Chris Stocker is a well-known voice from the early Diabetes Online Community, launching his blog about life with type 1 diabetes called Life of a Diabetic in 2007. In 2019, he stepped back a bit from the DOC with good reason: his daughter, four years old at the time, had just been diagnosed as well.
Now, two years later, Chris is jumping back into the online community via Instagram and a YouTube channel. He talks to Stacey about what it’s been like for his family to adjust to their new situation. He also has a great message for any men who live with T1D.
In Tell Me Something Good, one of the scientists behind one of the COVID vaccine.. is one of us!
And some new books are our for the littlest ones of us..
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Stacey Simms 0:00
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This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 0:27
This week a well known voice in the early diabetes online community stepped back for a bit stopping his blog and his brand new podcast when his daughter at age four was diagnosed with type one herself.
Chris Stocker 0:39
Do you want to help me do it? Do you want to help me I you know decorate my infusion sets and things like that. So we shared those common bonds and that’s how we looked at it from the day of diagnosis was Hey, you’re like daddy now.
Stacey Simms 0:51
It’s been two years since Chris Stocker’s daughter’s diagnosis, and he’s jumping back into the online community. Chris shares his story as a dad of a child with T1Dwho lives with it himself
in Tell me something good. One of the scientists behind one of the COVID vaccines is one of us and some new books for the littlest ones of us. 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. We aim to educate and inspire about diabetes with an emphasis on people who use insulin aim host Stacey Simms, my son Benny was diagnosed with type one right before he turned to more than 14 years ago. My husband lives with type two diabetes. You know, I started blogging just after Benny’s diagnosis. And that blog, which I eventually called off the dial led me to the DOC the diabetes online community at that time, and this is 2007. When I started, it was basically blogs and some online chat rooms. And you know, gradually social media exploded and everything changed to what it is now shorter posts, influencers, more podcasts, that sort of thing.
The Twitter chat remains DSMA on Wednesdays, if you’re not familiar with that, that is a 10 year old now more than 10 year old chat on Twitter, I’ll put a link in the show notes, but it’s just hashtag DSMA Wednesday evenings at 9pm. Eastern for anybody in the diabetes community we’d like to give it a plug it’s not separated by type or if you’re a parent or a person with type one. And that’s one of the ways that I first remember meeting Chris stocker and it was great to talk to him this week for so many reasons, but it really brought me right back to those early days. You know, when we had diabetes blog we can you know, to feel like we’re finding all these really to me amazing, cool people in my computer, which depending on your age, either sounds ridiculous or you know, right on you, you know what I’m talking about.
But before we get to Chris, I do want to share a Twitter post that I was tagged in this is self serving, but I just I have to share it. A gentleman named Hugh Stimson retweeted my episode release about Lily and Ypsomed and my conversation with with Mike Mason from Lilly diabetes all about that. And he wrote, “I wish political journalists asked follow up questions, the way Stacey Simms asks health device executives follow up questions.” Whew. Thank you so much for writing that. It’s hard to describe what that means to me. And and compliments are always nice. But that right there is why I started the show back in 2015. I would listen to podcasts. And I’d be yelling back at the hosts, I’d be asking my own questions. I’d be like, follow up on that. He didn’t ask. You know, look, radio people are interesting. And well, I am really glad to be built like this. It is an odd thing sometimes. But I’m glad it came in handy. I’m glad it helped. And I’m really glad that you feel like I’m doing a service by asking those questions and trying, you know, sometimes we don’t get answers, but you got to ask. So thanks again. I really appreciate it.
All right, Chris Stocker in just a moment. But first, Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dario health. And you know, one of the things that makes diabetes management difficult for us. It just really annoys me and annoys Benny, it isn’t actually the big picture stuff. It is all the little tasks adding up, you know, are you sick or running out of strips? Do you need some direction or encouragement going forward with your diabetes management with visibility into your trends help you on your wellness journey? The Dario diabetes success plan offers all of that and more. No more waiting in line at the pharmacy. No more searching online for answers. No more wondering about how you’re doing with your blood sugar levels, find out more go to mydario.com forward slash Diabetes Connections.
Chris Stocker’s blog back in the day was called life of a diabetic and he wrote about everything from his diagnosis as a college student in 2009. To Day in the Life stuff to product reviews to what dragged him down and made him mad and what lifted him up. When his oldest daughter was diagnosed just before she turned four. Chris felt like he had to pull back and face this challenge before venturing back online in such a public way. But he never really left the community. And I think dads and men with type one as you listen, there is really great advice here for you in terms of support and asking for help.
Chris, welcome to the show. I’m excited to talk to you. I feel like we have talked before, but it’s only been on Twitter and Social Media. Thanks for jumping on.
Chris Stocker 5:19
No problem. I’m definitely happy and honored to be a guest here.
Stacey Simms 5:24
Well, you’re a podcast pro and a YouTube Pro. So this should be fun. But we do have a lot to talk about. Let’s just start at the beginning for you. Because your diagnosis story happened when you were in college. Right? You were 19. Tell us about that.
Chris Stocker 5:35
Yeah. So I was I was a freshman in college, I was playing football at King’s College up in Wilkes Barre, and the season was over. And I just was I was working out I was losing a ton of weight. I was drinking a lot of Gatorade and water. So I was urinating quite frequently. And I just thought I was losing weight because I was working out. And then this one night, I didn’t have an appetite. I started getting sick all day long. And I ended up in the emergency room with 858 blood sugar.
