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Rob Howe – Getting to Know Diabetes: The Interview Series

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.

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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.

@yourejustmytype1 @t1dchick @insulin_and_tonic – all great.

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.

  1. Cats or dogs? Toughest question by far. I love both.
  2. Coffee or Tea? Coffee
  3. Fruits or Veggies? Veggies
  4. Sweet or Salty? Salty
  5. TV Series or Movies? Please don’t make me choose
  6. Mac or Windows? Easiest.
  7. Ice cream cake or regular cake? Regular Cake
  8. Pancake or Waffle? Waffle
  9. Book or eBook? Book
  10. 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.

Website: diabeticsdoingthings.com

Personal IG: @robhowe21

DDT IG: @diabeticsdoingthings

Podcast on: diabeticstdoingthings.com/podcast itunes, spotify, google play, stitcher

healthiq life insurance for diabetics featured image

HealthIQ Life Insurance for Diabetics

Everyone talks about maintaining health insurance while living with Type 1 Diabetes, but one thing I never put a lot of thought into was life insurance coverage. When I started to explore life insurance options a few years ago, it freaked me out. I started to find out that it was going to be pretty tough to get affordable life insurance as a person with diabetes.

Recently, I came across a company called Health IQ and started to learn some more about them. Back in November 2018, they announced a partnership with Protective Life Insurance Company to create a life insurance option for people with diabetes who are living a healthy lifestyle and managing their diabetes well with a much more cost effective option.

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Diabetes News 1/11/18

Here are the top news articles that I came across this past week in the diabetes world.

Rush Introduces Insulin Access For All Bill

Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) introduced H.R.366, the Insulin Access for All Act of 2019.  This bill, cosponsored by 33 members of the Democratic Caucus, eliminates the cost sharing requirement under Medicare and Medicaid for insulin. – Read the whole article here.

Does this common food additive stop us exercising?

A two-part study that examined both mice and humans revealed a strong link between inorganic phosphate, a food additive that is prevalent in the “Western diet,” and a lack of physical activity. – Read the whole article here.

CES 2019: Running list of health tech announcements

This is a running list of digital health products announced at CES. The list will be updated as the week goes on. – Read the whole article here.

As Hospitals Post Sticker Prices Online, Most Patients Will Remain Befuddled

As of Jan. 1, in the name of transparency, the Trump administration required that all hospitals post their list prices online. But, does it have any effect? Read the whole article here.

Beta Bionics raises $63m for bionic pancreas

Boston-based Beta Bionics said this week that it closed a $63 million Series B round to support the development of its iLet bionic pancreas system for people with Type 1 diabetes. – Read the whole article here.

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2019 Speaking Opportunities

One of my goals for 2019 is to speak at a few events. Believe it or not, I am actually a pretty shy person. I don’t do well, talking to others. However, once I start talking about something that I am passionate about, I can talk forever.

I heard somewhere recently, it was a stand up comedy show that the fear of public speaking is larger than the fear of death. So as the comedian said, you would rather be in the casket than to give the eulogy.

The only way to get rid of a fear is to attack it head on.

So, that’s why I want to pursue for a speaking opportunities this year. I would love to speak at small, local diabetes events, JDRF events, or even be part of a panel to start.

If you are reading this post and you are in charge of booking speakers for diabetes events, then let’s chat.

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My Omnipod Has Been Delivered

Towards the end of the year last year, I’d say the final 10 days of the year, I went from thinking about going back on a pump to somehow being on the phone with Omnipod ordering my new insulin pump. It all happened pretty quickly, but here’s the story.

I recently wrote about my thoughts of going back on an insulin pump. I was torn between a t:slim and an Omnipod. I’m not going to go into full details of that thought process again, you can read the article.

The final decision for me came down to the fact that I have loved not being connected to a device with a wire for the last year after going back to MDI. I still do not want to be connected to a wire. So, I sat down and outweighed the two most important options, Basal IQ from Tandem or no tubing from Omnipod.

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Diabetes News 1/4/18

Here is a recap of all the Diabetes News-worthy articles I stumbled upon this week.

PATIENT EXPERIENCE FIVE TIMES AS LIKELY TO DRIVE CONSUMER LOYALTY AS MARKETING

Patient experience is five times more likely to influence brand loyalty than conventional marketing tools such as billboards, or television, print, or radio ads, the report says.

EHR Use Helps to Reduce Hospital Readmissions, Length of Stays

Research suggests hospitals engaging in EHR use to fulfill federal regulations achieve improvements in patient health outcomes.

5 Things to Know About the ADA 2019 Standards of Care

Throughout 2018, leaders in diabetes care have emphasized how disease management prevents cardiovascular events, and this was reflected in the latest Standards of Care. Here are 5 things to know about the ADA Standards of Care

GLP-1 Receptor Agonists Not Associated With Increased Diabetic Retinopathy Risk

Use of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists does not increase risk for diabetic retinopathy in older adults, according to study results published in Diabetes Care.

