I don’t know from Glycemic Index.

I’ve been trying out those sliced bagel things that I’ve been seeing in my grocery store lately. You know, the ones where the bagel is sliced horizontally into three or four slices, so you don’t have to choose to eat the entire thing at once (which, I admit, I am prone to do). I like a nice bagel in the morning, but in the last year or so, they have been affecting my post-prandial numbers to the degree that the bagel goodness wasn’t a good tradeoff for a mid-morning (or noontime) high BG anymore.

So I’ve been trying out eating about half the bagel for breakfast, instead of the whole thing. And guess what? The numbers still suck. And that’s frustrating. I can still eat a donut occasionally (about twice a year), and it doesn’t affect me this much. I’ll have an occasional pancake, and while I get an initial spike, I can usually bring it down well in advance of my next meal. Other things, like bagels, biscuits, and certain breads, forget about it. Zoom-pow! To the moon!

But it wasn’t always this way. Yes, those products have always caused higher numbers, but not to the degree, and as long lasting, as they do today. I’m not eating these things for every meal, or even every day, or even every week for that matter. But when I do, my blood sugar does not like it very much. Now I’m trying to find out why, and particularly, why now, when this wasn’t as much of a concern as before?

Hey, listen: I don’t know from glycemic index. I’ve been living long enough with diabetes (and been told by too many) that things like donuts and Chinese food are bad for my blood glucose; and celery and carrots and nuts and tree bark are good for my BGs. Unless, of course, it’s that sappy kind of tree bark. Okay, now I just want waffles…

Anyway, it’s not much farther from there where my knowledge of how specific carbohydrates react specifically to my diabetes ends. (It’s okay… I’ll wait a second in case you need to re-read that sentence)

I think I need to educate myself a little more about the Glycemic Index (if that’s what I really need to concentrate on), and how each item in my diet will affect me. Fortunately, I have lots of resources at my disposal: a simple Google search on “Glycemic Index” returned 1,670,000 results. The University of Sydney has a great search tool where you enter a food and it returns the glycemic index and the portion size that resulted in that index number. The American Diabetes Association has a super informational page on GI that, among other things, identifies low glycemic index foods as those with a score 55 or under. Medium GI foods are scored between 56 and 69, and High GI foods come in at 70 or above. The Harvard Medical School has a web page with over 100 food items and their GI numbers, including Raisin Bran and Snickers bars. Which I don’t really eat anymore.

Of course, like everything else having to do with my diabetes, these are great reference tools, but the devil is in the details. Nothing about a glycemic index chart will tell me why I react so poorly to something that I did not have a lot of trouble with before.

I like to kid people and tell them that the only two vices left in my life are salt and alcohol, and while I want to enjoy them for as long as I can, eventually I’ll have to give those up too.

Now it looks like I may have to add bagels to the list.

Scholarships: The application window is beginning to close.

I’ve mentioned this a lot before, but I’m going there again. That’s because time, as they say, is of the essence. In other words, time is running short. This is very important if you have a desire to get to big diabetes events this year, but you can’t necessarily pay your own way.

Are you a procrastinator?

That’s okay, as long as you don’t procrastinate past Friday.

Diabetes Hands Foundation and Diabetes Advocates has their application process open for candidates to receive scholarships to diabetes events this year. But applications will only be accepted until 5:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time (or 8:00 p.m. on the east coast) on April 3rd.

That’s this Friday, folks.

Scholarships will be awarded to cover travel, hotel, and conference registration for things like the American Diabetes Association’s 75th Annual Scientific Sessions, the two-day MasterLab advocacy workshop in July, the entire Friends For Life conference in July, and the American Association of Diabetes Educators conference in August.

Full disclosure: I received a scholarship to attend MasterLab last year, and it changed my life. I’m not applying for scholarships this year, so you have one less competitor!

DHF will award scholarships to advocates of all experience levels. Yes, that means you and me.

Let me say this again: You have until Friday to apply for these scholarships.

So… you need to do two things:

1) Take the Diabetes Advocates advocacy survey: CLICK HERE

2) Complete the application: CLICK HERE

To find out more about scholarships offered, and to get to these two links again, CLICK HERE. If you have any questions, e-mail the always helpful Mr. Mike Lawson and he will tell you everything you need to know.

Now is the time. The application window is closing. If you otherwise wouldn’t be able to go to one or more of these events, I urge you: Apply for a scholarship.

I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

More disclosure: As evidenced by the button in the left column of this page, I am proud to say that I am a member of Diabetes Advocates. I get nothing in return for sharing all of this with you, except the possibility that your life will be forever changed too. Apply now.

More Diabetes UnConference News, and FDA doings too.

I know I’ve written a lot about The Diabetes UnConference, but I need to share this bit of exciting news:

First: There will be another Diabetes UnConference in Las Vegas next year!
Details are still being worked out, but it will be in Las Vegas, and it will be in March 2016. For me, this is very encouraging. There were many people from the western part of the USA who attended this year, and I know at least a couple would not have made the trip had it not been so close. So I’m glad that adults living with diabetes in Nevada, Arizona, California, Utah, and other western states will have something relatively close to go to. But that’s not all….

Second: There will be an East Coast version of the Diabetes UnConference in the Fall of 2016!
Again, it’s still in the planning stages, and there isn’t much to tell yet, but for all of you who can’t quite make the trip to Vegas next year, know that there will be an East Coast UnConference in the fall. More to come on that development. But wait… that’s not all…

Third: Both editions of the 2016 Diabetes UnConference will include separate “Adult T3/People without Diabetes” sessions! Some parts of the UnConference will offer opportunities for both People With Diabetes and People Without Diabetes to interact, but there will also be a separate space and special sessions so People Without Diabetes can experience the UnConference too, sharing among their tribe, peer-to-peer (still adults only).

