Tag Archives: diabetes

Another June… Another 5k

I’m all about meeting goals, especially if they’re my own. And this past weekend, I was able to meet one of my yearly goals in a unique and fun way.

If you check out my blogroll on this page, you’ll see a link to Phyllisa’s blog, Diagnosed Not Defeated. On Saturday, Phyllisa celebrated her 40th birthday.

As part of her celebration, she arranged the Fit & Fabulous Virtual 5k… a chance for 40 people all over the world to complete their own 5k (5,000 kilometers) wherever they were.

For the last several years, I’ve usually participated in my local 5K, held about five minutes from where I live. This year, the local 5k is on Father’s Day, and I’ll be out of town. So when Phyllisa announced her virtual 5k to be held a week earlier, I jumped at the chance.

This gave me an opportunity to meet a goal I’ve had for a while now: to complete a 5k every year through age 60. I’m 57 now, and completing this event means I’m still on track to meet that goal, with only three more years to go.

Here’s a photo with me wearing the stylish race bib. And also a couple of short videos… one from just before the run, and one from about 15 minutes after.

As I mention in the last video, it was probably the slowest 5k I’ve run in my entire life. But it was still great fun.

Thanks to Phyllisa for organizing this event. You should definitely read her blog too. This was a terrific happening, and a nice way to get my weekend started. Fit & Fabulous 5k… Done!

How Far We’ve Come

I’ve been reading a lot of Facebook and Twitter posts this week from people in our Diabetes Community heading to the American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions in San Francisco. And it’s made me think about the efforts of those from the community, working within the community.

There are people living with diabetes who are working for software specialists, and device manufacturers. Others are writing for websites and publications. Some are speaking and presenting.

It warms my heart to think about this.

To be sure, diabetes advocates who came along way before me spent years trying to get their feet in the door to conferences and symposia. As they slowly made their way to venues near and far, they managed to show their worth in ways that helped make it easier for others to be where they were.

When industry started to realize the value of having those with intimate knowledge of diabetes among their ranks, they began to hire PWDs and Certified Diabetes Educators. Those people have helped companies develop products better suited for those who live with diabetes. They’ve collaborated on patient-centered messaging that helps their companies communicate with the people who keep them in business.

We have people with diabetes serving on FDA groups and state advisory councils and committees. We’ve even seen those living with diabetes starting their own non-profit and for-profit enterprises, and it’s wonderful.

It goes without saying that these people bring a wealth of knowledge to their daily duties. They also bring a passion that can only come from someone living with or affected by this disease.

I couldn’t tell you when it started, but I can tell you that it’s been great to watch.

So today, I’m thinking of these wonderful people, and hoping for their continued success. You’re all blazing trails with bright lights and sharp minds.

Thank you for your continued service. My biggest hope is that we eventually run out of the reason for what you do.

Like These Links

Welcome to Wednesday… when, for the first time in a long time, I’m handing out links like they’re candy at a hypoglycemia festival. Let’s get started:
First of all, in case you missed it, the 2019 DiabetesMine Patient Voices Scholarship Contest is underway. That means you have a chance to go to San Francisco for a few days and participate in two of the most incredible events on the diabetes calendar all year: The DiabetesMine Innovation Summit and the D-Data Exchange event. I’ve always wanted to go to this, but may not apply due to other commitments.

However, I want to encourage you to apply for a scholarship! Why not you? Get all of the details and the link to apply:
OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS: The 2019 DiabetesMine Patient Voices Scholarship Contest!
In addition, if you think that medical devices like insulin pumps and CGMs are like, reeeaallly cool, you might want to check this out from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This page definitively explains the FDA’s proposed changes to its digital health software (is there any other kind?) precertification program.

One of the biggest proposed changes is to allow device manufacturers with a track record of quality and a willingness to monitor their devices post-approval a streamlined pathway toward approval. In my mind, that’s big, in that manufacturers would be monitoring devices post-approval, the way drugs approved by the FDA are.

