Speaker 0 00:00:04 Hey, and welcome to freewill. And with carton podcast, I'm your host carton, Wyclef wheelchair warrior, and stability advocate based in Atlanta, Georgia. On this podcast, we share stories from people with various disabilities and help break down barriers for the disability community so that we can build allyship and a more inclusive world. If you like what you hear on the episode today, please rate, review and fall this podcast and share it with a friend, giving a shout out to my friends at I access life. It's a mobile app that rates interviews places on the built environment to break down barriers and transparency on the bathrooms, interior parking. And anytime that you go into a new place, you can find the mobile app on Google play and Apple app store use the referral code card in my name, C a R D E N one signing up today's guest is Tom Lennon since being diagnosed with type one diabetes at the age of 35 creator and personal trainer, Tom Lennon decided that he wasn't going to let his devastating news, keep him from reaching his fitness goals through his t-shirt company.
Speaker 0 00:01:08 Tom wanted to send the message that you can still do amazing things. Even if you have type one or type two diabetes working in a local children's hospital already, Tom would see children come in on a daily basis that were newly diagnosed with the disease and who were already living with it. He then decided that he wanted to donate a portion of his t-shirt proceeds to the children's diabetes foundation in hopes of making a difference. I hope you enjoyed the episode today and let me know what you think you can DM me on Instagram at freewill and with carton. Enjoy Tom. Thanks so much for joining the podcast tonight. How you doing?
Speaker 1 00:01:49 I'm doing great. Thank you, actually, you know, it's funny, I'm usually the one I'm usually the person that's asking all the questions and now is this is the first time actually being interviewed. So I I'm really thankful for being a guest on your show. And, um, you know, I'm looking forward to this tonight,
Speaker 0 00:02:04 Guys. It's always fun to be on the other. See, I've, I've done a few podcasts before where I'm being interviewed and yeah, it's a weird feeling, no doubt. But I think when you have a story that you're really passionate about, you can really, you just, you realize you blink and an hour has gone by and you're like, how did I talk for so long? And you're just, you know, a lot about the topic and you're passionate about it. You it's just, it comes from the heart. Yeah, definitely. So I'm looking forward to learning a little bit more about you tonight and your journey with type one diabetes and how you advocate for your community and create that inclusion and belonging. So do you wanna, I'll, I'll give you the floor and you can talk all about your journey.
Speaker 1 00:02:48 Yeah. Awesome. So, uh, I'm originally from Massachusetts and my wife is from Georgia. And so when we got married, she got a position back in Georgia. So we moved down South. And then, um, I was looking for jobs, uh, before I even moved down to Georgia, I started drinking like a lot of water. And this is, this is when I was 35, just turned just about turning 35 years old, which is not really typical. It's usually you'll see diabetes coming around in like, you know, adolescents or younger ages. And so while I was moving, transitioning down to Georgia, I was actually drinking a lot of water, you know, really skinny men, maybe my parents were like questioning, like what's going on with you? And then, um, probably moved down to Georgia and got a position at a children's hospital and in the emergency department. And at this time, you know, my wife hasn't seen me for over a month and she, you know, we go to this pool party and she looks at me and says, man, you are really, really skinny.
Speaker 1 00:03:49 And I, you know, I was, didn't really realize it until like I looked in the mirror and I was like, God, I look like really skinny. Cause typically I'm a bigger gentleman. And when I look in the mirror, it's just like, I I'm just, I don't know what happened to what happened to me. And so when I got hired for the children's healthcare of Atlanta, I did this preemployment screening and they have this thing called strong for life where you can do blood work, it's optional. You don't have to do it. So they do the blood work and just see what, you know, may need an improvement or whatnot. And so I was like, sure, let's go. And cause I'm always curious and geek out on like, you know, blood work and, you know, fitness and all that stuff. So, um, yeah, it's free. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:04:38 It was free too. It's I can't, I can't complain. So when the nurse took my blood and got the readings, she was like, Hmm. And she looks at me and says, are you feeling okay? And I was like, yeah, I'm fine. Like what, what's the deal? And then she asked me, you know, what did you have for breakfast? And I was like two bowls of cereal, like what I typically do. And so she's like, and you refer feeling perfectly fine right now. Yeah. And I'm like, yeah. And so she checked my blood sugar. Then she told me my blood sugar was three 9,390 points, which is like ridiculously high for anybody. Because the typical range of your normal blood sugar is like 80 to some people say one 20 or one 30. And that's like the range, typical range for a normal person. But mine was at like three 90 and she's like, well, this could be just a glitch.
Speaker 1 00:05:32 It could be just the system. Why don't we, why don't you go home and just go to CVS and get a glucometer, you know? And they're like 20 bucks. And so, you know, do a 12 hour fast and see what happens. And I was like, all right, let, let's try it out. And then she said, uh, reach out to me immediately if it's like still high. And I was like, okay. So I did a 12 hour fast and then I checked my blood sugar. It was two 71. It's, it's pretty funny. Those two numbers, the three 90 and two 71. I don't think I'm ever going to forget at all, because it's like, this is what I first started realizing like, man, this is I'm going to be, I'm going to, I'm a diabetic and I didn't really put two and two together until the nurses, listen, you really need to go to an endocrinologist like, like yesterday. And so I went to an endocrinologist, you know, he did my blood work and he told me that, you know, I got the official diagnosis of, you know, Hey, you're a type one diabetic now at the age of 35, which I know was insane for me. I never really expected this to happen to me. And so now I was pretty much learning how to do shots, like take insulin. And it was just like a whole, whole curve ball. Like even my wife was like, didn't know what to do. So.
