About Rich the Diabetic

Rich the Diabetic was born in 1968.  His diabetes story begins approximately 18 months after he was born.  At that time he was dx (diagnosed) with T1D (type 1, or juvenile diabetes).  Back then he didn’t have glucose monitoring, so as a child he used paper litmus strips to see if he had sugar in his urine.  At age 7 he gave his own shot for the first time at Camp Herkto Hollow in Boone, IA.  For doing this, his parents awarded him a Red Ryder BB gun.  (He still has it!)  As a child, he did everything other kids did.  He just had to take shots and check his urine for glucose.  Maybe he didn’t eat as much sweets as everyone else, but it wasn’t so bad.  He never really thought of diabetes as this big horrible monster, because he never knew life without it.

Somewhere in his teens, he started using a glucose meter, and started managing his diabetes on his own.  Then he moved away from home, and he took complete responsibility for his diabetes.  It wasn’t a big deal, just a fact of life.  He rode the BS (blood sugar) roller coaster just like most T1D’s do, but he did his best and just kept living his life.

Then at age 34, over many weeks time, he started to get chest pains.  He thought it was just because the doctor recently changed his blood pressure meds, so he didn’t think much about it.  Then one day at a business lunch, as he was eating, they started, and then moved to his neck and wrist.  Now he knew what was wrong.  He went to the ER and was admitted overnight.  The EKG that night was normal.  The next day he took his first stress test . . . . . and his heart stopped.  He was absent from this world for about 60 seconds and was awoken to 40,000 volts to the chest.  He was rushed into emergency bypass surgery and had a quad bypass.

After surgery, he entered cardiac rehab.  90 days of controlled exercise with nurses monitoring his heart as he exercised.  He lost about 30lbs, and wanted to continue exercising so he joined a gym.  He hired a champion bodybuilder as a personal trainer.  That got him involved in the health, fitness, and nutrition world, and he’s still there trying to help people just like you, the way he was helped.

Rich the Diabetic lives in Mesa, AZ.  He uses a Dexcom G4 (continuous glucose monitor). His favorite form of exercise is disc golf, and his favorite spectator sport is bodybuilding or strongman.  He’s into roleplaying and tabletop gaming, but no video games.  He’s a total movie nerd, and his music tastes are stuck in the 80’s. You can connect with Rich the Diabetic on his numerous social networks listed at the top of the blog. Thanks for visiting!



29 Responses to About Rich the Diabetic

  1. Rosanne says:

    Wow! I love your story. I am a 47 y/o T1 who two years ago went into DKA for the THIRD, yes, THIRD time and flat lined in the ambulance on the way to the ER. (BTW: I did NOT see “the light” – I saw the opposite and knew I had go get my life right in so many ways, but that’s for another day.)

    I am just now getting some energy back. The acid in my blood ate away at my muscle mass and I looked anorexic. I am now gaining weight but it’s just flab. I don’t have much energy to exercise and I also lost the vision in my left eye and have limited vision in my right. I used to work out all the time so I know what my body can look like. I also know that I am older and sicker than I was back then. What can I do to start getting in better shape?


    • richthediabetic says:

      Wow! I’ve met another immortal! I knew there had to be more than 1!!!

      All kidding aside, first, I feel the need to ask if you have a good relationship with your endo or diabetes educator. If not, try to find one you can trust, or you can manage. Next, to try to win back your health, I’d ask you to think about what you eat daily. There are some lifestyles (not diets), that work wonders for diabetics, but just to get you started, I’d recommend getting rid of processed foods from your diet. Eat real food, which has nutrients to fuel your body and make you healthy. If you don’t have energy to exercise, do you have energy to walk? Just walking 30 minutes a day can do wonders too. It takes longer, but it works. That should at least get you started on a healthier road. 🙂

