Category Archives: Interviews

Tuesday 2015 Diabetes Blog Week What I Keep Private

Click for the Keep it to Yourself – Tuesday 5/12 Link List.
Many of us share lots of aspects of our diabetes lives online for the world to see.  What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet?  Or from your family and friends?  Why is it important to keep it to yourself?  (This is not an attempt to get you out of your comfort zone.  There is no need to elaborate or tell personal stories related to these aspects.  Simply let us know what kinds of stories we will never hear you tell, and why you won’t tell them.) (Thank you Scott E of Rolling in the D for this topic.)


What do I keep private from the internet?  If you have known me a while you will know I don’t do private.  I try to not filter myself in order to appear “better”.  Oftentimes some of my posts are controversial.  But there are some things I will not share.  Not because I don’t want to but because I am extremely sensitive and I fear a simplistic understanding of what I write (not from most just a few)

I typically choose all my words carefully and deliberately.  But I’ve allowed myself to be shoved off my blog more than once because of criticism, hate mail, and heady assumptions.  I admit that any broad misunderstandings are my fault.  In those cases I didn’t write clearly enough.  Every so often though, I think I’m being clear, I test my blog out to a few people and ask them to tell me what I’m saying, the feedback says I’m clear,  I will publish officially, and then I will get a few responses that crush me.  When that happens, it seems like some readers are looking at things in a black and white fashion, skipping over some very important words I include, and instead of seeking clarification, they go off the rails at me.

Recently, I spoke to someone who I would regard as a nuanced thinker.  I shared what I haven’t shared before.  That will come out later for me to talk about but in the meantime I’d say that I feel sharing is highly influential and important in our community.  What some of you have shared in the past has been very freeing for me.  Being able to relate, to know I’m not alone, to feel I’m not a freak, etc.  One way we can encourage more of this honesty and openness is to read with the same honesty and openness and respond in kind.  We want to support and seek clarification, not jump to conclusions and crucify.  I’ve seen a lot of bloggers get tackled over a thought they had, a reasonable human thought.  And that doesn’t help us.  So keep sharing friends.  I will keep reading with my heart on my sleeve, understanding that you and I are no different and that you have every right to entertain certain thoughts and feelings. I try to remember too, that you are at liberty to change your mind anytime, just like me.

Free eBook Shares Diabetes Diagnosis Stories


The online diabetes magazine A Sweet Life has put together two great eBooks you can download for free.  They are each a compilation of inspirational diabetes diagnosis stories but one shares stories from people with type 1 diabetes and the other, type 2 diabetes.

My story is one of the stories in the type 1 diabetes eBook.

It was an honor to share it and I thank A Sweet Life for doing this and offering it to the DOC for free.

If you haven’t checked out A Sweet Life, do so today-it’s full of seriously handy information and a source for excellent opinion articles by a number of people with diabetes.  In fact, I’d say the site is one of the DOC’s best kept secrets.  Check it out and have a great one!


DOC Brides Infographic!


Allison, April, Kerri, and myself are featured in a DOC Brides Infographic with tips and suggestions that we learned through trial and error.

This was put together by Sanofi and is shown on the Discuss Diabetes blog.  Click here to check it out!

Also see my guest post, “Diabetes on Your Wedding Day” for more things I wish I’d known before walking down the isle.

Happy Wednesday!

On the Radio

I’ll be on DSMA (Diabetes Social Media Advocacy) Live! tonight as a guest.  I’m so excited to talk to some DOC friends and actually hear their voices :)  Here are the details:


Here’s the link:




Interview with Type 1 Living Abroad, Ariana Mullins


Remember earlier this year when I interviewed Nathan ShackelfordHis blog is still one of my faves.  Well, he said I might like to check out his sister’s blog.  Ariana Mullins has type 1 diabetes like her brother, but doesn’t blog about it.  Instead she blogs about her family’s adventures living in Europe.  She is a fantastic writer (she just wrote my favorite blog post ever) and takes some amazing pictures.  Do check out her blog, it’s a beautiful reminder of what living a healthy, fabulous, and grateful life is all about.

I asked her some questions about how she manages her diabetes and what it was like having diabetes and living in Europe (and other places):

How long have you had type 1 diabetes?

