How do you treat lows? We’re not just talking about candy vs juice. Treating lows also means managing expectations, considering mental health and even addressing other people’s reactions. The authors of the new children’s book “When I Go Low” join us for a great discussion about what can be a frightening issue for kids and adults who use insulin.
Mike Lawson and Ginger Vieira both live with type 1. They explain the thinking behind the book and talk about their own experiences with low blood sugar. Stacey shares her experience as a parent of a young child with type 1 who couldn’t articulate when he felt low.
In Tell me something good, I checked in with the folks from Children with Diabetes Friends for Life. And I have some fun, professional news about Benny.
This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.
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Stacey Simms 0:00
Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dario health. Manage your blood glucose levels increase your possibilities by Gvoke Hypopen the first premixed auto injector for very low blood sugar and by Dexcom take control of your diabetes and live life to the fullest with Dexcom.
This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 0:28
This week I’m talking to the authors of the new book When I go low, Mike Lawson and Ginger Vieira have lived with type one each for a long time and they have their favorites when it comes to treating lows.
Ginger Vieira 0:41
Gummy lifesavers, I really like because they don’t freeze and they don’t rot. So I put them in the car. Each gummy lifesaver has four grams of carbs, I think Skittles do freeze. It’s very hard to chew frozen Skittle but they also have one gram of carb. You gotta keep stuff in your car.
Stacey Simms 0:56
your car frozen up north down here in the south. We worry more about stuff melting this time of year, Ginger and Mike and I go in depth on lows treating managing mental health around them. And how those of us without diabetes might better support our loved ones during and after lows
In Tell me something good. You all wanted to report good news at medical checkups. So we’ll talk about that vaccine rollouts. And I have some fun, professional news about Benny, 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 am always so glad to have you here. We aim to educate and inspire about diabetes with an emphasis on people who use insulin. My son Benny was diagnosed right before he turned two more than 14 years ago. My husband lives with type two diabetes, I don’t have diabetes, I have a background in broadcasting. And that is how you get the podcast.
I love talking about children’s books. And not just because my kids are old now. And all the children’s books are put away in a closet. But it’s such a wonderful, wonderful tool when you’re teaching not just about diabetes, but about so many things. And of course, when Benny was diagnosed, he was so young. You know, he was 23 months old. We were reading tons and tons of picture books anyway. And one of the first things I did was look around to try to find something and short there were some terrific diabetes books for kids back then our favorite was one called Jackie’s got game. I don’t know if that’s in print anymore. But there just weren’t a lot of books. And now Gosh, I feel like every other week a new picture book for little kids with type one is coming out. And that is fantastic.
You know what we need more of? And Mike and Ginger, maybe you can get on this. I think we need more books for middle schoolers, older elementary school kids, even high school kids that aren’t so much about type one, but have a protagonist with type one. And it’s just there. There are a couple of books like that we’ve talked with the author KJ Howe wrote a book I’ll link that up. Kurt Anderson has a book as well. I’ll put those in the show notes. But they’re for adults, and I wouldn’t in good conscience have a middle schooler read some of the stuff that’s going on in those stories. So I would love to see that. So get on that guys, right? Not like you have anything else to do.
But this episode is gonna be about more than books. Ginger and Mike are longtime advocates and hearing them talk about low blood sugars was really eye opening to me, I learned an awful lot even after all of these years. I think adults with type one are going to really enjoy hearing them talk about their experiences. And parents, we cannot learn enough about listening to our children to adults with type one about what they need from us and want from us and how we can help support them. And even though Benny is more independent every single day, I still need to learn a lot about backing off helping and supporting and not smothering. So this was a really good discussion for that.
Okay, we’ll get to Ginger and Mike in just a moment. But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Gvoke Hypopen. And this is exactly what we’re talking about today. Almost everyone who takes insulin has experienced a low blood sugar and that can be scary. A very low blood sugar is really scary. That’s where Gvoke Hypopen comes in. Gvoke is the first auto injector to treat very low blood sugar. Gvoke Hypopen is pre mixed and ready to go with no visible needle. That means it’s easy to use. How easy is it you pull off the red cap and push the yellow and onto beer skin and hold it for five seconds. That’s it, find out more go to Diabetes, Connections comm and click on the Gvoke logo. Gvoke shouldn’t be used in patients with pheochromocytoma or insulinoma visit gvoke glucagon dot com slash risk.
My guests this week are Ginger Vieira and Mike Lawson Ginger has lived with type 1 diabetes and celiac since 1999. She was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2014. She is the author of five books. We have talked I heard before on the show about some of those books, especially pregnancy with type 1 diabetes. I will link up tons of information about Ginger and those other books so you can check them out. She has two little girls, they did a read along on YouTube. But with this book, I will link that up as well. You’ve probably seen Ginger jumping rope on Facebook or Instagram. She is very active. She’s I mean, she’s certified in coaching, personal training and yoga. Mike Lawson was Misdiagnosed with Type two when he was 20. It took more than a year for him to get the right diagnosis. He had previously worked with diabetes hands Foundation, that’s where I first met him years ago, he now works for a theatre production company in San Francisco and with the insulin for all movement, and Mike is the author of another book called Open up your bag. We’ve talked him on the show about that as well. I’ll link up all of his stuff. And I will also include diabetes doodles, which Mike talks about here, Ginger, and Mike, thank you so much for joining me this book is I was gonna say just adorable. But it’s so much more than that. And I can’t wait to talk about it. Thanks for being here.
