Lauren Bongiorno with her omnipod showing on her abdomen

[podcast src=”https://html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/22201889/height/90/theme/custom/thumbnail/yes/direction/forward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/3e9ccc/” width=”100%” scrolling=”no” class=”podcast-class” frameborder=”0″ placement=”top” primary_content_url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/diabetesconnections/Ep_455_Final_Bongiorno_Coach.mp3″ libsyn_item_id=”22201889″ height=”90″ theme=”custom” custom_color=”3e9ccc” player_use_thumbnail=”use_thumbnail” use_download_link=”use_download_link” download_link_text=”Download” /]Lauren Bongiorno was diagnosed with type 1 as a child and growing up, she showed every sign of success. She was a division one athlete, playing soccer in college and achieved the lowest A1C her endo had seen in a college student.. but while her care team celebrated that 5.7, she was miserable.

Lauren shares how she took control and got that happiness back. She’s now a Diabetes Coach at her company, Risely. We talk about some common pitfalls, the pressure to be perfect and what coaching really means.
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 Transcription Below (or coming soon!)

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OMNIPOD

DEXCOM

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Stacey Simms 0:00
Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dexcom. Take control of your diabetes and live life to the fullest with Dexcom and by Club 1921 Where Diabetes Connections are made.
This is Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
This week, Lauren Bongiorno was diagnosed with type one as a child and growing up she showed every sign of success. She was a division one athlete playing soccer in college and achieved the lowest A1C her endo had ever seen in a college kid. But while her care team celebrated, she was miserable.

Lauren Bongiorno 0:41
And I was sitting there and it was like literally an out of body experience because I’m watching like the doctor, high five, my mom and my five each other and I was like, I’m not happy, I’m not happy.

Stacey Simms 0:52
Lauren shares how she took control and got that happiness back. She’s now a diabetes coach. We talk about some common pitfalls, the pressure to be perfect and what coaching really means. 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. You know, we aim to educate and inspire about diabetes with a focus on people who use insulin. As I’m taping the intro to this episode. I am like you sifting through some FDA approvals these seem to be coming in fast and furious now or at least as fast and furious as the FDA does anything. But after a very long logjam, you know, this is all stopped up by COVID. It really seems like things are moving along. So to that end, this episode will not focus on tandems mobile bolus, which was just approved, you know, bolus by phone or the ever since CGM 180 day where approval. Those were the two biggies over the last week. And I am going to focus on them in upcoming episodes ever since should actually be next week. And Tandem a couple of weeks after that. As always, if you’d like to get your questions asked please join us in the Facebook group Diabetes Connections, the group if you’re not on Facebook, no problem. Shoot me an email Stacey at diabetes connections.com. I have my own set of questions. But I always want to hear from you. And your questions are always fantastic. So please send them in.
But there is a lot more to diabetes than technology. You all know that. And I wanted to share Lauren Bongiorno’s story, because I think this really resonates for parents of kids with type one. And for adults with diabetes, nobody’s harder on us than we are on ourselves, right and the pursuit of perfection. It’s just gonna mess you up. I’ll let Lauren share her story. But just for background, She is the CEO and head coach at a company she founded called Risely that’s a bit of a play on how in diabetes arise isn’t a good thing. You know, an arrow up on your CGM, a higher A1C , their website says type 1 diabetes has given rise a bad reputation. But we think it’s time we reclaim it. I think that’s really clever. And I think this is the first time I’ve spoken with a health coach on the show. So we talk about what exactly that is, and why somebody would choose to work with a coach along with a medical provider. Here’s my talk with Lauren Bongiorno.

Lauren, thanks for spending some time with me and my listeners. I’m so excited to talk to you.

Lauren Bongiorno 3:33
Oh, thank you so much for having me on. Stacey. I’m so looking forward to this conversation. Yeah, I

Stacey Simms 3:38
feel like I’ve we’ve connected and I’ve seen you, you know, all over social media. So I’m, I’m really excited to kind of hear more of your story and share your experiences. Because just the little bit that I know, I feel like you’re kind of the embodiment of why perfect doesn’t always work out with diabetes, if I could say that.

