Changing faces for a changing landscape.

Here are some random thoughts for you to chew on this weekend. I’m not suggesting anything here, just doing kind of a “what if?” riff in my head and spilling it onto this page.

I was thinking yesterday of the change at the top happening at both JDRF and the American Diabetes Association. Both CEOs are stepping down. Jeffrey Brewer has in fact already stepped down from his post at JDRF after four years, replaced by Derek Rapp. And Larry Hausner is leaving as CEO of ADA at the end of the month. No replacement has been named yet.

The American Diabetes Association and JDRF are by far the two largest diabetes organizations in the United States. Sometimes competing, sometimes not, they both look to raise both money and awareness for their cause. In JDRF’s case, “Less Until None” for Type 1 patients. And For ADA, to “Stop Diabetes” of all types, though almost by default, a lot of their mission is geared toward type 2s, who represent the overwhelming majority of diabetes patients worldwide.

I thought about this yesterday, and then thought of other big organizations fighting for recognition, donor money (both governmental and private), and volunteers to aid their missions. Love them or hate them, Susan G. Komen is the face of breast cancer awareness. MDA is the go-to group for Muscular Dystrophy. The American Heart Association is, for us in the States anyway, the reliable resource for all things related to heart health.

Yet I can remember, more than once, asking someone to donate to a JDRF fund raiser and being told “Oh, I already gave to ADA”. And Or vice versa.

Am I suggesting that ADA and JDRF merge their missions into one huge conglomerate of an organization? No. Never.Gonna.Happen. For about a thousand different reasons. JDRF is an international organization, ADA is only U.S.-based is the first. The other reasons are so many and so varied that I don’t really need to repeat them here.

But there are a number of facts that are changing the landscape of the diabetes community. Among them:

– An increasing awareness that the diabetes community has spent way too much time and energy in silos, leading to distance and even animosity between types.

– Recognition of the fact that this is changing, and Type 1 versus Type 2 versus insert-your-type-here is a dead end going nowhere.

– A widening awareness of D-stigma, and a growing desire to squash it like a bug on the windshield of a speeding automobile.

– The growing role of social media in our community, and how, like Moore’s Law itself, it is changing roles, perceptions, the number of contributors, and sources of income faster than ever before.

I wonder if this moment in time represents, in a way, a chance for these two organizations, and the greater diabetes universe, to look at their missions in a new light. How can we work together? What can we learn from each other? And certainly: How can we help patients people today while planning and adapting for the future?

I’m not sure these questions can be answered easily. But I think the best time to ask them may be right now.
 
 
 

Recipe! Tomato Salad.

I had a really great ear of corn last weekend. The kind where it was just so sweet and creamy with just the right amount of butter and Old Bay seasoning (it’s a thing here). Of course, my BGs didn’t necessarily like the effect of a big fat ear of corn.

So the next day, even though I was grilling something again, I decided to think differently about a side dish. This one isn’t completely carb free… but it’s a lot less than an ear of corn, and don’t forget, tomatoes are just coming into their own in North America now too.

I started with a handful of small tomatoes, yellow and red, that I got from my local farm truck. And a few of my purple cherry tomatoes that are just starting to ripen.

I just sliced them in half and added about 2/3 olive oil and 1/3 red wine vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste (I also added Old Bay seasoning– I admit– I’m addicted). Then I thinly sliced some fresh basil and fresh mint. Again, about 2/3 basil, about 1/3 mint. No need to measure out all of this. Trust me… You’ll figure out the right proportions.

image

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If you want to add a few extra carbs, you could cube up a slice of bread, throw it in a pan with butter or olive oil (just a tiny bit), and add something like celery salt or garlic powder, or both. Blue cheese or parmesan cheese too. Or experiment– how about a little cumin or siracha sauce? No matter what, this is a super-easy, tasty side dish.

Carbohydrate count: In what you see in the photos, about 6 grams to 8 grams. If you add a few croutons, add about 14g – 18g depending on the type of bread you use.

