Another 5k in the books.

Well, I managed to get it done. Again.

This past Sunday marked the running of our neighborhood 5k. I’ve done this run every year since my early forties, with the exception of 2015, when I opted for surgery on a torn meniscus instead.

It’s a fun event. It’s great to be a part of, and it’s close to home. The weather was about as good as you can get for Maryland in mid-July: temperatures in the low 70s, with atypically low humidity, and not a cloud in the sky.

How did I do diabetes-wise? Only okay. Actually, it was a stark reminder of how adrenaline affects your blood sugar in a negative way. I woke up at 74 mg/dL. I had a little juice, waited around at home with a heating pad on my sore hamstring (what a difference that made), and then checked right before leaving for the race: 152 mg/dL.

Once I got to the race venue, I did some stretching and tried to stay hydrated. One more check before the race began revealed 192 mg/dL. Did I mention I was feeling a lot of stress about finishing this year?

Regardless, I was able to finish, and a check about five minutes after completion showed I had only gone down to 177 mg/dL. I was plenty hydrated; this was all stress. But I knew eventually, the stress would go away, and I could sink fast if I wasn’t careful.

I grabbed a bagel at the post-race spread (which is always nice, by the way) and put it in my bag so I could enjoy it at home. After eating a big, poofy bagel (think MEGA carbs), hydrating some more, and getting a shower, two and a half hours later, I was sitting at 94 mg/dL. Stress gone.

How did I do race-wise? Better than I thought I would. My fastest pre-race run was right around 36 minutes, and I didn’t finish any mile in under 10 minutes. But race day always makes you go a little faster. Though I don’t think I was able to do a sub 10-minute mile, I did manage to cover the 3.1 miles in 33 minutes, 12 seconds. Good enough to be 199th out of 462 runners overall, 20th out of 43 runners in my age group.

The photo above is really the only one of me that we got. However, I did record a little video after I finished, showing others finishing the race.

If you’ve been thinking of entering yourself in a race like this, and you start to wonder why you’re doing it, I hope you come back to this video for inspiration (watch full screen if you can). There weren’t a lot of people lining the home stretch, but we (especially Maureen & I) were vocal. When you’re on that last run to the finish, the feeling of having people cheering you on is indescribable. This is what we all run for.

Friends for Life Orlando 2017.

Full disclosure: I was able to spend last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at Friends for Life in Orlando, Florida. Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition paid for my travel. All opinions are unquestionably mine, and it was my honor to advocate before so many wonderful people.

Just like last year, I worked the DPAC booth in the exhibit hall at Friends for Life, the largest gathering of People With Diabetes in the country. I was also lucky enough to sit in a couple of sessions and spend time once again with diabetes friends.

I remain grateful for the opportunity to advocate for those living with and affected by diabetes, and in the USA, DPAC is the best, easiest way I know of to make your voice heard by elected officials and policy makers across the country. If you haven’t yet, please download the DPAC app now and add your voice to the growing chorus advocating nationwide.

There was quite a bit of lively discussion during the various advocacy sessions led by DPAC CEO Christel Marchand Aprigliano and Stewart Perry. People were asking questions after the sessions and letting their friends know about DPAC too, and that gives us all a great feeling. I know our advocacy efforts will only grow from here.

The rest of the conference (or at least the part that I was there for) was wonderful too, as always. The Children With Diabetes staff really goes out of their way to make everyone feel welcome… even the exhibitors.

I’m not sure I can tell you anything special about this year’s gathering though. I think there are a number of reasons for that.

First, think about it: there really aren’t any amazing product launches that are new. Medtronic’s 670g is fairly new, but Medtronic was once again absent from the largest concentration of Type 1 diabetes patients in one place anywhere in the country.

There weren’t any recent research announcements either. Nothing that makes patients (and especially parents) excited for the next improvement in diabetes management.

Plus, I think Children With Diabetes has a problem. It’s a wonderful problem created by their wonderful efforts to bring additional sessions to adults, and emerging adults, and teens and tweens, and parents, and other caregivers.

I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t want CWD to change any of that. Their challenge going forward will be to avoid having their amazing inclusiveness create a lot of smaller gatherings, rather than what has always felt like one big gathering of diabetes family.