Ginger Vieira 6:02
Thanks for having us.
Mike Lawson 6:03
Yeah, nice to see you.
Stacey Simms 6:05
A little bit later on. I want to talk more about the substance here. It’s always so helpful to get insight into how things feel so I can help my son more. But let’s start and Ginger, I’ll ask you, how did you all come up with the idea for this book?
Ginger Vieira 6:20
You know, it came together with a few things that just kind of were wonderful coincidences, Mike had just illustrated and wrote the book, open up your bag, which is on the shelf behind him in the video. And at the same time, on the other side of the country, I was reading children’s books to my kids who don’t have type one, thinking about the time when I’ve had lunch with a bunch of kindergarteners who had type one, and how incredible it is that at that age, they have to count carbs and take insulin and prick their fingers and have all these gadgets in their body. You know, I’m 35. And I can’t stand wearing a CGM anymore. It’s like, and to be that little and deal with the burdens that come with this. And then I know as a mother, right, like trying to get my three year old potty train or even when they are potty trained, being like, do you need to go to the bathroom? They’re like, no. And then 10 minutes later, they’re like rushing to the bathroom because they can’t you know, and to listen to your body is a skill that you build and detecting the symptoms of a low is a skill and a degree of self awareness. That is a lot to ask of a little kid. Yeah, that’s a long answer to question.
Stacey Simms 7:31
No, it’s a great one. I do have follow up, though. You were having lunch with kindergarteners with type one?
Ginger Vieira 7:36
This is a long time ago. But it really stuck with me that I was invited to meet a bunch of the kids in the town where I grew up who have type one. And low blood sugars are terrifying. And so it’s I’m even more aware of what I witnessed now that I have little children. I have a three and a six year old. And to imagine them having to do what I watched these five year olds doing. I was diagnosed with 13. Right and it sucks at any age. And like you came on and talk to us a while ago about open up your bag about that book
Stacey Simms 8:04
that ginger, which is great. I don’t know if you were surprised. I was not because the you know, the the diabetes community of parents that need something like that is so responsive when there is something good. It seems like you’re a little bit overwhelmed by the response that you got to that. Can you talk a little bit before we talk about this book about what’s happened since
Mike Lawson 8:21
well, open up your bag did get some great kind of following from folks who pretty much the general sort of comment that I received was like, we just needed something there just wasn’t enough, maybe there are a couple of their books, and they’re all every kind of type one book that I’ve read is great. So I’m not here to kind of knock any of the other stuff that’s out there. But there’s just not enough, especially if you’re kind of breeding it every night before bed, like it’d be nice to have a second title to read and open up your bag. And when I go low, both of them are just kind of their happy books with Ginger just said kind of sounds a little bit scary. Like kids can’t recognize these symptoms and stuff like that kind of is a scary topic. But the book that Ginger wrote really does it in a very light hearted way. Let’s kind of just talk about the symptoms. And let’s talk about how we’re going to kind of treat them and it’s not scary, it’s happy and jovial and it’s fun and open up your bag as well as kind of like, let’s just kind of collect our diabetes supplies and kind of make a little singsong about them. That’s kind of been the general reception, and it’s been great.
Stacey Simms 9:28
So let’s back up and talk about your experiences you both live with type one. It’s been a while it may surprise some people I doubt it because we have a really well educated and fabulous audience. But it may surprise some people to hear that they still have low blood sugars, like, still? And I say that with humor, right? We’re not judging. This is not something that goes away. Mike is showing his little supplies nearby. But I’m curious if there was as you were writing this book and ginger, let’s start with you, as you were writing this, what about your own personal experiences that kind of been formed, what went into it?
Ginger Vieira 10:01
I mean, a big part of what so there’s several characters in the book and everybody except mom, cat has type 1 diabetes, and they all are sharing different symptoms that they feel when they’re low. And that really for me, I, you know, I know that when I’m low and I’m on a treadmill, one of the first symptoms I feel is that the front of my eyes going numb, versus when I’m in bed, and I’m waking up in the middle of the night, and I’m low. The first symptom I feel is that I wake up and I like, Why the heck am I awake at 3am? You know, and it’s not till I sit up there, I’m like, whoa, I’m low. And so, you know, I figured that out when I was like, 22. So to ask for little children to like, be that self aware is, it’s an idea that we’re really trying to offer them because the same way that you can encourage a little girl to know that she’s smart and beautiful, is through the messaging you send, right. So we’re trying to help send the message that you do have the ability to feel your lows coming on and send them you know,
Stacey Simms 11:03
let’s let’s kind of deviate from the book and kind of go further into that, because I feel like, again, and I have had occasional low blood sugars. I mean, once a year, basically, and I’ve shared this on the podcast, just recently, I had a low while I was taping the podcast, I went down and measured my blood sugar was 46. So it was a real low, but I’m fine. And it happens so infrequently. But I got it. I mean, I’m fine. Ginger made a mom face. But you know, I have talked to my doctor about it, I have to eat well, and be smart, you know, but things are gonna happen. And I’m not always smart. And that’s okay, that’s being a human being. So I just have to be prepared. But it did give me some incredible insight into just how to me how scary it was to be low, and how disorienting. And the example I gave was, there were two things that happened. One was I really wanted juice, but my husband was hanging around and he was like, What do you want to drink? And I said milk, and I hate milk. And I drank a glass of milk. It was like, and he didn’t question me and I sit him later, he said, My mouth said what my brain was not thinking it was very strange. And then for the next hour, I was so hungry. I was just really, really hungry. And Benny, of course was I told you know, you believe me. So to me, it wasn’t frightening because it was well controlled. I was here it was not a big deal. But it was very eye opening. So I say all that to and Mike, let me start with you, would you mind just kind of sharing what it feels like for you. And I know it’s not the same all the time. But what is a low blood sugar kind of like for you.
