Mark Heyman

[podcast src=”” width=”100%” scrolling=”no” class=”podcast-class” frameborder=”0″ placement=”top” primary_content_url=”″ libsyn_item_id=”14720348″ height=”90″ theme=”custom” custom_color=”3e9ccc” player_use_thumbnail=”use_thumbnail” use_download_link=”use_download_link” download_link_text=”Download” /] If you’re feeling extraordinary stress because of events in the news, you’re not alone. This week, Stacey talks to Dr. Mark Heyman about simple things people with diabetes can do to manage better (and give themselves a break). Dr. Heyman is a diabetes psychologist and the Founder and Director of the Center for Diabetes and Mental Health. He was diagnosed with type 1 while in college.

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Episode Transcription

Stacey Simms  0:00

Diabetes Connections is brought to you by One Drop created for people with diabetes by people who have diabetes, and by Dexcom, take control of your diabetes and live life to the fullest with Dexcom.


Announcer  0:17

This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.


Stacey Simms  0:22

This week, let’s talk about stress. And let’s talk about the not so great effect it can have on diabetes. Now you’re in a cycle of not just physical issues, but emotional ones, including guilt.


Mark Heyman  0:35

The guilt comes from I think a lot of times people feeling different or still don’t. They’re all alone, and that everybody else with diabetes is doing great. And I’m the one who is having trouble.


Stacey Simms  0:46

Dr. Mark Kaman is a diabetes psychologist and founder of director of the Center for diabetes and mental health he was diagnosed with type one in college, we’re going to talk about some simple things we can try to do to manage the stress that these days Seems to be unrelenting in Tell me something good parents going an extra mile to make their kids feel included and a big challenge ends

This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.

Welcome to another week of the show. I’m your host, Stacey Simms, really glad to have you along. If you are new, we aim to educate and inspire about type 1 diabetes by sharing stories of connection. My son was diagnosed with type one right before he turned to he is now 15. I don’t have diabetes, but I have a background in broadcasting and local radio and television news and that is how you get the podcast.

This is not the show that I thought I would be doing this week like many podcasters I have an editorial calendar I don’t always stick to it, obviously. But I have things planned out and I have interviews that are you know in the can waiting to be aired, but I thought this was a really good Subject to talk about right now. Because as I just said, I don’t live with diabetes, but boy, we are all living with stress. And I thought, what are some things we can do to figure out how to better live with diabetes or with you know, whatever your health issues might be, everybody has something, I have my own autoimmune disease, how can we just take care of ourselves in a time where this news, as I said, just seems to be unrelenting?

So I put in post in a Facebook group Diabetes Connections of the group, which I hope you’re in, by the way, if you’re not, please join it. You know, I was really worried about her everybody was holding up. And so we talked about self care. And we had a really nice thread of comments. Of course, that’s still there in the group. If you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at your own, maybe get some advice from it. But I also I decided to call in the experts, and I very much appreciate Dr. Heyman jumping on with me. We hadn’t talked before. He was more than willing, and I’m sure we’ll have him back on again, and I’ll get to his interview in just a minute.

But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by One Drop and One Drop is diabetes management for the 21st century. One Drop was designed by people with diabetes. For people with diabetes. One Drops glucose meter looks nothing like a medical device. It’s sleek, it’s compact, it seamlessly integrates with the award winning One Drop mobile app, sync all your other health apps to One Drop to keep track of the big picture and easily see health trends. And with a One Drop subscription you get unlimited test strips and lancets delivered right to your door. Every One Drop plan also includes access to your own certified diabetes coach have questions but don’t feel like waiting for your next doctor visit. Your personal coach is always there to help go to Diabetes and click on the One Drop logo to learn more.

My guest this week is Dr. Mark Heyman. He is a diabetes psychologist and a CDE and the founder and director of the Center for diabetes and mental health Mark was diagnosed in college right before I mean immediately to weeks before he had a long planned trip to Paris, and he talks about that we get to that at the end of the interview, and I asked him a little bit about his diagnosis story. But I wanted to talk to mark about how we can handle the mental load that has just been relentless all of this year, I’ll come back at the end of the interview and just tell you a little bit more about how I’ve been handling things I’ve done some things I think are good. And some things I know haven’t really been helping, but we’ll talk about that after the interview. Here’s my talk with Dr. Mark Heyman.

Dr. Heyman, thank you so much for joining me. I’m so eager to hear what you have to say. And I know you’re busy. So thanks for jumping on.


