Monthly Archives: March 2016

(nearly) Wordless Wednesday: World Health Day/Diabetes.

Did you know that Thursday, April 7 is World Health Day? World Health Day is the one day each year where the World Health Organization encourages everyone to try to stem the tide on a worldwide health crisis. Guess where the World Health Day focus is this year?

That’s right… it’s diabetes.

Let’s face it: with the rise in the numbers of those diagnosed and the many who remain undiagnosed, making diabetes a focus just makes sense. And I’m completely supportive of the World Health Organization’s efforts to take this on this year. To find out more about WHO’s World Health Day efforts, including some infographics and posters, CLICK HERE.

And how about this? How about, on Thursday, April 7, we do the Blue Fridays thing a day early and wear blue to recognize and support those living with and affected by diabetes? I’m in if you are…
 
 
Recently, the folks at Amino, a relatively new company, asked me (and a couple of others) for some feedback on what living with diabetes is really like. They took our input, added some facts, and came up with a spiffy infographic of their own. Any of the blog names at the bottom look familiar?

From their website:
“Amino aims to connect everyone to the best health care possible. Powered by a comprehensive database that includes nearly every practicing doctor in America and experiences from more than 188 million patients, Amino’s service empowers people to make confident decisions about their health care, starting with the doctors they choose.”

Special thanks to Amino for reaching out. Full disclosure: I was not compensated in any way by Amino for providing my input or sharing it here.
Amino_WHD_diabetes
 

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Old School vs. New School

Fact: I’m not a spring chicken anymore. I’ll be 54 in about two weeks. So you’d think I’d be someone who rejects everything new, clinging to my old habits and my old way of life (pun intended) as long as I possibly can.

If you think that, you’re wrong.

Okay, well, you’re not entirely wrong. I drive a thirteen year old truck (still in great shape), I cling to every last dollar like it’s my last dollar, and I’m not much of a Coldplay fan. But I recognize that Old School definitely loses out to New School when it comes to my diabetes.

Sure, I hung onto my previous insulin pump for nearly six years before getting a new one. But I did get a new one, and it seems to be working fine. I like the new color too (blue). And although I’ve been using the same meter for a few years now, in my opinion, it’s the best for me, so I’ll continue to use it as long as I can afford the strips. Which may not be very long. However, if something better for me comes along, I have no problem choosing that one and leaving my Accu-Chek Nano behind.

I’m always surprised when I come across people at a gathering where they are so excited for the future of technology, but almost in the next breath tell me that they can’t quite bring themselves to consider a new CGM, or a new meter, or even updated, free technology that’s available out there on the interwebz.

The truth is, innovation is only good if we actually put it to use. If we see something out there that might work for us, might help us manage our diabetes better, why not consider it? Where would I be if I hadn’t started on an insulin pump six years ago? Where would I be if I hadn’t learned more about counting carbs and sugar surfing?

The caveat to all this is, of course, that not everything new works for everyone living with diabetes. New things might mean more options; they don’t necessarily mean new requirements. But sometimes new is helpful. Researchers are finding new successes in typically Type 2 medications being used by Type 1s. They’re also finding success when they see some Type 2s start on insulin sooner.

Looking back, it seems like each decade brings different options for dealing with our diabetes. And that’s always good, even if I don’t always adopt every new option right away. Even though I’m a little Old school, I know that thinking New school and looking for the latest in technology and ideas will always benefit me and my diabetes.
 

Follow Friday: Dig these super links.

If you know me, you know that I believe in a strong, varied, inclusive Diabetes Online Community. No one of us has a monopoly on all the good ideas or good stories. And while I have benefitted from many in the community who have been strong, varied, and inclusive to me, I want to be the same in return.

My quick post today begins with two examples of people who have been just wonderful to me. It then finishes with two gleaming examples of people who bravely tell their stories and should be recognized for the contributions they also bring to the DOC.

