Minter Dialogue with Emmet O’Sullivan

Emmet O’Sullivan is 17-years-old, lives in New York. Four years ago, he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, an auto-immune disease about which so many people don’t know or understand. Son of my friend, Margaret Molloy, Global CMO of Siegel+Gale, Emmet embarked on a new and life-changing journey. He was inspired to use this diagnosis for good and has written and published his first book, Drew Discovers Diabetes. This illustrated book is designed to bring awareness to this illness and help others to deal with the challenges that come with having to check your sugars and inject Insulin multiple times every day. We talk about how he approached the writing of the book, including how he used AI (MidJourney) to do the illustrations. It’s now out in Kindle and paperback. Emmet’s an inspiration in the way that he has taken on board his illness and with his desire to educate and help spread awareness. It’s a tremendous story.

Please send me your questions — as an audio file if you’d like — to Otherwise, below, you’ll find the show notes and, of course, you are invited to comment. If you liked the podcast, please take a moment to rate it here.

To find Emmet’s book:

  • Find/buy Drew Discovers Diabetes, out in paperback and ebook (on Amazon): click here

Further resources for the Minter Dialogue podcast:

RSS Feed for Minter Dialogue

Meanwhile, you can find my other interviews on the Minter Dialogue Show in this podcast tab, on Megaphone or via Apple Podcasts. If you like the show, please go over to rate this podcast via RateThisPodcast! And for the francophones reading this, if you want to get more podcasts, you can also find my radio show en français over at:, on Megaphone or in iTunes.
Music credit: The jingle at the beginning of the show is courtesy of my friend, Pierre Journel, author of the Guitar Channel. And, the new sign-off music is “A Convinced Man,” a song I co-wrote and recorded with Stephanie Singer back in the late 1980s (please excuse the quality of the sound!).

Full transcript via


book, diabetes, type, drew, dinosaur, condition, symptoms, day, people, diagnosed, sugars, blood sugar, felt, image, guess, pump, sports, journey, super, doctor


Emmet O’Sullivan, Minter Dial

Minter Dial  00:05

Emmet O’Sullivan. Well, you are going to be the 561st guest on my show. And as such, will be the youngest ever on my show. I have had a 19-year-old so you’re not the only teenager. But it’s great to have you on the show. I reached out once I heard about through your mum, the marvelous Margaret Molloy, about your initiative, your project. And so, let’s start with in your own words, as I like to always ask who? Who is that? Some of it?

Emmet O’Sullivan  00:43

Yeah, so my name is Emmet O’Sullivan. I’m 17 years old. I’m in the 11th grade. Growing up in New York City. I go to Regis high school in Manhattan. And yeah, I, I just recently published a book about sort of modeling my story of living with Type 1 Diabetes, which I was diagnosed with in May of 2020. And yeah, and I’ve really liked to tell, tell my story through the lens of a dinosaur. And I’ll get to that the actual book later. But yeah, so growing up in New York City, a lot of things to do here, of course, love playing sports with my friends. I’m a member of the debate team at my school, right for the school’s newspaper. So, I have a lot of a lot of definitely a lot of different interests. And I guess Drew Discovers Diabetes, which is the book is just one of my recent sorts of ventures, I guess.

Minter Dial  01:37

It’s fantastic. You are evidently a very active ambitious young man. And that is no surprise to me. So, let’s start going back to this diagnosis, what I understand from you was that it took a while for you to figure it out. So, tell us how what happened in the let’s assume the weeks before you got diagnosed?

Emmet O’Sullivan  02:02

Yeah, so as I said, I was diagnosed in May of 2020. And during that time, it was pretty much just like the COVID craze. So, and I have no family history of Type 1 Diabetes. So, when I felt very tired, I was going to the bathroom a lot, very weak. And during the whole time, I was an online school. It was my eighth-grade year, or my seventh-grade year, and it was online school. And I would find myself just so tired during these online days. And when I would think about it, I would just attribute tribute it to like, Oh, it’s COVID, Everyone’s tired online, we’re not getting active. So, when I got it got to the point where it must have been actually, maybe months of me sort of the symptoms getting worse and worse. It got to the point where I was sleeping almost all day. And I asked my mom about it, and we had no family history. So, during the time, everyone, when they saw someone who was sick, just thought like, Oh, you have COVID, even though the symptoms didn’t really match up with it at all people just attributed to it, because that was sort of like the whole craze at the time. So, yeah, and then I started Googling the symptoms myself. And I was like I told I told my parents like I have Type 1 Diabetes. And I almost like diagnosed myself there. And my parents were like, What are you talking about? You’re talking about? So, we called my pediatrician. And then she agreed with me. So, he went to the emergency room. And they saw me at the time, I was super, super skinny. I had lost like, a lot of weight. And I had no idea that I even I even lost so much weight I was down like, like, I think I was down like 10 pounds in the last like, probably a month. And I was super skinny. So, they thought instantly I had Type 1 Diabetes, which is the genetic kind. And usually, it shows more like the skinniness than the other type of diabetes. But then they tested my like urine and my blood sugar. And my blood sugar level was about 596. And the normal level is about 70 to 120. So, I was super my blood sugar was super, super high. And I had no idea the whole time. They rushed me to the hospital administered a lot of insulin. It was it was definitely a lot to go through. But yeah, and then ever since then. I guess I’ve learned from it. It’s probably been my biggest obstacle I’ve had in my life so far, but I’ve definitely grown a lot from it.