Speaker 0 00:06:54 And how did you feel during all this? And was it scary? Was it like, you're ready to take this on what was going through your mind?
Speaker 1 00:07:02 Yeah, it was, well, I I'm the type of guy that would take everything on like, like screw it, just do it, just roll with it. And I was like, shocked that this actually happened to me, but I was like, well, you know, since I have it, I might as well just go along with it and like, just learn how to live, live with this. Cause it's going to be there for the rest of my life. And I was like learning and trying to learn as much as I can because you know, my endocrinologists didn't really help me out. And so I was reaching out to, you know, other diabetics on like Instagram or just talking to other people like that. I worked at the hospital up in Boston just asking them questions. And they would say, it's funny. Cause like, just when I first started out, when you take your blood and take your blood, you have this little thing called a Lancet where it's this little needle that poke punctures through your finger where you can draw the blood and actually get the blood sample to read you read what your blood sugar is.
Speaker 1 00:07:59 And so they have a number on the Lancet. And so I thought that was how many times you have to use it, but know that the amount of pressure that the, that the needle I should give. So the higher, the number, the higher the pressure it is. So I was like, I didn't know. I could finally someone told me at work, they're like, Hey, that's, it's for like the amount of pressure that puts in like for the needle. And I was like, Oh, so it's pretty much like a learning, like a whole learning curve, like a whole time. Cause I just got no information whatsoever. And it's, it's funny because, well, it's not it's. Yeah, it's funny because typically when somebody has like a high blood sugar like that, they could go into, you know, diabetic ketoacidosis where, um, you know, they pee out like, you know, your sugar and you could cure ketones and which is very bad. You can be in an ICU. I have never had that happen to me or they never sent me to a hospital with that. They said just, you know, just try to manage it when you first start when I first started. So I was, you know, walkie, I didn't have to go to an ICU for that for a couple of days.
Speaker 0 00:09:04 Right. Yeah. And thinking about where you came up with that and where you learned that attitude of just roll with it, is that something that was taught to you? Is that something that you were surrounded by your peers? I don't think that's an attitude that's generally just acquired or, or native.
Speaker 1 00:09:27 Yeah. I mean, I'm kind of, I'm pretty laid back and my wife kind of doesn't like that, but it's like, I don't, I don't know. It's just, my dad does the same thing too, so I probably got it from him, you know, he's just like, all right, well let's, let's go and do it. So yeah, I think it was, you know, kind of a genetics, but I, I always want to learn something new or do something new. So I was like, you know, and I also read a book from a Richard Branson called screw it, just do it. So that was another book that, you know, helped me out with that too. It was just like, he was, had all these things that are going on and he almost said no to most of it, but then he said, screw it just did it, do it. And then something good happens out of it. So
Speaker 0 00:10:06 Nice. So you're connecting with other diabetics and having the help from those in your work. When did you kind of make that connection to want to continue to spread that knowledge and awareness and Joe, what you do today?
Speaker 1 00:10:25 Um, so, uh, great, great question. So when I was working at Choa in the emergency room, we had, we would always have like maybe once a week or once every other week, a new onset of diet, a new diabetic that came into the emergency room, which was like a child. It could be fringing from like five to 18 or whatever. So what I would do is I would walk into the room and just, you know, say who I am and say that I'm a diabetic and just tell him my story and tell him like what I'm going, what I go through and what they may go through. But granted, like, you know, I was 35 when I got diagnosed. Like some of these kids are going to be dealing with diabetes a lot longer than I have in, you know, obviously with, with them growing up in puberty, that jacks up your sugars.
Speaker 1 00:11:12 But, you know, I was just trying to do, um, help out as much as I can to let them know that everything's going to be okay. And you have a big supporting cast that show, uh, and you know, they're very helpful there. And so one day there was this, uh, lady crying, like outside of her room. And I thought like, she, it, it looked like her daughter, her daughter was dying. And so the way, the way she was crying and everything. So I went up to the nurse and I was like, what, Hey, what's the deal with, uh, this, this room over here? And so they said, Oh, she's a new one. She's, she's a new diabetic. Now her blood sugar was in like the seven hundreds. And I was like, Whoa, okay. So I always typically go into new, new diabetics rooms and just say, you know, just yell out,
Speaker 2 00:12:01 Like, Hey, welcome to the club. You know, just trying to like cheer, cheer him up a little bit because you know,
Speaker 1 00:12:07 You know, just finding out you're you're diabetic can be scary and you don't know what's going on and it's super stressful. There's a lot of things going around in your head and especially with the parents too, as well. And so I walked into the five-year-old and I was like, Hey, welcome to the club. And she wanted like nothing to do with me. She was more focused with drinking water, which you're not would say didn't want water too. And so when I said it, the mom looks at me and like is looking at me like the hell's wrong with you. And so I pretty much told her like, Hey, I, I'm a type one diabetic as well. And told my story and said that, you know, you're going to a floor where you're going to get so much help and, and you're going to learn a lot, but it's a lot to take in, but everyone's super helpful with you and they'll make sure you know what you're doing with your child with diabetes.
Speaker 1 00:13:02 And, and I said, listen, you know, if you want to ask me any questions or whatnot, feel free just to have the nurse reach out to me and I'll come back in and you know, we'll talk a little bit more, but I'm definitely going to be transferring, helping you transfer your daughter upstairs to the ICU. So just to kind of like calm, calm me down a little bit and relax you a little bit. And so when I did that, you know, I reassured her again saying, Hey, listen, you know, you're, you're gonna, you're gonna be fine. You have a great staff here and they're going to help you out to the best of your ability. And she gave me a nice, big hug, crying, saying, thank you and stuff like that. And after that day, I felt like I needed to do a little bit more than going to people going into like patient's rooms and you know, that our new diabetics and saying, you know, and just talking about my story.
