Monthly Archives: January 2014

What else do you want?

So GoogleX has announced their intent to develop, and find a manufacturing partner for, a glucose-sensing contact lens. Okay, great. Let’s hope their research comes up with something new and fantastic for People With Diabetes.

However, it’s not usually one device, but an entire system that matters, that helps us. In fact, I’d like it if GoogleX’s research results included several other ideas. You (and by You, I mean anyone developing new medical technology) can apply many of these notions to anything you might develop in the future. I’m including some other ideas here just because, you know, it’s my blog, and it’s Friday. Do you have ideas of your own? Feel free to get your own blog, or leave a comment below.

1. Accuracy, accuracy, accuracy. The data I’m getting from your device needs to accurately report what’s happening with my BGs, or it’s a non-starter with me. Period.

2. Can you make this technology work with the rest of my robot parts? Like, can it talk to my pump please? Regardless of the pump manufacturer? This also requires you to get on board, Asante, Medtronic, Tandem, Animas, et al. And FDA. Silos: Bad. Collaboration: Good. I believe the word we’re referencing here is “Interoperability”. See also “Open Platform”.

3. Ooh… Can we also have it upload data directly to our healthcare professionals? And can we force our healthcare professionals to actually read it and use it to help us get to meaningful outcomes? I’m not above using Pavlovian methods in pursuit of this goal. In fact, just thinking about this has me salivating like a dog.

4. Any chance you could get it to determine actual carb counts in literally everything? This is something else that would need to work in concert with another device. Look at a plate of food, blink your eye (or maybe wiggle your nose– whatever works), and have the carb count immediately display on your smart phone or Google Glass. You know, something like that might actually get me to invest in a smart phone.

5. While we’re at it, can you get any accompanying software associated with your product to work over multiple operating systems, including Windows, Apple, and all the rest? No excuses about how “we just wanted to get it to work on one system, and we’ll be working on the others soon”. Conformity: Bad. Diversity: Good.

6. While we’re still at it, can you make it affordable? Always? I mean, if you can help someone use their phone so they can see House of Cards or an adorable dog food commercial via their television set, and do it for 35 dollars, you should allow me to have access to my personal data without it costing me a fortune.

7. Can you get my insurance plan to cover it? This would eliminate the need for #6. Extra points for you if you can pull this off. Extra extra points if you can make it available to everyone who wants it. If we’re living with diabetes, we’re all equal, even if our insurance plans are not. No use getting excited over a new device if I can’t afford to get my hands on it. And I don’t need the guilt that comes with having access to something that someone else does not.

8. Can you use David Bowie’s Space Oddity in your marketing efforts for this product? No real reason, except I think it’s kind of a cool song with a great sound that lends itself to something futuristic. Even if it is nearly 45 years old. Side note: Maybe this isn’t the best choice here. Listening to it again, I realize it always reminds me of going low. That funky/weird guitar thing in the background is what’s playing in my mind during hypoglycemia. So, ummmm…. Never mind.

Those are my eight seven ideas. Feel free to add to the list by leaving the results of your brainstorming below. And please remember it’s Friday, so feel free to have fun with it too.
 
 
 

Recipe! Alternative salad.

We had sliders for dinner the other night. Or, in my case, slider. One is enough for me to feel full anymore, even though the taste is quite satisfying. It’s the carbohydrates in the bun that turn me off. Once in a while, I’ll have a second, without the bun.

Anyway, this isn’t about the sliders. It’s about the salad I made as a go-with for this meal. If you’re looking to make semi-lifestyle changes in the new year, a salad is a great way to replace something like french fries with something that’s more healthy, yet still filling.

My recipe is for a salad that’s a little different. Lettuce is not the main ingredient. I remember seeing Jamie Oliver doing something like this on TV a while back, but I’ve lost track of where and when. It’s a great change of pace when you’re sick of chopping up the lettuce and throwing something familiar on top. It’s actually a really great summer salad, but it works this time of year if you can find ingredients that you like.

I started with a large plate. It helps me to do this on a large plate first, but you can do it in a bowl too. Just give yourself enough space to work with without damaging the delicateness of all of the ingredients.

