Joe Solo Returns to Thriveabetes 2018


Joe Solo returns to Thriveabetes 2018 for a third year. And for those of you who may not already be familiar with Joe - you are in for a treat! Joe Solowiejczyk, or Joe Solo, has been living with type 1 diabetes for over 50 years. He grew up in New York but now lives in California. He is a registered nurse, diabetes educator and family therapist and works extensively with both patients and professionals on the Family-Approach to Diabetes Management.

His ebook “A Type 1 Guide to the Universe” introduces a new way to learn to thrive with diabetes. It is the first book to integrate the psychological and emotional aspects of dealing with diabetes into the core of its approach.

You always get more than you expect from Joe and when I asked him to write a blog post for Thriveabetes I was blown away.

Joe Solo's Thriveabetes Experience

If you feel yourself needing some new information on how to manage it, if you feel like you’re dragging a bit, weary from the ups and the downs of it all, then you definitely need to come to Thriveabetes 2018 – guaranteed healing, fellowship and fun!

It was nearly 4 years ago when I met Gráinne at the Friends for Life Conference held by Children with Diabetes in the UK. At that time, she shared with me her dream and Christine’s dream and Rebecca’s dream about creating something like that for Ireland.

She asked me if I would be willing to present at that conference if it were to ever come to be. Of course I said “YES” – how could I not to Grainne/ Her enthusiasm, courage, determination and heart made me want to “get on any train” that she was on! Of course I would do it.

Well, the first Thriveabetes Conference happened and it was fantastic!!! Parents, older children and adults with their partners with T1 came – it was a sellout! And it was freakin’ FANTASTIC!!! I’ve been to many diabetes conferences in my life BUT this one was one of THE best for me. The energy created by Grainne, Christine and Rebecca together with the energy that the participants brought with them made the gathering something magical and mystical!

People were hungry for information, which the promotion for the conference promised there would be plenty of – speakers from all over Ireland, from Diabetes Ireland and 2 presenters from the States – Kevin McMahon and myself. Kevin spoke about technology and about the diabetes industry. Consultants from Ireland presented on the most current standards of diabetes care available in Ireland today. Reps from the medical device companies were there showing of their newest and brightest diabetes gadgets!

Everyone at the conference had diabetes or lived with someone that had it – we were like a gathering of Fellow Pilgrims.

There were presentations on coping with the daily challenges of living with this stupid disease (I’m very happy to be alive BUT I do hate it, on parenting on dealing with the emotional and psychological aspects of it. Besides being comprehensive IT WAS EMOTIONAL in the best possible way imaginable. Everyone at the conference had diabetes or lived with someone that had it – we were like a gathering of Fellow Pilgrims. Listening to others stories made each of us make more sense out of our own stories, like putting things into perspective and most importantly, realizing that each of us was really not alone. People were laughing and crying at the same time.

It was like there was a magical understanding amongst all the participants – even though we might not have personally known everyone there – we did feel, or at least I did, like I “knew” what each and every other person goes through – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And that made me feel better about having diabetes for 56 years. It totally relieved me of the exhaustion.

The most wonderful part for me was just that – the group understanding, the acknowledgement received from being with a group of Fellow Pilgrims for all the stinking hard work we put into managing our diabetes day in/day out – it was the feeling of not being alone. My “colleagues” provided me with new inspiration and energy, I left feeling like I could do it for another year – my batteries were fully recharged!

If you’re looking for a magical diabetes experience, if you feel yourself needing some new information on how to manage it, if you feel like you’re dragging a bit, weary from the ups and the downs of it all, then you definitely need to come to Thriveabetes 2018 – guaranteed healing, fellowship and fun!

It felt so good to laugh at such serious things with so many walking the same path! You owe it to yourself to check it out. And if you come and you really don’t get something deep out of it I personally will refund the cost of the conference to you!!!! I’m that sure that you’ll love it.

Joe Solowiejczyk, A Mile In My Shoes Consulting

You can also find Joe on Facebook.


Thank you Joe for your words of inspiration. Joe's is presenting four workshops at Thriveabetes 2018:

  • Adults - “Diabetes Burnout”
  • Parents - Parenting & Diabetes: You can do it without pulling your hair out!
  • Teens - How to be a Juvenile Diabetes Delinquent; Driving your Parent Nuts in the Most efficient way.
  • 9 to 12 years - The Truth about How much Diabetes Sucks!