Speaker 1 00:13:54 So I'm a big, like fitness Boff. Like I'm a, I'm a personal trainer. And I like working out. I like wearing t-shirts. I don't really like wearing any like fancy shirts around like, just, just like t-shirts. So I was like, well, why don't I actually make a t-shirt company that donates to a diabetes charity and make that a little bit I'll maybe that will help out and see what happens. And so I started this t-shirt company called typo lifting and proceeds of the shirts go to the children's diabetes foundation, which is they're based in Denver. And it originally started in 1977. And I is funny cause like my wife and I, when we started the t-shirt company, I, the main focus was just to donate to a diabetes charity. And so I didn't know about the JDRF, like no clue when I first started. And so my, and I like, you know, Google search diabetes charities and you know, this one pretty much chillers I, diabetes foundation was the first one. I was like, okay, I want, I want to do that one. And so, and the staff there has been like super helpful. I emailed them of what originally actually I emailed show up because they were the first people that find the find that I was a type one diabetic and I, I emailed the donations department and got no response back. And so then that's, then that's what I started to get into the children's diabetes foundation.
Speaker 0 00:15:23 Hmm. What a great story of just reassurance and empathy and spreading the knowledge that in your own personal story with others, so that they can feel of heart of something right. Being diagnosed. And it's kind of similar with me. So I was diagnosed and have muscular dystrophy when I was eight, nine ish. And I showed symptoms very early on when I was about four, but my mom and dad knew there was kind of something wrong with me. And I just remember receiving that news. I didn't really, it didn't really click in my head until later when puberty hit. And that's when walking started getting more and more difficult. And then the progression just continued to go on, um, to now using a full-time wheelchair. And with that, I just, I remember what it was like to feel very isolated and alone. And to know that there's that network.
Speaker 0 00:16:27 And I remember the first person that I reached out to that I connected with. They were about 15 years older than I was, but it was the first person that was able to just say, Hey, I have the same condition that you have. I understand what you're going through. It may be a little bit different. I had it, you know, I had it very early on. They had it a little bit later on, but just knowing that there was that support was so important. And it's really cool to hear what you're doing with the t-shirt company. And do you still do work at the hospital sharing, like going into the ER rooms?
Speaker 1 00:17:03 No, I w I would love to add, unfortunately, like I, I stopped, uh, I, so I was a orthopedic technician slash like nursing assistant. And so I I've told myself a very, very long time ago when I hit 40, I don't want to be a nursing assistant. And so I, not nothing against being a nursing assistant, I just don't feel like there wasn't really room to grow. And going back to nursing school was wasn't really an option because, you know, I have, I have like, you know, I had a two year olds soon to be three-year-old and another one on the way. So there was no, no chance for me to go back to school. So I was like, I may, I definitely need to start doing something different. So
Speaker 0 00:17:45 Yeah, no doubt. Especially when you got little kiddos, it's hard to go back to school to that. And talk to me a little bit more about the children's diabetes foundation. What are they up to?
Speaker 1 00:17:55 So they, they have like clinical and educational programs with people with like, you know, diabetes and their main mission is to raise funds to support the Barbara Davis center for diabetes. And we're like, you know, they see their space in Denver. So they'll see like thousands of patients from all ages, all over the world. And their main focus is just to give people the finest, like diabetes care available that they can. And so when I reached out to them, they, you know, like I said before, they are like super grateful and they were like open arms. They're like, yeah, come on in like, you know, well, we can definitely work something out together and I've been with them for she's like three and a half years when they're really supportive with me. And like, I helped them out in any way. Like, like each year they have me help them out with their fitness month and fitness magazine for the month. Like there, uh, the bi-monthly magazine that they have, they, I do like a, like a write-up about, you know, my story and what I've done and helped them out. I've been in a couple of their blogs. So, you know, they're awesome.
Speaker 0 00:19:03 I love to hear that, especially when you're taking your own passions that you have with lifting and then putting it back to benefit the whole mission. So, yeah.
Speaker 1 00:19:14 Yeah. And another thing is like, uh, when I started the t-shirt company, I also wanted to show people that, you know, even though I have this really crappy disease, diabetics can still do amazing things, even though, you know, there's some times where I have high blood sugar and I can't work out, or I get low blood sugar can't work out and I have to like sit there and wait for my blood sugar to come back up. So, I mean, it's, it can be very frustrating.
Speaker 0 00:19:43 Yeah. Especially when you have those limitations. One thing that I always really like to ask people is when we're thinking about the corporate environment, how can or, I mean, it doesn't have to be the corporate, it can be really any company or any business. How can businesses be more understanding and empathetic of those that have preexisting conditions, disabilities, however you want to frame it, what would be some things that you would suggest to say an employer for your condition?
Speaker 1 00:20:14 Um, so I, right now, why I still do the personal training stuff. And so when I was working at a gym, uh, they knew right off the bat that I was a diabetic cause I would, you know, I, I told them, I was like, Hey, you know, I'm a diabetic, I've told all my clients and the personal training gym was, you know, super helpful. And they were like, listen, if you need anything, let us know. If you get low, you know, we'll have, we have like, you know, supplies for you just in case we need it. And you know, if my clients, if I told my clients like, Hey, listen, you know, I have low blood sugar right now. Like, I can't really train you to like right now for like the half an hour, I need to sit down and like, eat something. So I get raised up once you grow up a little bit, I mean, everyone was okay with my disability and even, even the a full-time office job, I'm a recruiter too.
