosed?

For anyone newly diagnosed I would highly advise them to buy a cheap notebook and start a daily journal. Use a free fitness application to log in their meals so they can see their nutrition intakes. Journal everything from your meds, your meals, macros, blood sugar readings, and how you feel.

If your meter reads over 140 two hours after eating, glance back at what you’ve just ate- particularly the carb/starch, fruit/sugar dishes and make a note to half the serving of them next time around. We don’t have to “diet” or deny ourselves anything; just control our portions and eat to our meter. After a few weeks of journaling you will soon get to know your own body and how it responds to your normal food fare. You’ll be more empowered to harmonize the two.

“For anyone newly diagnosed I would highly advise them to buy a cheap notebook and start a daily journal.”

What is your proudest accomplishment to this day?

Accomplishments is a difficult question, as I have met many goals and survived many tough obstacles in my 49 years. I’m certain that there are many more lessons to learn and milestones to meet in my future. When it comes to my health, quitting smoking is my next goal and one that scares me silly. Such things just have to stand down and it’s up to me to make that happen.

On the same level, I don’t like anyone or any situation to tell me what I cannot do. Doctors told me that I was infertile and would never have a child on my own without medical intervention due to PCOS. Once I knew that my condition had a name back in the late 1990’s, I stuck my nose in every medical book under the sun to learn about it. I was pregnant by 2002 with  my greatest accomplishment, my 13-year-old daughter who I am still growing. I’m so proud of her.

I don’t have an heir to spare, she’s my only one and I can’t fail in parenting. I fully understand that she is going to fail and fall at many things just like I have, but I will not fall as a parent. I’m going to support her and love her unconditionally so she knows as I have learned, your life for the most part is what you’ll make of it.

In your opinion, what do you think America could do as a whole to educate others on diabetes and diabetes prevention?

The FDA food pyramid had a slight revamping, but not nearly enough to break us from this unhealthy western diet. I truly believe that a solution to our ever growing health problems is to become rebellions. I homeschool our daughter and am responsible for her health and physical education credits.

This past year we focused on learning about our own individual bodies and how to listen to them and realize that every day we’re given opportunities to make our own choices. That’s the key, make our own choices in response to what we learn that our bodies individually want. An athletic Olympian may have a body and lifestyle that requires 3000 calories a day and carbs to power through training, whereas a school Librarian would fare better with one fruit serving per day and not the 2-4 that the FDA pyramid recommends. Empowering one another with self discovery tools is key.

I love gardening and when it comes to being patriotic or American, what’s better than establishing your own Victory Garden? Remove the government and corporate control over our diets, our lives, and in a sense our paychecks. Most of my garden has been grown from seeds or kitchen waste.

I have pineapples, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, celery, green onions, bok choy and peppers. I’ll soon have enough for my family and to share with neighbors and co-workers. I belong to a local FB co-op who share and trade our extra seeds, rootings, and seedlings. It costs me nothing except the beneficial activity and exercise that it takes to get on my knees and dig in the soil.


You can find out more about Savannah Generations on their Facebook Page.

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Partnerships – Everyday Diabetes Magazine

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If you have a product or service that would be helpful to the lives of our readers, Everyday Diabetes Magazine is happy to help you get your message out there.

We pride ourselves on being a comprehensive resource for diabetes related news, health and fitness and lifestyle articles, but more than that, we want to do all we can to contribute to the betterment of our readers’ lives.

If your business or organization is interested in partnering with us on this mission, we’d love to talk to you more.

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Dr. Masatake Sugimoto on the ‘Narrative Approach’ to Treating Diabetes – Everyday Diabetes

Dr. Masatake Sugimoto on the ‘Narrative Approach’ to Treating Diabetes

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Everyday Diabetes recently had the chance to chat with Dr. Masatake Sugimoto from the Tokyo Adventist Hospital in Japan. Dr. Sugimoto is a proponent of the patient-centered “Narrative Approach”, a method whereby the practitioner is interested in the stories that shape peoples lives.

During a recent presentation at the ICDM diabetes conference in Korea, Dr. Sugimoto summed up the approach as “respecting the patient as the main character of their story” and “respecting that their story is unique.” Dr. Sugimoto added that “we try to listen to the story of their disease as a story of their life.”

Here is one of the slides from his presentation that illustrates the approach quite well.


Can you tell us about your area of study and what you are currently working on?

Ever since being introduced to the Narrative Approach, I have been exploring ways to implement it when treating patients with diabetes. The Narrative Approach is a practice based on social constructionism and has a background in many areas such as anthropology, clinical psychology, clinical sociology, and philosophy.

In my particular case, I am most strongly influenced by medical anthropology. The Narrative Approach emphasizes the use of “stories” as a means of understanding human beings, and focuses on understanding the “meaning” behind human acts.

What are ways that physicians can bring these methods into their treatment of diabetics?

First, in order to teach medical students the concepts of Illness, Narrative Competence, Cultural Competence, etc. it is necessary to incorporate medical anthropology into the medical school curriculum.

Second, I would like to explain the self-imposed training that I imposed upon myself when I started exploring the Narrative Approach. Sometimes there are patients who make complaints and very difficult demands at outpatient clinics every day. After returning home, I would recall the conversations with such patients, and record them as much as possible on my computer.

I would also think about why they were unhappy about their situation, what exactly the patient wanted from me, and what kinds of words and language I should have used in my response. It was a diary I could use for self-reflection. I found this training to be very effective.

Third, I have done a practical study involving patients writing down their own experience and stories about their diabetes and conduct team conferences with them as subjects. Sharing these patient stories with teams may be a driving force for patient-centered medical care.


 

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A Talk With Mike Kendall – Founder of the ‘Everyday Ups and Downs’ Diabetes Blog – Everyday Diabetes

A Talk With Mike Kendall – Founder of the ‘Everyday Ups and Downs’ Diabetes Blog

A thoroughly enjoyable talk with Mike Kendall about not only living with Type 1, but blogging about it with his wife.

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Mike Kendall Every day ups and downs Diabetes - Everyday Diabetes Magazine

Mike Kendall is a Bristol, England born and raised graphic designer who lives with his wife, two teenage daughters and, as Mike describes it, “a very hairy dog”.

Sounds normal enough, right?

But Mike’s story doesn’t end there. In fact, what makes the 47-year-old designer special is that he shares his story through his informative and insightful blog, Everyday Ups and Downs, which he and his wife, Jane, started together in 2010.

Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1991 at the age of 21, Mike and Jane (whom he met and married in 1994) had a dual incentive for starting the blog.

“Mostly I think we are probably writing for ourselves, to understand how we feel about diabetes a little better,” writes Mike. “But we also hope that by sharing our experiences we might encourage others living with or affected by Diabetes themselves.”

Everyday Diabetes had the good fortune catching up with Mike at his home in Bristol for this interview.


Your blog is called “Everyday Ups and Downs”. Can you talk about the name and what it means to you?

Naming the blog was a strange thing. It didn’t really get all that much thought if I’m honest, and mostly boiled down to thinking of something and then seeing if the domain names were still available!

Everydayupsanddowns was far, far too long, of course. But we liked the way that the meaning can be swapped and changed between challenges which are ‘everyday’ in that they are completely normal and ordinary, nothing to get too bothered about; versus the sense in which ‘every day’ can reflect the relentlessness and constancy of facing these battles every single day without a break.

It’s nice to recognise the ups as well as the downs of diabetes too. Living with type 1 isn’t all bad, and has meant I have connected with some absolutely amazing people from all over the world and taken on some challenges I probably would not have done if I didn’t have it.

It’s nice to recognise the ups as well as the downs of diabetes,too. Living with type 1 isn’t all bad, and has meant I have connected with some absolutely amazing people.

You and your wife started the blog so you could write about our own experiences living with the condition while also writing for others. What are some of the highlights of the journey since you started blogging?

Yes, when we started everyone in the family wrote from their own perspective, but as the years have passed it has really only been me that has kept finding things to say. In those early years it was very, very interesting to read those different points of view. However much you think you talk and communicate about these things, people express themselves very differently when writing stuff down.

It really helped me to understand how my diabetes was affecting other people in my family. I’m not sure if I ever expected anyone else to stumble across our ramblings – but it is incredibly rewarding each and every time someone responds to a post and says it has resonated with them, made them smile, or helped in some way.

When first diagnosed, were you quick to change your lifestyle?

Things were very different when I was diagnosed, at aged 21 while away at art college. From the outset approaches and changes were presented to me in terms of ‘what you have to do now’ rather than as a complex set of options and strategies to enable me to carry on living exactly as I had before.

I was given set doses of premixed insulin, based on a conversation which assessed my general diet. I then was given a carb count for breakfast, lunch, evening meal and three predetermined snacks at set times of day that could not be omitted. It was a very rigid structure, and not one I stuck with for very long, but I am grateful that it introduced from the very outset the concept of measuring and monitoring carbohydrate intake in order to match insulin doses. It made transitioning to more flexible insulin regimens easier later on.

I think if I had stayed on mixed insulin for much longer that system would have become too much of a straightjacket and I would have rebelled against it.

What was the most difficult adjustment?

I think if I had stayed on mixed insulin for much longer that system would have become too much of a straightjacket and I would have rebelled against it. It was very much based on you fitting your life around diabetes management rather than the other way around. If you missed or delayed a meal or snack you would end up in bother, and every meal and snack had to meet its fixed carb count whether that was not enough or far too much.

Looking back on my life with diabetes as a whole I guess the most difficult adjustment for me has been the thinking required around food. I can’t just eat something if I fancy it, I always have to consider the impact on my blood glucose management. However intently or otherwise I am managing my diabetes at the time there is never ‘just eating’ any more.

Do I want to eat that? Can I manage the insulin effectively? What happened last time I ate that? What will it do to my BG levels? Is that potential effect worth the pleasure the food or snack might give me? Am I better off making a different choice? Do I need to wait between a dose and eating? If so, how long? What are my BG levels doing right now? Do I need to eat something, even if I’m absolutely stuffed and really don’t want to (in order to head off an impending low).

Don’t get me wrong… I still love food and eat pretty much whatever I want most of the time, but it’s always viewed through the filter of my diabetes. That’s just how life is.

However much you think you talk and communicate about these things, people express themselves very differently when writing stuff down. It really helped me to understand how my diabetes was affecting other people in my family.

What do you think about the state of diabetes in general as far as how people approach it and the efforts by the medical industry and the government to fight the disease?

I don’t think there has ever been a better time to be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, and it can be very frustrating and difficult to live with, but modern treatment techniques and technology make near-normal blood glucose management tantalisingly achievable…well, some of the time anyway! Plus, it is perfectly possible to live a long, exciting, healthy life with type 1. Diabetes doesn’t have to hold you back doing anything.

What are some of the more exciting developments you see out there in the area of treatment?

Technology and research is moving at such a pace it is hard to keep up. Sensor-augmented pump therapy is improving year-by-year and is beginning to automate some of the management decisions based on continuous glucose data. We are still some way from a full ‘artificial pancreas’ (though every device launched in the past 5 years has been billed as such) but there are significant steps that are being made. And with something as fickle and contrary as type 1 diabetes it is a huge change to have a device proactively monitoring and safeguarding blood glucose management 24/7 in a way that you simply cannot when ‘flying manually’, particularly overnight.