Mark Heyman  4:37

Thanks for having me, Stacey. Appreciate it. How are you doing?


Stacey Simms  4:41

I know, that probably wasn’t the first question you expected as the psychologist but, you know,


Mark Heyman  4:45

how are you doing these days? You know, I’m hanging in there. It’s you know, I think that it’s a strange time to be a psychologist as well as to just be someone living in this world. You know, we’re, you know, we’re all kind of trying to process the news on a daily basis. And, you know, I have A 16 month old middle daughter, so trying to take care of her and juggle my work and childcare and kind of all of the stress there. So I think overall, I’m doing pretty well, but definitely am feeling the stress and stress of what’s going on with COVID. And with the rise and with the the unrest that’s happening right now. So thank you for asking,


Stacey Simms  5:20

Oh, my goodness. Well, it is, as you say, it’s such an extraordinary time. And there’s really no words left anymore. It’s such a cliche, right? We all get those emails in these challenging times in these extraordinary times. But as you said, we’ve had this COVID situation for months now. It’s sort of built on low boil, and I think we kind of learned to live with it in the background. And then of course, the events of this past week. Protests, riots, questioning a lot of people, even if they’re not physically doing things and leaving the house, trying to figure out, you know, where do I stand? What do I want to say? We’re all on high alert. Where are you telling people that you’re speaking to to, to kind of I don’t want to say Step back, necessarily, but maybe break it off into smaller bites, what do we do?


Mark Heyman  6:05

Yeah, I think there’s a couple of things that we can do. The first is recognize that everything that we’re feeling right now is normal, that anybody else in that same situation would be feeling would be feeling unsettled and unrest, feeling stressed about, you know, what’s going on in the world right now. I think oftentimes, we have these situations where we feel we’re feeling something and we feel guilty for feeling it, I shouldn’t feel stressed, I shouldn’t feel I shouldn’t feel x. And I think that taking a step back and recognizing that, you know, these feelings are really normal. The next thing is really to talk to other people and to be able to vent to have some have a sounding board table to get your feelings out. Because that doesn’t necessarily make the feelings go away, doesn’t make them better. But certainly to be able to share about other people and get get affirmation and get validation for those feelings, is a super helpful thing that we can do as a way of processing And then also taking a step back. And, you know, recognizing that Yeah, the world is in a in a tough spot right now. But also, we don’t have to over engage with what’s happening. We have we taking a step back and taking a break from social media sometimes just that taking a break from the news can be a really helpful thing to give yourself some perspective. So that when you dive back in and learn about what’s what’s going on in your car, take start thinking about what you might be able to do to help the situation. You can see that from a fresh perspective.


Stacey Simms  7:33

Yeah, I think especially in a time right now we are we are being challenged to pay attention. And you know, and I can only come to this through the lens of what I have, which is a white suburban mom, right? You know, we’re being challenged, pay attention. You know, learn, speak up, let other people know what you’re thinking. But that doesn’t mean be on twitter. 24 seven, that doesn’t mean you have to watch all of the news is that what I’m kind of hearing you say


Mark Heyman  8:01

Yeah, I think that one thing that we think is that if we that we want to be in control, not necessarily of the situation, but certainly be in control of our feelings and be in control of our, our environment. And I think that one one thing that one way that people try to get control over those things, is they do something called over engage, they engage with the news, and they end they get involved with it, because they feel like the more that they know that and the more that they see the the ever changing landscape, the more control they’ll have. And I think that that’s a it’s a certainly a valid point. But there’s also some of the downside to that. Because Because as you’re following Twitter, you know, constantly, it’s stressful, and you’re constantly looking for the changes, and that’s stressful. And the reality is, is that on a minute by minute basis, nothing’s changed. Nothing’s changed in a sense that is going to really probably change what you do or how you react and so yeah, take take a step back and and recognize But over an aging doesn’t actually help with your stress and sometimes they can actually make your stress worse and you know, increase it as well.


