Here you'll find things to improve your diabetes management: motivational tips, recent research, my observations and reflections, good books etc. Also:
2. Read me on the Huffington Post
3. Always continue to learn and laugh
I've been doing an ongoing Thursday shot-in-the-arm of inspiration from my book "The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes."
Emotional strength and resilience is critical to keep on keeping' on managing our diabetes. Here's today's powerful thought for reflection.
How you feel about yourself influences how well you will take care of your diabetes. Do you treat yourself with the same regard, kindness and compassion you reserve for a friend?
When you believe in yourself, you live life expecting the best. When you believe in yourself and feel confident, the world responds to you with a very special magic; things seem to just go your way.
If you have spent much of your life saying "yes" to everyone around you, leaving you little time and energy for yourself, practice saying "no." You can't truly take care of anyone else when your own energy is depleted. And if your past has not reflected your greatness or your ability to manage your diabetes, remind yourself with love, that today is a new day; today you will take a new step.
Reflection: Today write down three things you're good at and three good qualities you have. Look at the list throughout the week and allow yourself to take it in.
Also, before you jump out of bed and when you're drifting off to sleep, take a minute and see yourself at your best. Remind yourself, you always have this fantastic person inside you.
Today I had the pleasure of attending a panel discussion about the rise of diabetes around the world - and what to do about it.
Michael Moss, author of "Salt Sugar Fat," about how food companies engineer our addiction to unhealthy food, was a fellow guest.
And just today the news reported that diabetes-realated deaths in NYC hit an all time high! [I come in around 11:50 by the way ;-)]
Here's my Thursday d-lesson - a little reminder that no matter what we've been doing, we can do a little better today if we decide to do so.
My kangaroos, by the way, were inspired by the year I lived in Sydney, Australia. Here's today's excerpt from my inspirational D-book,"The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes."
Whether you've spent years ignoring your doctor's advice, or even avoiding your doctor, today you can decide to be the master of your diabetes. How? Begin by shifting your thinking.
If you've been seeing your diabetes care as something you "have" to do, see it as something you "choose" to do. You'll feel more in control.
Then see the benefit of doing the task. For instance, "By testing my blood sugar, I can keep it in target range and reduce my risk of complications." Focusing on the benefit helps remind you why the task is important.
The truth is everything we do in life is a choice. Changing your mindset from "have to" to "choose to" gives you more energy. With all there is to be gained, isn't it time you hopped to it?
Reflection: Right now list on a post it note 3 diabetes tasks you perform and how they benefit you. Keep this somewhere you'll see often.
Would you do something different if you heard you had Stage 1 diabetes, rather than pre-diabetes? I think you'll find it an interesting read.
The excerpt below is from my book, The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes- 26 life-lessons to stay strong managing diabetes. I also wrote another page for the book that I never used. It's for those of us who have diabetes to parent ourselves. It's below with the title: "G is for Gently Nudging Yourself Forward."
Excerpt: "G is for Grabbing onto Hope for You and Your Little One"
For parents, diabetes can feel like the death of your dream- a child who's happy, healthy and has every opportunity. The theft of childhood, a new family dynamic, finding the right doctors, exhaustion and worry are now fixed aspects of your life.
You may even feel guilty or like you let your child down missing the warning signs of diabetes. Know that this is not your fault; you couldn't have prevented it. Forgive yourself, you are the source of your child's strength now.
Help restore a sense of normalcy for, and around, your child. And don't neglect your other children, who are also affected. Create special days to celebrate each one of them.
Remember, children take their cue from you and every day remarkable things are happening to change the face of diabetes.
Reflection: Teach the people closest to you how to do blood sugar checks and let them take over now and then. Think who you can ask for support from and what they can do to help. Keeping yourself strong, safe sure - and not sleep deprived - will most help your child.
NOTE: Here's one advance on the horizon for Type 1 diabetes.
