Off the Dial

Diabetes and Sleep?

I've spent 12 of the last 15 years getting up at 3am for work.  I also have two young children.  My husband has asked me to refrain from the comment, "I'm tired."  At this point, it's like saying, "I'm breathing."

I'm really starting to get concerned about my six year old son, though. He's just never slept well.  His older sister slept through the night at 3 months and never looked back, but Benny still gets up  at least once almost every night. Lea sleeps until 7:30 most mornings; Benny spent two years getting up at 5am.  He's now sleeping in, usually until at least 6. Whew.

I keep wondering whether Benny's sleep issues are related to type 1 diabetes (he was diagnosed at 23 months).

I've been researching this on and off for years. Most information I find about sleep and diabetes is focused on the risk of developing type 2 if you don't get enough shut eye.  There's also lots of research on the risks of nocturnal hypo- or hyperglycemia, of course.  But I'm talking about those many nights when that meter flashes 105 and yet he's still waking up.  

My endocrinologist – whom I love – tells me there's probably no medical link here.  I  believe him, but I'd love to hear from other parents of D-kids.  Do your kids have trouble sleeping? If they did, did they grow out of it? How about adults with type 1.  Is sleep still an issue for you?

Puppysleep (wish we all slept this well!)

D-Day with the Checkers

This past Sunday was JDRF Day with the Charlotte Checkers hockey team.  They call it Family Fun Day, but after we saw a bunch of his summer buddies, Benny decided it should be called Checkers Diabetes Camp. 

This is the event where we saw our first insulin pumps in action. I remember sitting on the floor of the arena four years ago with a little boy named Noah and his dad, Jon.  Benny was two and very curious.  Noah seemed like such a cool customer; I was impressed and reassured. It's exactly the kind of thing you hope to get out of an event like this (and now I'm on the JDRF Board with Jon).

Before the game this year, we met the  Charlotte D-Buddies for lunch. This is a great group for families with younger children with diabetes.  Funny to see everyone at the table pull out their meters to check at the same time!

Huge thanks to the Checkers, of course. They are one of the most family-friendly sports teams you'll ever see.  There's always a kid riding the Zamboni before the game and they have tons of giveaways and crazy stuff going on. Benny stood by the ice during the warm up, and a player tossed him a puck! 

The best part of the day was hanging out with Jon Wilson. You've seen his Wilson's World segments on Fox News Rising (and he's part of the WBT family). He's also the official Chief Fan Rouser for the Checkers. I sent Benny over to yell, "Mr. Wilson!"


Wilson was nice enought to put Benny on the big screen! Not easy to get a good picture of that giant TV, but you get the idea.


There's nothing fun about having diabetes.  When Benny can see everyone around him checking blood sugar, counting carbs and getting insulin, it makes a big difference.  Thanks, Checkers, for giving us a great day at "camp!"

 (After posting, I heard from some D-Buddies families. I'll share their pictures here as I get them)


This is Evelyn and her little sister Addy showing off their Checkers posters.  Addy was diagnosed with type 1 last March at age 3.  You can read more about their family here.

You’re Not Helping (Slurp!)

I don't worry so much about junk food.  If you eat right most of the time, you can treat yourself to dessert, a bag of chips or something deliciously fried every now and then.  You know what you're getting and you work it in.  What makes me crazy is sneaky junk food.  The ad campaigns and companies that try to disguise not-so-good stuff as healthy and nutritious. 

Tropolis Check out the glamour shot (right) of PepsiCo Tropicana's newest product,  Tropolis, described in the Wall Street Journal as an 80-calorie fruit puree.  It comes in brightly colored pouches and will be marketed to moms and kids. Looks appealing and it probably tastes great. 

The news release says it's 80 calories, but I can't find any other nutritional information.  A professor quoted in the WSJ article says "they start out with real food, so let's give them credit," but "the rest of it is sugar. Kids would be better off with an apple or a banana."