Stacey Simms 6:05
What year was that? If you don’t mind me asking.
Chris Stocker 6:07
That was in 2000. Wow. 2004.
Stacey Simms 6:10
What was the diagnosis process? Like? Did they you as a young adult like that? Did they believe you had type one? Was it an okay, diagnosis?
Chris Stocker 6:17
Yeah, it was. I honestly don’t remember too much of it. Because I was kind of in in like a foggy state. My mom has worked at a hospital for almost 40 years. She took me to her hospital. So of course, we got the VIP treatment went right into the ER. And, you know, they took labs, and immediately The doctor came in and was like, You have type 1 diabetes. So there was no real question or debating anything whatsoever. Then I remember seeing the on site endocrinologist, probably I think it was that night. This was probably around 2am. So yeah, there was no discussion ever about whether it was type one or or another type of diabetes.
Stacey Simms 6:56
And what did they start you want? You immediately put on? I think 2004 elantas was around for adults, but not necessarily for kids. Like what what was your beginning entry into diabetes tree?
Chris Stocker 7:07
Yes, my very first night home, I can remember almost exactly the ratios and everything. I was taking 14 units Atlantis at night, the carb ratio was about 51 to 5015 to one. And that was Yeah, I was on lantis. And I think I started on probably either human log or no blog at that time. I can’t remember that. But I didn’t know anything about pumps or was never even brought up to me at that point in 2004. Either.
Unknown Speaker 7:36
Did you go back to college,
Chris Stocker 7:37
I I was not able to go back to King’s College at that time. So I stayed home for a year I went to community college. And then I got this bright, awesome idea that I wanted to go to college away from Pennsylvania. And so I decided to go to Boca Raton, Florida and finish up school at Florida Atlantic University. So not only was I only a year or so maybe a year and a half, after diagnosis, I was then telling my mom that I was going about 1200 miles away to go to college. So it was definitely a rough conversation to have with her for sure.
Stacey Simms 8:15
Okay, well, it is sometime later, let’s say right, it’s, you know, we know you did pretty well in college, I assume. Can you give us parents the reassurance that you know, you You did? Okay, and that was the right move for you?
Chris Stocker 8:27
Yes, I mean, it definitely forced me to really grow up pretty quickly. I mean, I was 20 by the time I went there, but I was a little bit more mature than a lot of my, you know, my roommates and a lot of my classmates, because I was managing this disease pretty much by myself. I had no family, no friends down there. So it was really it was on me, I was in constant communication with my diabetes educator up here in Pennsylvania. So I was able to communicate via email with them quite often. So you know, there were some times where I had some pretty high blood sugars. I did actually end up at the ER one night, because I was getting my insulin through the school on campus pharmacy, which was not open on the weekends. And I thought that I could go from Saturday afternoon till Monday morning with just about 10 units of insulin which I use in one meal. So I actually ended up in the ER, I had met my girlfriend who’s now my wife down there. And this was all new to her too. And she ended up taking me to the hospital and think I was probably up in the five 600 range. And then that was an interesting phone call to my mother as well. Who at that time, then flew down and did the motherly thing and came down and spent a few days down there with me.
Stacey Simms 9:49
I’m wondering though, I mean, my kids, my daughter’s in college far away. Then he is a sophomore in high school and we’re starting to talk about college and I’ve told him you know, you can go wherever you want. I’d love for him to stay next year. We’re at least in this state, but I doubt that he will. I’m curious looking back What made you want to go so far away? I mean, do you feel I don’t wanna put words your mouth I wonder like, did you want to prove something to yourself? Did you just love that school always wanted to go to Florida like why from there’s so many great schools in that Pennsylvania northeast corner?
Chris Stocker 10:16
The weather? Yeah. Yeah. So I was playing football. I played football my whole life. I was playing football, I kings, I actually left the football team because I had no energy. I couldn’t I didn’t want to work out anymore. Later to find out that that was diabetes related. And I just said, You know what, like, I don’t wanna play football anymore. I just want to go somewhere that’s totally different than than where I grew up. I love Pennsylvania. I’m actually back here now. But I wanted to go somewhere totally different. And I started looking at colleges. I’d always wanted to go to UNC Greensboro. I don’t know why, but I always wanted to go there. And I started looking online. And one day I was watching a tennis tournament, and Andy Roddick was my favorite tennis player and it popped up that he lived in Boca Raton. So I went on the internet, looked up colleges in Boca Raton, I found Florida Atlantic and I fell in love with their website. So I always used to joke that I have Andy Roddick to thank for meeting my wife. Even though I’ve never met Andy Roddick, and Andy Radek has no idea who I am.
Stacey Simms 11:22
Well, you wouldn’t be the first to go to college because somebody either lived in that town or went to that town that you admired. But that’s a great story. I love it. I want to talk about the diabetes online community, you were a very big part of this. You still are. But there was this time when there were so many bloggers and we were all just finding each other on Twitter. But I at first like to skip ahead in your story to when your daughter was diagnosed. I think that’s such a fear of so many people I know who are adults with type one. But it does happen of course and you do deal with it. Do you mind sharing her story too. When was she diagnosed?
