Tag Archives: diabetes

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.

Ow.

Have you ever heard of trigger thumb? I hadn’t before yesterday.

Trigger finger, yes. Leave it to me to have the oddball injury. Or so I thought.

Officially, I have tendinitis in my left thumb. I don’t even know what I did to injure it, but holy hell, it’s been super painful for about six weeks.

It might be from the fact that the mouse for my laptop is set up for the left hand; I did this many years ago after suffering from carpal tunnel-like symptoms in my right hand, especially after busy days and weeks in the office. Since I started using the mouse on the left side, I haven’t felt a twinge in either hand.

But now, I have pain to spare. It hurts (a LOT) to tie my shoes, open a door with a traditional doorknob, and even lift a glass of water. I thought babying it for a while and not using it any more than absolutely necessary would help, but it didn’t. So off to the orthopedist I went.

I have three options right now:

1. Wear a splint, or a brace, with tape around it part of the day and especially at night, because morning is when it really hurts like a sonofabitch.

2. Get a cortisone injection. This is something I can only do a few times, and it carries with it the expectation that my blood sugar would skyrocket for a while after the injection.

3. Have surgery on the tendon in my thumb.

For now, I’m opting for Step 1, because I can’t do surgery right now (for reasons I will not disclose) and because of the whole blood sugar thing with the injection. If I can avoid those two, at least for the time being, I will.

When I posted about this on Facebook last night, I found many people who have had this same injury in their own thumbs. So I’m not alone, though I wish I were. For even more detail, see this from PubMed Central and the National Institutes of Health.

For a guy who’s on the computer all day, I always thought I was pretty adept at avoiding repetitive use injuries. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the final chapter in this story.

But just like diabetes, I can’t worry about what got me here… I just have to do what I can to give myself the best chance of success going forward.

It’s not that simple

I watched the beginning of a show on my local public television station last weekend. Staged as kind of a talk show, it was really about the people in the show trying to make themselves look smart and caring by telling us how bad sugar is.

That was really all I saw, and all I heard. Sugar is bad… that was the message.

The problem with that statement, or that sentiment anyway, is that sugar, by itself, is not bad. Sure, Americans eat too much sugar. It’s not the healthiest thing in the world. But it’s also not the source of everything wrong with our society.

And saying that sugar is bad has the added effect of making some people feel bad for eating any sugar at all. It’s a by-product, if you will, of demonizing an ingredient for the sake of trying to make yourself look smart.

But people aren’t bad for eating sugar. Heck, people aren’t bad for eating too much sugar. Let’s stop demonizing people too, okay? Things just aren’t that simple.

Eating well, eating healthy, is something all of us would like to do. We’re not trying to go out and eat crap every day. Some of us eat healthy and still gain weight. I’ve been told that most of my weight gain over the years can be attributed to the fact that insulin analogs, while good for people who need them to live, cannot be completely metabolized. So I’ve kept some of it behind in the form of fat. Yay.

My point, however, is that all of us have reasons for why we do, or don’t, have perfect bodies. And it rarely has anything to do with sugar.

Stress. Lack of access to good ingredients. Knowledge of how to create a healthy meal. We had a bad day at work. These reasons and others are all why we may not eat well on a given day, a given week, or a given year. What do any of those things have to do with sugar, or with the kind of people we are?

It’s just not as easy as blaming an ingredient or blaming a person. Instead of finding something or someone to blame, maybe we should be searching for innovative solutions so that ingredients are improved, and choices in eating them, and the people eating them, are more informed and less infused with guilt.

That’s something that I think we can all be proud of and happy to live with.

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