I was diagnosed 21 years ago, at age 12.  By the way, I was diagnosed by my dad and his glucometer, and never even saw a doctor  about my diabetes until I was 14.  My dad and older bother are both type 1 diabetics, and we were living in a rural area in the Philippines. My dad helped me work out my insulin dosages, taught me to estimate carb counts, etc.  My brother sent me my first insulin wallet, (which I used for the next 15 years!)  I decided right away that I wanted to be healthier than any non-diabetic, and took everything related to self-care pretty seriously.  Six months after diagnosis, I left for boarding school, on another island– so I was really on my own!  When I did finally see an endocrinologist, he was amazed that I had an A1c of 5.6!

What’s your motto in life?

“Never make decisions based on fear.”  I think I have lived this philosophy pretty well with my diabetes.  I haven’t let my diagnosis keep me from doing anything I really wanted to do, with the exception of snorkeling and scuba diving.  I used to snorkel all the time as a kid, but once I became diabetic, the idea of being in the middle of the ocean with low blood sugar was just too hard to justify!  Other than that, I have not let my diagnosis keep me from living as fully as possible, trying as many new experiences as I can.

Ariana and her brother, Nathan:IMG_1246

What is your diet like and why do you eat that way?

I eat low carb, and follow more of a paleo-type of approach.  I love food, and love to cook.  We originally started eating a grain-free diet because of food allergies that my daughter and husband have, but I quickly realized that it was great for all of us, and simplified my life a lot, since I was already not eating much starch anyway.  We eat plenty of meat and eggs, lots of vegetables, coconut products, and plenty of fat.  If we’ve been to France recently, then there’s plenty of great cheese on the table, as well!
I don’t crave a lot of sweets, but I do make room in my day for dark chocolate (usually 80%) and am happy to try out grain-free dessert recipes for my family, although I don’t usually eatmuch of those treats.  We always eat very well, though, with an emphasis on great quality items.  Who wouldn’t be happy to have a nice steak with herbed butter, grilled asparagus, olives, and a fresh, herbal salad for dinner?  Add a glass of red wine and some chocolate for dessert, and I feel like one lucky lady!  I never feel deprived, and absolutely love eating all of the great food at our table.

I think that one of the most positive, proactive things a person (regardless of health concerns) can do is to look at their food supply– what are we really eating, and where did it come from?  How was it produced?  Taking an interest in our sustenance is extremely rewarding, and eating well does not have to be expensive or difficult.  It’s true that eating quality food is a real priority for me, both in terms of budget and effort, but I don’t spend more than the average person (in fact, probably less!) and we feel incredibly wealthy when we sit down to eat together.

(Sysy speaking-she isn’t kidding.  Below is her cooking.  It’s what I want for dinner.)


What in your opinion, is the toughest thing about living with type 1 diabetes?

I think the hardest part is just that it’s always there, on my mind, and impacting the smallest decisions in my day.  What I eat, when I eat.  The type of exercise I do, when, how long, etc.  Although diabetes doesn’t limit me much, it impacts everything.  When I leave the house, I have to think about whether I have something on hand in case of hypoglycemia, and whether it’s enough, or where I could get more, if needed.   And I am always counting…  The insulin I took, what I ate, when, what I will eat, what my last number was, what happened yesterday or the day before, trying to anticipate what my blood sugar might do.  There are so many variables– how much sleep I got, the amount of stress I am under, how old my insulin is, which ratio of insulin in my system is basal, how long a bolus dose will be working… The list of factors is endless, and it can be overwhelming at times, when there is a problematic dynamic happening that I need to figure out.  I can do everything “right” and still not get the numbers I am shooting for.  Diabetes takes a ton of mental energy and patience, and when other things in my life are a little wild, it can feel like too much!

Do you ever fear your daughter will develop it?

Yes, I do fear that she might.  Genetically, the chances are not too bad, but there is always that possibility.  Honestly, this is another reason that we eat the way we do– I want to give her the best health foundation that I can.  I do my best without being obsessive, and the rest is really not up to me.  It’s not something I think about every day, though, and it really wouldn’t be the end of the world if she did develop diabetes.

With her adorable daughter, Amelia:IMG_5617

Is it challenging living abroad with type 1 diabetes? What places have been the most challenging/least challenging?

