Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This Might Be Why They Know Who I Am Before I Tell Them My Name.


Kim walks towards the back end of the store but gets sidetracked by some Pinot Grigio in the clearance bin. Somehow, a bottle ends up joining her on the journey.

She approaches the counter. And waits.

The pharmacist finishes up with the drive-through customer and heads towards the counter.


The pharmacist pivots and heads straight for the refrigerator. She returns with bottles of insulin.

Kim plops her wine bottle on the counter. The pharmacist eyes it for a couple seconds, rings it up along with the prescription, and begins to bag the items. Kim realizes what the pharmacist must be thinking.

KIM: Well, you know. One keeps me alive... the other keeps me sane.

The pharmacist smirks.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Those Rings Are Sleigh Bells, Not My CGM Alarms.

Thanksgiving weekend usually marks the beginning of holiday decorating at the Vlasnik household - it's a four-day weekend for Aaron and I (and now Billy, too - although really, every day is a day off for him), so we've got a little more free time to deck the halls and jingle the bells, and all that junk.

The storage-room-digging, garland-hanging and tree assembling also made for some awesome CGM graphs. It's sneaky exercise!

No-hitters fill me with holiday cheer!
The yuletide-ization process also made for some fun times with the dog - our tree goes right where his kennel has been, and we worried about him getting upset. Turns out he couldn't care less about the tall, glittery thing in our living room. 

So, alright then.

Friday, November 25, 2011

I'm Thankful.

Much as I was last year, I'm thankful for the wonderful family and friends I have in my life.

For otherwise good health. For the advances in diabetes management that allow me choose what food I enjoy - not the other way around.

For Aaron and Billy, who are playing a rousing game of fetch in our living room as I write this.

For the internet, which not only brought me the best support system I've ever found, but also introduced me to people who will introduce me to things like Nutella Rolls. (I'm making them as we speak!)

For a home; for a job; for food in my fridge. (And the electricity to run that fridge, while I'm at it.)

I'm thankful for my life, and everyone and everything in it.

This day-late Thanksgiving Day post is doubling as my post for Diabetes Blessings Week - organized by the ever-awesome Mike Durbin!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Puppeh!

I'm having a creative brain cramp this morning, so a gratuitous cute dog picture will have to do. I hope you don't mind.

This is his "serious" face.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Book Of Better.

Earlier this month, someone at Three Rivers Press (part of the Crown Publishing Group at Random House) sent me an email about a book they just released, written and designed by a creative director at Nike who has had type 1 diabetes for 30+ years. The book was called The Book of Better and they wondered if they could send me a promotional copy. (I almost missed their email, as I've never had any contact with RH before, and it sort of looked like spam. Whoops.)

I got the book. I read the book. I sticky note-d the crap out of it.

I really do like the book. I would have paid money for it.


It's not without its faults - I'll get to that later on - but overall, I'm a big fan of both the message behind the book and the way in which that message was delivered.

The whole theory - if you hadn't guessed it yet - is that while life with diabetes can never be perfect, it can always be better. Even if "better" is just a teeny tiny bit better. The book's author, Chuck Eichten, uses a casual, self-depricating approach that I appreciated. He admits early on in the book that he's made plenty of mistakes himself; that he is, in no way, a medical professional; that this book is a way to share what he's learned in the past few decades with diabetes.

There's plenty of humor, which I totally hated. (What? I'm kidding. Of course I loved that.) It's hard to not like a book about diabetes that uses wording like "work my ass off", "A woolly mammoth's diet consists of (I don't know what).", "Diabetes makes you holier (Editor's note: Ha! Puns! Love!)", "There's plenty of fallout poop that comes with diabetes", and "OMIGOD!". There were several times while reading that I "Heh!"ed out loud. It's clever writing.

The formatting reads in much the same way as a blog - it goes heavy on the graphics, uses a lot of short and repetitive sentences, and tends to go HEAVY on the CAPITALIZATION and BOLDED WORDS. (It was a little overboard for my liking.)

One of my very favorite parts of the book was the following analogy:

"We shouldn't get confused into thinking that one variety [of diabetes] is not as bad as another variety. It's like saying, "My hair is not on fire that bad." That is crap. If your hair is on fire, you should treat it with concern and the utmost haste. My rule: If my hair is even slightly on fire, I don't pretend it's not. [...] Whatever type you've got, diabetes is screaming - YOUR HAIR IS ON FIRE! And we need to get that issue under control before it negatively affects our future."

And that's pretty typical of how the book works - humorous analogies made, strong viewpoints established, and suggestions for action supplied. Chuck makes the smart choice to address the viewer as part of his team - "we" instead of "you", most often. He addresses all of those real-life complaints and concerns that PWDs have. He makes relatable analogies about motivation and persistence. He uses his own experience to supply the "why should I". He can scold you while making you laugh, which in turn, makes you think.