G is for Gently Nudging Yourself Forward
"It's not where you start it's where you finish," If you're over 50, you might recognize this line from a show-tune. It's also a pretty good motto for life. If you want to accomplish something it doesn't really matter where you start from. What matters is putting in the effort. When you first heard you had diabetes maybe, like the ostrich who buries his head in the sand, it was too much to face and you ignored it. Forgive yourself for any past mistakes. What matters is what you do now.
Decide today you will take one step to take better care of your diabetes. One step. Not five or six or ten. You can open a book about diabetes and read one chapter. Read one internet site. Take one class in your area. If you think you should be eating less or better, exercising more, checking your blood sugar more frequently, do one of these things today.
In other words, gently nudge yourself forward; let the parent in you provide a shoulder to lean against while you're moving forward. As you progress, pick another step to take. The finish line is the place where your diabetes is in good control and one step at a time is the best way to reach it.
"Gently" also means be kind to yourself, because changing habits takes some work at first. Don't decide to run a mile today if you haven't walked down the street lately. Don't cut your calories in half, you'll only overeat tomorrow. Don't check your blood sugar every hour, that's neither easy nor kind. But do decide on something realistic you can do from where you are right now.
Remember too, some days will be easier than others. Be extra kind to yourself on the hard days.
If you take small, steady steps forward, no matter where you start from, it's pretty sure, "You're going to finish on top!"
Reflection: Write down 1 new step you'll take today. Be very specific: what you'll do, when you'll do it, how much you'll do, how you'll do it. Then do it!
While I've been sharing each Thursday d-lessons to help you develop emotional strength to manage your diabetes, these are also ways to meet any challenge life may throw at you. So, here's today's excerpt from my inspirational D-book,"The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes."
When you have faith that you can meet the challenge of diabetes you do not walk alone. You have a direct channel to your inner strength and wisdom; a force that can help you accomplish almost anything.
Don't let your faith be beaten down by someone you knew who suffered with diabetes. They may not have had faith or made the best choices or had the benefit of all that's available today to help manage diabetes.
No matter what, know that there are gifts to be found when you walk this road in faith. So put your worries down and trust yourself. Know that you have an inner well of strengths to draw on when you need them. If you "act as if" you are successful managing your diabetes, you will be.
Reflection: Recall a time you brought your heart and passion to something so fervently you didn't doubt you would succeed. Decide now that you will bring this same spirit to how you manage your diabetes. Then "act as if" you already do.
As you might imagine, there are 26 more extensive life lessons in the book to help you develop the emotional resilience to manage diabetes - and any life challenge.
In my continuing tips to help you "develop your emotional strength" to manage diabetes, here's another excerpt from my inspirational D-book, "The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes."
Many people think taking care of their diabetes is up to their doctor or diabetes educator. But it's not. They're not with you during the day to remind you to perform your diabetes tasks - to test your blood sugar or choose broccoli over French fries. Diabetes needs to be managed every day by the person who has it - you.
Learning all you can about diabetes is one secret to living a full and healthy life. And you can do this. Think back to a time when you learned about something new, perhaps for a project at work or while in school. At first you didn't know much and might have felt frightened, but in time you relaxed and then gained new insights, understanding and skills.
Here are a few things to chose from you can do right away: Subscribe to a diabetes magazine, join a social media site online like TuDiabetes, Diabetes Connect or Glu, read a diabetes book (any one of mine), see if your hospital offers a diabetes class, and bring your doctor questions that concern you at your next visit. Knowing all you can about diabetes is not just smart, it's powerful medicine.
Reflection: Write down something you knew little about and then learned about. Write down how you did that. Then write down two things you will do to learn more about diabetes - and how you will do it. Be specific: what you will do, when you will do it, where you will do it?
This was also the second year partners were invited, so I invited mine. He came and got to meet about 40 others who were learning more about their wife and girlfriend's diabetes, to air their feelings and learn more about how to be supportive.
I led a workshop, "Ignite Your Diabetes Power" Saturday morning. The secret? Identifying your strengths, building emotional resilience, knowing how diabetes works and knowing the actions to take to work it for you. It was a great workshop with about 60 of our d-sisters in attendance.
