Stacey as a cartoon and Tom Karlya as himself

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This week, the perspective of a diabetes dad. Tom Karlya has become much more than that since his daughter was diagnosed in 1992 and one of his sons in 2009, with many efforts extending through all parts of the diabetes community. But he says it all comes back to family.

Check out Stacey’s new book: The World’s Worst Diabetes Mom!

We’ll talk to Tom about his story, his efforts with the Diabetes Research Institute – the DRI – his acting career – and much more. Tom is a tireless advocate and if you’ve never heard him speak, we promise you’ll be inspired.

Join the Diabetes Connections Facebook Group!

In Tell Me Something Good – college sports, school scholarships and a young JDRF advocate answers Stacey’s questions.

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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Episode transcript: 

Stacey Simms  0:00

Diabetes Connections is brought to you by One Drop created for people with diabetes by people who have diabetes by Real Good Foods real food you feel good about eating and by Dexcom take control of your diabetes and live life to the fullest with Dexcom.


Announcer  0:21

This is diabetes connections with Stacey Simms.


Stacey Simms  0:26

This week, the perspective of a diabetes dad Tom Karlya has become much more than that since his daughter was diagnosed in 1992. And one of his sons in 2009. With his efforts extending through the community, but he says it all comes back to family.


Tom Karlya  0:45

Communication is the most important thing. And for the for dads to realize, to look for places where you can pick up the ball and run with it, where you can be part of your child’s life. Don’t let your wife do it. Make yourself part The solution


Stacey Simms  1:01

will talk to Tom about his story, his work with the Diabetes Research Institute, his acting career, and much more. Tom is a tireless advocate and if you’ve never heard him speak, I promise you’ll be inspired in Tell me something good college sports school scholarships, and a young JDRF advocate answers my questions. This podcast is not intended as medical advice. If you have those kinds of questions, please contact your health care provider.

Welcome to another week of the show. I’m so glad to have you along. I am your host, Stacey Simms. We aim to educate and inspire by sharing stories of connection when it comes to type one diabetes. My son was diagnosed just before he turned to 13 years ago. And I know there’s an awful lot of stress in all our lives right now. This is a difficult time to say the very least. I’m not going to fill you up with a whole bunch of cliches here, but I do hope That as you’re listening, you do know that even if it’s online, the diabetes community is there for you. We’re here to help. We’re here to share stories. Hopefully your local community is banding together. I’ll talk about that a little bit later on in the show. But this week’s show is not going to be about COVID 19. It is going to be about some inspiration.

You know, with everything that’s going on, I thought it would be really nice to have something like this. Tom Karlya and I actually spoke a while ago. And while I was listening back to this interview, like I do all the interviews, it struck me that it sounds a bit like a keynote speech that you would hear at a JDRF summit or another diabetes gathering like friends for life, because all of those conferences have been canceled. I really thought maybe this would make you feel like you’re hearing a speaker at a summit. Right? So let’s listen to it. Maybe in that vein, and if you’re bummed out like I am that those conferences have been canceled. I mean, let’s face it, they are for education. They’re for learning. They’re for resources, but they’re also just to get together and see friends, right? You know, maybe this podcast or the Facebook group can be some support for you a place to hang out. So you can always email me Stacey at diabetes, connections calm, or jump into the Facebook group, which is diabetes connections with the group. I

know that diabetes makes us tougher to begin with, right? This is such a great community. And we do know how to help each other out because we do it all the time. Right? I think we’re seeing some neighbors come together in the greater community, at least if where I lived, you know, do you need this? And can I go to the grocery store? People with diabetes, have been doing that for a long time. So let’s just not stop doing it. Now. As you’ll hear Tom say, as he has said for many years, you just don’t do nothing. You can do a little something and really help.

