LivingVertical Podcast

Episode 25 "Non-compliant diabetic" athlete Scott Cooper on aging, type1 diabetes and pushing limits in spite of complications

A few months ago I wrote this blog post titled: Non-Compliant.

That’s a word that gets used a lot in diabetes and it’s often poorly received. Over the following months, I began exploring the use of that term as a badge of honor–for those who refuse to comply with the often distorted expectations of society.

In this 25th episode Scott Cooper discusses the way in which he deals with the aging process and the implications it carries in terms of diabetes. He recently completed a solo, “double century” ride (200 miles in one day) which is no small feat for any athlete at any age. Scott has been living with Type1 Diabetes for 24 years and is 45 years old.

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Episode 24 Choosing adventure (part 2): Hiking the Appalachian Trail with type1 diabetes

Here is part two of my interview with Mark Yaeger who is hiking the Appalachian Trail with type1 diabetes. If you haven’t heard the first interview or read the blog I wrote about it then make sure to check those out first! In this episode we discuss the following topics (I do use a little “colorful language” at various points during the conversation, so please be aware of that if you’re sensitive):

  • Risk management with  (and without) type 1 in the mix: diabetes alert tags and tattoos
  • Simplifying and downsizing: how it’s possible to do more with less
  • Sponsorship: it’s awesome to have but how does it change you?
  • Getting from there to here: where do you start if you are inspired to try a project this big?

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Episode 23 Choosing adventure (part 1): Hiking the Appalachian trail with type 1 diabetes

In this episode, I am proud to bring to you a very special interview with Mark Yaeger. I met mark through the serendipity of social media–instagram to be exact. Someone tagged me in a post by Steven Mills Photography that featured a portrait of a guy named Mark who was hiking the Appalachian Trail with type 1 diabetes. I reached out to Steven Mills and he was kind enough to share Mark’s info with me and soon I was in contact with Mark. We initially connected as he was entering Pennsylvania and I was excited to hear that he was heading north because this meant that he would have to pass within several hours of where I am living currently in eastern Massachusetts–and this would be a perfect opportunity for a podcast interview.

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Episode 22 Doctors and Parents promoting adventure: Rock Type1

In my work promoting adventure as a means to empower and improve life with a chronic illness, I have always felt somewhat inadequate when trying to encourage parents to get their kids outside and pushing their limits. Becoming a parent myself has helped a little bit, but at the end of the day, what do I really know about the fears and burdens of raising a young person with Type1 diabetes? Probably not much, a fact that I am reminded of when I poke my head up and express an opinion about the controversial topic of parenting with diabetes.

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Ep 21 LivingVertical returns from Spain--with announcements!

It has been a taxing several weeks for you without new episodes, I am sure–but you can all breathe easy, because the LV podcast is back up and running and…there is a lot of great stuff in the works, much of which I am outlining in this 21st episode! The recording closet and cardboard box studio is back up and running after a catastrophic and ill-timed failure!

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Ep 20.5 The need for recovery

I know that I usually don’t post PDF/text articles via the LivingVertical Podcast (this is actually my first time!) I hope that you will forgive the change of format…I was going to record a quick episode but my recording studio has been crippled as my computer and recording setup have gone into “brick mode”, so I am typing on my laptop in order to share with you a decision I made about just stepping away for a week or so and just being “quiet”.

I had a podcast pre-recorded about my dietary experiment all ready to go for this week but something happened that made me feel like maybe I should hold off for a bit. If you hadn’t heard, there were a couple really tragic deaths in the diabetes community, the impact of which really hit home to me. Two little children, in unrelated circumstances succumbed to complications of un-diagnosed Type1 diabetes. I know that my goal is informing and inspiring but as the father of a little girl, these tragic deaths made me feel awful. As a person who has type1, it made me really step back and think about how many of us have been misdiagnosed or got a late diagnosis that put us in the hospital.

Little children go into DKA super fast. In hours it can happen. Then they’re permanently brain damaged or worse. This weekend, the worst happened. Twice. I wrote a blog that you can see at www.livingvertical.org/blog about the importance of recognizing symptoms and sharing my own diagnosis story. I always wonder if any of this matters. I wonder if people actually listen and read beyond the first three lines of anything. The analytics don’t guarantee that people actually care.