There are great strides being made in all sorts of areas: stem cells, nano-encapsulation of transplanted beta cells, smart insulin, non-invasive continuous glucose monitoring, open-source data-sharing and bio-hacking initiatives such as Nightscout and DIYAPS and, of course, the ever-elusive cure.

Don’t get me wrong… I still love food and eat pretty much whatever I want most of the time, but it’s always viewed through the filter of my diabetes. That’s just how life is.

What advice would you give someone newly diagnosed?

First off, take a breath. Allow yourself to feel rotten about this – some people liken it to grieving and you will most likely face each of those ‘5 stages’ in the coming months and years, several times, and in no particular order. But don’t allow yourself to get stuck in the ‘anger’ or ‘denial’ stages for too long. It may not feel like it right now but this *is* something that you can successfully manage. Just take one day at a time – test lots, count carbs, carry sweets and keep asking questions.

See if there is a structured education course that you can access to help you learn about diabetes management, dose adjustment, exercise, alcohol, illness, self-monitoring and what to do with the results.

Understand that whatever levels or targets are mentioned to you, YOU have to decide what you are aiming for, in agreement with your clinic, Dr or diabetes team. This is your diabetes and you will get to know it better than anyone else. Aiming for something because ‘they’ tell you to (whoever they are) is a shortcut to feeling frustrated. You have to own your targets and ranges. Start from wherever you are and try to make small improvements to protect your long-term health.

See if there are any gadgets or gizmos that might help your day-to-day management, and how you can go about accessing them. A different insulin pen, a smart meter to help you spot patterns or suggest doses, a smartphone app or two to log results or help estimating carb values in meals, an insulin pump or CGM. Each person will have their own unique diabetes toolkit that helps make living with T1 just that little bit easier.

Connect with others – either face-to-face at a local group, or online through forums, Twitter, Facebook or blogs. Living with diabetes is tough, but it’s even harder if you are battling on your own. For everyone there’s a little corner of the internet that can provide support, encouragement and shared experiences.

Is there a particular book you think everyone should read?

Tricky. I have so many I could suggest. Diabetes-wise it is probably ‘Think Like a Pancreas’ (which is odd as I have still not read the actual book, but everything I have seen and read by Gary Scheiner, along with everyone else’s recommendations make it my go-to book to recommend).

For a novel you could do a lot worse than ‘A fine balance’ by Rohinton Mistry or ‘Good Omens’ by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett which I am currently halfway through.


We highly recommend you take a spin through the archives of Mike and his family’s wonderful blog at www.everydayupsanddowns.co.uk

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Interview: Jill Knapp on Overcoming Life’s Adversity – Including Losing over 100 Pounds – Everyday Diabetes

Interview: Jill Knapp on Overcoming Life’s Adversity – Including Losing over 100 Pounds

Jill shares her remarkable story of overcoming life’s adversity, which included losing over 100 pounds, and her hope to inspire others with the valuable life lessons she has learned on her journey.

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Wife, mother of three children, diabetes advocate, health activist and a substitute teacher, Jill Knapp leads more than a full life. But looking at her today, you’d have no idea the difficult times her life has seen and how she was able to overcome it all.

Jill recently spoke with Everyday Diabetes from her home in Boise, Idaho about her remarkable story, which includes losing over 100 pounds, and her hope to inspire others with the valuable life lessons she has learned on her journey.


Jill Knapp, before and after.
Jill Knapp, before and after.

When were you Diagnosed?  

In 2005 I had Gestational Diabetes when I was pregnant with my last child at age 37. The Type 2 diagnosis did not come right away. The results of my glucose test at post 8 weeks was normal –and also normal at post 3 months.

My son however was quite ill and I myself didn’t feel well that first year after he was born. I had a few symptoms of diabetes, increased thirst, and I was usually exhausted, but I blamed the increased thirst on nursing and I thought the exhaustion was just from taking care of my sick child. I really never thought they were symptoms of diabetes.

For so long I was a mom and wife so, I put everyone else first and I forgot about me. My Doctor and diabetes educator really felt strongly that my diabetes was brought on by poor lifestyle choices. 

My husband encouraged me to go to the Doctor.  I finally made an appointment and went in. My Doctor decided to send me home with a diabetes monitor and taught me how to test my blood sugar.  I tested 5 times a day and kept a log. I did not really understand the numbers, but was talking to my husband and telling him some were in the 300s. He said ‘oh no’, I’m pretty sure you have type 2 diabetes.  

I met with the Doctor 2 weeks after I got the monitor and he confirmed that I had type 2.

When you were diagnosed, what was your reaction?  

At first I was pretty devastated. I wondered how on earth I got there. I met with a diabetes educator who discussed lifestyle with me. For so long I was a mom and wife so, I put everyone else first and I forgot about me. My Doctor and diabetes educator really felt strongly that my diabetes was brought on by poor lifestyle choices. Also, because I had gestational diabetes, my chances were higher of getting type 2 .

You’ve overcome some tough obstacles in your life. I read about a particularly difficult period around the time you got married. Can you talk about that?  

Sure. Getting married is supposed to be the best time of your life. Although I knew I was marrying the love of my life it was a very hard time due to the death of my mother just weeks before the wedding. That was so hard and I was so sad that she did not make it to see me get married. She had been sick for many many years and I was so upset that she ended up passing just before the wedding.

And then, my Uncle died the week before I got married and we attended his funeral the day before my wedding. Another person I loved was gone. Then, I got married. It was a happy day but also a sad on without my Mom there.

We went to Hawaii on our honeymoon. The grief of loss was sinking in and that was so hard. Not only on me but on my husband. The timing of these tragic events was painful. Two days after we got back from our honeymoon my dear friend Aaron died from a brain tumor.  He was only 29.  

For the first time really found out what depression felt like. It was just too much loss.

My entire life prior to marriage I never worried about my weight. I was a dancer since age 4 all the way into my early 20s.  It kept me in great shape, but the loss and the depression wore on me and I learned to turn to food for comfort.

I slowly started gaining weight.

I became my own advocate and learned that my blood sugar did best when I ate small meals often, so I started eating 5 to 6 small meals a day. This upped my metabolism and the pounds started dropping off.

At one point, your weight had gotten up close to 240 pounds. Was there a particular moment when you just said to yourself “enough is enough?”

Through the years I had that feeling now and then. Having many miscarriages in between pregnancies I just felt depressed from loss after loss. My sweet mother in law passed away as well and depression crept back in. I exercised here and there but nothing that was enough to make a big difference. It’s really unfortunate but the diagnosis was my wake up call!

Losing so much weight is quite the journey. How did you do it?

I had a great relationship with God and turned to him. I learned to have patience with myself and learned that the weight did not come on over night and it was going to take some time to come off.

I started exercising 3 days a week and really started watching what I ate. I became my own advocate and learned that my blood sugar did best when I ate small meals often, so I started eating 5 to 6 small meals a day. This upped my metabolism and the pounds started dropping off.

I never aimed for a number, but I did want to get to a point where I was healthy and could get off medication for the diabetes if possible.  I lost a total of 100 pounds and was able to stop taking all medication for my diabetes. That has been a big blessing. Changing my lifestyle really helped and putting myself first has helped me be a better wife and mother and has helped me have more energy to serve others.

Was there any points of self doubt, where you felt like you couldn’t keep going?

I think we all struggle some with self doubt I am for sure no exception but what I learned is to not let self doubt stop me. Even with the scale going a week or two without moving I still pressed forward. I kept positive sayings on my bathroom mirror and really prayed to keep positive thoughts in my head and those prayers were answered. Slowly and steadily the weight kept coming off and my soul was making a change too so the more I felt I can do this the more I was able to keep going.  

I know many people struggle with it: when they mess up they give up!! YOU CAN”T GIVE UP!! We will all mess up, sure and I knew I would and I did. But, I did not wait for the next Monday to come I got back on track quickly and the next meal would be better. You just have to keep the negatives away and replace bad thoughts with good.

People we hang around can impact us as well. I was lucky that way and had a ton of support from my family  and friends, but years down the road I too had to learn to let go of some bad relationships in order to keep positive in my life. Through the years I have helped other people let go and have been there for them while they were letting go of the bad and keeping the good.  

You’ve become quite the celebrity and an inspiration for others. How’s that feel and what do you enjoy most about the role?

I feel really blessed!!  Advocacy kind of fell in my lap and I feel so blessed that I have had so many opportunities come my way to share my journey. God has really opened all the doors and I have just been so blessed. I really enjoy helping others gain insight on how to live with Type 2 diabetes.

Changing my lifestyle really helped and putting myself first has helped me be a better wife and mother and has helped me have more energy to serve others.

Empowering others to become their own advocate and take their diabetes by the horns is what it’s all about. Helping others see that they too can live a long, healthy life is the most important thing I can do. Being in documentaries , on TV and in magazines has just been the way doors have opened so I can help others so I feel really blessed!  

It’s not out yet, but I did 3 days of filming of my life with diabetes back in April. I will post it on my web site about how people can see the documentary. It will be on HealthiNation.com under “True Champions”.  It really really shows how I live day to day.  I am hoping it’s ready for release by the end of Sept.

Any advice  for someone who is just starting on their journey to good health?

Start!!  First, start eating healthy!  Clean out your pantry. Really go through it and take out the junk food.  Replace the bad food with healthy food. I did it all at once but other people I know have done it in steps. It’s up to you!

Start exercising! Get out and walk. Join a group fitness center! Take fun exercise classes –Zumba is a blast. Bodypump is a hard workout, but because you’re doing it with a group it makes it go by fast and it enjoyable. Find an exercise you love and do it. Some enjoy the gym. If you do join one, but don’t let your membership go to waste. Make a goal and get in there and get to work!  Most of all, just know taking good care of you is important and until you really start doing it you won’t know how great it feels!!


You can visit Jill on the web at getupandgetmoving.net or on Facebook at facebook.com/getupandgetmoving

 

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A Conversation with Chef Robert Lewis – The Happy Diabetic – Everyday Diabetes

A Conversation with Chef Robert Lewis – The Happy Diabetic

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A graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in 1976, Chef Robert Lewis has always been at home in the kitchen preparing food for friends, family and customers.

However, following his diagnosis with Type 2 Diabetes in 1998, Lewis, who now goes by the name, “The Happy Diabetic”, feared the worst for his own love of great food.

“I suspected that my days of good eating were over,” Lewis writes on his blog. “Yet, as I worked through my ups and downs, I came to realize that the selection of foods I could and should eat was vast and included many of my favorites. This motivated me to attempt to create delicious, diabetic-friendly dishes that were also easy to prepare.

Since that time Roberts has made it his mission to not only to be an ambassador of positivity for himself and his family (which includes 3 children and 6 grandchildren) but to also create amazing things in the kitchen for people of all walks of life to enjoy.