Mike Lawson 12:30
It’s funny, you use the word disorienting. And that’s what I would use as well. Especially recently, I’ve noticed a lot of my lows are kind of I’m My mouth is getting detached from my brain. And I’ll be kind of, you know, a few minutes into a story about I don’t know, some documentary I watched and like, why am I telling this story right now. Like, I’m just kind of rambling off details and like, my thoughts aren’t necessarily connecting with kind of a point. So I kind of get rambley in gingers in the book pointed out mad. And it wasn’t really until I read this picture book that I started kind of analyzing that. And I do get a little bit angry a little bit sassier. And my tongue gets a little bit sharper. So that’s something that I’m noticing and trying to kind of communicate with the loved ones around me to sort of say like, Hey, this is a symptom and not necessarily to explain it away Why I can be a jerk. But to kind of like say like, Hey, if you’re kind of noticing this, and you know, we haven’t eaten in a while, or we just got back from a hike. Like, that could be why and let’s figure out what I need to do after that. So I feel like angry and angry is a new one that I’m learning to sort of analyze, but disassociated and kind of dizzy and rambley. Am I low right now?
Stacey Simms 13:46
(laughs) or is that just being part of a podcast? A little rambling? Has it is, as you said, you’re sort of recognizing that a little bit more now. But Has anything changed for you over the years of being diagnosed is significantly in terms of how you experience lows?
Right back to Mike answering that question in just a moment. But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dario health. And one of the things that makes diabetes management difficult for us that really annoys me and Benny isn’t actually the big picture stuff. It’s all the little tasks adding up. Are you sick of 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 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 my daario.com forward slash Diabetes Connections. Find out more go to my dario.com forward slash diabetes dash connections. Now back to Mike talking about what has kind of changed for him over the years when it comes to lows
Mike Lawson 15:03
What’s changed for me is I’ve learned to sort of treat them and not ignore them. And I don’t think that this is uncommon. I had this problem where I know a low is happening, I could feel it and sort of in my head, I’m like, well, maybe this one will rebound on its own or will take care of itself. And I’ll kind of just sit and wait until it’s like an emergency. And that usually then leads to me eating anything I can get my hands on which then we you know, like, it’s a cycle of kind of. So I’ve been trying to learn, like, if you feel that symptom, like let’s take care of it right now. And that’s made them a little less drastic and easier to recover from
Ginger Vieira 15:44
I mean, a couple things came to mind when you asked that. One is that I actually I think being a parent has made my lows feel more like an emergency, you know, because it’s like, there’s nothing less fun than being a playground and being 45, 45 blood sugar. like being in the middle of Costco with both my kids and then having a really bad low because of a miss time or miss guess, and insulin like that. It’s just miserable. So I feel like I’m on much more alert for oncoming lows, because I hate having them as a parent. So I’ve also lately if I wake up a little bit low, like even 50, 55, I will let dawn phenomenon correct my low, because I usually need a unit of insulin as soon as I wake up to prevent me from rising 100 points. So if I wake up low, I’ve actually experimented with seeing if dawn phenomenon will fix it, and it does. And then I still end up needing a unit of insulin eventually to prevent a further rise. But it’s been an interesting, obviously, I’m not like sweating and shaking with that kind of low. It’s like a very steady just sitting, you know, at 55 or something.
Stacey Simms 17:06
Right? That’s something you have to be a bit experienced to have a backup plan.
Ginger Vieira 17:10
And I’m not getting in the car, you know, it’s like, right,
Stacey Simms 17:13
but we’ve done that over the years. Yeah, I mean, you know, once you’re a while in I think most people, I don’t want to say experiment on themselves. But that’s kind of what it is. And we’ve done that, you know, we’ve kind of let it ride and I’m right here. But let’s learn. What do you think you would like you know, spouse’s parents, other people around the person with diabetes who get diabetes as much as we can. But what do you want us to know about low blood sugars?
Ginger Vieira 17:38
Even after it’s come back up to a normal level you feel terrible for I mean, you mentioned feeling hungry for an hour, you feel terrible for a few hours. Other it’s like a headache, or you’re just exhausted or like, I’m just constantly wanting to eat everything in sight, even though your blood sugar’s now 120.
Mike Lawson 17:56
I think that’s a good one. I also would want to communicate kind of like the urgency that I feel, I don’t act like myself for a few minutes, because I’m kind of focused on just one thing. And that’s bringing this number up. And not that that excuses me, like I said before, to be a jerk to everyone around me. But it’s sort of like, get out of the way for a minute. But don’t talk to me about why I’m low. Like that can happen later. Like, right now I need to just fix this. And that’s all I can really think about.
Stacey Simms 18:25
That’s interesting, because I do think that many times I have said, while we’re treating, like what happened. Let’s analyze the situation and learn from this right?