Chris Stocker 11:56
She was we’re actually coming up on her two years, in about a week and a half year so she was diagnosed on February 12 2019 in the middle of a snowstorm. And that was when we decided to take her to the ER was when we had about eight inches of snow on the ground.
Stacey Simms 12:19
Right back to Chris in just a moment Diabetes Connections is brought to you by g Bo hypo pin. And almost everyone who takes insulin has experienced a low blood sugar. And that can be scary. A very low blood sugar is really scary. And that’s where GMO hypo pen comes in. It’s the first auto injector to treat very low blood sugar Jeeva hypo pen is pre mixed and it is ready to go with no visible needle. That means it’s easy to use in usability studies, 99% of people were able to give g vote correctly. I’m so glad to have something new, find out more go to Diabetes connections.com and click on the G book logo. g Vox shouldn’t be used in patients with pheochromocytoma or insulinoma. Visit chivo glucagon.com slash brisk. Now back to my conversation with Chris about the night his daughter was diagnosed. Had you suspected I mean I, you know I don’t wanna get too personal. But
Chris Stocker 13:14
the signs were there. And I feel that I had maybe been living in denial for a little bit. It is something that I had thought about every single day from the day my wife told me she was pregnant, that that what if scenario and it was something that I talked about a little bit, but I didn’t talk about it a lot because I felt too vulnerable, I guess. So I shared that because I knew I would not be the only one that had those feelings. But when I would see her, she was potty trained. So she was waking up probably three or four times a night asking for water and having to go to the bathroom. And I really started to see a change in how frequently she was going to the bathroom. And then that kind of was going on for you know, a couple of nights. And then just one night, I just had a gut feeling. And I said well let’s pull out my meter. Let’s check her so you know, of course, she didn’t want that to happen. And you know, I can remember just looking at the meter. The number was in the 250s but I just remember looking at the meter and then just knowing and just knew and just being just crushed. So it was it was something that I had kind of mentally prepared for but it’s just one of those things I don’t think you’re ever prepared. You know you think you might be but it’s just you know, it was just a crushing feeling. But then the dad and the type one in me kind of just said hey, it is what it is. We just got to do it. And you know we took it to the hospital. I’m amazed by how she handled the entire thing. It was just unbelievable being in a in an ambulance to go from the ER on hospital to the pediatric unit at another hospital. I mean she loved that still talks about it to this day. Really
Stacey Simms 14:57
what did she do what she did like she was feeling Okay, and she was excited.
Chris Stocker 15:01
Yes. So she didn’t really know what was going on exactly our local hospital, which was, you know, a few blocks away, they didn’t have a pediatric unit. So it’s a system hospital. So they just, you know, put her and my wife in the ambulance and took them to the hospital that had a pediatric unit for her. So she got to watch TV pretty much all day long. She got to play with toys in there. So it was different, you know, getting getting those first round the labs done and putting her into the burrito as they called, it was probably her only bad memory of the entire process. So she definitely still talks about those days, even, you know, she was a month away from turning four. What is the burrito? So sorry, later down on the table to draw labs and freaking out? Yeah, so they kind of, you know, they put like a weighted almost like a weighted blanket over her to kind of strap or in and they just called it a burrito, I guess to make it sound not so terrifying.
Stacey Simms 16:00
How long did you stay in the hospital? And then what did you have to do? I assume you know, your you and your wife are pretty well educated about diabetes. So I don’t know that you needed much of that. But it’s different when it’s your child,
Chris Stocker 16:09
I would assume? Yeah, it’s totally different. And we were in the hospital for about two and a half, maybe three days, I do know that they kind of rushed us through the process. Because when we first went there, I basically just said, Hey, listen, I have type one. I know what it’s like, you know, I know what to do. But I don’t have a child with it. So I know I need to, you know, relearn some things, and things are going to be a little different. But the, you know, the staff there and the whole diabetes team was very helpful. And really, they directed most of the education, most of the conversations towards my wife, which was something that we kind of asked them to do, because I really, you know, my wife had lived with me for 14 years before that. But my diabetes was kind of just my own diabetes, I didn’t ask her to take an active part and help managing if she knew if I was low to give me Skittles, she knew if I was high, I needed some more insulin, but she knew that I counted while I was supposed to be counting cards, but she knew the basics, but really, she needed to start, you know, learning. What is basal? And what is this? And what is that? So a lot of that education was geared towards her. And I think it was, you know, very helpful, not just for her, but also for me, as somebody that was living with it for at that time, I guess it was 15 years, then that there was like a refresher course that I that I needed. Because I was in my I was in my my own habits. I’m in my own ways. And it was it was really good to kind of take a step back and relook at how you know, what is diabetes one on one, you know, what is the right way to kind of do some of these things.