Along with managing extensive offerings on his website, Lewis is the author of three cookbooks and is in the process of launching “The Happy Diabetic Kitchen” podcast with his son Jason.

Everyday Diabetes was fortunate to recently catch up with Chef Robert Lewis at his home in Bettendorf, Iowa on the banks of the Mississippi River, to talk about his diabetic journey, his cooking, his latest project and about staying positive.


Chef Robert Lewis The Happy Diabetic - Everyday Diabetes Magazine


You call yourself “The Happy Diabetic.” How did you come across that moniker and what does it mean to you?

When I started this personal journey as a type 2 in 1998, I determined right then and there that diabetes was not going to change my positive outlook on life! I have always looked for ways to bring joy to others. As The Happy Diabetic, I work to bring hope as well as happy, healthy lifestyle strategies to people living with diabetes! Putting a positive spin on things will always help us get through the tough times together!

You were first diagnosed back in 1998. What was that time of your life like?

It was an amazing time. My professional life was on a roll. I had just sold my restaurant to take a job as Director of Management Training for a growing restaurant company. My young family was growing and busy, as well. Life was going well!

I started out by responding to a lot of inaccurate information. I struggled with my diagnosis and with making informed choices.

Did you change your lifestyle after finding out?

When I found out that I had type 2 diabetes, I was shocked and surprised. I didn’t know a lot about the disease. My primary care physician handed me a bunch of pamphlets and introduced me to a dietitian, who rattled off a list of foods that were best to avoid. I feared that my days of eating delicious food were over! As a chef and food-lover, the “List of Don’t Eats” probably wasn’t the best way to get me motivated to change my lifestyle!

I started out by responding to a lot of inaccurate information. I struggled with my diagnosis and with making informed choices. I had read somewhere that avoiding carbohydrates was a good strategy, so for the next six months, I tried to cut out carbs…even the healthy complex ones! I convinced myself that I could cure my diabetes by eating less cereal. Hmmmm…. Not too smart, huh? I didn’t take my medicine like I should have, and I wasn’t very regular in checking my blood sugars. Basically, I was stubborn and in denial.

After not making progress toward good health, my wife enrolled me in a three-day crash course on diabetes delivered by a health professional at a local hospital. I like to call this experience my “diabetic spiritual awakening.” I got some accurate information and put to rest my “quick cures.” From that moment, I became determined to take responsibility and ownership of my disease.

Starting each day determined to do my best to control blood sugar was the beginning of true “happy” diabetic living!

What was the most difficult adjustment when you found out you had diabetes?

Hmmm, that’s a good question. I think making subtle changes was important. I started with “baby steps” and worked to develop a lifestyle and a way of eating that would eventually become a healthy habit. I began to focus on taking care of my health in a way I had not done before.

Managing my life, including my diabetes, is a source of my happiness! I have an incredible family. I have a wife of thirty-five years and a happy marriage. I am hopeful for my future. I am successful in managing my health and I have a passion for life. I’ve never had it so good!

As a chef, what is the absolute favorite food that you wouldn’t want to live without?

I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you how much I love macaroni and cheese. Go big or go home, right?! Of course, my portion sizes are a bit smaller, and I watch my nutritionals in each and every meal. I also love Asian flavors, open fire grilling, and roasting fresh veggies! Making me hungry, now!

What advice would you give to the amateur cook wanting to make magic in the Kitchen

Simple…

  1. Learn how to read a recipe
  2. Learn how to handle a French knife, from the cutting to the sharpening. A sharp knife and techniques make cutting those fresh foods so much easier!
  3. Cook more often to develop confidence in the kitchen! Practice builds speed and organizational skills. Once you gain the basic skills, it will be fun to add your personal touch and to become a little more creative in the kitchen!
  4. Be an adventurous eater! Dare to try new flavors. You can’t learn all there is to learn about food unless you’re an open-minded eater.
  5. Add fresh herbs, spices, and foods with robust flavors! If you intend to use less fat, salt, and sugar, you need to replace the flavor another way! Get creative!
  6. Jacques Pépin …Read all of his books to learn from a master!
  7. Have fun!

You’re starting to record podcasts and will launch your own show. What’s that experience been like?

People want to learn how The Happy Diabetic has developed a health-centered approach to cooking and eating, so everywhere we go we are intentional about talking about this! A podcast is another effective way to bring our positive message to the listening community.

Jason, my son, is the producer/engineer and co-host of our show called, “The Happy Diabetic Kitchen.” He brings a real-world perspective from the vantage point of an offspring in the gene pool of a type 2 diabetic. Jason knows that, with a diabetic father, he is at greater risk of developing type 2. Jason has some amazing stories to tell regarding his quest for a healthier lifestyle. Together, we probe ideas and share strategies with podcast listeners. We also interview some fascinating people with some really awesome contributions to share!

As a chef and food-lover, the ‘List of Don’t Eats’ probably wasn’t the best way to get me motivated to change my lifestyle.

What tips can you offer to someone newly diagnosed with diabetes?

Stay positive! It is a big shock for a person who finds out that they have diabetes. Look for information and support. Do not assume you already know what to do. You can do this!

You do a lot of presentations each year. For you, what is one of the biggest highlights from your time on the road doing it?

I get to listen to the stories of people who have been diagnosed, face the struggle, and move forward to live well and successfully manage their diabetes! This is very inspiring to me! SO often, I hear people talk about how they continue to live well with diabetes.

I also get to talk to folks who are not doing so well, and it is very satisfying to know that I can help them in some small way. I am passionate about sharing the message that you can live well with diabetes! I understand the challenges because I live them every day, and I have personally found some strategies for cooking and eating that I love to share with other people living with diabetes.

I just received this note from a couple we recently met at a Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD) Conference in Washington DC.

They write,

“Robert, 

My husband and I met you yesterday at the Washington D.C. conference. I told you that my husband was diagnosed 1 week ago. We can’t wait to receive your cookbooks! I ordered all of them. My husband and I feel that it was a blessing that we had a chance to meet you. Being diagnosed with diabetes is life-changing [for my husband,] as you know but it has also changed my life as well. You really helped us realize that diabetes can be managed and that we can still eat great food.

One of the biggest fears when first diagnosed is what you will be able to eat …and can we eat enough to not have to feel hungry! Just being a “taster” at your demonstration has transformed our lives to know diabetes will not defeat us. Thank you for sharing your expertise and time with us and with so many others who are struggling with this diagnoses. We will be following your success and continue to be frequent browsers of your web site. We are so excited to try more of your recipes “of LOVE,” the true meaning of all that you put into your recipes. We really were blessed yesterday with meeting you and thank you again for all that you do. 

Your new friends,

John and Elizabeth”

It’s things like this that make it all worthwhile.


You can visit Chef Robert Lewis, The Happy Diabetic on the web at www.happydiabetic.com

Photos courtesy of Chef Robert Lewis.

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Diagnosed with Diabetes at 10 Years Old – An Interview with Shane Abeyta – Everyday Diabetes

Diagnosed with Diabetes at 10 Years Old – An Interview with Shane Abeyta

A compelling interview with a young man dealing with being diabetic.

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Shane Abeyta, a 24-year-old in Westmoreland, Kansas, has had a long struggle after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the tender age of 10-years-old.

Raised in Farmington, NM, he graduated high school and moved on to work as a sheet metal apprentice along with other side jobs.

Shane has seen his share of ups and downs in the 13 years since being diagnosed, and feels robbed of his childhood due to the disease.

Thriving with work, he also has a job where he builds decks, houses, and many other general construction jobs. “It’s fun and it’s a career. I went Union and they pay me to go to school, provide work, and full benefits. It sounded like a pretty good deal to me. The Union takes pretty good care of its members out here.”

When he’s not busy with his demanding career and side job, he spends his free time skateboarding, longboarding, mountain biking, snowboarding, and anything that sounds fun and exciting at the time.

Shane recently spoke with Everyday Diabetes  from his home in Westmoreland, Kansas.


Shane Abeyta Everyday Diabetes MagazineBeing diagnosed as a child is a difficult and confusing time. Did you know what was happening and what the doctors were telling you?

Well, my mom had a pretty good idea. I told her I was going to the bathroom a lot and drinking a lot of water and she didn’t think much of it until we went to the mall. At that point, I’d make it about 10 feet into every store and I’d need to go to the bathroom.

She took me to the doctor to see if she was right or not, and when we went I cried most of the way there because I knew if she was right I couldn’t join the military like my dad did and that’s all I wanted growing up. After seeing the doctor, I was diagnosed at ten years old and spent about a week at the hospital. My fifth grade class all sent me get well cards while I was in the hospital which was pretty cool.

I understood what was going on because my mom had type one diabetes my whole life so I was use to it. Learning to calculate how much insulin I needed to take took time to get use to. For the first year I couldn’t even give myself my shots, it scared me so bad. Eventuality I learned to do it. When my doctor told me about what was happening, I fully understood since my mom had it. If it wasn’t for my mom having it I don’t know how well I would have learned to manage it.

America needs to teach it better in school. In my 9th grade health class, I taught the class about diabetes because I had it and knew a lot more information than the old inaccurate textbooks did.

In my 9th grade health class, I taught the class about diabetes because I had it and knew a lot more information than the old inaccurate textbooks did.

How did you feel after your diagnosis at that time?

Pretty much being diagnosed stole my childhood. Everything I knew was taken away. I couldn’t eat or drink what I wanted anymore. It also made me feel different since I would leave for lunch early so I could go to the nurse’s office everyday to get my shot and check my sugar.

It was really hard to accept that I couldn’t be like everyone else anymore for a few years after being diagnosed. Then, later on in life, I became severely depressed from other things going on in my life and I absolutely didn’t care about my blood sugars so my A1C was ridiculously high and it caused damage nobody can see.

I went through difficult times because my blood sugars varied quite a bit. I just didn’t care anymore.

Since you went through your ‘not caring’ phase, have your outlook changed?

Yes, I have changed, but only after hitting as low as I could. I planned to commit suicide my senior year of high school. Someone found out and I got sent to Albuquerque to a mental hospital. It was where I discovered to never give up no matter what.

“Being diagnosed stole my childhood.”

As for your breaking point during your senior year of high school, what advice would you give other people suffering from diabetes and depression?

My advice: don’t give up. I know it sounds stupid and cheesy, but it’s the truth. Life’s hard and being diabetic makes it harder. Uncontrolled sugars affect our moods a lot. Being depressed is already a struggle, but not taking care of your diabetes can turn you into a ticking time bomb.

Having a day feeling down and out with blood sugar out of whack can cause you to overreact and want to you to give up even more. After being where I was, I know anyone can make it. More people care about you than you think. Asking for help is hard, but when you really feel like giving up, say something. Don’t try to fight it alone.

Since then, what have you done to change your the way you live your life?

I’ve opened up to people instead of trying to do it all alone. I’ve worked on controlling my sugars better, and I forced myself to have a more positive outlook. When I was suicidal and went to that mental hospital, I saw something so basic and simple it opened my eyes.

Since then, I’ve been pushing through it all, and chasing what I want more than anything. I can’t say if everything I want will ever happen or not, but it gives me a reason to keep going no matter how bad it gets.

