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EP 7: LEAKED: Real & Raw Conversation with My Dad. The Parents Side of the Diagnosis

EP 7: LEAKED: Real & Raw Conversation with My Dad. The Parents Side of the Diagnosis

November 15, 2021

I'll never know what it's like to be a parent of a type one diabetic, but that's why I'm so grateful for open conversations like this with my dad where I get to hear his perspective. Inside this conversation, you'll hear the raw side of a parents perception of the diagnosis from the initial symptoms, to the financial realities and how type one diabetes shaped our relationship and family dynamic. 

EPISODE BREAKDOWN:

⏰ Do you remember the first time that I called you guys saying that something was wrong?

 ⏰ The initial diagnosis

 ⏰ The experience of being diagnosed as a young adult

 ⏰ My dad's Lent initiative

 ⏰ Dealing with insurance with the new diagnosis 

⏰ Dealing with questions from others

 ⏰ Creating a system for emergency situations

 ⏰ How diabetes lead me to my passion.

 ⏰ My dad's advice for other parents

 

Transcription:

Elisabeth Poyner  

Welcome to Keeping It 100 Radio. I'm your host, Lissie Poyner. Type one diabetic, certified health coach, personal trainer and founder of Needles and Spoons Health and Wellness. Inside this podcast you'll find the real and raw conversations around diabetes management, including lessons we don't learn in our endo’s office, my best tips and trainings and conversations from experts I trust inside the community so you can create more predictability in your diabetes management and feel empowered while doing so. Let's dive in.   Keeping It 100 Radio is brought to you in collaboration with Skin Grip, the only patch company that I trust with my diabetes devices. I started using Skin Grip about two years ago and before I found them my dexcom would last maybe four or five days before falling off, making it really hard to lift weights, hike with my dogs or just wanting to do the everyday things that I love. But now I can confidently travel, work out and navigate life with diabetes without having to worry about dealing with insurance more than I have to, begging for replacements and resorting to fingerpricks. Plus I'm in love with their mission to help us live fearlessly with diabetes. You can check out Skin Grip at SkinGrip.com and save 10% on your order by using the code LISSIE. L-I-S-S-I-E at checkout.   Hey friends welcome back to another episode of Keeping It 100 Radio on today's episode I have my dad on as a guest. And before we get into the episode, I just want to preface with the fact that my dad is a he talks with his hands a lot. So I know that you're listening to a podcast you can't like to see what he's doing. But you may hear a few times like a noise in the background. And I just want to preface with that. Like it's my dad like tapping my desk. So the mic did pick up on it a little bit. I was hoping that it wouldn't but just in case you hear anything, I wanted to preface with that's what it is. So let's get going into this episode.  All right, welcome back to Keeping It 100 Radio. Today I'm here with my dad, Mark Poyner, the one and only. And we're going to basically talk about the diagnosis it diagnosis experience back seven years ago now, when I was first diagnosed in college, Dad, do you mind introducing yourself?



Sure. My name is Mark Poyner. I'm Lisse's dad. And I've been heard that all my life.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

My dad is typical, corny, Dad style. So keep that in mind as we're going through this this episode. Alright, so I've mentioned this in a few episodes, but I was diagnosed, actually, let me test you real quick. How long has it been since I was diagnosed with type one?



Seven and a half years.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Do you remember the date?



I remember being, I think in February? Yeah. And right around Valentine's Day it could have been? 

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah, February 17th. 



February 17th. Yeah I remember that.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Do you remember the first time that I called you guys saying that something was 



Yeah, you called the week before and you're drinking a lot of water. 

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah. 



And you're just gotten over the you were getting over the flu. But something was wrong. And I think mom and I said to, you know, to make sure you get checked up or go to the doctor or something. I don't know how you wind up going to the doctor. But you did wind up going to either emergency or whatever. But we were worried.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Were you worried at first or do you just think it was like?



Yeah, I thought it was probably just from the flu. And that it might have been just something from the flu that you're still trying to get over. I had no idea that it was going to be that what was happening was happening and that your you had contracted diabetes, and this was starting to affect your body.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah, I remember specifically, I called one night because I've been talking I telling you guys that like I was thirsty more and I was, I was like peeing more, and real kind of like, well, that can be from like recovering from the flu, we kind of passed it off. And then one day I woke up and I was like looking at Sabrina and I couldn't really see her from across like Sabrina was my roommate. for anybody listening, and I couldn't really see her. And that got me really nervous. So I remember that night calling you guys because I was googling and everything was popping up as Type One Diabetes. And initially you guys were kind of hesitant of like, because it doesn't run in our family. It doesn't, there was no indication that it could be that other than the symptoms.



