Episode 5 – A Caregiver’s Perspective, with Mary Alice Johnston, R.N.

Happy 2021, everyone! We did it! We made it through 2020!

To kick off the new year, I invited a very special guest onto the podcast: my mom, Mary Alice Johnston, R.N.!

Episode 5 of The Phunky Diabetic Podcast focuses on a caregiver’s perspective to type 1 diabetes, and quite honestly, even I learned new things during the interview about Mom’s experience raising a diabetic.

On that subject, I’d like to take this time to issue a formal apology to both my parents – I’m sure I said and did a lot of mean things as a four-year-old in response to you pricking my fingers and giving me insulin shots several times a day! Mea culpa!

I had a wonderful (and emotional) time interviewing my mom about what it was like to raise a child with T1D in the late ‘80s and throughout the ‘90s. Mom did have a leg up on the science of it all, being that she was (and is) a registered nurse. That being said, knowing the science behind the disease didn’t give her all the answers.

Mom talks about some misconceptions she had prior to living with the disease on a daily basis. She discusses what it was like to raise a brittle diabetic, her efforts to provide me with some independence and choices in the management of my disease, her struggles with the public education system to provide me with adequate health services, and much more.

As a now-retired public school nurse and health teacher, mom shares some great advice as to how parents and caregivers of type 1 diabetics can effectively advocate on their loved one’s behalf.

If you want to reach out to me or to Mom about anything you hear in the episode, please feel free to do so! Mom can be reached by emailing her at maryj112@verizon.net and including “T1D podcast” in the subject line. As always, I can be found on Instagram at @katherine.itacy, on Twitter at @katherine_itacy, on Facebook at @authorkatherineitacy, and through my website, http://katherineitacy.com/.

I hope you enjoy my discussion with registered nurse and A1 mom, Mary Johnston, and stay tuned for more episodes in 2021!

All my best,

Kate

The Phunky Diabetic Podcast, Episode 5 – A Caregiver’s Perspective, with Mary Alice Johnston, R.N.

Episode 4 – Discussing Diabulimia with Melany Gray

Happy Holidays, everyone!

I think we can all agree it’s a good thing this year is finally winding down. But before we say goodbye to 2020, I wanted to share Episode 4 of the podcast!

Trigger Warning: This episode covers the topics of diabulimia, disordered eating, disordered thinking, eating disorders, addiction, diabetes burnout, and diabetes-related complications. While my guest and I tried to speak of these issues with the utmost respect for all those who’ve struggled with them in the past or is currently struggling with them now, please skip this episode if you believe it would be triggering for you.

I want to thank my guest, Melany Gray, for agreeing to be on the podcast and sharing her experiences with diabulimia and diabetes-related complications with me and my listeners.

As we discuss during the episode, a startling number of female diabetics engage in diabulimia (i.e., restricting/withholding one’s insulin intake for the purpose of weight loss) at some point during their years with type 1 diabetes.

And with one study finding that those who engaged in diabulimia died, on average, thirteen years younger than those who hadn’t engaged in such behavior, it’s vital that the diabetic community better understand why it’s happening and how to prevent it from happening in the future.

During the episode, Melany and I discuss what drove us to experimenting with disordered eating and insulin restriction, what (and who) helped us finally work toward recovery, how our health has suffered as a result of engaging in diabulimia, and on a positive note, the ways in which our mental and physical health has improved since recovering.

For anyone struggling with diabulimia or diabetes burnout, please reach out to your medical care team and/or a mental health professional. For those living in the United Kingdom or Ireland, you might also want to check out the T1ED UK & Ireland peer support group on Facebook.

While peer support groups should never be used as a substitute for seeking professional care and medical attention, especially if you’re suffering from diabulimia/diabetes burnout and/or experiencing diabetes-related complications, speaking with other type 1 diabetics who’ve gone through similar experiences can be a cathartic and healing experience.

If you want to reach out to me or to Melany about your own experience with diabulimia or diabetes burnout, please feel free to do so! Melany can be found on Instagram at @melanyjanegray and on Twitter at @melanyjg85, and I can be found on IG at @katherine.itacy, on Twitter at @katherine_itacy, on Facebook at @authorkatherineitacy, and through my website, http://katherineitacy.com/.

I hope you enjoy my discussion with Melany and stay tuned for future episodes in 2021!

The Phunky Diabetic Podcast – Episode 4 – Discussing Diabulimia with Melany Gray

In the meantime, have a happy and healthy rest of the holiday season.

All my best,

Kate

Episode 3 – Talking Type 1 with Daniel Newman

After a bit of a health-induced summer hiatus, I’m back and ready to talk more type 1 diabetes! And what a perfect way to do so by interviewing podcaster and diabetes advocate Daniel Newman of the award-winning Talking Type 1 podcast!

I learned a bit about Daniel’s story after seeing him on a Beyond Type 1 Zoom summit panel in which he was discussing his struggles with diabetic complications.