“I’ve never had any issues at work. I just tell someone “hey give me a sec, I need to sit down and eat a snack I can feel my blood sugar coming down,” or something like that and it’s never been a problem.”

You boldly continue to push through. As for your diet and exercise, do you have anything you do specifically?

Well about a year ago I was going to the gym everyday, but that stopped because I started working out of town and didn’t have time. Now that I’m working back in town when I get off 12-hour days, I plan on going back to working out.

However, I get constant exercise at work doing hard manual labor for very long hours. I consider that constant physical activity. On the weekends I’m always active and go longboarding or ride my mountain bike. My diet isn’t as high in protein since I’m not working out, but I try to eat as healthy as I can.

Do you now keep track of your levels and use your insulin as instructed?

I don’t log the sugars like I did when I was first diagnosed, I just calculate my insulin for what I need. I have to use my stuff everyday or I start feeling bad. I can go two, maybe three days without my insulin before having to go to the hospital. I only know that because I’ve run out before and couldn’t get more for a couple of days.

How about your jobs; do your employers always accommodate to your needs well?

I tell every employer I have diabetes when I get hired. Usually they have no idea about diabetes when I first bring it up, so I have to  inform them what they need to know. So far, I’ve never had any issues at work. I just tell someone “hey give me a sec, I need to sit down and eat a snack I can feel my blood sugar coming down,” or something like that and it’s never been a problem. I’m Union. If I was ever fired because of diabetes, there would be some serious consequences for that company.

What do you think America could do as a whole to prevent the increase of children being diagnosed with diabetes?

America needs to teach it better in school. In my 9th grade health class, I taught the class about diabetes because I had it and knew a lot more information than the old inaccurate textbooks did. America is lazy and unless all the unhealthy food disappears, diabetes will always be there. The food they give in schools is awful and I don’t think kids get enough exercise while in school. Physical Education might not be for everyone, but instead of cramming useless information down the throats of kids, have a daily 45-60 minute walk around the school. If habits like that were established young, then as adults there’s a higher chance of staying active.

If you were to meet a young child who was recently diagnosed, what would you say to give them support?

I’d tell them the truth about what’s going to happen and how things will change. I would also tell them how they will start to feel, so that when the change starts happening it wouldn’t be a huge shock to them. God has a plan for everything and it seems unfair to be given something you’d never want, but the strongest people are given the heaviest burdens. I may not be the best example, but I’ve done so many things in my life that I was told I couldn’t do because I have diabetes. So don’t let anyone or anything stop you from what you want.

 

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Interview: Scott K. Johnson, Writer, Advocate, Type 1 Diabetic – Everyday Diabetes

Interview: Scott K. Johnson, Writer, Advocate, Type 1 Diabetic

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Scott Johnson was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes back in 1980 at the tender age of 5-years-old. At the time, he processed it as a young mind would, in the service the simple desire “to get back to playing with my G.I. Joe & Hot Wheels.”

In 2004, Scott picked up the pen (or the keyboard in this case) and started blogging about his life at ScottsDiabetes.com . He has, until this day, remained an unwavering and incredibly refreshing voice on the topic of diabetes.

Along with being an active writer, Scott is also a patient advocate, working with people across the healthcare spectrum to help them establish effective communication with the patient community.

He is also the Communications Lead in the U.S. for mySugr and Patient Pathways Lead in the Diabetes Division of Delta Project Management.

Everyday Diabetes recently had the pleasure of catching up with Scott at his home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


Photo: Manuel Gruber/Stereochrome
Photo: Manuel Gruber/Stereochrome

When you were diagnosed with type 1 back in 1980, what was your reaction and how did you respond in the months to follow?

I was only five years old when diagnosed, so I honestly don’t remember much about it. I like to think that there was this beautifully ignorant resilience – where I just did the mechanics of diabetes in order to get back to playing with my G.I. Joe & Hot Wheels. I’m sure it wasn’t that easy, of course. And the majority of the burden of care rests on parents and caregivers. 

You’ve been blogging about about diabetes since 2004. How do you stay inspired to keep at it?

This question makes me smile because life with diabetes never fails to present interesting stories to share! Whether they are funny, ironic situations I find myself in, or inspiring people doing wonderful things while living with diabetes.

And if I see another news story about “suffering” from diabetes… I’m not suffering. Yes, it takes work, and yes, it sometimes sucks. But I’m living well with diabetes, thank you.

For example, one of my dear friends with diabetes near Minneapolis is allergic to insulin! Technically I think it’s one of the preservatives or additives included, but nevertheless, what a situation she’s in! Yet, she’s one of the most upbeat, positive people I know, and her sense of humor is amazing. 

What are some assumptions that non diabetics make about people with diabetes that drive diabetics crazy?

Great question!

One assumption is that diabetes is simple. That we just take our shots and we’re fine, or we follow a certain diet and that’s all there is to it. The reality is that diabetes is immensely complex, is different for all of us, and is often inconsistent (so I can repeat the same routine behaviors yet experience different results).

Read More: Jill Knapp on Overcoming Life’s Adversity – Including Losing over 100 Pounds

Diabetes requires a lot of mental energy, which is sometimes exhausting. Most of us make it look much easier than it is because we don’t want pity or people treating us special or different. 

And if I see another news story about “suffering” from diabetes… I’m not suffering. Yes, it takes work, and yes, it sometimes sucks. But I’m living well with diabetes, thank you. 

Having been an astute observer of the situation for all these years, and considering that, despite increased awareness, type 2 continues to increase, do you see any light at the end of the tunnel?

Yes, I think so. It feels like people around the world are starting to realize that little decisions make big differences. Additionally, the medical community continues to make slow and steady progress in treatment options and they’re gaining better understanding about diabetes in general. However, the more we learn about diabetes, the more complicated the puzzle gets. And in the big picture, my decade on the scene is a relatively short period of time.

You recently had the chance to meet with Minnesota Senator Al Franken about Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Can you talk a little bit about the work that JDRF does and how people can help?

JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. They work to reduce the impact of T1D from people’s lives until a world without T1D can be achieved (through better treatment, prevention, and eventually a cure). JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners to advance scientific research and regulatory influence.

Diabetes requires a lot of mental energy, which is sometimes exhausting. Most of us make it look much easier than it is because we don’t want pity or people treating us special or different.  

The meeting with Senator Franken was part of the wonderful JDRF Advocacy group who empowers local grassroots efforts to build and sustain critical support for T1D research funded by the U.S. Federal Government by raising awareness among Members of Congress of the financial, medical and emotional costs of the disease.

As people living with diabetes, it’s easy to forget that the general public (including our representatives) does’t understand what diabetes is all about and how much work we do to stay healthy. We need our representatives to remember our stories every time something to do with diabetes lands on their desk. 

JDRF has a great website (jdrf.org) with a section dedicated to getting involved, and that’s the first place I’d go when looking for ways to contribute, whether that be financially or by finding opportunities to volunteer. 


If you’ve never taken a spin through the deep archives of Scott’s blog, then you really should. Now. Go. scottsdiabetes.com

Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottKJohnson

Photos by Mandy Dwyer/Glimpses of Soul Photography and Manuel Gruber/Stereochrome

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Fitness on a Whole New Level – an Interview with Cindy Reid – Everyday Diabetes

Fitness on a Whole New Level – an Interview with Cindy Reid

Though not a diabetic, Cindy Reid’s dedication to health and fitness is a model to us all. If you’re looking for perspiration inspiration, look no further, Cindy has you covered.

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So, you say you are having trouble motivating yourself to work out? We suggest you continue reading this because you’ve never met anyone as dedicated to health and fitness as Hong Kong-born Australia-raised, Cindy Reid.

A full time banker from 9-6, in her off time, the 33-year-old Reid runs her own gym located in Hong Kong, where she’s also a personal trainer and instructor. And, when she’s not banking, working out or teaching, she is a champion stair sprinter, racing up some of the world’s highest buildings with the sponsorship of several major companies including Asics, 2XU and BerryTime.

Just last month, Cindy flew to Paris on a whirlwind 24-hour trip to compete in her first elite vertical race in Europe, ascending the tallest skyscraper in Paris’ in just over seven minutes. That’s right, seven minutes.

She landed at 7am on Sunday morning and 2 hours later she was on a bike teaching a full spin class.

Cindy recently spoke with Everyday Diabetes from her home in Hong Kong about her routine, staying motivated and how she prepares for competition.


After dedicating so much time to staying in incredible shape, how do still motivate yourself to put in the work required?

I have always been pretty determined, results-driven, and type “A”, so that helps. I am a work-horse, extremely hard-working with unbreakable work ethics. I don’t really know how to rest, really, and I can’t remember the last time I called in sick. It can both be a blessing and a curse! I feel that training and competing has defined me, provided me with a sense of purpose, accomplishment and personal achievement, and in that I find comfort and confidence. I sign up to any kind of competitions – from charity boxing matches, to bodybuilding competitions, running the Great Wall, and buildings. Recently I had been invited to present to a group of young students from year 7 to 9 at an international school as an inspirational speaker and female entrepreneur. That was a very humbling experience for me, because I am just doing what I am passionate about.

I run an average of 25-35km per week…do strength training 6 days a week…high intensity training 3-4 times a week plus stairs 3 times a week.

What does your typical training week look like?

20-25 is the number of hours I train per week. I get up at 5:30am Mondays to Fridays to teach at 6 or 6:15am a High Intensity Interval Training, Spin or Pump class before my day job. Then I do a fast 5-6km run on my lunch break, usually outside. Unless it’s pouring I would resort to the treadmill and do sprint or tempo work. After work I teach Bodypump classes twice a week and a Boxing circuit once a week. I have to fit in the stairs whenever I could, even if it’s just a 10 minute block.

On Thursday and Friday nights I do my own training, that is usually heavier lifting for the lower body using machines and free weights to develop leg strength. Saturday and Sundays are long days – sometimes up to six hours with a combination of teaching classes at my gym, training clients and doing my own training.

What exercise do you hate the most?

Sprints and stairs – it’s a love/hate relationship. Obviously, it is demanding and painful, and I have to psyche myself up to do it. However, once I get that part of my training done I feel accomplished and much better for it. We all have to get outside of our comfort zone to up our game!

Cindy with Suzy Walsham, the world's top stair racer.
Cindy with Suzy Walsham, the world’s top stair racer.

How did you get into competitive vertical running?

I was on my way to a business meeting at IFC in 2010, when SHKP was advertising for a charity run-up of the building. I have already been winning podium spots in various 10k races in Hong Kong and it was time to step up (quite literally), so I signed up and trained for it at the fire escape stairs of my apartment block where people dumped their junk and it was a little off-putting to say the least!

Do you have a set regimen you use to prepare for an upcoming race?

My training is continuous and ongoing, with slight twigs weekly. I should, but I don’t take a day off. There are 3 parts to my regimen:

1) cardiovascular;

2) strength and flexibility; and

3) anaerobic.