When tragic deaths like these happen it makes me feel like talking about sports and diet and seemingly trivial things—simply don’t really matter.

I know…that is just the negativity and weight of the circumstances crushing me. I believe wholeheartedly in what we are doing, and sometimes that fact is what requires me to just stop and recover. I’m inspired to do more than ever but I have to do more than just repeat and repost the lists of symptoms. I feel like it’s more important than ever to reach the public and in order to do that we have to bring people in…and I do believe that what we are doing here at LivingVertical is part of that.

I feel like it’s important for me to take a little time to just step away from the internet and all the noise for a little bit because I’m shaken. Similar to athletics the need for recovery in advocacy cannot be overstated, and I have to be real about what I’m realistically able to do. I want to DO more to create awareness while doing all the stuff we do here. I don’t think I can do that by repeating old posts and wringing my hands. I also feel like I should just leave this topic alone (these deaths specifically) out of respect. These are peoples lives and kids and families and dreams—not an awareness campaign. The time for that will come but it’s not quite now, at least not for me. I struggled a lot with writing my blog (linked above) and I tried to speak more about my diagnosis rather  than trying to speak to the sadness of the families and their experience—because that isn’t for me to talk about.

I hope this doesn’t sound pompous. It’s a really personal decision to have a sort of “blackout” for a time to honor the fallen. I also hope that I can refocus and return with inspiration to move awareness forward in the public eye and bring you more informative interviews here. I really appreciate all of you who listen (and read!) and share. We are making an impact together…and on that note, you’ll hear from me in a week or so.


Ep 20 The experiment: high carb low fat plant based diet

At the end of May I decided to try an experiment with my diet. I had always embraced a LCHF diet, based predominately off of Dr Bernstein’s Diabetes solution and found it to be good for my blood sugar but lacking in terms of athletic performance. The idea of embracing carbs was anathema, but I had heard about a different method that went completely the opposite way–a High Carb Low Fat Plant Based diet. I know that’s a mouthful but I decided to try it for a month to see if I could increase my carb intake without derailing my blood sugar control.

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Ep 19: Crossfit and diabetes-when is enough enough?

Hang on to your toupees, folks, I know there has been a huge amount of coverage of late about the Crossfit debacle on twitter and I try to get through it in a hurry. This is a short format monologue, stream of consciousness style. Or rant.

In this episode I discuss the bigger picture of society and its view of diabetes–and why this has been a really poignant moment for us to come together as a community and make a statement. Crossfit and diabetes is a smaller indication of the larger problem of stigmatizing diabetes and making it shameful and something that is automatically associated with laziness or apathy towards health. So what does it mean–and more importantly where do we go now that we’ve had our say? Do we need an official autopsy to confirm the horse is dead and that we can put down our bats and go home? There must be a vision toward next steps and positive educational moves.

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Ep 18 Josie Johnson: Backpacking with diabetes for the first time

We all love hearing inspiring stories from experts or people who have developed expertise as adventurers with diabetes–but I think it’s really helpful to hear from people who are starting on the path of adventuring or getting active in the outdoors too. There are a lot of lessons that we learn that over time become second nature and when someone asks us how do we do this or that–it’s tough to answer. I was stoked to meet Josie through the GoBeyond Diabetes initiative where we started discussing her experience backpacking with diabetes for the first time–and I’d love to have you involved as well. Check out the post about it here–and submit your photos/info via email steve@livingvertical.org .

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Ep 17 Joel Livesey: 100 miles of running with diabetes

running with diabetes type 1 diabetic runner

I’ve always been pretty transparent about the fact that I’m not a runner. It’s something that baffles me and is, in a sense beyond me. That’s why I knew I had to get an interview with Joel out to the LivingVertical community. He has an incredible story–a journey from dark and desperate places to a diagnosis with type1 diabetes–and an unquenchable love for running with diabetes that came out of all that struggle.

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