Stacey Simms 17:48
I’m picturing that, you know, your daughter has watched you do this, even if you haven’t been doing it in front of her the whole time and everything that this is now something that while that’s not great, but she can share with her father,
Chris Stocker 17:59
absolutely. 100%. And that’s exactly how I looked at it was, how can I make this easier for her and just like a parent with anything, my initial instincts were, what can I do to make this better for my child, and it was just instantly that put on a smile for her show her that my diabetes is not a burden on me, it’s not something that I don’t like doing. So I made sure that when I had to check my sugar, or she, we were going to check our sugar, I would do mine also. And you know, now we share some of those same things. So it’s like, oh, when when I have to change out my CGM, you know, my sensors is, do you want to help me do it? Do you want to help me, you know, decorate my my infusion sets and things like that. So we share those common bonds. And that’s how we looked at it from the day of diagnosis, as well as Hey, you’re like, Daddy, now you and Daddy, we both have diabetes. And my niece was actually diagnosed about two years before my daughter. So that was a whole whole nother thing of trying to you know, help my brother and my sister in law with with dealing with that diagnosis. So, you know, now she shared that with her cousin as well. So it was kind of something that, you know, with her daddy having in it, her cousin having it that that she was able to not. And also she didn’t at that time really even know what it meant to have diabetes. She just she thought it was just cool that now she has daddy. So it was definitely the way that we decided to kind of take is to be able to share that bond with her. And that’s what we have in common.
Stacey Simms 19:23
Do you use the same technology as each other?
Chris Stocker 19:25
We do. We do. Now, we did it at the time, but the same CGM and we both use the same insulin pumps,
Stacey Simms 19:32
you don’t have to answer this but you know when you say to your your daughter and this is what I think we would all want to say to a newly diagnosed child right? It’s not going to be a burden. You can do this it’s okay to have diabetes. And I think for me as the adult with my son ignorance was a little bit of bliss, right? You know, you can do this it’s gonna be okay and it’s not gonna stop you. You can play sports, you know, you can. Now they can fly planes, right? You can you can do what you want to do. But for somebody with type one who’s lived with it for as long as you have Do you know that it is a burden? Sometimes you know that it is really hard. And I know this is not something you’re gonna take, you’re now, you know, almost six year old decided to Hey, by the way, you know, I mean these are conversations from they’re much older,
Chris Stocker 20:10
we’ve had some conversations I mean, as much of a conversation as you can have with an almost six year old about living a life with diabetes. So we really kind of talked about it in Scituate, you know, take today, for example, it’s been snowing for almost three days, we were out in the snow. And I can I already know, as soon as we go to that, in that snow, she’s going low, it’s just 100% guaranteed every single time. So we had to stop playing in the snow. So we could drink juice. And you know, she doesn’t want to stop playing. So we try to you know, just let her know that, hey, just because you know, the other kids in the neighborhood happen, you know, they’re still out playing and whatnot, we just need to take a little extra precaution steps here and just sit down and have a juice and you know, we frame it that day, they don’t get to have a juice right now, right? You’re the one having giggles and juice. So you know, but it’s just you know, so we use those kind of, it usually comes up during Lowe’s, where we may say like, hey, let’s let’s settle down for a little bit. Let’s not run around or play rough right? Now let’s just sit down. And, you know, we’ll play a play game of checkers or something just sitting on the couch. So we kind of have those conversations with her, like why she has to sometimes stop doing what she’s doing, she can get right back into it. But we might need to take 10 1520 minutes here or there to just settle down a little bit, have a little snack or juice or something like that. But I think about how I’m going to have additional conversations with her in the future. And I’ve gone back and forth, you know, talking in the mirror how I’m going to handle it, it’s probably going to be one of those situations where I have a great plan going in, and it’s just not going to go anywhere near how I play it.
Stacey Simms 21:50
Um, I do want to ask you a few more questions about your children because you have another child as well. But let’s take a couple of minutes and talk about the diabetes online community from a few years back, if you’re a longtime listener of the show, you know, we started this in 2015, which was probably the beginning of the end of the like the hybrid if we were to check blogging and that kind of thing. And the whole, you know, I guess what some people would call the Oh g diabetes people, you know, maybe that’s when it peaked my non scientific method here. But you were, you know, you were right in there and all of those conversations, and I’d love to know, how did you find the online community? What was your first entry.
Chris Stocker 22:26
So I first started blogging or even finding out about blogs back in 2009, I was working for a, I was interning actually at a diabetes supply company. And they said, Hey, we want to start a blog. So I started to write blogs for the company. And then I was like, Okay, this is I kind of enjoyed this. And then I started finding other type one, blogs. And I thought, you know what, I have so much that I want to say, and I felt that I didn’t have anybody to talk to about it. Because I didn’t know anybody with diabetes, I went to high school with the kid. But I knew we drink Gatorade at halftime of football games. But that was it, we had water in a Gatorade, that was all I knew about diabetes. So I just started writing things that were in my mind that I think I just wanted to get off my chest, I just started writing about them. And I didn’t even care that nobody was reading it, I just wanted a place to be able to just share my thoughts. And it just helped me just help my mind mentally just be able to get it out on to you know, typing on the keyboard and just reading it. So that’s kind of how I started. And then I can’t remember getting my first comment, I got a comment on a post, it was probably after about six months of writing daily. And so I mean, I can’t do the math that fast. I mean, I, I was well into 100 posts before my very first comment, and somebody said, Wow, I was going through this exact same thing. And your feedback here really changed my mindset on it. And I’m going to try this and you know, make changes in my life and whatnot. And I just thought, wow, I just changed somebody’s life. Like I just changed how somebody thinks about something simply by me just typing on a computer. And then it just that was kind of that first, like, I’m actually helping other people by just getting out the words that are bothering me. And then it just kind of took off. From there. I just started writing daily and just I started meeting other people. You mentioned previously speaking to people on Twitter and a little bit of Facebook back then, but just meeting a ton of different people online, and just writing and writing and writing and writing and just sharing my story. And it was just, you know, I was never very edited in my blog post. And even my wife would always say, Did you know that you spelled this wrong? Or you said this? Like No, because I type and I wrote the way that I speak and it came out that way and it was just how, you know it was I didn’t have a you know, a very like a very edited style. And it just kind of, you know, people kind of just connected with it and it was just Every time I would get a new comment or a new share or something it felt it just felt motivating to know that I was helping people by getting those stories out there.
