[podcast src=”https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/18937817/height/90/theme/custom/thumbnail/yes/direction/forward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/3e9ccc/” width=”100%” height=”90″ scrolling=”no” class=”podcast-class” frameborder=”0″ placement=”top” use_download_link=”use_download_link” download_link_text=”Download” primary_content_url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/diabetesconnections/Ep_375_Final_Dx_Covid_Deck_Diabetes.mp3″ theme=”custom” custom_color=”3e9ccc” libsyn_item_id=”18937817″ /] It’s hard to imagine having a child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes during the COVID pandemic. Most of us rely on community support and in-person meet ups and events to help support and guide us during that first year. But when you’re diagnosed during a time of isolation and social distancing, what do you do?

Andrew & Emily Hollis join Stacey this week to share their story. Their toddler, Addison, was diagnosed a year ago, a time when only one parent could enter the hospital with her, due to COVID restrictions. The Hollis family connected with others online and even created a line of 3D printed items to help diabetes technology stick better on the body.

Deck my Diabetes website

Andrew testing Deck My Diabetes gear (video mentioned in the episode)

In Tell Me Something Good we’re looking ahead to in person events

Chris Ruden’s new book “The Upper Hand”

Stacey will speak at Camp Nejeda’s Thrive & Survive event 

looking ahead to in person events and a new book to give you the upper hand.

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

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

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Episode Transcription below 

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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 help make knowledge your superpower with the Dexcom G6  continuous glucose monitoring system.


Announcer  0:24

This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.


Stacey Simms  0:29

This week, having a child diagnosed with type one during the pandemic happened to the Hollis family. Addy was just three years old. But her parents couldn’t bring her to the hospital together because of COVID restrictions.


Andrew Hollis  0:43

We both walk into the ER, and there’s the guard at the door and he’s like only one adult. And I’m like, this is my kid. I need to be here. This is my daughter. But I also knew that my daughter needed her mom, and I want it to be there for my wife as well. And I know I’ve tried to put up a little bit of a fight and he’s like no one adult,


Stacey Simms  0:59

Andrew and Emily Hollis join me to talk about their daughter’s diagnosis, finding their way with diabetes during the last year in isolation and their product deck my diabetes. Oh, and chickens in Tell me something good. Looking ahead to in person events and a new book that’ll help give you the upper hand. 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 a focus on people who use insulin. I’m host Stacey Simms, and my son Benny  was diagnosed more than 14 years ago, right before he turned two my husband lives with type two diabetes. I don’t have diabetes, I have a background in broadcasting. And that’s how you get this podcast. If you’re a longtime listener, you know, I tell a lot of stories about how lucky we were when Benny was first diagnosed, we had a lot of positive experiences that can help set the tone. And you know, we already knew some families touched by type one. And we met a lot more in that first year in at person events. It’s really hard for me to imagine having to do those first months that first year on social media alone. There was no social media at all back in 2006. So you know, it wouldn’t have been an option then anyway.

But that is what happened to the Hollis family. Addy is now four. She was three when she was diagnosed back in May. I know a lot of families have had kids diagnosed during the pandemic, we have added quite a few to our local group. And I so admire their strength in dealing with all of this without family or friends who can help in person. Look, the truth is you don’t have a choice parents of kids with diabetes. Or if you’re an adult living with type one, you just have to jump in and get it done. And the Hollis family did that. But they also found a way to fill a need helping keep gear sticking better with their product with Deck my diabetes. We’ll talk about all of that coming up. As always, there is a transcript at Diabetes connections.com and I would really appreciate it if you have a moment to share the podcast if you haven’t done that in a while. And you know new people with type one you think they’d enjoyed this episode are some of them are tech focused episodes, please share the podcast that is really the best way to help more people find it. Reviews are nice, but word of mouth from you is a lot better.

Alright, Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dario health. And over the years I find we manage diabetes better when we’re thinking less about all the stuff of diabetes tasks. That’s why I love partnering with people who take the load off on things like ordering supplies, so I can really focus on Benny, the Dario diabetes success plan is all about you all the strips and lancets you need delivered to your door, one on one coaching so you can meet your milestones weekly insights into your trends. with suggestions on how to succeed. Get the diabetes management plan that works with you and for you. Dario’s published Studies demonstrate high impact clinical results. Find out more go to mydario.com forward slash Diabetes Connections.

