Review & Win!

This week on Diabetes Connections I shared a big milestone: the show has received more than 50,000 downloads. In podcast-land this is a remarkable number to have reached after just over a year for a show like mine. I didn’t have a huge “brand” or powerhouse blog before starting the show. But I knew that people touched by diabetes are hungry for information and inspiration. And we’re kind of passionate about the topic.

Thank you so much for listening, for spreading the word and for letting me know what you want to hear. Many of you have emailed, recorded messages and even been on the show for my Community Connection. To say thank you, I’m giving away two $25 gift cards. Here’s how to enter:

Leave a review on iTunes or on the show homepage by September 27, 2016.  One iTunes reviewer will win a $25 card to iTunes, one homepage reviewer will win a $25 Amazon card. Please leave a genuine review! I’m picking the winner at random, not for who leaves the “best” review. But don’t troll me. If you’re reading this, I assume you’re a listener. Or at least a nice person.

To review on the homepage:

Go to Diabetes Connections. Click on any Episode Title (the blue text). That will open a new window. Scroll down under the audio tab and “Helpful Links” to see “Leave a Reply.” Write your review in the comment box. Click “Post Comment.” You can leave a comment/review for any episode to be eligible.

To review on iTunes

  1. Launch Apple’s Podcast app
  2. Tap the Search tab
  3. Enter “Diabetes Connections”
  4. Tap the blue Search key at the bottom right
  5. Tap the logo of the podcast
  6. Tap the Reviews tab
  7. Tap Write a Review at the bottom
  8. Enter your iTunes password to log in
  9. Tap the Stars to leave a rating
  10. Enter the title text and content to leave a review
  11. Tap Send

This article from iMore has more detailed info and a screen by screen walk through. iTunes is fussy.

You can enter in both locations but you can only win once.  If you have any questions, please reach out. Again, thank you so much for making this show what it is. Lots more good stuff to come!



Getting Diabetes Gear to Stick

This week on Diabetes Connections we gathered advice on getting diabetes gear like CGM sensors and insulin pump insets and pods to stick to skin.  I spoke with experts and “ordinary” people living with type 1. As I say in the episode, so much of this is trial and error; it’s very difficult to know what may work for you or your child until you try it.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Please add what we missed in the comments or head over to the Facebook page and add your advice!

It’s worth noting that whatever product you use, most experts will tell you preparing the skin is the most important step.  Clean with soap and water or with alcohol wipes and be sure to let dry. Then you’re ready for the actual sticky stuff. We have also found it helpful to insert sensors or insets at least 4-5 hours before going in the water and the night before swimming (or earlier) works best for us.

This list is full of brand name and generics. I’ve linked to a website when the brand has one. You may also want to try Amazon or ask your medical supply provider. Just as everyone’s skin is different, so is our health insurance. It’s possible that what works for you may actually be covered. Stranger things have happened.

I expect to edit & add to this list in the weeks and months to come. Hope it helps!

Sticky Wipes

These make the skin a bit tacky in order to give the material you put on top a better hold.

Skin Tac wipe or liquid

IV Prep wipe

Mastisol liquid

Stoma Care wipe w/aloe

Hollister skin gel

ReliaMed wipe


Tegaderm film dressing

Opsite Flexifix transparent film

Hypafix dressing tape

RockaDex Dexcom patches

GrifGrips adhesive patch

Waterproof Bandaid


Kinesiology Tape (Includes brand names KT Tape, Rock Tape, Vara Tape)

Vet Wrap



Athletic Sleeves

Rash Guard/Swim shirt (cut to fit)


EK Tools Tag Punch Classic (Dexcom-sized hole punch)

Dexcom & Libre Rash (Public Facebook Group)




Thank you, Davidson Elementary School

That’s it. Fifth grade is over and this fall, Benny starts middle school.  It’s going a tough time for me because Davidson Elementary School is pretty incredible. It’s a big reason why we moved to our neighborhood 13 years ago. It’s a unique award-winning public school; a place where everyone knows its motto, “Discover, Explore, Succeed.”