I run an average of 25-35km per week – that’s aerobic; do strength training 6 days a week focusing on different muscle groups; high intensity training 3-4 times a week plus stairs 3 times a week – that’s anaerobic. I also teach about 15 classes including spinning, Les Mills’ Bodypump, Grit Strength, Grit Plyo and I’d love to stretch more and practice power yoga if I can fit it in.

Cindy and Wesley Reid
Cindy, with her husband and business partner Wesley Reid.

Any advice for beginners looking to get into the competitive verticalvertical running circuit?

Running stairs is about 3 times harder than running flats, all things equal – and it’s a very anaerobic and lactic sport but an incredible challenge for your mental and physical fitness. You can start small (some competitions have half towers category); enter relays (great for bonding or team building) or for your first competition, aim to finish without stopping and don’t be too bound by time. Of course, make sure you take on the appropriate and sufficient training leading up to race day. Part of the fun is to see yourself progress through the training.

Along with being a corporate banker, you also opened your owngym. Can you tell us about it?

My partner and I opened up The HIT Room in Discovery Bay 3 years ago. We have always wanted to have our own space, been dreaming of having our own business and I have been commuting all over town to teach gym classes after work on a part-time basis…all things were pointing to the right direction when the right opportunity came up, it was a moment of epiphany and we knew this was it.

Cindy Reid vertical Racer Hong Kong Interview - Everyday Diabetes Magazine
Cut for competition

Along with being a corporate banker, you also opened your own gym. Can you tell us about it?

My partner and I opened up The HIT Room in Discovery Bay 3 years ago. We have always wanted to have our own space, been dreaming of having our own business and I have been commuting all over town to teach gym classes after work on a part-time basis…all things were pointing to the right direction when the right opportunity came up, it was a moment of epiphany and we knew we had to do it.

It doesn’t sound like you have much of it, but what do you like to do in your free time?

3 things:  One: Nap! It must be an Asian thing, I have the ability to sleep whenever, wherever, on demand. Second: Spend time with my other half and Skype my family in Australia. Three: Socialize with friends over dinners – we love wholesome, healthy food, and eat a lot of it!

Last question. How long could you last without exercising before going crazy?

This is such a funny question and so fitting especially for someone as hyperactive as me! The answer is: not even a day. I have to work out multiple times a day. Even when I had a Lasik surgery for my eyes, the doctor told me not to exercise for a week to prevent sweat from getting into my eyes. Of course, I went running the next day, with a big thick sweatband and a visor and a pair of sunglasses because my eyes were sensitive from the operation. The biggest setback was when I tore my calf in 2013 an hour before defending my ICC championship title. I was out of action for a couple of long months, although I was already on the floor verbally coaching TRX and actually taught Bodypump on one strapped-up leg the next day. Yes, I didn’t think it was possible myself! I am much better at looking after myself as I grow older and wiser.


Want to work out at Cindy’s gym? Visit her on the web at: www.thehitroom.com.hk

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Q&A: Bruce Richards and John Sanderson on Diabetes Care and Technology – Everyday Diabetes

Q&A: Bruce Richards and John Sanderson on Diabetes Care and Technology

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ADiabetes Professional Care 2016, people are provided a great forum for discovering and developing the future of diabetes care, allowing visitors to see the state-of-the-art technology, hear about the latest research, while also networking with myriad industry experts.

Among the world’s’ biggest names at the event, which takes place in London, will be Bruce Richards and John Sanderson. The two are Directors at Hicom, providers of adult and children’s diabetes management systems Diamond and Twinkle.

Here, John and Bruce share their thoughts on diabetes care, technology and areas of resistance.


Q. What does it take to make integrated care work within the health sector? Who would it positively impact the most?

A. Integrated care only works where there is close collaboration between primary, secondary and community healthcare providers responsible for the management of patient care. The key is the standardisation of protocols and alignment in clinical care processes. The major enabler for this is making sure that patient data is collected in a consistent way and available at the point of patient care.

It is essential that healthcare professions involved in the patient’s care have access to a comprehensive patient history to enable appropriate decisions to be made about the on-going management of the condition.

Integrated care provides considerable benefit to both the patients and the care providers.  Providers benefit from having access to a patient’s history, enabling them to make informed decisions about the on-going care of the patients at the point of patient contact.  Improvements in data sharing also allow patients to be managed within the community, reducing the reliance of high-cost specialist referrals.  Patients ultimately benefit from a more efficient and effective healthcare delivery system.

Q. What is the single most important aspect of day-to-day diabetes care for better patient outcomes?

A. Having access to accurate and up-to-date patient data.  This is vital to ensure that the most appropriate care is delivered to the patient anywhere within the community and at the right point in time. With so many potential complications associated with diabetes, it is essential that healthcare professions involved in the patient’s care have access to a comprehensive patient history to enable appropriate decisions to be made about the on-going management of the condition.

Q. Is technology helping us take better diabetes care out into the community? How do we ensure that relevant information is delivered to the right person at the right time, securely?

A. Absolutely. Without technology as an enabler, it would be impossible to ensure timely access to reliable patient data.  As mentioned above, diabetes is a complex condition so access to high-quality data at the point of patient care is essential to ensure appropriate treatment. Extended use of technology beyond the healthcare team, in particular integration with medical diagnostic devices and providing patients with access to their own data, can provide significant value in terms of enhanced education and improved patient engagement in the management of their own care.

Q. Should we have totally paperless clinic environments? If so, why?

A. Absolutely.  Part of the reason why integrated care is not as effective as it can be is because of the out-dated reliance on paper, which is primarily born from a nervousness in moving away from traditional methods.  Systems are stable, reliable and accessible so there is no longer an excuse for paper notes.

Providing patients with access to their own data, can provide significant value in terms of enhanced education and improved patient engagement in the management of their own care.

Truly integrated care, which connects disparate points in the care continuum, is only possible with a fully paperless solution. Although the paperless argument is not as strong within a single clinic / single location environment, with paper information sharing is more difficult, and there is a considerable overhead in terms of time and cost in recording, storing and locating notes, which ultimately impacts on patient care.

Q. Where do you encounter the most resistance to change in the diabetes arena?

A. We come across very little resistance to change actually.  Almost everyone we deal with, from the clinical team to the IT department, understands what needs to be done and is committed to change – this is particularly true with integrated care initiatives. That said, long-established policies (such as a reliance on paper notes for example) and the lack of resources, time and funding available within the NHS means that not all good ideas are followed through and there is a general reluctance to innovate where the benefits cannot be accurately quantified at the outset.

 

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Interview: Dr. Zuraima Corona Rodríguez – Everyday Diabetes

Interview: Dr. Zuraima Corona Rodríguez

Everyday Diabetes talks with Dr. Zuraima Corona Rodríguez about her experience treating diabetes in her native Mexico.

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Even though still quite young at only 32-years-old, Dr. Zuraima Corona Rodríguez has a world of experience working with diabetes patients in her native Mexico.

A graduate of one of the world’s oldest universities, Dr. Rodriguez has dedicated herself to diabetes treatment and education –especially for the less fortunate in her country.

Everyday Diabetes Magazine recently spoke with Dr. Rodriguez at her office in Guadalajara, Mexico about her career, treatment in Mexico and her hope for diabetes patients everywhere.


What made you want to become a doctor?

I realized that not only did I enjoy knowing more about how the human body functions but I also enjoyed explaining it to people and helping them to be healthy.

What made you want to focus on helping people with diabetes?

Before specializing in diabetes, my medical practice had patients from low-income communities. I started to see there was a big need for education and prevention of metabolic diseases such as the diabetes. In Mexico a lot of people die from diabetes and it was natural that I wanted to do something to change that.

Zuraima-Corona-Rodriguez-Everyday-Diabetes-Magazine-1

Diabetes kills 70,000 people a year in Mexico, but it gets far less attention than less deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Why is that?

It is actually very cheap to treat diabetes because it is only necessary that the patient improve their eating habits, get regular exercise and learn self-management. In the case of the other diseases I think that importance is decided by pharmaceutical companies who say what diseases should be given more focused.

What do you think of the current treatment options for people with diabetes in Mexico?

I think that Mexico offers good treatment options however, there could be improvements. I think the weakest point remains that there is a lack of prevention education and self-management of the disease.

Are there any treatments for diabetes in Mexico that are unique?

Well, I think the prickly pear cactus, that we call “nopal” in Spanish and some herbs such as tronadora and wereke, which have been studied by scientists here, have shown effects that were beneficial in glucose control. Both of these are mostly used only in Mexico.

'Nopal' - Prickly Pear Cactus
‘Nopal’ – Prickly Pear Cactus

Are there new treatments you would like to see more widely available in Mexico?

Yes, I hope that here in Mexico we get the drug Liraglutide. It was approved more than 5 years ago in US, but is still very difficult to get here. It seems promising since it is also effective against obesity, which is a typical comorbidity in people with diabetes.

I also hope their is increased marketing and distribution of insulin infusion pumps as well as continuous glucose monitoring devices.

Many people who have lived with diabetes for a long time have experienced periods of deep frustration and the feeling that “I can’t do this anymore.” How do you help patients overcome this?

It is vital to educate people who suffer from diabetes so that they understand that factors such as anxiety or insomnia can be harmful to their glycemic control, for example.

There has to be constant communication between doctor and patient to assure they have the best information that will help them make better decisions regarding the effectiveness of their treatment plan.

Despite efforts to educate people about diabetes they continue to give more credibility to the opinions people who are uneducated about what’s best and have less experience in the subject.

The evidence also says that mutual support groups are very effective to improve control of the disease.

Finally, it’s important to ensure that the treatment plan is led by a multidisciplinary group.

All of these will help the patient experience less frustration, allowing them to more easily live with the disease.

As a doctor treating diabetes, what frustrates you the most in dealing with the disease?

That is a good question. I would say that despite efforts to educate people about diabetes they continue to give more credibility to the opinions people who are uneducated about what’s best and have less experience in the subject, such as friends, family and even neighbors. It’s frustrating!


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Interview: Dr. Zuraima Corona Rodríguez – Everyday Diabetes

Interview: Dr. Zuraima Corona Rodríguez

Everyday Diabetes talks with Dr. Zuraima Corona Rodríguez about her experience treating diabetes in her native Mexico.

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Even though still quite young at only 32-years-old, Dr. Zuraima Corona Rodríguez has a world of experience working with diabetes patients in her native Mexico.

A graduate of one of the world’s oldest universities, Dr. Rodriguez has dedicated herself to diabetes treatment and education –especially for the less fortunate in her country.

Everyday Diabetes Magazine recently spoke with Dr. Rodriguez at her office in Guadalajara, Mexico about her career, treatment in Mexico and her hope for diabetes patients everywhere.


What made you want to become a doctor?

I realized that not only did I enjoy knowing more about how the human body functions but I also enjoyed explaining it to people and helping them to be healthy.

What made you want to focus on helping people with diabetes?

Before specializing in diabetes, my medical practice had patients from low-income communities. I started to see there was a big need for education and prevention of metabolic diseases such as the diabetes. In Mexico a lot of people die from diabetes and it was natural that I wanted to do something to change that.