Here's what PepsiCo Company Chair Indra Nooyi says (again from the Wall Stree Journal article): "We see the emerging opportunity to 'snackify' beverages and 'drinkify' snacks as the next frontier in food and beverage convenience."

"Snackify?" "Drinkify?"  That sounds like a cartoon version of food. 

Pepsi will also launch Tropolis World, an online game for kids that "will allow them to discover the fun in fruit through interactive games."  Whee.

I don't give my kids perfect meals or all the veggies I know I should. Sometimes we're going to go with convenience over the best nutrition.  What's troubles me about this kind of product, and the marketing that goes with it, is the push that, of course, convenience is the goal, fun is next and nutrition is a distant third.

It's a stretch to say we're heading toward the Pixar world of Wall-E where the ridiculously obese people slurped all their food in-a-cup.  Even so, how can you not worry that we're heading in the absolute wrong direction?


I've started a new segment on Health Headlines: The Show called You're Not Helping.  It's a chance to debunk some health myths and take a look a new diets and products that aren't doing us any good. Like this one.  We're also talking about success stories with another feature called What Works.

Have to point out that my co-host Dr. Russ Greenfield gives PepsiCo credit for trying to move into more healthy fare (at least this isn't a new line of potato chip geared to kids!).  But I hate that "snackify' and "drinkify" may have entered the lexicon.  Can't we just eat?

Pepsi, you're not helping.

Stacey, Dr. Greenfield and physical therapist Alan Tyson are The Bod Squad.  Sign up with us to receive health news and info (no sales pitches or fruit slush will arrive in your email).

My co-star (in diabetes), Ricki Lake

The latest celebrity-diabetes controversy actually made me smile. Not because of what was said, but because of the childhood memories brought back by who said it.

Rickilake Actress and former talk show host Ricki Lake is making the talk show rounds, promoting a new weight loss/wellness program for kids.  Her first stop, on Good Morning America, was a bit of a misstep.  She said juvenile diabetes could be prevented by diet and exercise. Not so.

While the comments on GMA's website show a lot of outrage, I think mistakes like this are great opportunities.  ABC, Good Morning America and Ricki Lake can turn this into a win-win.  How about another segment on diabetes and the differences between type 1 and type 2?  At the very least, you can be sure Lake will never again make the same mistake. That's good news for kids with type 1, like my little guy.

I met Ricki Lake when we were both kids, just a little bit older than my son is now.  She would never, ever remember me, but we were both in a Broadway theater workshop called "America's Favorite."  I was going to be an actress and my (wonderful, indulgent) parents had agreed to let me go to New York City once a week for lessons, which led me to the workshop's producer, Peter Sklar. 

Sklar is a kid-talent coach.  I learned a lot and had fun in his classes.  He thought I was a sheltered kid from the suburbs (ya think?) and that I needed to learn more about life before I could Act with a Capital A.  So he took me to see a NYC homeless shelter.  My parents were thrilled. 

They did let me stay with it, and I was part of a few dinner theater shows, got a contract with an agent and, at the ripe old age of 13, decided professional acting really wasn't for me.  I'm still so happy I tried it, though.  It gave me self-confidence, taught me how to use my voice and helped me on my way to becoming a broadcaster (lower-case b!).

Google tells me "America's Favorite" is now "The Kid Who Played the Palace," produced by Peter Sklar and reportedly coming to Broadway this year.  Probably about 500 shows are "reportedly" coming to Broadway in any given year, but I would love to see this happen.  If it does, I should track down Ricki Lake.  We could go together and sing along!

 (For more on Ricki Lake and diabetes, check out Leighann at D-Mom Blog.  She's got the original clip and Ricki Lake's twitter comments about it.  Lake has issued a statement and acknowledged she meant to say type 2.)

update: Lake has since appeared on The  Joy Behar show to further clarify and  apologize.  Thanks, Ricki!