Mari Ruddy and Extreme Healing

Today, I have the pleasure of sharing an incredibly inspiring conversation with one of my heroes, Mari Ruddy. If you are not familiar with Mari, buckle up – her story is one of profound resilience, strength, and healing. Like me, Mari lives with type 1 diabetes. She was diagnosed in 1981, and in addition to dealing with diabetes, Mari has also courageously overcome several other life challenges.

Mari discovered her love for distance cycling at the age of 39. TeamWILD, one of the organizations she created, played a crucial role in my journey, and it was with their support that I accomplished my very first 100-mile bike ride for the American Diabetes Association (shout out to Heather and the Pancramaniacs). I owe much of my journey in this world of diabetes advocacy to Mari and the powerhouse community she so wonderfully nurtured.

Picture of Mari Ruddy

Our conversation flowed naturally, and Mari’s infectious positivity and resolve were palpable. We shared our experiences dealing with diabetes and sports, reflecting on our worries about low blood sugar and how we both learned to navigate and overcome those anxieties. I was fascinated by how Mari used her fear to fuel her determination to take on significant athletic events without allowing her diabetes to determine her pace.

One memorable part of our talk was Mari’s perspective on identity. Specifically, she talked about the transformative power of identifying as an athlete and the courage and determination it takes. She beautifully illustrated the idea that endurance sports, like diabetes, are about the long haul, not just the finish line. It’s about resilience and bouncing back, time and time again.

Mari’s journey also led to her authoring a book called ‘Extreme Healing – Reclaim Your Life and Learn to Love Your Body,’ which empowers individuals with chronic illnesses. She took 12 years to write it, likening the process to an ‘endurance event,’ which felt incredibly appropriate.

Mari running a race

While writing her book, Mari dug deep into vulnerable places of her life and shared deeply personal experiences. This raw honesty and willingness to delve into the struggles and victories of her journey only adds to the book’s power to inspire. To Mari, her book serves the purpose of teaching, healing, and providing readers with hope and tools to navigate their challenges.

The book is available on Amazon (affiliate link) and Barnes & Noble for those interested.

Our conversation also touched upon the challenges Mari currently faces as she is dealing with another cancer diagnosis. Her positivity and strength are nothing short of inspiring. She continues to apply lessons from her past, her athletics, and her experience with diabetes to help her navigate through these difficult times.

To wrap up, I cannot stress enough how much Mari’s journey has inspired me. Her story exemplifies the mantra ‘Progress, not perfection.’ I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to have this enlightening conversation and share it with all of you. Here’s a toast to Mari’s tenacious spirit and exceptional courage!

Mari celebrating with her bike


[00:00:00] Scott K. Johnson: I’d like to introduce Mari Ruddy. Mari is one of my absolute heroes. She has an amazing story, and I’m so thankful to have crossed paths in life with her. You know, I know her mostly directly through her life with diabetes. Mari has lived with type 1 diabetes since 1981, when she was a teenager, but diabetes isn’t the only challenge she’s overcome in life.

And we’ll definitely get into some of that in our discussion. She discovered her love for distance cycling at age 39, and it was through one of the organizations she created called TeamWILD that she helped me accomplish my very first 100-mile bike ride for the American Diabetes Association. And here I also have to give a quick shout-out to Heather and the Pancramaniacs, the team I rode with for many years while living in the Twin Cities. Most recently, Mari authored a terrific book called Extreme Healing – Reclaim Your Life and Learn to Love Your Body. Mari, welcome, and thank you so much for joining me today.

[00:01:06] Mari Ruddy: It is such a pleasure and joy to be here with you, Scott. I mean,

we have known each other for a while.

[00:01:14] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah. Yeah, a long time. And, um, I just, as I was, as I was reading.  Well, anytime I think of you, I just have so much gratitude and appreciation, and it all really just bubbled to the surface for me as I was reading your terrific book. Um. You know, I am not by nature, I think, an endurance athlete. Um, I enjoy some basketball here and there, but, you know, looking at, at doing something like a hundred-mile bike ride, it felt so out of reach for me, um, until I, I, uh, I think I won a scholarship for a membership with TeamWILD. And along with, um, your support and Heather and the Pancramaniacs, um, it, it, it, got me over that hump of saying yes and really pushing myself to do something I’d never, I’d never thought possible before. And it was, it was such a good experience for me. Um, tell us a little bit about your, you know, your love for endurance sports and how that formed.