Stacey Simms  9:11

All right, let’s bring diabetes into this because that’s really you know, this is all about here on Diabetes Connections. And I don’t live with diabetes, but I am I’ll be honest I’m worried maybe it’s a mom thing and I see the people in my Facebook group and I’m we’re part of this larger community you live with type one. I mean, stress is bad for anybody but on top of type one diabetes. I’m gonna sound like a hypocrite because I was talking to this with my husband last night and he was pointed out I live with an autoimmune condition. I have ulcerative colitis laughing at me like why are you worried about diabetes you have to take care of yourself to which I really not, I’m not eating great. I’m not exercising like I normally do. So again, bringing back the focus to diabetes, but I guess any chronic condition you live with type one. Are you feeling more stressed? On top of diabetes


Mark Heyman  10:02

Yeah, I definitely am. I’m definitely feeling more stressed because I mean for lots of reasons one is that you know, I you know, I’m a stress eater so when you know when I when I’m stressed out and when I’m around food like that’s that’s one of my coping mechanisms for better or for worse and so that doesn’t do great things for my blood sugar’s also just stress in general is definitely impacting my blood sugar’s but I’m seeing you know a lot more variations than I had before as well as sleep certainly my sleep isn’t great because of the stress right now and when when out sleep while my blood sugar’s definitely are hot running higher which makes me not feel great but also makes me more frustrated. So you know I’m a I work with people with diabetes and help them manage their stress. I certainly have a lot of those same stresses and so it can be a challenging a challenging thing to balance. One thing that I’ve done to really, really kind of helped myself is a couple of things one I had been really intentional about exercising. Luckily, I have a little bit of flexibility in my schedule and so I’m able to exercise on most days and I find that starting my day off that exercising helps my blood sugar’s and also helps my stress. Also just cutting myself some slack and being kind to myself around my blood sugar’s recognizing that, you know, I’m doing everything that I can to manage them the best that I can. And sometimes they’re not gonna cooperate. And that’s true anytime, but especially to when we’re in a time of stress, where with all these other variables going on, just, you know, being kind yourself and giving yourself some grace and some slack can be really helpful and recognizing the time will pass. And that that will that may be a time where we can be much more intentional about our diabetes management, but also, it’ll be smoother sailing, hopefully, because the stress won’t be a compounding variable there.


Stacey Simms  11:53

Well, and that’s such a great point because I was going to ask you and you pretty much answered it, but you know, when when someone With with tight diabetes control or someone who really is trying to manage Well, you know, if they have a very stressful time like this and their management, I’m gonna put this in air quotes, you know, slip. So you’re seeing higher numbers or more variation. And then I think a lot of people have have guilt on top of as well. How do you deal with the guilt and not blame yourself? You mentioned trying to like dial back and see the bigger picture, it’s not gonna last forever. Is that one of the things you’d recommend?


Mark Heyman  12:29

Yeah, I also think that, you know, connect with the community, whether that’s on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or in real life you can and recognizing that everybody else is going through the same thing and everybody else is having, you know, more erratic blood sugars right now. It’s really valuable because the guilt comes from I think a lot of times people feeling different or feeling like they’re all alone, and that everybody else with diabetes is doing great. And I’m the one who is having trouble and that’s why I try to be really Open about you know, the challenges that I have with my blood sugar’s like with like with my patients off kind of take out my phone and show them my CGM graph and show them that my blood sugar’s are nowhere near perfect, because it makes them feel like you know, it takes some of that thing of that guilt away of recognizing that Yeah, I can certainly make better choices sometimes. But diabetes has a mind of its own and being okay with riding those waves is is critical for our mental health. Because if your only metric of success is keeping your blood sugar between those lines, and yet the only way you can not have stress in your in your diabetes life is by having perfect blood sugar’s you’re setting yourself up for failure. So we need to have a different way of looking at it.


Stacey Simms  13:45

Every once in a while mark, I’m just I’m stopped. I I can’t even imagine what it is like to to live with type one just so much that you have to do and I have somebody you know, I have my kid in my house that I’ve we’ve accepted for 13 and a half years and everyone’s While I keep thinking, gosh, it is really such a burden. But that’s neither here nor there. You know, but just to hear you put it like that. I’ll probably take all of that out.


Mark Heyman  14:08

But the way, let me say something there is, I actually try, I actually encourage people not to use that word Burg, because it kind of becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. You say diabetes is hard. It’s such a burden. And you’re right, I’m not gonna argue with you there. But then you, but then we won’t talk about how big of a burden it is. It kind of gets it makes it it snowballs and grows and becomes bigger. And I think that when we say, you know, we have all of these things going on, we have diabetes, and COVID, and the George Floyd and all of all of these confounding things. And we say in diabetes becomes even bigger, a bigger burden. It’s almost like this expectation that it should be, and sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not, but we don’t want to have people get to a point where they say, Well, I had diabetes and therefore this automatically means that you know, You want to I always give people the space to be able to, you know, see whether it’s a burden or not, but not automatically assume that’s going to be.