I don’t find living abroad with this diagnosis to be much more challenging than living in the US.  In Germany, I did have to do more work to find a doctor that spoke English.  My diabetes is the same here as it would be anywhere else in the world.  I think it would be more challenging living in a really hot country, where I had to think all of the time about keeping my insulin cold.  Or a place that I couldn’t find supplies so easily.  But so far, it’s not hard at all.  We travel quite a bit, and that of course presents some challenges, but usually nothing too serious.  And of course,  the travel is so worth it!


If you can’t find glucose tablets, what do you use for lows?

Fruit– I often carry an apple in my purse.  I can’t find Smarties candy here, which is my #1 choice.  Fruit leathers are pretty good, though, and if I am out and about, then getting a little bit of fruit juice is fast and effective.

How many times a day do you check your blood sugars?

This actually varies.  Since I have some limitations of test strip supply, I use a “save and splurge” sort of strategy.  I might use tons of strips for a few days, while I am figuring out a dynamic or blood sugar problem.  Once I have logged all of that information and have something to work with, I will make changes, and then check less obsessively, to see how things are going.  On average, though, I’d say I check 5-7 times per day.

Why did you decide to move abroad? Were you worried about how you would manage with your diabetes?

We decided to move overseas because we wanted to live in Europe.  It’s really that simple!  When we found out that my husband could get a good job working for the US government overseas, we jumped at the opportunity.  We lived in Germany for a while, and now we have been in England for over a year.
To be honest, my diabetes was not even a factor I considered when making the decision to move.  I think this makes sense, if you take into account my first years as a diabetic– completely self-managing in a foreign country.  I had not gotten exceptional care from doctors in the US, and the cost of insurance, co-pays and things like that never made me feel like I was particularly lucky to be a diabetic in my home country.  Once, I went to see a really great endo in Portland, and they booked my appointment and said they would accept my insurance.  But it turned out that they wouldn’t– I found this out after the doctor had run a whole bunch of labs (which just revealed that I was super healthy!) and we ran up a bill of $1,000 for that one visit, during a time of financial strain!  I could not even afford a follow up, which would have been the more valuable visit.  See what I mean?  There are great resources for diabetics, but not necessarily available to the people who need them.

So, here in England, the way they manage diabetes is not that great, either.  But they do cover prescriptions and supplies 100%!  Honestly, it is the patient that manages their diabetes, not the doctor.  So I would rather be empowered by having the supplies and medications I need, than lots of face time with doctors and nurses.  That said, there is a diabetes clinic nearby, and I can call one of the nurses, send them my logs, etc., whenever I want, for help.  The technology is a bit behind, though.  Not many diabetics use pumps here, since the funding is limited, and CGM supplies are not covered.  I am currently on a waiting list for a pump class, and then subsequently getting set up with a pump.  I don’t know how long it will be, and it’s not something I am expecting next week, I’m just waiting to see how it plays out.  Interestingly, you have to sort of prove your worthiness to get a pump– a reasonable A1c, and adeptness at carb counting and adjusting insulin.  I know these are kind of basic in the US, but I think it’s more rare to find PWDs who are very engaged in their own management.  This observation is simply based on the way things are handled– I haven’t met another PWD here yet!

What advice do you have for someone with type 1 who is considering moving to England (where you live now)?

I would recommend that they work to get their diabetes well-managed, through whatever resources they have available to them at home first.  It may vary depending on where in England they land, but I don’t think the management resources here are great.  They would need to be pretty competent with trouble-shooting and investigating issues on their own.  Sure, there are doctors and nurses here to help, but it could take a while to get an appointment at a diabetes clinic, or to find the exact type of help they need.  For example, if I had been working with a great endo before I moved here, I would have tried to set up a way to stay in contact with them, and pay for consults over the phone or via email.  On the other hand, if they qualify for NHS coverage, then they are going to love getting all their supplies for free!

The thing that most positively impacts your diabetes management?

A curiosity about the human body, and health in general.  Being diagnosed at a young age definitely sparked my life-long interest in health and nutrition.  Our bodies are really amazing.  They are always working hard to do their best, and deserve our best in return– the best nutrition we can find, plenty of rest, play, etc.  It makes me sad when I see people feeling angry with their bodies, or fighting them– the body is always working really hard, and never tries to sabotage us! The discomforts or troubling symptoms I may have are just forms of communication.  If I pay attention and respond, I can take great care of myself!  Don’t let the challenges of living with diabetes overshadow all of the really wonderful things that we are capable of through such exquisitely designed structures!