[00:02:22] Mari Ruddy: Yeah, that’s a, that’s a great question. Um, I was not an athlete as a high school kid or a college student. I was a political activist and, uh, shake things up kind of person, but not in the fitness or athletic world at all. In fact, I think I say in the book that I think I had joined like nine different gyms when I was in my twenties. I went maybe five times. So the gym was not my friend. And I also didn’t, I mean, the one thing I did like was hiking and walking, but nothing that was particularly endurance. So endurance is something that you do for longer than 90 minutes. And when I discovered cycling, when I was 39, it was because I just had this inkling that I wanted to challenge myself.

And I found a cycling coach. I found an endocrinologist who would work with me because I was terrified and I was terrified of low blood sugar.

[00:03:41] Scott K. Johnson: Sure.

[00:03:42] Mari Ruddy: Like it was like, oh, I, this is too terrifying. And it was because my father had type one. I grew up in a household with him where he had such bad low blood sugar minimum once a year that the paramedics had to come because he would convulse and shake. he was six-four, and it was like we thought he would die.

[00:04:08] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:04:09] Mari Ruddy: So every year, we thought he would die. And then it was like my turn to have diabetes, and I was like, I’m not going to do that.

[00:04:15] Scott K. Johnson: Right. Yeah. No, that makes so much sense to me.

[00:04:19] Mari Ruddy: Right. So, I had to really learn what it would take to actually do a big athletic event and not have my blood sugar tank all the time.

[00:04:29] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah, yeah.

[00:04:30] Mari Ruddy: So I discovered with coaching that I could do it.

[00:04:37] Scott K. Johnson: Mm hmm.

[00:04:38] Mari Ruddy: And with the support, and it was like, oh, and I discovered I loved it and that I could pull up sort of an internal reservoir of courage, and it really framed my relationship with diabetes.

It was like, oh, diabetes, there’s no cure. There’s, you know, people think insulin’s a cure. It’s really not.

[00:05:04] Scott K. Johnson: Right? Yeah.

[00:05:06] Mari Ruddy: And all our devices are fabulous. They’re still not a cure, and you still have to balance a thousand things every day.

And I was like, huh, A 400-mile bike ride in a week. It’s like living with diabetes.

It’s a long-haul event.

[00:05:32] Scott K. Johnson: Mm hmm.

[00:05:33] Mari Ruddy: And so creating that connection for me was life-changing, and it was like, I wanna share this connection with other people.

So that was when, like it was right around, well, it was about 12 years ago that I got the inkling that I should write a book.

And it took me 12 years to write it. It was kind of like an endurance event.

[00:05:59] Scott K. Johnson: Sure.

[00:06:01] Mari Ruddy: So yeah, that was how I discovered it. And then along the way, um, I did a lot of a hundred-mile bike rides and really enjoyed it and made, you know, I I almost, one of the things I also talk about in the book is that I constantly was looking for people that I could connect with. And it really wasn’t until I started being an athlete that I found my people.

[00:06:27] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah.

[00:06:29] Mari Ruddy: It was like, oh, these are my people. Oh, this is where I belong. I’m not fast at all in any sport, and I still fit in.

[00:06:41] Scott K. Johnson: yeah,

[00:06:42] Mari Ruddy: And that was a really big learning. It was like, oh, these are my people. These are the other people who like to do this. And to take the challenge that I have with my health, diabetes, and cancer and frame it as an athlete completely changed everything.

[00:07:02] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah, and

[00:07:03] Mari Ruddy: It

[00:07:03] Scott K. Johnson: it had quite a ripple effect too because if I understand correctly, it was through your cancer diagnoses that that the whole Red Rider program and Red Strider program came to be, which I, I feel is such an encouraging and empowering movement. So for those that are not familiar, everyone with diabetes who participates in the ADA bike rides or walks, gets a special jersey.