Minter Dial  04:27

Well, that makes total sense. So, let’s level things out to level the playing field. Since I too am a Type 1 Diabetic. And I too had a similar type of journey where I in I had more pounds to lose possibly than you, but I lost probably 15 pounds in three weeks where it was very visible for me because I kept on having to change my belt. But the holes for my belts because I was like kept on my trousers became would be much, much too large for me, then there’s always the notion of as I had heard of drip feeding, very thirsty and needing to urinate all the time. And so, those are the three factors that that I had. And I was wondering if there was any difference about that sort of diagnosis when you are 13 versus 40 years old as I was.

Emmet O’Sullivan  05:23

I would say I think the symptoms are definitely the same thing. But the number one thing is, as a 13-year-old, I was super, super active. So, I think that that exhaustion was almost like multiplied because the base level I was at was super active, going and playing sports, my friends, like every day, and then it went from like 100% activity to like, very, very minimal activity. So, I think, while I had the same symptom of exhaustion, it was just, it seemed a lot bigger, because I was so active when I was that age. And I got to the point where I was sleeping all day. And I couldn’t really like, like, even walk around my house as much as I used to be able to.

Minter Dial  06:02

But it feels for me that the particularity on top of everything else was that it was COVID. So, you don’t have the same type of activities in general, you’re sitting on a desk in front of a computer all day long. And that for some is extremely fatiguing and non-energizing. So, that must be very hard experience for you and your family.

Emmet O’Sullivan  06:28

Yeah, definitely. I think that’s part of the reason why I don’t think I realized it for a very long time, because it’s not even like I was going outside. And I felt tired. When I was playing sports, I wasn’t even playing sports in the first place. Because I was inside for hours or maybe even days just looking at a screen all day because I had all my all my school was via zoom. And it would just like I remember my friends and I we are pretty much what we would do is we would just play video games with each other because that was really the only way to communicate and like have fun because we can’t play sports like we used to be able to. And then I mean, it’s hard to know that you’re always feeling tired when you’re pretty much forced to be in a chair all day. So, that definitely exacerbated things.

Minter Dial  07:11

Right, so you talk about in your book, we’ll get into the book in a while, but you talk about the very beginning of sort of a preface about how you have been helped by having a community of support. I was wondering what did that look like?

Emmet O’Sullivan  07:28

Yeah, so I mean, the first thing is, when I was diagnosed, I remember, I think the first thing is, when I had when I was first diagnosed, I got a lot of like support instantly. So, I remember the doctor’s office brought in like a nutritionist or the hospital brought in like a nutritionist, like a social worker. And at the time, I kind of brushed them off, because I was just dealing with a lot of things. So, I didn’t really want to talk a lot about that. But I was definitely offered a lot of support. And then definitely for my family and friends. I remember my friends asking so many questions about it. And they were like so intrigued by it, because at my school, I have no one with the condition. And I really don’t have anyone my age that I know with Type 1 Diabetes. So, it definitely made me unique in a way. And people were definitely very accepting very, very interested in and treated me the same as always, as you’d expect. So, I think just by family, friends, and even like the hospital care has been great support.

Minter Dial  08:24

I wanted to talk about one element of the treatment. Because you have the incident the long acting and the fast acting, presumably, you have you been offered pumps, and little Dexcom or other ways to measure your glycemic levels.

Emmet O’Sullivan  08:41

Definitely! So right now, I don’t use a pump or a continuous glucose monitor, which is which is pretty unique. I like to do it like the old-fashioned way, almost. So, I use an insulin pen, just inject myself, probably around four times a day, four to five times a day. One that night, I give myself my long acting insulin at 11pm Every night, and my short-term insulin before every meal. And yeah, so that’s how I administer insulin. And then for testing my blood sugar, there’s a lot of technology recently, whenever I go to my endocrinologist, they are always like advertising the new newest product and I’m like, oh, it looks cool. But I mean, things are going well. So, I just test my blood sugar, I prick my finger multiple times a day, and see how my blood sugar levels are at. And so, far I’ve been I’ve been good at managing it. So, I haven’t felt the need to switch over. And I think another aspect of that was I didn’t want to have something attached to my body, especially when I was playing sports like that, like during the basketball season especially. So, that that is definitely another reason why I wanted to have like the freedom of not having something attached to me. But whenever I say that to the doctors, they’re like, oh, you should they’re kind of concerned a little bit, but things have been going well my blood sugar agency levels have been great. So, they’re pretty much like and I’m like as well like if it’s if it’s working. There’s no need to fix it. So, yeah!

