Monthly Archives: February 2015

Photo Monday.

Click here to save children – Donate to Spare A Rose, Save a Child

SAR2015
 
This is a (nearly) completely diabetes-free post featuring some photos from my recent business trip to London and my two and a half day stay in Brussels. I’m posting these for myself as much as anything, but I hope you enjoy at least some of them too.

Quickly, the diabetes part: Being in big cities often means a LOT of walking. A lot of walking is still exercise, and I was caught off guard by a couple of lows during the trip. By the way, you should see Sarah’s super blog post at Coffee and Insulin on traveling or living abroad. Otherwise, this was a great experience for me, especially in Brussels where I didn’t speak the language but still managed to keep from getting lost or going hungry.

Here they are… first, the London photos, then the ones from Brussels.

Thanks for looking in. Have a great week!
 
 
London

A panoramic view of Paddington station.  I did not see any bears.

A panoramic view of Paddington station. I did not see any bears.

The Liverpool Street station.  This is Sunday morning, about the slowest time all week.  My hotel was very near here.

The Liverpool Street station. This is Sunday morning, about the slowest time all week. My hotel was very near here.

I actually ate Pheasant Curry... Seems pretentious, but it was also delicious.

I actually ate Pheasant Curry… Seems pretentious, but it was also delicious.

The Hippodrome Casino.  I may have gone inside.  I may have had scotch, neat.

The Hippodrome Casino. I may have gone inside. I may have had scotch, neat.

Picadilly Circus, about 11:00 p.m.

Picadilly Circus, about 11:00 p.m.

I stayed in a nice hotel.  this was one of many paintings on the walls there, and it always caught my eye whenever I walked past.

I stayed in a nice hotel. this was one of many paintings on the walls there, and it always caught my eye whenever I walked past.

St. Paul's cathedral.

St. Paul’s cathedral.

Covent Garden.

Covent Garden.

I thought if they tried to give a place in the USA that name, there would be protests night and day and half of the rednecks in the south would have Dirty Dicks t-shirts.

I thought if they tried to give a place in the USA that name, there would be protests night and day and half of the rednecks in the south would have Dirty Dicks t-shirts.

On the same note, I thought the shape of this building was a little phallic.  Beautiful, but phallic.  Anybody want the office on the top floor?

On the same note, I thought the shape of this building was a little phallic. Beautiful, but phallic. Anybody want the office on the top floor?


 
 
Brussels

Looking down the Rue de la Regence, toward the Palais de Justice.

Looking down the Rue de la Regence, toward the Palais de Justice.

The Belgium parlaiment building.  That's the Belgian flag on the left, and the European Union flag on the right.

The Belgium parlaiment building. That’s the Belgian flag on the left, and the European Union flag on the right.

The Parc de Bruxelles.

The Parc de Bruxelles.

There are city bike stands all over the city.  When I saw this view, I just wanted to get on a bike and ride it all over.

There are city bike stands all over the city. When I saw this view, I just wanted to get on a bike and ride it all over.

Shoppers at Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert.

Shoppers at Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert.

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Grand Place.  This area is extremely touristy.  But the archetecture is astounding.

Grand Place. This area is extremely touristy. But the archetecture is astounding.

The world famous Mannekin Pis.  Meh.

The world famous Mannekin Pis. Meh.

Looking up through Mont des Arts toward the Palace Royale.

Looking up through Mont des Arts toward the Place Royale.

Looking in the opposite direction, from the palace side.

Looking in the opposite direction, from the palace side.

Place Royale

Place Royale

The fellow working on my delicious dinner one night.  Even the Thai take-out food is awesome here.

The fellow working on my delicious dinner one night. Even the Thai take-out food is awesome here.

From my taxi to the train station, my one and only view of the EU general assembly building.

From my taxi to the train station, my one and only view of the EU general assembly building.


 
 
 

Still time to #SpareARose.

Click here to save children – Donate to Spare A Rose, Save a Child

SAR2015
 
As we approach Valentine’s Day, let me remind you that this is the perfect time to help save the life of a child living with diabetes in a developing country.

I’m so lucky… I got to make a trip to Europe, and never once had to worry about my insulin needs. Others, children in fact, do not have this luxury.