That says I’m thriving with diabetes. Right? And as you’re out, you know, doing your bike ride or walking, those around, you will yell, “Go Red Rider!”, “Go Red Strider!” And it’s like, at first, you’re like, is this, this is kind of weird. But then you’re like, no, this is, this is awesome.

And Mari started that movement. Thank you, Mari. It was really impactful for me. If I understand it correctly, you participated in some endurance events and sporting events with people from your cancer lifestyle, right? The,

[00:08:12] Mari Ruddy: Yep.

[00:08:13] Scott K. Johnson: survivors, cancer survivors. And you were celebrated as a, as a survivor, and you were kind of missing that on the diabetes side, and that’s where that all came from.

Tell us a little bit about that.

[00:08:25] Mari Ruddy: Yeah. Well, it was fascinating because I, like you said, I got all this recognition for being a cancer-surviving triathlete or a cancer-surviving um. Cyclist and then I did a Tour de Cure because I’ve, I’ve actually done the Tour de Cure since the year they started it. Uh, the first one in California. I, I lived there at the time, and I went to it, and I could barely, I mean, I think I did the shortest route, and I went back after having had cancer to the one in Colorado, and I rode, and I was like, where are the people with diabetes? I was in a unique position to understand that living with diabetes and being at a tour cure riding your bike was actually harder.

[00:09:19] Scott K. Johnson: hmm. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:09:21] Mari Ruddy: than being a cancer-surviving athlete.

[00:09:23] Scott K. Johnson: Interesting. Yeah.

[00:09:25] Mari Ruddy: Like the things we as people with diabetes have to manage are exponentially more than things people with cancer have to navigate.

And I was like, where’s the recognition?? Like, we need some love.

[00:09:39] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah.

[00:09:40] Mari Ruddy: And I got off my bike, and I was angry. And the woman at the end was the new director of the Colorado Tour De Cure, and she said, how was it? And everyone got off and said it was great! And I got off and said, we need to work on this.

[00:10:01] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah.

[00:10:02] Mari Ruddy: And she was like, whoa, why don’t you join the committee? And I said, okay, I will

[00:10:10] Scott K. Johnson: Yep.

[00:10:11] Mari Ruddy: So I joined, and they gave me some rules. They said you cannot use any of our previous sponsors. You have to go find new sponsors. You cannot use any of the money we’ve already raised, and you have to find all new, uh, gear

[00:10:33] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:10:35] Mari Ruddy: and you have to figure out everything, and you have to recruit your own committee.

[00:10:39] Scott K. Johnson: Wow.

[00:10:41] Mari Ruddy: Okay, so I did

[00:10:44] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah.


[00:10:46] Mari Ruddy: and I found, um, a diabetes educator who had lots of connections in the diabetes world, and she asked 10 of her connections to each donate a thousand dollars. So within two or three months, we had 10,000.

[00:11:04] Scott K. Johnson: Wow.

[00:11:06] Mari Ruddy: And then I went around to, and I had this vision that we would give everybody a jersey before they did the ride so that they would be identifiable, and that had never been done.

[00:11:21] Scott K. Johnson: Wow. Huh


[00:11:23] Mari Ruddy: And they were like, yeah, we don’t really wanna invest in that because we don’t really know who will show up?

And I said we’re going to do it anyway.

[00:11:31] Scott K. Johnson: Mm-Hmm.


[00:11:32] Mari Ruddy: So I went to a few different gear providers, and one of them was Primal Wear, which was based in Colorado, which has now become actually a really, really successful gear company, partly in part due to the fact that they got the Tour De Cure

[00:11:50] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah.

[00:11:50] Mari Ruddy: contract, and then they got the MS contract, and then they got a few other contracts, and they were like, “Oh, this is kind of working!”

and I was insistent. And so I had to also recruit people with diabetes who would be willing to wear the jersey.

[00:12:09] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah. Right. It’s an

unknown kind of thing at that point. Right? You’re not sure. Many times in life, we spend time kind of sheltering or lying low or riding under the radar. Yeah.

[00:12:22] Mari Ruddy: because we can, we don’t look ill. So I was like, Nope, we’re gonna call it out, and we’re gonna call it out with love.