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I’ve actually been asked a couple of times about Kerri Morrone Sparling… what’s she really like, they’ll ask me. The answer is she’s exactly like she seems online, only even nicer. She’s an awesome writer, and I’m grateful she remains an important part of our online community. Today, she’s allowed me to guest post on her blog, Six Until Me. I talk about making a new friend in my doctor’s office who was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. It’s a story similar to ones that I’ve read from others over the years, but this was the first time I had the same experience and tried to help someone not feel so alone in those early days with diabetes. I probably couldn’t have handled it without reading those previous examples. I hope my new friend is doing well. Read the story here.
Kerri, it was an honor and a privelege guest posting.

Daniele Hargenrader is known in our community as the Diabetes Dominator. She is very active, both literally and figuratively. She’s a workout machine, and her personal story is well worth a read. Like Kerri, she’s written a book, and coming soon to the Diabetes By The Numbers podcast, I hope to talk to her about it. Back in February, I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Daniele, and it was a wonderful conversation. You can catch it right here.
Thanks Daniele… I’m looking forward to our upcoming podcast interview.

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Okay… now, because it shouldn’t be all about me (though that would make a cool T-shirt), here are two blog posts that are well worth reading:

See Jen Dance is a fun read, because Jen has a number of interests, and she writes about them and her diabetes on her terrific blog. She’s a really good ballroom dancer (and a Champion Athletes With Diabetes medal winner). A few days ago, while dancing socially, her BGs tanked and she was down to 54 mg/dL. She writes here about the nuances of when to stop and treat that low, and how frustrating it all is when it hits you in the middle of a dance. Check it out.

Naomi Kingery Ruperto writes at the blog The Diabetic Diva. She attended her first Diabetes UnConference in Las Vegas just two weeks ago, and her description of it here nearly brought me to tears. She writes: “…in this atmosphere, having so many people that are willing to come and hug you and say ‘I get it’ is incomparable.”. Go and read her super recap now.
 
 
Enjoy your weekend… talk to you next week!
 

2016 Type One Nation DC Summit.

Saturday, March 5th marked another terrific JDRF Type One Nation Summit in the D.C. suburbs, specifically, Bethesda, Maryland. Over 800 people living with diabetes and caring for people living with diabetes were in attendance, and they saw a number of presentations from people who really know what they’re talking about.

But let me back up for a moment…

For me, the day started with an adult T1D meet and greet. It was a terrific way to say hello to the other adult PWDs in attendance. When you have so many people in the same room, it’s easy to lose track of who is a PWD (Person With Diabetes) and who isn’t. We got around 45 minutes to sit and chat informally, and I was happy to make some new friends in Andre, Tom, Moe, and Tom. I was really glad to see this become part of the agenda. And I’m hoping it returns next year.

Our summit was moderated by Stefany Shaheen, writer of the book Elle and Coach, about her daughter (who lives with Type 1) and her service dog. She’s also co-founder and President of Good Measures, which designs healthy eating plans from registered dieticians that people can access via a digital platform.

All eyes on Stefany Shaheen and Bill Parsons

All eyes on Stefany Shaheen and Bill Parsons


Okay… once the meet and greet was finished, we were all given what seems to be a pep talk by Bill Parsons, who was a former member of the JDRF’s International Board of Directors and Chair of Research; and who is now Executive Director of our Greater Chesapeake and Potomac chapter. He didn’t sugar coat diabetes (ironic), and he didn’t hide from the facts. But he did convey JDRF’s passion for reduced burdens, better outcomes, and eventually, a cure that people working with JDRF are so famous for. It was a good table setter.

Bill’s talk really got everyone in the room jazzed, and then we got to the keynote address for the day, given by JDRF’s CEO Derek Rapp. He also spoke a little at the adult meet and greet. This is the first time I’ve heard him speak in person, and I was taken by the unassuming way he delivers the heart of what JDRF is all about these days. He wasn’t just giving us a laundry list of accomplishments, but rather a reason why the accomplishments are necessary, and the assurance that JDRF isn’t giving up until there’s a cure. Which is reassuring.

Then it was on to Howard Look, CEO of Tidepool. This guy is really, really smart. His Type 1 daughter is using a homemade artificial pancreas system that Howard designed himself. Cool dad. I’ve written about Howard and how he presents his take on device data and making it available in one place, and it seems like Tidepool, the non-profit out of California, is really on fire these days. His presentation also included a live demo of the Blip app that Tidepool has rolled out. It allows you to upload pump data, CGM data, meter data, and more and get real time analytics on your numbers. All your numbers. In one place. And if you choose, your doctor can too. It’s all free. If you have a Chrome browser, you can download the app right now at tidepool.org.