And we’ll hear from Tom in just a moment. But first diabetes Connections is brought to buy One Drop. And you know, I spoke to the people at One Drop and I was really impressed about how much they get done. Diabetes. It just makes sense. Their CEO Jeff was diagnosed with type one as an adult. One Drop is for people with diabetes by people with diabetes. The people at One Drop work relentlessly to remove all barriers between you and the care you need get 24 seven coaching support in your app and unlimited supplies delivered, no prescriptions or insurance required. Their beautiful sleek meter fits in perfectly with the rest of your life. They’ll also send you test strips with a strip plan that actually makes sense for how much you actually check. One Drop diabetes care delivered, learn more, go to diabetes, connections comm and click on the One Drop logo.

My guest this week was brought into the diabetes community back in 1992. When his then two year old daughter Kaitlyn was diagnosed one of his other children he has two other sons would be diagnosed 17 years later, but Tom Karlya jumped Writing to see where he and his family could help taking part in early JDRF campaigns, the Diabetes Research Institute and children with diabetes. I think Tom vo would tell you the best thing about him right now is that he’s going to be a grandfather. The news came after we had spoken for this interview already, but his daughter Kaitlin, and her husband Andre, are expecting later this summer. And yeah, that’s the Kaitlyn diagnosed as a baby herself basically back in 1992. Here’s my talk with diabetes dad, Tom, Carl. Yeah, Tom, thanks so much for joining me. I cannot believe that I’m just now finally talking to you for the podcast. I appreciate it. I know how busy your schedule is.


Tom Karlya  5:42

Wow. They Thank you, to you. I mean, it’s it’s you know, I guess they say when people are busy, they’re busy. And those are the type of people we like to hang out with. So I know how busy you’ve been, how busy I’ve been, and now the twain has met. So that’s terrific.


Stacey Simms  5:55

So much to talk about here and I want to talk about your you know, your experience. ances over these many years, but let’s start by, you know, your work with the Diabetes Research Institute foundation. Do you mind telling us, you know, for people who may not be familiar, what is that?


Tom Karlya  6:13

The Diabetes Research Institute in the foundation is is has support for the Institute. It is all the money that the foundation raises goes to the Diabetes Research Institute, which is an 87,000 square foot building that sits on the campus of the University of Miami about 35 years or so ago, when the Diabetes Research Institute foundation first began by a group of parents like many of the diabetes organizations that are out there, somebody there had a connection to the building and construction trade union. And that gentleman said, Why don’t we try to raise more money for you. And during June on Father’s Day weekend, they created debt, dollars against diabetes and they stood on street corners around the country with buckets and they collected change from anybody at the stop. The lights, etc, etc, etc. And they continue to do that. So they had enough money, and they raised like $14 million. And they took and they built the Diabetes Research Institute, which when it came time when the building was done, the foundation said, Let us name the building after you and all the terrific people of the building trades unions, and they sit down and they say, let’s just put a plaque on the wall that said this building built by the hands and hearts of Americans construction unions, and that plaque is still there. It represents a beacon of hope nobody expected it to become the research center that so many organizations, the wonderful organizations out there, the JDRF the ADA is the National Institutes of Health. They fund us We are the scientists doing the work at that center,


Stacey Simms  7:52

and d-ri to be clear if people are not familiar. The work that Dr. II does is cure, cure focus research. Right,


Tom Karlya  8:00

secure focused all the stages of research, basic preclinical and clinical happen within one building. A lot of time in academia, you come up with a finding, then you have to go someplace else to find somebody to collaborate with, we go from one floor to the other floor to the other floor. And our saying is, if we can’t move it up, we move it out. Because funds are so limited, we have to make sure that we stay focused on that supply, sustainability insight, which is the three main pillars that we look for, to cure this disease once and for all. And there’s also a d-ri Federation, we share all of our information, we hold on to none of it, and we have federations around the world for that matter that we share information with because in Italy and in China, they can do the research a lot cheaper than we can do here. So a lot of times we’ll test things out there, then bring it here and follow through the steps of the FDA that are set, etc. to try to get it from the bench to the bedside.


Stacey Simms  9:00

It’s so interesting when you kind of dial down and look at how these things work. And I know that as some people are listening, they may be thinking, well, if it’s so cure focused, and it’s been around that it’s funded, you know, how can we don’t have more progress? How can we don’t have a cure?


Unknown Speaker  9:14

I hate to put it in such simple terms. But


Unknown Speaker  9:16

can you talk a little bit about some of the progress that has been made?