Stacey Simms  15:08

I love that. And I’m always working on being better at language. And I really appreciate that. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s one of these things where, you know, you want to help and every once in a while, you know, you really, I slip on that, so I appreciate it. Um, but, but Okay, so but let’s keep going on that right. Okay, so I’m a caregiver, I guess a little bit less so because my son is 15. And it’s like when he was two when I was doing everything with him. Any advice for me, in addition to not standing around saying this must be such a burden for you? How can I upload, right? I mean, which he’s doing great. He’s got his own way to manage stress. We’re talking a lot. He does exercise quite a bit, which has been really helpful. He’s connected with friends, but as a parent or caregiver or spouse, any advice for us so that we’re not putting more stress And the person we’re trying to help.


Mark Heyman  16:02

Yeah, I think I think take a step back and recognize that you know, that he has it, he’s got this taken care of and that you’re certainly there to help him in whatever way that you can. But from what you’re telling me, it sounds like he’s doing really well, doing really well without responsibility. And so, and you know, when you’re in, but certainly kind of the same thing about, you know, over engaging on Twitter around the protests right now. I think that over engaging with your son around diabetes, especially when there’s not a whole lot you can do right now. I mean, because you’re doing really well. That’s add stress to you. And so if you’re able to kind of take a step back, take a step back and not over engage with it doesn’t aggravate him, but also gives you some space to recognize and also gives you space to recognize that but also see that he’s doing well and give you the confidence that you need to continue to get that debt back because as she grows up and it goes to college Sunday Jimmy great scope for you to have.


Stacey Simms  17:02

We’re working on it.


Mark Heyman  17:05

It’s a never ending process.


Stacey Simms  17:08

That’s great advice. Um, what are some small changes that you might encourage people living with diabetes in these crazy times to do?


Mark Heyman  17:18

Yeah, so a couple of things that I would recommend, I mean, just like just a simple tip is, you know, one of the things that is that people have really struggled with, that I’ve been talking to, over the past three months when we’ve been in quarantine is kind of the routine has been pulled out from under them, so they don’t have to go into work anymore, they may not be able to go to their favorite restaurant or go to the gym. And so and diabetes can actually be a great grounding tool, because, you know, diabetes takes routine. And so making it so keeping keeping your diabetes or TF right now can be really helpful one for your management, of course, but also your mental health because if you know that every morning, going to check your blood sugar, change your CGM site every Thursday or whatever that was Is it can kind of give you some some grounding with it within your day. That’s number one. Number two is do your best to stick to a fixed irregular diet. Especially, I mean, I know that this is a little bit late coming, you know, two or three months into this. But, you know, we talked about people who are who have really are having a hard time with blood sugars because they’re home now and there have been a food all around them and so finding ways to kind of to to keep on eating healthy to the best of your ability and in a way to help you manager manage your blood sugar’s can really, obviously make your blood sugar’s more stable, but also help you manage the stress around those blood sugars. And then the third thing and this is one of my favorite tools that I that I use all the time I use it personally it also I also recommend to my patients to use is mindfulness. And what mindfulness is, if you don’t not not familiar with it is being aware of your experience in the present moment without judging it. So You know, right now I feel stressed. And just recognizing Yeah, I feel stressed. You’re not judging it, nothing, nothing good about it by being stressed. It just is. Right now I can tell you right now my blood, my blood sugar is 253. So I’m on the higher side. And I could I could look at that and say, I can’t believe it’s that high. It’s, you know, I’m, I must have done something wrong. I’m an awful person with diabetes, and I just can’t manage my diabetes, right? Or I can look at my blood sugar mindfully and say, Okay, well, I’m gonna look, my blood sugar’s to 33. That’s neither good nor bad. I feel a little frustrated with that. But that feeling of being a good or bad and just be able to recognize what you experience, because if you’re able to do that, it gives you a little bit of distance from it, and doesn’t let you get wrapped up in the story of what you know. What does that 253 mean about me? What is that frustration mean about me what is you know, whatever I’m experiencing mean about me because we all experience things all the time. We have thoughts and feelings and bloodsuckers, then You know, whatever all the time and be able to recognize that notice them without putting a story behind them can be really, really helpful. I think that’s really also helpful for what’s going on in the world. You know, recognizing your emotions and your thoughts and recognizing that those are normal experiences, but you don’t the judge, you know, if you feel sad, if you feel angry, that is what you feel. And that’s okay. So I’m a big fan of mindfulness. I could talk about it all day long. It really diabetes. But I think it’s a really, really helpful tool, especially when things are overwhelming like they are right now.


