Monthly Archives: March 2014

A Champion Athlete With Diabetes, and a Pied Piper.

I was so excited to send out our 8th Champion Athlete With Diabetes medal a few weeks back (I know, I’m writing about our 8th medal winner after I wrote about our 9th medal winner… sue me). Where do I begin?


Merle Gleeson is a 50 year Joslin Medalist. How ’bout we start there? I think that trumps my little medal, by a longshot. But that’s not all… Merle is also founder of the non-profit Type 1 Diabetes Lounge, known as Chicagoland’s adult education and support network. Founded in 1997, this is an amazing organization. They do lots of talks, parties, fundraisers, and more, all designed to help bring PWDs together in an atmosphere of encouragement and understanding. Be sure to check out their website and Facebook page for more.

So… What does all that have to do with athletics? Well, not much. But I thought you’d like to know about it, because I think it’s kinda cool. Now, when it comes to athletic prowess, Merle is hard to beat. Check out her current weekly routine:

Monday: Workout Challenge
Tuesday: Spin and Weights
Wednesday: Muscle Definition
Thursday: Spin and CXWORX
Friday: Sports Conditioning and Zumba
Saturday: TRX and Power Step

I got tired just reading that. That’s six days a week of tough conditioning. In addition to that, Merle still gets out on her bike when the weather permits, and can do up to 50 miles at a time with her local bike club.

In Merle’s words, “I just want to STAY HEALTHY and be a role model!”. Check and check.

Merle Gleeson… For being an amazing athlete, a gatherer of like-pancreased souls, an advocate, and for persevering for fifty-plus years with diabetes, we are proud to recognize you as a Champion Athlete With Diabetes. I stand in awe and grateful appreciation of your outstanding achievements.
Are you out there persevering, working hard to achieve athletic goals? If you’re living with diabetes, and you’re active; or if someone close to you is living with D and is active, we’ve got an honest-to-goodness medal we’d like to award you (or the athlete close to you). If it’s a big deal to you, it’s a big deal to me too. I want to support you, or support the Athlete With Diabetes in your life. Click here, or on the photo of the medal in the upper left corner of this page to find out more.

#StripSafely Is Opening Doors Again.

I just have a minute to get this down before running to catch a flight out of town… Monday is a big day for all of us who have been pounding the Strip Safely drum for nearly a year.

The best part is that you get to be part of it.

Bennet Dunlap and FDA expert Courtney Lias will head up a conversation with us. Yes, us too—we’re invited! You can register for this important call and listen to, and engage in, direct conversation between the Diabetes Community and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

Click here to register for this one-of-a-kind event.

Find out more about how the FDA regulates medical devices. Find out more about what the FDA is doing to ensure accuracy of blood glucose meters. This is your chance to hear the answers to any number of diabetes-related questions directly from the FDA.

I know many of you have expressed frustration, feeling like the FDA doesn’t listen to us. Well, in fact… lately, they are listening.

Monday’s conversation is a golden opportunity for the Diabetes Community to grab the ear of the government agency here in the USA that regulates our meters, our pumps, our CGMs, and more.

It promises to be a very important hour. Don’t miss it. Don’t miss sharing this with everyone you know. As Christel said yesterday, this is where all the cool kids will be on Monday.

The chat happens Monday, March 31st from 1:30p.m. to 2:30p.m. Eastern Time.

Click here to register for this meaningful event.

In case you didn’t know… This is a big deal. This kind of access is miles beyond what we could have imagined just a couple of years ago. Please take advantage of this unique opportunity, and don’t forget to share it with your DOC friends. Your voice is needed and appreciated. Be part of the conversation, or just listen in.

Book Review: Balancing Diabetes.


I see a lot of people have written about Kerri Sparling’s book, Balancing Diabetes. Of course, everything I’ve read so far has been from people who were also contributors to the book. So if you will, please allow this independent voice to tell you what I thought about this 200 page offering from Spry Publishing.

I’ve met Kerri Sparling, but I don’t think it’s fair for me to say I know Kerri. My limited exposure to her tells me that what you see is what you get. She’s friendly, helpful, direct, unafraid to take on a delicate subject, and articulate in a way that makes you feel you know exactly what she means. It’s why her book does not disappoint.

In Balancing Diabetes, she covers a number of subjects, including the transition of responsibility of a child’s diabetes from parent to daughter, living the college life, relationships (both platonic and romantic), parenting, exercise, and the various devices we wear.

Now, I have to be honest: There are a lot of subjects in the book I don’t know anything about. College life? I wasn’t able to finish (money), and never lived away from home while going to class. Having children? We always wanted kids, but could never make it happen (money again). But there are plenty of subjects that speak directly to me, in a way that only another person with diabetes can tell it.