Andrew and Emily, thank you so much for coming on the show. Welcome. I’m glad to have you here.


Andre & Emily Hollis: 4:21

Thank you for having me.


Stacey Simms  4:22

Yeah, we’ve got a lot to talk about today. I guess we’re going to talk about chickens too, at some point. Andrew, I’ll start with you. Your daughter was diagnosed just in the last year. Tell us the story.


Andrew Hollis  4:35

Sure. So leading up to diagnosis. My wife Emily, she actually noticed some things in in our daughter and it’s got to be the mom thing. You know, she was saying, hey, she’s eating a lot. she’s drinking a lot and I always chalked it up to she’s growing. I mean, there’s no history, family history on either side for type one. So we really didn’t cross that bridge until maybe three or four weeks into it. And she said, Hey, I did some research on Google. And she might have diabetes, and I was in total denial. And it wasn’t until in May, I was at work, my wife sent me a photo of my daughter. And you could just tell she was dehydrated circles around her eyes, white skin, super tired complaining about her legs hurting. And when I got that photo, I immediately called her and said, pack her up. I’m headed home, we’re going to the doctors, see if they can get us in today. And our pediatrician got us in almost immediately. It was a Sunday, so it was kind of an off day for them. And we showed up there, they checked her blood sugar and said, go directly to the hospital, do not pass go do not collect $200 go home. My daughter didn’t even have shoes on. We were barefoot. We were not prepared. We just rushed directly to the hospital.


Stacey Simms  5:48

Emily, let me ask you, What had you noticed? I mean, it sounds like all of the signs were there. And like most of us, you know, it takes a while until you really let all that sink in and go to the doctor.


Emily Hollis  6:00

You know, I’d call family members and said, you know, something’s not right. She’s not acting right. She doesn’t want to walk in a chicken coop in the morning to let him out. He says carry me. You know, it was just, I knew something was wrong. But I was a little bit of denial as well. Like, I don’t want it to be diabetes. And with no family history, I kept telling myself well, you know, maybe she’s just studying a flu bug or something. You know, we had COVID going around, and we had been quarantined since beginning of March. And here it is May. And I’m like, it’s probably nothing, but we’re gonna take her in anyways. And then when they finally told me it was just like the whole world just, you know, came crashing down.


Stacey Simms  6:33

Yeah. Did they test her for COVID? At any point? No, they


Emily Hollis  6:36

did not. Because she never ran a fever. She never had like, any congestion or anything like that. It was just strictly the, you know, let’s go potty every five seconds and, you know, drink 30 gallons of water, it seemed like and let you know, it was just non stop. And I was, you know, to the point of frustration I felt bad for but then it’s like, after we got the diagnosis, I was like, you know, I probably should have taken her in sooner. Even though the doctors assured me that we got her in there just in the nick of time.


Stacey Simms  7:04

I think we all feel like we should have gotten our kids in there sooner. I have friends who are nurse, right? You know, I have friends who have type one themselves. And that denial is a very, very strong thing. And we just we don’t want to think that it can happen to us. So then you’re in the hospital. Did you do the basic training there? You know, three days was she at a danger pretty quickly, Andrew.


Andrew Hollis  7:24

So we get to the hospital in what was interesting is being in COVID, lockdown, we both walk into the ER, and there’s a guard at the door. And he’s like only one adult. And I’m like, this is my kid, I need to be here. This is my daughter. But I also knew that my daughter needed her mom. And I wanted to be there for my wife as well. And I know I’ve tried to put up a little bit of a fight and he’s like, no one, one adult. So my wife went in through the ER entrance. And when they finally got settled in a room she called me and I’ve been sitting in the parking lot now for almost two hours just worrying my head off just not sure what’s going on. And calling friends and family and just about in tears. You know, I’m just telling them, pray, pray hard, because I don’t know what’s going on with Addy. But we’re at the ER, she ended up calling me and said, Hey, they’re saying one adult. But bill let us trade off one time per day. The plan at that point was basically to have her spend the nights with my daughter. And then I would give her the reprieve time during the day to go home and sleep and get a shower. We didn’t have any clothes with us at the time. So I ran home and started packing an overnight bag and had to hand deliver that to the guard at the front. And then he walked it up to the room for her. It was really interesting to have to take that answer of No, you cannot enter and just have to wonder what’s happening. Fortunately, with technology, we’re able to FaceTime we were able to talk. And we had a fantastic nursing staff there who actually bent the rules a little bit and said, If you happen to be passing each other in the room, and it takes an hour or two. Oh, that’s okay.