Stacey Simms  20:39

I’m trying to remember I read it, but I read somewhere recently, and it’s exactly what you’re saying is you know, when you are feeling out of control, and you’re feeling very emotional and you’re feeling angry or sad or stressed, you know, to kind of breathe into it, and let yourself feel it. And that was a revelation to me. It has helped me so much it just kind of calmed me down to hear that that was okay to do. And I guess that is a bit of mindfulness.


Mark Heyman  21:05

Well, exactly, because because humans don’t like to feel uncomfortable about anything. We don’t like to feel physically uncomfortable. We don’t like to feel emotionally uncomfortable. And so our go to strategy with those things is avoidance. We avoid, you know, you could think about doing your life you know, you want to have you have to have a difficult conversation with your husband or your kid and you put that off, you avoid it because you don’t want to do it because it’s not you’re not going to feel good. If you go to the dentist and take them for granted. Because definitely not going to get and what would happen if you recognize that you’re scared to go to the dentist or that you’re that you’re uncomfortable having a conversation, but you do it anyway. And notice the thoughts and feelings that you have when that happens, but you don’t judge them. You just notice them and say right now I’m feeling really nervous. And that’s okay because that’s that’s that’s what anybody in my situation would feel. It doesn’t mean anything about me. It just means that I feel nervous. And doesn’t mean that comfortable. But it’s just a recognition of what my experience is right now.


Stacey Simms  22:09

I don’t know if you can answer this, and I’m a little uncomfortable asking, but I think we should talk about it. You and I are not. We’re not people of color. Yeah. And so I don’t want to say I don’t want to try to put myself in somebody else’s shoes like that. But I cannot imagine the stress right now. In the not only in that community, but in the diabetes community for people of color. Yeah, I mean, you because we can say, you know, turn off the news or be careful about this. But I think it is to the point right now, where many people and again, I’m probably saying something stupid here. So please forgive me. This is my perspective from where I sit right now. But you know, you can’t turn it off. It’s part of who you are. I’m wondering if you have any advice, perhaps for that community?


Mark Heyman  22:54

Yeah. Yeah. I don’t think that I mean, I would be the only advice that I have, and I’m not sure this is great advice is to keep to keep talking. I think that I, what I’ve seen on this in the social media community is with people of color as well as people, you know, people, other people in the community, it’s a lot of support, and a lot of like, and a lot of one of one, one, a lot of wanting to listen. And I certainly want to listen, I want to understand better because I know I don’t understand, and I can’t understand and I really want to try, but but I and it’s going to help me to understand better if people of color in the diabetes community, continue speaking, and continue letting me letting us know what they want us to hear. Because I’m all ears.


Stacey Simms  23:49

We mentioned a few small changes that you might be able to make any big changes that you’d like to see people kind of work their way up to.


Mark Heyman  23:57

I think that can mean continued. This is a general But continuing to learn to learn about these issues and just continue and continue to have a thirst for knowledge and understanding around them, I think that I’m at that’s, I think that’s the best thing that we can do right now. And then really the most effective thing because that will hopefully not trickle but really expanding into bigger changes that we can all be a part of, and that we can all be we can all be helpful with. But I think that for our mental health, I really think that small changes are the best way of going about this, and then really trying to taking one day at a time and one one change at a time. You know, change is the big changes are so overwhelming, and they oftentimes feel impossible. And so breaking them down into smaller changes, just like we’ve been talking about with you know, maybe a bigger goal in mind. So maybe the question is not necessarily what what are the big changes but what are the bigger goals that we have for our mental health around diabetes, for diabetes management for our, for our inclusion, and what are the small changes that we can make that are moving us towards that goal. And certainly I can’t tell you or anybody else what their what your goal should be. But I think that I think that defining that goal and really taking some time to think about that can be helpful in in helping you to define the small things that you need to make in order to get there.


Stacey Simms  25:27

Before I let you go, and maybe I should have started here since it’s our first time talking. Let’s talk a little bit about your diabetes story because you were diagnosed in college, right?


Mark Heyman  25:36

I was it was 21 years ago on Monday. So I was I just celebrated or just memories I should say my guy ever my 21st I aversary on Monday.


Unknown Speaker  25:47

Correct is beer. Sorry about that.