Lauren Bongiorno 3:56
Yeah, I think you can say that. And it’s so interesting, because I think that if there’s one thread of my entire life that I can really look at, it’s this striving for perfection, and then getting too close to perfect and realizing, Oh, wait, this is not what I wanted. So definitely applies to diabetes, for sure.

Stacey Simms 4:17
Well, let’s back up and explain what we’re talking about here. Let’s start closer to the beginning. You were diagnosed at age seven. Do you remember any of that?

Lauren Bongiorno 4:24
Yeah, I definitely remember it. I remember it was the day after Halloween. I remember my mom being on the phone with my dad in the kitchen and I had just had a tantrum and I think she was trying to figure out if it was a seven year old tantrum or if it was a something’s wrong tantrum. And I had been losing a lot of weight and when you’re seven years old, and I was really like skinny as a child and you lose, you know, 20 pounds, there’s definitely some signs that something else may be going on and I was drinking so much water and I remember hearing my mom, you know, talk to my dad and have them deciding To take you to the doctor, so I went to my regular pediatricians office, and I was sitting there. And the distinct memory I have is of my mom and the doctor on the other side of the door and my mom hysterical crying. And if you know, my mom, she’s like the strongest woman, she is a like, so independent, so strong. And I don’t think that was the first time I ever heard her cry, or at least I remember her ever crying. So I was like, Oh, something is wrong. And then I ended up in the hospital, stay there for a few days. And when you’re a kid, and you have everybody around you crying and saying, it’s going to be okay, and you’re so strong. And you also at the same time, don’t really understand what that means. It sets you up for an interesting and interesting path and an interesting life. And definitely now looking back a lot of things that I think I didn’t realize was going on in my mindset, and in my own personal development and relationship with diabetes.

Stacey Simms 5:53
And so fast forward to a story that you tell on your website, which is when you were in college, and kind of realized that this was not sustainable. But I’m curious between seven and 19. Were you that model diabetes kid?

Lauren Bongiorno 6:05
Yeah, that’s actually the phase I don’t talk about as much. And it’s interesting, because I think it’s the phase that most people and most of our clients that rise they relate to. And so that stage from seven to 18 really was, it was me just being in a very reactionary mode with my diabetes. So it was like, Oh, your blood sugar is high. Shoot, let’s correct it and get it down. Oh, shoot, it’s low. Alright, let’s drink some juice really fast. So you can get back on the soccer field. And it was very kind of ping pong lead. And I never fully felt like I had the energy or the mood that I think that I could have in hindsight now, because I didn’t realize like how much that Ping Pong was impacting me. And I also really didn’t care. Like for me what was most important and for my parents, and what they instilled in me was a, you’re gonna do anything you want in life, diabetes isn’t going to stop you. And B, as long as when you go to the doctor, your a one C is in a good place, then you’re good and you’re in you’re healthy. And my a one C was never crazy. It was always in the high sixes, low sevens. And that was before CGM. Right? I was diagnosed 21 years ago. And so there was no really concept of time and range being more important than a one C and and things like that. I think that during that time, it was a lot of because I didn’t want diabetes to stop me. I took that as don’t slow down to pay attention to your diabetes, it was very much do the bare minimal to keep your numbers not from being crazy, but just in a healthy range or healthy to your doctor standards or to your parents standards. And that time of ping pong up and down. When I eventually got to college, I realized that wait a second, I’m playing I was recruited to play division one soccer in college, it was the first time that I really started to connect my mind and my body and my numbers. And really realizing that I was not taught a lot about my whole body like this whole body approach of food and nutrition and glycemic index and eating for energy and eating for better blood sugars and exercise for specifically insulin sensitivity and what happens with weight training. And we’re working out you know, two times a day when you’re playing soccer in college. And those exercises are impacting my blood sugars in different ways than I had seen in the past. And I was trying to compete with a lot of other players for spots. And now my blood sugar’s 300. And now I have a disadvantage. And I didn’t like that because I was a very competitive person. And I took this as an opportunity to become more independent and tuned in to my diabetes and crafted in a way that would make me feel successful and would make me feel in control. And as an effect of that, what I did was I became obsessed, I became obsessed with my numbers obsessed with the food that I was putting in my body, obsessed with exercising, like over exercising all of this to the point where I actually lost my menstrual cycle for four years because my body fat percentage was so low, and it wasn’t like I wasn’t eating it wasn’t like I was suffering from an eating disorder. In that sense. It was literally just a disorder of almost like perfection, in the name of wanting to control my diabetes in my numbers so badly. And when you start to see the results of that you’re like, Okay, I’m doing this right. And that is a story I tell a lot and a lot of people know is I came home from college I think I was a sophomore junior in college. I had my endocrinologist checkup and you know, when you’re a teenager your parents still come to the endocrinologist with you sometimes the doctor and so I remember sitting on the chair and my mom next to me and the doctor coming in who is my pediatrician kind of doctor from my dad. The doctor from a from childhood. And she was like her hands were in the air. And she was like Lauren, I have never seen a college student with a 5.7 a one. See, this is A1C you’ve ever had this is incredible. How did you do it? She like calls the nurse and the nurse comes in. She’s like, can you talk to my other patient like in the UK, this other girl in the other room who’s in who’s in college and her agency is in great. And I was sitting there and it was like, literally an out of body experience. Because I’m watching like the doctor, high five, my mom and my five each other. And I was like, I’m not happy. I’m not happy. And you often think that your blood sugar’s being perfect, or your agency being perfect. That is the sign of happiness, it’s a sign of hell, that’s a sign of perfection. I know you’ve made it. And I would never ever want to put my body through what it went through and go back to that place. And it was really because of my mindset. It was my mindset, it had nothing to do with a 5.7 a one C because my last day one C most recently was a 5.6.