Where in the world would Carmen Sandiego be if she had type 1 diabetes?

Probably in Germany!  The best diabetes technology always seems to be coming from there, and they also have a great healthcare system that allows diabetics to get the care that they need, with minimal personal expense.

Any last words?

I don’t usually write about diabetes, so this was a positive exercise for me, in terms of articulating my experience with this condition.  Diabetes is actually not a big part of my identity.  I learned from an early age that I didn’t like being thought of as “that diabetic girl.”  People either felt sorry for me, or felt like they needed to get involved, or (worse yet!) tell me their best diabetes-related horror story.  No thanks!  Life is so interesting, and there is so much out there to experience, so I do my best to strike the balance between taking good care of myself, and just living and enjoying everything else around me.


With her husband, Jeff.

Thank you for letting me share a bit about my experiences, Sysy!

Anytime!  Thanks for being so candid and helping prove that people with diabetes can do anything.

“The Sweet Arts” Interview


As you all know my youngest sister Ana has type 1 diabetes (got it the same year I did).  She has been an artist since I’ve known her (and I’ve known her since she was born).  Her personality seems to fit the stereotype for an artist (except she’s really good at math).  She is extremely kind, non-judgmental, very “live and let live”, quiet and observant, and has a wonderful eclectic style.  Her bedroom looks like art, fashion, quotes, and a rainbow all blew up in it.  Every time I go in there my face probably resembles a child’s at Disney World.

She was interviewed for Sanofi’s new diabetes website,  The article is about how people with diabetes, Ana being one of them, are using art to express their emotions and reach out to others.  It’s a great post and we’d be honored if you read it :)

Click here to read the article.

By the way, Diabetes Art Day is fast approaching.  Look out for the upcoming post on how you can participate and support this creative initiative!

The Making of The Girl’s Guide, Part 2 of Interview

2012-03-01 14-44-00.935

Many of you have heard this story before but if you haven’t and happen to be curious here is part 2 of my interview with Laura Kolodjeski from Sanofi talking about how and why I started the blog and what my future plans are.

The only thing I would like readers to take away from my words is that sometimes having diabetes can be the source of motivation in our lives.  It can provide our route to helping others.  It can be a big part of our lives without being the bane of our existence.  I think to some extent that’s what I’ve been trying to do.  Thrive with diabetes, embrace it and learn from it, and use all that energy to help others who have it.

Luckily for me my path on this blog has led me to immense learning and support from the DOC.  So it’s just another example of how life is always full of pleasant surprises and even our having diabetes can ironically dish good things out.

Click here to read The Making of The Girl’s Guide to Diabetes

As always, thanks so much for reading.


Interview about Bonding with My Sister Over Type 1 Diabetes


Painting is called “Thank You” by Ana Morales


I had a chance to meet Sanofi’s Laura Kolodjeski in Washington D.C. last month and not only did we so easily hit it off as friends, Laura also interviewed me about what it was like for my family to have two type 1 diabetes diagnosis in the family.  You all know how I can go on and on and so here is Part 1 of that interview.  It’s pretty candid considering how comfortable I was speaking to Laura.  I hope you all enjoy.

Thanks, Laura!

Natural Supplement for Nerve Pain Relief


I was sent a free sample of Neuropasil, Nerve Pain Formula recently.  It was developed by a renowned podiatrist who specializes in Medicine and Surgery of the foot and ankle, Dr. Enrico.  I’m all for natural products so I was eager to see what was in this formulation.

You take one tablet twice a day and get a cocktail of vitamins and minerals, including alpha lipoic acid and inositol.  These ingredients all promote optimal nerve health and supposedly you start to experience results in 2 weeks with maximum relief in 4-6 weeks.  I’m not sure I have enough nerve pain in order to experience “relief” since all I ever get once in a while (if I wear high heels) is a twinge of nerve pain under my right toe.  But I can say that after 3 weeks of taking this I haven’t felt any twinges of pain.  So that’s cool :)

I asked Dr. Enrico a few questions about this product:

Who is Neuropasil for?

Neuropasil is a nutritional supplement that people can use to manage nerve pain and support nerve health. Anyone who suffers from nerve pain, or neuropathy, may benefit from this supplement, including people with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, carpal tunnel, fibromyalgia, chronic neck and back pain, neuropathy associated with chemotherapy, among others.