Zuraima-Corona-Rodriguez-Everyday-Diabetes-Magazine-1

Diabetes kills 70,000 people a year in Mexico, but it gets far less attention than less deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Why is that?

It is actually very cheap to treat diabetes because it is only necessary that the patient improve their eating habits, get regular exercise and learn self-management. In the case of the other diseases I think that importance is decided by pharmaceutical companies who say what diseases should be given more focused.

What do you think of the current treatment options for people with diabetes in Mexico?

I think that Mexico offers good treatment options however, there could be improvements. I think the weakest point remains that there is a lack of prevention education and self-management of the disease.

Are there any treatments for diabetes in Mexico that are unique?

Well, I think the prickly pear cactus, that we call “nopal” in Spanish and some herbs such as tronadora and wereke, which have been studied by scientists here, have shown effects that were beneficial in glucose control. Both of these are mostly used only in Mexico.

'Nopal' - Prickly Pear Cactus
‘Nopal’ – Prickly Pear Cactus

Are there new treatments you would like to see more widely available in Mexico?

Yes, I hope that here in Mexico we get the drug Liraglutide. It was approved more than 5 years ago in US, but is still very difficult to get here. It seems promising since it is also effective against obesity, which is a typical comorbidity in people with diabetes.

I also hope their is increased marketing and distribution of insulin infusion pumps as well as continuous glucose monitoring devices.

Many people who have lived with diabetes for a long time have experienced periods of deep frustration and the feeling that “I can’t do this anymore.” How do you help patients overcome this?

It is vital to educate people who suffer from diabetes so that they understand that factors such as anxiety or insomnia can be harmful to their glycemic control, for example.

There has to be constant communication between doctor and patient to assure they have the best information that will help them make better decisions regarding the effectiveness of their treatment plan.

Despite efforts to educate people about diabetes they continue to give more credibility to the opinions people who are uneducated about what’s best and have less experience in the subject.

The evidence also says that mutual support groups are very effective to improve control of the disease.

Finally, it’s important to ensure that the treatment plan is led by a multidisciplinary group.

All of these will help the patient experience less frustration, allowing them to more easily live with the disease.

As a doctor treating diabetes, what frustrates you the most in dealing with the disease?

That is a good question. I would say that despite efforts to educate people about diabetes they continue to give more credibility to the opinions people who are uneducated about what’s best and have less experience in the subject, such as friends, family and even neighbors. It’s frustrating!


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Interview: Bryan Hopkins – Father, Korea-based Lawyer, Type 2 Diabetic – Everyday Diabetes

Interview: Bryan Hopkins – Father, Korea-based Lawyer, Type 2 Diabetic

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Bryan Hopkins Lawyer Korea - Everyday Diabetes Magazine

Back in February of 1986, Detroit-born, Florida State University-educated lawyer, Bryan Hopkins, landed in Seoul to work as legal counsel for a then relatively unknown South Korean firm called Samsung.

Thirty years later, Hopkins still resides in Seoul with his family and Samsung has, well, you know, grown into one of the largest, most well-known companies on the planet.

Bryan was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 14 years ago. Everyday Diabetes recently caught up with him at his office in Seoul to talk about working for Samsung in the 1980s and about living with diabetes in South Korea.


You started working with Samsung as counsel way back in 1986. Can you talk about what it was like back then?

Samsung, as most Korean companies, had little experience with foreign employees in Korea, especially with US lawyers. I was expected to know all aspects of US and international law when I showed up. In fact, as Samsung had very few US legal resources, they thought I would know everything. From an employee standpoint, though I was treated with respect, Samsung had no idea as to the expectations of foreign employees nor did it understand how to treat them. It was a learning experience for them and for me.

FOR ME, IT RUNS IN MY FAMILY. I EXPECTED I WOULD EVENTUALLY GET DIABETES, BUT I GOT IT SOONER THAN EXPECTED.

What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the business culture of Korea over the past three decades?

There have been many changes in the business culture of Korea over the last three decades. The main changes I think is that Korean businesses now appreciate the competition they face abroad and realize they must cater to the needs of their customers. When I first started working for Samsung, the business units just made products and sold it not thinking about what its customers were really looking for.

Today, I think most Korean businesses understand that they must produce products wanted by their customers and that customer or consumer feedback is important. I think that is a big change.

Considering all the changes the country has gone through, are there any things you miss from back in your early years in Seoul?

Yes –a sense of innocence. Today, I don’t think that exists or at least at the level it did thirty years ago. Koreans have become more jaded over time.

SAMSUNG HAD VERY FEW U.S. LEGAL RESOURCES, THEY THOUGHT I WOULD KNOW EVERYTHING.

Can you talk a little about how Korea’s food and culture affect how it affects living with diabetes there?

One of the problems that I face is that Korea is still a drinking culture and that it probably won’t change. I have to figure alcohol into my diet, how much I can consume, etc.

Has having diabetes affected your day-to-day professional life?

Bryan Hopkins Lawyer Korea - Everyday Diabetes MagazineI don’t go out drinking every night like I did years ago when I was trying to entertain clients, etc. And, of course, I have stopped eating sweets –so I don’t frequent the new dessert bars and restaurants that are opening up. The desert culture surprises me.

How about support groups? Are there any that you have turned to over the years?

Not really. I used to get feedback on my diet, etc from my healthcare provider in the US. I don’t get that in Korea and am sort of left to my own when thinking about my diet

What advice would you give someone newly diagnosed?

There are several reasons that people get diabetes. For me, it runs in my family. I expected I would eventually get diabetes but got it sooner than expected. I really recommend that for people who have just been diagnosed with diabetes they should contemplate the reasons why they have become diabetic and make changes in their lifestyle to minimize its effects. A change in diet, more exercise, etc.

I think exercise is very important and should be factored in when changing lifestyles. It is easy to get depressed about diabetes but it should be remembered that a change in diet and an increase in exercise can go a long way in minimizing its effects.


 

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Interview: Ian Buckingham, Type 1 Diabetic, Groups Support & Development Volunteer for Diabetes UK – Everyday Diabetes

Interview: Ian Buckingham, Type 1 Diabetic, Groups Support & Development Volunteer for Diabetes UK

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Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1959, the now 59-year-old Ian Buckingham dedicates a sizeable portion of his life giving back to others with the disease by working as a Groups Support & Development Volunteer for Diabetes UK.

Everyday Diabetes recently caught up with the Leicestershire-based Buckingham to talk about his diabetic journey.


In terms of your diabetes, what kind of symptoms do you feel and how often?

About one year ago I had been out with a friend and her daughter, when we returned, I was unable to get out of the car without assistance. When we got inside they tested my blood sugar and it read 36, so they called a paramedic, when he tested me it had dropped to 18, so he gave me a Glucagon injection after he had completed his paperwork, he tested again and it was 144, so he said I did not need to go to hospital.

Over 50 years ago, I was told the Diabetes motto was: Balance is Life + Balance the medication dose against the energy you use and food you consume. That is what I have remembered more than anything else.

When i met my endocrinologist a few weeks later, I told him what had happened and he informed me because of my age and length of time , I had been suffering with Diabetes, I had lost my Hypo Awareness symptoms,so we agreed to keep my  blood sugar readings higher than what is recommended, since that night I have had no more low blood sugar.

How has living with diabetes affected your life? What are some of the difficult adjustments?

The only way it has affected me is finding employers who will let me have my lunch when I should. So, i did not work for them. But where I have worked they have accepted this.

I noticed early on in my life that when it is warm my insulin works quicker, meaning I have two options: One, have same dose and eat more or two, have a smaller dose and eat the same amount of food.

What are your thoughts on how diabetes is addressed by the government in the UK?

I am pleased with how the British Government, provide all medication for all people who take insulin. But those who do not do not get a glucose meter provided and have to buy their own  as well as strips and lancets,this is mainly people who are controlled by diet and exercise only. The adults who qualify,because children get all medications free, whether they have any illness or not, get an Exemption Certificate.

There is a Diabetes Committee which sits in the Houses Of Parliament,which is made up with politicians who have different types of Diabetes,and people from Health Authorities.Which discusses nothing but Diabetes.These meetings can be seen on  the Parliamentary Television Channel.

People think one type of Diabetes is more serious than the others, it is up to the person with Diabetes, if they make it more serious or not, by not bothering with good Diabetes care.

Earlier this year we had a petition on a web site, to get everybody who has any type of Diabetes, to be given a Glucose meter when diagnosed, the closing date has not yet been reached.

In my opinion every body who has Diabetes should be given a meter, so they can have better control, and stop making it necessary to go to emergency room, when they are either too low or high, but they have no idea, until somebody with a machine tests them.

The emergency rooms hospital can not cope,the nearest biggest hospital to me about 1 year a go had 14 ambulances waiting outside with patients on them,waiting to be seen.

What about the public perception of the disease?

I am sorry to say people with Diabetes do not always take the threat of complications seriously, like amputations, which there are 140 each week in The United Kingdom, blindness and kidney problems are not taken seriously, until something happens, which works as a wake up call, and they change their attitude towards Diabetes care

People think one type of Diabetes is more serious than the others, it is up to the person with Diabetes, if they make it more serious or not, by not bothering with good Diabetes care.

What advice would you give to someone recently diagnosed with diabetes?

The advice I would give a person who has been diagnosed with any type of Diabetes is to book an appointment with a dietitian, ask  for their name to be entered to go on any education course for their type of Diabetes. Which my health plan pays for every Diabetic to go on.

The information will be coming from all direction, so you will not remember all you are told.But if you can keep notes, it will be there for if you need it in the future. When you go for any appointments about Diabetes if possible take somebody with you to take notes, because it is impossible for you to remember everything.

Tell as many people as possible you have Diabetes, because your mood will change from a child to a violent one, depending on your blood sugar readings.

Do not let Diabetes rule you, you rule Diabetes.

Over 50 years ago, I was told the Diabetes motto was: Balance is Life + Balance the medication dose against the energy you use and food you consume. That is what I have remembered more than anything else.

For anybody to understand Diabetes, they have to have it themselves or live with somebody who has it. From the day you are diagnosed you never stop learning about Diabetes.

You do a lot of work with the public with Diabetes UK. Can you talk about that?

When my mother died suddenly in 2013, I had people make donations for Diabetes UK instead of giving flowers for her funeral. With the money that was donated and other savings I had, I contacted Diabetes UK about having a Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow in my town, to remember my mother, and get people over 18 years old tested to find out their chances of being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, within the next 10 years.

It was held on 4th April 2014,  before it was held I had a partner, who helped me promote it with posters and newspaper and telephone interviews. The poster she created for me, showing the last photograph of me and my parents at a wedding 6 weeks before my father died, with official Diabetes UK ones, were displayed locally, and within 15 miles radius of where the event was taking place.

On the day of the event me and my partner walked down the street where the roadshow was taking place,and when i saw my mother’s name on different parts of the vehicle, it brought tears to my eyes.

During the day Tricia Smikle, Senior Development Manager Diabetes UK had traveled 100 miles to attend the event. As my partner and I were walking down the street with her, I was informed I was the first member of the public to sponsor a roadshow, and was invited to attend other roadshows taking place in The United Kingdom during 2014.

