7500 Views in 48 Hours

Signing a copy of my book for a parent of a teenage girl living with diabetes.

Signing a copy of my book for a parent of a teenage girl living with diabetes.

For the last two years I’ve been blogging for another diabetes website. I decided to stop with that because it had started to not become as fun for me anymore. I wanted to get back to purely writing for myself on my little WordPress site. Unrestricted. Not influenced by what content or messaging they had on their homepage. I feel most centered when I’m speaking about my diabetes journey. I realize not one d-journey is the same…but I hope to be a voice to those who need one.


The Video that got 7,500 hits in 48 hours

I was playing around with a new Facebook video feature last week and posted a year-old video that I had filmed by a guy friend of mine who I met through Bible study last January. Imagine my shock when I went back on my FB two days later to see the video had almost 7,500 views! The video is something that I’m really proud of and I wanted you all to know why filming that video helped me break aways chains to bring me freedom again….

Him and I worked on a concept and he suggested that I bring in my figure skating background to weave into the story. That didn’t sound like a good idea to me. Since beginning treatment (for bulimia), I had not laced up my skates. During my tough years of struggling with an eating disorder, it made me feel not good enough. The old things that I loved to do were not fun for me anymore. I hadn’t played a note on the piano since leaving the pageant scene in 2010 and hadn’t laced up skating boots since 2007.

I didn’t even have my pair of skates at my apartment in Minneapolis. He told me he wanted to show another aspect of my life, other then just living with diabetes. I bought a $25 pair of figure skates off of Craigslist and brought them to get sharpened the morning of the filming. He told me he had picked out a small pond that he thought would remind me of the days when I learned to figure skate in my parent’s backyard.

My book got published last January by River Place Press.

My book got published last January by River Place Press.

I had to get to the point that day that my history of being sick with an eating disorder did not have to dictate my destiny. If living with diabetes for 16 years has taught me anything…it’s that you may have tough days and fall, but the next day is a new one and you must find strength in the Lord and pick yourself back up.

Skating around that pond last February reminded me of my love of the sport. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t whip off jumps and spins anymore. What mattered was that I laced those boots up after years of fearing of not being good enough on that ice.

Publishing my book last January about my journey living with diabetes has fueled my desire to want to continue to speak out about my personal story. Tomorrow I head to Washington, D.C. to speak to over 100 Novo Nordisk employees about being an effective diabetes advocate and on Wednesday we will march the Hill. Send prayers my way!

Please take a moment to watch the video and let me know of a time where you overcame a fear….

To learn more about the work I do for diabetes, or to see if I’m speaking in a town near you, check out my website….www.QuinnNystrom.com

Next week’s blog post –  JD will write on what it was like for him to shoot a video and learn more about diabetes from another angle. 

Diabetes Ignorance 101


A good friend of mine, who has type-1 diabetes, recently posted this picture on her facebook wall. Of course I just sort of shook my head in response that someone would then post the below comment to it on facebook. The people who are educated about diabetes can’t believe the level of people’s ignorance. People who haven’t been “properly” educated about the disease do ask these types of questions and/or make ignorant comments to people living with type-1 and type-2 diabetes. I can only speak from personal experience in the arena of type-1.

Most people who read my blog are pretty familiar that there is a difference between type-1 and type-2, but if people aren’t I would like to share the quick differences. I took the quoted information straight from the American Diabetes Association’s website diabetes.org.

“Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), or simply, diabetes, is a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin.

Type – 1  diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. 

Type- 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and many more are unaware they are at high risk. Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African AmericansLatinos,Native Americans, and Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population.

In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can lead to diabetes complications.”

Just because I’m well versed in diabetes knowledge, I do not believe that I have that same knowledge for other conditions (far from it!). My cousin has down syndrome, and because I know of people putting stereotypes on diabetes that have hurt me in the past, I ask questions if I’m not sure instead of make statements to my aunt, uncle, or cousins. To me the learning lesson in all of this is showing compassion to people. The truth is, for the most part, we don’t know what someone else has had to walk through. And let’s be clear, I’m no angel. I have had several days in my life were someone has said something very rude and ignorant to me and without even thinking I give a snarky response back. In my clear mind I know that instead of getting worked up, I need to channel that energy in helping educate that person about the truths of diabetes. Will you join me in telling, writing, whatever creative avenue that you have….to tell YOUR DIABETES STORY!?! This is what will help change the perception of this disease.