Ginger Vieira 18:35
I’ll tell you what happened. my pancreas screwed me over. And that’s all we need to talk about on that subject ever again. Yeah.
Mike Lawson 18:44
It really is just one extra drop, you know, like, can send you over.
Ginger Vieira 18:48
It’s so easy to go low. That’s such a great point. Like I hate when doctors are like, Oh, you had a low blood sugar. Because Mike is heard me talk so much about apples. But I eat an apple once a day, pretty much almost every day. And they’re all different sizes. And if you get honey crisp one day or Fuji the other day, they’re different sweetnesses to the little book that you got in 1994 that said, All apples are 15 grams of carbs is lying to you. And it’s so easy to take one unit more than you thought you needed for a meal.
Stacey Simms 19:20
We learned that very early on with bananas. Right? Because they’re different sizes and ripeness.
Ginger Vieira 19:25
Yeah, that’s a whole other thing, right? you cannot estimate that accurately.
Stacey Simms 19:30
I used to try to really figure out I read and I’m so sorry. I read this very early on. A parent said something somewhere that there is never not a reason. You know, you can always figure out what happened. And that’s probably true. If you’re like a molecular biologist or you know something you know you have
Ginger Vieira 19:48
you might be able to always figure out what caused it but that doesn’t mean you can control or prevent it.
Stacey Simms 19:54
Exactly. And to my mind, it just seemed like a complete waste of time to spend the energy. The little Energy I had as a parent of toddlers to analyze how ripe was that banana. It was more like, okay, we know this could happen. So let’s be prepared.
Ginger Vieira 20:09
Yeah. Take a picture of it. Wait till the next batch of bananas looks as Brown is the one you know, I’m
Stacey Simms 20:14
not even that good. I’m just like, I think it was this right now. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 20:17
Stacey Simms 20:18
So what do you What’s your go to for treating Lowe’s. Mike, you showed us a bag of I think what was that jelly beans or something. But what’s your go to
Mike Lawson 20:25
jellybeans are new for me. Ginger has helped me in so many ways, man, this is 100% kind of hearing her talk about lows. We’ve done you know a few different talks and stuff after this book. So I’ve been picking up a lot of tips from her. So I’m trying to sort of get something that’s easy to dose. Because my low treats are not treats. It’s not something that I should be kind of looking forward to or enjoying. It’s something that I should sort of be able to easily count when I’m in that low brain moment. I also do like those pouches of applesauce a lot because those are, you know, 10 grams of carbs. And usually that’s kind of just what I need. And then I kind of can sit on my hands for the rest of the time while my brain wants to eat anything else that can get its hands on. So apple juice and apple sauce packets. I don’t get a big thing of juice and pour it out because I’m not good at counting when I’m low. something easy is important to me.
Ginger Vieira 21:16
Yeah, I would I echo that bottle of juice like the big bottle. No way. You can go up a whole bottle of juice if your blood sugar’s 45. In a second. I personally tried to develop like some little rules for myself that I’ve put into books. That’s what Mike is kind of talking about two I think and it’s to prevent overtreating lows right and to treat a low in a way that helps it come up the fastest. So I like to use things like the jelly beans jelly if you get Jelly Belly brand. They’re one gram of carb each so you know you can treat a mild low with like eight grams of carbs, gummy lifesavers, I really like because they don’t freeze and they don’t rot. So I keep them in the car. Each gummy lifesaver has four grams of carbs. I think Skittles do freeze. It’s very hard to chew frozen Skittle, but they also have one gram of carbs. Because you’re gonna keep stuff in your car.
Stacey Simms 22:10
And we’re in the south, so we can’t keep stuff that’ll melt. We can’t keep candy in the car.
Yeah, it was funny. I was trying to think of frozen Skittles, what you were talking about that I realized that most?
Ginger Vieira 22:16
Yeah, yeah, that’s keeping stuff in the car. And I walked my dog a lot. So I wouldn’t be able to treat like not that I would have four loaves in the dog walk, but I want to be able to go a week and not worry about resupplying the low food. And so those little things that pet that like jelly beans, you can carry 100 jelly beans so easily in your pocket. Vinny has changed a lot over the years. He’s always and still does use those 15 carb juice boxes. Because it’s easy. It’s a little bit overtreating, sometimes, but not by a lot. And it’s not the drinking down the whole thing.
Stacey Simms 22:48
I don’t care as long as he’s treating, and he’s comfortable that that’s fine. But when he started driving, when he got his permit, we started talking about things to leave in the car. And we discussed it for about three seconds, because I had a bunch of suggestions that I didn’t actually get to, because he said it’s just gonna be tabs, just give me tabs. I was like you’ve hated glucose tabs, you’ve never He’s like, it’s perfect. They won’t melt, they won’t freeze. I can always get to them, like just buy me a big honkin thing and we’ll stick it in the glove compartment. Yeah, and he’s had to treat a couple times, and it’s been perfect. So all of my great suggestions went to the curb. Well, you
Ginger Vieira 23:19
know, like, and there’s such personal I had a really bad stomach virus, stomach bug when I was pregnant, and I regurgitated glucose tabs. Alright, so I’ve never touched one since then I really never will. And like, I joke that I would sooner die than have to eat a banana to treat a low because I hate bananas. I hate to write, but there’s like certain things that you just don’t work for you personally, you know, and you have to figure that out.