Carb counts are estimates only. Check with a registered dietician to find out what a healthy carb count is for you.
 
 
 

#dblogcheck – It’s baaaack.

Here we are… it’s another D-blog Check-In Day.

Christopher Snider, author at A Consequence of Hypoglycemia, and moderator at the Just Talking Podcast, and also the originator of last year’s edition, has designated today as the day for all of us to leave a comment on each and every blog we visit.

Last year on #dblogcheck day I wrote about the importance of telling your story, being that hand that reaches out into the abyss to pull someone in and make them feel less alone. Today I’d like to talk about the importance of leaving comments.

If you write, think about what it was like the first couple of times you received a comment from someone. Anyone. It meant a lot, didn’t it? It was an instant measure of readership, to begin with. You were no longer posting your thoughts to an empty internet. That measure of validation, that show of support, that initial connection… it’s special.

It’s just as special to someone who’s been writing for some time and wonders if the community has somehow lost track of them. Leaving a note at the bottom of someone’s heartfelt blog post promotes a greater sense of community among all of us. We know the writer is special. I, for one, don’t want to miss the opportunity to tell them.

I started writing in this space about two and a half years ago. Since then, more and more diabetes blogs have popped up from writers all over the world. Those writers deserve just as much (or more) support than I’ve received.

But you know what that means: More writers = more comments.

I know that sounds difficult for some, and I understand… I do. I’ve heard a lot of “My time is so limited” and “I can never think of anything good to say”. I guess what I’m saying is I feel a sort of responsibility to support writers who share their personal stories in a way that challenges me to think more and feel things more deeply. Why? Because I want them to continue writing.

I should also talk about what it means for me to leave a comment on someone else’s blog. I look at this differently than most, perhaps. But to be honest, leaving comments makes me feel better. I didn’t come by this naturally. But I’ve found that it’s great therapy for me.

Especially when I’m feeling down, or when I’m experiencing trouble either within or outside of the diabetes community, as soon as I leave a little comment somewhere, I nearly instantly start to feel better inside. Even when I’m tired and I can’t think of anything witty to say.

So I’ll conclude by first reminding you to leave a comment wherever you visit today. Share your favorites via Twitter using the hashtag #dblogcheck. And second, think about using this day as encouragement to comment more. None of us has the market cornered on great writing (especially me). What you can do is help deliver that measure of validation, and remind someone that what they have to say is really important. It really is, isn’t it?

Finally, I want to ask a favor. I have a confession to make: I haven’t really discovered a lot of new d-blogs lately (this is my time-constraint problem). If you’ve found a blog that you really like, and you can’t think of anything else to say, just say “Check” and leave the address of yours or someone else’s blog below.

And since I haven’t mentioned it for a while… Thank you so much for reading!
 
 
 

Every picture tells a story.

 
 
#showmeyourpump
 
 
The Great Spousal Unit was away on Saturday, so I basically did what I usually do when she’s away on a Saturday: I got up early, had a couple of strong cups of coffee with breakfast, visited my favorite farm truck, came home, cleaned the house within an inch of its life, started the laundry, had lunch, Oh… she came home for about an hour and a half… and yes, absence DOES make the heart grow fonder… where was I… yes… I finished up, watered the plants and the gardens, picked up the dry cleaning, stopped in to say hello to my friends at my favorite local place (you know what I mean if you know what the number #147 means), and then I went home to make dinner.

The point is, the unsaid point of all this up to then, for me anyway, was this: I had seen so much bad news on the television this past week that I was happy to disconnect, turn it all off, and just concentrate on me and my happiness for a while. Simply put: The bad news from Ukraine, Gaza, and the anti-immigration factions in America (I think they’ve forgotten that they have descended from immigrants themselves) had me feeling so sad that I didn’t want to hear anything from anyone for a while.