  2. Natalie says:

    Hi Rich,
    Your story is incredible. I’m a type 1, 36 years long, diagnosed at age 4. I’ve had 2 heart attacks and was just diagnosed with retinopathy. I have other complications as well as suffer from EXTREME insulin resistance. I take so much insulin on a daily basis and as a result suffer from being overweight. I was well controlled for most of my youth but spent the years from 18-31 with absolutely NO INSURANCE, so I had very little control. I purchased insulin and syringes over the counter in a nearby state and tried to guess at insulin doses. I had to way to monitor blood sugars. I finally was able to get insurance from my job in 2004 and have since struggled with trying to maintain normal bloodsugars.
    How do you manage on a “PALEO” diet? Do you have recipes? A cookbook? Where do you find the energy to work out? What is your typical A1C? What kind of relationship do you have with you Endo? How did you find him/her?
    I’m struggling with my diabetes and weight now, I do walk and sometimes bikeride but find that my energy levels are so low that when I get done working a 10 hour day, I don’t have much left.
    You’re story is great though, you have a lot of motivation and you look and sound very healthy! Way to go! Being a Type 1 is one of life’s ultimate challenges.

    • richthediabetic says:

      I’m sorry to hear you’re having all those complications Natalie. Regarding Paleo, it’s working wonders for me. I do have some PDF’s with paleo recipes to get you started. I’ll send them to you in email. The easiest book to get you started with paleo, is called “The Primal Blueprint”. Go buy it, read it, live it. It helps. I’ve never had a good endo. However, I have an incredible diabetes educator, and an incredible nurse practitioner who specializes in diabetes. Those are new in the last couple years. Regarding exercise, there are so many things can be causing you to feel week and no energy. We can chat more via email when I send you those files. I hope you feel better tomorrow than you did today Natalie!

  3. Kia Kaha? are you a kiwi? Love your story my Dad and my son are both T1. My dad’s story is similar to yours. Although he wasn’t dx until he was 40, when he was 61 he retrained and is now a personal trainer, manages a gym and enters the occasional body building competition.
    I struggle to keep my sons bg’s in the zone, but will be sorted soon as we’re fundraising for the dexcom CGM. He’s been pumping for two years, which has been life changing. Reading your story is inspirational and gives me hope that we can get on top of this too.

    • richthediabetic says:

      LOL! I’m not a kiwi, but that phrase “kia kaha” is from New Zealand and means “stay strong”. So your dad bodybuilds eh? That’s amazing! I’ve seen quite a few bodybuilders his age. They always inspire. I wish you success with your son getting that Dexcom. You think the pump was life changing? Wait til you get the Dex!

  4. Ava says:

    Hi, Rich! I came across this website on youtube and left you a comment/question. I was diagnosed at age 3 and have had Diabetes for 44 years. Now you know my age! I know very little about the Paleo Diet but am researching it. I have eaten low carb off and on this past year and have noticed I crave carbs when I fall off the wagon. Blasted cheese puffs!

    A couple of days ago, after throwing away a handful of cheese puffs that beckoned to me from the bottom of the bag, I decided to go low carb again. But this time I’ve reduced my carb intake even more. I had to make myself eat supper. Is it normal to have blood sugars 80-90 and have some ketones while following a low carb diet?

    Thanks and appreciate your story.

    • richthediabetic says:

      Yes Ava, that’s normal. However, you must be extremely careful going super low carb as a type 1 diabetic, because eventually, after being low carb for a while, your liver will start to dump glucose regularly (since you’re not eating carbs), thus making your blood sugar unexpectedly rise. If you already have ketones, and this starts to happen, it’s harder than heck to get your blood sugar to come down once it reaches 250. Low carb caused DKA for me for the first time in my life, and I even knew it could happen ahead of time, so I thought I was ready for it. Be careful Ava. Do a lot of research. Lookup Dr. Richard Bernstein for tons of info on low carb for type 1 diabetes. He’s been diabetic over 70 years now.