Tom Karlya  9:21

Yeah, that’s, you know, I said this before, that’s your mouth to God’s ears. That’s been our hope since the beginning. And it is such a complex disease, and all the wonderful organizations out there as well as the research centers out there. This is just not an easy disease to figure out. I mean, years and years ago, when we first it would there was nobody funding research years ago for type one diabetes, and then to go out there and say, well, we’re going to try to cure it. Well, as we went along, and as many other organizations that have, in their wonderful ways have funded our work and work around the world for that matter, have found out just how calm Flex this disease is years and years ago, we were actually told we were one of the first centers. And actually Dr. Kamila, recording our scientific director. He invented the machinery with a board member, Ramon Poe, who donated all of this time, they created the machinery to separate the islet cells from the pancreas when they get donated, and we give that to anybody around the world just to help them try to move it forward. But nobody knew that taking islet cells. So this is interesting, because I’ve been at this for 26 some odd years since my daughter was diagnosed at age two. And there was a time when people thought you will not be able to take islet cells, insulin producing islet cells and down years later became trying to re engineer stem cells and things to create insulin. There was no proof out there, that you could take islet cells and put them in another body and they would work well. They Did and I have and what’s happened since that time is that as we move science forward, you know, I think we should do everything we can to try to figure out how do we make islet cells produce insulin in another person’s body without being attacked? And why so many of these are immunosuppression drugs. You know, when we first started, people would say, Oh, yeah, but there are immunosuppression drugs. What people need to understand is that when it came time for the scientific studies, the quality of life of people who entered these research projects, they became patients for the clinical trials, they had no quality of life, because they could not feel going hypoglycemic. They could not feel their blood sugar going low. They couldn’t drive, they couldn’t hold jobs. They be talking to people they just kill over. So for a lot of these people, this first islet cell transplant became lifesavers because their quality of life was just not existed. something interesting happened when we did that. And around the world, this was done to a lot of different centers and not just at the d-ri, but we were at the forefront of it. And the interesting thing about it, even patients that went back on insulin, for the most part, not in every case, but in the majority of the cases, probably even excess of 80%. But that’s just my layman’s guess. They’re hypoglycemic reactions went away. Even if the islet cell transplant did work, and they had to go back on insulin again, they did not suffer from the hypoglycemic episodes that they had. It has always been this great moving science forward. But the truth of the matter is, is that we will continue to work and I and I was active, I was doing other things when Caitlyn was first diagnosed. And for those who don’t know the story, I was an actor for years. I was in a show in New York for for 1314 years talk about that. And we’ll get to that and I’ve done a lot of great things, but I was on my way to a matinee performance when my beeper went off you tell people about beepers like What’s that? And it just was said 911. And I went over to the phone, I can tell you right where it was, I remember to this day, I went to hold off of the of the bridge and the Lancey street in New York City. I went to a phone booth, for those who don’t remember phone booths or things that had a phone in it. Right. So I called home and my wife said, Tom, I have to rush Caitlyn to the hospital. They think it’s type one diabetes, and she had been sick and she had the flu. And, you know, again, it was everybody thought it was something else. And when I got to the hospital, which took me two hours, that was a whole episode in itself. I saw I looked down the hallway and I remember my wife Jill had Kaitlin’s jacket was hanging from her hands. And we just looked at each other and I went in and Kaitlin had all these wires and everything attached to her. And I pushed the hair out of her face and I said, Hi honey, and she said Daddy, and she looked at everything she was attached to and she looked me square in the eye and She said,


and it stuck with me. I remember it every day when I start my day. That was a promise I gave my daughter. And I became, you know, whatever. I became an advocate and constantly working at it. And then I got really, really angry because I thought my reward was 2009, my 13 year old son was also diagnosed. So I was pretty angry. And that was also four days after my dad died. So when someone tells me they had a flat tire at a supermarket that week suck, they said, Oh, no, no, I can beat that.


