Please just type your answers below the question and send back to me.
Welcome to the sixth installment of a weekly series here on The Life of a Diabetic called Getting to Know Diabetes: The Interview Series. Every Tuesday, I will be featuring an interview with a diabetes advocate and/or “influencer” in the diabetes community. These interviews will ask the same questions to every person.
Today’s interview is with Rob Howe. I first came across Rob from Instagram because Rob reminded me of a young me. Type 1, athletic, and driven to do something, whatever that something is. Please enjoy.
1 – Who are you? (Name, where do you live, what do you do for a living, favorite hobby, sports teams, etc.)
Rob Howe, Dallas Texas, Entrepreneur.
My favorite hobby is probably Diabetes advocacy, but I don’t really like hobbies. You put in hobby effort, you get hobby results. I have passions. I’m passionate about technology, innovation, health, fitness, creativity, mental health, advocacy, improv comedy, sneakers, fashion, cars, netflix series and the internet in no particular order.
2 – What is your connection to diabetes?
I’ve lived with T1D for 14 years.
3 – Give us the elevator pitch version of your diabetes diagnosis.
I was 16, woke up on New Years Day and vomited, after peeing no less than 30 times the night before while I was out with my friends. My mom took me to the urgent care where they tested my blood sugar (425) and told me to go to the hospital. I had a great diagnosis experience from there, and my doctor’s were very encouraging that all my dreams for my life were still within reach. I’m very fortunate to have started my journey in such a positive light.
4 – What made you decide to start sharing your diabetes? (For example, why did you start an IG account, blog, Facebook group, etc.)
In 2015 I was on a work exchange trip in Bogota Colombia, and I wasn’t allowed to leave my hotel room at night without my translator, so over the two weeks I was there, I had a lot of time to myself that I had set an intention to try to set aside time with a pen and paper to think about what I wanted to do with my life. My dad had told me years earlier that I was always happiest when I was helping people, so that’s where I started. But who would I help? Then I looked at my insulin pump which I had set on the little table in my hotel room and it clicked. I could help people with Diabetes! So I got to work and decided on doing a podcast (mostly because I didn’t want to write a blog every week) and Diabetics Doing Things was born.
5 – Obviously there are a lot of facets of diabetes, but what is your number one passion to share about diabetes? (For example, sharing signs and symptoms, mental health, eating disorders, governmental issues, etc.)
My number one passion is sharing the stories of the different interests of people with Diabetes. When I was diagnosed, my main concern was whether or not I was going to be able to play basketball with T1D. This was 2005, so internet searches were still in their infancy, but I was able to find stories about two people who were doing the “things” I wanted to do and that gave me a ton of hope and a blueprint of how to approach my life with Diabetes on my terms. Now, people can search for people with Diabetes who do whatever it is they’re interested in while they’re still in the hospital/doctor’s office/clinic, so I try to get as many diverse stories as possible so no matter what “thing” a newly diagnosed person with Diabetes is searching for, they can find it on Diabetics Doing Things.
6 – What’s in your diabetes bag? (Pump, MDI, meter, syringes, adhesives, CGMs, etc.)
Let me just take this opportunity to say how happy I am fanny packs are back in style. I wear a Medtronic 670g insulin pump, with the Guardian 3 sensor. Since this pump is the hybrid closed loop system, I test less frequently than I used to with my old pump, so really I just carry my glucometer with me on a normal work day. But when I travel I stuff my fanny pack full of new sites, reservoirs, insulin vials, test strips, sensors, skin tac, sensor tape, and a syringe just in case.
7 – Where do currently get your diabetes news? (Favorite blogs, IG, FB, Twitter accounts, etc.)
Mostly through Instagram. I keep up with most everything there. BeyondType1 is a great resource for Diabetes lifestyle content as well.
8 – Share three blogs or IG accounts that everyone reading this should be following.
9 – Let’s get real for a minute. What do you struggle with the most when it comes to diabetes? For me, it’s my weight. I can’t ever seem to lose weight. I lose it, then it comes back and being over weight creates stress and anxiety of not being around for my child in the future.
I pride myself in being very open about my life with Diabetes and not sugar coating (see what I did there) what I go through on a daily basis. I think my biggest struggle is the amount of Diabetes content we can find ourselves facing within the Online Community. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful for the community and the support and friendship I’ve received from it, but I think it’s easier than ever to be overly focused on your Diabetes. There is more to life than Diabetes itself. I try to live and share my life in such a way that shows how Diabetes is a part of all the other incredible things I get to be a part of.
10 -What is the #1 myth about diabetes that just gets under your skin every time you hear it?
It’s a tie between people thinking that diet and exercise can cure Type-1 diabetes and that there is a “good” and “bad” Diabetes. All Diabetes is bad.
11 – What is your top diabetes hack? For example, before inserting a new CGM you do XYZ or you use syringes instead of pens because of XYZ.
I think my biggest one is re-using pump reservoir tubing. I use long tubes, so there are around 18 units of insulin in the pump tubing that I was just throwing away. I do around 110 site changes a year (2 per week) so I did the math in my head and decided that was a waste of insulin, especially when there are so many people out there who don’t have it. I still change the tubes after a while because they can get blocked or kinked, but that helps me save over 1,000 U per year. That’s substantial I think.
Editor Note – I did the exact same thing when I was on an insulin pump. I would change my tubing every 3 site changes on average, I would also re-use reservoirs 4-5 times.
12 – What is one thing you would like someone without diabetes to know about living with diabetes?
That some of us are really good at making this very complex, very difficult disease very easy, but that we still carry a heavy load and have so many things to consider when we do very simple activities like going to work, going to the gym, traveling, spending the night away from home, going to bars, going to college. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and yet so many people handle it with incredible grace.
13 – What is your favorite “healthy” food option?
Spoiler alert–I’m a mega health nut. Every day the first meal I eat is a giant salad for lunch that makes me so happy. Big bag of mixed greens, pulled cabbage, organic pulled chicken, almonds, organic dried cranberries, chopped bell peppers, organic sunflower seeds, topped off with generous amounts of avocado oil and salt. I don’t eat breakfast, a cup of coffee is enough for me.
Now we’re going to do a little this or that.
- Cats or dogs? Toughest question by far. I love both.
- Coffee or Tea? Coffee
- Fruits or Veggies? Veggies
- Sweet or Salty? Salty
- TV Series or Movies? Please don’t make me choose
- Mac or Windows? Easiest.
- Ice cream cake or regular cake? Regular Cake
- Pancake or Waffle? Waffle
- Book or eBook? Book
- Pineapple on pizza is great or pineapple on pizza is a crime – (I’m non partisan when it comes to pizza) I too am non partisan.
Take this time to add anything else. Add more to your story, include all links to all of your social media profiles and blogs, VLOGs, websites, etc.
Personal IG: @robhowe21
DDT IG: @diabeticsdoingthings
Podcast on: diabeticstdoingthings.com/podcast itunes, spotify, google play, stitcher