Totally different plays, I eat pizza, I have doughnuts, I have, you know, I want to have a fabulous relationship with exercise and with food. So it’s all about the intention behind what you’re doing. And that’s what I realize most in that moment.

Stacey Simms 11:21
I have so many questions, Lauren. How did you get them from I mean, you’re still very young at 19. I’m thinking my daughter is 20. My son is almost 17 at 19. How did you get from I have this great agency. And I’m not happy to now. And I’m sure it was a journey I’m sure didn’t happen overnight to I have a great agency. And I’m happy with I mean even pizza and I’m exercising the way I want to.

Right back to Lauren, but first Diabetes Connections is brought to you by Dexcom. It’s really hard to remember what things were like for us before we started using the Dexcom. I mean, I haven’t forgotten at what I mean is it is so different. Now, when it was a toddler, we were doing something like 10 finger sticks a day. Even when he got older, we still did at least six to eight every day and you know more when he wasn’t feeling well or when something was off. But with each iteration of Dexcom, we’ve done fewer and fewer sticks. The Dexcom G six eliminates finger sticks for calibration and diabetes treatment decisions. I think all the time about Betty’s little worn out fingertips. And it makes me so glad that Dexcom has helped us come so far, his fingertips are now healthy and smooth, which I never thought would happen when he was in preschool. If your glucose alerts and readings from the G six do not match symptoms or expectations, use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions, learn more, go to diabetes connections.com and click on the Dexcom logo. Now back to Lauren. She’s talking about how she found her way to being more kind to her body and to herself.