Stacey Simms  8:50

That’s fantastic. I thought that I was thinking more about COVID after you got home and not being able to be part of an in person diabetes community, but holy cow, you know, to be able to live together.


Andrew Hollis  9:02

Yeah, it was very difficult. Like I said, when we were passing in the room, that’s when the nurses took the opportunity to do training with us. Yeah. And so that worked out really well. We actually ended up several days there. I think she was in the hospital for almost four days, when they were doing the training, we kind of stretched that time to be almost three to four hours together. And we would go home, get a shower, get a couple hours of sleep and come back after dinner and then take over for the night shift.


Stacey Simms  9:28

Emily, What do you remember about that time? I mean, learning about diabetes is so overwhelming. I have like some bits and pieces but the whole thing still seems like a blur.


Emily Hollis  9:37

Yeah, I agree. It was long. It was very long. You know just in and out and then you know at night it’s like this when I it kind of reminded me a little bit of when I was in the hospital having episodes like you’re trying to sleep, they’re out poking and prodding you every seems like every five minutes. You’re like, you know, this child’s gone through enough. Leave her alone for an hour. So you don’t really get any rest just like I said like labor and delivery. You don’t get anywhere. I’ve been in hospital. And that was very stressful. You would cry for a dad, he couldn’t come up there. And then it I mean, overwhelming. It’s just very, it was very overwhelming. Yeah, it’s a ton of information. They want you to read all these books and all these pamphlets, and you have gotten zero sleep, you’re dealing with a child that, you know, does wants mom and doesn’t understand what’s going on. Why am I getting poked in the fingers? And why am I getting poked in the toes, and I’m trying to sleep and it was very hard, you know, looking back now, she doesn’t really remember a whole lot of that today, which is kind of a good thing. I kind of find that as an answer prayer, because she doesn’t remember that traumatic time that she had.


Stacey Simms  10:38

Andrew, do you could speak a little bit to about the the overwhelming amount of information, I’d love to hear your take on that.


Andrew Hollis  10:43

Because I was on the day shift, you know, washing machine, my daughter during the day, I got a lot of interaction with the nurses that were more than just, hey, let me check her blood sugar and make sure she’s okay and fix the IV. And there was a lot of conversation, when they presented us with a book and said, Hey, you start reading this, this is good information. And between, you know, the things going on in the hospital, there’s no way you can get enough reading and I tried to sit down and read through a chapter and just the medical terminology that’s dropped down you having no history for diabetes, and you’re learning about aka and you’re learning about how to manage blood sugars and how to check blood sugars and what insulin does and how insulin works and how your pancreas is supposed to function. And how a diabetic pancreas maybe doesn’t function all the way or at all, and you start getting all of this information piled on you. And then they’re like, hey, in two days, you’re going home, and you’ve got to do this and you become almost panicked because you’re like, how am I going to manage and I’m sure every diabetic parents been there how am I going to manage this I’ve had three days crash course on how to be this kid’s pancreas and I was not designed to be a pancreas. Definitely was overwhelming and scary. Very scary.


Stacey Simms  11:50

Emily take me through when you went home. What was that like?


Right back to Emily and Andrew but first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Gvoke Hypopen and you know, low blood sugar feels horrible, you get shaky get sweaty, even feel like you’re gonna pass out there are a lot of symptoms that can be different for everyone. I am so glad we have a different option to treat very low blood sugar gvoke hypo pen, it’s the first auto injector to treat very low blood sugar Gvoke Hypopen is pre mixed and ready to go with no visible needle before Gvoke, People needed to go through a lot of steps to get glucagon treatments ready to be used. And this made emergency situations even more challenging and stressful. This is so much better. I’m grateful we have it on hand, find out more go to Diabetes connections.com and click on the Gvoke logo. Gvoke shouldn’t be used in patients with pheochromocytoma or insulinoma visit gvoke glucagon.com slash risk.

Now back to Emily. And I was asking her about going home from the hospital.