Insulin should not be a luxury.

Make a donation now to the International Diabetes Federation’s Life for a Child program, and help ensure that children live. Just five dollars buys a month of insulin for a child in the third world.

There’s also an option that allows you to have a donation made on your behalf on a monthly basis throughout the year. In “Save the Children” terms, that’s just 17 cents per day to help give a child a chance at the life they deserve.

We never know how children will grow up. How many Ghandis or Mandelas are out there waiting to be discovered? With your help, they can get their chance to shine.

For People With Diabetes, insulin should not be a privilege; it should be a right. Help maintain the right to insulin for Children With Diabetes by making your donation to the Spare A Rose, Save a Child campaign today.
 
 
 

Wordless Wednesday: Innovation and Inspiration.

Click here to save children – Donate to Spare A Rose, Save a Child

SAR2015
 
I was in Brussels, waiting to board the train back to London. Already through the UK Border checkpoint, most everything on the other side was Great Britain focused. On a TV screen, a promotional video was in a constant loop, promoting the work of the UK Trade and Investment office. That’s where I saw this:

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Did they intentionally leave the last digit off?

Who knew the Brits were at the forefront of AP research? Frankly, I don’t care who takes credit for it. I just want it for patients NOW!

If you’re really interested, the full video is right here… the AP portion is near the end, at around the 2:43 mark:

 
 
 

What makes us different?

Click here to save children – Donate to Spare A Rose, Save a Child

SAR2015
 
Okay, we know what makes us different.

You know what else makes us different?

We Care.

I mean, we care in a very big way. Would you like an example?

image

I was cleaning up some old photo files the other day when I came across this one from last year’s MasterLab in Orlando, Florida. It really made me notice something I hadn’t seen before. This was during the joint presentation given by Kelly Close and Adam Brown of diaTribe. First, let me ask you… What do you notice from this photo?

What I notice, other than the marvelous people appearing in it, is how everyone’s attention is either on the slide being presented or on the speaker presenting the slide. This was not in the early hours of the one day advocacy event sponsored by Diabetes Hands Foundation. This was about mid-afternoon, after we had already heard a few inspiring speakers, and after a nice lunch that, under other circumstances, might have made us very sleepy by then.

Yet we were still engaged, still interested in learning how to advocate effectively, how to be better at helping others living with diabetes while pushing the right buttons to amplify our voices.

That photo says to me that the people in that room (50-75 maybe?) were all in.

I’ve seen and heard a lot (including on that day) from people who have said that diabetes doesn’t have a movement yet. How we’ve not been bold enough. How, compared to advocates for better treatment of other diseases, we’re just not doing enough, or we’re not speaking with one voice, or we’re not something.

My opinion: We’re doing just fine. And I care a lot more about the future than I do about the past. Yes, it’s very true that diabetes doesn’t get enough attention from congress, and Big Pharma has us all caught up in that “Can’t live with the price, Can’t live without the medicine” paradigm. I freely admit that we could stand to have a brighter light shown on our disease. More people need to learn more about what we have to live with every day.

But we’re still making progress. We’re able to speak on bigger platforms and with bigger voices now, including crashing an FDA web conference, and being written up in the New York Daily News. Bigger audiences and more influential people are hearing our message.

And let’s not forget that all of us living with diabetes is living with an extremely unique condition. We have a disease that, if everything goes right, allows us to live an otherwise normal-looking life. For many of us, the complications that come with our condition like fries come with a Big Mac don’t show themselves until much later. In some cases, that means additional misguided judging by people who just can’t comprehend how doing a great job managing diabetes doesn’t always keep us safe from problems later. Or now.

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, or ALS, for example, the symptoms show themselves in a very visible way. When someone goes through chemotherapy, or starts to lose their muscle tone due to ALS, it’s very natural to want to help them as much as possible. We see the outward evidence of need. It is right that we do this.

When someone with diabetes goes through a difficult hypoglycemic episode, you know what we do? We treat and then we keep on going. Maybe it’s the idea of the word “normal”. We always want to be normal… when we’re high we want to be normal, when we’re low we want to be normal. When we’re normal? Not one living soul notices us.

