Diabetes Games: Cholesterol

August 25, 2016 by


Can you guess the correct answer?

Diabetes tends to lower “good” cholesterol levels and raise triglyceride and “bad” cholesterol levels, which increases the risk for heart disease and stroke. This common condition is called diabetic dyslipidemia. Diabetic dyslipidemia means your lipid profile is going in the wrong direction.

Your total cholesterol score is calculated using the following equation: HDL + LDL + 20 percent of your triglyceride level. With HDL (good) cholesterol, higher levels are better. A low LDL (bad) cholesterol level is considered good for your heart health. Triglyceride is a form of fat.

High cholesterol levels put you at risk for atherosclerosis (fatty buildups of plaque in artery walls). These deposits can contribute to blocking the blood flow to a part of the heart muscle and cause a heart attack. A high LDL level indicates an increased risk of heart disease. Atherosclerosis in arteries in or leading to the brain can result in stroke.



LISTEN NOW:  What makes you ANGRY? on  Diabetes Late Nite with music by Evelyn “Champagne King” with guests Dr. Lori Shemek PhD, Poet Lorraine Brooks and Mama Rose Marie.

‘Snow White’ by Poet Lorraine Brooks

August 24, 2016 by


Who helps you manage your diabetes?

Do you think ‘Seven Dwarfs’ would be helpful?

Poet Lorraine Brooks shares her diabetes twist on the popular ‘Snow White & the 7 Dwarfs’ fairy tale.You’ll quickly see that Snow White is like every other famous Diva; she has an entourage to help her manage her diabetes.  Enjoy!

Snow White by Lorraine Brooks

You’ve got seven people who help you to grow

And we cannot do it alone, this I know!

Who’s on your health team, please tell us Snow White please tell us tonight!

“My endocrinologist keeps my numbers tight.”

And who else does help you with what’s on your plate?

“A nutritionist helps me plan meals that taste great.”

And what for your eyes, so your vision is clear?

“My ophthalmologist treats my eyes with care.”

We all need some feedback sooner or later –

“I work with a diabetes educator!”

Sometimes emotions can make us feel low.

“It’s OK to talk to my therapist though.”

You have to stay active so you’ll be complete.

“Podiatrists work to take care of my feet!”

Snow White, even with diabetes, you rock!

“I pay regular visits to my family doc!”

Let’s take a lesson from Snow White and her team –

Diabetes can’t stop you from living your dream!

Who should be on your Diabetes Team?

According to the American Diabetes Association finding the right team of skilled health professionals will help you manage your diabetes and get the most out of the healthcare system.

A doctor with special training (and usually certification) in diseases such as diabetes is called an endocrinologist. If you do not see an endocrinologist, look for a primary doctor, family practice doctor or an internist who has cared for many people with diabetes. Your primary care doctor may also be the one who refers you to specialists or other team members.

A registered dietitian (RD) is trained in nutrition and has passed a national exam. An RD may also have a master’s degree or may be a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). You want to be sure to work with an RD who has training and experience with diabetes. If your doctor does not work with a dietitian, ask him to refer you to one.

A CDE is a certified diabetes educator. CDEs may be nurses, dietitians, doctors, pharmacists, podiatrists, counselors, or exercise physiologists.

Your eye doctor, an ophthalmologist or an optometrist, is another key member of your health care team, because diabetes can affect the blood vessels in the eyes. When eye problems are caught early, there are very good treatments.

Mental health professionals, psychologists, social workers, and marriage therapists, and psychiatrists, help with the personal and emotional side of living with diabetes.

Podiatrists have a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree from a college of podiatry.

Pharmacists are highly trained professionals who must know about the chemistry of the products they dispense and what effects, both good and bad, medications have on the body. Therefore, they can also give advice on whether and how any medication you take for your diabetes or other conditions could or will affect your blood glucose levels.

People with diabetes are at somewhat greater risk for gum disease. The excess blood sugar in your mouth makes it a good home for bacteria, which leads to infection. See your dentist every six months. Be sure to tell your dentist that you have diabetes.