[00:12:33] Scott K. Johnson: I love that.

[00:12:34] Mari Ruddy: Yeah, we’re gonna call it out with celebration. Not, oh, you live with this horrible thing. No, no, no. You’re living with this cool thing. Well, no. Okay. It’s not cool with this incredibly challenging thing, and here you are doing a bike ride.

[00:12:51] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah. Totally badass, right? Yeah.

[00:12:54] Mari Ruddy: Yeah, exactly! So that first year I managed, I went to, I’m not kidding you, I went to so many endocrinologist offices and put up signs, and I was like, yeah, let’s see if we can get a hundred people. And we had 111.

Yeah. Yeah. So, and it worked, and they were like, oh yeah, this actually works.

So then they kept growing it, and over the course of the next few years, they rolled it out at all 90 of the Tour de Cures.

[00:13:29] Scott K. Johnson: Wow. Yeah, I mean, what a ripple effect, Mari. That is so, so amazing. And you know, through that, um, you know, through your experience, which, which. You know, there’s nothing good about going through cancer, going through diabetes, but I think that one of the things that, um, that you do so well and that many of us do is, show this just fierce resilience and, and you use that energy to, to just power it into something that really makes a positive difference for so many people.

So thank you, for that. I, I’m, so, I just, it was, it was so memorable for me. I’ll never forget it.


[00:14:09] Mari Ruddy: It’s a good thing and it like, you know, one of the things that I think happens is

as you create that identity, that identity doesn’t fade

like that. You know? And, really, it is an identity to claim the title of I Am An Athlete. I mean, that is, that’s an identity and once you claim it, you can keep claiming it.

[00:14:38] Scott K. Johnson: Definitely.

Definitely, you know, before we dive too far into the book, I want to touch on the power of coaching, right?


[00:14:47] Mari Ruddy: yes.

[00:14:48] Scott K. Johnson: and, of course, you, you talk about that in the book too, so it all fits together. But, um, one of the things that I experienced going through the program with TeamWILD is it wasn’t, I didn’t have just one coach. Right. I had, I had multiple coaches that each specialized in their own field, right? So there was the, uh, like a stamina coach. There was a strength and speed coach, a nutrition coach, a mental, you know, mindset coach.

And it really is, if you think about it. All the different things we do in diabetes and all the different things that are in athletics,

and you look at any high-level sporting team or take a professional team, each different discipline has its own very specialized coach.

And it was really just such a cool experience to layer all these different specialties on top of each other because it builds this super strong foundation, and it was just, it was so, so cool.

[00:15:52] Mari Ruddy: Yeah. Well, good. I’m glad. Yeah, I agree and, and it, you know, like now I’m going through cancer number three. And I have a whole team, and it’s like, so the parallel between having a team to manage your health challenges and a team to manage your athletic goals, it’s like they, they really do parallel.

[00:16:22] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah.


[00:16:23] Mari Ruddy: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah.

[00:16:26] Scott K. Johnson: Well, let’s, let’s dive into, into the book. So you talked about, you know, this 12-year-old idea, right? Which, which I totally understand. I. I have ideas for books that I might want to write, but I, at the same time, I feel so completely overwhelmed that I just push it away. Right. And, um, what, what, tell us a little bit about that process. What brought you from that idea to now you’ve got this beautiful, beautiful book out in the world.

[00:16:57] Mari Ruddy: Well it, well, I like when I was running TeamWILD, which was all that layered instruction and coaching. It really became clear to me that I had a concrete thing to offer the world, and my background is in education, so I like teaching. And I was like, well, I’ll create, I’ll write a self-help book, and I’ll teach how to do this well, so I wrote the beginning of a draft, probably 20, 30,000 words, and then I had someone review it, and this is several years because of it.

And I got one of my first editors and , she would bless her heart and I’m still friends with her, still associated, connected to her. And she read it and she said, well, you’re onto something here, but every time you start teaching too much, you’re really boring.

And I was like, oh, oh, that’s not good. Like I do not want a boring book.

[00:18:09] Scott K. Johnson: Boring’s not good. Yeah.