Lauren Bongiorno 12:58
I would say that it was definitely a culmination of a few different things. The first thing was the real that moment really was a defining moment for me. But it also just opened up more ways of thinking about my life. And my just understanding of myself. I had started doing yoga around that time in college and Yoga does this incredible thing of giving you space to really watch your body and watch your patterns and watch your thoughts without judgment that’s like at the root of the philosophy of yoga, or at least one of them. And what I realized was I wasn’t happy with myself and with my identity, that diabetes was something that my whole life I kind of pushed away and it was always in the background, but I never fully accepted it. And if you don’t accept the body that you’re in, in my experience, you try to overcompensate in other areas. So you try to overcompensate in being perfect with food being perfect with exercise being perfect with your blood sugars. And ultimately, I had this like moment at the doctor’s office where I just looked it’s almost like a flashback in a movie where I looked back in my time so far in college and I’m like everybody is going out and having fun and I’m like saying no to going out to dinner with friends so I can make my organic broccoli and fish or whatever it was because I was didn’t want to be tempted by having bread or pasta at this like restaurant they were going to or I would you know not want to stay out late or even like drinking college I didn’t drink a lot like barely drank in college because I wanted to go to a 6am yoga class next day because I know that that really benefited my mind and my body in the way that I thought it needed to. And I just realized that I didn’t want to live a life that a wasn’t sustainable and be I wasn’t happy. Like I think that it’s important to understand your core values and I think my values were shifting away from perfection and approval of others or approval. Have my doctor my family and like more of being a little bit of a renegade and being like, well what do I want my life to look like? What do I want my relationship to food look like what I want my relationship to just everything that I do look like and what came out of that was this realization that what I was doing didn’t match up and so what I was doing it wasn’t sustainable if I wanted to lead a healthy and happy life and so I wanted to find a way of how could I have a healthy diabetes you know journey with my blood sugar’s and not have complications later on in life and not have be in that phase in my life where I was from seven to 18, where I was just paying palming all over the place and not being aware of my blood sugar’s not having predictability and those types of things. And how could I also not be on the other end of the spectrum where I was super restrictive, obsessive over health, there had to be a happy medium, there had to be a better way. And I had tried so many different diets at that point, high carb, low fat keto, high fat, low carb, like don’t eat bread, don’t eat process, this so many packaged food, but I realized that it was just exhausting. It was exhausting to try to apply it an outer rulebook to my life, and I wanted to start looking at my inner knowledge and creating that rulebook for myself.

Stacey Simms 16:17
Let’s talk a little bit about coaching. Can you explain a little bit about what coaching is because I’m, as a parent of a kid with type one we have only ever, like, seen the endocrinologist. And then I’ve relied on our educator, and, frankly, the diabetes online community. What’s a coach,

Lauren Bongiorno 16:34
of course, so a coach really is somebody who is helping you with accountability is helping support you in getting to the vision that you have for yourself, and is there to reflect back patterns and observations and help you with behavior change. So for example, a lot of parents of kids that we work with in our programs, they’re coming because they realize, okay, we see our endocrinologist or a doctor a few times a year, and there’s so much time in between that we want to be able to understand how to get our child’s numbers better overnight, or in the morning time or when they’re going to play sports. And we know that it’s really about like the day to day things and not so much the let’s go to the doctor and just depend on on them to tell us everything, we want to essentially take ownership over this and understand what’s happening with their hormones with their insulin sensitivity with their, you know, time of the month, if they’re females who are going through that phase that can be really challenging or just growth spurts in general, with nutrition and all this knowledge. So I really Riselywe focus on a behavior change, be published research, and then see our client data that we’ve had since 2015. And it’s a lot of of work of a combination of mindset, and the blood sugars and the emotional impact that diabetes has on you. So you can think of it as a supplement to your endocrinologist, your CDE. And you’re an a therapist or a mental health provider. If you have that.

Stacey Simms 18:05
I get a little nervous when people who don’t have a medical degree are helping but at the same time, I understand that. Like I said, I got most of our information from the community right when I started a Dexcom on my son at age nine. I didn’t call the Endo. I mean, I literally put it on Twitter, and was like, I don’t understand this. Can you help me? What am I looking for? So I’m kind of speaking out of both sides of my mouth, Lauren. But I guess the Frank question is, talk to me about helping people with type one as a coach, when you are not a diabetes educator when you know you do not have a medical degree?