For eight years Divabetic presented diabetes education and empowerment in the Divabetic Pavilion at the American Diabetes Association (ADA) Expo in Pittsburgh, PA. Every year we would choose a different theme for our outreach presentation to make learning about diabetes more fun and enjoyable.  Our themes ranged from the ‘Golden Girls’ and ‘Gillian’s Island’ to Diabetes Time Machine and ‘Diabetes Fairy Tales’.

One of our most popular presentations was ‘Diabetes Fairy Tales.’  Its quite possible that I stumbled upon this idea after watching too many episodes of  ABC’s ‘Once Upon A Time’ television series.

Thankfully Lorraine Brooks agreed to write nine wonderful Diabetes Fairy Tales featuring popular fairy tale characters and diabetes self-care advice for our Expo show.  Our concept was to partner popular fairy tales characters with successful diabetes self-care behaviors. For example, Snow White doesn’t  try to manage her diabetes alone. She uses a ‘team approach’ to achieve optimum health!

Our ‘Diabetes Fairy Tales’ program featured an outstanding group of local Pittsburgh healthcare professionals, CDE’s, RN’s and MD’s who provided expert advice on different topics such as food, fitness and managing medications with a little magic from the land of make believe.

LISTEN NOW: Diabetes Fairytales podcast featuring  Connie Frazier RD, CDE, Lori Bednarz RN, CDE, Makeup Artist and Esthetician Sue Perez, Poet Lorraine Brooks, Lorraine Starsky RN and Neva White CRNP, CD.

Best of Diabetes Late Nite: Tamar Braxton

August 23, 2016 by


Here’s one of my favorite podcasts, Diabetes Late Nite inspired by Tamar Braxton,  from the past six years of broadcasting.

On this episode we’re turning up the volume on our ‘GLAM MORE, FEAR LESS’ philosophy and talking about ‘SEXY SHOES YOU CAN DANCE IN’ with musical inspiration from Tamar Braxton.

Find a great looking pair of shoes that don’t hurt your feet can be a challenge especially if you’re living with diabetes.

Although Tamar Braxton faced this challenge each week when she famously competed on ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ she’s probably still best known for being the brash talking, younger sister on the ‘Braxton’s Family Values’ TV Show. Tamar says, “Family’s can go through ups and downs. Who’s right or wrong but at the end of the day I love them and wouldn’t trade them for the world.”

Did you know Tamar’s husband Vince recovered from a pulmonary embolism he suffered in November 2011? Since her husband’s sickness, Tamar Braxton has continued to spread the good word of health to her entire family.  From her firstborn to her sisters, she’s creating opportunities for herself and everyone else to stay healthy as well.

Vibe Magazine’s Diamond Hillyer reviewed Tamar’s “Calling All Lovers” album and said, “She meticulously strings the highs, lows and every in-between of love, sex and relationships.”

Guests include Poet Lorraine Brooks, the Charlie’s Angels of Outreach, Dr. Monique Renee Rolle, Samantha Shaken, Catherine Schuller AICI, CIP and Mama Rose Marie. Prize giveaways courtesy of Earth Brand Shoes, Dr. Greenfield’s Diabetic Foot Creams, Cabot Cheese and Nu Naturals.

Throughout the podcast we will be playing songs from“Calling All Lovers” courtesy of SONY MUSIC. This podcast proudly supports the Spare A Rose campaign.

LISTEN NOW: Diabetes Late Nite inspired by Tamar Braxton

Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King on Diabetes Late Nite

August 22, 2016 by

ANGRY SHOW.003I’m thrilled that Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King is our featured music artist for August.

Perhaps best known for the 1977 dance music classic, “Shame,” the single was released just a year before disco reached its peak with commercial crossover acts including the Village People, Chic, Donna Summer and others.

The extended mix of the song, “Shame” began gaining radio play and eventually the Top Ten on the R&B and pop charts by spring 1978. The follow-up, “I Don’t Know if It’s Right,” also went gold, peaking at number seven R&B, number 23 pop in fall 1978. Smooth Talk went gold, and she made two more LPs with T. LifeMusic Box and Call on Me.

It’s true that she was discovered as a young woman while working with her mother at Philadelphia International Records as an office cleaner. Producer Theodore T. Life overheard her singing in a washroom and began coaching her. She was eventually signed to a production deal with Life’s Galaxy Productions and a recording contract with RCA Records

These days King continues to be one of the genre’s most active and visible performers. Whether recording and performing on her own or touring as one of the First Ladies of Disco with Linda Clifford and Martha Wash, King’s crown shines as bright as ever.