Speaker 1 00:21:07 So, you know, they're, I've told them right off the bat, I'm like, Hey, listen, I'm a diabetic. I believe there's, there's one more, there used to be one more other diabetic, but he never really talked about it, but I just want, I told him, I'm like, listen, you know, if this happens or this happens, just, you know, know that I need help or I need something. And, you know, and all my coworkers that started at the same time with me there they'll help me out if I need anything. It's like, I need to go, they need to go to the cafeteria to get like a brownie or something just to, you know, spike my blood sugar up. Or if I need to lower my blood sugar, just go out for a walk, they'll come walk with me and just, you know, talk to me or just anything to make it a little bit better for, for me.
Speaker 0 00:21:51 Got it. So just to clarify, so when it gets low having to eat something with sugar, is there anything in particular that does really well to get it back up really quickly? Or is it really like any like cookie or brownie or anything with high dense sugar would be fine?
Speaker 1 00:22:09 Yeah. I mean, I, I have, uh, I usually have like a pack of Smarties with me once in a while. Um, but like my go-to snack, if I'm low, it's usually like a peanut butter sandwich. So I mean, it's, it's easy to make and it's right there. But if I'm like by myself and there's like nothing around, I usually like eat some Smarties or I have like sour patch kids or the best one is I have actually have like a cake frosting at my, at my door. So just in case if I get low, I start like slamming that down and, you know, it'll take me like a couple of minutes to get my blood sugar up.
Speaker 0 00:22:43 Nice, nice. Hey, you gotta be prepared. Yeah. Having snacks around to sounds like it's really key and whether or not you carry those or not, um, would be helpful in the time of crisis that others can chime in and help out when needed. How do you alert people when it's getting so low or too high where you basically are, non-functioning almost non-functioning. Is that, has it ever gotten that extreme?
Speaker 1 00:23:16 Well, knock on wood. I haven't had that navigate, having like, the highest I've been was 600 and that was on vacation. I woke up and I had like a piece of cheesecake or something like that. And, you know, I didn't dose my insulin properly as you know, the number says, and I was like, Hey, listen. I told my wife, like I got to stay here and just take some insulin and just see what, like, you know, when it will go down. And then finally it decided to go down, like, after, I'd say like two hours Zo. Cause you can't like, you can't take a lot of insulin all at once. Well, for me, I don't take a lot of insulin all at once. Cause once you do that, you start bottoming out and it's just like not good. And it's better just to kind of doing a steady, steady rate going down.
Speaker 0 00:23:59 Hmm. Got it. Got it. And then for so pumping insulin, and then you say going for a walk.
Speaker 1 00:24:06 Yeah. So usually typically wash me kind of helped me lower my blood sugar a little bit, but I mean, I mean, I can get high blood sugar just from like lack of sleep, uh, you know, stressful situations, pretty much anything really. I mean, it's, it's crazy. Cause like you think you'd be, you know, you feeling good, you slept good. Nothing's wrong with you. Then all of a sudden you, your blood sugar spikes up or, you know, right before you go to bed, you know, your, your hormones start kicking in and then cause they, they want, you want, the hormones wants you to sleep, but you're not ready for yet. And so it's like spike your blood sugar up too, for that it's yeah. Even the Dawn effect to where your body around. Like I think it's like four to five. It's trying to wake up a little bit. So the hormones start kicking in. That's when you, some people, a lot of diabetics see the, uh, you know, blood sugar spike in that too as well.
Speaker 0 00:25:00 Hmm. And four and five in the morning. Is that what you're saying? Okay. Got it. And that's usually like, would you, you would wake up because of that?
Speaker 1 00:25:09 No. I mean, some people might, uh, but I have like a continuous glucometer on me where um, if it hits a certain number, they will, the alarm will start going off. So yeah, I it's called a Dexcom. And so it's, uh, you're supposed to put it on the, either on the back of your arm or your like your side a dominal like your obliques, but for me in working out, that's not really the best option for those two spots. Cause one with the oblique. So we're a weight belt, so I don't want it to like tear off. And then in the back of my alarm, I'm like really clumsy. Sometimes I like to Nick my arm, you know, on the side of the wall. So I'm like, I can't put it there. So actually one of my, um, one of the people I interviewed for my podcast she's she does a little bit weightlifting and she puts it right on our glute muscle.
Speaker 1 00:26:01 And so I was like, Oh, all right, I'll try it out. And so I've been doing that ever since. And you know, just switching sides, like every 10 days I have to switch out my, uh, my sensor. And so I just go from one side to the other and it works, works fine. I mean, it's, it's annoying because my meter went like if the alarm starts going off, when I hit over, when I get over 200. And so for me lately, my, you know, I take insulin and it still doesn't go down. So I have to constantly take insulin. And so for like an hour or even longer, we would, you know, it takes a while for it to drop a little bit. And so the alarm would go off like every 15 minutes and it's like super annoying even when I'm sleeping too. So, you know, it would go off. And so I didn't think insulin. And then, then I lose the quality sleep that I need. And then it makes my blood sugar just go up again. So sometimes I have to like shut off the, the monitor, cause it's just like, it's not worth it.
Speaker 0 00:26:58 Yeah. I had a friend in high school and in college who always, I felt like was changing the type of monitor that she had. And is that a common thing where you're just trying out a bunch of different monitors to see which one works for you?