Stacey Simms 25:08
It is funny. That’s one of the reasons why I love podcasting, because there is no editor for my grammar or my spelling. And I have transcripts now. And those are very difficult for me because I usually we clean up the diabetes language because my transcription software doesn’t speak diabetes very well. But I’m not correcting the grammar and the spelling from pot. Yeah, it’s really, really interesting. And I’m going to link up your your blog if that’s okay. Because I think a lot of those older posts in itself, a lot of residents, I mean, I blogged as well. It’s starting in 22,007. And I think two people read that blog, but I’ve kept it up. Well, I just like you I got so much more out of it right. For me, it was perfect for me, I got I got a lot of help, just mental health assistance for writing it almost like a diary. But it has been in the last couple of years, people have found the goalposts and it’s helpful because diabetes issues change, but not really, right technology changes things, but not really,
Chris Stocker 26:03
you know, I still get notifications of comments on posts that I wrote back in 2010 2011. And one of the areas and this kind of circles back to my daughter’s diagnosis is that I wrote maybe, I think I wrote two posts total about my fears of one day having a child B die, those with diabetes. And to this day, those are still some of my most, you know, most read posts and most commented posts and people to this day still comment or send me emails like, hey, how did you go about this? Or how did you deal with this? And, and it’s just, you know, those are things that I wrote, five, six years ago before I even knew I was having a child. And it’s still relevant today as well.
Stacey Simms 26:43
Well, you’re dipping your toe back into social media with, you know, YouTube videos, you’re on Instagram, are you podcasting again,
Chris Stocker 26:49
I, I am not as of now, but I’m not saying that I’m not going to. It’s funny, I did start a podcast, and I recorded two episodes. And my daughter was then diagnosed. So I kind of stopped. You know, I
Stacey Simms 27:05
mentioned that when I started this podcast in 2015, it seemed to be kind of like, I don’t know, for sure. But from my experience, it was like this high point of activity online for certain a certain group of people. And a lot of those folks have kind of moved on or paused and come back. And, you know, I wonder too, if there isn’t just a natural life to some of this old natural burnout to some diabetes stuff. And you’ve been very open about those kinds of things. Can you share that part?
Chris Stocker 27:31
Yeah, absolutely. So once my daughter was diagnosed, kind of everything just kind of went on Paul’s it was this is our focus. Right now, this is everything that we want to focus all of our efforts on that I was actually going back to, I was getting my real estate license at that time, as well. So there was a lot, a lot going on at that time. And once I decided to start getting back into writing, I sat at the computer probably 20 different times to start writing about my daughter being diagnosed. And I was just filled with diabetes just all day long, whether it was I was managing my own diabetes, and my alerts were going off, and then it was time to check my daughter’s blood sugar and then give her insulin and do her calculation, then do my calculation. And it was just too much that at the end of the day, or the the start of the day, I just didn’t want to, I didn’t want to think about diabetes anymore. I didn’t want to write about it, I just kind of wanted to manage it. And that was it. And I definitely felt a disconnect from the diabetes community. Because I just kind of just left I just I shut down. And I just didn’t want to be involved with anything. I didn’t want to see posts, I didn’t, I didn’t want to read people’s posts, I didn’t want to watch videos, I didn’t want to listen to anything, I just wanted to kind of just deal with that. And and it was just, it was a lot at once. And that’s kind of what shut everything down for almost a year and a half. And then I started to write again a little bit, and they kind of came back to me where it was, I can remember the exact moment I was writing a blog post and my low alert went off and within five minutes, my daughter’s low alert went off. And then my Omni pod alerted me that I had a low reservoir. And my daughter’s went off about 15 minutes later that hers was being changed that night. So we were both having a low both theater pots change that same night. And I think that I actually had to change out my CGM that night as well and it was just a complete overload and I said are stopping again and I can’t deal with this I need a mental break from from diabetes and I need to be at my strongest in order to be that you know role model and example to my daughter and I felt that let her see me get frustrated with with an alert or an alarm and and be like oh, I have to change that tonight or hi we have to do this or I’ll have to drink a juice. I tried to never let her see that and never let her see that. There may be some frustrations that come with living Diabetes,
Stacey Simms 30:01
I’m hesitating, Chris, because Far be it from me to armchair psychologize anybody, but I want to plant this in your brain. And I agree six years old is not the time to do that. But I hope as she gets older, you do allow her to see some of those frustrations. And again, I’m not your doctor, or psychologist, right? I think if you were my dad,
Unknown Speaker 30:22
I hope this really is not at a place, I’m such a nosy person. Mom, I
Stacey Simms 30:27
become that we’re my dad, to share those experiences, you know, when somebody shares the bad as well as the good, it just makes your bed feel not so bad. So when she’s like, 10 1112, you know, those are the times when you guys I know, I know, it’s in your future that you’re going to share all of that, and she’s gonna appreciate it so much. But I I agree, because I remember with Benny, you know, at six years old, you’re just, you know, it’s like, you know, you gotta brush your teeth. So you don’t, you know, you don’t get carried away. Everything’s fun.