Thriveabetes” is a one-day conference for people living with type 1 diabetes, or for people who care about someone with type 1 diabetes.

It takes place on Saturday, February 24th in The Red Cow Hotel.

*** Advanced registration is required. Find out more or Register HERE.

Thriveabetes type 1 diabetes conference on 24th February 2018

Summer Music Festivals, Type 1 Diabetes and what to know?

It’s Summer and it’s also the start of music festival season. This was kicked off with GunsnRoses in Slane Castle on Saturday 27th May. We have Longitude, Electric Picnic, Castlepalooza, yet to come. You bought your tickets for the gig, sorted your transportation and accommodation, etc. One of the last things you will probably consider, if you even think of it at all, is having a plan for dealing with the restrictions placed on bringing in food and drinks to these events when you have type 1 diabetes.

I would like to thank those who posted about this topic in the private “Diabetes in Ireland” facebook group. I asked posters if they would allow me to share their experiences for the benefit of new event go-ers or new to these restrictions. In particular, Sinead Murray who emailed the event promoters information to me.

The first thing you need to know about these events is that it’s standard practice, especially the ones where there are food and drink vendors inside, that people are NOT permitted to bring Food/beverages into the event.

At the recent concert in Slane Castle, it was “Strictly NO REFRESHMENTS IN HARD CONTAINERS (cans, plastic bottles, glass) – even those containing water / non-alcoholic liquids in them.” From Slane Castle's website.

What does this mean for people with type 1 diabetes who would need to carry fast acting glucose, which may be in liquid form and carb snacks for low blood glucose emergencies?

This means that unless you have thought to make arrangements that you will most likely not be allowed to bring in bottles of Lucozade, it will be confiscated. You will need to have a backup plan. And if you want to bring your Lucozade in with you either contact the event promoters or get a doctors letter that states that you need to carry food on you at all times. Plus, it's no harm to have the letter state that this includes Lucozade for medical emergencies.

Some of the posters who shared said they either didn’t bring any hypo supplies or food with them but bought some when they got inside the venue. Another poster said that they just brought whatever they needed in a small inconspicuous bag and had no issues. Another poster had Lucozade confiscated.

The first response from Slane Castle Event promoters was that if you had a doctors letter they would allow you to bring in food but still not in hard plastic containers and certainly no Lucozade. They also said that they would accept a copy of the correspondence. Later, this was followed up by a second email with a reversal on the Lucozade stance.


I have compiled some information on going to music festival from some other websites and here are a few recommendations as a person with type 1 diabetes. (Updated since I received some new information from a member of the diabetes online community on 31-5-2017)


Get a letter from your GP Yes, I know it’s a pain in the behind but if you get one letter you may be able to use it for a number of concerts and maybe for a number of years. Make sure that your letter states your need to carry food on you at all times.

The people on security will know NOTHING about diabetes - nothing relevant anyway. Don’t judge! And definitley don't bank on security being understanding. Explain with a “kill em with kindness” attitude that your food is only for medical emergencies. As a person with type 1 diabetes your blood sugars can go low and you need to treat it with fast acting sugar.

Contact Event Promoters

This is a really good idea because you may be able to avoid getting a letter from your GP and as a bonus you are education one customer service person at a time, maybe even a whole customer service department :-O, at a time. When you contact the promoters explain why that you carry medical supplies such as needles, insulin pens and also explain that you need to carry food and fast acting glucose on your person at all times. The event promoters will most likely respond with "the rules are the rules" email. However, I encourage you to respond to this email explaining again the medical neccessity of having  food and fast acting glucose on your person at all times. At this point, the customer service person may get some outside advise and you will be exempt from the restriction.

Brush up on your Type 1 Diabetes and Alcohol knowledge

This goes without saying. Just google Alcohol and type 1 diabetes and you'll find loads of info on this.


Learn from the experience of others Here a couple of blog posts I found that give other useful information; Festivals and Diabetes Guide


Of course being of a certain vintage it’s not surprising that I had not come across this information before. I am so passed the days where I rocked out at concerts and most of what I remember was at Feile - The Trip to Tipp! (eye roll) in the 90’s.