Call to Congress 2013

Last month I was chosen to represent Minnesota at the 2013 American Diabetes Association (ADA) Call to Congress event. Advocacy is confsomething that is near and dear to my heart. I first attended this event when I was 16 years old and had just been chosen as National Youth Advocate for the ADA. Over 200 diabetes advocates flew in to Washington, DC from around the country to be trained on what ellingsonissues are imperative on Capitol Hill for people living with diabetes. On the 2nd day of the conference we stormed the hill and met with our US Senators & Congressmen. Our Members of Congress want to hear from their constituents about issues that are important to them (we do vote if they’re in or out). My goal is to try to put a face and a name with the cause. The statistics can get overwhelming for anyone. I want them to know how diabetes has personally affected my life and my brothers.

It was a successful 3-day conference! It was fun to see fellow friends and past National Youth Advocates that I’ve served with…it was

Maddie Dodge & I - past National Youth Advocates

Maddie Dodge & I – past National Youth Advocates

kind of like Homecoming!

Jim McGowan put together a wonderful video where he wrote and performed the songs on it about stopping diabetes. Check it out…song and montage of advocate visits to Capitol Hill and their inspirations to STOP DIABETES…


ACTION STEP: Become an advocate! It’s quick & easy. Click here to be brought to the American Diabetes Association’s page on where you can sign up to be an advocate (you will see a red sign-up box on the right hand side of the page). They will email you when there is an important diabetes piece of legislation that is going to be voted on. They make it quick and easy for you to send a form letter to your Member of Congress. I promise you it takes 3 minutes to do and you only get 1 e-mail from them every other month (you will not be spammed). Will you join with me in helping STOP DIABETES!?!



Diabetes & the Flu


Having a pharmacist as a father I’m constantly reminded every fall that I MUST get a flu shot. I’m always compliant, knowing the last thing that I want for the impending winter season is the flu combined with type-1 diabetes. In my mind, a terrible combination.

This past week I had planned to go on a business trip, but drive so that I could also stop to see close friends along the route. It was an ambitious trip. 7 days. 5 states. 8 close friends. Oh yeah, and some business to conduct. 🙂

The trip came to a halting STOP on day 3. I was staying in Grand Rapids, MI with a college friend when I got very sick overnight. I knew it was the flu. That morning I diligently checked my blood sugars, but I couldn’t keep any food or liquid down. I ended up making the decision to go to the emergency room that afternoon to be checked out. I in fact had the flu. The point is just because you get the flu shot doesn’t make you immune to all the different strands out there. Unfortunately for me I was not home and stayed the next 3 days in a hotel trying to recover. I went back to the basics of knowing what to get when you have the flu and diabetes. Check blood sugar often.sprite Sip on Powerade & regular Sprite. Get lots of sleep. Saltine crackers are your best friend.

Here is some great information that I found through the American Diabetes Association’s website on what to do on sick days (I printed this out and stuck it in my drawer so that I have it as a reference the next time I get sick)…

Having the cold or flu is definitely no fun. If you have diabetes, it can also make your blood glucose levels go crazy.

Always talk to your D-team about what you should do when you get sick.

Here are some tips on what you can do to help keep your blood glucose in check. Again, be sure to call your D-team when you are sick for specific guidance.

  • Keep taking your insulin. You may think it would make sense to cut back since you’re not eating as much, but when you’re sick, sometimes you need more insulin. Stay in contact with your D-team when you’re sick.
  • Eat regularly. You may not have much of an appetite, but it’s important to try to get some carbs at meal times. If you’re having trouble keeping food down, try sports drinks, juice, soup broth, or even a frozen fruit bar.
  • Drink a lot of water. When you’re sick you’re always in danger of becoming dehydrated. Stick to non-caffeinated drinks. If you have trouble keeping fluids down because you are throwing up, drink small amounts – sips, or just a teaspoon or so – at a time, about every 5 minutes. This will help keep you from getting dehydrated.
  • Talk to your D-team about what kinds of medicines they recommend.
  • Check your blood glucose often, every 2-4 hours. Since blood glucose can go crazy when you’re sick, it’s good to keep a close eye on it.
  • Check your ketones often. The biggest danger when you’re sick is DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis). If ketones get too high and you don’t treat it, you could get even sicker! If you are vomiting or have diarrhea, check even more often. 