Saturday night I had a table full of sisters join me for dinner, including our guest host speaker, the irrepressible Mother Love. In fact, every time she passed me anywhere at the conference, her arms opened wide to embrace me and her warmth enveloped me. Her story of a family besieged with type 2 diabetes that has taken almost all her family members is tragic, while she has committed herself to helping others and getting the word out.
Sunday some of us took a field trip to an organic farm while others took a tour of Novo Nordisk's Clayton, NC facility where we saw how insulin gets packaged, stored, sent down the assembly line and on and on. It really makes you realize how carefully our medicine must be treated.
For me, it was in Brandy Barnes', Diabetes Sisters' founder, closing message that made me realize the absolute value of this weekend. There shouldn't be any woman with diabetes out there alone. Brandy encouraged us to tell any woman we know with diabetes about the conference, bring her into the fold so she can gain strength and knowledge and community. Amen.
Diabetes Sisters will be offering their West Coast "Weekend for Women" conference October 4-6 in San Francisco. If you've never been, give yourself the weekend as a gift for all you do living with this disease.
My third in my series of excerpts from my first book, "The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes." Each can help you build the emotional strength to do better managing your diabetes.
A "Can-Do" attitude is a choice. Deciding we can do something energizes and inspires us. It can help you through frustrating times, and even help you make the tough choices when confronted with a brownie a la mode or strawberries a la diet whipped cream.
Sometimes, without realizing it, we choose to take a "vicim" attitude about our diabetes, and it stops us from taking good care of ourselves. It's natural to feel down or frustrated at times. When you do, accept your feelings. Then pick yourself up and move on again doing your best.
Keeping yourself healthy may require changing some habits you've had for a long time. But while bad habits and feeling sorry for yourself may be where you've been, they need not be where you're going. Tomorrow is created by every action you take today.
Reflection: Write down one thing you can do better in your diabetes management - and how you will do it. Maybe choose a few healthier foods, cook more meals at home, start walking after dinner. Then be specific how you will do it: what, when, where, for how long? The more specific you can be, the more likely you will be successful.
If you missed my last post, I've decided to post pages from my first book, "The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes." I wrote the book out of a personal passion and deep belief that we best manage diabetes when we have knowledge, tools, and - emotional strength to make good decisions every day and ride with the ups and downs of diabetes.
The book is shares lessons to develop your inner strength and wisdom. I consider it a gift to give yourself or a loved one who is living with diabetes. Here's an excerpt from "Believe in Your Power."
Life will test you; in fact, it probably already has. When life tests you, it's an opportunity to find your inner strength, to renew your resolve, firm your commitment, clarify what's important to you and create new ways to achieve your goals.
Having diabetes can be your opportunity to reach for something higher. It can reveal to you just how strong and capable you are.
Open your heart to your own possibilities. Focus your attention inside yourself and hear your own wisdom say, "I am powerful, I am capable, I control my diabetes."
Your power to be stronger than diabetes is within you.
Reflection: Today, think about or write down 3 strengths you have that can help you manage your diabetes. For example, mine are being responsible, organized and able to ask for help. Reflecting on your strengths makes them more present and can help you manage your diabetes.
"Life is a joyful blessing," a short excerpt from my book, The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes
As promised in my last post, I'm going to put portions of my first book here. I will try to do it every Thursday.
Having the emotional strength and stamina to take care of your diabetes is as essential as understanding how diabetes works and knowing how to take care of it. (Both of which happen to be covered in my two other books.)
I write books because it's a way for me to share my knowledge and help others do better. I hope these posts provide a little inspiration and help you build your "strengths muscle." At least you don't have to go to the gym!
"Living with diabetes is something you learn to do each and every day. On some days you hardly know it's there. On others, you can hardly forget. But appreciation is what fills our lives with love, joy and deep contentment, even when you have diabetes...
Diabetes can motivate you to make healthier food choices and improve your fitness. You can take pride in how bravely you are managing it. And, when you've lost something, it's an opportunity to appreciate all the more what you do have...