Well, so an X and here we are, you just


Stacey Simms  14:35

have your two year old daughter looked you in the eye and say daddy fix to something that there is no fix. I don’t want to make you relive that moment. But when your son was diagnosed, and that was Rob is diagnosed 17 years later, the change in the diagnosis. I know it’s not a fix. There’s no fix yet, but what was your perspective at that time because the diagnosis had to be different and the care had to be different.


Right back to Tom answering that question in just a moment. But first diabetes Connections is brought to you by Real Good Foods and there is something new from Real Good Foods. They have ice cream. Oh my gosh, real good ice cream. My whole family tried it. We have our favorites. I’ll share a little bit more specifically down the road. But oh my gosh, the vanilla is delicious. That’s the first one we tried right because you can’t hide anything with just a vanilla. So we went right to that. I mean they have other great flavors. They have mint chocolate chip, they have chocolate, they have peanut butter chocolate chip, and we started with the vanilla and it was really good. It tastes like real ice cream because that is what it is. You can find out more at the website and preorder. It’s available in select stores. As always, there’s the store locator on their website, find out more just go to diabetes, connections calm and click on the Real Good Foods logo. Now, back to Tom Carl. Yeah. And he is answering my question about how different it was when his son was diagnosed with Type 117 years after his daughter.


Tom Karlya  16:13

Wow, you’re absolutely right. And again, the tools, I always use that phrase, the tools that our diabetes toolbox for our kids has become so amazed, we used to have to wait 90 seconds. After we put Kaitlyn at that time, we couldn’t even do our fingers. We had to do her toes. So we get a blood drop on a glucometer. And then we would wait 90 seconds. See if I could help everybody understand one main point that get diagnosed today than when not only 2009. But 1992 when Kaitlin was diagnosed, that the tools we have now are so far advanced. We always say when we try to get our children to live normal lives, you literally can live as close to a normal life as you can accept and there’s a huge death there is your child. Type One Diabetes. But for those who have it understand what I mean that with the technology we now have, there was no, Caitlyn was the second child on Long Island to go on an insulin pump. Wow, could you imagine people don’t realize that these things were the size of backpacks when they started these. I mean, it’s not, you know, like an astronauts backpack, they were huge, but they got smaller, they got better, they got quicker. And that’s why research to me, that’s why I will never give up hope. Somebody looked at somebody checking their blood sugar, and they said, We can do better with that. And we have, and it’s the same thing with research as long as there’s a research center. And for me, this is just and everybody else can find their own place where to give their time and energy, but the Diabetes Research Institute, the fact that they are focused now that’s a very interesting greement to have with academia, that we are focused on curing type one diabetes, and when we do that many of the patients type two patients for an insulin We’ll probably benefit from that as well. But our focus is to cure this disease. As long as there’s a place like the d-ri that focused on curing this disease, then I will never give up hope.


Stacey Simms  18:11

My question on that you said something very interesting. You said it’s a very interesting agreement to make with academia. Do you get pushback from people who want to do research, but it’s not cure focused,


Tom Karlya  18:22

we get not pushback, but we get increased from any university has the right to do and the University of Miami and we have to be honest, as you know, it’s such a wide range University. It’s got so many different aspects to it. But when they come to us and they say, look, can we look at looking into the type two type of research? Well, we tell them to go to another part of the campus and look for it. And they do. There are places probably on us campus that will focus on complications, you know, transplants they have, you know, they have a lot of different aspects of us, because it is such a great medical campus on a lot of different ways and areas that they can go someplace But when it comes to the Diabetes Research Institute, we have an agreement with them that that’s where that focus will say. And a part of that is, in essence, the Diabetes Research Institute foundation is the largest donor to the University of Miami for all the money that we give only to the institute because that’s all we’ll fund. It won’t go anywhere else. And that’s because the foundation years ago, the parents had the, the, the wherewithal to say down the line, we want to make sure that this institute stays razor focused on a cure. And that’s why that agreement is so important to be in place and we love being part of the University of Miami. They’ve been very supportive of us. It’s a great relationship. And it’s been incredible because it also being part of the University of Miami. It gives it the credibility that the world needs to see that this institute is part of academia, but also has raised focus on curing a disease that is only for type one diabetes.