Sick Day Snacks
You may not feel like eating what you normally eat when you’re sick so here are some snack ideas. These snacks have about 10-15 grams of carbs in them.

Fluid Snacks

  • 1 double-stick Popsicle®
  • 1 cup Gatorade® or sports drink
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup soup
  • 4 ounces apple or orange juice
  • 1/2 cup regular soft drink (not diet) 

Food Snacks

  • 6 saltines
  • 5 vanilla wafers
  • 4 Lifesavers®
  • 3 graham crackers
  • 1 slice dry toast (not light bread)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup cooked cereal
  • 1/2 cup ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • 1/2 cup regular ice cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free pudding
  • 1/2 cup regular (not sugar-free) Jell-O®
  • 1/2 cup custard
  • 1/2 cup mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup sherbet or sorbet
  • 1/4 cup regular pudding


Screen shot 2012-11-02 at 4.47.03 PMHere’s to better days to come…

What are your sick day strategies?

Simply Raw – Reversing Diabetes in 30 days

I have lived with type-1 diabetes for over 13 years. I’ve cried and I’ve laughed. I’ve watched my younger brother Will for 15 years go through trials and tribulations with diabetes. I can’t count the number of times I’ve met people and they’ve poured their diabetes story out to me. There is one main thing in common with all those people and their loved ones…we would do anything to have a cure for diabetes. Point blank.

When someone recently sent me a link to a site telling me that someone has found a cure for diabetes I knew right away that’s impossible. It’s impossible because there is no cure for diabetes (type-1 or type-2). Why? Because a cure means, “a means of healing or restoring to health”. Over the years people will come up to me and send me information on promises of a cure for the disease. I’m sick of places capitalizing on the diabetes epidemic. It gets people’s hopes up when they hear about something like this, when it’s not the truth. Please stop. Please stop your “creative leniency” on advertising materials.

Here is the link so that you can see for yourself the claim that I’m talking about…


I think the VERY SMALL PRINT at the bottom of the page says it all, “The program featured in the film at the Tree of Life Rejuvination Center is most effective with diabetes type 2 but is also very effective at increasing quality of life and reducing insulin levels for diabetes type 1.” Decreasing insulin CANNOT be termed a cure.

So they’re telling us stuff that we already know…

  • some type-2 diabetics can reduce medication and/or get off completely if they have the disease because of obesity
  • some people are so ignorant about diabetes that they think they can use terminology like “reverse diabetes” when we all know that if you have type-2 and you no longer have to use medication (for whatever reason) you still have it, you’re just not taking medication
  • finally, for their type-1 comments…we know the less sugar you eat, the less insulin you would need to take. You’re not telling us anything new…other then making yourselves look uneducated.

And to think that they have over 18,000 likes on their Facebook page for “reversing diabetes” makes me sad. Switch your banner headline to “a solution to help you treat your diabetes better” and then we can talk about me clicking that button.

To all of you who are even clicking “LIKE” on these people’s page is tough for me to swallow. In the preview of the movie on their website they immediately discredit the American Diabetes Association’s statement on how there is no cure for diabetes. As a volunteer for the ADA I’m sickened that people would question their statements. The work they do to unite people so we can actually find a “real cure” and to fund programs to help with your quality of life have personally saved me.

SIMPLY RAW: You don’t think I would pay $29.95 for a cure for this deadly, chronic illness that I’ve lived with for 4,805 days of my life? You don’t think I would pay $29.95 to take away the pain that my brother has had to go through to just be able to  be healthy enough to play in a high school varsity game? You want to make this claim to the world (with some small print at the bottom) and confuse more people about diabetes?

Quantity Product Price Total Remove
Simply Raw: Reversing Diabetes in 30 Days
$29.95 $29.95
Coupon code (optional):
Subtotal: $29.95
Total: $29.95

Yes, if I ate raw foods every day I would decrease some of my insulin doses. If a type-2 were to do this, they may be able to get off their medication. But NEITHER of us are cured. Please stop your misleading headlines.

I hope that the diabetes community bands together to not support companies who make these claims, but we stand together to educate people properly on diabetes.

To learn more information about the different types of diabetes click here.

If you would like to learn about ways that you can get involved in the diabetes community please feel free to reach out to me and I would be happy to match you up with an opportunity.