When Benny started Kindergarten, he’d already been living with type 1 diabetes for almost 4 years. He knew how to check blood sugar, use his pump, to speak up when he felt high or low and to carry his kit everywhere he went. But boy, were we nervous. He was the only T1D kiddo in the school at the time. I wish I could go back and tell myself how great the next six years would be. How the staff would embrace us, how they’d work to make Benny feel accepted and loved and how, while diabetes management would never be perfect, he’d always be safe and well taken care of.

DES Tigers on the Prowl (Kindergarten)

I’ve never mentioned where Benny has gone to school – frankly, with my old job on the radio, I didn’t think it was a good idea to make it public. I stand by that decision, but it means I’ve never been able to publicly thank the staff at DES. Let’s fix that.

My sincere thanks and appreciation to:

Mrs. Hoyer, for making the transition to Kindergarten so much better than I had feared. When I found out you’d already taught students elsewhere with T1D, I couldn’t believe our good fortune. It was a great way to start off and it set the tone for the next six years.

Mrs. Harrigan, for speaking up and telling the school that she wanted more help, as first grade teachers at DES don’t usually have an assistant. This ultimately resulted in a “floater” who helped many kids with special needs. By the time 2nd grade started, there were 3 kids with T1D in this school and 4 the year after. Backup is good.

Kathe Hyman, who was that “floater” assistant. We had some great texts & calls. One of my favorites was when I was going on with her about B being “high and hungry” at school while I was checking out at Target. Got a few strange looks!

Mrs. Smith, for going above and beyond. Benny’s big request in second grade was to buy lunch at the school cafeteria, which made us all nervous. While our district provides carb counts, they don’t always match what’s on the menu that day. Jen would occasionally text us pictures of Benny’s lunch and ask for a carb count. We got so used to group texting that we sometimes went off the rails (more).

Mrs. McLennon for being tough on Benny academically but understanding of his medical issues. This was the year that his migraines, which started at the end of Kindergarten, got more frequent and intense. Thank you for trusting him. And for working miracles with his handwriting.

Mrs. Ellis & Mr. Verlin, for embracing our push for diabetes independence in 4th grade. Benny no longer had to check in with faculty unless he had an issue. You both also jumped to fully embrace the BEAM Team, our big school JDRF walk team. Thanks for letting Benny pie you in the face. Sorry about the mess.

Mr. Verlin (again) and Mrs. Berlin for an interesting 5th grade year. The Verlin-Berlin combo was perfect for Benny’s last year at DES. This year was a little tougher for diabetes management, and we appreciate you helping out with a few more reminders. Tough balance of staying on Benny without making him feel like we’re treating him like a little kid. You walked that line so well.

Huge thank you to our principal, Mr. Jarrett. Here’s a great example of how he leads the school. Last year he and some of the staff participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge. He selected Benny and another student with T1D to douse him. He never announced why, didn’t talk about their diabetes. He told me later he just knew they’d get why it was important.

IceBucketChallengePicOur assistant principal, Kimberly Green for supporting us through all the fund raising and assemblies for the BEAM Team. Sorry we do everything last minute!

Mr. Smith for making our 504 meetings easy and painless. Our feeling on testing is that elementary school was the warm up act for later, a chance to learn how to make standardized testing with T1D the best it could be for Benny. Thanks for walking me through the process and encouraging me to write in anything we thought Benny would need

I think we had a full time school nurse for one year at DES. But we’ve had amazing support. Gayle Castongia & Lisa Parham at the front office are incredible. They help take care of all the kids. Over the years, I’ve worked the most with Gayle, who so obviously cares about Benny. She listens to and trusts him, which is invaluable.

Karen Jackson, our first school nurse, who trained several staffers on using Benny’s Animas pump. She made me comfortable right from the beginning.

