Diabetes, Complications, and Hope – Let’s Talk About It


Announcing the 2nd Annual Diabetes Hope Conference!

I’m very happy to announce the return of the Diabetes Hope Conference!

We have another amazing lineup of panelists (some returning, some new), with what we hope (no pun intended) are topics that you feel are worth participating in.

Dr. John E. Anderson - Headshot

Dr. John Anderson

This year we have a very special opportunity to present questions from the community to Dr. John Anderson, Immediate Past President, Medicine & Science of the American Diabetes Association.

I hope you’ll submit your questions, and invite your friends (and readers) to do the same. This should be a really fun session, with questions being presented by Christel and Karen.

In addition to Dr. Anderson’s participation, we’ll be exploring the value of blogging in chronic illness with Pamela (co-author of groundbreaking research on chronic pain/illness and blogging), Kerri, and Mike, and discussing patient/doctor relationships with Dr. Jen and George.

We’re also very excited to add the ability to tune in with your mobile device (smartphone or tablet), and thank our sponsor, Metanx, for that additional capability.

The first year really seemed to resonate with people, and sparked some really great conversations, both during the event, and long afterward.

We hope this year is twice as good.

The Diabetes Hope Conference is happening on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, from Noon – 3:00 pm Eastern Time (USA). Registration is completely free, and you can tune in from anywhere.

If you’re in the sharing mood, I’d love your help in spreading the word. We’re using #dHopeConf as the hashtag on Twitter, and have some simple graphics you can download and use if you’d like.

Want to know how this all got started? Check out the backstory.

Disclosure: I have an existing business relationship with Pamlab (Metanx), sponsors of the 2013 & 2014 Diabetes Hope Conference.


This is Doug

2014-04-17 19.46.55

Douglas Scalia, official badass, five times over

This is my friend Doug. He’s pretty cool. He has type 1 diabetes, just like me. :-)

He decided he was going to run a marathon. In February of 2011, he couldn’t run 0.25 miles, and in October of 2011 he completed the Twin Cities Marathon.

He’s done four more since then.

Doug (and a handful of others) spoke at a local JDRF Adults with Type One group tonight about exercising with diabetes, and it was really great.

But my favorite part of the whole evening was looking over to see Doug wearing all five of his marathon medals.

Best Intentions and Toaster Strudels

Please don’t judge me for getting excited about finding toaster strudels in the freezer this morning.

I did everything right. I tested my blood sugar, I counted the carbs, I even set a mental timer for when I could actually eat (doing the pre-bolus thing).

Forgotten Bolus

But as my morning escaped into afternoon, and I started feeling worse and worse, a quick review of my bolus history was missing the most important part of my plan.

For all of the planning, counting, calculating, and waiting (it was more than 20 minutes, yo)… a TON of work, all in my head, and I forgot to actually take the bolus.

I thought I was being SO good. I was SO disciplined to have delicious frosted toaster strudels chilling (literally) on a plate right in front of me for so long, waiting for the insulin I hadn’t even taken to start working.

Snatch & Diabetes

This being one of my favorite movies has led to some really interesting discussions…


I wish the world could have seen how big my grin was when I found this Tweet & Twitter Account.

“Finger-pricking, pig-feeding diabetic South London gangster.”

You, sir, made my day. Thank you. :-)

Scott in Live Interview with TuDiabetes.org – Thursday, March 20, 4pm EST

I’m super excited to be joining the awesome Emily Coles at TuDiabetes.org for a live interview on Thursday,  March 20, 2014 at 4pm EST/3pm CST/1pm PST.

TuDiabetes Live Interview with Scott Johnson

I have a TON of things I can talk about, but I’d love for YOU to tell me what you’d like to hear about. Tune in and share your questions live during the interview. Take the discussion wherever you’d like it to go.

To watch and participate, just head to the TuDiabetes.org homepage at the start time and click play. There are detailed instructions if you need them (refresh your browser, click play on the video player, etc).

I look forward to chatting with you!

Diabetes Scholars – Polynesian Style!

I’m happy to spread the word about the Diabetes Scholars annual fundraiser at Friends for Life this July. This year sounds amazing!

DSF-FFL-Dinner-MusicMary Podjasek, tireless champion and President/Executive Director, Diabetes Scholars Foundation, describes the evening:

Your Polynesian experience begins with the rhythmic drums of Tahiti as you are taken on an enchanting and unforgettable journey through the islands of Polynesia. Please join the Diabetes Scholars Foundation at our “Party Polynesian Style Fundraiser” on Saturday, July 5, 2014, at the Marriott World Center in Orlando, Florida (during the Friends for Life conference)

This event will include an interactive Polynesian dance show, dessert, drinks, and a silent/live auction. Funds raised from this event will directly support our conference scholarships and help us carry out our mission to improve the lives of people living with type 1 diabetes through education.

These events are always incredible, and I’m always blown away by the generosity displayed by everyone there, as well as those who have donated items for the auction and those who have helped spread the word.

It’s worth going just to hear Tom Karlya run the live auction! Check out this video from the 2012 event:

The Diabetes Scholars Foundation helps bring people in need to conferences, and also gets students with type 1 diabetes to college. Improving lives through education indeed.