Emily Hollis  12:58

Well, we actually got to go home the day before my birthday. So that was I was like Addy can’t tell the nurses I have to be home for about a birthday. I’m like, Okay, well, we can probably work that out. So we got home. And at that time, she was not on a Dexcom or a pump or anything. She was dealing with a lot of highs more than lows at this point. We’re still trying to get her out of the two hundreds and move at home to hospitals. So it was a lot of finger poking and crying and screaming and I don’t want a shout out and it was very hard. Nobody likes poking their kids, you know, you have to hold them down. And it’s just, it’s a lot of a lot of stress. But you try to stay calm and just reassure them that it’s for their good you’re doing this to help them until they got the Dexcom I didn’t get any sleep because you’re just constantly worrying about their sugar. Okay, is she gonna wake up is she gonna pass out?


Andrew Hollis  13:47

Probably a week and a half after diagnosis. We were driving down the road and daddy goes, there’s a sale out there. Okay, we’ll put our mask on. We’re Let’s go, you know, COVID we nobody really knew a whole lot about it. So it will keep social distancing. But we’ll check out this garage sale. It turns out that couple had raised a daughter with type one. And unfortunately, they gave us their horror story about her going into seizures in the middle of the night. And that’s how they induce you below and we’re like a week and a half into it.


Unknown Speaker  14:15

Oh my god,


Unknown Speaker  14:16

it made us panic. That did not help us understand and feel better.


Stacey Simms  14:21

Oh, you know, I say all the time. We were the luckiest people ever. Because it’s the stories that you hear in those first weeks that set the tone. And oh my god, how scary is that?


Emily Hollis  14:33

Yeah, my daughter is sitting there listening to the story as she’s holding the course. Yeah, like she’s looking there and her sugar is going up because he’s getting you know she’s getting anxiety over this. Yeah, like we gotta go we got somewhere to be


Stacey Simms  14:46

your home. you’re figuring things out. I always tell people the first two weeks of us being home was the worst and then after two weeks ago immediately really almost got better that quickly. He was okay with. He was always okay with finger sticks, but he got okay with the shots like it. really got better quickly, although it’s, you know, it’s still scary and, and stressful? Did it work out more quickly than you had expected? Or was it more difficult for those first few months?


Andrew Hollis  15:09

I think we both found out that children are very resilient. And Addy definitely picked up on things very quickly and understood. You know, after about a week, she kind of understood, okay, this is going to happen. And the finger pokes got a little bit easier. She was always worried about the hospital lancets they were using adult, they were using the adult land sets, which are massive on those little fingers. There’s no real estate there and a three year old, the one that we ended up getting from the pharmacy worked a lot better was a lot smaller, wasn’t nearly as deep. And so she kind of gave into that really quick. But being on MDI with the shots, the injections, we kind of took turns, giving it until there was a day that I actually hit one of the nerves in her leg. And she jumped through the roof. And I think it traumatized me more than traumatized her. I mean, I I walked away knowing that I just hurt my daughter. And that’s not something you want to do. And ever since then she’s been like, Dad, you can do it, but only if mom’s not around, because mom does it better. Right? So, so I think, you know, she gave into things definitely we get in a routine and and since we started this journey, we’ve made friends with a lot of people through social media, that has also just began their journey. And some of them that have only been a week or two weeks when we finally get to talk to them. And we try to encourage them and let them know, you will get in a routine and you will develop new daily routine very quickly. And it will become second nature. Before you know it, it won’t be this big, scary thing looming anymore. You’ll know, okay, we’re going to eat, we’re going to check your blood sugar, and we’re going to give you your your insulin, and then you can go eat, and everything’s gonna be okay. And we’re going to go on throughout our day, and it’s becomes the new normal, and it happens so fast. Literally, within three weeks of being home in the hospital, we were already very comfortable and starting to teach our friends and family. If something were to happen, we’re not around, this is what you need to do. Emily,


Stacey Simms  17:01

I’ve looked at your perspective, I know you don’t have a different one. But to me going through COVID isolation with a child with type one newly diagnosed, I see this in my local group too, it’s going to be very difficult, because one of the things that really sustained me was beating up with families that had been doing this for a long time, like meeting in person. It sounds like you were able to form at least an online community or talk to other people. What does happen? Like,


Emily Hollis  17:26

yeah, I mean, I am a people person. So it was it was very difficult. I mean, very difficult. But I mean, if it wasn’t for social media, I think it would have been a whole different story. You know, I’ve met, I can’t even count, you know how many families I’ve met have parents that are going through the same thing. And I’m just very thankful for the social media groups that I’ve made friendships with other families that we’ve been able to help and, you know, we sent care packages, and you know, different things like that adding mixed pictures for different people. And, you know, she really enjoys knowing that there’s other people out there like her and she’s not the only one.