He talks about feeling "at fault" for having diabetes, about how we PWDs can become obsessive over food, about how frustrating it is when results are anything but consistent, about the "foreverness" of living with diabetes - and he does it all in a way that makes you feel like he gets you.

There were, however, some parts of the book I take issue with. Take it away, bullet points:

  • While the book is advertised as being for anyone - type 1, type 2, parents, children, diabetes veterans and newly diagnosed folks alike - it felt mostly geared to young (and not quite as young) adults with type 1. While that isn't necessarily good or bad, it's something you may want to be aware of.
  • While the dynamic visual presentation is nice, the choice of sometimes laying white text over a yellow background led to some squinty-eyed reading. No me gusta.
  • Chuck sings the praises of insulin pumps. Loudly. Ear-piercingly. Like he doesn't have neighbors. And then he might get a megaphone. And then he might put a microphone in front of that megaphone. Really - it got ridiculous. I understand that insulin pumps can be a great tool on one's diabetes utility belt, but they aren't for everyone, and no one wants to be made to feel guilty for not using one. Insulin pumps are not the Holy Grail. (And not having one doesn't mean that your mother was a hamster, either.)
  • The page title "You can make your type 2 diabetes go away" ranks high on my WTF? Meter. The author does admit that he's oversimplifying things by saying that, but really? Couldn't you just use a few more words to say that the only part that can go away are the symptoms? This isn't Reader's Digest, after all.
  • When talking about how to treat lows, Chuck says, "When you start to feel low, you can simply turn down the amount of insulin you are getting. And the feeling of low bloods sugar goes away. I am not making this up. It actually goes away." Not if you've still got 5 units on board, buddy. Not every time.
  • Lastly, I found it disappointing that with as many times as the insulin pump is mentioned, CGMs don't even register a mention until page 225 (the book has 275 pages). Maybe Chuck doesn't use a CGM himself? Hard to say. But if it were my book, CGMs would have been mentioned right after the whole "OMGILOVEDIABETESTECHNOLOGY!" bit.
All in all, it was an entertainingly relatable and encouraging book. I think it's worth the read!

Disclaimer: Three Rivers Press provided me a free copy of this book, but did not oblige me to write about it in exchange for receiving a copy. As I mention in my blog disclosure, I'll talk about things if I like them (or really don't like them), and this was one of those cases. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Team Type 1 - They're Made Of Awesome.

My morning started off by seeing a tweet from Allison at Diabetes Mine:

My curiousity was definitlely piqued. And by clicking on that link, here is what I found:

A big "thank you" to Diabetes Mine for making this video happen, and also to the members of Team Type 1 who were willing to record this You Can Do This Project video after running across America!! (Yes, you read that right. ACROSS. AMERICA. In 15 days, no less.)

I'm in awe of what Team Type 1 does, and honored that Tom, Brian, Phil and the whole team participated in this video. To use Phil's word, the whole thing is simply amazing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Grabbing Back That Balloon.

Maybe it's a result of all of the statistics shared on World Diabetes Day - the number of people living with it, and dying from it. The monetary costs. The images of who this disease impacts. The reminders that while this can get more managable, we're still a long ways from a biological cure. The fact that each time we find that another person has died from type 1 diabetes, our hearts break and our fists clench.

Maybe it's because I've been listening to the Smashing Pumpkins on repeat for the last hour.

In any event, my frame of mind is a little bit on the brooding side today.

Diabetes (and especially type 1, where the symptoms are so sudden and so severe) can make you hyper-aware of your own mortality. There are moments where I can't shake the feeling that I'm living on borrowed time; I think about the reality that if I had been diagnosed before 1922 I would have died as a six year old child. (Or, if I had been born when I was, but just in a different part of the world.) There's that little voice in the back of my head, saying you shouldn't still be here. You've cheated death. You're so lucky to be here.

I think this recognition can shape us one of at least two ways. It can mold us into cautious, tip-toeing beings who avoid risks because we already feel as though the ice is thin beneath our feet. We let the statistics become more than numbers; we personify them in what we choose and what we do. We let the "what ifs" take us over. We let go of dreams, like balloons released into the wind.

And for some, this idea of borrowed time translates to a feeling of freedom and fearlessness. The idea that we're here when we "shouldn't" be liberates us; a gratitude for the life we have propells us towards accomplishing the big; the daunting; the impossible. We want to make the most of this time we've been given. We want to have an impact on someone; something. We want to see change.

There has to be a reason we're still here. There has to be a purpose for what you and I have been through, to get to this point.

I've been in both places, and still go back and forth a bit. Lately, however, my pancreas heart seems to be leaning towards the latter - and at some point, I'll have to let it do an all-out freefall. I don't know what shape that will take or what that means exactly.

What I hope for myself and for you is that we'll use this time we have to do something that matters. Let's look past ourselves and think about what we can do for others. Let's turn the crappy hand that life dealt us into something good.