[00:18:11] Mari Ruddy: No, I mean, like, well, I’m, I’m good at teaching in person, but this is a book, so it’s gotta be interesting. And her suggestion was that I switched to memoir, so I was like, oh my gosh, I don’t wanna write memoir. I wanna write self-help, but okay, I guess I’m gonna fricking write a memoir. And she really pushed me to be more vulnerable and to tell my stories, and that took a long time to really.

[00:18:45] Scott K. Johnson: And a lot of courage, right? I mean, that’s like you, you are; I’m so thankful and grateful that you, you really open yourself up, and you’re vulnerable about some hard things that you’ve dealt with in your life.

[00:18:59] Mari Ruddy: Right, right. And that was her encouragement, and I had to go to a lot of therapy.

[00:19:05] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah.

[00:19:05] Mari Ruddy: Uh, to process. It’s like, okay, I’m gonna write about the sexual abuse, and now I need to process and make sure I can manage telling everybody about this. Okay, I’m gonna actually write about my suicide attempts. Okay, I need to process. Am I calm and centered enough to actually handle the world knowing it?

So it was like, okay, a lot of back and forth,

[00:19:33] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah.

[00:19:34] Mari Ruddy: uh, that that happened. And it was so, and then I made the decision that I was gonna fully self-publish, and I got rejected by about 10 different publishers. And I had not finished the book because, um, nonfiction, they tell you that you should do a book proposal and then finish the book once you have a publisher.

[00:19:57] Scott K. Johnson: Mm

[00:19:58] Mari Ruddy: and I couldn’t get a publisher. So I’m like, all right, I’m gonna join this program that’s called First Book Finish, and it’s with a writing coach in Canada, and I’m gonna finish the book. Like I have to actually have start, middle, end be done. So I did that about two years ago, and I had the idea of the publisher I was gonna go with, but they weren’t gonna give me enough editing.

And it turns out that editing is really, really important. So I, I, I remembered a friend of mine who I had worked with in the 1990s, who, he and his partner, they opened up a publishing company.

[00:20:42] Scott K. Johnson: Wow. Yeah.

[00:20:44] Mari Ruddy: I mean, it was just really wild, uh, timing. And I called up Azul and I’m like, I, I interviewed him essentially, and I’m like, you know, would you publish my book?

I raised all this money and this Kickstarter, so I have money to be part of your company, but they’re an official publishing company, but it’s like a hybrid kind of combo. And they had three different editors who each did two rounds of editing with me, and I thought I was giving them a fricking memoir,

[00:21:20] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah.

[00:21:22] Mari Ruddy: And they read it, and they’re like, this is actually self-help. And I’m like, oh. Well, that’s good ’cause that’s what I wanted.

[00:21:32] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah.

[00:21:33] Mari Ruddy: So they actually helped me reframe all of my really personal stories to be self-help and to be illustrations of the things I was teaching.

[00:21:47] Scott K. Johnson: Mm hmm.

[00:21:47] Mari Ruddy: So my, I think it ended up pretty well that they’re intertwined


I teach a thing and then I tell a story about how I’ve used that skill.

[00:22:02] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah, I agree.

I think it comes through very, very, it comes through very naturally and very, um, um, like it just connects. right? Because there’s a, there’s your human story going along with this skill you’re building and, um, the awesome exercises that you propose at the, at the end of each, uh, chapter and section.

I think it really turned out quite well.

[00:22:27] Mari Ruddy: Okay. Yay. Well, that was, you know, partly as a result of all the good editing.

[00:22:37] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah.

I can imagine it’s, you know, I like, I, like that. Um, you know, you ever read a book, and it’s a beautiful book, but there are typos in it or things, right? And you’re like, oh man, you know, and there’s none of that in yours.

[00:22:54] Mari Ruddy: we worked hard.

[00:22:54] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah, that’s, that comes through in a way that, um, I would say it’s, it’s transparent, right?

Because you don’t want that hard work to show up and be recognized by people. You just want it to be a great quality book. So, job well done there, Mari and team.

[00:23:11] Mari Ruddy: Yeah. Yep. Yep. And team, for sure. It was a team effort. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So it all, I mean, it was amazing. It was an amazing journey.