Stacey Simms  19:58

Tom, you’re handled your blog. Dave has always been diabetes dad, and I want to talk to you about being a dad for a moment if I could, you know, you’ve spoken many, many times in your blog. And when you speak in person about your wife, Jill, and how she took care of the kids diabetes, you said it, you know, really the responsibility mostly fell on her that sort of thing. You’ve given her a lot of credit. But I’m curious as you look back and your kids are grown up, and they’re married, and you know, you have a different perspective. Now, what’s your advice to other diabetes dads, you know, I think more men want to do more. I don’t know exactly how much you did. But can we talk about being a diabetes dad for a minute and what that means?


Tom Karlya  20:36

Sure. And then, and just to be clear, and this is very important part of this discussion, the responsibility did not fall on jail. And actually, when Caitlyn was first diagnosed, we sat down and talked, because I didn’t want to make the decision for myself. I didn’t say, Well, this is what we’re going to do. So she and I sat down and I said, Look, one of us has to stay home. And it was Okay, I didn’t say, Well, I’m going to work, and you’re going to stay home, we discussed that. And to me, that’s one of the biggest keys to parenting with diabetes is keeping that open line of communication and dialogue open. I look at now, I mean, I mean, there was a time, we almost lost everything. Because she couldn’t work. I had to work. I was working three, four jobs, whatever it took to keep us moving forward. I knew two things. Income had to keep coming in. And we had to have insurance from that day forward. So everything I did was working toward that. But it came about that I would work the jobs, and she would stay home with the kids and she would work when she could if she could, and then it became we had to find times that I had to realize that this is a partnership and dealing with this disease. So I would say on the days that I could get out of here go someplace, go see a movie go out with friends, we had to try to find time for ourselves as a couple. This is a very strenuous disease and a lot of different areas. And I tell couples and parents all the time, communicate, make sure you’re talking with each other, not at each other. You know, I have to tell you one of my favorite stories. I was at the children with diabetes conference in Orlando, Florida. And I usually run the dad’s group when I’m there. And there was a man talking and he said, I’m divorced, and this that the other thing, and he said, and I’m here, and the man next to him said, I’m in a second family. I married my wife, and they have a child with diabetes. And it was the father of the child and the new husband of the wife at the same meeting, finding it that important to learn about diabetes. And that was one of the most touching things I ever saw. I said, I wrote to the gentleman who was newly married, I said, You’re like my new hero.


Unknown Speaker  22:55

Wait, wait, wait, I’m confused. So the family gets divorced. The EX is there and The new husband.


Tom Karlya  23:01

That’s exactly right. Wow. And, And to me, that’s as powerful a statement as that could ever be made that the child has to come first. And look, divorces Can I hope never to cut through it and I hope never to have to deal with it. But sometimes it can be very bitter. But you have to remember where your child is with diabetes is the same thing when both parents go to work. And the grandparents want to be involved. I say this all the time, grandparents are the most forgotten people when it comes to the family structure and dealing with diabetes because they want to help. But a lot of times it’s like mommy telling the son or daughter what to do. And that kind of, they don’t get accepted in as they should. But the grandparents hurt as much as the parents do, if that could be possible, because they want to help and we have to let them and find the mechanisms for them to do so. So the answer to your question is, communication is the most important thing and for the for dads to realize To look for places where you can pick up the ball and run with it, where you can be part of your child’s life, don’t let your wife do it. Make yourself part of the solution. And you will be. And that’s exactly what we did. And because of what I ended up doing for my life, I ended up being the go to person for what was new in technology and what was coming down the line, and you was dealing the day to day management. But that’s the balance. You will get to the late Richard Rubin, who is just an incredible, incredible man in the world of psyche of diabetes. He’s the one who coined the phrase, diabetes, self willfulness. And it happens to all of us. And it’s all about balance. It’s all about choices. Such great advice there.


Stacey Simms  24:41

All right, Tom, I got to ask you, you mentioned this earlier that you were acting and you you were on these TV shows, but you were in Tony and Tina’s wedding. For people who might not be from the New York area. You’re from Long Island. I’m from Westchester County, which is really close by. This was not only a show This was like a party. Can you try to describe Tony and Tina’s wedding?