Stacey Simms 23:47
Yeah. And you know, circumstances change and walking the dog driving the car, that kind of stuff. When you decide to write a book like this. I mean, both of you have written other books. Ginger, I know you’ve actually talked about how rewarding it has been, you know, to share this kind of information. Where do you start when you’re thinking about kids? I just looking at it, I noticed a couple of things. And I don’t want to like say too much. But I will say all the kids are not kids. They’re animals. Right? Is that a drawing Quirk? Is that a choice you made? Is it something you want the kids to be able to see themselves no matter what they look like? I’m curious like how you came up with that?
Mike Lawson 24:24
Yeah, I think I love children’s books. I’ve always loved them. I’m kind of loved them for maybe a little too long. Even at a break into my later childhood. I was still checking out kids books and trying to redraw them. I was a big fan of if you give a mouse a cookie, and I would draw like fanfiction, where it kind of like extended the story. I just was really into it. And almost all of my favorites were the characters were animals. They weren’t children. And so I kind of just thought that’s how you do a kid’s book. But if you do think about it, like you take a look at this book when I go low, and all of the characters are kind of relatable to you, because none of them are just a little boy or a little girl with blond hair, or, you know what I mean, they they’re kind of everything. So you could kind of take a look at the group of birds and identify in that you could take a look at the pig and say, like, sometimes I’m a little piggy, you know, like, you’ve kind of relate to all of the characters at different times. So I like that a lot. And I think what’s funny is when Ginger wrote this, she sent it to me, and we kind of had her initial conversations, and they were all animals when she wrote it. It wasn’t like a conversation where I had to convince her that that was a good idea. She didn’t. She knew it was
Ginger Vieira 25:37
they were all underwater animals, because I was at first illustrate it myself. And thank goodness, I found that Mike was ready for a project because he did 100,000 times better.
Stacey Simms 25:49
Are there things that we should be looking out for in the backgrounds are those streets that are familiar to either one of you, I don’t want to give too much away. But I was curious.
Mike Lawson 26:00
Yeah, so the background photos are just kind of stuff that’s around me here in Oakland and San Francisco, there’s a few stock images as well. But you’ll notice there’s bushrod Park, which is just down the street from me mosswood Park is around the other corner. So they’re kind of just like photos from out and about.
Ginger Vieira 26:19
So if you want to stalk Mike, then you’ve just been given like four tips on how to find him. So one thing that it’s really not just a message about lows, we’ve really tried to incorporate a few messages for kids throughout the book where, obviously there’s a lot of talking about lows, but there’s also one that they’re not the only one in town with type 1 diabetes. I’ve been at counselor at diabetes camp for in the winter, as a little weekend camp for teenagers for years. And you can just see like, the minute they walk in the room is like, oh, everybody here is just like me, taking a shot at lunch is no big deal anymore. And that that burden becomes so much lighter. So finding I’ve really any parent that’s listening, like please send your kid out to diabetes camp, no matter how much they say, I absolutely do not want to go it will help them in more ways than like you can measure. And also several points in the book with between characters, they talk about how brave they have to be to deal with type one. And one thing that I hate to witness online is when a parent is talking about their child’s type one with pity, you know, feeling bad for the kid because I think there’s nothing more poisonous to confidence and courage and perseverance than pity. And instead of you know, you still want to acknowledge how hard it is. We’re not you don’t want to dismiss how hard it is. But instead of pity instill them with this sense of like, look what I deal with every day. I’m awesome. You know, this, like sense of confidence and impressiveness, you know, and so there’s that message as well, like you are really brave for dealing with this every day.
Stacey Simms 27:58
All right, I hate this question as an author, but I’m going to ask you guys anyway, because it’s always fun. So books been out since January? What kind of reaction Have you received? Has it been different from your other books? And now I can ask you both of this, you know, but I can ask you both this question. Mike, you’re nodding, was it different from open up your bag?
Mike Lawson 28:15
Very similar, the receptions? Great, you know, seeing parents and children holding the book and talking about conversations that they’ve had thanks to the book is great. We’ve heard from a couple of parents that they appreciated the conversation that was created because it wasn’t based around fear. It was sort of just a nice conversation about something that’s very serious, but the conversation didn’t have to be serious and scary. So that’s great to see. Seeing people holding the book and kind of using it as a tool with their children has been very rewarding. Ginger, I’m sure it’s a little different than some of your other books.
Ginger Vieira 28:52
Oh, Mike did we did get the question of like, how could a cat and mouse possibly exist as friends in the same universe?
Mike Lawson 29:02
Our harshest critic, and she was four.
Stacey Simms 29:05
excuse me. Yeah, that’s awesome.
Ginger Vieira 29:09
We’re trying to forge new communities, you know. I mean, I think with any book, it’s, it’s the same feeling of like, it doesn’t matter if it’s, I know, it’s always rewarding because you get that, that this affected me in a positive way. And it made living with type 1 diabetes a little easier today or this week, or ever. It doesn’t matter what it is. It’s, it’s worth it.