Minter Dial  10:01

And just to substantiate a piece you said earlier, you were talking in milligrams over here, we talk in MMOLs. I’ve had to learn how to do both. When it was good, and you talked about 500 level milligrams, knowing that a healthy person is typically between 80 and 120 milligrams. And, And so, yeah, off the charts high. So, yeah, I do get the same type, I had the same type of propositions from doctors. Sometimes I look at them a little bit, let’s say, suspectly, thinking that it’s more about promotion of getting you into some kind of campaign or test or whatever. The thing that I’ve done, and I wonder how this resonates for you, and like you said, yours doesn’t work. So, don’t fix this. Nope, it’s not broken. I have had this, and I resisted all technology. So, I I’m still with the insulin pens, but and only recently changed to a continuous glucose monitor. But I had this idea. I want to stay responsible for my insulin. It felt like if you delegate the insulin, well, of course, the pump doesn’t exactly do everything, you still have to tell it what to do. But it was like a de-responsibility station with regard to managing it. And I was wondering what you would think of that.

Emmet O’Sullivan 11:25

Yeah, so with my diagnosis, I’m super, super independent. I administer everything myself; I test my own blood sugars. I’ve been like that, since I was 13. When I was diagnosed, I never really, like I know if some kids who like go to the nurse office during the day when they’re giving themselves insulin. I’m not really like that at the lunch table, I’ll just like, take my insulin pen and do it in front of my friends, like, with no shame. So, that’s how that’s worked. And then in terms of like, the pump and responsibility thing, I definitely agree with you, I think, in a way, like, while you might, you might think you have, like, I guess the pump is more like, you can trust it more, it’s going to be more accurate. In a way I feel like I would have more control with the pens because I would I would feel like I’m more connected to what I’m putting into my body. I’m doing everything myself, in a way, but I can’t really speak on the pump, because I haven’t really tried that yet. So, but I mean, so far, I really like how things been going with doing pretty much everything like manually.

Minter Dial  12:22

Yeah, philosophically, it sounds like you just don’t need the pump. And the other thing is, I was preparing for our interview, and we’re going to get the book next. But as I was preparing, I was thinking, you write in the preface that millions of people’s I’m millions, I wonder how many millions. So, I started looking at that, it turns out that there are, according to the NIH, the National Institute of Health, in 2021, there were 18% of the 8.4 million people around the world who are under 20 years old. And 19% 1.6 million are 60 and older. So, you and I are both ends of the spectrum. And we’re the same number of folks. Ironically, although the they said in 2021, there were another half a million new cases diagnosed. So, it seems like that’s a large number may be on the rise. Do you have any feeling about whether it’s on the increase Type 1? I mean, they talk a lot more about type two, of course.

Emmet O’Sullivan 13:23

Yeah, I mean, I guess like if I were to think about it, not from a scientific perspective, for me, personally, I wouldn’t see it on the rise, because I really have not encountered many people at all with Type 1. But I have I have heard that actually, like, people, like I don’t remember the exact genetic history, but I’ve heard that like, genetically, it’s been like on the rise. But I’m not sure the actual scientific details. But I definitely think a lot of like, as you said, they emphasize type two being on the rise a lot because of like, diet and other things that can influence type two diabetes, but I can’t, I can’t really speak a lot on the on the rise of actual Type 1. But one thing I am interested in is I’ve looked at some like the progress in terms of a cure for the condition, which I actually do find promising, I do find hope that sometime in my lifetime, there’s going to be some sort of cure. So, that’s something that I am interested in. And I look into.

Minter Dial  14:19

Yeah, so one of the things I noticed is that you were giving the proceeds from the book to research to cure it. I have I have actually not really put my nose in that. So, do you have a specific charity you’re donating to? Or how’s that working?

Emmet O’Sullivan 14:34

Yeah, so all the proceeds from the book are going to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, and the money is going completely into research. So, it’s not it’s not going into like awareness or advocacy, which of course is important. It’s going straight into the research of the condition, which is something I’m I guess, like, very interested in myself because what I’m thinking is at least this this, the book itself does a lot of the advocacy Uh, when while the proceeds will do some of the research, so in a way, I’m getting both the best of both worlds. So, that’s kind of how I do that.

Minter Dial  15:08

Super now let’s get into the your book, Drew and the Dinotopia. So, start with talking about how you went about the idea of writing the book and then the, the method that you use to write it and draw it.