Tom Karlya  25:04

Yeah, it’s what’s called Point to Point improvisation. The same things would happen every night. But basically, you went to a church in New York City, and then the service would end and you would walk three blocks to the catering Hall. And that was in snow, rain, whatever it was, and it was anything that could go wrong in the wedding would go wrong. An old boyfriend shows up. The father is divorced and is going out with this very interesting woman who, but he used to go out with Tina’s mother. It took the whole thing just becomes a mess. But it at the time when it first opened. It was probably the first show that was all about improvisation. Now there’s many of them, but they had they been in every city just about in the country and what some of them with long runs like Chicago ran for a really long time, as well. But it was a role that was very interesting for me. I played tennis. Over the years, I ended up doing four different roles. I ended up playing Tony’s Father, I was a teenager. Father in the host of the catering Hall and he was like this kind of emcee which saying, tell jokes, whatever. But it was all about the engagement of the audience. So we, the audience, were the guests of Tony and Tina, every night, and we would have to interact with them. And the key to that was to listen, because you could pick up something and then come back to that person later and bring it up. And they’re like, how did they know that? And it made it all like they were part of the family. And I mean, there was a time when all these celebrities came and it was it was one of the one time it was probably one of the hottest tickets in New York. You couldn’t get tickets yet to wait two months. Kim can’t imagine it was the Hamilton of the day but it certainly was a great show and the audience had a wonderful, wonderful time.


Unknown Speaker  26:45

Did you have fun doing that? I mean, I imagine it was it was very hard work, but it had to also be very kind of exhilarating in a way.


Tom Karlya  26:52

Well, it was an active job and it’s probably one of the most Yes, exhilarating and and challenging to stay in character mind. came to see the show. And I didn’t talk to anything else, but my character. And so it was always fun to make sure that at any given time that we had to stay in character no matter what power failure happened once and we all had to get out of the theater. Well, we all I mean, we met this is like leaving a catering all these people all sitting around tables all around you. And we all had to stay in character when we did that. So it was a challenge. It was fun. But yes, it was a job that you had to be able to stay in every night. You had to pace yourself. I mean, there was a time we were doing eight shows a week. And that’s a lot of shows. So it’s like any training that you do in the acting world. you train yourself to do the role, because you tell yourself every night that people seeing the show are seeing it for the first time.


Unknown Speaker  27:44

So before we let you go here, give us an update on the kids. The grown up kids now How’s everybody doing?


Tom Karlya  27:51

My oldest doesn’t have it. TJ he’s with the New York state mental health police department. Kaitlin now interesting thing about Caitlyn as I remember you Years and years ago, someone told me you really should just hope for college for your kid. And I said, What are you talking about? You mean she’s not gonna make college? He said, I’m not saying that he said, it’s just you have to understand how devastating this diseases but make college a goal. Well, that person didn’t stay a friend clearly. So,


Stacey Simms  28:17

but but that was a belief at the time people I’ve heard Well, it was thought that


Tom Karlya  28:21

Yep, yep, yep. And I think that’s one of the keys for all of us is to keep our kids so positive that they can do anything with this disease. So not only did she graduate college, not only did she graduate nursing school, but in December, she graduated with her nurse family practitioner ship, and she’s now a family nurse practitioner, and she’s in practice and she’ll be hopefully her goal is to deal with people with type one diabetes. My youngest son is a computer guru, and he was working for a company called Best Buy. And he got tagged by their Geek Squad when he was 18. And I said, Do you like it? He said, Yeah, dad, but that’s not where I’m going to stay. And I said, What do you mean? He said, My goal is to be tapped from the Magic Castle. I What’s the Magic Castle? He said, it’s the corporate headquarters in Minnesota. I said, Well, that’s a lofty goal. He said, Well, that’s my goal. Well, earlier this year, my wife and I went, saw my son’s new office, at the executive row in Best Buy in that building, that they are all in and looked at his new office, because they did just that when he was 21. They tapped him on the shoulder and they bought him out there. And he now works for the corporate headquarters for Best Buy Geek Squad. Now I share that not just because of who they are. But if you have a dream, if your child has a dream, our job as parents is to do everything we can to help them fulfill their dream. That was my son’s dream. She’s been there now for two years in Minnesota, doing just what he always wanted to do.