That’s a tall order. But if anyone can pull it off, I suspect Jeff Hitchcock and his fabulous team can do it. Let’s face it: nothing stays the same. It’s not avoiding change, but instead embracing change and making it work for everyone, that helps great things evolve. And Friends for Life has always been a great thing.

In addition to that, there was one part of Friends for Life that I don’t usually pay much attention to… but it really hit me this year.

I took a couple of moments to go through the Quilt for Life exhibit that is always set up in the back of the hall. The display includes hundreds of quilts depicting various diabetes issues, interests, and people living with this insidious condition.

So to finish up, here are a few photos of quilts I noticed. I don’t know why yet, but the last one really got me, and it still does. I practically broke down right on the exhibit hall floor when I saw it. How does it affect you?



I am under no obligation to do so, but I should mention that there is one more Friends for Life gathering coming up this year, and it will be in my part of the world. Friends for Life Falls Church will be coming to the D.C. area October 6, 7, and 8. To find out more, CLICK HERE.

I don’t have to tell you, but…

I don’t have to tell you, but for the purposes of starting this blog post:

Getting older is hard.

I’ve been training since mid-May for my local 5k, the one I run nearly every year. Nearly every year, I start training in May, so when the race comes in mid-July, I’m ready to go 3 point some-odd miles without stopping.

I’ll admit, I hate to run. Hate it. I’m not very fast, though I’m not slow, and more than any other activity, running pushes my heart rate up. Usually, into the 190-200 beats per minute range, no matter how slow I go. Training allows me to keep it between 180 and 190 on race day, but that’s about as good as I can do.

The thing is… I like the race itself. Once the horn sounds and we’ve all started, it feels more like a party at 180 to 190 beats per minute. Plus, this event is close, about five minutes away from my house. And the truth is, there are far fewer activities (read also: competitions) I can get into at my age.

Okay, I know I’m not that old, but training this year has made me feel old for really, the very first time. I’m now at the point where I don’t know if I can run a sub-ten-minute mile anymore. I’ve been trying, but I’m not there yet. It’s hard to describe… but when I run now, I seem to reach a point where I just can’t seem to move my legs any faster than they’re already going.

Put another way, my top end speed is definitely slower than my top end speed has ever been. Even when I really push myself.

The good news is that my blood sugars don’t care. Rare is the occasion where I’m above 200 mg/dL these days, although I did have one terrible excursion in the over-300 range after a four mile run last weekend. Definitely hydration related. Once I got a correction bolus in, and about 40 ounces of water, I was back down around 100 mg/dL. So fortunately, I was only up there for around two hours.

The race is in a week and a half. After that, I’ll go back to training on the bike, though sadly, there are no bike rides to train for at this point. But I plan to run this race again next year, and do bike rides too, for a few years more, if I can still muster the energy.

For now, all I can do is look forward. There is still some hard training to do, but each run completed means one less run to do before the race. And I think that’s the point for me: concentrate on the next workout, the next event. Don’t worry about how much effort is involved, or how much more difficult it is now compared to 15 years ago.

The weird thing is, I feel weaker, more vulnerable than ever, at a time when I’m doing things that will actually help me stay active longer and hopefully, help me live longer. Like diabetes, concentrating on the good rather than the difficult will help me power through and achieve more than if I stick my head in the sand. A week and a half to go!

Editor’s note: I’ll be taking the rest of the week off (from running and writing) to volunteer at the DPAC booth in the exhibit hall at Friends for Life in Orlando, Florida. If you’re at Friends for Life, stop by and say hello!

Now, more than ever.

I wonder sometimes if I haven’t changed over the last several months.

These are tough times here where I live, and it seems like many of the things I believe in, the things I was taught in school, don’t really apply to today’s America. Or maybe this is the America that was here all along, but it’s just showing itself in a more public way. I realize just reading that can inspire different interpretations based on your political leanings, but this is not about that.

Regardless of how you look at things, there seems to be a lot to worry about.

I’m getting older… there’s that. And, of course, health care is multi-faceted and multi-argued, and it probably will be for the foreseeable future. Where I can, I’m trying to be a better friend, a better colleague, a better person overall. However, in some ways, I fear I’ve become a less happy person at times.

Let’s face it… I think we’re all feeling a little more stressed out these days.

That’s why this community, this diabetes community, is so important.

