Episode 096 - Diabetics Doing Mission & Advocacy with Dr. Nicole Johnson

This is a very special episode of the Diabetics Doing Things podcast featuring none other than Dr. Nicole Johnson, the Director of Mission for JDRF. If you haven't heard her speak, she frequently speaks at JDRF Type One Nation Summit's throughout the U.S., so if you have a chance to hear her and meet her, I'd encourage you to do it! 

Dr. Johnson's T1D story begins as many do, where she knew something was wrong but her doctors hadn't landed on Type-1 Diabetes as her illness. So in one of her first preliminary Miss America pageants, she passed out on stage! 

After finally being diagnosed T1D, Nicole's doctors started off her life with Diabetes by listing all the things she wasn't going to be able to do: work in the field she wanted, pursue her dream to be Miss America or have a family! Nicole takes us through the very daunting personal journey of what it's like to hear a physician tell you that you need to change the dreams you've had for your life, and how she started the process of proving them wrong. 

Get a big dose of motivation from Dr. Nicole Johnson and listen to a story that starts with a T1D Diagnosis and turns into a story of passion, success and advocacy from the first person with Diabetes to be crowned Miss America, but who also finished her PhD, started a family and became JDRF's first Director of Mission. 

This episode was recorded in Tampa, Florida on the conference floor of the Students with Diabetes Conference, Nicole's incredible summit for young adults living with Diabetes. 

Episode 095 - Diabetics Doing Balance in New Zealand with Samantha Northcott

Today’s guest joins us from New Zealand! Samantha Northcott (@findbalance.nz on Instagram) takes some time to join Diabetics Doing Things and share her story. Samantha was diagnosed at age 24, but felt it was a long time coming. After some blood work, the hospital called and told her to pack a bag. Since then, she’s been part of the T1D family!

Samantha and I discuss what she’s learned along the way, such as: taking on her own journey, managing her body, and how to care for her well-being through the process. Her experience goes hand-in-hand with her career, as she is a nutritionist, and gets to share some of that wisdom today.

Further, we get into different forms of exercise and how to find one that works for you. We talk about food and diet and some simple ways to ensure that you are feeding your body what it needs. We also talk about finding balance and how to make sure you are happy in the present, but also in the years to come.

Most importantly, Samantha tells us that everything is going to be alright. Hit play and show her some love!

Episode 094 - Diabetics Doing Diabetes Strong with Christel Oerum

Welcome Christel Oerum to the show! (@diabetesstrong_ig on Instagram) Christel is the co-founder (along with her husband Tobias) of Diabetes Strong, which began as a personal blog in 2015 to share her experiences as a fitness enthusiast living with Type-1 Diabetes and grew into the largest website about health and Diabetes with expert contributors from all over the world. It's an incredible resource for anyone looking to make sense of T1D, exercise and an active lifestyle. 

Christel and I discuss her diagnosis in Denmark, where she was diagnosed after experiencing extreme fatigue (accompanied by the other usual symptoms), by her primary care physician. Christel also takes us through the challenges of moving to the United States and discovering her love for strength training. This 20-year T1D veteran is full of knowledge that ranges from traveling across foreign lands, to T1D technology, to health, fitness, and wellness.

Be sure to check out Diabetes Strong for tons of resources on how to live fit and healthy with Diabetes, and keep on the lookout for more Diabetes Strong and Diabetics Doing Things content in the future! https://diabetesstrong.com/

Episode 093 - Diabetics Doing Representation, Diversity & Inclusion with Ariel Lawrence

The DOC is an amazing space for many of us; real-life T1D’s connecting on social platforms to share their story, motivate, and educate, creating a chain reaction of inspiration and confidence for the newly introduced to do the same.

While we often think about and highlight advocacy and education in the community, race, culture, and background aren’t always discussed as much as they should be. Today’s guest, Ariel Lawrence, or as you may know her, Just A Little Suga’ (@justalittle_suga on Instagram), shares her passion for bringing to light the underrepresentation of people of color in the diabetic online community.

Ariel shares her diagnosis story and we discuss how interesting the event can be. We break down the idea of diagnosis and how it can become three separate moments; the first diagnosis (diagnosis by a doctor), the second (the moment of acceptance), and third (diagnosis from an activism/advocate standpoint). The conversation continues as we chat about topics such as: parents overcoming their children living with diabetes, T1D children learning to be resilient from such a young age, and to always looks for the silver lining.

Ariel’s creation of Just A Little Suga’ began after the passing of her grandmother (a type 2 diabetic) as she wanted to find a community of diabetics who could empathize with her grief and help her take better care of herself, but found that voices of people of color were few and far between. Just A Little Suga’ takes that issue head, motivating herself and others to be resilient in the face of diabetes and to enlighten the friends and family of diabetics so they’ll be encouraged to better support them.

Ariel Lawrence + Diabetics Doing Things = One incredible episode

Diabetics Doing Blogging and Travel with Beatriz Estay

A warm welcome to Beatriz Estay (@theletter_bea on Instagram), today's guest on the Diabetics Doing Things podcast. Beatriz is a marketing guru and lifestyle blogger, who enjoys engaging with the T1D online community. 

As a 13 year old girl, Beatriz found herself enjoying YouTube videos of the Jonas Brothers. Beatriz quickly realized that she had more in common with Nick Jonas than she ever knew. Immediately after, she self-diagnosed herself as a Type 1. Beatriz went to a doctor the following day, where she was officially diagnosed with T1D. As if getting diagnosed isn't complicated enough, her family had to find a doctor who spoke English. Three months prior to this event, Beatriz and family had moved to Tokyo, Japan.

Beatriz shares how managing T1D can vary depending on where you are geographically and situationally. Learning to be nicer to yourself and realizing that you don't always have to be perfect is key. However, setting goals and finding balance helps Beatriz manage her way through life with T1D. We also discuss the importance of support, whether you achieve that through a partner, friend, family or an online community. Support makes all the difference.

Take a listen to everything Beatriz has to offer and connect with her on Instagram, @theletter_bea!

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.