Yeah, kind of kind of vaguely remember that we'd like so we didn't think because no one had diabetes in the family. We had no clue that it was going to be diabetes. 

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah. 



But we were extremely worried.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

So that I remember the next morning I went to the physician, I went to the on campus doctor's office, because I called them that night and they're like, come in without an appointment. Like make sure you're here first thing in the morning. And that was kind of like for me it was a little scary. I don't know about for you guys because at this point for anybody listening too I was at Penn State University. My dad and my mom were in New Jersey. So this was a good four hour drive. So even if you guys wanted to be there, it was kind of, it was a far drive, it was like short notice that so would have been difficult to be like hands on in that diagnosis experience. So what was your thought process like that morning after I remember sending you a text saying, like my blood sugar is was like 430 something?



Yeah, we were we were really worried at that point. We, you know, at that point I said, high sugar levels like that, I think after working in pharmacy for so many years, you know that it could be diabetes at that point. We were, we were calm because we knew that you were in good hands at Penn State. So we knew that whatever it was, whatever the outcome, like we knew you're in good hands. We're ready to go up there. But we wanted to wait and see what was going on first at that point. So we were confident that there were going to there were going to be answers. But we were extremely worried.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Did it ever worry you the, like the process of being on insulin or like the actual hands on experience of taking care of it while at college? Like did that worry you?



Yeah, everything worried us deeply. Because we knew we knew that it was starting to affect your schoolwork. And we were worried that you weren't going to get through your semester. Yeah, I think what's your second semester?

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yes, my second semester,



We were worried that you're going to get through it.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah, I remember my doctor said like this would be a good time to withdraw for this semester and take a leave of absence and I don't think I ever really considered it.



Yeah we were very proud that you didn't and when we knew that you we knew that whatever was going to happen and we knew when that diagnosis came back we knew that you were going to attack it, so from that aspect we were very comfortable with knowing that I already knew that you can live with diabetes. You know that people live with diabetes you just have to learn how to do it and things like that I was scared and I was um I was a little ang, not angry. I won't say angry. I wanted to take your place. Okay, I'll put it to you that way. I didn't want you to have to go through it. You know, Mom and I both would have rather gone through it than you. And that's kind of like the way we felt

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

I remember mom beating herself up a bit. She kind of had that instinct of well I'm the parent, technically I did this or you know just thoughts of



Well it's, you know, how maternal mom is. Um, you know, it is hard to talk her down off the ledge, you know, but we both had very a lot of confidence in you. And we're we're both ready to go up there right away but we knew that you had to be in the doctor's hands and you had  to learn about what you had to do to minimize your sugar levels, to start start the process of insulin and that type of stuff so we knew that you were going to be okay with it. I think part of that is because of the times that you had gone to Costa Rica and you were by yourself, we knew that you could take care of yourself.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah, I think it was an interesting time of being diagnosed though because it was kind of that transitional period of being on my own for less than a year, to you know quote unquote on my own I was still you know, at Penn State under supervision but in a different way. Like I wasn't at home. I wasn't, like you guys aren't taking me to my doctor's appointments anymore. I was figuring out insurance on my own, like it was a weird gray area of being like okay, this is something I have to take on on my own but like how do I do that? Because I'm like I'm just starting to take on life on my own, how am I supposed to handle this too? But you know, and you guys I remember, well I remember a few weeks later you coming up and surprising me. She just showing up in my my dorm room, that was awesome. But you had done something that year for Lent in kind of 



Yes Yes 

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Do you mind talking about that a little bit?



Yeah I I really wanted to walk your journey and what you were going through so what I decided to do, well you, you and mom were always on me about how much soda I drank and how much candy I ate and that type of stuff so I gave up soda and candy for Lent, for 4 so let me do this for 40 days.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

And for anyone listening like this is this was huge because this was you know without blowing your cover dad, like this was something that we did nag on you about a lot. 



Yes

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

The soda consumption. I don't remember candy being too far into it but was more so soda. And we would make those jokes about like, you know the stigma of diabetes and everything and then kind of like oh, I'm the diabetic now. But it so that that kind of that action of you just cutting it cold turkey was was huge. We I don't think that you do it but now it's been



it's been it was March 5 2014 I think it was?

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah 2014



2014 at around 4pm. I remember because that was the last soda I drank. And I decided. I wrote you a note I sent you I don't know if I emailed it to you or yeah I emailed you that what I was gonna do for Lent, for the 40 days of Lent. And after that 40 days was up, I said well look I've done this far. Why not continue to do it? And it got to the point where I would not do it because of you. I told everybody - because of my daughter and what she is going through and walking her journey. I'm not going to drink soda. I'm not going to eat candy. And to this day I have not done that

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

 Yeah 



so and

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Good! And the tables kind of turned for a bit because I you know as I was going through this journey I learned Okay, I can eat the sweets it's just about how I do it and how I manage my my insulin with it and it would get to the point where I would eat the birthday cake so when it was like you can eat it!