Then I prepared dinner (and it was good– a recipe is in the near future here) and sat down to eat it. I pulled out my iPad, dialed up the Pandora (B.B. King channel), and proceeded to chow down. Some of my stress had gone away, but by no means had all of it dissipated.

Since the iPad was nearby, I started to check out my Twitter feed.

That’s when it happened.

I started to read post after post with the hashtag #showmeyourpump. Of course, this all started with Miss Idaho, who bravely (and why the hell NOT?) wears her insulin pump for the world to see, started to get some non-D world props on NPR and other outlets. I saw photos of people heading out for a run, people on the beach, having dinner, and living perfectly normal lives that just happen to include an external pancreas.
 
 
My reaction started with “Oh, that’s cool”, to “I love that… wouldn’t it be cool if that started trending?”, to something like this:

showmeyourpump

Once again, without even knowing it, the Diabetes Community pulled me up from a very sad, very unhappy place to a place where I was happy and optimistic, even proud that I wear my pancreas outside of my gut. And even though this has been trending for a few days now, even though I’m late to the party again, I can only say:
 
 
Thank you.

You will never know the extent to which you lifted my spirits.

I will support you through thick and thin, forever.
 
 
Thank you.

 
 

On my way to work this morning

On my way to work this morning


#shomeyourpump
 
 
 

Like these links: Discover, Share, and Donate.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done one of these posts, so let’s check back in and see what’s happening in the Diabetes Community:
 
 
First of all… If you haven’t looked in on the series of Type 1/Type 2 Conversations (or, depending on your perspective, Type 2/Type 1 Conversations) between Laddie Lindahl and Kate Cornell, you’re missing out. There are a lot of things that all People With Diabetes have in common, and we can certainly learn a LOT from each other. So why don’t we? This is a great place to start:

Talking About Weight

Diabetes in the Great Outdoors
 
 
You might have noticed that the International Diabetes Foundation has a new app available that will let you put the universal Blue Circle (I can say it’s universal now, yes?) right on your photo. Sarah Kaye at Sugabetic has a great write-up on it here.
 
 
There is currently some awesome fundraising for JDRF going on, and even though this may seem like overkill, I want to share everything I know about right now. Here are places for you to help support each of your favorite riders, walkers, climbers, and businesses, all raising money for Type 1 research:
 
 
First of all… Did you know that Walgreens is JDRF’s largest corporate partner? Part of the reason for that is the fundraising they’re doing during their annual pin pad campaign this month. Now through the end of the month, shoppers are encouraged to make a donation to JDRF. And they’ll also donate $1 for every registration to their Balance Rewards for healthy choices program through the end of the month. So tell everyone you know, Type One or not. Walgreens has more details here.
 
 
You’ve probably already read about Haley Maurice and her brother (Diabetes Mine wrote about them), who took off down the John Muir trail on July 16th, on a three week hike with an eventual goal to climb the tallest peak in the continental U.S., Mt. Whitney. All to raise money for JDRF. Haley is a 15 year old Type 1 with, you guessed it, an inspiring story to tell. You can read about it all and donate too by starting at summitdiabetes.com.
 
 
Alecia’s Stem Cells are at it again. Alecia writes over at Surface Fine, and she leads a huge walk team in the New York City JDRF walk every year. This year will be no different. She’s always looking for more walkers, and donations never hurt either. Support Alecia’s Stem Cells right here.
 
 
And how about those bikers? I am both jealous of and humbled by people who can train hard enough to cover 100 miles in a day and raise the $2,000 or more that it takes to participate in the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes. I think they deserve all the support they can get. Click on the links for more, and support these super riders:

Moira McCarthy Stanford is riding in the Death Valley and LaCrosse rides

Victoria Cumbow is riding in the Lake Tahoe and Nashville rides

Jeff Mather is riding in the Lake Tahoe ride
 
 
Okay, that’s a fairly exhaustive list for a Friday. But there’s always room for more! Have you read something recently that moves you? Inspires you? Makes you laugh out loud? Please leave a link to it below. Have a great weekend!
 
 
 

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