Unknown Speaker  25:50



Mark Heyman  25:53

Exactly. Yeah. So I was 21 when I was diagnosed that it was the end of my third year of college. I was at UCLA and No, I was for the for probably a month before I was diagnosed I was getting I was not feeling well and just kind of getting progressively sicker and sicker was all over the, in the typical symptoms. The problem was is I had this dream of going to France. I’ve been studying French for a long time. And I got I got an internship at the US Embassy in Paris for that summer. And I was, and I really didn’t want to go the doctor because I was scared that they were telling me something was wrong, and I couldn’t go to France. And so I put off going to the doctor for a long time. I couldn’t tell you how long but it was a you know, something a couple of weeks. And finally got to a point where I just I was walking to class one day, last week on June the first 1999. And I couldn’t go anymore. I’m like, I have to, I got something’s got to change here. So I ended up going to the Student Health Center and I took a finger stick and it’s at high. And I was like, well we know high, medium, low. By Tapi, that bad and the doctor has struck me in a chair and said Don’t move. So we call the paramedics and they stopped me to a gurney. And the problem is that I was at UCLA and UCLA the Student Health Center is as at one end of the quad of a quad, but there was no road access. So the the angels had to park across the other end of the quad. And I had to be wheeled across the entire quad in front of, you know, the entire school to go to, you know, into the journey to go to the hospital. So once you tell you Medical Center, and we’ve diagnosed there, the next day, I had an appointment with my new endocrinologist and Peters was on call that day. And so she was she became my endocrinologist and spent a couple hours with me the next day and teaching me about diabetes and you know, giving me insulin and she’s at the edge like, you know, there’s other questions I can answer for you is like, well, I’m supposed to go to France in two weeks. Without hesitation like Well, of course your vote. So I want to tear it to each actor by diagnosis. I want to prepare us. I had no clue what I was doing. I would email her every couple of days my blood sugar’s, but like it was, I mean, on the one hand, it was the best thing that could happen to me. It gave me the confidence that I needed to know that diabetes was not gonna stop me from doing anything. On the other hand, I was flying blind. And I survived. I was just fine, but it makes for a good story.


Stacey Simms  28:27

It’s a great story. Wow. And how was the How was the internship? diabetes aside? Are you glad you went?


Mark Heyman  28:34

Oh, yeah, it was awesome. I mean, the internship was, you know, it was it was government work. hope we’ll put it that way. Like I got, I got to live in Paris for the summer and you had a awesome apartment, the middle of the city and got to go and travel all around. And it was it was unbelievable.


Stacey Simms  28:51

Sounds like a once in a lifetime. I’m so glad you were able to go. Yeah. And then how did you decide that you wanted to work in the field that you Now, I mean, how do you get from being diagnosed in college to, you know, helping other people with diabetes with their mental health?


Mark Heyman  29:07

That’s a funny story. So I kind of towards the end. So I majored in political science in college. And so as I was leaving college, after my diagnosis, I realized I didn’t want to be a lawyer or didn’t do, I didn’t want to pursue anything kind of in that realm. And I came to the conclusion that I wanted to go into psychology, and a part of me wanted to do something diabetes related. I didn’t, I was lucky that when I was first diagnosed, I was I was doing okay, psychologically, I didn’t have a whole lot of big challenges other than kind of the normal diagnosis stuff. But I was really interested in you know, how this affects other people. So I did some research, and realized I wanted to become a psychologist, but not specifically around diabetes. However, to get into graduate school in psychology, it’s really competitive. And I use a story. And so diabetes him like a good story to tell about how I wonder what people with diabetes and so I took That story, not really thinking that would ever come true. And it kind of did. I went to and I did research in diabetes, I saw patients who had diabetes, and I realized Not only do I love doing it, but it’s also a huge need. And so, you know, I love it. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s really challenging. But I feel like I can use my own personal and professional experience to really make a big impact in people’s lives. It’s wonderful.


Unknown Speaker  30:27

Okay, and I have to ask you, you said you have a toddler. You have a baby.


Mark Heyman  30:31

Yeah, I have. I have a 17 month old. Yeah, it’s wonderful. I was born last January, and now she’s, she’s walking and she’s just starting to talk. And it’s so cute, but it’s a lot of work. Oh, that’s fun.


Stacey Simms  30:43

have you all been, you know, at home for the last couple of months together?