Emmet O’Sullivan 15:28

Yeah, definitely. So, I’ve always wanted to write a children’s book, I always found that sort of like a goal I’ve had since I was a lot younger. But I never really had like, anything unique to write it about, in a way. So, when I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, I guess that was like, the new thing I could write a children’s book about. And instantly, like I did, definitely had to get used to the condition but for the first couple years, and then I found that this summer, I was like, pretty well accustomed to the condition, I had a lot of experience, I went through the ups and downs and the condition. So, I felt that now like was the time to write the book. So, in terms of thinking about, I’ve always loved dinosaurs, I have, like, in my, in my room, in my home, I have like a wallpaper is all dinosaurs still. And I’ve complained my mom about that. But I see I see their needs. I guess I like the part of me likes it as well. But I have a lot of dinosaurs in my room and things like that. So, in terms of the book, so first on writing it, I’ll talk about the illustration right after. So, for writing the book, I kind of wanted to mirror my diagnosis in a way. So, in the book, what’s happening is this, this dinosaur called Drew, is playing outside with their friends, they’re playing leafy Chase, which is like the sport of all the dinosaurs are playing, kind of like how I used to, or like, I still do love playing sports. And then I sort and then drew feels, starts feeling tired and going and going to the bathroom and dizzy and all the symptoms that I felt and it’s among the common symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes. And then kind of like the dinosaur. I myself who I went to my parents, the dinosaur goes to their mom and starts asking about it. And the moms like you need to eat some more fruits for energy. And with diabetes, that’s not really what’s going to, what’s the best solution because fruits have some natural sugar. So, that’s going to spike your blood sugar levels. Yes, and then some dinosaur then goes to the doctor’s office. The dyno doc sort of treats them very well. Very welcoming Doctor gives him support given the tools he needs. And then long story short, he goes out, he goes back out and Dinotopia is a great community with a lot of support. He goes back to playing leafy chases with his friends and his mom tells him about all the details about all the different celebrities, the astronauts with Type 1 Diabetes and the Olympians with Type 1 Diabetes, which is something I found cool when I was diagnosed like a lot of celebrities with a condition. And Drew goes out and he and he lives a great life and he’s in Drew’s very unique.

Minter Dial  18:11

Why the name Drew?

Emmet O’Sullivan 18:13

Yeah, so the first reason I’d say is because the books called Drew Discovers Diabetes, I guess the alliteration with the D is definitely something I found cool. And I found it to be like s like, it rolls off the tongue well, and I’d say also drew is I aimed it to be like a pretty gender neutral, or any gender-neutral name. I’ve met both like people, like guys named Drew girls named Drew. And I wanted to make sure there’s no like pronouns in the book or anything. I don’t like us, he or she, so anyone can really pick up the book and identify themselves with it, whether they’re whatever gender they are, that was definitely a priority I had when writing the book, making it super inclusive. So, that like even though like I guess dinosaurs might skew to like a more, I guess, male friendly type of book, they can still like any female could see themselves with the book. And I originally had the color of the dinosaur of blue because I think like blue is like the color of diabetes like it’s like the National color diabetes or something like that. But I wanted to change that because blue is typically associated with like masculinity. So, I changed the color of the dinosaur to orange and I’ll get to the illustration in a second. But to make things I guess, all the more inclusive so that was another reason why I made Drew and their color.

Minter Dial  19:39

We will get to the drawings in a moment, but in terms of the celebrities, are there any celebrities that stand out for you as to be inspirational?

Emmet O’Sullivan 19:52

Um, yeah, so I know Nick Jonas is a musician. He has the condition, and I’ll see like, there’s like an NHL player with the condition now pretty much all sports are going to have some people, I guess like American sports, at least what I paid attention to people in, in the sports with the condition. So, like, I’ve always seen, like, I remember seeing on TV, or it was during the Superbowl, there’s, in the Super Bowl, there was a player. And one of my friends told me like, oh, like he has Type 1 Diabetes, and I was, and I started like rooting for him during the game. I don’t remember his name. But that was something. I mean, like, I’ve definitely looked, I always see it like, Oh, this guy has Type 1 Diabetes. And I always find that pretty, like inspiring, especially like, athletes, because I think a misconception of the condition is you can’t like place play as many sports as one without the condition can. So, I definitely find that inspiring.

Minter Dial  20:47

Well, I practice a sport called padel tennis in America, they call it a padel, that’s a padel racket in the back there. And it can be quite vigorous, invigorating. And so, you definitely need to be aware of your sugars as I do it. And one of the pros on the on the male side is guy called Alejandro Ruiz, Ale Ruiz, and he is a Type 1 Diabetic that is a left-hander. And he’s maybe 10th in the world. So, you can definitely do stuff with it. And, and yet, the one thing that I think is, I mean, you can do it, but you do need to be careful, you do need it does take, it’s not just like the same thing, you have to be attentive to where you are, and how much effort you’re going to be putting in. And you know what time of the day, I don’t know about you. But for me, if I if I get up at six o’clock in the morning, and I go, and I’m my levels, I put it in the milligrams, if I were at 126 in the morning, and I go and play two hours of padel, for example, before work, my sugars, despite the strenuous workout could be at 160. At the end of the of the match. Right, which is very, it’s very peculiar because in other words, my body is producing more sugars, which from secreted from the muscles that are working hard, and the stresses, and I will end up with a higher sugar in the morning because my body’s insulin resistant in the morning. However, if I were to do the match at 6pm, and I were at 120, I would need to eat at least 60 grams of carbs, maybe 100. Even in order to deal with the next levels of activity. I was wondering what your ratios are in the in that capacity.