Lauren Bongiorno 18:39
Hmm, I absolutely love this question. All the coaches on our team are nationally board certified health coaches with that at the root health coaching is about helping you get unstuck by helping you develop the tools and the strategies to become aware of your blocks and your patterns so that you can move toward that vision that you have for yourself or for your child. A lot of times people know what they should be doing. Right? They know, when you slow down you take time what’s happening with your blood sugar’s what we’re doing is we provide a space for you that is a dedicated space and dedicated time to slow down and hold you accountable for looking at your Dexcom clarity and looking through the patterns of your blood sugar. Your child’s blood sugar’s for the past two weeks and saying, Oh, wow, we didn’t even realize that at 8am Every morning or 7am when they get on the school bus that their blood sugar is is really spiking and we’re rushing, right, we’re rushing to get out at the door. So we’re not giving them a pre bolus. We’re not doing drinking water in the morning or we’re having, you know, just a waffle instead of maybe adding a little bit of protein in that and let’s get curious what would happen if you did X, Y and Z Right? Or putting them in the driver’s seat most of the time and saying what do you think would change the outcomes for these numbers? Like what are the things things that you’ve noticed have worked for you that you want to be doing more. It’s identifying the gaps in your knowledge, giving them the accountability and the relatability, to somebody living with diabetes, as all our coaches do that they need, and helping them with the implementation and creating sustainable change. We’ve coached over 350 clients over the past six years now. And if you look at all that client data, it speaks, and it says something. And what it says is that there is a need for coaching, because diabetes is a condition where it is impacting you 24/7. And depending on seeing your doctor, which the health care system in America specifically is very much a top down model approach, where you’re sitting there and you’re waiting to receive, receive your next move, receive what your basal changes receive what you should do next, it doesn’t set you up for success, the education that diagnosis doesn’t set you up for success, the touch base with your doctor doesn’t set you up for independence. And we have a choice to either follow that or to create a new system and create a new way. And that’s essentially what we’re doing.

Stacey Simms 21:09
So let me ask you some specific questions. If I could like kind of pick your coaching brain here. This time of year, without diabetes, many of us are thinking about changing what we eat. I’m going to diet this year, I’m going to lose that weight I gained I’m going to and it never works. Because I think we all know that that kind of FAD dieting or that short term stuff doesn’t work, but we do it anyway. Can you speak a little bit? Because you’ve been successful with this, you know, you mentioned you wouldn’t go out to eat with your friends, because you had to eat a certain way at home? How do you get there? How do you create those changes that really do make a long term difference,

Lauren Bongiorno 21:45
I think that we have to stop thinking that there’s this next one thing, this next diet, this next outer rule book or whatnot, that is going to be the solution to all of our problems with our methodology and coaching specifically, and in my own personal life, what has made the biggest difference is really holistically looking at the areas of your life that impact your health, from your relationships to your self worth and your self love to your with diabetes, it’s nutrition and relationship with food. It’s stress management, it’s your sleep, it’s your hormones and your understanding of all of that it’s a holistic approach, and a holistic approach. It can’t happen overnight. And so diets and things like that with food, if you’ve tried to do it in the past, and you’ve gotten through, like, you know, up to Wednesday, and then you’re like, shoot falling down. More is like, Alright, we’re gonna go over like on Monday, which like we’ve all been there, it’s so fascinating that we keep going back to doing that same thing instead of realizing, wow, that doesn’t work, right. And so what I like to say is, don’t set a goal that has anything to do with a metric, whether it’s weight, or even with a one C and like, specifically, set the vision that you have for yourself. And if you set the vision that you have for yourself, like how do they feel? How do they what do they look like? What how are they operating from day to day? What are they thinking like, who are they at their core, then you start making decisions on a day to day basis that support that vision and there’s less pressure and when there’s less pressure of like, oh, shoot my a one C or my you know, blood sugar isn’t better than it was yesterday, when I woke up or the weight, the scale is a second today than it was yesterday, there’s more chance of actually lasting longer, because you’re not going to feel as defeated. So if you want to feel somebody who is energized, and who is, you know, really fitting good in their clothes, or just confident set that as your vision of yourself, and then on a day to day basis focus on doing things that support that vision.

Stacey Simms 23:54
Let me ask you if I could, and this will be for people who live with type one, you know, adults, young adults, older adults, but not parents yet, like we’ll get to them later. Can you give us some advice, perhaps or a couple of tips to have, you know, like more confidence with type one. And as you said, like not necessarily how to get your agency down or more time in range, but just like some good stuff for this year.