Stacey Simms 29:35
One of the unfortunate trends I’ve noticed really just in the last five to eight years, among parents is Listen, you always want to respect lows, right? You don’t want to ignore them. You want to treat you want to learn about them. But there seems to be I don’t know if it’s a CGM thing or a social media thing. I see more and more parents who are afraid to let their children do things away from the house, sports, all that stuff because Cause of low blood sugar. Are you kind of hoping that even though this is a book aimed at the kids, that the parents might kind of understand a little bit more about a Ginger you’re making, you’re kind of making me nervous with your face there.
Ginger Vieira 30:11
I mean, I just technology’s… I feel like CGM has really changed how people, parent children with type one. And it’s become much in some ways I’ve witnessed online. There’s this like ultra-micromanagement of trying to get this flatline on the CGM and, like ultra-micromanaging their diet to the point that I think there’s a whole new batch of kids that are going to be struggling with a, I never had anybody micromanage my diet as a 13 year old with type one. And I still had to like work through my relationship with food in my early 20s, because of diabetes. And so now you have like five year olds that are being put on ketogenic diets, and it’s like, this isn’t going to like succeed long term, I don’t care how willing they look like they’re into it right now. It’s going to miss shape their relationship with food, and it’s not necessary in order to thrive with type one. So yeah, I think cgms have, obviously they’ve provided this ultra safety, but it also provides like this ultra level of fear, I
Stacey Simms 31:14
think, I just feel like we need to find better ways to use the technology to thrive and let our kids you know, thrive with it.
Mike Lawson 31:21
The book is called when I go low, not if I go low, like we know you’re gonna go low, it’s if you’re doing insulin it’s gonna happen and kind of being afraid of them. And acting like that’s a failure to go low is going to kind of set you up for some really heavy shame and kind of feelings that you don’t necessarily need to have. I don’t know, it’s a complicated story. And I understand why you might fear lows, but personally, my fear of low blood sugar has actually led to my highest day one sees because then I’m under treating and or, you know, under injecting insulin and sort of like living high, which isn’t good for me either. So you kind of have to figure out how to walk as close to the line as possible. And sometimes you’re gonna dip below the line, and sometimes you’re gonna be above the line. That’s the game.
Ginger Vieira 32:08
And there’s so much pressure these days to get an agency that’s like in the low five than the high fours because of ketogenic diets. And now an agency of 6.1 is like, Oh, that’s no good. And I see it in parenting communities. And I feel really bad for the kids were like, you can live an extremely long, very healthy complication, free life with an A1C in the sixes. This is not, you know, like, you don’t need to put your kid through taking away joys of being a kid. Yeah, to get anyone see. That’s
Stacey Simms 32:40
crazy. It’s complicated. And I really hope that books like this help, because it’s the parent who’s reading it, the kid can learn a lot. But sometimes the parent I know, for me, it’s always helpful when I learned from people who actually live with type one.
Ginger Vieira 32:54
I do think like, as someone who’s a parent, and someone who has type one, but my kids don’t have it. I do think that type one is a lot scarier through a parent’s eyes than it is living with it. It sucks living with it, I would give it up in a heartbeat, right? But I think there’s the fear is bigger when it’s coming through the parents eyes and the room for worry and pity. And I don’t want my kids to have to deal with type one, even though I know Look, my life is fine, great, right? Like I’m alive doing it. But I still dread like if they were to ever develop type one.
Stacey Simms 33:30
Right? And not to minimize it because I 100% agree with what you’re saying. But it’s parenting is like that with everything right? Your kid gets the flu or is throwing up and you’re like, I wish it were me. I feel so bad for them. You know, it’s a totally different perspective than going out in the world. Like, I
Ginger Vieira 33:43
hope you don’t get in some weird accident. I mean, is it like just learning to walk? I was like, Can I put helmets on these kids are? pediatricians like that’s not necessary. But there are sharp and I’m not really a worrywart like that but like suddenly you just Yeah.
Stacey Simms 34:00
Alright, before we let you go silly question. Are any of the names in the book named after people or anything that you want to share? They’re just names we love. Yeah,
Ginger Vieira 34:09
we’re working on a second one. Who’s Mike?
Unknown Speaker 34:13
Like, how much should we reveal?
Mike Lawson 34:15
You do it?
Stacey Simms 34:18
Is it the same topic?
Mike Lawson 34:19
Ginger Vieira 34:20
not the same topic. It’s called Ain’t Gonna Hide My T1D. That’s all we’re gonna tell. All right.
Mike Lawson 34:26
We do have a website, which is diabetes, doodles, calm, free, downloadable supplemental worksheets, some word searches and coloring pages that go with along with the book. You can also find links to by when I go low and open up your bag, their
Stacey Simms 34:41
web series, have you heard from siblings? I meant to ask that have you heard from siblings that read this, like,
Ginger Vieira 34:45
you know, we’ve heard from actually parents who have type one, a dad ordered it to read to his kids so they would understand his type one better. And I read it with my kids. We have a read aloud on my YouTube and they know I have type 1 diabetes and they Now I believe mommy alone is low. So it’s definitely I think grandma’s could benefit from it. I think my aunt could benefit from reading it, you know, she thinks, Oh, we’ve had it so long. You take such good care of it. It’s easy for you, you know, it’s like, Nope, I still go low, just like the cat.
Stacey Simms 35:19
Well, thank you both so much for coming on and talking about this. I loved hearing the stories behind it and getting better perspective and keep us posted when the next one’s coming out. That’s exciting. Thank you.
Ginger Vieira 35:29
Thanks for having us.