Hard to imagine next year already, but it already looks like it will be great.


Advocacy Opportunities:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is holding a couple of public meetings in April.

The first, on April 14, is a meeting of the Endocrinologic and Metabolic Advisory Committee, which will go over outcomes of research on patients using the Type 2 medications Saxagliptin and Alogliptin. The public is welcome to attend, but you must register. To do that, and to get all of the information on this Advisory Committee meeting, CLICK HERE.

Also, one week later on April 21, there will be a public workshop titled “An Interactive Discussion on the Clinical Considerations of Risk in the Postmarket Environment”. This workshop is really a forum to discuss possible risks (or not risks) of devices after they’ve been approved by the FDA. This is not specifically diabetes related, but hey, we wear devices, right? There is also an opportunity for patients (that’s me) to submit comments, and even speak at this public workshop. Looks very interesting to me. Want to attend? CLICK HERE.
There you have it. Exciting doings in the diabetes world, both in the near future, and next year. Enjoy your weekend!

Impact of The Diabetes UnConference.

I’m still processing The Diabetes UnConference.

It’s really hard to describe. At least to someone who was not in attendance. I’ve received a couple of inquiries about the event. Good inquiries, actually.


The problem is, the UnConference was not about one subject or another as much as it was about us, the people who were there, and our lives with diabetes, how we choose the devices we choose, how we navigate relationships involving diabetes, and that awful trifecta of guilt, depression, and burnout. And a LOT more.

What was said was not necessarily said for the benefit of educators, or healthcare professionals, or drug manufacturers, or even diabetes bloggers. Instead, what was shared was shared for the benefit of the people in attendance. As much as it makes me cringe when I say it, in this case, you really had to be there to fully feel the depth of our discussions.

That’s not to say that there won’t be any visible initiatives to come from the UnConference. There may very well be advocacy jumpstarted, or increased diabetes volunteerism due to some of the issues that were discussed. I certainly hope so. But it may come from individuals, or a team of individuals, rather than from the UnConference saying “here’s what we decided to do”. I have an idea in my head that came from the Aging with Diabetes session. I don’t know if I can do something with it, but I would like to try.

I also think that many of the things that were talked about will eventually make their way out beyond the confines of our walls at The Flamingo hotel. It just won’t be via Tweets and Facebook and blogs and so on. It’s going to be person to person, peer to peer, PWD to PWD. The conversations, however sacred, are not over. In many cases, they are just beginning. I like to think we cracked open quite a few cans of worms at the Diabetes UnConference.

When I consider bonds that were solidified over that weekend, and I look at Facebook posts and read blogs in recap of our time in Las Vegas, I’m finding that I wasn’t the only person who was moved by what I heard and experienced. And I’m not the only one having trouble describing it in a way that someone who was not there would understand and grasp hold of completely.

That’s kind of frustrating in a way. Except that the thing that makes it frustrating is also what made it so great—no social media during the sessions, keeping what was shared within the confines of the UnConference rooms, making it safe to open up, and ensuring everyone was listening.

That’s a tradeoff that this patient, anyway, is happy to make for the benefit of my fellow People With Diabetes who were there, and for the feeding of my soul that surprisingly happened during this special time in my life. I’m generally far too jaded to really get emotional anymore. I still feel things deeply, but I’m much more likely to keep my feelings to myself until the moment passes. That’s another thing I really had a hard time with, and I found myself opening up far more than I tend to do at traditional conferences.

Here’s the thing: Closing one window (social media) allowed another window (self fulfillment, enlightenment, relationship building, keep adding to the list) to open wide. Not just for me, but for everyone there. When I think of that weekend, I’m still a little raw. But I’m also ready and willing to listen to the next Person With Diabetes who needs a little more care and feeding of their soul.

My guess is that the impact of the first ever Diabetes UnConference will be both immediate and long-lasting. You’ve been reading about the immediate impact now, and the benefits of that are mostly internal. The long-lasting impact will be written about in years to come, and calculated in how one person makes an impact on another person’s life.

I’m still processing all of this, and I’m sure some of the attendees still are too. The conversations are just beginning. Lives are just starting to be changed. And that makes me feel like the UnConference will never really be over at all. I like the idea of that very much.

Unless, of course, there’s a cure. Then I’m okay with it ending. Just so you know…

This Champion Athlete With Diabetes is a real life Champion.

When I started to write up the information on our newest Champion Athlete With Diabetes, I found myself saying, “Is there anything that Alex Carlson can’t do?”.

Alexandra Carlson lives in Minnesota, so it makes sense that her sport is a winter one. In fact, she’s part of the 2015 USA Curling National Champion team. She trains a great deal in able to be in top form for her sport. Curling requires Alex to be strong, agile, and fit.

How do I know she is all of these things? Because I read her blog, Test Travel Train. There, she talks about the things that make her unique (testing, traveling, and training… duh), and how living with Type 1 diabetes for over twenty years is a part of that.

It’s part of her life, but it doesn’t seem to be slowing her down. And that is, um, AWESOME!

You can read all about winning the National Championship HERE.
So, to recap: Training to compete at the highest level of her sport, writing a super blog, and managing diabetes for 20+ years. And she has a new pump too!

Congratulations, Alex. You are exactly what inspires people living with diabetes to go out and chase their athletic dreams.
Want to have your own Champion Athletes With Diabetes medal minted? Send me an e-mail at champswithdiabetes@gmail.com. Tell me your name, name of the athlete (it’s okay if it’s you), and your address (gotta know where to send the medal). Most important, tell me what athletic goal was accomplished, and when. Extra points if you tell me how you felt accomplishing the goal.

Keep it tuned right here, friends. I’ve got two more Champion Athletes to tell you about in the very near future.


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