Diabetics Doing Hollywood 2 with Jen Bartels

You may know her as Diana from American Woman on Paramount Network, but the woman in character is Jen Bartels (@jenbartels on Instagram); today we’re bringing Hollywood to the booth as Jen joins us on this episode of Diabetics Doing Things.

Jen and I dive into her diagnosis story and she explains how she asked herself, after noticing some weight loss, “Is this the life of an L.A. actress, or is it diabetes?” For Jen, it was Type-1 Diabetes. Throughout the episode, we talk about what it means to be a T1D and how big of a role the diabetic online community plays in encouraging you to go above and beyond and connect with others. The more we share, the more we learn, the more we know.

Jen and I discuss the implications of T1D, how there are no off days and how it’s more than just not drunkenly eating pizza on a Friday night. Further, we talk about being diagnosed later in life and the changes that it brings. As Jen says, it’s like "packing a diaper bag for a child that never grows up."

Be sure to give this episode a listen and reach out to Jen if you need some advice or just want to chat.

Episode 090 - Diabetics Doing User Experience, Jiu Jitsu and Everything in Between with Paulius Podziunas

Let’s give a big welcome to Paulius Podziunas (@impaulius on Instagram), today’s guest on another episode of the Diabetics Doing Things podcast! Paulius and I go on a conversational journey of diabetes, technology and stoicisim. We begin by getting to know Paulius as he shares his diagnosis story and then we dive into his entrepreneurial free-thinking mind, trained in user experience (UX), systems and martial arts.

This episode covers everything from finding the motivation to succeed to simple ways to breakdown the effects of diabetes into manageable problems. Paulius shares his love of Jiu Jitsu and working out, including some stories from the days of “Meathead Paulius Podziunas,” but also talks about focus and simplicity. We further discuss life without insurance and the way of Walmart insulin.

Prepare to be motivated to take that next step (whatever it may be), because Paulius will get you going.

Episode 089 - Diabetics Doing Spoken Word Poetry with Nichole Acosta

We welcome Nichole Acosta (@nicholeacosta on Instagram) on today’s episode of Diabetics Doing Things. Nichole is a spoken word poet and photographer, and shares with us several of her poems regarding the diabetic lifestyle.

But before we hear her inspiring poetry, we get to hear her diagnosis story. She shares with us her difficult relationship with food after her diagnosis and how she has worked to have #sugarfreedom. #Sugarfreedom is to live life freely, such as life before diabetes, but to still be in control.

Nichole preaches the importance of not feeling controlled by diabetes and we discuss how she manages her physical and mental well-being through eating and outlets, such as creating her own art. Be sure to check out her awesome poetry about halfway through this episode and give her a shoutout with #sugarfreedom on social media. 

Episode 088 - Diabetics Doing Through Hiking with Joey Chapman and Julian Tapia aka the Hangdog Days

The Hangdog Days (@hangdogdays on Instagram) are in the house! Brothers, Joey Chapman and Julian Tapia, join us for today’s episode of the Diabetics Doing Things podcast. Joey is the younger of the two and also our T1D guest. Julian, being the incredible older brother he is, took Joey’s diagnosis in stride and has been a major part of his support system ever since.

“Is this how it’s going to be forever?” 10-year-old Joey Chapman asked his mom while drawing an insulin shot soon after diagnosis. She knew the answer, and he soon did too. Moments like these, even when young, play a major role in directing the course of someone’s actions and it is evident that he wasn’t going to let anything hold him back.

Joey and Julian are diehard outdoor extraordinaires and self-coined dirtbags. Their infectious positive attitudes and commitment to pushing themselves and others to test their limits is showcased in this episode. We talk about their future 2,650 mile trip up the Pacific Coast Trail, beginning May 4. We dive into what it’s going to take, how they are preparing, and everything that has come before to lead up to this exciting point. We catch a glimpse of their motivation behind the trip, including how the walk allows you to think all your thoughts, leaving you in the present, and enabling you to enjoy what’s around you in the now.

Be sure to check out the Hangdog Days website and podcast, The Diabetic Dirtbag (found on any major podcast platform

Diabetics Doing Track & Field and Stanford Medical School with Jonathan Tijerina

Let’s welcome Jonathan Tijerina (jonathan_david_tijerina on Instagram) to the show! Growing pains or diabetes? At age 13, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two. After 6-8 months of living with symptoms, passing out at football practice too many times, and having to hold his bladder through the Guatemalan jungle, Jonathan was eventually diagnosed with T1D. Fear not, for he went on to run track and field for Baylor and is currently doing research for Stanford University while in Medical School.