If you’ll be at Friends for Life this year this is an event to be at. Tickets are $50, which helps support DSF’s mission and includes dessert and two drink vouchers.

If you are in a position to do more, there are some great sponsorship opportunities as well:

[table id=5 /]

You can learn more about the Diabetes Scholars Foundation and their mission, read testimonials, see a list of college recipients, and apply for conference scholarships at www.DiabetesScholars.org.

And if you have something awesome to donate (including money), don’t be shy! Let Mary know!

My past posts about DSF include Lilly Diabetes – Connecting the Dots, Diabetes Scholars – Generosity In Action, Diabetes Scholars – Howl at the Moon, I Support: Diabetes Scholars Foundation, and 2011 Friends for Life – Where to Start?

I Support: Dr. Korey Hood – Boston Marathon for JDRF

Dr. Korey Hood is one of my favorite people. He training to run the 2014 Boston Marathon (!!) with Team JDRF on April 21st, and could use some help.

I love Korey because he’s a great guy, and he has dedicated his life to helping us with the hardest part of living with diabetes – the part that happens between our ears.

As a practicing staff psychologist and associate professor at UCSF’s Madison Clinic for Pediatric Diabetes, his work today is all about helping with kids with diabetes and their families to improve outcomes and overall quality of life.

His diagnosis story fascinates me. Korey was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a young adult. He was in graduate school at the time, studying for his Ph.D. in clinical and health psychology and had just decided to work in diabetes.

I have the pleasure and honor of working with Korey regularly as faculty at CWD’s Friends for Life conferences and have grown tremendously as a result of knowing him. He’s been known to make Kerri cry on sight, and I once saw him with an infusion set in his bicep. Totally badass.

Let’s see if we can kick his fundraising up a notch (and spread the word).



Balancing Diabetes by Kerri Sparling


Balancing Diabetes by Kerri Sparling

Before I talk about how much I enjoyed reading Kerri’s book, I need to disclose that she is a close friend. In general, I’m a fan of all she does. I’m also honored to be mentioned and to have contributed a few quotes in this book. There’s no way I can offer an unbiased review and I want to get that out of the way right up front.

One of Kerri’s many gifts is reflecting praise she is due back onto the community that surrounds her. In a book that takes us through her life with type 1 diabetes, and the many different stages (diagnosis, independent care, friendships, college, work, relationships, pregnancy, parenting, and more) she uses that gift to make a book about her story and search for balance be much more than just about her.

It’s a fascinating look at Kerri’s own experiences with diabetes, which is content worthy of attention all its own. But she’s also added commentary and quotes from nearly forty others.

However this is much more than a collection of stories pulled together to form a book. Kerri shares her thoughts and experiences (both good and bad) in each section, then pulls in additional info from others to either solidify what she’s saying or to offer additional points of view.

“After living with type 1 diabetes for almost three decades, I’ve come to realize that nothing works more efficiently and effectively than a properly functioning pancreas. All my insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors and exercise can only take me so far. That’s the reality of life with diabetes: it’s not a perfect science, and perfect diabetes management isn’t an achievable goal. (Not to mention, it’s a constantly moving target.)”  — Kerri Sparling, Chapter Nine, Walking the Blood Sugar Tightrope in Balancing Diabetes

It’s easy to fall in love with Kerri’s writing style; it’s full of truth and humor, and presented in a way that you can’t help but relate to. If you like what you find on her blog, Six Until Me, you’ll find that same entertaining style and character here. Kerri is a master at her craft–storytelling with emotion, humor, education, and hope–and it comes through brilliantly in her first book.

I found a lot of value from start to finish in the pages of Kerri’s book. Her words, and those of the many contributors, found an easy path right to the core of my life with diabetes. It felt as though our lives as adults living with diabetes shared common traits and a heritage of sorts, which is probably true in many ways. What I value most, however, is the open and comfortable dialogue about being an adult with diabetes – something that is too often forgotten about.

Thank you, Kerri, for bringing that conversation to life.

A Fun Read, with Diabetes! “GOOD LIKE THIS”

good-like-this-coverOpening a new book and finding it easy to read is a treat. It takes a lot of skill and talent to put words together in a way that’s easy on the brain and doesn’t cause fatigue. Using those words to put together a good story is a special talent all of its own. Put those talents together and you have a good author.

Good authors write books that are fun to read. If GOOD LIKE THIS is any indication, Peter Arpesella, who has lived with type 1 diabetes since age 7, is off to a great start.

GOOD LIKE THIS is a fiction book that follows a successful business man as he navigates a bunch of challenges in life. Part of his struggle is his relationship with type 1 diabetes and how it fits into everything else he has going on: a struggling marriage, parenting a young child, a demanding career, and a longing for the speedy legs of his younger days.

In many ways the things he wrestles with are exactly what you and I wrestle with, which made the story very easy to relate to. In other ways his lifestyle is so next-level that the situations were unbelievable, which gave the story a sense of adventure and excitement.

Scott's Amazon Review for GOOD LIKE THIS by Peter Arpesella

It’s easy for me to give a glowing review for a book I had such a good time reading.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of GOOD LIKE THIS for review. I was not asked to write about it or mention it on any social media channels.