Diabetes can be a gift in your hands if you use it to see how many blessings you truly have: loving family and friends, a dear pet, a comfortable home, the use of your body and mind, meaningful work, a favorite hobby, all your simple pleasure, exuberant passions and just the marvel of being you."
Reflection: Think about, or write, three or more things you are appreciative for in your life right now. Remind yourself of these a few times throughout the day today.
If you've been coming here for a while you may have noticed this blog, or maybe more apt this blogger, has suffered a recent bout of ADD - attention deficit disorder. In truth, writing my last book, Diabetes Do's & How-To's and blogging over at The Huffington Post, speaking at conferences, coaching, and somehow finding more newsletters, requests and information flying into my inbox than I can process, I have been delinquent here. My apologies.
So this is my suggestion and my promise. Browse thru the Blog archive on this site. I've been writing some great posts amid the ordinary, since 2007, and the classics are as fresh, meaningful and insightful as the day I wrote them. I know because I sometimes reread what I've written and find new insights when I do.
My promise is I will begin running excerpts from my book The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes because I want you to have the benefit of building your positive tank: if you can't find the internal strength and stamina to do what you need to do every day to take care of your diabetes, it doesn't matter a wit how many bells and whistles are on your meter.
So don't give up on me. I'm still here. And I hope you'll continue to return to continue to learn and keep me company.
I don't usually post recipes - scratch that, I never post recipes, but this one is so simple, so few calories, fat and carbs and such a great way to get your chia seeds!
Huh? Okay, if you don't know, chia seeds are an incredible source of omega 3 fatty acids. They provide health benefits on par with fish and fish oil and contain fiber, protein, antioxidants and minerals. They're the new broccoli!
The trouble with these little seeds is they have no taste and a funny texture. When put them in any liquid, they ooze a gelatinous texture. It's not really pleasant or unpleasant - just weird. But, with this recipe, you'll love them.
OK, here goes:
Chill a can of coconut milk overnight - I use Trader Joe's light coconut milk.
Blend in 4 tablespoons of chia seeds. I get my chia seeds in the health food store, any brand. For the blending I use a whisk which seems to work well to mix in all the ingredients.
Add 4 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and whisk. To be honest, I only use two which I find chocolatey enough.
Add half a teaspoon of vanilla extract and two packets of artificial sweetener or Stevia.
Whisk all the ingredients and put in the fridge. Overnight it will turn into a miraculous kind of pudding. Kind of like the texture of rice pudding.
You can calculate the carbs and calories, but it's not a lot, and it's an absolutely delicious way to get the benefit of these powerhouse anti-oxidants. It seems we benefit from two tablespoons of chia seeds a day so I eat a few spoonfuls of this pudding each day.
Trust me, you won't be disappointed. I can't think of a better way to enjoy these little seeds.
Today, March 26, is the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) annual Diabetes Alert Day. Right now take their online risk test to see if you may be at risk for diabetes or pre-diabetes. It only takes a few minutes.
Frankly, I think EVERYONE should take the risk test, AND have your doctor test you for diabetes annually. Much to people's chagrin, 1 in 5 people with type 2 diabetes are not overweight.
A medical test for diabetes is just a simple blood test performed either in your doctor's office or at a lab. A blood sugar value between 100 and 125 mg/dl, taken before you eat in the morning (fasting plasma glucose test), indicates pre-diabetes. Your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetes.
80 million people in the US have pre-diabetes, yet few know it. If you have pre-diabetes and do nothing, within five to ten years your chances are very good you'll have diabetes. If, on the other hand, you lose a small amount of weight if you are overweight, on average 15 pounds, and work up to 30 minutes of activity five days a week, you will likely prevent, or delay getting type 2 diabetes for years. Trust me, if you can, you want that option. Type 2 diabetes, for most people, damages the large and small blood vessels in the body leading to what's caused diabetes complications.
A fasting blood sugar test value above 126 mg/dl indicates diabetes. There are 26 million people with diabetes in the US and yet one quarter don’t even know they have it. RED ALERT: TAKE THE RISK TEST. Because by time most people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, having actually had it for on average five to seven years, many already have diabetes complications as mentioned above, like heart disease, vision and circulatory problems.