[00:23:20] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah, it sounds like it. So a few, a few more questions around this, and then we’ll go wherever the conversation takes us. How do you think you have grown or changed through the process of this book? 

[00:23:39] Mari Ruddy: That’s a great question. One of the things that, before I started writing the book, I wanted to give a TEDx talk.


And I also have been a public speaker, and I want to relaunch my speaking business, I guess. And I, I, there’s kind of two audiences. One is individuals who have chronic illnesses, specifically cancer or diabetes, and I want to help and talk to those audiences about how to claim the identity of an athlete.

[00:24:22] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah.

[00:24:23] Mari Ruddy: And to view their health challenge through that lens instead of as a, of this thing that they have to deal.

So that’s one audience. And then the other audience that I would like to start addressing is people who work in the diabetes space or the cancer space as salespeople or executives.

And I want to talk to them about how they look at their patients.

[00:24:58] Scott K. Johnson: Yes, please.

[00:25:00] Mari Ruddy: And how they think about the people that they’re trying to serve. I believe that they first have to look at their own identity and then think about what they are projecting onto the people they’re serving and what would happen if they changed how they thought about the people they’re serving.

[00:25:25] Scott K. Johnson: I love that. I love that

it’s, it’s, you know, the bar is so low out there in the diabetes space. I, I can imagine it’s in the other, other spaces as well, but, um, and, and it’s unfortunate because.

for people who are new to diabetes and, and,

um, or maybe even a little bit, uh, uh, insecure in their identity, they almost

take on what they receive from those external sources.

And that’s, it’s such a shame. It’s such a shame.

[00:25:59] Mari Ruddy: Right. I, I totally agree and I, so my step number one is in terms of how I’ve changed, is that I’m going to do a TEDx talk

[00:26:11] Scott K. Johnson: Yes. I love it.

[00:26:12] Mari Ruddy: hopefully I’m going to do it in 2024. I’m in the process of applying for TEDx Minneapolis. Um, I’m gonna look at some other possible TEDxs. ’cause you gotta have more than one.

A possibility.

Possibility. Um, and that, so like having the courage to actually do that proposal is a result of the book. Yeah. And to have the knowledge in my being that one of my callings in this life is to be a speaker.

[00:26:49] Scott K. Johnson: hmm.

[00:26:50] Mari Ruddy: And that’s pretty new. And I knew that I had to write the book first.

[00:26:54] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah.


[00:26:56] Mari Ruddy: like there’s a level of legitimacy in having a good looking

[00:27:01] Scott K. Johnson: Mm hmm. Mm hmm.

[00:27:02] Mari Ruddy: And it’s not just any book. Like, I mean, I worked really hard that it would, I mean, I was number one on Amazon for four days

[00:27:11] Scott K. Johnson: That’s amazing. That’s amazing.

[00:27:13] Mari Ruddy: in the diabetes category on Amazon.

[00:27:18] Scott K. Johnson: That’s amazing. And, and it’s, it’s amazing. But also no surprise, it’s, it’s really a terrific, terrific piece of work.

[00:27:26] Mari Ruddy: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Turns out, I’m actually, I, I think I’m an, actually, I’m a pretty good writer,

[00:27:33] Scott K. Johnson: I, would agree

[00:27:33] Mari Ruddy: I, I wasn’t sure. , you know, it’s like, well, okay. Yeah. Yeah. So that, that’s probably the biggest way. So there’s, the way, one of the biggest changes is that I can feel a new level of confidence.

[00:27:54] Scott K. Johnson: Mm hmm.

[00:27:56] Mari Ruddy: Yeah. It’s like, oh, I actually have this book.

This book is real.

[00:28:02] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah. that makes, that makes so much sense. And, I’m, just, again, so happy for you, so proud of you when you, um, if someone who’s not familiar with you or the book were to ask, all right. What, what do you want me to get out of reading this book through, you know, going through this experience? talk a little bit about that.