  5. richard cameron says:

    rich – great site. I am Type 1.5 (stealth) diabetic since 1996, I do not use a pump (I consider it to be a Weapon of Mass Destruction) but do use my Dexcom G4 – it has really changed my life. It was so hard to manage finger stick on long runs (marathons to 50 milers) and even longer bike rides and races. As a result, my BS was always too high (a low-boy on a bike race can really be fatal). Now the Dexcom (generally) enables me to stay close to flat-line at 70-80. Note to athletes – you can put your Dexcom in a thin (sandwich style) bag, and put it in your shorts – it will stay dry and continue to work (lost a couple of monitors to excessive moisture from sweat).

    and yes, you certainly can use the sensors for more than a week – just stop the sensor and restart it. I generally get two weeks plus a few days out of a single sensor. Of course, I may be stressing them more than other people.

    I am 69 years old, but don’t seem to have much fall out from 17 years of diabetes. I guess I was fortunate to not get diabetes until there was decent technology to control my BS.

    Thanks for the links and the info.

    • richthediabetic says:

      Thanks Richard! Glad to hear you don’t have much fallout. That’s a great accomplishment for you. Dude, you run 50 mile races? Holy smokes! That’s awesome. I’m challenged just doing P90X3!

  6. Jessica says:

    Amazing story! Just shows we can overcome anything and turn it into a positive 😉

  7. Befinnerty says:

    Hi Rich! I work for UnityPoint and noticed your story about our online patient portal – I’m glad you like it! Since it’s relatively new, I wanted to see if you would be willing to let us share your comments/story on our website? Please email me and let me know – thank you! 🙂

  8. Stephen Wright says:

    Hi Rich. My wife and I are ready to start P90X3 in a few weeks. She is 44 and type 1. The nutrition plan will be the toughest part of this. Would love to get in touch and discuss?

  9. Albert Kretz says:


    Great site.

    There is hope on the horizon. Please see my Indiegogo video and, if you consider what we present worth while, be free to share with your associates, as I try to get this next-generation CGM off the ground. At Indiegogo, search for: Continuous Glucose Monitor. We are: Advanced BioSensors-Ohio, LLC.

    Keep on Truck’n,

    Dr. Kretz

  10. Audrey says:

    Hi i saw your Blood Glucose meter comparison on Youtube and though i am not very technically minded i thought i would send you a photo of my 4 blood glucose meter tests as my experience has been completely different from yours

    i used one touch ultra easy (my old trusted meter, the new verio and verio IQ and the Bayer Contour Next usb
    my results taken from a sample of blood from my left index finger at the same time with the same drop of blood all fell between 6.1 & 6.5 uk measurement

    One touch ultra easy = 6.1
    Vario IQ =6.3
    Bayer Contour Next USB = 6.4
    Vario = 6.5

    Taken Sunday September 6th 2014

    unfortunately the photo will not load onto this message so not sure how to get this photo to you.



  11. Hi Rich, I am a type 1 since 14, I am 43 now, single mother of 3, work work work. I’ve been doing low low low carb for a few months now, but my blood sugars are still 200’s, I’d like to know more about paleo diet, I think mite be close to what i do. Just like to add…we don’t need carbs!!! Doctors out there are not correct when giving out a dosage of how many carbs we should eat, my doctor says i should have 160 grams a day. What? I eat under 50 most days and then there’s fiber so then it’s even lower, i also eat high healthy fats…avocados!!!! I Love em too. and moderate protein and work out. Thank you. You’re doing a great job. I just haven’t found the exact amount of insulin i should be having with my low carb diet. Just kinda weird. What do you think?

    • richthediabetic says:

      Hi Rachell, hey did I reply to you via email about this? I remember writing a response, but I don’t see it posted here? Anyway, I wanted to recommend a book for you called “The Diabetes Solution” by Dr. Richard Bernstein. It’s like the bible of low carb for type 1 diabetics. There are many other books about low carb out there too, and my favorite is called Protein Power. Regarding your blood sugars staying high, when you eat low carb, your liver will begin to release glucose into the blood stream naturally since you’re not providing it with carbs. This is a natural effect, and so you have to adjust your basal insulin rate when you start low carb as a type 1 diabetic. It’s something you should do with medical supervision, or the help of doctor or diabetes educator. That book Diabetes Solution talks about this in more detail. Hope that helps.