Lauren Bongiorno 24:14
Yeah, I love that. So I would say the first thing is to lean into your diabetes. So many of us often think that the diabetes part is the shadow part of us and it’s the part that we have to hide and we have to push away and if that is your underlying belief that I can’t be loved if people know that I have diabetes, or if I’m showing my insulin pump or I won’t be accepted onto the soccer team or football team or whatever it is. If that is your like subconscious root belief, then you’re going to operate from that place and you’re not going to want to be checking your blood sugar in public you’re going to wait until after you’re done eating with your friends or drinking to the bathroom and give yourself you know a shot or give yourself your insulin and setting yourself up for you know higher blood triggers all night long. So there are so many benefits of just leaning in. And coming from a place of me for years hiding my pump, not letting people know that I had diabetes and not telling my now fiance until three months in that I had diabetes, it is so freeing, and such a relief when you can just show up as your full self. And it has benefits of obviously your mindset, and how confident you are and of your numbers as well. So I say I would think that that’s the first tip I would have because it’s a more of a mindset, emotional tip that will take you so far. And then on a number standpoint, I would say to focus on 1/4 of the day. Diabetes is like a Rubik’s cube where there’s 1000 different is that there’s at any one given time, I described it recently as being interviewed for an article and they were asking me to describe but a day in the life of diabetes. And I essentially said it’s like a seesaw with 50 Different factors piling up on either side at any given time, and you trying to find the centerpiece, right. So there are so many different factors. And the idea is is to not get overwhelmed by all those factors. Because if you’re overwhelmed, you’re going to be paralyzed, and you’re not going to do anything, and you’re not going to want to move forward and you’re going to feel defeated. So try to look at 1/4, the day that maybe it’s your most out of range section, whether it’s overnight, morning, afternoon or evening, and just commit to working on that. Just commit to maybe pre bolusing at dinner time or commit to actually putting your CGM alarm on or on a different ringtone. So you wake up in the middle of the night, if it’s high, since that’s like the longest amount of time you want, you want to be arranged essentially, for your overall health, choose that 1/4 of the day, and then once you nail that, then move on to the next piece. But diabetes is always this thing that it’s continuous learning, and you want to be able to have the energy to sustain until there is a cure. And we don’t have to lower your agency five points, or three points, or even two points in the next 30 days or 90 days we can work rather on building the habits that support that a one C.

Stacey Simms 27:13
What is your advice to parents of kids with type one in the new year? Like what should we be thinking? How can we help our kids like grow up? This is a big challenge. Happy, Healthy, independent, not too worried about diabetes, but worried about

Lauren Bongiorno 27:26
oh my gosh, yes. And we were talking about this off air. See where it’s interesting, because we’ve coached so many people who are in their 20s 30s 40s 50s and beyond who have had diabetes since they were kids. And we’ve seen a lot of their challenges that they’re coming to us with today that a lot of it is rooted in their childhood and how their maybe parents kind of or their their caregivers or their doctors spoke about diabetes to them or how they were trained to relate to their diabetes. And so when we see the parents of T Wendy kids in our group coaching program, or in our one on one programs, we’re watching and we’re we’re seeing how they’re relating to their child’s diabetes and what their child is how they’re related to their diabetes, and we’re able to help shape them in a better direction, so that they’re not ending up where the kid is, you know, 30 years old coming back to us being like my, you know, my mom, did you when I was coaching with you guys when I was younger, and I’ve been and I feel like I need to come back. Right? Like it’s, it’s helping them now. And still, those things that we wish as coaches and the older people in our programs wish that they had when they were children. So I think there’s a few different messages that I would share. One is your goal as a parent is not to help your child avoid suffering, and avoid all the highs and all the lows and all those things all the time, your goal and your job is to be there for them in a way where they feel like they can talk to you, they can come to you. And you could observe maybe what you’re seeing in their blood sugars or in their behavior in a teammate kind of way. So kids are going through so much with their hormones and with development, and especially in their preteen and teenage years just fitting in, in general. And then when you add diabetes on top of it, it’s there’s this extra layer that just comes with it. And so one of my least favorite things is when you hear a parent or a doctor say off that child, they’re just being so non compliant, right? They’re just they’re not testing their sugar, they’re not doing this, they’re they’re just not being responsible. We have to put stricter rules on them or we can’t let them go out or we can’t do that. That isn’t going to help. Right what they you really need to do is to help them get to the root of why they’re feeling that way and why they’re behaving that way. So one thing that I we work a lot with on with parents is on helping them understand what their child’s goals are, which for a lot of them it’s to have the cupcake at school with their friends or to be able to go out and have a sleepover with their friends and not have their mom call them 26 times, right? Which I always joke about, because I’m like, now there’s Dexcom share, when I was a child trying to have a sleepover, my mom didn’t even have Dexcom to like, look at, I’m pretty sure she sat in the car outside the person’s house for like, the whole entire night. It’s valid, right and those in the kids and what they want, it’s this balance between wanting to keep your kids safe, and also wanting them to just be a kid. So I think that a lot of the time, it’s about you as a parent wanting to protect them by not burdening them. And just by taking away you know, all of the jobs that they’re doing with their diabetes or their task or making it simple with like carb counting for them, we’re only putting quote unquote, healthy food or low glycemic foods on their plate. But that might not actually be what’s going to help them for the long run. So really, I think for any parent listening, this, to me is one of the hardest jobs, you guys are all heroes, I can’t imagine I look at my mom now and my dad, and I’m like, Thank you, like, I had no idea what you were really going through. And that that job that you that extra job you had when I was diagnosed, and you’re doing great. And I think that you can do quote unquote, all the perfect parenting in the world and your child, there’s going to still have, they’re still going to have challenges later on. So the goal is really to set them up with to be independent, to care about how they feel, to care about their numbers, but also to not be limited by their diabetes and and to find that balance.