Mark Heyman  30:47

We have. Yeah. So even though we had childcare we had my parents are in town here. So my parents were helping us out a couple days a week and we had some nanny help. But once this all happened, we kind of isolated ourselves entered just now getting back into letting my parents take care of her again. So, which is a great relief. But it’s been, it’s been a lot of fun and a great blessing to be able to spend time with her over the past couple months, but it’s also it’s taken a toll on, you know, my work and my I mean, my ability to do work that I need to be doing. So it’ll be good to when we can get back into a more normal routine, hopefully real soon


Stacey Simms  31:25

as we start to wrap this up, you know, we’ve we’ve kind of, I guess we’ve scratched the surface on managing stress and diabetes, it really is a never ending issue, is it?


Mark Heyman  31:34

No, it’s not. I think that we have I think that we have a lot more questions and answers here. You know, especially both both with Russell diabetes, as well as, how do we live it live in this kind of crazy world we’re in right now, as well as living in this crazy world with diabetes. And so, you know, I wish that I had all the answers, but I think that we need to keep asking the questions because without the questions, we’re not going to get any answers.


Stacey Simms  31:59

Mark, thank you so much. Spend some time with me. I’d love to have you back on to answer maybe some listener questions and go through more of this. But thank you so much for your time.


Mark Heyman  32:06

Oh, you’re so very welcome. Thanks, Stacey.


Unknown Speaker  32:13

You’re listening to Diabetes Connections with Stacey Sims.


Stacey Simms  32:19

I’ll link up some more resources about mental health and diabetes, including Mark’s website. And I said I was going to talk a little bit about some things I’ve been doing. I’ll tell you the best thing that I have been doing to manage this stress is walking my dog. I walk my dog just about every day, and we don’t walk particularly quickly. Boy, she would love it if I would run with her. I’m not a runner. And we are very, very fortunate to live near Greenway. So I’m able to escape. It feels like an escape, I promise. I mean, it’s just green, and it’s usually pretty quiet. It’s getting very hot here. I’m in Charlotte, North Carolina. And most people who walk and run do it very early in the day or later at night. I don’t mind it so much and I’ll go out you know, 1011 o’clock in the morning. They have the place to myself. I’m careful with my doggie and we make sure she has water and all that stuff. Don’t worry about her. But walking the dog listening to podcasts, sometimes listening to nothing really helps. And on those walks, I do not listen to news. I do not listen to news podcasts. I do not listen to serious issues. I listen to stupid comedy podcasts, like Game of Thrones podcasts, and some other fun ones. You know, pop the group, maybe we’ll make a podcast list of things to listen to when you want to distract yourself.

Another thing I do that I do think helps is about half an hour before I go to bed. I try to do an hour but I’m kidding myself. About half an hour is I disconnect from Twitter and Facebook. I’m in bed, you know it’s late. I’m seeing so much later than I was before this, you know, it’s almost midnight, but I’ll stop looking at the news. If I’m not really ready to go to sleep. I’ll read a book for a little while or I’ll play Solitaire on my phone. But I’m done. Sometimes I cheat. I mean, sometimes gosh, there’s been nights you know, especially last week where I just I felt like things were changing moment by moment and I needed to see and I know that wasn’t healthy, but I couldn’t help it. I needed to know that was tough, but I know a lot of you feel the same way. And then the things I’m doing that are not so good as I’m definitely eating more junk and eating more than I was before. That was the worst for me. Honestly, back in April, I think April, I kind of felt like, ah, who cares, we’re going to be indoors forever. No one’s gonna see me again. And I’m just gonna wallow in this and I eat a lot of really bad junk food. And I’ve been drinking more alcohol, which is really unusual for me. And you’ll laugh. I mean, drinking more alcohol means I’m drinking like once or twice during the week. I usually have like one or two drinks on the weekend. And that’s it. But those are things that I’ve noticed that I’m doing because I’m stressed out.

But doing this podcast helps me immensely hearing your stories. Being able to tell some stories and having something to do right. Having something to work on is really valuable. So let’s get back to it. Tell me something good. I love that in just a moment.

But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dexcom. And we started with Dexcom back in the olden days before share. Yeah, in 2013. When Benny started using the Dexcom share it. So trust me when I say using the share and follow apps makes a big difference. Benny and I set parameters about when I’m going to talk to him about diabetes, how long to wait, all that kind of stuff. But it helps us talk and worry about diabetes less. If he’s at a sleep over or away on a trip when things are back to normal. It gives me so much peace of mind. It also helps if I need to troubleshoot with him. And this is what I love. We can see what’s been happening over the last 24 hours and not just at one moment. The alerts and alarms that we set help us from keeping the highs from getting too high, and help us jump on those before there a big issue. Internet connectivity is required to access separate Dexcom follow up to learn more, go to Diabetes and click on the Dexcom logo.