  12. praveen says:

    Hi Rich, I have a 11 year old daughter with type 1 since a year(2013 August). It took me time to accept the disease and trying to understand so that i can keep my daughter safe until she grow up. I really sorry to hear all those people sharing their complications as they get older. Hope a day will come soon to rescue from these complications with proper medication. I doubt about the cure as it is a complicated problem and involves lot of funding. I wanted ask you a help, how do i keep her safe and best practices that i can give to my daughter. Like should i use CGMS devices to monitor her levels and accordingly set the basil and bolus in pump? How frequently should i use CGMS? We just used first cgms using medtronics, but i did not like it as it is not accurate. do u like decom? is it good for 11 years? What other things i should keep in mind as she grow up? Initially we started with injectsions and later with medtronic pump. My most of free time(work time some times) goes into googling on this problem to learn more so that i can help better my kid. Thanks for your time on sharing your thoughts with other and helping people. i really appreciate for doing everything to the society. I am from India living in Hyderbad, India.

    • richthediabetic says:

      Hello Praveen, regarding the questions you asked, I recommend your daughter use the DEXCOM CGMS. The Medtronic CGMS was horribly inaccurate when I tried it. They have a new model, but it’s still not as accurate as the Dexcom. I use a Medtronic pump, but a Dexcom CGMS. Your question about what you can do to help your daughter with her diabetes? You’re doing it already. Just keep educating yourself. Make friends. Join local support groups. If you don’t have local support groups, find support groups online. Go to http://www.tudiabetes.org/ and create a profile. There are thousands and thousands of diabetics, and parents of diabetics there who understand what you’re going through. Keep doing what you’re doing Praveen. I wish you and your daughter long life and health. 🙂

      • praveen says:

        Thanks a lot for quick reply. it is a lot to me. How frequently it is advisable to go for cgms? is it a monthly once or 6months? We dont have a support in India for dexcom, i have to find a way.

  13. Maia Reitz says:

    Hey Rich! My name is Maia. My husband is a type one diabetic, of 20 years, and he is on the mini-med insulin pump as well as you are! He has gone into DKA more times than he can count! He is a brittle diabetic, as well as having gullian barre and CIDP. He has been on life support 19 times, he also died 9 times! Currently he is using the quick-set infusion set. I had him watch your video comparing the quick-set and the silhouette infusion sets. He is scared to use the silhouette infusion set because it is needle based and is scared it will hurt him. Now, after watching your video comparing the 2 he is willing to try a different infusion set!

  14. Steve says:

    Hey Rich, I am the dad of a boy with T1D, he is very active in martial arts and he is now just starting the ride into puberty.
    His bgl used to be tightly managed but now it is not so much. We are looking into CGM and the option of changing to a pump.
    I was wondering if you had any advise on nutrition pre training and post training to try and avoid having to stop training to test when bgl is dropping and then having to treat hypo or try to avoid a hypo and then trying to train with s belly full of food.
    Any advise would be great we live in s rural area and access to people with sports nutrition just army accessible

    Thanks SZ

  15. Katherine says:

    Hi Rich, I was diagnosed last month at the age of 42. So far only been to the gym once since dx, 50 min session, blood glucose went from 5.7 to 4.6. So my question is, how do I manage eating with exercise so that 1) I can drive straight after – need a reading of 5 for that 2) I don’t end up putting in more call than I burn? Thanks, Katherine

  16. Broken Hearted says:

    It’s 3 o’clock in the morning and I am sitting in the hospital with my first born who has just been diagnosed with Diabetes the labs have not come back yet and I feel helpless as I pray that this whole thing is just a nightmare that I get to wake up from. I know I have to be strong for him but I am crumbling inside and frantic for hope.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s