Introducing Behind the Betes Podcast

Let’s just jump right into it.

I present to you, Behind the Betes Podcast.

You may have not known this, but I started a podcast back in January 2018 called, The Type One Entrepreneur. I only recorded 14 episodes of this and they were sporadic. The concept was simple.

Do a 5 minute podcast, 5 days a week about my life as type one entrepreneur. I loved the concept, but I just didn’t feel like it was bringing much value, so it kinda faded away.

I thought about how I could bring value to the diabetes community without just being “another podcast”?

I started the Getting to Know Diabetes: The Interview Series on my blog a couple of months ago and people seemed to love the interviews, so the lightbulb went off. A-HA!

I’ve always wanted to learn more about the people behind the disease. I’ve met so many people on Twitter who have Type 1 and I know what pump they use, but I don’t know their favorite sports teams, I don’t know their profession, or what state they grew up in or what their favorite movie is.

So, that’s what Behind the Betes is.

Episodes will be a mixture of me just talking about something diabetes related, but trying to get behind just the disease aspect, but majority of the episodes will be interviews with people with diabetes or those who are effected by diabetes.

The same 10 questions will be asked to every single guest. Each episode will have unique questions as well and go the direction it flows into, but the core questions will be the same.

I will be testing the time and day of when episodes are launched (I’m an analytics guy, you know I have to test), but as of now, the first episode is scheduled to launch on Wednesday, January 9. This will just be an episode of me introducing the new podcast. The first interview will be Wednesday January 16.

You can check out the website https://behindthebetes.com/ which is still a work in progress, to subscribe to the podcast.

Sign up to be part of the exclusive email list to get an early heads up on upcoming guests and email list only giveaways.

Like what you read? Then sign up for The Life of a Diabetic newsletter to get all the week’s posts delivered directly to your email every Saturday morning.

 
 

 
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MotionPack from Meds in Motion – Solution to Forgeting to Take My Oral Meds

As part of my diabetes management I take several oral medications. I take:

  • Losartan for High Blood Pressure
  • Atorvastatin for high cholesterol
  • Fenofibrate for high triglycerides

And that’s it…. for now.

I am currently getting these every 90 days, so I usually have a lot of them in the pill bottle at any given time.

I have, unfortunately, forgotten to take my oral medications plenty of times. I try to take them every night after I eat dinner and clean up the mess that I made while either prepping, cooking, or eating dinner.

I’ve tried plenty of things to help me with making sure that I don’t forget pills.

I’ve used my phone calendar, that annoyed me.

I’ve used a weekly pill box, then I forgot to fill the pill box every Sunday.

I’ve used apps to help remind me, then I downloaded another cool app 20 minutes later and forgot all about that other app.

MotionPack

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Welcome to 2019

Every year on January 1, people usually feel excited about what the New Year is going to bring. Sometimes after the hangover from the night before starts to fade away.

For me, there is definitely excitement for what this New Year holds. There is also a high level of anxiety that comes along with it for me. I’ve kept my anxiety out of this blog for a long time, but not in 2019. 2019 holds a brand new future to The Life of a Diabetic.

You will see more blogging, more news with my insights, more Vlogs and a brand new podcast.

I will be announcing the relaunch of my podcast, with a brand new name, brand new concept and brand new fire that you know I’m going to bring with it.

So, stay tuned, because 2019 is going to be one for the ages. In fact, go ahead and screen grab this post and come back to me on January 1, 2020 and see if I am saying the same ole stuff, or I actually accomplished something.

Here’s to a great year.

life of a diabetic 2018 year in review

My 2018 Year in Review

2018 came with a lot of changes in my life.

Bye-Bye Pump

The first one started with deciding to give up pumping and go back to MDI. This also meant that I was going to start using Dexcom as my CGM of choice. 12 months later and I do not regret this decision. Dexcom has been amazing, and I absolutely love the choice that I made to switch to Dexcom.

Fiasp

In March, I was able to get my hands on free samples of Fiasp. I wrote about my feelings on Fiasp, but to summarize, I loved it. The faster acting insulin really did help decrease the spikes that I have after meals.

Advocating My Way

During 2018, I was attacked personally because of the way that I decide to advocate. If I didn’t advocate the way a certain group of people wanted me to advocate, they would attack me (and many others that I know). So, I wrote an article about why I will advocate my way, and you can advocate your way. We all have different ways of advocating, or doing anything really. So, I felt that I needed to write a post explaining that my way works for me, and everybody can advocate whatever way they feel like, as long as it is effective and not putting others down at the same time.

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