Monthly Archives: July 2015

Diabetes By The Numbers: Dr. Nicole Johnson.

It seems nearly everyone knows Nicole Johnson. They remember her as Miss America 1999, they’ve seen her at conferences, on social media. All that, plus the fact that she always seems to have a smile on her face, makes people forget that she is actually Doctor Nicole Johnson, who is the first person to earn a Doctor of Public Health degree at the University of South Florida. Moreover, she is actually doing something important and meaningful with that distinction. That’s why you’ll hear me refer to her as Dr. Johnson, rather than Nicole, throughout our talk. She’s earned that right.

In this episode of Diabetes By The Numbers, Dr. Johnson lets us in on the groundbreaking Postdoctoral Diabetes Fellowship Program that she’s running out of the University of South Florida.

Part patient-facing, part research, five women from around the country will be taking part over the next year in a program that will develop and enhance their understanding of the psychosocial aspects of living with diabetes 24/7/365. Definitely a subject worth further scrutiny. The fellows will be mentored by doctors at the head of the class in this subject, including Dr. Johnson herself, Dr. Lori Laffel at Joslin Diabetes Center, Dr. Korey Hood at Stanford, and Dr. Jill Weissberg-Benchel at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

I would tell you more, but I prefer to defer to Dr. Johnson for the rest.

Reference Material – Click below for more information on this topic

Dr. Nicole Johnson is Executive Director of Bringing Science Home:

Bringing Science Home is involved in a number of initiatives, including, but not limited to:

Students With Diabetes

Diabetes Partners
Interested in applying for a 2016-2017 Fellowship?
Send an e-mail to: and

Deadline to apply is December 10.

Wordless Wednesday: Hooked.

Just to prove you’re not safe from pump distractions anywhere, including the garden…

I’m pretty sure a garden gnome is responsible. Maybe even the Buck Showalter Garden Gnome.

Also: those heirloom cherry tomatoes in my right hand must have been developed by a terrorist, ‘cause they’re the bomb.

Brain Dumps.

I’m back after spending a few days in Charlottesville, Virginia with The Great Spousal Unit. It was a nice trip with great weather, and other than my surgery, it was the first extra time off I’ve had since March. Ahhhh… I feel rested. Here are a few random brain dumps to begin the week:
– Looking for more artificial pancreas news? TuDiabetes will be hosting a discussion with three members of the new Type Zero Techologies team on Thursday, July 30th at 1:00 pacific time (US). That’s 4:00 in the afternoon on the east coast, and 9:00 p.m. in London. Learn about the InControl, InControl Advice, and InControl Cloud solutions that the folks in Virginia have been working on. #WeAreNotWaiting, and #TheyHaveBeenWorking. Find out more about what they’ve been working on, Thursday afternoon. CLICK HERE for more information.

– Registration for the Diabetes UnConference is happening right now! 2016 will include two new and important things: 1) There will be a western UnConference (again in Las Vegas), and an east coast UnConference in Atlantic City; and 2) Each UnConference will include sessions specifically for the spouses, significant others, etc. who live with us as we live our lives with diabetes. So, you have date and location options, and you can bring your Type Awesome too. This is a big deal, and I really hope you can be there either in Las Vegas next March, or Atlantic City next September. Make your plans now. And CLICK HERE to register. What are you waiting for?

– It’s amazing how your BGs go crazy when you travel. That’s because nearly everything you’re eating is some measure between general processed food and high carb crap, or both. I felt like I was throwing insulin at my numbers all day Saturday, even though one of my meals was no carb, and an evening snack was no carb too. I still woke up on Sunday morning at 149 mg/dL. Love the travel, hate the BG effect.

– On the other hand: Would anyone like a squash from my garden? Or maybe two? Or three? I am currently overwhelmed with squash. This situation caused Maureen to make the dreaded “squash casserole” when we returned from Charlottesville. I’m not a fan, though I love to grill it along with other summer vegetables. But right now, I’m feeling like I’d like to go a few weeks without even seeing another squash. A good problem to have, I guess.