And tell me something good this week, I was scrolling through Facebook. I’m in a ton of diabetes groups and I mute all of them because otherwise it looks like diabetes book to me, right? It’s everything. It’s relentless. So I mute the groups and then I will Want to see stuff? I go back and look, I saw this in a Dexcom group and it really caught my eye. I will post the picture of it in our Facebook group for Diabetes Connections. So Dan writes, my seven year old was feeling crappy about being diagnosed and wearing a sensor. So I did what needed to be done and made him feel better with my permanent sensor. Just the outline color to come. His reaction was priceless. And yes, I cried.

And this is an amazing tattoo. It’s a I mean, it takes up his entire upper arm like elbow to shoulder and it’s an octopus, which I’m assuming he already had. And then the sensor is kind of in the octopuses. tentacles. tentacles. That’s right, right. So it looks it just looks amazing. And then people in the group, of course, started chiming in with, you know, with really positive comments for him, but also, you know, hey, I have a tattoo or I have this idea. And people started talking about diabetes tattoos. And then somebody said, which was what I was thinking because it does CG six on it. What are you gonna do when you’re on the g7 in a few months, and Dan said, I don’t know. Maybe another tattoo Somebody else said no, that octopus has seven more tentacles, just put it there. And I guess he’s gonna come back and show the truly finished product. But it to me it looks finished already, but I guess there’s color coming so hopefully we’ll do a revisit and we’ll show you the finished tattoo then and a follow up

and I guess kind of a wrap up to something that I shared. I think I only shared this on social media, the diabetes family connection, the T1D 24/7 challenge. This was for the entire month of May. And the diabetes family connection puts on different programs they put on the diabetes camp in my area. These are the guys behind Project 50 and 50. Last summer were two guys with type one summited the highest peak in all 50 states in 50 days. And while there was a an injury and an accident, they did finish and so it was pretty incredible stuff. But their 2024 seven was a challenge that asks people to move every day for the month of May. They said you know no days off for managing T1D no days off during this Challenge. And there were some rules and interesting little things that of course, they want the people to maintain social distancing. And it was a fundraiser as well, they had a Spotify playlist. One of my favorite things about this is the warnings we all got because this playlist was not moderated for explicit lyrics. As I said, these are the guys who put in our diabetes camp. So a lot of parents on their list. We appreciate that heads up you guys. So congratulations to the diabetes family connection for a really big and well done fundraiser. I’m sure they’ll be doing more like this and some of them are in our Facebook groups. So we will continue to spread the word.

If you have a Tell me something good story, let me know email me Stacey at Diabetes or, you know, just give me a shout out on social media and we will get it on the show because it’s my favorite part of every week. So tell me something good. If you’re listening as the show was first released later this week, the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions is going to be kicking off this is the atheist conference for the a DA and it is their first virtual experience. What does that mean for you and me? Probably not much. I have never been to the scientific sessions I was thinking about going this year. But of course, it did not happen. But this is the time when a lot of studies come out. This is when a lot of the companies that we all follow release big news. So please stay tuned. I’m going to try to follow as much as I can on social media. We do have shows planned in the weeks to come with everybody that you would expect. I’m really excited to be able to share some of these studies. Some of these things are embargoed. But after the Scientific Sessions, I would say probably by next week, this time, I think we’ll all have a better idea of where the study’s on technology stand, and probably one or two surprises because every year something pops out from this thing that’s either a breakthrough study or something that didn’t work out and completely stopped or you know, somebody from outside the ADA scientific session says, Look at me over here, so we’ll see what happens. But I hope you’ll follow along. I’ll do as much as I can to give you the information now, and then go in depth with the newsmakers As they come on the show in the weeks to come,

thank you to my editor john bukenas from audio editing solutions. Thank you for listening. I hope you got something valuable out of today’s show. I hope you’ll continue to engage and let me know if I can help what you need what you want to hear. You know, I made fun kind of earlier in the show about these are challenging and difficult times. You know, man, they really are and we need each other more than ever. Thanks for being here. I’m Stacey Simms. I’ll see you back here next week. And until then, be kind to yourself.


Unknown Speaker  40:34

Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Sims media. All rights reserved. All rights avenged


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