The recipe begins with a large carrot and a large stalk of celery. Then I got out my peeler. For a recipe like this, it helps to have a sharp peeler. But if you don’t have a sharp one, a little elbow grease will help you get the job done. Just give it a little effort.

I peeled the carrot and celery, then got out a couple of green onions (also known as scallions). I chopped the scallions in half, then sliced each half very thinly lengthwise. Once that was complete, I thinly sliced a medium-sized radish. I also added a little chopped-up red cabbage. Then I chopped some fresh cilantro to help add another layer of flavor. Oh, and I added some tomato too (campari tomatoes, quartered, if you want to know). I love tomatoes, and I almost never go without them on my salad.

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I made a lemon vinagrette to mix in with all of this. The lemon helped to mellow the strong flavors of the radish and cilantro. I’m not including the lemon vinagrette recipe… it’s basically red wine vinegar, some olive oil, and the juice from half a lemon. Add in salt and pepper to taste, if you like. So there. I did give you the recipe.

Okay… where was I? I added the lemon vinagrette, made sure my hands were clean, and gently tossed everything together. Sometimes you just have to get your hands messy. I used a large leaf from a head of romaine lettuce as a bed for the salad, and placed everything on top. What do you think?

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Total estimated carb count: I have no idea, really. I know there’s a little bit in the carrot, a little in the tomato, and a little in the lemon vinagrette. I’m gonna guess it’s 8g per serving, but that’s just a shot in the dark.

Making this salad was a fun experience, it was easy, it was quick. Next time you’re staring in the fridge dreading another salad, or if you’re looking for a super alternative to something more carby, this may be your answer.

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

The future is not yet written.

Sooooo, how did that visit with my endocrinologist go last Thursday?

For the first time in a long time, I was seriously worried about a visit with my endo. Simply put, I have not been a good citizen. As far as I could tell, my BGs were running higher than usual in the past three months. On top of that, my eating habits weren’t so fantastic either. I was sure that the results of my tests were going to be awful, and I was going to have to make some serious changes to get back to where I’ve been for the last five years.

I was very concerned about letting down my endocrinologist, who’s been instrumental in helping me focus on the right things, helping me keep my numbers in a good place on a consistent basis.

So… So… How did it go?

Surprisingly well.

My A1c stayed exactly where it was last time. I did manage to gain two pounds over the holidays, but I thought the scale was going to show I had gained much more. I’ve got some work to do, but overall, it could have been much worse.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it over the weekend, and I think there may have been one thing that helped me.

I did a lot of glucose checks every day. Probably more than ever before. Even when I knew the number might not be good, I tested anyway, so I could make corrections if necessary. And there were days when I made a lot of corrections. That may have made the difference. Diligence works.

Going forward, I have two things to remember. I need to work out more often, without a doubt. And I need to eat better. Which, thankfully, I’m already doing.

Hey… Listen, it’s true that this diabetes thing is really a marathon, and not a sprint. That said, I’m glad that last week’s visit turned out well, and I’m happier still that I have a chance to be even better going forward. The future is not yet written. And I’m encouraged by that.
 
 
 

JDRF Type One Nation DC Research Summit.

This post falls under the heading All News is Local, or in this case Regional. If you live in the Mid-Atlantic, you may already know about the JDRF Type One Nation DC Research Summit happening in Bethesda, Maryland (outside of Washington, D.C.) on March 1st. If not, you can find out about it at jdrfsummit.org.

It promises to be a day filled with information gathering, making connections with other PWDs and parents of CWDs, and hopefully, a laugh or two. What’s on the agenda? That’s what this post is about. I wanted to take this opportunity to let you know about the lineup of presenters that day. There is a separate youth program that, unfortunately, I don’t know anything about. But here is the agenda for the adult track:

The day will begin with a welcome from Piper Dankworth Sutton, Executive Director of the recently-consolidated Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Chapter of JDRF. As a side note, I have to think her job is a tough one, considering her chapter includes what a year ago was two chapters, over a large geographic area encompassing over 8 million people. That probably means hundreds of thousands of people living with Type 1 Diabetes.