It’s an interesting and informative read:
Digital Health Software Precertification (Pre-Cert) Program
If you know me, you know I’m a foodie, and I really like the Hangry Woman blog. Recently, Mila, the author, published a terrific post featuring five breakfast recipes. I should admit right now that I hate fried or hard boiled (or soft boiled) eggs, but I’m pretty sure I could make updates to most of these and have them come out fine. See what you think about these:
5 Filling Diabetes Breakfast Recipes

(I checked, and as far as I can tell, none of the recipes actually has diabetes)
Finally, from Renza at Diabetogenic, a few words about community, what it means, and how we all fit into our community, however we define that word. If you read none of the other posts above, read this one. It will make your day:
Community Connections
While I’m at it, thank you for clicking on links to come here and find out what I’m thinking. It means the world to me, and I’m thrilled that you have become part of my community.

“But I’ve got to have health care”

There’s been a lot going on at work lately. The company I work for is in the process of getting rid of some positions, and some people I’ve worked with are going to be leaving over the coming months.

The hard part about this is that we all knew there would be a headcount reduction, but because of the way it was done, we spent about three months between having the headcount reduction known, and finding out whether we were affected. I’m not making a judgement call on that, but I think you can understand when I say it created some stress in the office and at home this Spring.

I’m happy to say that I’m still employed.

I’m also learning some new things at work, which I really like. A lot of people think if you don’t keep learning, you’ll become irrelevant after a while. In truth, I just think that doing the same thing and never doing anything new is boring. So I’m glad to keep learning for that reason above any other.

Through all of this, remarkably, my blood sugar has been good. My most recent A1c was stellar, in fact.

The reason for this is because I am employed with benefits and don’t have to worry about how to pay for health care. There may be no more significant reason for my success than that. Being enrolled in my employer’s health care plan has been a critical part of living well with diabetes.

I am an increasingly rare breed in America. Someone who is employed full time, with good benefits (including a health insurance plan), and enough compensation to pay for my out of pocket medical and prescription costs.

In the past few months, I spent a lot of time planning and calculating about how to survive if this wasn’t the case anymore. What kind of job could I land? How much money do I really have to make? If it came down to it, how much less could I take if I could just get a job with health care benefits?

I fear that this is exactly what some of my colleagues are going through at this very moment.

How did we get here? How did we, collectively, as a nation, allow ourselves to have our hopes and dreams for a better future be reduced to “but I’ve got to have health care”?

Not all of the people being let go at work are in the United States. All of our people losing their jobs except the ones here in the USA live in countries with some sort of national insurance that will protect them and provide basic care. To be sure, they pay taxes for this privilege, but they also won’t have to worry about needing to go to the emergency room after they finish their employment with our company.

We all know what needs to be done here. We know who is standing in the way of making that happen. We can do something about it. If we truly believe in health care as a human right, we need to confirm that with votes. It won’t be quick, but I can guarantee the effort will be worth it.

The Other Side of the Colorado Success

By now, you know that Colorado’s governor signed a bill into law this week capping insulin co-pays at $100 per month. Great news, right? It really is, I guess. But I’m still left with some questions.

The most obvious question surrounds Colorado as the only state to enact such a law. What about the other states? What if other states pass similar measures, but the co-pay number is different in each state?

Colorado caps co-pays at $100 per month. Let’s say neighboring Wyoming decides to cap it at $40… if you live in Denver, would you drive a few hours to pay $60 less per month for insulin if you could? How many other locales might be affected by such a scenario? Might people from Wyoming drive now into Colorado to try to save on insulin? Is that how we want to do this?

Actually, my state of Maryland had a Senate bill introduced in the last session that would have eliminated nearly all co-pays for both insulin and test strips. It didn’t make it to passage, but it was in the same vein as the Colorado bill and in fact, would have gone quite a bit farther.

Should it have passed, I’m sure that a family or two might have considered moving from southern Pennsylvania or Delaware, or even Virginia or West Virginia into the Old Line State (I have no idea why Maryland is called that). Insulin is that expensive.

So I’m concerned about a state-by-state approach to insulin access issues.

I would rather see our federal government, fractured as it is right now, come together on legislation that would really move the needle on this issue. Like eliminating co-pays for all patients requiring insulin and test strips.

And while we’re at it, how about eliminating co-pays for drugs required to treat HIV, or serious allergies, or any number of additional conditions? Basically, if it keeps you alive, no co-pay.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask for. It’s part of why I’ve been to Capitol Hill twice in the last eight months to lobby lawmakers.

I’m happy that Colorado has taken steps to address this issue. Now it’s time for our federal government to make positive progress to address access to affordable insulin, guaranteeing it with federal legislation.

I think that’s something all of us can live with.

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