– Finally, for those who might be wondering: I’m now about a month and a half beyond knee surgery, and I can tell you that my progress has been slow. I feel like it’s improving every day, but in teeny, tiny increments each day. So while I’m seeing noticeable improvement week to week, I’m not really able to tell the differences on a day to day basis. Still, progress is progress, and I did well walking around the University of Virginia campus last weekend. Can’t wait until I can get back on my bike.
Have a great Monday. Heard anything new recently? Let me know!

Diabetes By The Numbers: Bea Sparks continues the conversation.

“Like anyone else, I want to bee seen, first and foremost, as a human being… as a person.”

So… I touched on the subject of how we react to issues that People With Diabetes face in advertising and media in my last post.

Bea Sparks lives with Type 2 Diabetes. I live with Type 1 Diabetes.

In the next episode of Diabetes By The Numbers (now available on iTunes!), Bea brings her unique and important voice to the conversation. It’s so good and so meaningful, in fact, that I broke my original ten minute rule and just included the entire sixteen minute talk.

Together, we riff on the subject of how we, all of us living with diabetes, can work to include rather than exclude when we respond to stigma and shame that others try to lay on us. Trust me, you will feel the power of Bea’s convictions coming right through your listening device.

The quote from Bea at the top of this post is just one of the many golden nuggets included. Feel free to add your nuggets below.


Reference Material – Click below for more information on this topic

Bea Sparks writes at the blog Cranky Pancreas:

She also writes at the blog she and other Type 2s share called The Type 2 Experience:

The Ted Talk that Bea mentions in our discussion is right here:


How to react? How not to react?

For the benefit of anyone reading this months down the road:

CrossFit, the fitness company, posted a tweet that was particularly offensive to People With Diabetes. It was wrong, both in its tone and its wording, and because its statement had absolutely nothing to do with actual, you know, facts.

After this tweet went out, members of the diabetes community did their best to show their outrage at such a gutless attempt to guilt people into working out using their program, and shame People With Diabetes. Which brought out more ridiculous responses from the CrossFit CEO. Stupid is as stupid does, I guess.

The biggest diabetes organizations in this country got involved too, posting their own social media messages in response. For the most part, I was happy to see this. It’s good to know that when someone tries to hurt you via social media, JDRF, ADA, and others have your back.

But… and you knew there would be a but… some of the reactions were less than stellar from an inclusiveness point of view.

Is that too vague? I’m not sure I know how to put it into words. I think what I’m saying is, when I see a popular singing star, who lives with diabetes, tweet “Know the difference between types of diabetes”, I wonder what in the hell the different types of diabetes have to do with this issue in the first place. I’ve gotta admit… when I saw that one, I cringed a little bit. Why?

Because when we point out that my type of diabetes isn’t to blame for [fill in the blank], or we say this type of diabetes isn’t caused by [fill in the blank], we’re also implying that some other type of diabetes is to blame, or some other type of diabetes is caused by something that our type isn’t. Don’t believe me? Ask a Type 2 how they felt about some of the most vocal responses to the CrossFit issue.

And if you say, “Hey, well, that’s not what I meant”, I will tell you that it is not what you say, but rather how what you say is perceived that is important. Just ask my wife. And, Type 1s, when we make Type 2s feel this way, we are alienating 25 million People With Diabetes just in this country. 25 Million potential allies in the fight for better care, better access to medication, better acceptance by society. And, Type 2s, if you ever alienate Type 1s, you are alienating one of the most resourceful and vocal groups of diabetes advocates on the planet.

To varying degrees, we are all getting screwed in the media. To varying degrees, we are all getting more attention in the media. I don’t have the exact textbook way to respond to situations like these.

I just know that, like I’ve said before, it’s not always important to get there first with the most anger. It is extremely important that we respond to shaming and stigma-inducing ridiculousness by starting with what is in our heart… considering everyone affected by (and potentially viewing) the initial issue, and potential responses… and holding up a light to our shared humanity, and giving a voice to that shared humanity, in a way that protects us all, lifts our common cause to the highest plain, and encourages thoughtful discussion and meaningful change for the better.

I think that’s the longest sentence I’ve ever written.

There will be more discussion on this topic, coming on the next episode of Diabetes By The Numbers, here in a few days. As always, your opinion matters here too.

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