So to get back to the photo, here’s the point: The people in that picture understand how absolutely sinister this condition can be. Whether we see the outward signs or not. Whether we see the outward signs now or later. They get it. What’s more, they care. And they are all doing something about it. Do you hear me? We are all doing what we can to make our voices heard.

We are all doing what we can. We have all made improvements and strengthened our advocacy, especially over the last few years. Our advocacy efforts and our fundraising efforts are sometimes dwarfed by those linked with other diseases. But we are not dormant. We are building. Things are happening. We are challenging decision-makers and we are saving lives. And it’s my opinion that most, if not all, of what we have achieved to this point has been due to the tireless efforts of people who, in addition to having diabetes in their lives every day, find time to raise children and work a regular job too.

After 24 years, I know where we’ve been. I know where we are now. What makes us different? Diabetes is as old as the ages. Large scale diabetes advocacy is just getting started. We have a lot to learn.

We have a lot to be proud of too.
 
 
 

Friday pep talk.

Click here to save children – Donate to Spare A Rose, Save a Child

SAR2015
 
As we all know, diabetes is a strange beast. Sometimes our BGs play nice, staying within range, and those of us who practice pre-bolusing actually remember to do so all day. Other times, we’re subject to wild swings, lows that just won’t come up, or highs that can’t be brought down no matter how much insulin we throw at them.

Likewise, we’re stuck with the constant requirements of managing (to the best of our ability) a condition that never plays fair. People not living with diabetes don’t always understand that this disease is not as simple as do a calculation, take a certain amount of insulin, eat perfectly, and our numbers will be awesome all the time. And there’s that little tiny voice in the back of our minds that we try to keep silent, warning us of possible complications. On top of that, let’s face it: We’re human. We’re bound to make a mistake or two (or three). Yuck.

Okay, so we know that things aren’t always perky, right? What do we do about it?

Far be it from me to give advice (famous last words). First, let me give an appreciative nod to this amazing post by Briley at inDependence. In addition, I’m hoping a few reminders here will help you in a moment of diabetes stress. Think of it as a Friday diabetes pep talk.

Yesterday may suck, but it’s yesterday.
That’s the best part of awful numbers, stupid people who think cinnamon will cure you, and CGMs that go kaput in the middle of the night. It’s over. I’m not saying forget about it… that’s impossible. What I am saying is be glad that the moment is over and you survived it. Whether you think you are now or not, you are stronger for it, and the future is unwritten. Carpe Diem, baby.

You count. Diabetes doesn’t.
This is one of those sayings where, sometimes, you have to keep repeating it to yourself over and over again before it sinks in. But like I said, if you’re surviving, it also means you’re living to see another day. For some people, and for some circumstances, that’s not just something… that’s everything. Particularly in America, it’s easy to hide what’s going on. We don’t like to show weakness. We like to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, move on. That can be good (see above). The reality, however, is that occasionally it’s good to stop, take a moment or two to compose ourselves (even if it takes all afternoon), and then move on. Doctors are learning more and more that our mental well-being is just as important as our physical well-being. Let’s prove to ourselves that we’ve received that message. Let’s remember that how we feel about things does matter. A lot.

We have more resources than ever before.
In the past month, we’ve seen advances in diabetes technology that many couldn’t see coming a year ago. Meanwhile, there are more diabetes organizations, conferences, and informal get-togethers where peers (you and me living with diabetes) can meet and commiserate. On top of that, there are more diabetes blogs where people like us are sharing our stories, and what was once a fun, quirky Twitter chat has now become a Wednesday night institution. Heck, in just the past week I’ve seen a number people get late night diabetes help and support via Twitter, myself included.

Diabetes takes a lot away from us. It also gifts us with perseverance and empathy. Perseverance to endure the tough times and continue on where non-pancreatically-challenged individuals might indeed falter. And empathy that allows us to recognize when someone needs help and then do something to lift them up. I almost never encounter others with these qualities. Yet they are almost universal in our world.

So why not use our unique qualities to make a great life for ourselves and our diabetes friends going forward? YouCanDoThis. Bring on the day.
 
 
 

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