Just as I hope to do with this podcast, Daniel decided to use his experience with diabetes burnout and its resulting fallout and turn it into a positive by having real, open, and honest conversations with other type 1s and their family members and then sharing those discussions with the greater community.

The Talking Type 1 podcast makes it clear that there are no perfect diabetics out there, you’re not a “good” or “bad” diabetic depending upon your blood sugar level or A1c, you’re not being graded or judged based upon the number of diabetic complications you do or don’t have, and most importantly, you’re not alone in your struggles, fears, insecurities, anger, annoyance, or any other emotion you may feel while living as a type 1 diabetic. We, as a community, are all in this together!

I was honored to talk type 1 with Daniel, and honored to have him on as a guest. I do hope you’ll enjoy the episode, subscribe, rate, and review the podcast on whichever platform you’re listening to it, and look for The Talking Type 1 Podcast on those same platforms!

Episode 3 of The Phunky Diabetic Podcast – Talking Type 1 with Daniel Newman

(As of now, you can listen and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, or YouTube)

And to follow Daniel Newman, you can find him on Instagram at @t1d_dan, follow the podcast’s account at @talkingtype1podcast, and follow Daniel on Twitter at @t1d_dan.

Please enjoy the episode, and as a final note, the book I reference in our discussion is by Professor (now Dean) Dayna Bowen Matthew. It’s entitled Just Medicine: A Cure for Racial Inequality in American Health Care, and it’s a must read!

Thanks again for listening to The Phunky Diabetic Podcast! Stay tuned for future episodes, and in the meantime, be well!

– Kate

Episode 2 – ¡Viva La Revolución!

I am honored and excited to present to you Episode 2 of The Phunky Diabetic Podcast, which I’ve entitled: “¡Viva La Revolución!”

In today’s episode, I spoke with Dr. Victor Montori, renowned diabetic specialist, one of the top researchers in clinical medicine and social science, co-creator of the concept of “minimally-disruptive medicine,” co-founder of the Patient Revolution, recipient of numerous professional awards and author of more than 650 peer-reviewed publications and the fantastic book, Why We Revolt.

Dr. Montori was incredibly gracious, not only in agreeing to speak with me and giving me an hour of his time to speak on Zoom, but in RE-recording his portion of the interview after I had a complete technology FAIL happen on my end!

I’m sorry you won’t be able to watch our Zoom conversation, but you can listen to our re-produced discussion covering a variety of topics, from the greed and uncaring current healthcare system and how it reminds me in many ways of the failing criminal justice system, to how Dr. Montori is trying to convince his fellow medical professionals to judge less and care more, to how Dr. Montori and his colleagues in the KER Unit at the Mayo Clinic work with patients to figure out the best, most “minimally-disruptive” treatment for each individual patient, to the International Potato Center in Peru!

Whether you’re in perfect health or a professional patient like me, I urge you to listen to the episode, read Why We Revolt, and join the Patient Revolution.

You shouldn’t receive different quality healthcare depending on how much money you make or what racial or ethnic group you’re in, just like you shouldn’t be subjected to different versions of the criminal justice system for those same reasons.

Even those of us with decent insurance are fed up with ten-minute doctor’s visits, with at least half the time spent sitting there while your doctor types away their electronic visit summary.

Not only are we, as patients, receiving insufficient medical care and either prescribed unnecessary meds and tests or denied much needed treatment and testing, but healthcare professionals are also burnt out, overworked, understaffed, underfunded, and experiencing empathy fatigue.

We’ve all watched as physically and emotionally exhausted doctors, nurses, EMTs, and hospital support staff put their lives at risk in order to test and treat those of us with COVID-19.

We owe it to ourselves and each other to demand more careful and kind healthcare for all and better working conditions for those working in the medical community.

Dr. Montori’s ideas for a revolutionized healthcare system that caps profits, provides free essential medicine to all patients, and puts the focus back on the patient are so refreshing, completely feasible, and well-defended against the inevitable criticisms.

Take a listen to today’s episode and then join la revolución!

Feel free to contact the podcast if you have any questions or comments regarding this episode, or have any thoughts on what you’d like to hear discussed in future episodes.

Very soon, I’ll make the podcast available on other listening platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, and more.

‘Til the next episode, stay safe, stay healthy, stay well.

All my best,

Kate

More on my COVID-19 experience

Hey there, everyone!

While I’m busy creating more content for the podcast, I figured you might want to check out these three short video clips I recorded for Bowhead Health regarding my experience contracting and recovering from COVID-19.

As I mentioned in the podcast’s inaugural episode, if any of you have any questions for me about my specific experience with the Corona virus, especially as a type 1 diabetic, please feel free to comment to the post or send me an email through the website’s contact page.

I hope that each of you has been managing well during this unprecedented time. We’ll get through this together!

All my best,

Kate