Stacey Simms  29:46

That’s just wonderful. I mean, I’m getting kind of emotional. Actually, as you’re talking about it. I think it’s incredible, because you have to let them pursue what they want to let them dream. And when Type One Diabetes comes along. It’s kind of easy to think to yourself, Well, maybe We should damp down the expectations. And you didn’t do that for any of your kids. And your mantra has always been at least since I’ve known you is just don’t do nothing. So for people who are listening, you don’t have to, you know, be a senior vice president of the Diabetes Research Institute. You don’t have to you speak all over the country like you do. But as we leave here, is that really your advice? Just do try to do something.


Tom Karlya  30:26

It started with a step. If you told me back then that I’d end up where I was today. I would have told you you’re crazy. Start with a step. If you’re looking for something to do hang posters around your community about the warning signs for diabetes. There’s a mom in texas a mom in Texas, she and I connected years ago and created get diabetes, right. org and all that is is posters that you can download and put around your community for people to know about the warning signs of type one diabetes, and we’re not alone. Beyond type one does it all bunch of other people JDRF does it all People have these warning signs. It starts with you looking in the mirror saying the status quo of diabetes in my life just will not do. What can I just start asking the question, What can I do JDRF started by parents. The Diabetes Research Institute foundation started by parents, people out there doing things, podcasts out there, Stacey Simms says, gotta do something. This is my background. This is what I can do. This is what I’m going to do. It’s something there’s nothing so small, that cannot change a life a life around, just by starting with the first step. This disease will not do in this world, my world, or any world, and look for something you can do to change it. Tom,


Unknown Speaker  31:48

thank you so much for joining me. It’s been such


Stacey Simms  31:50

a thrill to hear your story and to talk to you today. I really appreciate


Tom Karlya  31:54

it now. Thank you and thank you for everything you continue to do. And these are the stories that people need to hear because there’s a A lot of people out there who don’t know that what they can do and how they can do it and, and that’s what people need to just keep hearing these stories so they get, you know, there’s so many people out there that is so inspired now, and professional sports and dance and drama and theater in studies in school, excelling, diabetes just won’t do and just don’t do nothing when it comes into your life.


Unknown Speaker  32:26

You’re listening to diabetes connections with Stacey Simms.


Stacey Simms  32:32

You can find out more about Tom at diabetes. Connections calm is the episode homepage. Of course, I will link up information to his blog to the d-ri to everything else we talked about and there is a transcription just like there is for every episode this year. And I am working to fill in the blanks on transcriptions in the past as well, because I’m getting such a great response. I wasn’t sure right? Do people want transcriptions? Is it worth the time? Let me tell you, it is totally worth it. I’ve been hearing So many people who maybe just don’t have time to listen or prefer to read. And it’s a service, I am more than happy to provide as frankly, the technology is getting better. It’s still not perfect. I mean, you know, most of these transcription services do not speak diabetes. So I’ve had to go through and fix a few things. But I’m happy to do it. Because I think it really is enhancing everybody’s experience. So thank you very much for the feedback on that. Up next, tell me something good. But first diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dexcom. You know, when you have a toddler diagnosed with type one, like I did, like Tom did, you do hear rumblings for a very long time about the teen years, but when it hit us at full force a little early, frankly, I’m so glad we had Dexcom it just helped us see and really take stock of the changes we made because Benny’s insulin needs started going way up around age 11. And he’s 15 now and it’s almost settling down. I don’t wanna get too personal, but you know, along with the hormone swings, I can’t imagine managing diabetes during that time. Because we made so many changes without the Dexcom continuous glucose monitoring system, we react more quickly to highs and lows, see those trends and adjust insulin doses with advice from our endocrinologist and I know using the Dexcom g six has helped improve Benny’s a one C and overall health. If your glucose alerts and readings for the G six do not match symptoms or expectations, use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions. To learn more, go to diabetes connections comm and click on the Dexcom logo.