The best advice that Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King ever received was from her mom. She told her daughter, “Don’t be anyone else, be yourself, and always remember that you are no bigger than anyone else. You can be a star for the moment, but stars do fall.”

LISTEN NOW:  Diabetes Late Nite featuring music by Evelyn “Champagne” King courtesy of SONY Music.

Is Inflammation Making You Angry?

August 20, 2016 by



On August’s Diabetes Late Nite podcast I interviewed Dr. Lori Shemk PhD, the author of the book, ‘How To Fight FATflammation’ about a recent study reporting that repeated episodes of impulsive aggression and temper tantrums, as seen in road rage, domestic abuse and throwing or breaking objects and inflammation might be linked.

How the link may work remains unclear, the researchers said.

“We don’t know yet if the inflammation triggers aggression, or aggressive feelings set off inflammation, but it’s a powerful indication that the two are biologically connected, and a damaging combination,” said study researcher Dr. Emil Coccaro, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Chicago.

“The findings don’t mean that taking anti-inflammatory medication such as aspirin would calm an angry person,” Coccaro told LiveScience. But it does open a new direction for future studies, which could focus on whether reducing inflammation could eventually reduce aggression. [10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Brain]

People with IED (Intermittent Explosive Disorder) overreact to stressful situations with uncontrollable anger and rage. The condition affects people’s professional and social lives, and may put them at higher risks for other mental problems, such as depression, anxiety and alcohol or drug abuse, the researchers said. People with IED also face increased risk for medical problems, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, they said.

“Treatment for IED includes mood stabilizers and psychotherapy, but they are not always successful for all patients,” Coccaro said.

Are you consistently overweight, no matter what you do? Have you tried everything? Are you plagued by stubborn fat hanging around your hips, thighs, and belly? Well, there’s a reason for that. All those frustratingly pointless diets and exercise regimes have failed to address the root cause of weight gain.

According to Dr. Lori Shemek, a successful diet isn’t centered on calories or cardio. She says, “Cutting calories doesn’t cut it.” Our problems with fat are created because we eat foods that cause the body’s natural fat cells to become inflamed. Sadly, the staples of the Standard American Diet—from pasta and bread to factory-farmed chicken and cattle, from sugar and artificial sweeteners to salad dressing and soft drinks—irritate our fat cells, causing chronic inflammation and chronically oversized fat cells. This irritation causes the body to store fat permanently, no matter how hard you exercise or how diligently you cut back on calories.

“How to Fight FATflammation” by Dr. Lori Shemek  is a three-week program that helps reboot your body chemistry by returning your body’s fat cells back to their natural, healthy state. In the process, she explains the critical importance of maintaining balance between good fats (omega-3) and bad fats (omega-6) and how a proper ratio of both will help boost your metabolism; in short, your body will burn fat simply by your eating the right kinds of fat. She also helps you eliminate from your diet the dreaded FATflammation Four—sugar, refined grains, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners. Here’s your chance to shrink your fat cells and get the body you always wanted.


LISTEN NOW: Diabetes Late Nite ‘ The Angry Show’ podcast hosted by Mr. Divabetic. Podcast guests include Author of “Overcoming Destructive Anger” Dr. Bernard Golden PhD, Dr. Lori Shemek PhD, Susan Weiner MS, RD, CDE, CDN, Laura Laria MA, CASAC-T, Jill Knapp- Woolsey, Poet Lorraine Brooks, Mama Rose Marie, and the Charlie’s Angels Outreach.

Weight Loss Tips by Jill Knapp Woolsey

August 19, 2016 by


Are you angry about hitting a weight loss plateau?

Don’t get discouraged!

OnAugust’s Diabetes Late Nite podcast special guest, Jill Woolsey-Knapp lost 100 pounds after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Jill shares her tips for how she successfully overcame her weight loss plateaus:

1. Do a variety of activities you enjoy.
Remember, there is no rule that says you have to go to a gym or buy equipment. You can walk around the block or to a at home exercise video.
Having a variety of activities, weight lifting, running, walking, aerobics classes will ensure that you can do something regardless of the weather or time of day.