[00:28:24] Mari Ruddy: Yeah, that, that’s a, that’s great. Um, my hope is that they, reading the book would feel empowered, would feel encouraged to actually take action. And that, that, that’s one of the key things I teach in this book is here’s how you take action. You know, here are all the things that you might go through to get to being able to take

action. You know, I don’t skip over grief or the stages of change that you have to go through to be able to take action.

So recognizing and forgiving yourself when you can’t take action, and that you can see that action could come in the future and that you can take steps to get there.

So I really, one of my big hopes is that people would feel hopeful.

[00:29:36] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah. I love that. I love that. And it makes so much sense. You know, you, you, touched on something that I think is really important in that, um, there’s a process, there’s a process involved in deciding to change and, even just deciding to be ready to change before you change. Um. And that, that itself can be daunting, especially, um, if you have experiences in the past with, uh, you know, diabetes and exercise that were, you know, even a little bit traumatic, right?

So, you know, talking about your, your dad and, and watching him, that’s a lot traumatic. That’s a little, that’s more than a little traumatic, but. I think many of us, we go out and exercise and we battle low blood sugars and you know, at first, we don’t understand why or what’s going on and, and you know, you know, just gaining information and, and kind of building up that, that knowledge and experience to even try it again.

It’s a big deal.

[00:30:39] Mari Ruddy: Yep. Exactly. Exactly. So yeah, hope, hope is and, and connected to the hope is this concept of having tools.

[00:30:52] Scott K. Johnson: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:30:55] Mari Ruddy: and that when you have a chronic illness that you’re navigating every day, you need to keep learning

and you need to keep, you know, reminding yourself what are the tools that I already have and what are the tools I need?

and I, I, my hope with the book is that I would offer some really concrete tools.

[00:31:25] Scott K. Johnson: I think you definitely do. I think another thing that that comes to play there is it’s clear that it’s, it’s okay. To not feel like, like I have to do everything myself. Right. The

power of pulling in those coaches. Um, and, and that’s, that’s such a useful lesson for, me, Mari, that I have held onto for all the years since, since that first experience with TeamWILD. And even looking at, like, applying it to my everyday diabetes management, I. I feel that I can take pretty good care of myself, but I am horrible at analyzing my numbers. It just,

I feel like

I’m too close to the data. I’m too close to everything. Um, and so I rely on coaches and healthcare professionals who That’s their job. They are the experts. They are so much better at it than I am anyway, and I should not feel guilty about tapping into those resources to help me with that situation. So that is a very, I’ve held on to that lesson, and I think that lesson also comes through very clear in the book.

[00:32:38] Mari Ruddy: Good. Good. That’s awesome. Yay.

[00:32:42] Scott K. Johnson: So. You mentioned, um, another, another cancer diagnosis and I mean Yeah. Like what a, what a thing. Do you feel that, that some of the confidence that has come out of this project and the successful launch of it is helping kind of propel you through those hard times?

[00:33:02] Mari Ruddy: Oh yeah. Oh yeah, for sure. So I’ve created these little stickers that say I am an athlete. I.

[00:33:10] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:33:11] Mari Ruddy: Yep. Yep, exactly. Yep. There it’s Woohoohoo. And I stuck one of those stickers on the aromatase inhibitor that I have to take every

[00:33:22] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:33:24] Mari Ruddy: and it’s like, okay. And that that aromatase inhibitor means I have zero estrogen in my body and I went from 58 to 88.

How I physically feel every day and how much weird fatigue I have and how I just don’t have the energy that I had seven weeks ago. ’cause I’ve only been on it for seven weeks, but the drug is working.

[00:33:55] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah.


[00:33:56] Mari Ruddy: So I have these three tiny little masses on my chest where I used to have a breast, and because they did a mastectomy and I have no breast tissue, it’s considered to be metastatic because it’s in the.

And they’re so tiny. They don’t actually call them tumors. They call them masses, and they all shrunk.

[00:34:30] Scott K. Johnson: Amazing. That’s so great.

[00:34:33] Mari Ruddy: It’s like, okay, this drug is working, so I’m going to keep taking it. And I’m going because I have all these skills, uh, as thinking of myself as an athlete. I am applying everything I teach.

To my own case,

[00:34:51] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah.