Stacey Simms 31:32
I’m just curious. Did you ever go back to your endocrinologist who was like, Yes, this is amazing, like the high fiving. Doctor like does that doctor know about it this way?

Lauren Bongiorno 31:43
So the funniest thing about it is I adored that doctor, I love her. She we follow each other on Facebook. Sometimes when I do local, I speak at local JDRF event. She’s there love her. And I think that she’s probably seen me talk about it a little bit on social media for sure. We’ve never like address it specifically. But I don’t it’s not about her. That wasn’t her fault. She was celebrating me like I think a parent would celebrate a child to achieve who had an agency like that. And I think the bigger issue is really the lack of emphasis on mindset. And on mental the mental and emotional impact diabetes has on children and teenagers and adults for that matter with diabetes.

Stacey Simms 32:27
Hey, I’m just curious. And I always ask guests this, you don’t have to answer. What kind of tech do you wear? What are your diabetes devices if you don’t mind sharing?

Lauren Bongiorno 32:34
Yeah, so I wear an omni pod and the Dexcom G six, I was on charts for my first two years living with diabetes. And then I went to a Medtronic wired pump for about, I would say, 14 years. And then the last six years, I’m not sure if this math, somebody can add this math, drag, but it should all equals 21, less five or six years I’ve been on an omni pod. And I just love, love love that it doesn’t have a wire. And that’s that works for me personally,

Stacey Simms 33:02
before I let you go. It talked to me a little bit about your partnership with a couple of nonprofits. You know, I know that you would rightly want to make more of a difference than just with coaching. So who are you working with? What are these about?

Lauren Bongiorno 33:16
Yes, so we are here to help create the short term change for individuals impacted by type 1 diabetes and families and the long term change with diabetes care. So our approach is community based it’s collaboration, it’s how can we all take our the best of our missions and lift each other up. And so ways in which we collaborate with the community. Number one, we have Kyler Keres, which is a nonprofit organization that provides grants for continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps for children and young adults living with type one diabetes. And Kyle banks is the founder, he actually played Mufasa on Broadway in The Lion King. And he is an incredible human being we actually found out recently when we were together that we have the same diabetes anniversary November 1, so that was fireworks were going off. Because we already love each other so much, but we’re thrilled to partner with them. Because we just have, I think, because I was diagnosed as a kid and so many people on our team are also diagnosis kids, we have a special space place in our heart for young adults and children who don’t have access to those things. And there’s a direct correlation between your household income and your agency and your diabetes control. And so we really want to be able to give back in that way and to help support those people. And then secondary to that we have our together to one D Impact Fund which partnerships that we you know, work with in the community. They’re able to donate to that fun to help give coaching scholarships to people who face significant barriers to health care to our coaching programs. And all the people who come through our programs through the scholarship They’re carefully selected and you know, have an in depth review process, but it really allows us to be able to impact the community on that intimate level.