2. Commit to another person.
“This social aspect of exercise is very important to me,” I am a stay-at-home mom. I may let myself off, but if I’ve agreed to walk with a friend after dinner, I won’t be letting them down.”

3. Make exercise a priority.
“It has to be a non-negotiable. Making exercise non-negotiable. Friends and family members will know the importance of your program and learn that it’s part of your identity, and give up saying things like, “Why don’t you take it easy today?”

4. Exercise first thing in the morning.
Doing this will ensure the workout gets done. Things can come up in the day and if you put it off more than likely it won’t be done. Experts agree that a morning schedule is best. “If you go to a gym, it should be located between your home and work.”Exercise, take a shower, and you’re energized for the day.”

5. Or, exercise on your way home from work.
The next best thing to exercising first thing in the morning is to do it on your way home from work. Or if you are a full time mom maybe your hubby can watch the kids and let you workout.

6. Exercise even when you’re “too tired.
Chances are, you will feel better after exercising I always do. “It energizes us,”! “You breathe deeply, and your body makes better use of the oxygen exchange. You’ll get an exercise-induced euphoria during the activity and for some time after.” I end up having way more energy after i work out and it surprises me to come home and want to clean or do laundry.

7. Log your activity.
Write down the things that are important to you. It could be how much time you exercise each day or how many steps you walked. Just like a food journal it’s good to see your progress.

8. Be aware of all the indicators of progress.
It’s great when your clothes fit better and you are able to lift heavier weights or work out longer without getting exhaust.

9. Walk – Use a pedometer.

“If you enjoy walking and haven’t exercised for awhile, 10 minutes three times a day will give you 30 minutes.”
Use a pedometer, and work up to at least 10,000 steps a day. “Nobody starts out with 10,000 steps,” You need to find out your daily average and the next week strive to walk an extra 300 steps. Increase your steps each week.

10. Reward yourself.
Have you been telling yourself that you don’t deserve a reward for something you should be doing anyway- or that once you can zip your jeans without lying on the bed, that will be reward enough? Well, come on, how inspiring is that?
Experts say that making behavior changes is hard, and rewards motivate. So decide on a goal and a reward, and work toward it. You may buy a DVD you have wanted after sticking with your fitness plan for a month, or buy and new walking shoes when you have achieved 5,000 steps a day. Do whatever it is that works for you. Just make sure you do something to tell yourself job well done.

Get more tips from Jill Knapp Woolsey‘s website, Get Up & Get Moving.

LISTEN NOW: Diabetes Late Nite ‘ The Angry Show’ podcast hosted by Mr. Divabetic. Podcast guests include Author of “Overcoming Destructive Anger” Dr. Bernard Golden PhD, Dr. Lori Shemek PhD, Susan Weiner MS, RD, CDE, CDN, Laura Laria MA, CASAC-T, Jill Knapp- Woolsey, Poet Lorraine Brooks, Mama Rose Marie, and the Charlie’s Angels Outreach.


‘Beauty & the Beach’ by Lorraine Brooks

August 17, 2016 by


I hope you enjoy Poet Lorraine Brooks’ poem is “Beauty & The Beach”from our Diabetes Roundtable podcast inspired by Esther Williams that was originally broadcast in July 2013. Without a doubt this poem is the most popular poem that Lorraine has ever shared on our podcasts. It also marks an important turning point in our podcast’s content because the bravery and honest emotions expressed in her poem opened the door for us to tackle more sensitive subjects on future podcasts.

I remember talking to Lorraine about this poem prior to our live broadcast. She had an uneasy feeling that I might not like her poem because it wasn’t ‘upbeat’ or ‘happy’ enough to fit in with our typical podcast format. I assured her that it didn’t matter if her poem strayed from our ‘happy’ outlook about living with diabetes  because it was simply great. To be honest, it had never occurred to me that our podcasts might seem unabashedly upbeat to our listeners until our conversation. Up until then, my intent with each show was to provide a forum for our guests to ‘let their hair down’ and talk about their diabetes. I never intentionally censored anyone’s words or comments and/or suggested to alter their story to be more inspiring. However, after our conversation I took Lorraine’s words to heart and quickly began re-shaping our podcast to reflect a more authentic view of diabetes; the good and the bad along with everything in between.