Training staff at almost any level of sport can make a big difference for anyone, but especially a person living with T1D. Jonathan and I discuss this importance of education as a patient athlete, as well as being open with your teammates about your disease. As he explains, once his teammates knew about his diabetes, they helped carry gel-packs or other low blood sugar defenders, just in case! By breaking through the fear of being vulnerable and sharing our struggles and being willing to ask for help, you may be surprised at how giving others can be, especially in a time of need.

Not to give away the whole story, but Jonathan also shares a project/course he is working on for medical students called Diabetes 101 for Healthcare Providers, which aims at giving doctors a  real-life understanding of the differences we as Type 1 Diabetics all go through, including insulin sensitivity, carb counting/ratios, and knowing when and how properly to handle highs and lows.

Take a listen and give Jonathan some love on Instagram! You can also email him at jdt2015@stanford.edu

Diabetics Doing The Faces of Diabetes with Edward Fieder

Diabetes is not a death sentence. 

You are not alone. 

You should never feel alone. 

And you can do whatever you want to do. 

These words are spoken by Edward Fieder (@TheDiabetesHero on Instagram), founder of The Faces of Diabetes (@TheFacesOfDiabetes on Instagram). From a senior project at Troy University to a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization registered in Alabama, Edward shares the “how” and “why” behind his work. But first, we learn about his diagnosis at age 11 and what came before his current work. 

T1D is a multifaceted part of our lives; from the food we eat, to the medicine we need, to who we are as individuals. Because of this, we can feel disconnected, but storytellers like Edward build bridges for people who have never met, based on characteristics we are all familiar with. Through photographs and stories, we can see how much we have in common, inspiring us to get up, go out, and do more! 

Whether for yourself, a friend, or someone you don’t even know yet, support his work in helping other T1Ds by buying the book! 


Diabetics Doing Ballet and Broadway with Katelyn Prominski Baud

Episode 085's guest is professional dancer and T1D, Katelyn Prominski Baud (@KatelynBaud on Instagram). Katelyn was diagnosed in 2011, but multiple signs suggest she was living with it much longer. When she was battling a case of swine flu, feet problems, sinus infections, weight loss, muscle weakness, and confusion, she did what dancers do… she danced. She endured countless complications over an extended period of time under circumstances that were far less than ideal for someone virtually living in DKA. At the time, she was a corps member with the Pennsylvania Ballet and wasn’t going to let anything stand in her way; even after diagnosis, she kept dancing. 

Katelyn doesn’t let diabetes get in the way and her story is one of a kind. Her vivacious commentary and story-telling is one to be enjoyed by all. We walk through her diagnosis and philosophy regarding life with T1D, and we also talk about her current pregnancy (FYI, she’s rocking it!!). Remember to give Katelyn some love on Instagram and feel free to reach out! Digging into untold stories like Katelyn's and connecting about how we're all more similar than we think is what Diabetics Doing Things is all about. 

Diabetics Doing First Conversations about T1D with Mariel Schofield

Occasionally, we have the pleasure of sharing the first truly public conversations about T1D with an individual, and Mariel Schofield (@doctor_mariel on Instagram) gave us the opportunity to share her story outwardly for the first time.

Now a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Mariel brings a myriad of experience and knowledge in the world of T1D. Diagnosed at age 5, her main memory of diagnosis is giving dolls shots of saline water to prepare her for the real thing. She was told that sports weren’t going to be easy, or perhaps even possible, but with the help of her loving father, she made it happen. 

Mariel played Division I Volleyball at the University of Miami, and we talk sports and what it’s like to be a high-level athlete with diabetes. Do you tell your coach and team? Do you try to hide it completely? It’s all a matter of situation and opinion, but no matter what, it’s going to be a personal decision. We discuss the ins-and-outs of managing blood sugars at this high level of conditioning without knowing the type of workout you’re walking into. 

Mental fortitude is a major theme in this episode. Learning how to control your body and center yourself improves your ability to maintain your blood sugars; from yoga to meditation, there are plenty of actions you can take to improve your mental strength. Connecting with others in the diabetic online community and talking with those like yourself can be an extremely rewarding experience, so take a listen and leave a comment!

Diabetics Doing March Madness and Pro Basketball with Austin Freeman

Professional basketball player, Austin Freeman (@_sugarfree5 on Instagram), is the Diabetics Doing Things guest of the day. You may know him from his time at Georgetown or even when he attended DeMatha Catholic High School, but today you get the inside scoop. Diagnosed his junior year of college, Austin and I go hard in the paint with our discussion on T1D.