Stacey Simms 35:05
It’s so interesting to hear, like how much I noticed didn’t happen overnight, but like how much you are doing, when you look back at that 19 year old with that amazing a one C, but that not so amazing life? What do you think you’ve come so far?

Lauren Bongiorno 35:21
You know, in a way, I feel like I had so many years of struggling with my diabetes, that it was a blessing in a way it was such a blessing because it brought me here and we’ve impacted so many people’s lives with diabetes. And you know, women who weren’t able to have babies, they’ve had miscarriages after miscarriage because you know, maybe it’s related to diabetes. And then finally bring a healthy baby baby into this role because their agency is down or to the parent who their child is diagnosed. And they feel like there is no possible way and they don’t understand how they can, you know, go to a soccer game and not completely tanked their blood sugar’s and then they’re able to and they feel that their child has that sense of freedom back and confidence that all these little things, it’s really, it’s why we do what we do. We are there’s so much passion behind what we do so much intention, so much integrity, and so much, so much hope that what we’re doing can continue to be a ripple effect and impact people on an even larger level than we’re doing now. And that’s what keeps us going every single day. So I think 19 year old me or even seven year old niece who is standing in front of my gym class, my mom recently found a video I was sending for my gym class after getting diagnosed, doing a fundraiser at my school with my little pigtails and limited t shirt on it was so cute. And that girl was I feel like meant to do this all along. And it doesn’t mean that there’s not challenges, it doesn’t mean that there’s not Robox but it means that that those things are just there to push me to keep going and push me to realize how worth it this is.

Stacey Simms 37:00
That’s great. Oh my gosh. I love that. Lauren, thank you so much for joining me.

Lauren Bongiorno 37:04
Thank you so much for having me, Stacy.

Stacey Simms 37:11
You’re listening to Diabetes Connections with Stacey Simms.
More information about Lauren and coaching and Risely and you can read her story. And she’s been on some national media, she’s got great videos, all of that is linked up at diabetes connections.com. As we do every week, every episode has its own page.
If you head on over there and click on episodes, you will find them all. There’s also a very robust search. And I say that because we are up to this is episode 455. So if there’s a topic that you’re interested in, we have likely covered it. Obviously, we haven’t covered everything. And please send me your suggestions. But if you just type it into the search box, it really is. I’m really thrilled with my web folks, I’m stuttering around because I had nothing to do with it. But I asked them to make me a great search. And they did. And you could also search by topic by date, whatever suits your needs. So please check that out.
We have some great shows coming up. Boy, there’s so much going on these days every Wednesday I do in the News Live and that’s on social media. And then I turn that into a podcast episode. That’s every Friday five or six minutes of just headlines and in the news stuff for the diabetes community. Next week, you should be hearing from ever since I’m working on that episode right now we’re going to talk about their longer where and you know, a lot of you already have commented in the Facebook group about you know, worries about this device. And who was it for? I gotta tell you, Benny is super eager for this because of wrestling and his sports. Think about a CGM that you can’t knock off, right. So I’m not here to endorse them. But I am here to say let’s talk to them and find out more about this option. We’re also going to talk about Tandem and waiting because while they just got FDA approval, they have an earnings call later this month that I want to wait until after that because some interesting things may come out. So we’ll be speaking to them. And that episode will probably air in early March.
But in between those two, I have an interview with the folks at Pixar and I have a great story about why there is diabetes technology featured in turning red. This is the newest Pixar movie debuting on Disney plus in March. And so look for that episode, probably right before the movie comes out. We’ve taped it, I have to hold it sometimes these things are embargoed, and this was one of those cases. So really excited to bring that to you. All right, thank you 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 soon Until then be kind to yourself.

Benny 39:43
Diabetes Connections is a production of Stacey Simms media. All rights reserved. All wrongs avenged

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