Chris Stocker 30:55
Yeah, I mean, it’s, you know, it’s a struggle at times, just to every three days, when a new pod has to go on, you know, she has to be watching either a cartoon or using the iPad, some some type of distraction. Now, we don’t plan on doing that forever. And we’ve already kind of slowed that down a bit of what we let her do to kind of distract her from it. But I know that that’s going to change in the future. And those are definitely, you know, some conversations that I would definitely have with her about the frustrations and stuff. But I think my thought process behind it is that if she sees that I’m getting frustrated of having to put on a new ami pot or put on a new Dexcom that she’s going to think that it’s so you know that she’s going to put up by force who and and it’s just something that I know will come one day, but I’m just trying to push it off as far as far
Stacey Simms 31:44
and I think you’re very wise, because I will share with you that Danny ran away from insets. He had to bid pump his whole life. And you know, every three days, you’re teaching the inset, and we tried everything Chris, we did, you know, numbing cream and ice cubes and rewards and he ran away from them. It was a struggle until about age eight or nine. And then it amazingly got better. And now he does everything himself for the past, I want to say three or four years even. And it’s and then some kids start doing everything themselves very early. Right. I think when you’re diagnosed tiny the trend that I noticed anecdotally is that it takes them longer just to be completely independent, because that’s how they’ve been taught. So I don’t take that iPad away before she’s ready. She’ll let you know when she’s ready.
Unknown Speaker 32:26
Stacey Simms 32:27
she will, it’ll be fine. And I will tell you one funny story. I don’t know if I’ll keep this in because I’m talking too much in this interview. But we were laughing the other day because I used to let Benny say what we called potty words when he changed his incident. So right, we put it on and he could be like, oh poop or whatever. And I said to him in the kitchen the other night, he came down to change. And I said do you want to yell some potty words? And we were hysterical of the thought of thinking of my preschooler yelling real curse words, like Could you imagine if you know what he thinks of potty words today, so you can fill in the blank on that.
Chris Stocker 32:58
I like that. I like that idea. Actually, she will probably enjoy.
Stacey Simms 33:03
I think we would all like to yell some potty words when we’re doing stuff.
Unknown Speaker 33:06
Stacey Simms 33:07
Let me ask you about your your second child because your wife was pregnant, which had to be so stressful when your daughter was diagnosed during that time. And you had, as you’ve said, you’d already been nervous about any of your children being diagnosed. Again, I feel like I’m being very nosy. But What went through your mind at that time.
Chris Stocker 33:25
So initially, I mean, my initial thought was the stress that was going to be put on my wife and her being pregnant at that time, and making sure that she was okay with it, and trying to comfort her as much as possible and try to take away as much of the stress that I could possibly do, you know, from a mother, and, you know, knowing that she was pregnant, we knew there were chances. And it was just a decision and conversations we had throughout our relationship. And before we were married, we’re gonna have kids no matter what it’s what we want to do, and we’re not going to let the thought or the chance of something stop us from doing anything. And that’s kind of our, our thought process in life in general. So we knew that we were going to, you know, have wanted to have a second child. And we actually were scheduled to find out whether we were having another daughter or not. On February 13, I think and my daughter was diagnosed on the 12th. So it was actually in the same hospital. My wife left and went, you know, down the hall and oh, my God on the elevator and went like two floors down. And, you know, she did what she had to do there and then so we were you know, planning on having this big celebration to find out if we were you know what we were having and next thing you know, we’re we’re in the hospital for a totally different reason.
Stacey Simms 34:48
I gotta be honest to Chris, I love talking to dads of kids with type one because we hear so much from moms, right, so many of the bloggers and the writers and podcasters like me Moms. So let me ask you as a dad, now not as just a person with type one, but as a dad of a child of type one. What advice would you give newly diagnosed families, I mean, you’re almost you’re two years into this. Now you know what worked.
Chris Stocker 35:12
I would say that just being open, especially with you know, your spouse about how you may be feeling about it, I think a lot of times that the reason why we don’t hear dads speak out too much is because they want to be the backbone, they want to be the strong one they want to, to not show that they’re upset and show their feelings. And for me, I’ve been open with my wife, me and my wife, we’ve had conversations, we’ve cried together about it, we’ve talked about things that I let her know, my fears that I may have over things about it, it has helped tremendously, because there are times where I just say, like, Hey, listen, I need a break tonight, I can’t do this, I’ve had a bad diabetes day, I’m stressed out by this, I’m just getting upset about it, I need a break. And that open communication has really helped us become an amazing team. And quite honestly, my wife almost entirely manages my daughter’s diabetes. At this point, I cannot express like how grateful and like, just proud and I’m amazed by how my wife has taken this on and have she just tackled this head on. And I mean, she’s pretty much almost managing my diabetes at this point, telling me how many carbs are in my meals and this and that. So going back to being the dad is that I just think that it’s okay to you know, you just have to be okay with having those uncomfortable and vulnerable conversations and, and just know that it’s for the better good, like, let your guard down, let it out, it’s going to help that you don’t have to just be you know, the strong one, you know, every single day in every single situation where it is okay to just let your fears out. And if you need to talk to somebody, talk to somebody find somebody that you know, you may have something in common with and just get it out and talk it out. And it feels so much better. Even having diabetes for 1415 years before she was diagnosed, I reached out to other dads have type one kids that I knew from meeting in the community and had, you know, conversations with them, like, what do I do from here? Like, I know how to manage mine, but like, What do I do? How do I do this? How do I tell her this? How do I explain this, and that helped me tremendously. And that’s part of that community feeling and knowing that, you know, for all those years, I was, you know, putting into the community to be able to reach out when I was the one in in need of help. And it was great to have that community there to let me know, like, You got this.