Yeah and occasionally now I will have some perfect cake but I specifically would not do it because I wanted to show you this was this was my pact that I wasn't going to do it. And this was this is what I was going to do for you. Yeah, no, I was not going to break that vow that I had within myself to do that. And that became over time more and more important to me, yeah over the course of time

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah and you and you, that to me like meant so much because you guys couldn't be there and kind of like walk through the process with me of you know that there is a certain level of like I had to do it on my own. And that kind of initiative of you taking that and doing that for me like that was huge and it showed me that you were taking care of yourself in the process because that you know, you know that could be tall sodaa consumption but I know okay, if you're a parent listening maybe you're wondering about the because at that point I'm 19 I'm still on your insurance. What did that process look like? Of like the actual logistics of coz now this is totally something totally new. I could be on new medication. I have new devices. I have new doctor's appointments. Like did anything, you remember anything standing out from that perspective?



Yeah I think the thing that stood out to me most of the fact that we had to, we had to be patient in what you wanted to do, we couldn't, yeah you had to learn what to do with it, you had to learn what devices to use with it, how you were going to inject yourself, how you're going to measure your sugar levels. There's all kinds of different technology coming out and we wanted to let you decide what and learn what to do with that and we we grew patient with that and didn't want to interfere with that too much.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah, you never pushed me for a pump or anything like that.



No, no, I we wanted to just I you know, both mom and I wanted this to be specifically about you rather than anything else, rather than bemoaning the point of Oh my daughter's got diabetes now, or or or saying that oh my god. Why did you do this? and that type of stuff. It turned out to be a lifesaver in two different areas when you look at it, in your area and our area for you too as well.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Was there any so as far as the financial component, did that ever did that ever worry you about well now because when we look at the cost of insulin, luckily had insurance but you know historically the cost of insulin is very high, the cost of technology is very high, me being out of state, could that have added an impact on it but do you remember like ever being concerned about that?



Yeah well there's there's a couple different things. Number one I knew that mom has excellent medical plans so um you know just in your research of finding out what they covered and mom's research and doing that we were we were good. I became a little bit more knowledgeable just in trying to help people that were approaching me and you know I I worked in a drugstore at this time. 

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Right.



So I became very more aware of our diabetic section in the drugstore, of the different kinds of things that we sold and how to help people. I even there were times when in the drugstore I had to break a few rules just to help someone because they needed either they needed not so much, the the lancets and the not the not the insulin because it was a pharmaceutical item, I couldn't go back to but you know there were times when we had those things locked up in the front, I had to do some things to, you know, to get someone some help. And sometimes I paid for it myself to help them and you know. So those are the types of things you become aware of that other people go through. And we became more aware that more and more people have diabetes then we ever knew.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah, yeah, it started kind of like other people start opening up about their experience or you just start becoming it's almost like when you want a car you start seeing that car everywhere, right? It's like I was diagnosed with diabetes and then all of a sudden like our neighbor like was diagnosed, people around in college were diagnosed, I was meeting more people that were diagnosed. Probably felt like more people were showing up at the drugstore that were looking for these kind of resources. Like so it did, I feel Yeah, I agree it popped up more so.



You become, you're right, you become more aware of it and you look for it 

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Right. Yeah,



As well, because you look to help people yeah.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

So how is that when you know you guys knew that I was diagnosed and how has that conversation with other people? So obviously the you know, it came out, you you needed support from the church or your friends or I posted it on Facebook and obviously that started the conversation but like, did you ever feel any judgment or were you like, I mean, just because of the stigma around diabetes? 



No, no, we never felt that at all. We got nothing but support from our friends and our church and people that we know or if it came up in conversation just oh yeah, my daughter's type one diabetic. A lot of the conversations that came up were what type of diabetic are you? Are you type one or type two? So those were a lot of questions that you know, just when the word diabetes came up, I would say what you type one or type two? So I never knew the difference between type one and type two before for this. 

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Do you think the answer that you gave of whether it's type one or type two, do you think that changed the person's perception of what was because I I've noticed that when people ask are you type one or type two? When I say type one, they're like oh I'm so sorry. When if it was type two, people kind of feel like you have more ownership of it or it's something that you did to yourself, so they feel less kind of empathetic.



Well it's funny you ask that, because um I think it's the opposite way around. 