Risk Factors for Pre-Diabetes & Type 2 Diabetes
• Under active
• Over 45 years of age
• Family history of diabetes
• Woman who gave birth to a baby weighing over 9 pounds
• Belonging to a high risk group: African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders
Pass this on if you know someone else who may be at risk for diabetes. You can potentially save a life today -- and it might be yours or someone you love.
My husband was just cleaning out his piles of papers, and amazingly found an interesting sheet titled, "Patients Don't Remember Doctors' Instructions."
Shocking as it sounds between 40 and 80 percent of what doctors tell patients they forget - immediately! Only half the information they tell us do we remember correctly, and the more information they give us, the less we remember correctly. Well, frankly, that doesn't surprise me.
There is, however, a useful tip offered on the sheet if you need a little reminding what pills you take, when and what they're for. It's a tool called a "Pill Card." And the best thing to do is create one for yourself based on what you're taking.
The card includes the name of each medicine you take, how much, what it does and then uses pictures to remind you of these things. You can find instructions, graphics and templates at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Have fun. Turns out 94% of people who were given a pill card said it helped them remember the information their doctor gave them correctly.
As I travel around the country one of the outstanding things I see, and hear, is confusion about managing diabetes. So many of us, whether you've just been diagnosed or had diabetes for decades, whether you have type 1 or type 2, truly don't know how to really take care of it, and ourselves.
It's not surprising. We get at most a few hours a year with our doctors and then have to make our own decisions what actions to take during those other 8,700 plus hours. And no one ever gave us an instruction booklet. Think about it - you don't get to drive a car without first taking driving lessons, yet we're all walking around with a complicated, life-threatening illness without instructions.
That's why I wrote this, my third book. It is the "instruction-manual" for diabetes. The small, yet powerful, doable, "real-life" actions to take - what to do and how to do it - regarding food, medicine, fitness and staying positive so you can live your healthiest life with diabetes.
For example, you’ll discover how you, or a loved one, can eat healthy, bring your weight down if necessary, without dieting, how you can easily get a little more physical activity, manage your blood sugar much better to avoid highs and lows, keep your medicines stocked, know what you lab test results mean and what to do about them, prevent and delay complications - all that you need to know to live longer and better. Not to mention the incredibly funny cartoons from magnificent cartoonist and fellow PWD Haidee Merritt. Well, I figure there have to be rest-stops and rewards while you're working.
For health care professionals the book is a tool to help you more easily, and more collaboratively, guide your patients, through steps and worksheets, to healthier behaviors.
And while a team of top-notch certified diabetes educators consulted with me, and a slew of outstanding medical professionals and patient advocates endorsed it, this is not a "medical" book. It's me talking to you from my real-life and sharing what keeps me healthy. It's all the latest national standards and recommendations you need to know, and some pioneer-thinking I embrace. Most of all, it's the practical actions to guide your steps, at your pace, to improve your health: to get the most reward for your efforts.
But don't take my word for it, really. My passionate portrayal of the book is only because I want you to benefit. Go on Amazon, Search Inside the book, where you can see quite a lot.
Also, check out my four upcoming posts about the book on Diabetes Daily this month beginning next Tuesday. You'll also get a $4.00 savings off the book (there's a discount coupon on my posts at Diabetes Daily), so you can give yourself the gift of better health however you like it - in print or Kindle.
If you find the book helps you, share it with a friend. I want nothing less than for all of us to enjoy our best health, and the life we deserve.
When I was first contacted by the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) that they had news, I was curious. When I read the press release, I could feel the little hairs on my neck stand up.
When I talked to Dr. Camillo Ricordi, DRI's Scientific Director and Chief Academic Officer, about how close they feel they are to creating a biological cure for type 1 diabetes, as opposed to a mechanical cure like the artificial pancreas, I could feel both his doggedness and determination; he's been working toward a cure for decades, and feels they've turned a corner. In his words, now all the needed technologies are coming together.
