Whether it’s a coworker, acquaintance, or just someone you want to get to know a little better; it can be hard to make a connection with people. When both of you have diabetes, though, the connection is already there. You both understand the challenges and joys of acting as a substitute for your pancreas. Your shared experiences allow you to move past the small talk and go straight to the “Don’t you hate it when,” and “Yes. Yes. Yes. I totally get you!”. A few days ago I interviewed Executive Director Krystle Samai using the famous 10 questions from James Lipton’s Inside the Actor’s Studio. Now it’s time to move on to the really important questions: the diabetes-related ones!
1. What is your all-time lowest BG number?
I’ve never seen “LO” on my meter, but I do remember getting the number 26 once. I recall staring at it in disbelief, and probably because I was so low, I didn’t know what to do about it other than to telephone my sister and ask for her help. She was a superstar and walked me through opening my fridge, getting out the juice and drinking a very large serving; she stayed on the line with me while I re-checked and treated until I came back up. <3
2. What is your all-time highest BG number?
I’m not sure, because my meter shows “HI” for readings above 599…and I’ve had one of those before.
3. What is your go-to food when you are low?
I really like the fruit leathers from Trader Joe’s, or Annie’s fruit snacks — they’re bunnies!
4. What is your favorite low-carb snack?
Pickles or cheese.
5. What is one food that is guaranteed to make your BG go crazy no matter what you try?
Chinese food. Even when I think I’m finding the most low carb, no added sugar option…regardless, my BGs are always unpredictable!
6. What do you use to organize / pack your diabetes supplies on the go?
I don’t like carrying a separate “kit” for my diabetes supplies, so I work it into what I already have in my purse. My wallet has a zipper pouch that is pretty large, so I manage to fit a fruit leather, syringe, vial of insulin, clicker, Bayer Contour meter, and a small container of test strips all in the one spot.
7. What is your favorite T1D life hack/tip?
Personally, I’ve often felt so much pressure and guilt around my numbers. So much so that I used to avoid checking as a way to prevent seeing a number that wasn’t where I wanted it to be… But sometime during college, one of my most favorite doctors told me that I shouldn’t fear checking because they were “just numbers”. She explained that the true reason my blood sugars were high was because my pancreas just doesn’t work properly, and, that is NOT my fault. What is my responsibility, is that I make every attempt to manage those numbers to the best of my ability.
Her simple explanation powerfully shifted my perspective and the way I viewed myself. I was almost instantly set free from all the guilt, and instead became an advocate for myself and my defunct pancreas. I now check because I want data to be able to make better-informed decisions about how to cope with my broken pancreas — not because I’m testing whether or not I made the proper dosing decisions.
8. What is your best piece of advice for a newly diagnosed PWD?
Get connected ASAP. Diabetes can feel like an overwhelming mountain of never-ending tasks, but finding a group of people who genuinely understand your new mental and emotional burden and what you’re going through on a day-to-day basis will change your life for the better.
9. What is the one thing about diabetes that you think people who don’t have diabetes should know?
There’s no such thing as “perfect control”. Blood sugar management is a constantly moving target and there are SO MANY variables that impact a PWD’s glucose. Check out Adam Brown’s “42 Factors” on diaTribe. It’s an excellent and illuminating primer.
10. What’s the first thing you would do once a cure for diabetes is found?
Disconnect all of my diabetes devices: pump, CGM, empty my purse of fruit leathers, glucose tabs, test strips, meter, etc — freeeeedom!! Then I would pack my favorite outdoors outfit, sunscreen and a tiny bottle of anti-frizz hair cream into a small carryon backpack and hop on a plane to New Zealand to kayak the Fiordland.