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Really? 



When Yeah, well I told people well look type one there was everything everything is okay with that. Sometimes type one is you can control it better than if you're on type two because even though your sugar levels still bounce way up and down and way up and down, you you can control a better. Whereas type two is a little bit more sometimes I think it's a little more difficult.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah I'll actually agree with that because we have insulin as a tool we can get more finer in our management, whereas type two are not always insulin dependent so they're leaning more towards diet, exercise, lifestyle. 



Right. 

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Um, so yeah, I actually didn't even like think about that.



But it became a very common question, they are okay are you type one or type two? That helped that helped bring the conversation into play and what we're going to discuss, whether it be about you or about, you know, their their individual that they knew or their child or whatever, it became a commonality. You know? So yes, you know I learned a lot from that.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah. All right. So that night that I was low, and I wasn't picking up my phone.



Right. Yes, I was Yeah, that that's that's very interesting because technology helps out so much but technology can sometimes lie. 

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Well no, it didn't it lie.



It didn't lie, but it wouldn't you knew exactly what's going on. I just couldn't get in touch with you. 

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah, 



You know, you see your everything at that point. I was panicking. Okay. Is she lying on the ground somewhere in a coma? That's what came into my mind. And we were I was a little frantic about that, you know,

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah, I wasn't answering but that was almost a good learning experience I think for us because we had used the Dexcom Share app as like a way of saying okay, if anything happens this lets us know but I don't think until that day we actually made a plan of like what to do. So that that the next day we actually made a plan right?



Yeah. We got we got me think I think we got numbers of your friends or whatever that we were going to call right away and your apartment complex. Were something was happening were this was going to happen again. We were going to get answers a lot quicker.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah, I think I gave you a number for my apartment complex. Yeah, we had a security guard there. 



Yeah, yeah. So yeah, that was a that was a concerning like as far as overall, you know, I knew that you were okay. But I also knew you know, I have watched you over the course of time, understanding the disease better, learning about how to handle it and how to give other people advice on how to handle it and becoming an expert in the disease too as well. You you became you know just sort of your life you've become an expert in what you're doing and now you're helping other people. And I couldn't be more proud of that you know this was somewhat of a blessing that it happened to you because it's turned out where it's helped many other people.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

and I feel like I know my body 10 times better than I ever have. And I just understand my health and you know, yeah, can kind of



Yeah, I completely concur with that I mean, you're a maniac

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Not a maniac. Well, okay, so fast forward again, another few years. So I moved home from Miami at that point and about yeah, a year and a half later, I had left my corporate job to pursue the health coaching 



Yes, 

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

And that was a big conversation, especially between you and I because of your entrepreneurial background just you know, how did that feel of knowing that I was leaving something steady, with a disease like type one, where things are more expensive. I would lose health insurance. Yeah, can you just speak to that a little bit? Could've gone without failing fluid dynamics. saved a lot of money, but,



I, well of course I was worried because I liked you having a job that you're making good money on, but you're going nowhere with, you were unhappy with, and I also knew what the health coaching did for you as far as your happiness. So I think I remember telling you to just do what you love to do. And you know, and I know we sometimes talk about the fact that Oh, you graduated in energy engineering and you're not doing that right now but you know, I think you still are because now you're managing people's energy. You're helping them with with their energy levels and things so yes, you are an energy engineer. It's just a different facet of it



But that's okay, that's that's life. I knew then, I knew then that this was what you wanted to do. And you had to you had to let go of it. Of the steadiness of the unhappiness that you had with uh with the company you were with, I won't mention who they were. Um and  they have a great company. Don't get me wrong. They're a great company, really took good care of you. But it wasn't the job that you wanted to do, it wasn't who you wanted to be. This wasn't who was Lissie Poyner was. And I knew that Lissie Poyner had to do, had to take this big step. So I you know, supported you in whatever way I could do that. Yeah, it was it was nerve wracking over the course of time, especially when COVID came.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Oh yeah. Yeah, that was a whole nother layer of it. Which I mean we could get into conversation about but we're already at 20 minutes, I want to be sure that we're you know, being useful with our time But yeah, I always kind of think about if if I never became type one diabetic and I never found that passion where would I be now? Like would I still be in that office hating my job? Or



Well it's a great question No, I don't think you would be. I think you would have found out still what you're doing right now, in in some facet, you would have found out some sort of coaching and health way of what you wanted to do now, so i don't i don't think that it would be any different I think you still would've wound up where you are right now.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Well, I think it's kind of funny like you're so for anybody listening again who doesn't really know a lot of the background, so you worked in retail for how many years? A lot.