It’s interesting to note that people have expressed mixed feeling about Lorraine’s poem over the years. Some people think it’s sad and depressing. Others argue it’s true and honest. No matter what you think I’m sure you will agree with me that Lorraine’s words need to be heard!

Beauty and the Beach by Poet Lorraine Brooks 

I’m not Esther Williams.

I’m not even close.

My body in bathing suits

Feels clumsy and gross.

I look at the swimmers

And look at the pool,

And suddenly feel

Like a a fat ugly fool.

I try to ignore them,

These feelings I feel…

But the bottom line truth is,

The feelings are real.

Will I wear a bathing suit?

Probably not.

I’ll probably stay in my clothes,

And feel hot.

I’ve tried, please believe me,

To listen to those

Who tell me its OK

To take off my clothes.

Then I look at others

And what comes to mind?

I sense they are judging me

And being unkind.

I wish I was comfortable,

I Wish I fit in…

I wish I was normal.

I wish I was thin.

I wish People saw me

For more Than my weight…

I wish that I had

A much different fate.

So, hats off to Esther

Who swam like a fish…

Who by all accounts

Was a beautiful “dish”.

But I am not Esther.

I’m all I can be…

And sometimes I struggle

Just being me.

One more small thing,

I must say it out loud –

If I had a body

Of which I was proud…

If tank tops and 2-pieces

Were within my reach

I’d be more than happy

To join you at the beach.


July’s Diabetes Roundtable

LISTEN NOW: Diabetes Roundtable inspired by Esther Williams Diabetes Roundtable  Hosted by Mr. Divabetic. Special Guests include: Author Brenda Novak, Image & Style Advisor Catherine Schuller,  Poet Lorraine Brooks, Mama Rose Marie, Fitness Expert Tiffany Savion, Kathy Gold, RN, CDE, Neva White CRNP, CDE and Leslie living with type 1 diabetes.

Diva Sunscreen Tips from Connie Elder

August 13, 2016 by


On our Diabetes Late Nite podcast I discussed the importance of sunscreen for divas of all types with PEAK 10 SKIN™ skin care founder, Connie Elder.

Here are Connie’s Sunscreen Tips:

Be aware and use sunscreen YEAR ROUND, not just on vacation and during the summer! Protect yourself all year, all the time!

Use sunscreen on the back of your hands when driving long distances, especially. If you drive 1/2 hour or more per day to work the sun is constantly beaming through the windshield on your hands. Protect them with a sunscreen spray that is easy to use.

While driving your neck, hands and left side of your face is exposed to sun more than you realize. Use a sunscreen spray on your neck and hands. Use a tinted moisturizer or face powder with sunscreen to protect your face, while driving.

Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen when enjoying lunch, dinner or drinks on outdoor patios. Also, on the beach, boat and at the ballpark with your kids! Or, while you are walking, hiking or sightseeing outside!

During our podcast, Connie shared her tips for achieving a healthy glow without damaging your ski and  gave away PEAK 10 SKIN™ products to several lucky listeners. Enjoy 30% Off PEAK 10 SKIN™ products by using our coupon code: divabetic (all lowercase and together) at PEAK 10 SKIN


PEAK 10 SKIN™ skin care products provide effective exfoliation, hydration, repair and protection that will elevate the health of your skin. With PEAK 10 SKIN™, you will experience results that will be both seen and felt! Enjoy beautiful, healthy skin for the “peak of your life”!

LISTEN NOWDiabetes Late Nite hosted by Mr. Divabetic with guests Dr. Andrea Chisholm MD, OBYGN, PEAK 10 SKIN™ skin care founder, Connie Elder and We Are Diabetes founder, Asha Brown.

Diabetes Games: Weekly Wow!

August 11, 2016 by


I like to test my guests’ knowledge of diabetes and diabetes self-care management by playing games on our monthly podcast, Diabetes Late Nite . This is our game question from August’s podcast. Tune in to find out if my special guest, Jill Woolsey-Knapp, who lost 100 pounds after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes was able to answer the question correctly.