Howard also covered the latest from Tidepool, still in development, called the Nutshell app. It’s supposed to be able to grab data from your fitness tracker, allow you to input data related to meals, and again, see that data in one place. Brilliant!

Gary Scheiner was at the summit again this year. He gave a really super presentation this time on how to take the sting out of those pesky post-meal glucose spikes. He gave us some really simple steps that all of us can apply. Simple suggestions, like adding a little acidity (like tomatoes) to a meal to help cut into those high glycemic foods. And eating your vegetables first, which leaves less room in your stomach for the carby stuff that pumps up the BGs. I have to admit: eating my salad first means eating less bread and potatoes with my entree. It was a very useful talk.

Next it was Cynthia Rice, Senior VP of Advocacy and Policy for JDRF. She’s another person with a real passion for bringing the concerns of T1Ds to elected officials and commpany representatives. Interested in playing a part in JDRF advocacy yourself? We could really use you. CLICK HERE to learn more.

I wouldn’t normally talk about lunch, but I will this time because of two things: 1) The buffet had carb counts for everything! Very helpful, and I was glad to see it. And 2) I got to eat lunch with the intelligent, talented, and overall wonderful Kelly Kunik, who was leading one of the youth sessions earlier in the day. I also took a little time to check out the exhibition hall, full of organizations and companies with the latest products. Bonus bonus.

Exhibition hall

Exhibition hall


After lunch, it was Dr. Sanjoy Dutta, Assistant VP of Translational Development and International Partnerships. What does that mean exactly? Well, in this case, it meant that he was able to give the attendees all the latest on research and advancement toward better outcomes and (hopefully, eventually) a cure for Type 1 diabetes. Now I am up to speed.

Any diabetes gathering that includes Joe Solowiejczyk is solid gold. Joe Solo is an RN, a CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator), and author of A Type 1 Diabetes Guide to the Universe. His talk centered around the parent/kid with Type 1 interactions that can be such a challenge. Sometimes raw, always funny, he really made a case for how to make the most of those difficult situations. If you ever get the chance to hear Joe Solo speak, don’t miss it.

Finally, it was ViaCyte’s turn. Paul Laikind, PhD, President and CEO of ViaCyte came in person to tell everyone about the exciting advancements they’ve been able to achieve in the past year. Guess what? Actual patients, real people, are trialing this solution, and with a fair measure of success so far! We’re hoping this next year brings even greater success to this innovative solution.

After a question and answer session with the presenters, another JDRF Type One Nation Summit was complete again. For only covering one day, it sure covered a lot. Special thanks to Greater Chesapeake and Potomac JDRF’s Outreach Coordinator Alex Ade for her tireless work piecing everything together. It really was terrific. Want to hang with your fellow T1Ds and get the most up-to-date information on research, as well as help managing your diabetes even better than ever? If there’s a summit headed your way soon, you can find it HERE. And next time the JDRF Type One Nation Summit happens in my area, I will try to give you plenty of advance notice. You won’t want to miss it!
 

Diabetes By The Numbers: Joslin’s Dr. Munshi talks care for aging adults with diabetes.

After a brief hiatus, the Diabetes By The Numbers podcast is back.

Today’s podcast features Dr. Medha Munshi, Director of Joslin Diabetes Center’s Geriatric Diabetes Program. She’s co-authored a recent (and first ever) American Diabetes Association position statement designed to help homes and other skilled nursing facilities care better and more appropriately for senior patients living with diabetes.

Dr. Munshi shares key points on the position statement, and great insights on caring for older people with diabetes.
DBTN

Reference Material – Click below for more information on this topic

Dr. Medha Munshi is Director of the Joslin Geriatric Diabetes Program and an an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. She’s also a staff geriatrician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
CLICK HERE to find out more about Joslin’s Geriatric Diabetes Program.
 
 
To read the American Diabetes Association position statement co-authored by Dr. Munshi, CLICK HERE.
 

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