Emmet O’Sullivan 22:42

Yeah, I honestly haven’t noticed a big difference between like more working out in the morning or at night. But I remember before basketball games last year, I would always my go to thing was a granola bar, I would choose to eat like a granola bar because I used to have orange juice orange juice is like a fast acting sugar, and it’ll spike your blood sugar up. But what I found was not as not as beneficial is that it’s not going to hold for a long time throughout the game. So, I’d have a granola bar and then I would sometimes have like on the bench have like apple juice or like a Gatorade to have that like that quick blood sugar in case I need it. But to make sure I eat that granola bar to hold me through the game. So, like as you said, definitely, you made a good point where it’s not the not the same. You can just like start playing sports exactly. You used to be able to but just be more attentive you can you can sort of pay more attention to what you’re eating, how active you’re being. It’s for me to be more in touch with your body. And that’s something definitely I had to manage but granola bars and orange juice or Gatorade or apple juice. That’s how I got through my athletics.

Minter Dial  23:47

That’s brilliant. All right, I want you to talk us through these illustrations because you didn’t you didn’t actually attribute them to you in the book as I read it. So, I was like, I wonder who the artist is. Tell us about the illustrations because they are obviously a very important part of the book.

Emmet O’Sullivan 24:04

Yeah, so I think that’s one of the coolest parts of the books when you when you open even the title is such a such a such a fantastic image. And all the pages look so colorful, so vibrant. So, I myself I’m not the best artist, in terms of like making my own art. And so, over the summer, I found out with like the crazy AI, there’s this platform called mid journey and I had to figure out a lot about my journey with like prompting so basically you write a prompt into mid journey and it’s it shoots out a couple images that match the prompt. So, I would do a lot of stuff like describe like Tet I had a test that a lot a lot and get us to the end get you to the platform but like in the style of this artist or like in a children’s book style like dry, lush forest and with greenery and have to use a lot of these descriptors that would finally get the image I wanted. So, it took a lot of a lot of temps and a lot of learning how to Use mid journey. So, that’s how I use the background images. And I did some editing in Canva, which is how I, I guess, like put together the book or I like, added some filters or brightened up some areas or added some external images and stuff like that. And then for the characters, I would do something similar, I would generate like a dinosaur cute, like have these like describe. There’s cute, like, adorable, I would even repeat like, there’s like synonyms to like really emphasize that point. And like, I had to do that a lot to get the characters, but it was definitely a, I think people might think it’s like, easier than it is, though, because it did take some time to learn the platform and get used to the prompts. Because I remember sometimes, I’d put in prompts and get completely wrong, completely, like weird, sort of creepy images, when I asked for these dinosaurs, and then, and then sometimes they would get like, hyper realistic with like large teeth, and like crazy scales. And I could never put that in a children’s book. So, that was something I had to get used to. But yeah, so using digital art through AI, which I think is going to be a big thing in the future with children’s book because of how cool these images look. That’s how I illustrated the book.

Minter Dial  26:11

So, in using mid journey, it was very iterative, I’m sure. And you had to learn all the different words that to get to what you wanted. Did you find that somehow, mid journey had a character itself its own personality as you were interacting with it?

Emmet O’Sullivan 26:29

Oh, that’s definitely interesting. Um, well, I’m not sure. I mean, one thing is, I would, I would sometimes like, one thing, I noticed that you can’t really generate like text, like, I tried generating, like, like a like a word. And then it started like, repeating the word in the image or word was all over spelled wrong and things like that. So, I didn’t really like I was thinking about generating like, the dinosaur and then above it, like cool characters and drew. But that didn’t work out. So, I mean, I’m not sure about it. It’s definitely interesting question. I definitely did notice, like some similarities, like, like, like I said, with the words, but I’m not sure about an exact character, that mid journey and bodies. What

Minter Dial  27:12

it just sounds like you had an experience with the journey. And I, it might have been more just a question of the types of experts you said, Oh, bonkers. This is what I’m looking for. Maybe that that was sort of the emotions that it procured in you, and you’re creating it. So, you create Drew, and the other characters. Was it able to easily remember the drew that you wanted? Because you obviously had to have some similarities? And, and was it good at adapting Drew? from one image to the other?