Photo courtesy of The Diabetes Collective, Inc.


That photo is from the second Diabetes UnConference. There are a number of friendships that begin on UnConference weekend that continue far beyond the event itself. Friendships that stick to you. Friendships that restore your faith in people. Friendships that make the time apart from each other seem interminable, and the time spent with each other flash by in a nanosecond.

Whether it’s virtually, or over brunch like it was this past weekend, being able to communicate with others who walk the same stretch of road you walk can have a huge, positive impact. There’s something about the feeling you get knowing that you belong, not because you’re famous or independently wealthy or part of another special group… but because you’re stuck with a condition that no one wants. And someone else is too.

It’s the feeling that amazingly, something about this crappy disease is worth celebrating.

Photo courtesy of Rhonda B.


Does this mean we’re not going to experience problems? Of course we are. Life doesn’t go away just because we get to spend a couple hours in the presence of friends.

But those two hours certainly make those problems a little more bearable.

I think that’s the point. Even when we’re up against deadlines and doctor appointments; projects and finger pricks; goals and glucose issues, we have our friends to lean on, who understand, and just help us forget about the drag of diabetes for a while.

Now, more than ever, we all need friends who remind us that there’s more to life than the next big thing to complain about. If you don’t have one, I encourage you to find one or more friends, virtually or in person, who will accept you for the contribution to community that you truly are or wish to be.

Looking to make new friends? Want to talk about diabetes in a safe, supportive atmosphere? The Diabetes UnConference is coming to Northern Virginia October 13 – 15, 2017. This fall, the UnConference is being co-hosted along with the Diabetes Sisters Weekend for Women. Two chances to make new friends! To learn more, and to start the process of making new friends in the diabetes community, CLICK HERE.

So many questions. Damn few answers.

They represent the residents of their states in the United States Senate.

– They must be at least 30 years old.

– They must be a U.S. citizen for at least 9 years.

– They must be an inhabitant of the state they represent.

As a citizen of my country, I have a right to expect that members of the United States Senate are serving the people they represent. All of the people they represent, whether those people voted for them or not. I mean, how many of the corporations spending money to help them get elected are actually domiciled in their states, right?

After a lot of closed door scheming, the Senate majority leader decided it would finally be okay to release the onerous upward-wealth-distribution-disguised-as-healthcare legislation he intends to have a vote on this week. On the surface, it would seem that the party in power might have trouble getting the necessary 51 votes to pass their death sentence to Americans. They only have a 52 to 48 seat majority, plus the Vice President available to break any ties, if necessary. That means if they have 3 defectors on this legislation, they won’t be able to pass it.

But… obviously, stranger things have happened in politics, especially in the past year or so. The majority is not taking any chances. They are working hard, maybe harder than they worked on the legislation that they’re trying to ram down people’s throats, to change the minds of the five or so GOP senators who are Nos at this point.

Well, I don’t have to be the second coming of Alexander Hamilton to know that this is not how American democracy is supposed to work. I don’t have to be the second coming of Edward R. Murrow to know that American citizens have the right to know what their elected officials are up to, and what they stand to gain from turning their backs on American values. I don’t have to be the second coming of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to see that not only partisanship, but racism is alive and well in the U.S. Senate.

I have a lot of questions. Why do they think that saving money should be the only criteria for what they’re doing? If your child is sick, aren’t you going to do whatever you can to help them feel better, regardless of the cost? Why doesn’t congress feel this way? Why is there a wealth distribution toward the already excessively rich tied to health care?

Additional questions include: What are they so afraid of? Why must it be rushed through to a vote? Why do these Republican senators hate the Americans they represent so much?

To be honest, I think they hate the previous president more than they hate me. They really hate the previous president. You and me, they couldn’t care less about.

Why else would they want to take away pre-existing condition protections? Why would they want to subject hospitals, care facilities, and Americans like you and me to potential bankruptcies? Why would they want to kick veterans off of Medicaid?

We’re left with a lot of questions, and damn few answers.

But I know a way to silence those questions. That would be by stopping this hateful, un-American legislation. If these senators could just set aside their hatred, and in some cases, their racism toward the previous president, we would be left with only one question:

How do we make health care better?

That’s a goal that every American would be happy to support. Including this American.

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