Speaker 1 00:27:16 Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it was funny last year my wife bought me a, a continuous glucometer off of eBay and just to try it and it's called the freestyle Libra. It's like this little, like, so if anybody sees it, it's like a little white disc that goes on like the back of someone's arm. And they have like a sensor on their phone or like a, or like a little monitor that they scan over their arm and it tells you what your blood sugar is. And so I, I tried it and I wasn't really a big fan of it because I would constantly, you know, scan my arm like every five minutes and it would still be like reading high and I would take more insulin and then I bought them out. And if you look at the, if you look at the ranges, it looked like a rollercoaster would go like really high up because I had to take, you know, eat food just to get my blood sugar up.
Speaker 1 00:28:03 And then, you know, realizing it's getting high again, then take insulin and then just go straight down again. And it was, I wasn't a big fan of it. And so I had the chance to try this, uh, Texaco Dexcom G six. And I was like, okay, I have to remember that. I can't be focused on the screen all the time. And so in like in just don't, don't slam insulin right off the bat, just kind of ease your way into it. And it'll slowly go down because obviously because with these continuous glucometers, they actually are injected into your, to your muscle. And a lot of the other, you know, a lot of the other glucometers, they, they prick your finger and that's like capillary blood. And so it's a lot quicker response or a lot quicker reading, just pricking your finger compared to having a piece of copper wire in your, in your muscle with like a reading. So it's like a 15 minute delay on it. But the good thing with these are you don't have to prick your finger like 10 times a day. It's just in there. And just, you just look at your phone or looking at a monitor and it just says, Hey, okay, this is what your blood sugar is.
Speaker 0 00:29:16 That's so nice. I'm sure the convenience factor of not having to prick your finger all the time, especially on multiple times a day or checking and checking and checking though. Is that generally the most reliable way of doing it? What do you,
Speaker 1 00:29:31 Uh, yeah. Well usually pricking your fingers with the most is most reliable because sometimes towards the end of a 10 day span where like the, um, the sensor, you have to switch it out. So for me, what I've noticed the like the last day, there'd be like an hour gap where like the re it wouldn't read anything because I guess the copper wire. Yeah. And so, and so there were times like I would switch it out and like, I'd have to wait an hour. And so I'd have to prick my finger just to calibrate it or, you know, just to see what are, where I actually am instead of looking at the monitor.
Speaker 0 00:30:08 Got it. You're saying that there's a copper wire in there. So does that mean that it's magnetic in that if you get too close to magnets, it can. Okay.
Speaker 1 00:30:18 No, it's not. It's not like that. It just, I guess, I guess the copper wire just is a lot better. It's a better like, conduit for like all the readings and it absorbed, like, I don't really know the scientific stuff to it. I wish I wish I did. I should know.
Speaker 0 00:30:33 Got it, got it. No, this is so interesting to learn about your story and the different devices that you've used, the glucometers and how they impact you. And so having to, you said the, the copper wire ones, you have to switch those out every 10 days because you have to change, the sensor goes bad or something.
Speaker 1 00:30:56 Yeah. So there's like a harness. So with the Dexcom, it's like a piece of like, it's like a battery. So it's just like this little gray battery. And then you have this piece of tape with this like plastic harness that you have to insert this battery in. And so that's where the hardest is. That's where the, the, the copper wire is. And so what they do is you connect the battery. And so it it's a Bluetooth wireless, like device that goes right to your phone. You just like snap it on. And, um, I usually the piece of tape that goes around the hardest, it's not the best tape. So I actually have like an extra, um, I bought it off of Amazon. It's like a piece of like waterproof tape that goes around the sensor just to get a more, you know, the sensor would be more secure on, you know, my glute muscle or your arms. So like, just in case if you'd Nick something or, you know, you sit down wrong, you know, it won't fall off or anything.
Speaker 0 00:31:52 Nice technology has come such a far away a far and long way.
Speaker 1 00:31:59 Yeah. I mean, even, even insulin pumps have come a long way too. So I, my wife, my wife wants me to get on the insulin pump. I'm kind of a little hesitant on it, but, you know, I'm willing to try it, but just like, you know, I'm, I've been so used to pens and it's, you know, a certain price compared to getting a pump, which is an extra, it could be like an extra thousand dollars. And then the attachments in like all the insulin, that's like an extra cost for that too, as well, including the continuous glucometer. So insurance doesn't pay for everything, maybe for some people, but it didn't, it didn't do it for me. So I'd have to pay, I had to pay like $300 for like three months. And that's not including my insulin, which is like, I had to take two different insulins, like one for quick acting, which is usually where I wake up and eat something. And then I have one for long, uh, like a longer lasting one when I go to sleep. And so, you know, those aren't cheap either. So just like, it's, it's very, it's, you know, that's, that's another issue is just like, like you have to pay for this money for me to live, but it's stressful on like the whole family's, you know, cause I only make this amount of money and we need to, you know, I need to figure out a way to pay for all this stuff. You know,
Speaker 0 00:33:16 I think that could be another suggestion for companies is looking at insurance plans. I mean, are there any insurance plans that you've seen that cover a good percentage of this could be a benefit.
Speaker 1 00:33:34 I mean, I, with when I was working at Chilla children's healthcare of Atlanta, like their insurance is great, cause it's a hospital and usually the hospital insurances are a lot better than anybody else because there's like more people. And obviously the more people you have with the insurance company, the lesser, like the cheaper it's going to be. So like I would get, like, I think it was like a hundred bucks for like a three boxes of five pens in each box. And it was like, Oh, this is, this is awesome. And now I'm getting two boxes for like a hundred, like for like 150. And it's just like, you know, it just depends on what you have for insurance really. But, um, they, I know, I know most of the diabetic supply companies, I think they do like a payment plan. So they just go by like, you know, how much you make or what's your, well, you know, how much you make and you know, what can you pay for? And they kind of like help you out with that. It's almost like, you know, college loans, it's saying like, Hey, I can't afford this. So okay. Let's, let's try to make it that you can like, you know, do monthly payments.