You’re listening to Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
Stacey Simms 35:41
More information about everything we talked about, just go to Diabetes connections.com, there’s an episode transcription, you can go to the homepage and learn lots more, and order the book as well. And if you do, please leave them an Amazon review. I love the book, I left them a review, you can read it on the Amazon homepage.
I just think that especially for younger children, a book like this is so helpful, because you can’t expect I didn’t say this during the interview. But I’ll say if you’re reading this book doesn’t mean that your child is going to recognize lows. Right? I think that’s one thing that I get asked a lot, especially when it comes to toddlers and children, frankly, under the age of seven, six or seven, how can my child can’t recognize lows or when can I expect that to happen? And every kid is different. And your endocrinologist may have more information for you about this. But I think it’s unrealistic to expect a three year old or even a five year old or sometimes a seven year old to really understand recognize and articulate that they’re having a low blood sugar unless you have a child who is a preschooler and says, Mom, I think I’m having an ear infection, or I have a headache, perhaps I have a sinus infection. Kids don’t think like that. They don’t talk like that. They don’t know what’s going on. They don’t even have the tools to articulate.
My daughter is a great example. My daughter Lea doesn’t have diabetes. And when she was little, she had a series of, she would get chronic ear infections for over a year and a half, we finally did ear tubes, and she had cleared everything up. But she used to get an ear infection and she would punch us she would just get angry. She wouldn’t even say my ear hurts. Or she wouldn’t point her ear and say my ear hurts. We just knew something was going on. This is between the ages of probably two and almost four, because she would be mad at us. And I think with lows with little kids, it could be the same thing. You can talk to them more about how to recognize it. And a tool like this could probably help speed up the process. But that’s the only thing I would caution about and Mike and Ginger aren’t making any claims like that. It’s just a question that I get asked quite often.
All right, tell me something good in just a moment. But first, Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dexcom. So I was watching a movie with my husband the other night with my husband Slade and I got a Dexcom alert. Benny was upstairs in his room. And for some reason, it just took me back to the days when we basically had blood sugar checks on a timer. Do you remember this? Some of you people who have been around for a while, we would check doing a finger stick the same times every day at home and at school. And of course, whatever extra we needed to. It’s amazing to think about how much our diabetes management has changed with Dexcom share and follow. I didn’t stop the movie to get up and check him. I knew what was going on. I mean, I could decide whether to text him I could decide whether I needed to go up and help out using the share and follow ups have really helped us talk less about diabetes, which I never thought would happen with a teenager. Trust me He loves that part too. That’s what’s so great about the Dexcom system. I think for the caregiver or the spouse or the friend You know, you can help the person with diabetes manage in the way that works for their individual situation. Internet connectivity is required to access Dexcom follow separate follow up required Learn more at Dexcom comm slash compatibility.
In tell me something good. This week, I popped into the friends for life Orlando Facebook group to gather some good news stories. And this is that big conference that goes on in July. They have not yet decided whether they will be virtual or in person come this July. But children with diabetes the group behind friends for life is putting on a virtual conference this coming weekend. It’s their spring conference, I will link up more so you can find out register. It’s always a terrific time. And I find these virtual conferences a really great way to just connect. I go and I listen to presentations. But more than that I kind of hang out in the hallways and talk to other parents and say hi to my friends. It’s been wonderful. So ask them for some Tell me something good.
And Laura Bilodeau who is the organizer, the Grand Poobah of all the friends for life stuff said Sam her son and Grace are planning to move back home house hunting in Detroit in the time of the pandemic. Oh my goodness, getting married in September. Life goes on. That is wonderful, Laura, such good news. I’m excited for you and your whole family. More wedding news, Erin shared I got a great report at the retina specialist No need to return for nine months. The next time I go I will be a Mrs.
So that’s fabulous. Both good news things right a wedding and a great eye report. I have a retina specialist appointment coming up. I don’t have diabetes, but I’ve had some issues. And that is such a tough eye exam. And I know many of you, as you’ll listen are saying, Stacey, get over yourself. We have to do that all the time. I know I do, too. But I hate it so much. I’m such a baby. So good on you, Erin. Thanks for sharing that inspiring us to be brave at our retina specialist appointments.
Wendy says my first in person endocrinologist appointment was yesterday or a Wednesday was excellent. But I’m sharing this because Wendy also says she’s been working nonstop scheduling appointments for COVID vaccines in New Jersey and Wendy, I assume that is for other people. And you’ve been helping out. And that is such fantastic work. It’s unbelievable how complex this can be for people who are, you know, not used to using computers or using apps to schedule appointments. And I think we’ve been kind of lucky in North Carolina, that it’s pretty simple here. Once your category opens. There’s a lot more complex systems and other states that I’ve heard. So Wendy, thank you for doing that.
Janice shared I have type two diabetes, but unrelated, I just had my 10 year check for thyroid cancer levels were undetectable. Always great to hear. Janice, thank you for sharing that. Lots of people also shared really great agencies and checkups. And I’m thrilled for all of you for that. And I hope you are just as happy in your lives with diabetes as you are with those numbers. You know how I feel I don’t generally share numbers and tell me something good. But I really am happy for all of you. I know the hard work it takes to get there. Well, I know as well as a mom of a person with type one can know, right? I don’t know the day in and day out work that you really are doing on an individual basis. So friends for life Orlando group, thank you for sharing all of your good news. I very much appreciate it. And I’ll see many of you had the spring conference this weekend.
