Afterthoughts DSMA Live: ‘Rents | Living Vertical, Go Beyond #Diabetes

Jeffrey and Steve of Team Living VerticalThis week Steve and Jeffrey from Team Living Vertical joined us for an inspiriting hour of DSMA Live.  Listen in and see if you aren’t anxious to begin climbing when it’s done! We learned about the origin of Project 365 and how Living Vertical has bec0me much more than that. There’s a new team of nine climbers known as Team Living Vertical, and find out what’s on the horizon for the Sweetest Summit program and how empowering this program is for parents and children alike.

Learn how you can bring Project 365 to your community by listening in or visiting Check out the Events page for upcoming screenings already scheduled.

Here’s a little more from Steve. Listen in to the show and be inspired. Steve, Jeffrey and the whole team and really doing amazing things rooted in the most genuine of intentions.

Ever since he was a little kid, growing up in upstate New York, Steve dreamed of climbing mountains. What his locale lacked in topography he substituted with tree climbing–always imagining myself “way out there” on some epic rock face. His father was an iron worker who built sky scrapers in New York City. Climbing things was a connection they shared even though his dad is still awaiting the day that Steve hangs up my rope and rack in favor of a “real job and a haircut”. Steve was never very motivated and when he could take the easy way out of any type of physical activity, he did.

Then one day, when he was a 16 year-old sophomore in highschool, the option of taking the easy way vanished when Steve became a type 1 diabetic. In a flash he began to realize that the luxury of postponing “life” was an illusion that he could not afford to buy into any longer. He knew that unless he began pushing back hard against the conventional wisdom of what life with diabetes should look like, that he would be trapped in a world of fear, trying to just survive the complications he kept hearing and reading about while living life to the bare minimum.

Climbing is a universal symbol of freedom, personal responsibility and self reliance. Steve embraced climbing fully–not only because he wanted to climb, but because he wanted to show himself that he could take control of his life and that diabetes would NOT limit him. In 2012, after pursuing this way of life for about 14 years, Steve founded LivingVertical and took on Project365 – selling all his “stuff” to live on the road and climb every single day across North America for a year. His hope was to share a message of empowerment with others who live with T1D while revolutionizing the way that the public sees this “invisible” illness.


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Afterthoughts | Dr. Robert Ratner, Chief Scientific & Medical Officer for ADA




What a pleasure to have Dr. Ratner on the show.

He would make for a great interview anytime, but we were especially excited to have him on the show just a week before the ADA Scientific Sessions, one of the biggest diabetes conferences in the world. He’s a huge part of that conference, and it was really great of him to share some of his time with us.

Right away you can tell that Dr. Ratner totally understands the demands of living with diabetes.

[quote]When we come up with new devices or new drugs, I think that we are now at the stage where  making life easier for people to live with diabetes is equally as important as changing hemoglobin A1C.[/quote]

We learned about the Dr. Ratner’s role at the ADA, and I was fascinated by the different areas of focus within the ADA. They really cover so much more than I ever knew.

We also talked about what the upcoming Scientific Sessions are all about, and Dr. Ratner talked about some of the tracks and sessions to look forward to.

It was such a fun interview, and again, we really appreciate Dr. Ratner coming on the show.

– Stream the showDownload the MP3 (~15MB), grab the podcast via iTunes, or listen below.

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Afterthoughts | Fredrik Debong & Kyle Rose from mySugr


Hot on the heels of the mySugr Companion launch in the United States, we have Fredrik Debong, Co-founder and Head of Product Management, mySugr, and Kyle Rose, Managing Director, mySugr U.S.. This was Kyle’s second appearance on the show. He joined us about a year ago, prior to joining the mySugr team (hear more of his story).

Fredrik talked about where mySugr came from, and how it’s changing the way people with diabetes care for themselves. Using elements of gaming, rewards, social altruism, and a focus on changing a single behavior at a time, they have found a way to keep people engaged in their diabetes management.

[quote]”Imagine your diabetes journal, your blood glucose logbook where you should jot everything down, take that and turn it into a game, turn it into something that talks back to you.”[/quote]

[quote]”It’s a cheeky diabetes journal which makes our lives easier and more fun, our therapy more fun and engaging, and at the same time makes all that data we should be logging actually useful in day to day life.”[/quote]

One fun aspect of mySugr is the “diabetes monster” that you are charged with taming each day. When you work on your diabetes, whether that’s testing blood sugars, counting carbs, taking insulin or medicine, and more, you earn points that go towards taming the monster each day. Once you’ve tamed your diabetes monster, it gets locked down and zipped up — so it can’t give you anymore grief for the day!

You can even name your diabetes monster. I’ve named mine “Chewcarba”, Fredrik’s is “C3PO”, George’s is “Chupacarba”. Isn’t that great?

Fredrik and his team are really big on making the data we log useful to us on a day to day basis. As an example, he told the story of ordering a meal where he wasn’t sure about his carb estimate. He searched for a similar meal in mySugr and found one from 1.5 years ago. He saw what he estimated, how much insulin he took, and what his blood sugars did afterward. From that record, he saw that he drastically underestimated the carbs last time, which left him running high after the meal. Being able to see this information so quickly and easily helped him adjust his insulin dose for this meal. His logging wasn’t a bunch of dead information, but rather, made available to him to help make decisions now. That’s a great example of making information actionable.

Here’s a quick video that shows a little more about mySugr Companion.

It was really great talking with Fredrik and Kyle, and learning more about mySugr, how it works, and where some of the inspiration came from. I hope you’ll check it out.

**Disclosure: I have a business relationship with mySugr and am helping them spread the word about the US Launch of their products. 

– Stream the showDownload the MP3 (~15MB), grab the podcast via iTunes, or listen below.

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Afterthoughts | Dr. Dyer & Dr.Kitchens


This show is absolutely packed with information. In a tag-team effort, Dr. Jen Dyer, a pediatric endocrinologist, and Dr. John Kitchens, an opthamologist and vitreoretinal surgeon, teach us about diabetes related eye complications and advancements in treatment options.

I found it to be a really hopeful episode in that things have come a long way in a few different areas:

  • Doctors are much more educated about detecting and treating diabetic eye complications
  • Technology has come a long way in both detection and diagnostics
  • Technology has come a long way in treatments (better lasers, better surgical options)
  • New medicines are available to treat complications (anti-VEGF medications)

We talked a lot about variability and fluctuations, and while there is no conclusive data, both Dr. Dyer and Dr. Kitchens believe that reducing the fluctuations make a big different. We also talked a little about why eye complications might come up with rapid improvements of blood sugar management, and how there is a perceptible change in vision with high blood sugars.

We learned about the difference between an optometrist and an opthamologist, and what you need to look for when dealing with an optometrist who is helping care for your eyes with diabetes.

– Stream the showDownload the MP3 (~15MB), grab the podcast via iTunes, or listen below.

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