Speaker 0 00:34:34 Right. Well that's where that they have that because yeah, not everyone can just drop hundreds and thousands of dollars to buy a good number of stocks applies to how.
Speaker 1 00:34:45 Yeah. Yeah. I mean, there was one, there was one part w one time, like last year, I think it was like January when, like my insurance kind of rolled over a little bit. And so it was like back to like zero for my deduct for my, like, uh, my deductibles. And so I need an insulin. And so I was, I called the, I called the like CVS in Publix and I was like, Hey, you know, how much would it be if I get a three month supply of insulin and they're like $1,300. And I was like,
Speaker 0 00:35:14 Oh my gosh, that's insane.
Speaker 1 00:35:17 I was like, stressing out like the whole time. Like I don't, I can't, I can't pay that. And so I was like looking at other options and I was like super stressed out. But luckily my wife has this medication that she takes that, uh, within like to wherever, like once per month, like she, it, and she's already hitting her head. She already hits her deductible like by February. So yeah. I'm super grateful for that.
Speaker 0 00:35:44 Yeah, for sure. It's nice to have that because not everyone does. One thing that curious about is how does, how did COVID affect you with accessing the resources that you need to survive? You know, like insulin and all your pumps and landslides and stuff.
Speaker 1 00:36:04 Yeah. Well, I got this, I got the continuous glucometer, like during the COVID itself, just to try it out and you know, I'm not, I'm, we're actually working from home right now because obviously there's not really, I don't really think there's much science behind, you know, diabetics and COVID. So I don't really want to test the waters of going back to work. Cause we already have like two scares already and I'm like, I don't, I'm not gonna, you know, I don't want to get it. And then all of a sudden, like something really bad happens to me. It's like, you know, just, just, you know, ruins me cause I'm a diabetic. So it's like, it's not worth it. So I, I, you know, till work, I'm like, Hey, I need to work from home because of this. And they completely understand. And they're, they were super helpful about that too.
Speaker 1 00:36:50 So, you know, and even going out, I kinda, I mean, I do go to the gym, but you know, I try to stay away from like a lot of the people and I make sure I clean everything, like anything that I'm going to be touching, like just, you know, wipe it down and, and like, but I really don't go to the gym to that gym that often I'm, I pretty much have a whole gym in my basement. So I just kind of work out down here and I try not to, you know, I mean, I would like to go to Morrows, like I would like to go out more, but it's not worth it. So I kind of pick and choose my battles when it comes to that.
Speaker 0 00:37:29 Yeah. Same with me. I've tried to stay pretty low key in terms of just staying in my house as much as possible. And then if I do go out, it's usually outside, like at the park or something and not around people staying far away.
Speaker 1 00:37:45 And so have you picked up a new, new, a new hobby at all when you were doing that during COVID?
Speaker 0 00:37:50 So what's interesting is I launched the podcast before COVID and it just was perfect because that the cave, a great hobby, being able to really spend a lot of time on it and learning about audio engineering and all kinds of production and sound equipment and all kinds of stuff. So I've definitely learned a lot. So it just happened to be the perfect timing to launch it and then the world shut down. So
Speaker 1 00:38:20 It's pretty much with me. I, I, I started podcasting in January and my podcast is typed the type one lifting podcast. And, or you just say type one, Lindsey podcasts. And I started in June, like I said before January and yeah, like that's, this is my, that's my new hobby. I love doing podcasts. I've been listening to podcasts for, you know, like six, seven years. So before it was like really like big and I pretty much when I started this, uh, the type one that do podcasts, I was originally supposed to do it with two other guys from the gym and it was going to be called like the C B um, podcasts, like competitor fitness, powerlifting, and bodybuilding podcast. But, you know, it was, it's hard because during COVID, or even before, like before that, like trying to schedule times for all three of us to meet at once, it's like, it's impossible.
Speaker 1 00:39:13 So I pretty much did the screw, it just do it. And you know, I, I had this, uh, this one girl that I was fall. I used both of us follow each other. She's a type one diabetic. And she does Olympic weightlifting got not the one that with the, a glucometer, but, uh, another one, she was actually doing a weightlifting competition in Georgia and it was like a half hour away from where I live. And I was like, Oh, well, you know, yeah. Like my kids and my wife were away on vacation because I just started a new position. So I didn't have the vacation time yet. And so I was like sitting at home doing nothing. And I already had like the, you know, the lapel mics and the Apple, my phone, which I use. And I'm like, yeah. And so I was just rode down there and watched her Olympic weightlifting competition.
Speaker 1 00:40:01 And then I went up to her and like, congratulated her. And I was like, Hey, you want to go to like Panera bread and do a podcast with me. So she's like, uh, and like, this is like, this is like the first time we actually met her person. And so, and so like, I was like, yeah, she's like, yeah, sure. So I like redraw it to Panera bread. You know, I, I got everything set up and like both of us were super nervous cause I didn't know what the heck I was, what I was doing. And, you know, I didn't really know like the, uh, the app on my phone, how it works that well. And so we're like kind of, you know, go to bed, just talking about diabetes and like weightlifting and stuff like that. And, you know, and it works. And then, you know, I've met so many other diabetics from podcasting just meeting new people, including yourself. So, yeah, and that, that first podcast I ever did still is still is on the top five of most downloaded, downloaded podcasts that I have.