Anyone with type 1 diabetes, heard upon their diagnosis, that there'd be a cure within five to ten years. For me that was 41 years ago. And we've all heard lots of studies that report cures in mice. But this isn't about mice, and whether the BioHub, what DRI is hoping will house islet (insulin-producing) cells that can be fully functioning in the body without anti rejection drugs becomes the cure, we will have to see - you got it, five to ten years.
But I for one, do sense we've taken a quantum leap forward no matter what happens. And so does DRI.
See my complete story on The Huffington Post.
Last year I moderated a wonderful event that if you live, or are going to be, in the Washington DC vicinity on Saturday, March 9th, you should consider attending.
It’s the third annual JDRF Type 1 Diabetes Research Summit. The country’s top scientists and researchers will be sharing their studies and the latest in research.
• Artificial Pancreas: Technology and Clinical Trials
• New Pathways for Expansion of Functional Islet Cell Mass
• Lunch / Exhibits Open/ Book Signings
• New Materials and Drug Delivery Systems for Islet Cell Encapsulation
• Commercial Development of Drug/Biological Products to Treat & Cure Type 1 Diabetes
• Panel Discussion with Speakers
Nicole Johnson, Miss America 1999 and Executive Director of Bringing Science Home at USF and international diabetes advocate, will be moderating this year. There will be an exhibit hall of T1D education, resources and technology, a Youth Program with speakers and games for the kids to play, and educational and networking opportunities with the T1D community.
Last but not least it’s FREE!
Last year the Summit attracted 600 individuals from the Eastern Seaboard, and while I’d like to think it was because I was hosting, chances are it had more to do with the speakers.
If you plan to attend, please register. And while there's no charge, including lunch, if you want to make a small donation, it will go toward speeding research even further and faster.
Happy Valentine's Day to everyone, and especially to our Type 3s - partners and spouses who live with our diabetes - and yet get none of the credit.
I can only imagine it must be like sitting in the passenger seat of a car wanting to grab the wheel when you see your mate start driving into an embankment or veer off toward the shoulder - feeling powerless and helpless to course correct - and weighing when do you hover, anticipate, plead, get upset or just stand lovingly by.
So today I'm saluting you, our loved ones who keep loving us with diabetes and who watch over and support us.
I also want you to know there is a group function just for male Type 3s to come together and share their feelings and frustrations, perhaps see what we live with a little more clearly and learn how to lovingly help in our disease management.
Diabetes Sisters' annual "Weekend for Women" conference - May 3-May 5 in Raleigh, North Carolina - offers a parallel track at the conference for male Type 3s called "Partner's Perspective Program." It's for partners, spouses and significant others of we women attending the conference.Brandy Barnes, founder of Diabetes Sisters', and her very loving husband Chris, saw the need and how such a program would benefit both our men and ourselves.
From the male viewpoint Chris says, "As partners of women with diabetes, we really do want to better understand their disease and how to best support them so that they can live full lives with diabetes for many years to come. The success of last year’s program illustrated that this valuable program is filling a large void that has been overlooked for many years.”
The Partner’s Perspective Program kicks off on Friday night from 6-10pm with a fun, relaxing social event. Saturday morning commences with Partners Perspective attendees walking through historic downtown Raleigh, NC in the Diabetes Awareness Walk to support their partners with diabetes publicly. 10am-5pm partners participate in separate education/breakout sessions chock full of educational information about diabetes to help them better understand and support their partner. There will be lots of “how to” discussions from leading experts who understand the physical and mental challenges faced by women with diabetes. Then, partners join their loved ones for a celebratory lunch and watch their spouse/loved one be publicly recognized for the number of years she has lived with diabetes. Sunday, partners will join back together again for a fun social activity in downtown Raleigh, NC.
"Weekend for Women" runs May 3-May 5 in Raleigh, North Carolina. I'll be there, among many experts, leading a workshop on how to "Ignite Your Diabetes-Power." Join us and make it an event you can go to with your partner and both go home and talk about. Register here.