Emmet O’Sullivan 27:45

Yeah, so that was a big roadblock, I hit during my illustrations, and it did set me back a little bit. And it was frustrating. So, mid journey right now is it can’t remember the dinosaur. So, what I mean by that is, if you generate an image of Drew, and I’m sure this will change and how fast is developing very, very soon. But if you generate an image of Drew, and the next prompt, you can’t be like, okay, but make him sad, you can’t do that actually, you can’t edit the image you had previously. So, in the book, a lot of the I mean, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. But Drew is very happy during a lot of like, like, a lot of the pages, which is, I guess, like a positive notion on getting diagnosed with a condition. But that’s something I had difficulty with is, it’s hard, or it’s, it’s honestly impossible right now, to change the expressions of characters, when doing AI illustration, because if you said make an orange dinosaur with a smiley face, and then, of course, a very simplified version of it, and then the next property said, make an orange make an orange dinosaur with a sad face, the difference is not going to be the sad face and the happy face, it could also change the scales and the fee and everything about it because you can put in the same prompt twice, it’s going to give you different things every single time. So, it’s hard to it’s hard to be consistent with the characters, but I could see that changing in the future. I remember spending so long trying to figure that out. But I never got the exact answer to that.

Minter Dial  29:14

I asked the question because I can relate. Did you use the premium version of Mid Journey or was it free?

Emmet O’Sullivan 29:22

So, it was, so I could there is a free there’s like some free there’s some free websites called like Dall-ee, but you only have a certain number of credits and you get you run out. And the number of generations I was doing was so many just even to get one image just learning the process, as you said, a very iterative process. So, I got I’m not sure the exact pricing, but I think I got like a monthly pass whatever the option was on Mid Journey. And I still have it even though I started it in the summer, and I finished illustrating the book just to play around with because I find it so cool And so, fun. So, yeah, I think it was the monthly pass.

Minter Dial  29:59

It’s true that once you Get used to it and you start figuring out how to do those queries in a better way, you’re quicker to get to the end result, it’s a lot more efficient that way. And so, I too, have my own AI, keep on, keep up, keep up with it. One of the things that you talked about, or you write about a certainly with this withdrew is the idea of allowing or encouraging those who do get it, to feel empowered to take care of their health. You also talk about building resilience or having the resilience to deal with it. What do you mean by that?

Emmet O’Sullivan 30:33

So, I mean, when I least let’s first talk about, like my experience going getting diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, as you wouldn’t you get when you get diagnosed with a life changing condition like that, you’re going to feel down, and you’re going to think that you can’t do as many of the things they used to be able to, for example, like, if I want to like, if we’re in an intense moment of basketball match, it’s possible, I didn’t have to sit out for a second, to catch up with my sugars and get my sugars up. That’s just an example of the many things One thing interesting I’ve read is people with Type 1 Diabetes make 180 Extra decisions every day than someone without the without the condition. So, I mean, like constantly throughout the day, it’s on your mind, you’re going to have to making decisions. With not only like your blood sugar levels of food you eat, but everything sleep stress, like everything can impact your blood sugar levels. So, it’s constantly throughout your mind. So, since it’s such you have to be, it is a it is a difficult disease to live with. Because it has you have to pay so much attention to it and take good care to be healthy. So, in terms of resilience, that is definitely a hard thing to manage. When you go from living like what people would consider a normal life to having a life changing condition. It’s, it’s completely your life is going to completely change. And I mean, for me how I guess I consider it resilience myself, is I think resilience was really only access through me with other people. Because it’s hard to be resilient. If you’re isolated. That’s something I definitely found when I was diagnosed with a condition. So, I think resilience and a lot of the resilience I emphasize in the book is not like Drew, I don’t I don’t think that’s realistic. I don’t think people when the reading the book can identify with someone just getting the condition and the next day then being completely fine and happy. I don’t think that’s realistic. I think it’s more realistic. And what I emphasize in the book is Drew gets drew gets diagnosed, he’s Drew is very confused. But the family comes together, the doctors come together. And with a support of an entire community. That’s how the dinosaur is resilient. It’s not just themselves. So, I mean, in terms of myself, I’m actually I would not change a thing. I’m happy I was diagnosed because the way it’s completely changed my perspective on life made me much more responsible made me much more independent, made me much more in tune with my health and my body. And I think those 180 decisions I’ve made every single day have made me a better decision maker. So, I think that it’s been it’s been helpful to me, honestly, it’s made me unique. And I’m happy if how resilient I was, and I still am resilient to this day, where I go through ups and downs, not just my blood sugar, but just in my, in my life. So, yeah, I mean, I think that’s one of the most important things I emphasize in the book.

Minter Dial  33:20

May I say that as the most beautiful expression. It’s absolutely delightful. And I’ve never heard these 180 decisions per day. So, I’m now thinking of myself as having reinforced my decision-making abilities. Thanks to you. That’s really cool. And so, this book is designed to bring awareness, the challenge at some level, Drew, Emmet! is that people who get it, that’s when you learn about it. It’s sort of the challenge is getting it out to the rest of the world. So, most of the people who are listening to this, hopefully, this is new news. This is like what is our it’s not the same as type two. And you know, there’s usual confusion around that. So, hopefully we right now we’re helping to spread it. But what how are you trying to get the word out to people and helping them to understand the symptoms? Because if you don’t see the symptoms, as in 2021, I saw that there were 35,000 people that died because they were non diagnosed.