A few weeks after the roadshow, I received a signed certificate from Baroness Barbara Young, Chief Executive Diabetes UK, thanking me.

My partner and i went to other roadshows taking place in the United Kingdom during 2014 to  be observers, but they got us involved, which was good. Later in the year we were asked if we would like to become Diabetes UK volunteers; I accepted but my partners health had changed during the period, and she had been diagnosed with stage 2 COPD, and could no longer do the work.

Up to June this year, I only did “Know Your Risk Roadshows”, which replaced the Healthy Lifestyle roadshow, which has just been renamed.

Since June this year when I was made a Diabetes UK  Groups Support & Development Volunteer. The work I have been involved in since adding to my roadshows was a Living With Diabetes Day (where newly diagnosed Type 2 Diabetics, sit and listen to information,so they have a better  understanding of it, part of the day is also split into different workshops, so that all people attending, are able to do both workshops, I join in as time keeper and helper. This day is free and include refreshments during the day, including a buffet lunch with can either be hot or cold, or both.

I also go to events to set up displays with Diabetes UK materials and information as well as answering  questions which are sometimes asked.Helping with street collections.

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The Indy 500 Driver with Diabetes – Charlie Kimball – Everyday Diabetes

The Indy 500 Driver with Diabetes – Charlie Kimball

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Having no functioning pancreas, every other race car driver in the Indy 500 has a definite advantage over Charlie Kimball, a driver with diabetes to compete in this event.

Kimball, one of two IndyCar drivers with Type 1 diabetes and one of four in elite-level racing overall, has to consider a lot more safety precautions than most other drivers when he gets behind the wheel.

Mensfitness.com reports:

“I wear a continuous glucose monitor, which is a sensor, which is worn on my body with a wire that is injected under my skin. It transfers the reading to a display that I put on my steering wheel. So when I’m racing, just like I check lap time, water pressure, oil temperature, speed, gear, I can also check blood glucose at the same time. That way I can double check the cars running right, and my body is running right as well,” says Kimball to Mensfitness.

In addition to that, Kimball also has a drink bottle mounted in the car, as most drivers do. He also has another bottle filled with a glucose-rich fluid like orange juice so he can take a sip should his sugar run low.

Read more here.

 

 

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An Interview with Max Szadek – Founder of Divabetic – Everyday Diabetes

An Interview with Max Szadek – Founder of Divabetic

After finding Luther Vandross in a coma on the floor and later feeling the media neglected giving enough attention to Luther’s diabetes, Max Szadek has fought for greater awareness of the disease through his organization Divabetic.

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William ‘Max’ Szadek is a 50-year-old entrepreneur currently living in New York city and is the founder of Divabetic. After graduating from Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University, Max had a very colorful career working as a celebrity personal assistant with the legendary R&B musician Luther Vandross before his death.

Following the tragic loss to the music world, Max has since gone on to become a powerful public spokesman for diabetes awareness.

One of his vehicles is the national nonprofit organization, Divabetic (divabetic.org) which partially grew out of his dismay with the lack of media attention to Luther Vandross’ diabetes. 

Though Max does not himself have the disease, he’s made it his mission to help those who do. His older brother is living with Type 1, his grandmother had diabetes as do several other family members.

When Max is not busy with his work fighting for people with diabetes, he enjoys tennis, live theater, and live music. He is also a member of the largest LGBTQ Sports League in North America (Gotham Volleyball), and the New York Celebrity Assistants organization.

Everyday Diabetes recently caught up with Max Szadek at his home in New York to talk about his organization and his involvement with the diabetic community.


What inspired you to become such an active volunteer for people around America with diabetes?

Max Szadek interview - Everyday Diabetes MagazineI was inspired to get involved in diabetes and founded the national diabetes nonprofit organization, Divabetic (divabetic.org) because of my career working for Luther Vandross. I found Luther on the floor of his 5th Avenue apartment after he suffered a stroke related to his type 2 diabetes. I worked with him for 13 years. I was so shocked by what happened.

I had no idea how damaging the consequences of mismanaged diabetes can be. It was devastating. When the doctors told me that Luther’s stroke could have been avoided, I decided to speak out. I was also extremely disappointed because the media was only reporting on the stroke, and not linking it to his diabetes. I wanted people to learn from our mistake so that they could prevent it from happening to their family.

Through the loss and disappointment with the media, where did you go from there to become so proactive?

I started selling t-shirts with the word “Divabetic” on the front, and “Sugar’s the Bitch. Not Me” on the back as a part of a fundraising endeavor. They were popular and people kept asking me if I did anything else. I thought they meant baseball caps or tote bags, but they were talking about programming. I started hosting free monthly programs at the YMCA in New York with the help of two women, Amy Jordan and Dana Hariton, living with type 1 diabetes. They were called Divabetic ‘Bee A Diva” Diabetes Coaching sessions.

Soon after, the sessions morphed into bigger outreach programs featuring guest speakers, games, healthy food tastings, music, and finally beauty and fashion presentations.

Luther Vandross continues to inspire me everyday to broaden the appeal of diabetes outreach and to treat women with diabetes like divas.

Divabetic is also an organization that helps women feel and look their best, and not letting diabetes hold them back. How did you start?

I launched the program ‘Divabetic – Makeover Your Diabetes’ in January 2005 at a tiny makeup salon in NYC with the help of the JDRF. The event combined free diabetes education with free personalized beauty services such as makeup applications, styling advice, etc. Novo Nordisk approached me about a possible patient outreach collaboration. By this time, I had amassed a laundry list of different diabetes programs aimed at women, men, and children. However, I chose to pitch our ‘makeover’ program because it represented the style of my diabetes education and empowerment programming the best.

I ended up working with them for 3 years and traveling to eight major US cities reaching thousands of women at risk, affected by, and living with diabetes. The enthusiastic response we received from the program gave us the opportunity to partner with local organizations in Cleveland, OH, New York, NY and Philadelphia, PA to present ongoing programming for women.

Today I continue to present free monthly diabetes outreach, the Divabetic Club at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. I still receive emails from women in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and Washington DC, asking when we’re coming back.

Diabetes doesn’t have to dim your dazzle! You’re still beautiful, sexy, sassy, and smart. You’re not alone.

During your Divabetic events, what kind of activities are involved?

Divabetic outreach programs feature traditional diabetes education by healthcare professionals, patient testimonials, workout routines, music like a live string quartet, ‘Glam More, Fear Less’ Fashion Shows, line dancing, and Mr. Divabetic games.

My presentation includes a “Hot Topics” discussion on breaking news on diabetes health and wellness with celebrity gossip sprinkled in. I learned a long time ago that people are more apt to remember the types of diabetes if I relate them to familiar characters or personalities like ’Golden Girls’ or the Kardashians.

I also lead a chair workout routine called ‘Dancing with Cars’ using the motions of driving  and repeating them in different sequences.

In March, we hosted a free program focused on kidney disease and prevention. The program featured a keynote address by Dr. Maria Paula Martinez Carntarin, a panel discussion with a kidney donor and a kidney transplant recipient, a ‘Glam More Fear Less’ fashion show featuring eyewear designs, healthy lunches and a Family Feud style game featuring questions on kidney prevention presented with Dr. Neva White. Serve, Taste or Trash! at Central Farm Markets.Serve, Taste or Trash! at ADA Walk in New York.

Divabetics - Everyday Diabetes Magazine
Divabetic attendees

What positive motivation did you offer to the thousands that came?

That diabetes doesn’t have to dim your dazzle! You’re still beautiful, sexy, sassy, and smart. You’re not alone. And there’s no such thing as a stupid question.

After the Divabetic makeover events ended, where did you go from there?

I launched our popular podcast, Diabetes Late Nite, which will be celebrating it’s 6th year anniversary this June, plus expanded our social media. Currently I use our platform “Divabetic” to address what I consider to be the often overlooked topics such as sexual dysfunction, body image, hormones, and menopause related to diabetes. There’s always an element of beauty, fashion, and music in everything we do at Divabetic since we are after all, ‘divas’!!!

What can women expect upon visiting divabetic.org?

It’s all about attitude! Living well with diabetes can be fun, flashy and glamorous! You’re fabulous just the way you are! We have a very upbeat approach to living with diabetes. We’re not a ‘Debbie Downer.’ Currently our website features links to over one hundred free podcasts, poetry, health headlines, games, calendar listings, and our monthly top picks for diabetes self-care products, beauty/fashion items, music, books, etc. We are re-doing our website in June. and the Divabetic Club Philadelphia.

You continue to do so much for the community of people suffering with diabetes, do you have any future goals with your outreach?

I want to develop my “Dancing In Cars” workout routine into a video series. People who normally don’t like to exercise really enjoy it. I am also interested in developing a diabetes app specifically for younger women with diabetes relating to body image and self-esteem. There has been interest in starting Divabetic Clubs in Washington DC, Pittsburgh, PA, and Detroit, MI.

To the women reading this article, what words of wisdom would you give them right now to make them feel like divas?

Don’t try to manage your diabetes alone. Luther Vandross had over fifty people supporting him with his music but when it came to managing his type 2 diabetes he chose to do it alone –I think that was a huge mistake. I deeply regret that I wasn’t more involved in his daily self-care before he had a stroke. I like to encourage both men and women to create their own healthcare entourages which include friends, family, co-workers, hair stylists, fitness instructors, and healthcare professionals to help them live their best lives.

Every celebrity ‘diva’ has an entourage to help her look her best and perform at her best so why shouldn’t you? Be vocal! One of the world’s most beloved voices was silenced by diabetes but yours doesn’t have to be! Open up about the issues that concern you most with your healthcare provider and seek help from a qualified therapist if necessary.

I am also interested in developing a diabetes app specifically for younger women with diabetes relating to body image and self-esteem.

As of right now, what are some of your proudest moments throughout your diabetes awareness career?

I am proud to honor and serve Luther’s legacy. He had a huge impact on my life. Sharing his story, and playing his music and videos at our events has given me the opportunity to connect with his fans and encourage them to ‘keep their house a home’ by learning how to prevent a diabetes health-related complication such as stroke from occurring.

Divabetics - Everyday Diabetes MagazineI am also proud that I have helped all types of women living with diabetes from around the world to feel better about themselves and their health.They’ve adopted a new attitude!

Sometimes these moments happen from just adopting the phrase “Divabetic” on their social media or simply wearing our Divabetic t-shirts. Sometimes these moments can occur by tuning in to our podcasts, attending one of our live outreach events, or visiting our website. Sometimes I actually see it happen when they see the back of my fruit suit emblazoned with the phrase ‘Divabetic’ while I’m raising awareness for diabetes at an outdoor street festival or NYC parade.

They have a huge smile on their face.  It’s an ‘Ah Ha’ moment of personal empowerment that more time than not has nothing to do with me or Luther Vandross. I’m thankful for all of these moments. I am also grateful that my life has a greater purpose because of my work with Divabetic.

What about the current state of diabetes in America? What more do you think can be done to improve this health crisis?