I also want to share a little bit of good news about Benny: he has a job. I know Isn’t he two years old still? Benny is now 16. He got his driver’s license, and he has been really itching to get a job. He’s got some projects he would like to spend some money on. And he just is an industrious kid. And you know, I think most 16-year-olds are ready to work. I certainly was when I was his age, and his dad was too. So we’ve been encouraging him. It’s been very difficult, of course with COVID to find something safe. We’ve been mostly talking about like summertime jobs, but it happened pretty quickly and we got pretty lucky. He got a job at a local grocery store chain, just as North Carolina opened up to vaccines for grocery store workers. So the timing worked out really well. We were able to get him his vaccine. He just got the first Pfizer shot because he is 16 you can only get the Pfizer shot and he will start training and we are off to the races. So I’m really excited. I’m happy for him.
I know that as soon as COVID is really over around here. I’m never gonna see that kid. I used to say as soon as he gets his driver’s license, I’m never gonna see him again. Because he was busy before he could drive. I mean, obviously before the pandemic, but his junior year of high school is this fall and I think between sports that his job and social life Holy cow, it’s gonna be busy around here who maybe he’ll drop by for meals. If you ever tell me something good story. I would love to hear it. Please send them to me Stacey at Diabetes connections.com. Or you can always post in the Facebook group. I love to hear them.
Hey, before I let you go, Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Now I know we’re not Irish or even close to it. And I know St. Patrick’s Day, this year is a different kind of celebration, like everything else because of COVID. But I bring it up because it’s actually my first date-aversary Yes, I made that up with my husband Slade and I don’t know if I’ve ever told the story before in the show. So I’ll tell it now. Slade and I met at a TV station in upstate New York shout out to Utica, very small city in upstate New York between Syracuse and Albany. I was hired at WUTR. In December of 1993. I had been working here there and everywhere in radio in Westchester County, just grabbing some part time jobs where I could and then I got hired full time to do this TV job in Utica. And then a little bit more than six months later, I got a new job at WKTV, the other TV station in Utica, and my commute got five seconds shorter because it wasn’t even across the street. These two two TV stations were on top of a big hill, and they were the only thing on top of the hill. So it was like parking lot building personal building. And I was hired away by WKTV to be their main anchor. And I could talk about that forever. It was such a fun time and really fun memories.
But that’s how I met Slade and we met pretty much in the summer of 1994. We were friends you know just like you’re friends with the people that you work with. But fast forward to March of 1995. Slade and I were in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Utica, because I don’t know if this even happens anymore, but local TV stations will often be in the parades right the anchors will be in the truck and waving and that’s it That was me like a dummy and Slade was driving and I was like hello People who I do I wait, what do you do? I mean, you feel like an idiot, you’re not a celebrity. You’re a local news anchor. So the whole time we were joking about it, you know, not insulting the people, they didn’t come to see us, they came to see the other things in the parade, but just laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. And we had a lot of fun. And that was in the morning. And in Utica, as in many cities, the St. Patrick’s Day festivities tend to go throughout the day. So we kept running into each other at the bars and the parties and this that the other thing, and then a group of people said, Let’s meet up for dinner. So I went home, you know, took a nap, took a much needed shower, went out to dinner. And as it had happened during the day, the group was kind of getting smaller and smaller and smaller. And then the dinner group said, Let’s go to Turning Stone casino, which is a gambling establishment about 30 minutes away from you to go. So a bunch of us went and that group was smaller than the dinner group, but it was still pretty sizable and Slade & I had a blast.
I love to play cards. That’s another story. And I really enjoy casinos. And it’s probably a good thing that when we moved to North Carolina 20 years ago, the only casino was like two and a half hours away in the mountains and is nothing special. I think they’ve improved it. But we’ve decided not to go maybe until we retire. Because we went to Turning Stone a lot. But I’m getting ahead of myself. So by the time that evening started to wind down there were three of us left me Slade and another guy who bless his heart, I think was kind of oblivious of the whole situation. And finally, Slade said to me, do you want me to give you a ride home? And I was like, yeah, I’m done. And we went out to breakfast, at one in the morning, and then he dropped me off at my apartment. And when he dropped me off, he asked me out on a real date. That date by the way was I think was a week or two later and we saw BB King in Syracuse and we went to the dinosaur BBQ for dinner beforehand. That was a great date. But my first real date with Slade, as I counted is St. Patrick’s Day. So long story their long way of saying, gosh, we’ve been together a long time. I feel pretty lucky about that. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everybody.
All right, next week we’re going to be talking about provention. Oh, this really is exciting. If you stick around till now I’m glad because provention. This is the company behind Teplizamub. Does that sound familiar? That’s the drug that TrialNet and other studies have shown can prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes for up to three years. So far, I say up to but it’s a three year study so far. So in this we’re gonna go in depth who had worked for what it’s all about. It’s in front of the FDA right now. So this is a really interesting and exciting prevention treatment, not in mice, but then people will talk about that next week. In the meantime, of course, we’ll have a classic episode in just a couple of days of please stick around for that. Thanks, as always to my editor John Bukenas from audio editing solutions. Thank you so much for listening. I’m Stacey Simms. I’ll see you back here in a couple of days until then, be kind to yourself.
Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms Media. All rights reserved. All wrongs avenged