Emmet O’Sullivan 34:25

Yeah, so I think there’s two big motivations with the book. One is to show people with the condition that they can be empowered, they should feel resilient and they can see a dinosaur overcoming and, and struggling but succeeding in the Battle of Type 1 Diabetes, but I think the second motivation is exactly what you said, like showing people what the symptoms are having it more normalized people understanding what Type 1 Diabetes was, because for me, I didn’t know about the condition. I didn’t know the symptoms. Were Type 1 Diabetes, no one really knows that unless you have family members with it. And a lot of people who are diagnosed even though genetic disease won’t have a lot of family history with it. And that’s just the reality. So, as you said, so many people die with the condition and they don’t even know they have it. So, for me what I did, to address that is the first thing is, it’s an eBook. So, I set it as a minimum price, which, which was $1.99. I think it’s a euro 70. And it’s available globally, all Amazon marketplaces, you can, you can buy the eBook with like, I think the Amazon says buy now with one click. So, it’s super, I’m trying to make it super, super accessible. And I plan on dropping the hard copy very soon. And on March 26, this is going to be before this, this episode gets posted. But that’s diabetes alert day. And I want to that’s the day where I’m going to start advertising it to the US reaching out to friends and family to buy it. And that’s going to be the big day where I want to sort of spread awareness because that’s diabetes alert diets about awareness for the condition. And I think an important part of this book is it’s not just for families who have the condition, but it’s just a children’s book, you can treat as a children’s book, like, like any other any other children’s book, it just happens to be about a disability. So, I mean, I think it’d be really cool if like, kids in school without, without the condition could read the book, like they were like, it was a normal children’s book. And it just became a norm to know about the condition to know about the symptoms. So, you could catch it before it’s too late, which, unfortunately, is not always the case. And for me, I caught it super late. And to be completely honest, I was I was in a near death, sort of blood sugar experience. And that’s what the doctor has told me. So, that’s, I guess, the dream of the book to both empower people, but also normalize the condition and make people understand the symptoms.

Minter Dial  36:43

Well, I’ll be sure to be supporting you on that, of course. And frankly, for me, too, I have no idea. And I’ve been around the block a few more times than you. And so, you would have thought that at the age of 40, I might have heard about it, but no. And first of all, there’s this notion of identifying the symptoms, because you can sort of, oh, I had a hangover. You know, you don’t know what that is yet. You know, I had, I was feeling thirsty. And so, I just drank? No, I’m going to the bathroom a couple more times than I usually do. But you know, no big deal. Oh, I have to one button in my belt, but no big deal. And then, it’s like the frog in water that’s getting hotter and hotter. So, what I’ve talked the last piece about, which is the publication, because now I’m guessing you are also using KDP, or Amazon’s publishing arm for the book. But it it’s I’ve never done it. So, I’d be curious to know, the challenge of putting your drawings into the Kindle over version. And how did that go? How were they finicky and pain in the butt? As they were with me when I just do a Word document?

Emmet O’Sullivan 37:55

To be honest, yes, it was, it was difficult. A lot of the process was of course, there was writing the book and illustrating it, but this sort of unseen processes going on through that Amazon KDP and self-publishing a book. And it makes it seem easy, but it is difficult figuring out the platform. So, I mean, like even like converting PDFs into from Canva into Amazon KDP. And they want it as a certain I think the file is like a mobi file. And like there’s a lot of confusing aspects. And then it has to go through the days of sort of that Amazon has to check and see if it’s appropriate, or it fits the regulations. And then there’s a new thing about like, AI, you have to check if you use AI and how much you used it. So, there’s a lot of I guess, like fit exactly, you said super finicky details with the publishing with the publishing site. But I mean, now that now that I’ve gone through it, I can see myself writing another book. I don’t know. So, I mean, yeah, it was it was difficult, but I guess I got it done. And it’s, it’s live now. So, yeah.

Minter Dial  38:54

That’s good. I’m excited for you. And I’m sure there’ll be a very exciting moment to have your first copy in your hands in a hardback fashion. So, just to finish, then Emmet, you’re 17, you’re a junior, which is second to last year at high school. What are the what’s the prospects for you going for? What are you looking at? What do you want to do for the next what? What’s your next steps we say?

Emmet O’Sullivan 39:20

Yeah, sorry, your microphone cut off. Can you repeat the question?

Minter Dial  39:22

I’m sorry about that. So, I was asking, you’re 17 years old. And so, you have one and a half year or nearly a year and a bit left. As you approach the aim of college / university. What are you looking at? What do you want to do? What’s your next steps in life, Emmet?