There are plenty of people (heroes?) with diabetes that do tell their stories in the book. You’ve probably read or heard of most or all of them. Getting these special people to lend their voices to the project was a stroke of genius. So however you come to the diabetes conversation, there’s someone in there that speaks your language on your subject.

And just like she does on her blog at Six Until Me, Kerri weaves her literary magic throughout each chapter. I especially liked:

– Page 17 “And that’s it–that’s totally it for me” (Chapter One: Making Sense of the New Normal)

– The first paragraph of Chapter Nine (Walking the Blood Sugar Tightrope)

– Every word of Chapter Ten (Fitting Diabetes Devices into Daily Life) and Chapter Eleven (Bringing Your Diabetes to Work)

– Page 193 “Fear is not the best motivator for me” (Chapter Sixteen: Finding Balance and Moving Forward)

Who is this book’s target audience? It’s too easy to say everyone… But yeah, everyone. I think especially if you’re one or two years past diagnosis, this will help you get a handle on the “Okay, I’ve got the day-to-day down… What about the rest of my life?” feeling. Also, this is probably a good primer, a reference book, if you will, for people to look at every now and then when they need a one-of-a-kind perspective from someone who’s been there.

I also think this is a super resource for people in the orbit of someone living with diabetes. Parents, significant others, co-workers. I suspect they would all find this book eye opening and extremely informative.

So if you’re wondering whether it’s worth it, my answer is yes. Go get this book, via Amazon (or Kindle, of course), or wherever else you can locate it. You’ll enjoy reading it, and you’ll want to keep it on the shelf for years to come.

Move along… there is no disclosure to see here. I bought the book, I read it, and all opinions are entirely my own.

Tuesday is ADA’s Alert Day.


Tuesday marks the American Diabetes Association’s 26th annual Alert Day.

It’s an effort to find as many people as possible who might be at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. They do that with a simple risk test. Many of us know that 26 million Americans are living with diabetes of one type or another. But did you know there are 79 additional Americans who are at risk of developing diabetes? Alert Day is designed to help people identify if they are at risk, and then encourage them to make healthy choices to help them do what they can to be as healthy as possible.

Part of our job as advocates, I guess, is to help educate people about diabetes, and help them get help when they need it. So… if that’s the case, maybe we should encourage those we love who aren’t living with diabetes to take this test.

One of the best things about that is the fact that Boar’s Head Brand® (the deli products maker) will donate five dollars to the American Diabetes Association (up to $50,000) for every test taken.

The test is available in both English and Spanish. You can find it on the ADA’s website at, or on Facebook at

Knowledge is power. Share this with someone you love today.

Same routine, different location.

I toyed with the idea of headlining this post “Oops, I did it again”, but that just seems cliche now. And a little sad. And who could ever confuse me with Britney Spears? Okay, I’ll just stop now…

Saturday, I did it again: I donated blood.

According to the American Red Cross, “Diabetics who are well controlled on insulin or oral medications are eligible to donate”. When I learned this over a year ago, I was thrilled to know I could again participate in something I consider a civic duty.

This was the first time I had donated blood outside of my work environment, where they usually hold 2 or 3 blood drives every year. Instead, this time, I went to the local Red Cross office, which, thankfully for me, was only about a ten minute drive from home. I arrived early and was greeted by a friendly person who asked me to sign in, then chided me for looking at my donor card to double-check my blood type. “You should always know your blood type. It’s critical information in times of emergency”.

In my defense, I did know my blood type, but I wasn’t 100 percent sure of it until I looked again. For the record, I’m an O Positive. I think that’s kind of rare, because as soon as I’m eligible again, the Red Cross will start calling me, asking me to come back, the vampires. I joke all the time that the only two phone calls I ever get are from my wife and the Red Cross.

Only they don’t look like vampires down there. They’re just ordinary people going about their jobs, complaining about the bad children’s music blaring from the television in the waiting area, comparing nail polish, and talking about their husbands and wives. They make the whole process easy, comfortable, and as painless as possible.

It was about as nice an experience as you can have (sans the bad kiddie music) while having blood drained from your body. I generally don’t have any of the post-donation wooziness that some people experience after giving. But Saturday, I did have one or two moments where I needed to find a chair for a couple of minutes. Too much running around, I guess.

For the record, that makes four blood donations in a little over 13 months. It’s true… I have Type 1 diabetes and I can donate blood. And to quote Martha Stewart (which I thought I’d never do on this blog), that’s a very good thing.

Curious about whether you can donate blood yourself? If you’re in the USA, you can find all the info at, or send me an e-mail using the link in the upper-left corner of this page and I’ll tell you what I know.

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