[00:34:52] Mari Ruddy: it’s like, okay, I know how to move with discomfort. I have a whole team. I go to acupuncture every single week.

I go to massage. every single month, you know, I’m gonna, not having estrogen is going to most likely result in osteoporosis, so I am going to an osteoporosis physical therapist specialist to learn specific weightlifting things that help prevent osteoporosis. I mean, it’s like I’m just using all the people that I can possibly use to help


[00:35:36] Scott K. Johnson: Well, it sounds,

I mean, you, you talk about your prior, um, you know, cancer survival kind of routines and, and how you built, uh. You know, you built yourself a system to lean on when um, you were, were so tired, or you just couldn’t think for days at a time. And, so it’s, um, it, it it comes through really clearly that you’re applying what you’ve learned in the, in the athletic space and the, and the, you know, and the diabetes space and everything. To these other challenges and how that helps you through those, so well, so I, you know, I have, I have no doubt that, that it’s going to be a hard journey. Of course, it always is. But that you’ve, you’ve set yourself up for success

as best you know how

[00:36:23] Mari Ruddy: exactly. And you know, it appears that it’s working so I’m just going to stick with it..

[00:36:29] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah. Yeah. absolutely. And the other thing that that comes through in your message in the book is that as you go through your experiences and you, you kind of analyze what’s working and what’s not, and adapt as needed. And you’ll do that along the way too.

[00:36:47] Mari Ruddy: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s good. Good, good.

[00:36:51] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah. Well, we’ll definitely keep you in our prayers through that. Mari, is there anything that I maybe haven’t asked about that you want to be sure to talk about?

[00:37:03] Mari Ruddy: Well, one thing is if anyone wants to buy the book,

[00:37:07] Scott K. Johnson: hmm.

[00:37:08] Mari Ruddy: it’s available to purchase on Amazon (affiliate) or at Barnes and Noble, so just search Extreme Healing Mari

Ruddy, and they’ll find it.

[00:37:17] Scott K. Johnson: Looks like this.

[00:37:18] Mari Ruddy: Yep.

Yep. There it’s, and they can also go to my website and sign up for my newsletter. And I’m in the process of getting some really cool, um, free gifts, as they say.

So it’s coming. It’s coming. Any, any, in the next week or so, they’ll be up. One of the one, one of the things I’ve created is the top 10 questions to ask your doctor when you wanna start exercising.

[00:37:48] Scott K. Johnson: I love that. That’s so helpful.

[00:37:50] Mari Ruddy: I know. Well, because I, I mean, I went to the oncologist yesterday and I had a typed list, a page and a half, and I printed a copy for me, a copy for my friend who went with me and a

copy for the doctor.

[00:38:06] Scott K. Johnson: Nice.

[00:38:07] Mari Ruddy: And she was like, not very many patients come with a typed list of questions

[00:38:13] Scott K. Johnson: Yeah, I bet.

[00:38:14] Mari Ruddy: and


[00:38:16] Scott K. Johnson: But what a great tool. Yeah. I love that. Well, because it’s, you know, you need them to, to recognize all the context and everything that is part of your story. In order for them to do their job as best they can,

[00:38:30] Mari Ruddy: Exactly. Exactly. So it was like, okay, we’re just, so that’s coming. So will get them to my website.

[00:38:37] Scott K. Johnson: I love that. And sign up. Yes, do sign up for the newsletter. I am a happy subscriber. I love your newsletters. I think you put out such terrific material and I appreciate all the, work and thought that that goes into that. And, um, it’s incredible to think you’re making it even better. So that’s fantastic.

[00:38:54] Mari Ruddy: Yay. Well, thank you, Scott, for having me on, and thank you for all your good work in the diabetes

[00:39:00] Scott K. Johnson: my gosh, my pleasure. I couldn’t do it without, without people like you on my team and, helping me see myself in a better and, positive light. So I appreciate

that. All right, well folks, I’ll have links down below and again, MariRuddy.Com, sign up for the newsletter, buy the book. You will not be disappointed.

It’s, it’s really terrific. And Mari, thanks again for coming on and sharing a bit of your story.

[00:39:26] Mari Ruddy: Thank you.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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