Emmet O’Sullivan 39:43

Yeah, so I mean, I guess in a dream, we’re in the dream world. I don’t have to worry about school, and I can write books all day, but that’s definitely that’s definitely a reality, balancing my academics with these fun things I’m doing outside of school. So, I mean, Junior year is nearing the end of the school year. So, flown by. But it’s been difficult. But I right now I’m thinking I’m not 100% sure… I haven’t figured out like what I want to do in life. But I think I’m interested. Totally normal. Yeah. I’m interested in I think the intersection between public policy and business because I’m someone who thinks that like businesses really have the power to change the world. So, I think that getting involved in business some way and not focusing so much on profits, but on like, how I can help the community kind of emblematic of, I guess, my book helping people out, but through a grander scale. I know that’s vague, but that’s something I’m interested in.

Minter Dial  40:38

Hey, listen, it’s a direction I, I tried to resist the temptation like, what’s your passion? Or would it be wanting to be fire engine, you know, fire, whatever, it is a fire fighter? No, it’s a whole process. And that is the journey. So, Emmet, been a great pleasure to have you on my show. I’ve enjoyed meeting you like this, getting to read your book, of course. And I always am delighted by your mom, she’s, she’s absolutely stunningly bright and fast thinking and she’s, she’s inspiring to me as well. So, how can someone, obviously get the book or get in touch with you should they wish? What would you like for people to act on at this point?

Emmet O’Sullivan 41:22

I mean, the most obvious answer is buy the book, of course. I think it’s a cool read, if even if you don’t have the condition, honestly, especially if you don’t have that condition. I think that’s just as important that audience, so I think behind the book, telling people, you don’t have to make people make your friends by the book, but just telling people about the condition. Because a lot of people have it. And exactly, you said, the symptoms are not obvious. It’s not like one day, you’re this, you’re this heavy. And then the next day you lose this much talent. It’s very gradual, which makes it hard, hard to notice. So, I mean, tell me about the condition tell you about the symptoms, learn about the symptoms yourself, maybe by reading the book, or elsewhere. But yeah, I think buying the book telling ideally telling some friends to buy the book. And then maybe if you want to get the paperback when it comes out, to give to kids, with even without the condition that I guess that would be ideal. But the number one thing is just knowing the condition and making sure people around you are healthy by knowing the symptoms.

Minter Dial  42:17

Presumably you added in both the paperback, the hardcover anyway, and the Kindle, that you can be bought by libraries as works. You have to do a library pricing, right?

Emmet O’Sullivan 42:29

Yeah, I haven’t gotten into that exactly yet until I do the paperback. I think by the time this episode is launched; I think I will have the paperback out by then. So, I’m looking to do that for April. But I haven’t got into the library details. But that’s definitely a goal of mine to see my book on a shelf. That would be really cool. But I haven’t yet but big things like there’s definitely me finishing. I think me publishing the book is only it’s not the last step. It’s the first step. There’s a lot of cool things I could do with the book, whether it could be to like get into some schools nearby, like to public schools, or like some doctor’s offices, there’s a lot of things I’m interested in doing with the book.

Minter Dial  43:06

As Seth Godin says there, you need to create friction and the friction for us is actually getting the word out afterwards. You’ve done all the hard work of writing it but then it’s not finished. Now you’ve got to go out and get it get it out. What about personal sites or social media? Do you have Are you active on social and you’d like anyone to follow you or get in touch with you on social?

Emmet O’Sullivan 43:25

No, honestly, I think I think I’m good, but I mean, I have an Instagram like a private account with my friends, but I was just trying to find out. Yeah, no problem number one thing is just check out the; whatever Amazon platform you are, check out Drew Discovers Diabetes on Amazon. You’ll see it with a cool colorful cover and hit that by now. One click. You can check it out.

Minter Dial  43:52

Love it. Alright Emmet, thanks a lot. Stay well, man. We’ll stay in touch.

Emmet O’Sullivan 43:56

Thank you

Minter Dial

Minter Dial is an international professional speaker, author & consultant on Leadership, Branding and Transformation. After a successful international career at L’Oréal, Minter Dial returned to his entrepreneurial roots and has spent the last twelve years helping senior management teams and Boards to adapt to the new exigencies of the digitally enhanced marketplace. He has worked with world-class organisations to help activate their brand strategies, and figure out how best to integrate new technologies, digital tools, devices and platforms. Above all, Minter works to catalyse a change in mindset and dial up transformation. Minter received his BA in Trilingual Literature from Yale University (1987) and gained his MBA at INSEAD, Fontainebleau (1993). He’s author of four award-winning books, including Heartificial Empathy, Putting Heart into Business and Artificial Intelligence (2nd edition) (2023); You Lead, How Being Yourself Makes You A Better Leader (Kogan Page 2021); co-author of Futureproof, How To Get Your Business Ready For The Next Disruption (Pearson 2017); and author of The Last Ring Home (Myndset Press 2016), a book and documentary film, both of which have won awards and critical acclaim.

👉🏼 It’s easy to inquire about booking Minter Dial here.

View all posts by Minter Dial


Pin It on Pinterest