Speaker 0 00:40:56 Well, congrats. That's awesome. Huge success. Yeah. I love having the podcast. I just need so many new people and people from all different journeys and walks of life. And I love just listening to people's story and taking their vision for what the world should look like and is, and trying to adapt that and mold that into my life. So I think it's really cool. And then you just share these connections with people. And one thing that I really, what I started doing is like a method which I'll actually have you do. So once I finished interviewing you, then I'll ask you to share a friend or someone else who has a disability. And I interview them. So it's like this chain of people that knows other people who knows other people. So,
Speaker 1 00:41:52 Okay. I've never, I've never done that before. I pretty much, for me, I'll like just reach out to people like through, uh, Instagram DM or something.
Speaker 0 00:42:00 Yeah. Do a lot of that deal. Yes. It was difficult in the beginning because it was like, Hey, I've literally had, do have Osos I swear. I'm legit. Once you build the base,
Speaker 1 00:42:17 You know, what's funny, what I've noticed is, you know, a lot of people want to talk about themselves. Oh, totally. Yeah.
Speaker 0 00:42:25 Talking about themselves.
Speaker 1 00:42:27 Yeah, exactly. So that's how, like, I reach out to people like, Hey, I'm like, pretty much like the show is about like pimping your brand and what you are. So they're like all about it. So, you know, and I've met like, and I still talk to like the majority, like pretty much all the people I've interviewed. So it's awesome. Even like I interviewed like non-diabetics, um, you know, pretty much like my whole podcast is like fitness related. So I'll interview like bodybuilders I'll interview, a powerlifter I'll interview, like CrossFitters, like either non-diabetic or diabetic and just kind of, you know, what like listened to their story. And then I'll have like another episode during the week about like news in the fitness world or in like, including my diabetes. Like we can diabetes kind of re even review and just talk about like, you know, what's going on with me.
Speaker 1 00:43:18 And just, hopefully someone, you know, listens to one of them and just get a spark. And, you know, it does solve that because there's a lot, there's a lot of diabetics that do, do not take good care of themselves. And I've seen it firsthand working in working at Shoah. And it's like, it's, it's sad. And even, even like before I was, we're going to show, I met a lot of diabetics that were like, had missing feed because, you know, they get neuropathy and they just, their, their diabetes is not well managed and they just start losing circulation. Their foot starts dying off or their fingers start dying off and it's, you know, it's sad. So, yeah. And I've one of the, one of the patients I had, he was, I believe it was like in his twenties. And so he became a type one diabetic, I believe when he was, I think, 17 ish.
Speaker 1 00:44:11 And he was like really, really overweight. And so he realized that, Oh, wait, I can get high blood sugar and just pee out my weight. And just like, you know, just urinate, like, cause like when you get high blood sugar, you typically go to the bathroom a lot. Like every, like for me, when I diagnosed, it was like almost, you know, four or five times a night. And so the way we did what the people would do is, and that's how you lose the weight. Cause you just like pee and out like muscle and like all your servers and all that stuff and ketones. And um, and so like this kid would go on like binges with like drinking a whole bottle bottle of mountain Dew and not taking insulin for like two days. And just like, that's his way of losing weight. And there's other people like that have like diabetic anorexia.
Speaker 1 00:45:02 So they make themselves get high blood sugars so they can throw up. Gosh, yeah. It's it's, there's, I've, I've heard I've actually I followed, I follow one person that used to do that. They don't do it anymore, but uh, but like with the guy, the kid that, uh, the kids that I talked to at the hospital where he would just like try to lose weight, I told him like, dude, you gotta, you gotta kill yourself like real quick, because you're trying to, I understand you're trying to lose weight, but this is not the way to do it.
Speaker 0 00:45:32 They try to take advantage of something to try and make something out of it. And that's just not a healthy way of managing your weight or just your Oregon's really bad for anyone to do that diabetic or not.
Speaker 1 00:45:50 Yeah. Yeah. And your kidneys can go, your kidneys can go like real quick and it's like, and then you're gonna have to get on like what pressure medication, just so you can get your kidney, kidney functions going. So it, yeah, it's like a big, big mess. And you know, it's, it's sad too. Like, you know, they usually people when they realize like they did something wrong, it's like when it's too late.
Speaker 0 00:46:16 One thing that I think about is the stimulus checks that are coming out and to hear that in the beginning, it was only going to be $600. And then now there's, they're trying to get that up to $2,000. And I saw on one of the representatives, Twitter was like, what? $600 or what would $2,000 give you? Can you kind of put that into frame of reference and diabetes?
Speaker 1 00:46:44 Yeah. I mean, so if, if I didn't have, if I didn't have insurance, um, yeah, so, like I said before with the insulin, it'd be like $1,300 just for like 10 pens, which would probably last me, maybe, I don't know, two months, maybe just depending on what I eat. So maybe maybe a month and a half just yeah, probably a month and a half. And so, and that's not including my long lasting insulin. That'd probably be like another grant. Um, my diabetes supplies would actually, I, uh, with the continuous glucometer, the desk, uh, Dexcom, OB, I asked them before, without insurance, who's going to be like $2,000 for like a three month,
Speaker 0 00:47:30 For three months. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:47:31 And it's just, it's insane. Like the, the drug prices for insulin has gone up like astronomically. So from like 10 years ago, I believe, I believe a file of insulin was $30. And now from like 10 years or 11 years now it's up to 300.