During the most prominent part of the season, Austin found himself frequenting the bathroom, having no energy (despite IV fluids before practice and games), and staying clear-headed on the hardwood proved to be difficult. What was thought to be a stomach-virus became a full-blown case of type 1 diabetes. If you’re a T1D athlete, you may relate to Austin as he knows his coach keeps an extra close eye on him, “just in case,” and is constantly being asked about the diabetes.

Austin shares how T1D has impacted his life. As a professional basketball player, he travels to other countries, sometimes for years at a time. He discusses how he manages having multiple doctors and talks about how different doctors can require different sugar ranges, which isn’t easy. If you love basketball and/or traveling, have T1D, or just want to listen to the awesomeness that Austin Freeman is, take a listen!

Episode 082 - Diabetics Doing Diabetes Research Connection with David Winkler

Let’s give a round of applause for David Winkler, today’s guest on the Diabetics Doing Things podcast. David is well known for multiple achievements, but I’d like to highlight that he is the co-founder and board chair of Diabetes Research Connection (DRC). The DRC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 2012 with the goal of connecting donors with scientists who want to make a positive change with credible, peer-reviewed research in the world of type 1 diabetes.

David, diagnosed at age six, has been living with T1D for 58 years. As such, he is an expert when it comes to life with diabetes. From the days of injecting insulin derived from pigs to now knowing what his glucose levels are at all times, he has exceeded the expectations of the early doctors. David’s story is fascinating and provides hope to diabetics, new and old. At diagnosis, it was suggested he wouldn’t live past 30, so we can see how far the knowledge and technology has come. Unfortunately, it’s not perfect and there’s a lot of work to be done, which is why David and four others created the DRC.

David is an advocate of each individual understanding their diabetes and working to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible. He preaches that every day is a test, so consciously paying attention to one’s blood sugar and eliminating variables is necessary in order to prevent complications in the future. If you’re a proponent of fact-based research, knowledge, and helping others, take a listen to today’s episode. 

Episode 081 - Diabetics Doing 58 Years with T1D with Key Payton

Key Payton, coming in at an amazing 58 years with Type 1, takes the hot seat on today’s episode of the Diabetics Doing Things podcast. This true T1D OG adds more years to our ever-growing years lived with diabetes than any other guest that has come before. Key and I met at Medtronic HQ in 2017 and I knew I had to share his story. Today’s the day, so tune in to catch our conversation on, you guessed it, life with Type 1 Diabetes.

Key and I take a trip down memory lane, discussing his diagnosis around 1959 in remote New Mexico. We discuss the knowledge of T1D back in the day (or lack thereof) and the tools that were available, such testing glucose levels with urine, the frightening glass syringes, and daunting needles as one’s only option. Of course, technology has advanced over the years and Key has been able to experience (and work on) some serious upgrades, such as his latest switch to the Medtronic 670G with auto mode.  

Key advocates voicing life with diabetes. He learned that if he didn’t talk about it, no one else would know about it. The more people that know about, the better we can cooperate in society. Do your friends know about T1D? If not, Key may inspire you to share a little bit about what makes up a big part of your life.

Episode 080 - Diabetics Doing ALL the Marathons with Ross Baker

Can you imagine running a 100-mile ultra marathon? What about 53 marathons? What about one marathon? Neither can I. But, for Ross Baker (@RossBaker24 on Instagram), it’s life. In fact, he’s ran 1,336 documented race miles over the past 17 years. Interested yet?

Ross was diagnosed in 1992 at the age of 19, making him a 27-year seasoned T1D veteran. Ross dives into his diagnosis story, sharing his experience having a T1D father and learning what life on this side of the needle is like after watching him for many years. He further tells us how juggling the suggestions of his father and doctor were difficult for him at times. For Ross, finding a balance that worked for him took some time; just because his doctor told him he couldn’t eat pizza, didn’t mean Ross stopped eating pizza. While he still enjoys the occasional slice of pie, he enjoys running much more. 

Ross has run a marathon in all 50 states! Yes, that is correct; all 50 states! Self-described as “nothing more than a weekend-athlete” at the time, Ross’ feat began after putting his name in the lottery for the New York Marathon and being selected. Since then, he hasn’t stopped. How does he do it? Why does he do it? What’s next? Ross righteously relays his inside scoop. 

If you’re a fan of running, endurance sports, and/or just want to listen to a golden-hearted T1D marathoner, take a listen to our conversation. 

Some say he’s still running to this day. #ShirtForRoss