Stacey Simms 37:40
I’m curious, if anything in the last two years with your daughter has surprised you any of your reactions to things or anything that she’s done, you know, you were not six years old or four years old, when you were diagnosed, did anything surprise you about her diagnosis or your experiences with it or your reaction?
Chris Stocker 37:57
I am not kind of glued to the Dexcom as much as my wife is. And my wife is with my daughter a lot more during the day than than I am as well. But one thing that my daughter does is she knows that if she’s going to be you know, she’s playing upstairs in her room, she needs to now take her phone with her or her Dexcom actually with her and she will let us know. I think she was only diagnosed for maybe three or four months, the first time where she said to me, daddy, my knees feel wobbly. And my initial reaction was, first of all, how do you know what the word wobbly means. And second of all, let’s get the meter out. And let’s check real quick. And I can remember we were in target which another place no matter every time I go in there, it ends up in a low, but we are in target and she said her knees felt wobbly. We checked her she was 41. And I just remember picking her up and sprinting to the front of the store and just finding the first juice I can find and just said just start drinking and I remember her asking about paying for it or something. I’m like drinking it don’t you don’t have to worry about that. I’ll figure that out. Just start drinking. So that was probably a surprising moment to me of her letting me and this was before she had Dexcom. So that was very kind of surprising moment to me that she used the word wobbly and she knew that she fell off. So now she does that quite often now where she she says I feel low. She’ll Look at her Dexcom and just randomly I’ll just hear her scream out 125 or something. Okay, I guess that’s what her number is so low that she she has taken that on as you know, she’s kind of proud, not kind of she’s extremely proud to have diabetes. You know, she in her classes. She talks tells people that she has diabetes and whatnot. So she definitely surprised me of how proud she is to wear it. That’s awesome. That means you guys are doing an awesome job as parents. That’s something we actually did kind of talk to her about that she doesn’t ever have to be ashamed or, you know, she doesn’t have to be scared to tell somebody that she has diabetes. In fact, you know, because my philosophy has always been I want to tell you that I have it because in case something Goes go wrong. I want somebody around me to know
Stacey Simms 40:04
this before I let you go, you have been posting you know more on Instagram and you’re really getting back into it. And I noticed you posted a lot about your daughter and her reaction to the virtual friends for life conference. And I, I was part of that. And I gotta tell you, I wasn’t sure what to expect me this isn’t a commercial for friends for life, even though we love them. But I was stunned at how good it was to connect even virtual with people. You know, we’re all stuck at home, we can’t get out to meet up. But I loved that conference, did your daughter have fun? There was so much for kids.
Chris Stocker 40:35
She had an amazing time. I mean, she still talks about it almost every day. To this day, she talks about the different events that were going on, she talked about playing bingo with with the guy from Toy Story. She talked about the all the animals that are Parker Ranger that was there. And I mean, she loved it, she loved seeing other kids and hearing other people talk about it. And we were planning on going, you know, this year in 2022 it so it was something that she already knew was going to happen. And you know, the day was over, she was she started crying. She was so sad. She couldn’t wait till the next one. And it was just, it was a you know, it was life changing to her because, you know, she had only known me and her cousin that had and a few other people that she had met that had diabetes, but to be opened up to this world of all these other kids that were living with it and we’re all sharing their different CGM and their different pumps and seeing a different perspective other than just her life and you know, my life with it was just absolutely amazing for her to experience that even virtually, it was just amazing how smooth it went. And and all the activities that were there for the kids. Yeah,
Stacey Simms 41:50
I mean, I gotta be honest with you, I didn’t put a lot of time because I figured, well, you know, I’ll do my speech. And I’ll watch one or two, the research updates. I was hanging out in the social hallways, you know, with my mom, friends, it was great. I was I thought it was a very well done. And so we’ll put a plug in because they’ve got the march one coming up. And we put a link in the show notes. Is there anything else Chris that you wanted to push people to or to you know, to put all your links to follow or anything that you’ve got coming up that you wanted me to make sure to mention,
Chris Stocker 42:14
people can follow me on on Instagram, it’s just life of a diabetic, it is a newer account, because I am trying to keep it separate it from a personal Instagram account that I had previously. And it’s just just to keep things simple and clean. I’ve just kind of started a new one. And I am putting out weekly YouTube videos now so they can check that out, you know, with the link in the in the show notes, but I just hope that you know, I can continue to help people and share my story and also my daughter’s story. And as long as it helps one person, I feel that all the work and effort that goes into it is well worth it. That’s awesome.
Stacey Simms 42:51
Well, no doubt you’ll be helping other parents and other adults with type one. Chris, I can’t thank you enough for coming on. It was so much fun to talk to after connecting online for all these years. I really appreciate it.