Speaker 0 00:47:50 Is there any reason for that it's manufactured synthetically right now. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:47:56 So there's actually, Walmart sells another vile where it's just like, I think a human insulin or something like that. It's weird. But like the, um, it doesn't really work well and some people have died off of it because it's like, all you do is pay 25 bucks for this vial of insulin. And it's not really, it's just like, it's not synthetic and it's not like really quick acting. You really don't know like when your, your blood sugar is going to drop or whatnot. So it's like
Speaker 0 00:48:22 An ethical issue. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:48:25 Yeah. I agree. And it's crazy. Cause like they, um, I saw this episode, I was on like ABC or something like that, where there's a girl that's like really well known in the, in the diabetes space, on social media. She, and like a bunch of other people went across the border to Tiawana and pretty much got their insulin for like the whole year. And they paid probably like a fraction of what they would actually pay for it. Like, so I think they spent altogether like eight grand or probably, yeah, something like that for like a whole year supply. And that would have cost them. Like I think it was like a hundred thousand dollars, like across the board.
Speaker 0 00:49:04 Wow. So smuggling in insulin and other supplies that sounds like it's, uh, it should be, uh, yeah, it should be illegal. Right. You know, why do you have to go to another country? It's kind of, I guess it's just in terms of the health regulations and how pharmaceutical companies, the costs that they put on and the price stamp that they put on, whatever supplies
Speaker 1 00:49:34 I did. I did see something online. The reason why the drug prices are so high. I don't quote me on this. I, I, it was a long time ago when I saw it as, so I believe the reason why is they have the drug manufacturer, do the drugs and they do like the, you know, the trials. And once they get passed through, there's a middle man or middle group of people that, you know, approved, like it's like another approval or whatnot. And then it goes to a third group. And so that's why it's so expensive. It's pretty much that middle person. That's the reason why it's like drug prices are so high and plus, you know, diabetes medicines is so expensive. Why would they want to make it cheaper? Cause you know, we're, we're one of the biggest, biggest, biggest, biggest, biggest revenue stream that like most of these drug companies have. And so why would they wanna, you lose us if they want to drop the prices, you know?
Speaker 0 00:50:30 Right. Kind of similar, are we thinking about, you know, the COVID vaccine coming out and there's two companies and they're making it free and it's like, it, it took millions of dollars to make these vaccines and to think that they're being free. It's, you know, how, how are, how are these companies getting paid for and through other, other revenue streams and stuff. Things like having people pay thousands of thousands of dollars every month on insulin and another thing. So it's interesting to see the, just that dynamic of, you know, you get some things, but other things are astronomically high, but are essential for living.
Speaker 1 00:51:13 Yep. Yeah. Well, I think the, I think the operation works feed kind of helped out where like the government pays like millions and billions of dollars just to, you know, get this thing going. So, I mean, which is good. I don't really like get political, but I mean, I think that was a good idea. I mean, I don't know if, when would take the vaccination, you know, cause I don't know what it does with diabetics, so,
Speaker 0 00:51:34 Okay. That's a good, that's a good thought and a concern. I haven't finished reading the entire report, but cause I, I wanted to know and I had some friends ask me, you'll also have muscular dystrophy. They're just like, you know, has it been tested on muscular dystrophy patients because the types of treatment that they're coming out for my type of M D R M RNA based drugs. And so, yeah. I don't know. It's um, it'll be interesting to, if there's any information on that or if you just kind of have to wait and see and let those others that want to be brave and take it first, see what happens, but you're not going to know the long-term effects until probably years later.
Speaker 1 00:52:22 Yeah. I actually have, I actually have a friend of mine. He works at a local hospital, like where I live. And so I was like, Oh, did you get the, did you get the vaccine? And he's a nurse. And he's like, no. And he's like, I'm like, wait, isn't it mandatory? And he's like, no, it's not FDA approved yet. So it's not approved by like some company, so it's not mandatory. And I was like, Oh, and it's like, so if it was mandatory and someone got like really, really sick or something happened to them, like they, they can Sue like the hospital because it was mandatory. But since it's not, like since, since it's not approved for something that, that people don't have to take it.
Speaker 0 00:53:01 Wow. I don't know. I've just been seeing lots of Instagram posts of my doctor, friends and nurses, like, cause I wasn't, I was pre-med in college, so I did not go pretty mad. I, I work in tech, but seeing all of my, my friends from college, they're all getting their shots and I'm like, yay. That's so exciting. I haven't heard anyone not. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:53:27 It's, it's interesting. I, I, you know, I'd like to, like you said, I'm, I'm looking to see, you know, what it does for people with diabetes or you know, your disability and to see how, how it really happened, how it really works. So
Speaker 0 00:53:41 A lot of unknowns and we kind of just have to trust the, all of the clinicians and the scientists and everyone that's creating it. So yeah. Well, thank you so much for your time and learning all about your story of strength and just talking about different kinds of accommodations and how COVID has impacted you and what the cost of all of the materials that you need. It's just been really awesome to learn more about it. So I really appreciate your time.
Speaker 1 00:54:16 Yeah, I, listen, I, like I said before, like this is my first time I've been interviewed for a podcast. So I'm very grateful that I was able to be on your podcast and Intel tell my story and you know, I'm glad I actually reached out to you, especially from that podcast email that I usually get and I saw your, your podcasts. And I was like, Oh, Debbie, a great person to talk to, especially, you know, with, with your disability. And so I, you know, I reached out and you know, I'm glad I did. So I got to meet someone new.
Speaker 0 00:54:50 Definitely. Awesome. Well, thanks so much. Bye Tom, have a good one.
Speaker 3 00:54:58 Thank you friends for listening. Please rate and follow this podcast or text card at (470) 588-1215 with comments and suggestions tune in next week for another disability topic.