Our moderator for the day will be Mary Kate Cary, who’s a former White House speechwriter, and currently a contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report, as well as a political analyst on National Public Radio.

Bethany Salmon, Senior Manager of the Research Business Development Group of JDRF, will talk about JDRF Translational Development: Partnering for Success, highlighting (I think) collaborations between JDRF and various entities doing research on Type 1 Diabetes.

Roland Tisch is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at University of North Carolina. His topic of discussion is Reversing Diabetes. Hmmm… I might have picked a different topic, but okay. We are talking about research here.

After lunch (did I mention lunch is included?), EUGENE BRANDON, PhD and Director of Strategic Relations and Project Management at ViaCyte will talk about Developing an Encapsulated Cell Therapy for Diabetes. Last year’s discussion about encapsulation therapy was my first exposure to the subject, and I’m looking forward to Dr. Brandon’s talk about it this year, as well as hearing him talk about ViaCyte’s collaboration with JDRF in this field.

Later, the subject will be Approaches to the Cure: Nanoscience and Immunology, presented by Stephen Miller, PhD, who is (long, impressive-sounding title coming) Judy Gugenheim Research Professor, Director-Interdepartmental Immunobiology Center, Department of Microbiology-Immunology, Northwestern University Medical School. Still with me? This is another topic that doesn’t get enough attention, in my opinion, so I’m hoping Dr. Miller can provide a little more insight for us.

Finally, the presentation I’m really waiting for: Kelly Close, Editor-In-Chief at Diatribe, and her colleague Adam Brown, Co-Managing Editor at Diatribe, will present Diabetes Technology: A Bridge to a Cure. Kelly is a well-known diabetes advocate, of course, and she participated in a bionic pancreas clinical trial up in Boston last year. After not making the cut for two artificial pancreas trials in the past year, I’m eager to hear about her experience firsthand.

All through the day there will be exhibits and book signings and chances to connect with people who walk the same stretch of road that you do, so to speak. After all of the speakers are finished, there will be a question-and-answer session with the panelists.

Why am I making a big deal of this now? Well, to begin with, I was asked to write something about it, by someone I respect, so that’s what I’m doing (no, I’m not getting anything in return). Also, and I’ve said this before, if you’ve never been to an event where this kind of subject matter is discussed, or if you’ve never been to an event with other PWDs and parents of CWDs, this is the perfect venue to get your feet wet. Laid back, supportive, and friendly. And free to attend.

So again… If you want to know more, or if you want to register, go to jdrfsummit.org. And let me know if you’ll be there, so we can connect!
 
 
 

Keep on truckin’.

Piggybacking on last Friday’s post, I was happily able to tweet this on Saturday evening:

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Pretty encouraging, right? But that tweet hides a lot. To be honest, completing that workout was extremely difficult. Man, I’m out of shape.

This was my first real workout in a long time. There are a number of reasons for that. To begin with, my schedule at work changed in the fall. After 15-plus years, I’m now required to be there half an hour extra every day. I decided to add that extra half hour at the beginning of my workday. And since my workouts during the week were always in the morning before work, I wasn’t able to do that anymore. Also, to be honest, after my final long bike ride last year, I didn’t have the same motivation to get to the gym that I had earlier in the year. Add in participation in a clinical trial and a couple of other things that came up, and it meant I wasn’t getting to the gym on the weekends either. In fact, I hadn’t been to the gym since early November.

So I’ve started my training, but it’ll be slow going for a while. On the bright side, I’ve seen a noticeable difference in my glucose after just working out Saturday and Sunday. Really good differences, which I definitely need, because those numbers have been creeping up a bit for the last month or so. For the first time in a long time, I’m worried about disappointing my endocrinologist when I go in for my appointment Thursday. That’s how I look at it too. She works hard and has done a great job with my care for a while now, so if I’m less than stellar with my A1c, I’ll feel a bit like I let her down. Oh well… one concern at a time.

The one thing I’ll try to remember through all of this is to keep on trying. Never give up. Yesterday is yesterday. Just a reference point. I can’t do everything, but I can try to do everything I can to make things better in the future. I hope you look at your diabetes the same way.
 
 
 

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