Stacey Simms  18:01

Alright, so let’s talk about Dec my diabetes. It’s amazing to me, I spent the first year of my son’s diagnosis, basically, with my head down going, what the heck, how am I going to do this? You know, I’m trying to be a mom, and I’m trying to work and I’m trying to, you know, I have two kids. And I’ve talked to a couple of people in the last year who said, My child is really diagnosed, and I’m going to create this new thing that’s going to help all these other people into how did you get this idea? How did this come about?


Andrew Hollis  18:25

Well, prior to diagnosis, I had bought a 3d printer kind of as a hobby. And my brother started a small business, he allowed me to make some items for him. And he was actually my first customer who paid off my machine. So that was really nice. But what ended up happening after we were on Dexcom, we noticed that we needed an overlay patch with an active child and the first patches we tried, they just stuck to her skin so well, that getting them off at the end of a cycle. It was a screaming fit, it would take us 1520 minutes just to get the overlay off before we can even start on the Dexcom itself. In one of the sites in the forums that I’m part of for 3d print communities, somebody had created a very similar feel to what we now offer. And so we printed one and tried it and it worked out really well. Emily posted it on one of the diabetic Facebook pages and people were like, Hey, we’re waiting on ours. It’s taken forever shippings backed up because of COVID. Can you make one? So we made a few and realize, man, people actually need these and they can’t get them maybe we can fill a gap. So I contacted the owner of that particular file and said hey, you know, you’ve released it under copyright law, and I need your permission in order to formally sell these. I’m asking for permission and after some discussion, the fly ultimately came back and he said make your own. So we did and we we created what I believe is a better mousetrap. It fits better it’s contoured to fit the Dexcom and that was the first product right was our G6  shield. What we’ve noticed is that the market there are people that are making similar things but they are awfully expensive. Have, we were able to cut some of our competitors prices almost in half. Because we don’t need to make a million dollars, we really want to help people, we need to cover our costs and our shipping. So that’s where it started. And from there kind of spooled because we had requests for Omni pod covers that are similar design. People want to deliver a cover that’s a similar design to that. And actually, we just finished designing and we’ll be releasing this week, sometime and I port cover that will help children with I ports help keep them in place. Because let’s face it, diabetic equipment is very expensive. We can’t afford to be knocking them off or having them fall off early.


Stacey Simms  20:36

Yeah, and I should just mention, if you don’t know as you listen, when an eye port is, I wish I had found this earlier because my son did we did shots. We did MDI for the first six months. And I port is, I believe, a Medtronic product. And it’s not always covered by insurance. I did a lot of research. Andrea, Emily, when I published my book, this is one of the things I mentioned in it. It’s basically a pump site, it goes in the same way as a pump and said, you know, the needle goes in the needle comes out, the calculus stays below, it’s a little teeny sticker, but then you put shots through it, instead of feeling the shot go in basically, it makes it so much easier. It’s a little bit more precise, I think I’m giving a review of someone who has never used it just from what I’ve heard. But that’s a really interesting bit to make this technology for. And Andrew, tell me a little bit about what it does, because you mentioned this the stickiness of some of the other overlays. This stays on, but it’s not super sticky.


Andrew Hollis  21:27

Correct. Our covers are designed to meet three main goals. The first goal is to provide a shield between an overlay patch and the device itself with the intent of being able to change an overlay patch without risking removing the device on accident. So if you’re mid cycle, and you need to change that patch, because it’s just starting to look ratty or falling off, it will allow you to remove the patch without accidentally peeling up the adhesive of the device you’re wearing. So that’s the first thing that we wanted to accomplish with it. The second thing is to help provide bump protection. I cannot tell you the number of people that bump their device on a doorway or when they’re putting their shirt on and they rip it off. There are our devices have sidewalls that cover the Dexcom the lever a the Omni pod, they’re contoured to help deflect some of that impact and help things glands off of them. In fact, I just released not too long ago, a promo video showing all three of those devices on an arm where I’m smashing it against the doorframe as hard as I can actually bruised my arm trying to get it to knock off and they don’t come off.