When I told my husband, now of 11 years, shortly before the wedding, "Maybe you want to think twice about this. You know life with a diabetic will be uncertain…" he didn't miss a beat. "I'm with you and you're with me," he said, and he's been saying it ever since.
Several in the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) including Kerri Sparling, Kelly Close, Manny Hernandez, Bennet Dunlap, Adam Brown and Jeff Hitchcock have joined up with Johnson & Johnson to help raise funds for Life for a Child, the International Diabetes Federation's humanitarian program that gets life-saving supplies, education and care to children in need in developing nations.
The initiative is called "Spare a Rose, Save a Child" and here's how it works. Instead of buying a dozen roses this Valentine's Day for your amour, buy 11 roses and take the savings from that one rose and contribute it to IDF. Kind of a win-win-win. Your loved one gets a beautiful bouquet of roses, a child gets help to live and you get the joy of giving twice.
The program is occurring all this week from February 10-16th. Just make your donation here. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, spare a rose, save a child and share the extra love you'll feel with the lucky one who already has your heart.
For those of you who use a Continuous Glucose Monitor, or think you'd like to, here's an excerpt from Dr. Anne Peter's review of Dexcom's newly available fourth generation, the G4, and MiniMed's CGM, Enlite, which will be available in the Spring. Dr. Peters is an extremely respected endocrinologist, well known in the diabetes community, who practices at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
I love that Peters wears the sensors, although she doesn't have diabetes, to understand what it's like for patients. With all their advantages, one thing she finds burdens patients is the devices many alarms. Funny, we think of the benefit, alerting us to low and high blood sugar, but not the annoyance factor - I guess unless you wear one, I do not.
Excerpt: With Dexcom G4 continuous glucose monitoring, the patient can easily insert the sensor under the skin -- ...on the abdomen or the back of the arm. A small transmitter is then placed on top of the sensor. The transmitter sends the interstitial glucose value to the device so the patient can see the blood sugar level. It transmits this information wirelessly every 5 minutes, so a patient can get a sense of whether their blood sugars are going up, going down, or staying the same.
…the new Dexcom G4 is somewhat smaller [than the earlier-generation device]. It is not as wide, similar to an iPhone, and is easy to put in your pocket. It has a pretty good range so that you can be moving around in your house and the signal will still reach the device. A blood sugar level that is 100 mg/dL and is going up may require much different treatment from a blood sugar level of 100 mg/dL that is flat and the patient might be just fine. Or, if a blood sugar level is falling fast, it may mean that the patient needs to ingest carbohydrate to avoid a low. The patient can get a lot of information in real time from this device. Then, in my office, I download the device and interpret the data for the patient so I can help the patient analyze the data retrospectively, so that in real time patients can make more reasonable choices.
…we also have the new MiniMed continuous glucose monitor, the Enlite™ sensor, which is supposed to be available in the spring. This is similarly inserted under the skin and taped down. In most cases, this device is talking to the patient's insulin pump. The insulin pump has the tubing necessary to give the patient insulin, but now this pump also becomes the receiver for the signals from the sensor. The patient can look at the pump and see what the blood sugar levels are doing.
A lot of patients want the pump to automatically give insulin based on their blood sugar levels, but that is not what happens. This is truly a sensor, and the patient then needs to use the Bolus Wizard [calculator] to interact with the pump to calculate the insulin dose. That coupling of the sensor and pump is part of the development of the artificial pancreas. Substantial research is being done to make pumps that can use continuous glucose monitoring data so that the patient does not have to think as much about diabetes management. [Those advances] are in the future.
For now we have sensors that sense interstitial fluid, giving continuous real-time data, and we have pumps that patients interact with to give themselves insulin. You can couple the MiniMed sensor with the MiniMed pump. The Dexcom device does not interact with a pump, although the manufacturer is working on collaborations with some pump manufacturers.
Peter's full review appeared in Medscape Diabetes & Endocrinology Jan 25, 2013, "Continuous Glucose Monitoring: Practical Uses in Diabetes."