Can people get the ingredients for Neuropasil in their diet?

Theoretically yes, but realistically no.  Neuropasil contains a proprietary blend of B vitamins, minerals like Alpha Lipoic Acid and supplements. While these ingredients are naturally occurring in certain green vegetables, in order benefit from these you would have to consume a very large amount of these foods. Its best to incorporate a nutritional supplement with these ingredients into your daily diet to get the nutrients that you need.

Aside from taking this supplement, what else can people with nerve pain do to help their symptoms?

In relation to diabetic neuropathy, the best thing to do is keep your blood sugar under control and to exercise, which keeps you healthy and releases endorphins which can help ease pain.

Thanks, Doc, for answering those questions.

Here is more info:


Facebook page:

Have any of you tried this product?  What did you think?  I know our feet are really important to us :)


Interview with Husband about Marriage and Diabetes Part 2


You can laugh at the picture.  We’re goofy like that.

Here I interview my husband, Alex for the second time since this interview.  Last time we had just been married a year and this time, since more time has passed, I ask harder questions.  Alex is kind of like one of my heroes- Honest Abe Lincoln and so he answered truthfully here.  And I have to be honest and say it stung a little.  Luckily, love and friendship soothes this kind of pain as well as the knowledge that knowing, at least for me, is always more empowering than not knowing.  My interjecting comments are italicized.

Interview with husband about marriage and diabetes:

If you describe me to someone, do you mention my diabetes?  Does it come up?

I say that you are beautiful and smart. That you are a great wife, mom and daughter. That you work from home writing for a health site. I also always mention your blog and yes, diabetes always comes up.  Diabetes is a big part of what makes you, you. Therefore, I cannot omit that from your description.

Aw shucks…:)

What’s the hardest thing about marriage?


What’s the hardest thing about being married to me?

Communication.  A lot of times we’re not on the same page.

(Oh honey, tell me about it)

What’s the hardest thing about being married to a type 1 diabetic?

The worry.  The worry about seizures at night, low blood sugar when you’re with the kids, the future and the potential damage diabetes might cause you.  I have cousins, an uncle, a great aunt, a great grandfather who all died from type 1 or type 2 diabetes complications.

So you’ve seen what you hope is not in my future…


Does intimacy get complicated by my diabetes?

Yes it does.  (Said much like a general confidently says “affirmative”) It increases your stress level, makes you more likely to be depressed and anxious, all of which affects your hormones.  Diabetes can help lead to secondary issues like your PCOS which causes you a lot of pain.  High blood sugars really affect you physically, too  Diabetes does a lot to this area.

Since we’re being honest…when I’m really happy with you I do make more effort to manage my blood sugars more.  Hint, hint.

What about my diabetes management could I change to make our marriage better?

You have a killer sweet tooth and it seems like your anxiety makes you dig into anything sweet that you buy sometimes and overdo it.  Then you don’t feel well, are mad at yourself for splurging, and then your mood is changed for the rest of the day.  You’re much happier when you don’t overdo sweets because your blood sugars are better but mostly because you are happy with yourself.

So true…so true…

What about my diabetes management would I have to change to make our marriage much more challenged?

Eat unhealthy and not exercise.  Your blood sugars do so well when you eat well and exercise.  And your self-esteem is great.

Do you think me having diabetes makes me somewhat less of a mother or wife?

NO. (said in an “are you crazy” kind of tone)

Does me having diabetes make it more difficult for you to communicate to me brutally honest things?

No, I just have that problem in general.

lol…yes amor, I know…

Do you ever pity me?

No, not pity, I feel compassion.  I wish you didn’t have this disease or that you had a chance to get rid of it.

Does me having type 1 diabetes somehow make our marriage better in any way?

It makes me more appreciative of good health and of life and it makes me a kinder person.  And I can see that you having type 1 will help our children be more compassionate about others who are different or who have any kind of challenge or something.

Do you take care of yourself more than you otherwise would if I didn’t have diabetes?  Why?

Good question…I think I eat healthier now but I’ve always wanted to take care of myself.  My reason for never drinking much soda wasn’t because I thought it was unhealthy, I never drank much because I didn’t like how it made me feel.  And I don’t like to think about it… but I also take care of myself more now because I feel like I should in case something happens to you later in life.

But I’m happy to do it.


Copyright © 2015. Powered by WordPress & Romangie Theme.