Stacey Simms  22:32

I am laughing because I watched that video. And I wanted to ask you if you hurt yourself, because and I’ll link it up. You have to see it. He’s just boom, boom, boom, boom into the door jamb.


Unknown Speaker  22:44

That’s gonna be painful. Yeah, I’m


Emily Hollis  22:46

gonna add in there apart. The Addison was yelling from the end of the house, she said, makes her death. Okay, you did? They’re banging his arm on something.


Unknown Speaker  22:55

Yeah, yeah. That’s great.


Andrew Hollis  22:58

Really. Yeah, they do work. The third thing that our covers do, and this is really what our mission is. If you look at our logo, it says deck my diabetes deck out and show off. We wanted there to be something fun and colorful that you can add to your medical device that makes you feel comfortable about showing people my daughter was afraid of going out in public with her Dexcom she did not want to go to our family get together, she did not want to have a birthday party. She did not want people to see it because she thought she was different. And we tried to explain to her you’re different, but it’s not. It’s a good different. You have something this thing here saves your life. And helps you understand what your diabetic track is. Being a three year old, she just didn’t get it. So we put that cover on. She was suddenly like, wait, I could pick a cover. And I get to pick a patch, I get to accessorize. And she was all about putting it on. And then once she had those the patch on and the cover on, she was showing everybody look at this, look at my Dexcom Look at my cover, my dad made it for me it’s purple or pink or whatever color she wears that week. And so those are the three main goals that we have for our products to help you change the overlay patches if you need to, to protect your device and to be comfortable wearing it to be able to assess arise and show off what you have the technology we have that ultimately makes life a lot easier.


Stacey Simms  24:18

As you look ahead. You are coming up on one year of your your diversity. The Addison Emily, let me ask you, what would you say to yourself a year ago, you know, how do you think you’re doing?


Emily Hollis  24:31

Actually it’s gone by very fast. And if you were to ask me, you know the dailies, the hospital, can you do this? No. You know, it’s like, No, I can’t do this. Why are you sending me home already? But I mean, it’s just part of our life. It’s just a normal everyday thing. Now,


Andrew Hollis  24:46

you know, if I if I could talk to myself a year ago, I would have said keep calm guys got this. Hang on. Life will become normal again soon. You know, it’s hard to express how far we’ve come and feeling more comfortable with Dealing with this disease and understanding more about it. I did not know when she was diagnosed that I was going to have to wear so many hats. And now I’m partially her pancreas. I’m a data analyzer to help Emily make decisions based on trending data what we need to do with insulin. I’m a dietician now, right? I have to look at every label. If you’re not diabetic or not family of a diabetic, you don’t understand that you’re looking at every label trying to understand what’s in it, what’s the carb count? What’s this gonna do to her blood sugar, and then you realize it becomes normal. I probably look like a crazy guy in the grocery store picking stuff up now. But every, every time I’m looking at the label and reading it, and I’m calculating in my head, what’s this going to do? Is this worth having to bump that extra insulin or maybe fight that high? But I would tell myself, it will be normal. Soon, it will become the new norm. Just hang in there.


Stacey Simms  25:47

Who wants to tell me about the chickens? 2022 chickens.


Emily Hollis  25:52

Yeah, we have 22 chickens. I always throw around a farm. My grandparents had a farm growing up. I’m an animal lover, Addison. You know, she take any animal and if she could, is on the hunt for a unicorn, so if anybody ever sees one of those, she really wants a pet unicorn. One day, she said there might be one that shows up, but we’ll see how that works. Anyways, yeah, I mean, we do it as a hobby. It’s, you know, it’s fun to watch. We, you know, have the eggs that sell the friends and family. And this is something that I don’t know, it’s relaxing. I know that kind of sounds weird. But I find it relaxing to watch the chickens and go out there and seeing them. And right now we have 10 baby chicks that we just actually took out to the coop yesterday. They’re about six weeks old. So we’re all introduced them in a couple weeks to the old hens.


Stacey Simms  26:40

Do you get eggs from them? I mean, I assume?