Oh, close to 30 years.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

30 years. And now what do you do?



Well now I'm the minister of a church in in Wayne New Jersey Yes, I've always wanted to do that. And I think you and I went through the same steps kind of like at the same time right 2015 I decided to go part time to earn my master's degree in divinity and which is right around the time that you became diabetic. Yeah, so I think you and I are kind of taking the same path, according to do the things that we love to do and helping people somehow and you know, I had I really feel I'd lost my identity with retail and now that I'm doing what I'm doing now I think I have my identity. Yeah, and I remember over the course of time you guys kept saying Dad you seem happy. Yeah. You know it is like Dad's a lot happier now, Dad's a lot, you know. So um, you know if I could say anything in this podcast is just do what you love to do. No matter what. I mean i'm not making anywhere near the amount of money I used to make, but mom and I are still doing okay, we're, we've, you know, we've we've adjusted to our expenses that we've had to adjust to, we've done the things we needed to do so that we can still maintain the quality of life and help other people.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

So if you're somebody who needs parental advice, that's parental advice that you're getting today. No, but seriously, like, I always kind of say like, it doesn't matter. Like, regardless of the decision that you make at the time, I think, no matter what, life brings you to that outcome, right? So even if I didn't choose to leave my job, at the time that I did, at some point, life would have taken me to the career path that I have now, or the outcome, you know.



I think it would have I think, would have been either in health or, and maybe in exercise or something along those lines, where you're helping someone with their, with their body maintenance.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah. And same for you. If you know, even though the timing didn't line up in the past 3, 30 years, you still found your path to to ministry. So.



Yeah, that path has always been there. So, I remember the day in 1998, when I really felt like I wanted to go into ministry, and it just didn't happen at that point. And I remember the day in 2015, when I was called again, and I said, Okay, I'm gonna do this, and, and I was unhappy then, I wasn't who I am today. You know, my relationship with God is has improved and, and become so much closer over the period of these five years, just in what I've learned, you know, so I'm sure in your field of work and what you do, the same thing has happened for you, you've become much closer to your relationship with what you have to do to help others you know, and you've learned it and you're and you're excelling in it.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Yeah, you can either take that situation and you can say, what you say, What am I gonna make of it? Am I gonna make the best of it? Or will I let it consume me? And I think for a while maybe I think we both have kind of situations where it could have gone that route, or maybe it did for a little bit. And then you have to kind of choose when to when to make the most of it.



Yeah, I think most people are kind of in that route at some time or another and you and I were in that route. But we knew we're gonna break out of it sooner or later. So never, ever this my dad always told me - never ever, ever, ever give up hope never give up hope. So.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

So if you could say you know, let's just say there's a parent who has a child that was just diagnosed or like whoever is listening, what would you say to somebody who is in the shoes that you were in when I was 19? What advice would you give them?



I would give the advice to continue to love them and support them and learn what they're going through and become immersed in helping them get over the hump of what they have to do to to manage this disease and and learn about it. Learn about it. You know i don't know everything about diabetes, you know, but I do know that there's hope. I do know that there's technology that keeps improving. You keep telling me that the times on that so again, I would probably tell a parent the same thing - continue to love your child, don't give up hope, it can be managed, you know it's and they can have a normal lifestyle with Type One Diabetes. You know, so we just continue to love them.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

I think the biggest thing that you did for me was you advocated. Like both in your own actions and then you know, not only for me but like you were talking about in the drugstore with you know, you reorganized the diabetic supplies, you helped other other people like you advocated for what you knew was affecting me and I think in itself it meant a lot. So I think if I could add anything in there be yes of course learn and then understand as much as you can but also like advocate in whatever way that means for you.



Yeah, exactly. And you don't know how many times that you were on my mind in what I was doing, you know, when I was fixing up a diabetes section or learning about it, or making sure that making sure that I had the supplies on hand and my order quantities were right and my inventory level, it wasn't the diabetes section that was telling me that, it was you that was telling me that. So you know, you don't know how many times you were on my mind when I was doing those type of things.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

I think that's where conversations like this come into play, too, because I wouldn't have known that. Yeah, so yeah, telling telling your child that, telling your loved one that, definitely definitely important. Is there anything else that you would add?



I'm just you know, I, I pray for you and I continue to pray for you and I pray for all those with with type one or type two diabetes, that sooner or later that our technology can grow enough where there can be a a cure for it, you know, and  that we don't have to go through that again anymore. And always advocate that we can do that.

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Thank you for coming out and having this conversation.



I had great time. Thank you very much. And goodbye everybody! 

 

Elisabeth Poyner  

Oh Jeeze. There it is. I knew it was coming.



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