Chris Stocker 43:00
Absolutely. I appreciate you having me on.
Unknown Speaker 43:07
You’re listening to Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 43:13
More information including Chris’s YouTube channel and his Instagram and all that good stuff will be in the shownotes. And that is always on the episode homepage as well. So if you’re listening in an app and it doesn’t show you what you want, just go to Diabetes connections.com and find the episode should be very easy to do.
I should let you know he mentioned it went by quickly when he was talking about friends for life. He mentioned the Toy Story guy playing Bingo. what he’s talking about there is john Ratzenberger who people might remember as Cliff Klavan from Cheers, but who has been a voice of a character in every Pixar movie, his son lives with type one. And Tom Karlya who’s a very big part of friends for life, and also the Diabetes Research Institute. He knows him through his work through the DRI together. So Tom brought john to friends for life this year, which is really, really cool. And as I mentioned, they have another event coming up in March and I will put a link in the show notes on that.
Tell me something good 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 there was share. I think we had Dexcom for two years, almost two years before Cher was added as a feature. So you know, we know using Sharon follow makes a big difference. To this day Benny and I set parameters about when I’m going to call him how long to wait, you know, that kind of thing. It really helps us talk and worry about diabetes less. It helps if I need to troubleshoot with him. I love this you can see what’s happening over the last 24 hours and not just at one moment in time. The alerts and alarms that we set help us from keeping the highs from getting too high and jump on lows before they’re a big issue. Internet connectivity is required to access separate Dexcom follow up. To learn more, go to Diabetes connections.com and click on the Dexcom logo.
Our first tell me something good story is one I wish I had jumped on myself. But I read about it at diabetes mine and Mike Hoskins always does great work over there. And I had to share it with you. Dr. Drew Weissman at the University of Pennsylvania is one of two key researchers behind the science used to develop the first COVID-19 vaccines. And he lives with type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed more than 50 years ago, he didn’t announce that he had type one, you know what he was in the news for this vaccine. But apparently some eagle-eyed folks by the photo of him getting his own COVID vaccine shot and they saw that he had an insulin pump on and I’m looking at the photo, as I’m telling you this, he’s getting the Pfizer vaccine. And you can see it looks like a Medtronic pump on his waist. I will link up the story from diabetes mine, which is a great conversation with him, including photos, and Great job guys getting that done. Maybe we can grab Dr. Weisman and get him on the show.
Our other bit of good news comes in the form of more books for very little ones with type 1 diabetes. We’ve had folks on the show before who are authors of children’s books, which I think are a really vital part of young children’s care when it comes to type one. I know reading books like this to Benny, and bring these books to preschool and kindergarten and really willing to elementary school helped give us friends a good understanding. And you know, just seeing yourself in a book is a wonderful, wonderful thing. So I just want to mention a couple that are newer out there.
The Adventures of Captain Lantus is one that I have seen a lot of this focuses on seven year old Maxs, who has type 1 diabetes, and it’s kind of a fantastical adventure, because everyone in beta town has type 1 diabetes. So this is a real fantasy story and very cute stuff. Brandy in our Facebook group in Diabetes Connections, the group published her T1D toddler book, it’s called Little shots for little tots. And it is also very cute looking.
And one that I think is actually a pretty important one is called when I go low, a type 1 diabetes picture book. This is by ginger Vieira. And Michael Lawson. And we have talked to both of those folks on the show about other books that they have put out there. But this is a book that I wish I’d had when Benny was younger. The other ones are great stories and always fun. But this teaches about when a child is low, what does that feel like? What How do you articulate it? You know, what should you know about it, it’s a great way to get young people with diabetes to talk about what low blood sugar feels like, and to help explain to their friends and friends, families and kids at school and that kind of thing. So I will put the links to all of these guys. They’re all on Amazon. And I’m sure they all have their own author pages as well.
But there are so many great books about diabetes right now, if you’ve got tips, or you’d like to hear more, I had thought about in the past doing book reviews, but I don’t have the time. So if that’s something you’re interested in, let me know, we could have an ongoing segment or something. I’m gonna be looking for new Tell me something good stories in our community. So please keep an eye out for that. I love to ask in the Facebook group. And you can always give me your good stuff.
Before I let you go quick reminder, if you are a podcast person, if you are thinking of starting one, if you have one, I have a podcast course it has nothing to do with diabetes. This is all about podcasting, and learning about podcast sponsorship in an ethical way, in a way that makes sense for small businesses. You know, I’m not Amazon podcasts here, or Wondry, or Spotify. This is about independent podcasters who want to serve their communities and make some money, enough money to cover the costs of the podcast or perhaps make a living at it. So I’ve launched a new course there’s a free webinar coming up, I’ll put all the information in the show notes.
And if you’re just here for diabetes, which of course I think 99% of you are we have another classic episode coming up later this week, we’re going to be talking about spare arose. But this isn’t any spare a rose, informative interview. This is my very first game show that I did here on Diabetes Connections and it features some very familiar names, some very silly stuff, and a couple of mistakes along the way that we left in. So that should be fun, and that should be out on Thursday.
Thank you so much to my editor John Buckenas from audio editing solutions. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time, I’m Stacey Simms. Be kind to yourself.
Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms Media. All rights reserved. All wrongs avenged