Emily Hollis  26:42

Yeah, we do we get the eggs from them. It’s nothing like farm fresh eggs. If you’ve never tried them, you’ll never buy wheat. Or again,


Andrew Hollis  26:49

we like to say that if you own chickens, you’ll understand chicken math. So we started with, I think six chickens, and rapidly that grew to 10. And then we realized we needed a bigger coop. So I searched around and found an old shed and converted it into a coop and we needed a bigger run. And then we had 20. And since then we’ve rotated out some of the older chickens that aren’t laying anymore and brought in these new chicks. But she’s Emily’s already said she wants more and like, we just don’t have this space. And I can’t build another coop overnight. So we’ll have to table that for a little bit. All right,


Stacey Simms  27:21

I you will know that I am definitely not a farm type person. Does anybody eat the chickens themselves? Or is this just eggs pets? For me a horrible person for asking this?


Andrew Hollis  27:31

No, there are, there are definitely people who will eat a laying chicken after they’ve stopped laying or slowed down to a point where there there’s virtually no egg production. We don’t mainly because we see our chickens as pets. The other thing to think about is the older an older animal get, the tougher the meat will be so a four or five year old chicken is not necessarily something like the rotisserie chicken to pick up from the grocery store. So part of our journey in creating our business is we’ve developed a lot of really good partnerships, and a lot of good friendships, right. So when you’re in the business, you’re looking at other things, and you’re getting feedback from other people. And one of the other businesses that’s out there actually has become really good friends of ours. And they’re based out of Texas. They’re called the sugar patch. And they provide overlay patches that they manufacture out of their home, the owner, she is a type one diabetic. And we have actually just recently partnered with them to be able to sell some of their patches through our site. So you can come and get a cover and a patch that fits without actually having to do any trim or anything else. But there are other partnerships that we are in talks with right now with other diabetic families that have started businesses because of their child’s diagnosis or their diagnosis. We are trying to leverage some of the larger community to be able to help each other, advertise for each other or being able to put in a little Facebook post for each other. Because to me, it makes more sense to support a diabetic family than maybe to support a larger conglomerate that just produces for the money. Yeah.


Stacey Simms  29:07

Well, Andrew, Emily, thank you so much for joining me. It was great to hear your story. Again. I can’t imagine having a child diagnosed during the last year where you couldn’t, you know, see people in person, but it sounds like you’ve really found a community and I’m so glad for that. But thank you so much for joining me. I appreciate it.


Andrew Hollis  29:24

Well, thank you so much for having us on. We had a fun time.


Emily Hollis  29:26

Thank you so much.


Announcer  29:33

You’re listening to Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.


Stacey Simms  29:38

I will link up information about deck my diabetes. And of course that video that we’ve mentioned, where Andrew is slamming his arm into the door jamb to show you the strength of the product there. I’ll link that up as well. If you’ve listened for a long time, you know that chickens just kind of seem to come up. I always have dumb questions about chickens. That’s not my life experience. I’m not going to ever be a person Some who has chickens in my backyard, just a different way of living. That’s all.

Okay, tell me something good is coming up. But first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dexcom. And we have been using the Dexcom system since Benny was nine years old. We started with Dexcom back in December 2013. And the system just keeps getting better. The Dexcom G6 is FDA permitted for no finger sticks for calibration and diabetes treatment decisions, you can share with up to 10 people from your smart device. The G6 has 10 day sensor where the applicator so easy, I haven’t done one insertion. Since we got it Benny does them all himself, which is a big change from the previous versions. He’s a busy kid, knowing he can just take a quick glance at his blood glucose numbers to make better treatment decisions is really reassuring. Of course, we still love the alerts and alarms, and that we can set them how we want if your glucose orders and readings from the G6 do not match symptoms or expectations. Use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions. To learn more, go to Diabetes connections.com and click on the Dexcom logo.


It’s time for Tell me something good. And I want to give a big congratulations to Chris Rutan. Many of you are very familiar with Chris. He lives with type one. He was born with a much shorter left arm and only two fingers on his left hand. He has shared on this show that he hid his disability for years and years and never wanted to take his hand out of his pocket even. But he is now a motivational speaker. He is just a champion in our community. He was on the Titan games. And he’s been all over the place. He was just profiled recently in men’s health. And today, his book comes out. It’s being released today on Amazon and everywhere. And it is called the upper hand leveraging limitations to turn adversity into advantage. I love a good book title. And that really is fantastic. So congratulations to Chris, I will link up to the book. I haven’t read it yet, at least not as of this taping, I will probably circle back with him and have him on the show again, because he’s just always a fantastic guest. And he’s just a fantastic person.