WEEKLY WOW QUESTION:Most of us know that our pancreas sits across the back of the abdomen, just behind the stomach, right?!!!! But we don’t seem to know the size of our pancreas. How big is your pancreas?

  1. 4 inches long
  2. 6 inches long
  3. 8 inches long

The pancreas is a long flattened gland located deep in the belly (abdomen). Because the pancreas isn’t seen or felt in our day to day lives, most people don’t know as much about the pancreas as they do about other parts of their bodies. The pancreas is, however, a vital part of the digestive system and a critical controller of blood sugar levels.

It’s interesting to note, because of the deep location of the pancreas, tumors of the pancreas are rarely able to be felt by pressing on the abdomen). This explains why most symptoms of pancreatic cancer do not appear until the tumor has grown large enough to interfere with the function of the pancreas or other nearby organs such as the stomach, duodenum, liver, or gallbladder.


ANSWER: 6 inches long


LISTEN NOW: Diabetes Late Nite ‘ The Angry Show’ podcast hosted by Mr. Divabetic. Podcast guests include Author of “Overcoming Destructive Anger” Dr. Bernard Golden PhD, Dr. Lori Shemek PhD, Susan Weiner MS, RD, CDE, CDN, Laura Laria MA, CASAC-T, Jill Knapp- Woolsey, Poet Lorraine Brooks, Mama Rose Marie, and the Charlie’s Angels Outreach.

‘Bittersweetness’ by Lorraine Brooks

August 10, 2016 by


On last night’s Diabetes Late Nite podcast I discussed  the topic of ‘anger and diabetes’ with our panel of experts.

If you have or are feeling angry about your diabetes – you’re not alone. It’s more common than you think.  Diabetes is the perfect breeding ground for anger. Anger can start at diagnosis with the question, “Why me?” You may dwell on how unfair diabetes is: “I’m so angry at this disease! I don’t want to treat it. I don’t want to control it. I hate it!”

Poet Lorraine Brooks shares her perspective on what makes people with diabetes feel angry in her new poem, ‘Bittersweetness’ written specifically for August’s Diabetes Late Nite.

‘Bittersweetness’ by Lorraine Brooks

I have diabetes, that’s generally known,

And sometimes there’s cause for concern.

When others assume, that what I have shown

Is reason for them to be stern.


So what makes me angry, occasionally,

Is questioning my food decisions.

It’s when people judge, even well-meaningly,

And then look at me with derision.


It’s when doctors give me a guilt-making talk,

As if I have failed in my dealing.

It’s when people think that they’re walking the walk,

But they don’t understand how I’m feeling.


I often get angry when numbers don’t jive

In spite of the effort I’m making.

When blood sugars rise to two,hundred and five,

And my carb-counting may be mistaken.


Or how about not being able to lose

Any weight, even though I am trying.

I try all the diets, end up confused,

And sometimes I just feel like crying.


I never would choose this, the way that I live,

Because of the changes required.

And I can get angry and cannot forgive,

And I can get real sick and tired.


Counting, and checking, and eating, or not,

Cooking and shopping, and staying aware…

Trying to balance the changes I’ve got,

And making the most of my need for healthcare.


I know that some people will not understand,

That sometimes I’m hurt and I’m scarred.

But all I can say is, respect who I am,

And know that some days, it’s just HARD.


So walk in your beauty, and walk in your pride,

And use all your anger as fuel.

It’s not always easy to be on this ride,

And people,can often be cruel.


But also don’t let people,stand in your way

And don’t let yourself get unwound.

Even if you’re not feeling completely OK,

Get off of the merry-go-round!


Focus, be thoughtful,,and give it your best,

Because that’s really all you can do.

Let go,of the anger and feeling depressed…

Stand up, and enjoy being YOU!



LISTEN NOW: Diabetes Late Nite ‘ The Angry Show’ podcast hosted by Mr. Divabetic. Podcast guests include Author of “Overcoming Destructive Anger” Dr. Bernard Golden PhD, Dr. Lori Shemek PhD, Susan Weiner MS, RD, CDE, CDN, Laura Laria MA, CASAC-T, Jill Knapp- Woolsey, Poet Lorraine Brooks, Mama Rose Marie, and the Charlie’s Angels Outreach.


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