Our Tell me something good stories this week come from a Facebook group called poked parents of kids experiencing diabetes. I’m part of that group and I posted that I was looking for good news stories and oh my goodness, did they deliver so let me bring you a couple. Sarah wrote my daughter just signed to play college soccer. She is so excited to keep breaking down misconceptions about type one and sports Susan says my daughter with Type One Diabetes earned a scholarship and direct admission into a competitive nursing program. She’s in her freshman year living on campus and successfully handling it all. Her goal is to be a diabetes educator. And then Beth wrote in this kiddo, Frankie, who has lived more of her life post type one is rocking control IQ the new software from tandem best says slightly off label since she’s barely six and definitely under 55 pounds and just got invited to present on a panel at JDRF type one nation in Denver. That was a couple of weeks ago before everything was canceled. But I asked Beth to ask Frankie Yes. And she was on a panel. I had some questions for her. And Beth was happy to oblige. And Frankie answered my questions. So my first question was, what is one thing she would tell a kid her age was just diagnosed with type one, and Frankie said, I would tell them it’s okay. Don’t be afraid and you can still do everything you want. And then I said What’s something she does to feel better when she has a hard day, and Frankie responded, I tell my mom and dad when I’ve had a bad day, then we usually do something special together to make me feel better. Again, Frankie is six years old, and she was diagnosed at two. But thank you so much for sending that. And thanks to all the parents for responding to my prompt in the group, I really appreciate it. If you have a Tell me something good story you just want to share about your kid or yourself. It can be everything that you heard, it could be a diversity, just you know, with everything that’s going on. Let’s have some good news in our community. I love it. It’s my favorite part of the show each week. I really would love to hear from you. Before I let you go, just a quick note on everything that’s going on. I mentioned at the beginning of the show that I was going to talk a little bit about local groups. And all I really want to say about that is if you have a local Facebook group, as many of us do, you know, just check in on each If you have a local text chain or WhatsApp or things like that, maybe your kids have a diabetes camp, I don’t even know what kids are using. I was gonna say whatsapp group, but you know, you know what the kids are on tik tok or whatever. Check in with their camp community or other people you may know through your local JDRF chapter. If you’re an adult with an adult group, please check in on each other. If you have nobody. If you’re concerned, you’re by yourself, you’re worried we’re here, right? I don’t know what we can do other than say, we can help. I don’t want to make empty promises. But I do think it’s really important that we get social connection during this scary time, which really can lead to in real life help. I know that in my community, when somebody needs insulin, we get it to them. When somebody needs a Dexcom sensor. We get it to them if we can. The diabetes community for a very long time has already taken care of the people within it. And I hope that that spirit extends to the whole community during the scare both At the very least, if there are people in your diabetes community that you can help, let’s find a way to do so, you know, if you’re halfway across the country, there are so many ways to connect, that it’s really not that hard to find somebody nearby. So hey, diabetes connections, listeners, that’s my challenge for you over these next couple of weeks. I know most of you are already doing it. But if you’ve listened this far, if you’re hearing my voice at this point, check in on your diabetes friends, check in on your community, and let’s see what we can do to help each other. We may never need the help, but it is nice to know it’s there. I think that goes an awfully long way. All right. Again, I don’t know what I’m doing in terms of scheduling for the next couple of weeks. I’m not going to do lots and lots of coronavirus episodes. I don’t know that they’re needed. I think I will check in if I can with some endocrinologists over the next couple of weeks. Maybe we’ll do some Facebook Live. You tell me what you want to hear. But in the meantime, right now I am planning to go back to the regularly scheduled diabetes connections episodes. I have a Few that I’ve recorded already a few interviews, and I think we’ll just put those out as planned. And we will go from there. Thanks as always to by editor john Deakins from audio editing solutions. Thank you so much for listening and for letting me into your lives right now. I really appreciate it. I’m Stacey Simms, and I’ll see you back here soon. Until then, be kind to yourself.


Unknown Speaker  39:28

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


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