Nancy Mullins, our second school nurse. She was there when Benny started getting those migraines. So awful (by the way, he still gets them occasionally, but it’s not quite as frequent). Nancy is just wonderful – and she still comes to our spaghetti dinner every year!

We hit the T1D jackpot with our current nurse. I’ve actually known Julie Allred for years, she has type 1 herself (although she has had an islet cell transplant, so it’s a bit different). I’m fortunate to call her my friend and all the kids at school are lucky to have her. Are you sure you don’t want to transfer to middle school?!

Julie and Benny

Our amazing nurse Julie at last year’s JDRF Walk

Mr. Rabb is our phys ed teacher who keeps the kids active and running and even helped us out with The Big Blue Test at school last year (more).

In all our years at DES I went on one field trip – at Benny’s request. The school never made me feel obligated to go and I always felt safe sending Benny. He went on the 5th grade trip to DC without me or Slade (we had a schedule conflict, the original plan was for my husband to go). Everyone looked out for him. It was an incredible feeling of love and support. And it was a great way for Benny to show that he could be independent and responsible.

I will miss reading diabetes books to each class and giving my educational and kind of silly talks (more). I’ll miss the JDRF Kids Walks and the Tigers on the Prowl and Arts Fest and Book Fair, the talent show, the holiday show and so many other milestones that make elementary school unique. I’ll miss that everyone in that school knows who my child is.

This week is bittersweet. It’s hard to realize we’re moving on. I’ve been joking all year about holding him back and keeping B in DES another year. I know middle school will be fine. I know high school will be fine and that he’ll be fine growing up with diabetes. Part of the reason I know that, though, is because of our experience to this point.

Benny’s received a terrific K-5 education, but it’s one that’s included two different sets of curriculum. The regular grammar school stuff, along with a diabetes education as well. I’m so grateful that in both, he was allowed and encouraged to “Discover, Explore & Succeed.”


Celebrate One Year of Podcasting (Contest)!

One year ago I went ahead with an idea that had been kicking around in my head for a while.  I created Diabetes Connections, a weekly podcast. I hoped it would be a way to talk to interesting people in our community, share information & inspiration and use the skills from my broadcast career to reach people touched by diabetes who may feel isolated or alone.

It’s been amazing. If you listen, you know I love it. I gush about how fun it is at the end of just about every episode.  I can’t help it. It’s SO GREAT! I get to talk to people I admire, learn from experts and connect with people all over the country and even the world.

Win me!

Let’s celebrate!

I’m partnering with Pebble to give away two Pebble Time Smartwatches like the one pictured here. Everyone who enters will receive a link to 20% off Pebble products. Contest opens May 31st and closes June 12th. A valid email address is needed for the discount code; you can see the other rules & regs when you enter the contest.

(click the box at the bottom of this post to enter the contest)

In planning this celebration and contest, I hadn’t counted on something else. And it’s big. Diabetes Connections was nominated for The Podcast Awards! These awards are listener-nominated (so thank you to those who nominated me) and then a panel of judges narrows it down to the top ten in each category.  I found out last week that the show made it to the finals in Health. Wow! Now it’s time for listeners to vote for the top shows. Voting for The Podcast Awards opened on May 29th and closes on June 12th.

podcast awards vote now w-logoI need your vote, but I have mixed feelings about asking. First of all, it’s a pain to nag everyone to vote every day; you don’t want me junking up your timeline begging you to click & vote. BUT, as the only diabetes podcast in the running, I think it would be great to make it to the top spot. So I’ll be posting on social media, but let me know if I start to become a giant self-promotion machine. That’s not cool. But wow! Top ten for health in the country!? Yeah, I’m a little excited.

The awards voting and the contest are NOT tied together. No obligation to do one or the other, but I hope you take part in both. Many thanks for an incredible year, an amazing anniversary and here’s to lots more good stuff to come!

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