He also has the best sense of humor, as you can tell by his book title. But at friends for life a couple of years ago, it was either 2018 or 2019. He was taking pictures with kids. He has a really cool looking prosthetic arm. And he would take it off and he would take the hand off and he would pose in crazy positions and put like have you hold it I’ll have to link these pictures up or put them in the Facebook group. It’s funnier for the kids. I look like such a ding dong. But it’s amazing how he goes out of his way to make you comfortable. And he suddenly hero in our community. He’s a hero in places like the lucky Finn project, which is a nonprofit organization that helps raise awareness and celebrates people born with limb differences. And you know why lucky Finn, if you’ve seen Finding Nemo, you know, Nemo has a lucky fin one is smaller than the other. And that doesn’t really stop him from what he wants to do. It’s a great organization. And I’ve only learned about it because of Chris. Congrats again, Chris, the book is the upper hand. And I’m sure you’ll be hearing a lot about it.

In other Tell me something good news, friends for life is going to be in person in July, the largest family diabetes conference in the country is back it is going to be different, of course, because even though we’re getting back to normal, we’re certainly not there yet. And for people with diabetes, CDC and others have different guidelines. But there is a lot of information now at children with diabetes calm, I will link that up in the show notes as well, as you’re listening, a lot of the kids groups are likely full because they really had to cut down on attendance, there is a lot of new health and safety requirements and information. But if you’re at all interested, definitely check it out my understanding and I’m not part of children with diabetes, the organization that runs this or friends for life, although I’m a big fan, and I go every year, and I’ve spoken quite a bit. My understanding is that as we get closer, if the requirements change, if Disney’s guidelines change, they may be able to open it up to more people. And as a personal aside, I think this is going to be the experience of a lot of these programs. And our local diabetes camp is planning to open with half capacity but has a waiting list because they’re hoping as they get closer, the restrictions will start to be lifted. So who knows. But let’s be optimistic. And if you’ve got an in person event happening, let me know this summer this fall. I mean, we’re gonna be seeing so many more things open up. Oh my gosh, I know it’s gonna take a while and we want to be cautious, but I’m getting really excited. So that’s my Tell me something good. I am planning to go back to friends for life this year. I don’t know about what the speaker situation is yet. I may have it sorted by the time this episode airs. But as of this taping, My plan is to be one of the vendors again, I absolutely love being part of the conference. And I think that’s where I’m gonna start talking about book number two. So I will keep you posted. But that’s the goal right now I have a good idea but I need your help for the world’s worst diabetes mom Park. To do or whatever we’re going to call it. If you haven’t told me something good story or an in person event, you know, all that’s all the same right now to me, please let me know Stacy at Diabetes connections.com or post on social media, join the Facebook group. And we will let everybody know about your good news.


Hey, before I let you go couple of events to tell you about still virtual but lots of fun, survive and thrive boot camp is happening. This is for adults with type one. And this is a camp Nejeda or the program of Camp Nejeda. We are not there in person yet, which is a fantastic diabetes program in New Jersey, which just as a coincidence, my cousin who lives with type one, he went to this diabetes camp growing up Saturday, June 5, bunch of sessions about living with type one, learning about the latest and greatest in technology and mental health. I’m doing a session on advocacy. And it’s not really on traditional advocacy. It’s more about sharing your story sharing your voice. Why yet all there are it’s a crowded field. Right? Everybody’s got a story. There’s five bajillion influencers now, but why your story is still really important. And I want to talk to you about sharing it and getting the word out and that kind of thing, what media looks for to we’re going to talk about that how to share your story to the media, traditional and not so traditional. So I hope you can join me for that I will link it up.

Also, if you’re a podcast person, if you’re interested in podcasting, I will be speaking at pod fest a master class, the second week of May, I am doing a whole session about ethics in podcasting. And I’m so excited. I have been pitching this for years and somebody finally took me up on it. So we’re gonna be talking about ethics. It’s gonna be so fun for me. I’m excited about it. I have a free promo code if you would like to join masterclass, and this is again, a virtual podcasting conference. It’s not about diabetes, just let me know and I will DM you the promo code. Okay, I think we’re good. thank you as always to my editor John Bukenas from audio editing solutions. Thank you so much for listening. I appreciate each and every one of you. It is we’re having about six years of the show. And I still am just so excited to produce the show and bring it to you every week. So thank you for being here. I’m Stacey Simms. I’ll see you back here in a couple of days. Until then, be kind to yourself.


Benny  37:22

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