I wish the diabetes community could focus more on lifting people up who have diabetes and encouraging them to develop a personalized approach to managing their diabetes instead of telling them nonsense like they can get rid of it or reverse type 2 diabetes when they’re initially diagnosed!

Since my focus is on helping people with diabetes prevent and/or avoid a diabetes health-related complication we need to empower people to become their own diabetes healthcare advocates. Our goals in the diabetes community should also include ‘comforting, connecting, and cheering’ on people living well with diabetes in addition to finding a cure, developing new insulin therapies, etc.

I would like to see more diabetes programming targeted at all types of divas, discussing how hormones, menopause, and pregnancy relate to blood sugars and diabetes. They’re not ‘crazy’ if they find themselves struggling to juggle their diabetes and periods on a monthly basis. Currently I am working on developing a diabetes app featuring upbeat affirmations for women with diabetes to encourage them with their daily self-care. I am also interested in promoting the idea of reducing the amount of sugars contained in popular sodas and sugar sweetened beverages to help reduce the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes in the world.

Anything else you would like to tell our readers?

Making a woman with diabetes feel good about herself is what Divabetic is all about. I feel if you feel good about yourself, you’re more likely to take care of your diabetes health. This is why I strive is to glamorize good health and aim to help eliminate the shame and blame often associated with diabetes.

Since I’m not living with diabetes nor have I experienced a diabetes health-related complication, using ‘scare’ or ‘fear’ tactics to encourage people to prevent a complication isn’t authentic to me. My approach is to help people stay happy and healthy so there’s no chance of a complication ever occurring.

Luther Vandross showed me how to put on a great ‘show’. He entertained people with sparkles, music and showmanship. I try to educate people about diabetes wellness the same way. All Divabetic programming features music, beauty/fashion, games, prizes, expert advice, straight forward conversation and sweet inspiration. I wear a ‘fruit suit’ on stage to lighten the mood and encourage people to have a good time. Whether people tune in to our free monthly podcasts, attend a live Divabetic outreach event or follow ‘Divabetic’ on Facebook, they’re treated like divas!

Working together with a team of certified diabetes educators, beauty/fashion experts, poets and music industry personnel I try to make learning about diabetes and diabetes self-care management fun and upbeat. We hope to inspire people with diabetes to live happier and healthier lives so they can avoid diabetes health-related complications such as stroke.


You can learn more at www.divabetic.org

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Diabetes 101 – EveryDay Diabetes Magazine

DIABETES 101

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and you’re on the road to understanding what it all means, your journey starts here.
Here you will find helpful information about diabetes, the lifestyle changes, what you can eat, how you should take care of yourself and more.
A place you can start to make changes in your life for the better.
The Basics About Diabetes - Everyday Diabetes Magazine

The Basics

Diagnosed with diabetes and not sure what it’s all about? Here are the basics to get started. (read more)

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. (read more)

Type 2 Diabetes

Usually discovered in adulthood, it is found increasingly more in young people. (read more)

What is Pre-Diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a condition when your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. A person’s fasting blood glucose can be measured, or they can take an oral glucose tolerance test determine if they have pre-diabetes. You can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by keeping to a exercise and diet strategy designed to reduce excess pounds.

Diabetes 101 – EveryDay Diabetes Magazine

DIABETES 101

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes and you’re on the road to understanding what it all means, your journey starts here.
Here you will find helpful information about diabetes, the lifestyle changes, what you can eat, how you should take care of yourself and more.
A place you can start to make changes in your life for the better.
The Basics About Diabetes - Everyday Diabetes Magazine

The Basics

Diagnosed with diabetes and not sure what it’s all about? Here are the basics to get started. (read more)

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. (read more)

Type 2 Diabetes

Usually discovered in adulthood, it is found increasingly more in young people. (read more)

What is Pre-Diabetes?

Pre-diabetes is a condition when your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. A person’s fasting blood glucose can be measured, or they can take an oral glucose tolerance test determine if they have pre-diabetes. You can prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by keeping to a exercise and diet strategy designed to reduce excess pounds.

An Interview with Daniel Puddick – Founder of Sundried Activewear – Everyday Diabetes

An Interview with Daniel Puddick – Founder of Sundried Activewear

Sundried is a recently-launched ethically and environmentally conscious collection of activewear designed and tested by top triathletes.

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What if you could feel completely confident that the product you’re using is ethically made while at the same time feel satisfied with its performance?

That’s what Daniel Puddick has set out to do with the founding of Sundried activewear.

Puddick, a personal trainer, triathlete and father, was determined to build a company that not only produced quality activewear, but one that his children could one day view with pride.

“I think there aren’t many brands who can say they’re proud of how their products have come to market.”

Every piece of Sundried activewear comes with a special tracking code on the label that allows consumers to explore the whole journey of the garment through the production process –ensuring that the highest ethical and environmental standards are adhered to along the way.

Not only is Sundried an ethically and environmentally conscious brand, its collection of activewear was conceived by some of the world’s best designers, from brands like LuluLemon Athletica and Sweaty Betty.

Everyday Diabetes Magazine recently spoke with Daniel Puddick about this unique concept in socially conscious, high quality clothing.


Can you tell us a little about your background and how Sundried got started?

After successfully selling my first business The Sunglasses Shop when it was the biggest online sunglasses retailer in Europe, I knew my next venture would have to be something good.It had to be something I was (and am) personally into and it has to have strong ethical values.

Being a parent makes you think about the bigger picture for the world, so business for me now is more than just creating a financially successful brand. I gathered the best in the business and told them I wanted premium ethical activewear that was stylish and functional, flash forward to now and we have just successfully overfunded for our second and third collections on Crowdcube, which will launch next year.

Sundried Activewear

The driving force behind Sundried is ethical activewear. Can you talk about what that means?

How can we call ourselves ethical activewear, without taking care of our staff throughout the supply chain? For us being ethical means being as good to the environment as possible, whilst protecting our staff. We regularly visit our factory in Portugal and make a donation to Water for Kids with every Sundried purchase. To me, it’s very much about sharing my success with those less fortunate and helping to keep the planet around for my kids and grandkids!

How are the ethical standards benchmarked and monitored for compliance?

We partnered with the Low Carbon Innovation Fund who have strict polices on how our clothing is produced, which we adhere to. We then also have our Product Development and Sourcing Expert who regularly visits our factories to ensure everything is running as it should be.

Sundried ActivewearThe company description talks about having a “heritage in triathlon and outdoor pursuits.” Tell us about that and what sort of customer Sundried is aimed towards.

Sundried is aimed at those of us who grab the chance to be active wherever we find it. Whether it’s competing in a triathlon, to cycling back from the office. Our first collection was designed to be transitional, so you can work and play in it. I’m excited for our further collections as we are now going to explore competitive Tri gear. Sundried is for those who want to look and feel great whilst exercising, knowing they are also doing something good for the environment and those who are less fortunate.

What is it about Sundried that makes it a better choice than other brands of activewear?

I think there aren’t many brands who can say they’re proud of how their products have come to market, we use the finest fabrics with the latest technologies and create our products in a way you can be proud of.

What are you most excited about looking to the future of your new venture?

It’s all very exciting, but I can’t wait for my children to grow up and be proud of the brand Sundried becomes.

You can find out more at www.sundried.com

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Singer Crystal Bowersox Inspires Others to Find Healthy Diabetes Balance – Everyday Diabetes

Singer Crystal Bowersox Inspires Others to Find Healthy Diabetes Balance

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Crystal Bowersox understands how crucial it is to properly manage diabetes and find a healthy balance on and off the stage. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 6, Crystal – now 30 – rose from humble beginnings in northwestern Ohio to reach the heights of American Idol in 2010 and an ongoing musical career that has followed.

Having nearly lost her spot on the show due to a short hospitalization brought on by the rigorous taping and rehearsal schedule, she vowed to make it her mission to touch others impacted by diabetes with her music and her message.

Crystal’s grit and determination recently caught the eye of Lilly Diabetes, which today introduced her as its newest type 1 diabetes ambassador. In this role, Crystal will speak to children with diabetes at summer camps and other events, sharing her story and inspiring them to reach for their dreams. Her ambassadorship is one more way Lilly Diabetes, who has donated $31 million in medication, scholarships and educational materials since 2001, supports diabetes camps.

“Growing up with diabetes, I felt isolated from other kids because they didn’t understand the challenges I faced, and today I know there are many who experience the same things,” said Crystal. “However, despite the obstacles, I learned how to manage the disease, and I try to live my life to the fullest. That’s why I’m excited to partner with Lilly Diabetes to tell my story and encourage kids.”

As part of her ambassador role, Crystal will speak about her experiences with diabetes in a national satellite television and radio media tour today and be a featured speaker at the Friends for Life conference in Orlando, Florida, on July 7.

Friends for Life is an annual international conference that gathers diabetes experts, health care providers, researchers and families who have children with diabetes to learn and share the most current information on diabetes care.

Later this month, Crystal will make stops at diabetes camps and events to meet with children who have diabetes as part of the Lilly Camp Care Package (LCCP) program, one of the largest diabetes camp support programs in the United States.

“Growing up with diabetes, I felt isolated from other kids because they didn’t understand the challenges I faced, and today I know there are many who experience the same things.”

Camps Make a Difference

Lilly Diabetes has found attending a diabetes summer camp can be a valuable experience for children learning to live with the disease, particularly those transitioning from parental care to self-care. A three-year survey by the American Diabetes Association showed camp experience increases some children’s diabetes knowledge, self-confidence, diabetes management and emotional well-being. It also showed the number of campers with a clear understanding of diabetes management increased 11 percent, and those with the ability to manage diabetes-related problems increased 10 percent. Newly diagnosed campers (less than one year since initial diagnosis) changed the most, with 19 percent showing improvement in their ability to manage diabetes-related issues.1

“As someone who was diagnosed with diabetes as a child, Crystal Bowersox understands what newly diagnosed children can go through. She is a terrific example of someone who has managed the ups and downs of the disease,” said Mike Mason, vice president, U.S., Lilly Diabetes. “We are excited to include her perspective as we continue to meet the needs of children with diabetes. We look forward to seeing her connect with children in those important ways.”

Crystal’s 2016 summer diabetes camp tour begins July 18. To hear or read her story, or for more information on other Lilly Diabetes support programs, please visit www.lillydiabetes.com. To find a camp in your area, visitwww.diabetescamps.org.

About Crystal Bowersox

A northwest Ohio native and Nashville resident, singer/songwriter Crystal Bowersox, 30, has been performing for audiences since the age of 10. Her soulful, stirring approach to American music has been met with critical acclaim. Crystal has been described as possessing a voice “incapable of artifice” by the Washington Post, and as “having a keen, finely honed pop instinct all her own” by the New York Times.  With collaborations that include legendary talents such as the late Joe Cocker and B.B. King, Alanis Morissette, Jakob Dylan, John Popper of Blues Traveler,Melissa Etheridge, and many more, it is clear that her vocal prowess is recognized and respected among her peers. Her latest release, Promises, is available on iTunes® and Amazon. Crystal is currently working toward and writing for her next release. For more information visit www.crystalbowersox.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter:@CrystalBowersox. 

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