Join me and other diabetes advocates and luminaries for a great weekend of learning and bonding provided by Diabetes Sisters.
'Weekend for Women' is two and a half days that offers a unique opportunity to gather with an intimate group of about 100-150 of us women, type 1 and type 2, to share experiences, learn from experts and each other, have fun, take a short walk through town to raise diabetes awareness, and come away - renewed, invigorated, smarter, wiser and more able to manage our diabetes. You can't lose.
Friday night kicks off with a social gathering, Saturday is a day of health, wellness and transformation with the most influential voices in diabetes leading incredible talks, break out sessions, and giving practical tips and tools. Sunday is packed with more information and opportunities to cement the new friendships you'll be making. Here's the full schedule.
Also, you can bring your partner or spouse. They'll be a whole track of seminars for them to have their needs addressed, bond, and better understand how to support you.
I'll be speaking along with Kerri Sparling Morone and Ginger Vieira, fellow PWDs and top diabetes educators, dietitians, nurses and PhDs.
Early registration is open now til February 15th for just $125. General registration $150.
It's kind of a double-edged sword when we get to see something just for us. Nice, and an unfortunate reminder. But I was glad to see this syringe disposal nestled in the bathroom of the Phoenix airport. I didn't bother to think, whose syringes are they targeting? I just enjoyed the fact that maybe there's some recognition for those of us using insulin.
I try to take my insulin discretely, meaning I don't flaunt it in front of anyone. After all, I don't particularly love watching others inject. But I never try to hide when I need to give myself a shot. And, I often wonder - where are all my fellow insulin users? I never seem to see anyone else "shooting up."
But I do it in the open as I like to think of it as a 'teachable moment.' So while seated on the plane, waiting for the last few passengers to take their seats, I took out my Lantus Solo star pen trying to inject before the last passenger arrived to take his seat next to me. And there I was, pen in stomach, when my husband leaned over and said, "Are you OK?" I looked up and there was my seat mate standing at our row waiting to take his seat. I finished, extracted pen from body, and in he came without a word, as if he hadn't just watched this woman take a needle out of her body.
Later, my husband told me he had asked the gentleman if he could just wait a moment while I finished giving myself my insulin injection. The gentleman politely nodded. My husband also remarked that, the stewardess standing not far away, caught my husband's eye and smiled. Comraderie? Knowingness? Compassion?
I will never know, but maybe one or two more people were reminded that diabetes exists in the world, as so do those of us who live with it.
TCOYD, which stands for Taking Control of Your Diabetes, has been a fixture in my life for the past 10 years. It's an incredible one day health fair that's offered around the country, and it's coming to Tucson February 23.
For only $15 (or $10 apiece for 2 people or more) if you register by noon February 20th, you get a full day of learning from diabetes experts, endocrinologists, pharmacists and personal trainers who will ignite your motivation, answer your questions, share advice and recommendations, offer hope and can even change your life, or that of someone you love, who's living with diabetes! Day of the event registration costs $20 per person.
I attended my first TCOYD conference eight years ago and it was there in a workshop being led by psychologist/CDE Bill Polosnky that I heard words that changed my life. He said, "Diabetes doesn't cause diabetes complications like heart disease, blindness, kidney disease and amputation. Poorly controlled diabetes does." When I heard that I knew if I really took care of my diabetes, I could improve my health dramatically.
Now here's your opportunity to learn, do better, take charge of your health, help prevent or delay complications, have fun - and meet other people with diabetes in the process.
TCOYD's founder, Dr. Steven Edelman, has been living with type 1 diabetes since he was 15 and decided learning about diabetes shouldn't just be for medical professionals, but directly reach patients. Now that's a doctor who "gets it." So since 1995 TCOYD has been educating patients around the country. Dr. Edelman is 57 today and living well with his diabetes, as am I.
To register, or to get more information, call 800.99.TCOYD (800.998.2693) or visit www.tcoyd.org. If you can't make it to Tucson, the next event will be in Santa Clara, California on March 23rd. Trust me, you won't be sorry. This can be the first day of the rest of your better life with diabetes.