Let's chase back those balloons.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Perils Of Being A Mouse In A Diabetes Research Study.

Infusion sites engulf your entire stomach.

Insulin pumps were not built for someone of your stature.

Blood tests require about half of the blood in your body just to fill a test strip.

How do you carb count cheese? I don't know, either.

You are the envy of at least 5% of the world's population.

(Disclaimer: none of this is actually what happens in a research study, I'm pretty sure. Facetious World Diabetes Day Celebration FTW!)

Friday, November 11, 2011

We're Getting Smurfy For Diabetes.

There's a lot of blue going on around here...

Since JDRF isn't using this logo anymore, could this be considered
a vintage scarf? How fancy!

Nevermind the eye puffery - I just woke up.
..and later today I'll be contributing to the "Diabetes 11.11.11" project. Will you? (Could you, would you, while you wear blue?) /end Dr. Suess moment

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cleaning Out The Ol' Inbox.

My email volume has gone from intense to WHOA lately - it seems PR folks have found me, which can be both good and bad. Sometimes they're all "Dear Blogger, please talk about how our cinnamon-based diet can cure you" (that's the bad, and makes me want to point them here), but other times they send a thoughtful, personalized email (that's the good) telling me about something, and ask if I would mind checking it out/sharing it/writing about it. Some of it is totally legit, and some of it I'm really not sure about - so you'll have to decide on those things for yourself.

Also, there are a couple of things I could mention that fall into the "stuff I did when I wasn't here" category, so things are about to get bullet-pointy again.(Twice in one week? I know.)
  • A website called Sharecare named what they believe to be the top ten "influencers" in the diabetes online community, and somehow I ended up on that list. If you're like me and have absolutely no prior knowledge of what Sharecare is, they are self-described as an "interactive, social Q&A platform designed to greatly simplify the search for quality healthcare information". The website was formed by Jeff Arnold (founder of WebMD) and Dr. Oz. While I may not personally be the biggest fan of Dr. Oz, I do appreciate that the Sharecare site is trying to connect people living with diabetes with each other. I can always be on board with that idea.
  • And apparently I'm also influential about diabetes on Twitter?
  • JDRF and the Helmsley Charitable Trust (which is a name a lot of folks recognize, but I wasn't one of them until recently) have begun a collaboration which you can read about here. Also, you may have heard that JDRF has a new logo, tag line, and put a bold ad in the Washington Post and NY Times. (Yes, I'm a little slow on the reporting here, but better late then never.)
  • Someone at Three Rivers Press (a division of Random House) sent me some information about a recently released book written by someone who is both a PWD (type 1) and a creative director at Nike named Chuck Eichten. The book is titled The Book of Better, and here's their description: "The book is designed to be for everyone: Type 1, Type 2, adults, children, people who have been living with Diabetes for years, or have just been recently diagnosed - even people who are completely unfamiliar with Diabetes will find something here. It’s ultra-visual, resoundingly positive, and completely different than any other book about Diabetes out there". They're also sending me a free copy of the book, so I'll be interested to know if that last claim is true.
  • The folks at Glooko asked if I could review their "MeterSync Cable and Glooko Logbook App", but seeing as how I do not own any of the devices it works on, I can't really do that. It sounds neat, though! According to their email: "[These] are our first products. [They] are simple tools (a cable and an App) for people with diabetes to download their meter to their iPhone or iPod touch. Our first product is simple for two reasons 1. Make keeping a logbook easier and make it easy to share that information with whom ever needs it, and 2. Keep within the regulations that the FDA has put forth regarding a Class1 device."
  • A company called Socks4Life has been making a conscious effort to be more involved with the DOC, which is pretty cool (even if "diabetic socks" aren't). They sent me a link to this infographic that is available for anyone to distribute/use as they see fit.
  • Speaking of infographics, United Healthcare (!!) sent me a link to theirs as well.
  • dLife kicked off Big Diabetes Month with a new initiative called "Declare. Share. Move Forward." designed to help PWDs acknowledge obstacles in their diabetes lives, and then move past those challenges. You'll find some familiar faces (including mine, for a brief moment) in the introductionary video!
  • DRI has their own campaign this month as well: Reason to Believe, emphasizing their focus on cure-based research. You can watch videos from parents, researchers and patients who express their own "reasons to believe".
  • And lastly, if you haven't participated in the Big Blue Test, please do it. The goal of 8,000 participants is still a long ways away, and there are only four days left, and a lot of money for charities at stake!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Procrastinating The Lows.

I push the grocery cart down the aisle that hosts the boxed pasta and jars of spaghetti sauce. I can hear my stomach starting to grumble - I had stayed a couple of hours late at work, and on a normal day, I would have already eaten dinner by then. Knowing our fridge was near empty, I stop at the store on my way home. I have half a cart full of food, and I'm ready to leave.

Walking suddenly feels a lot like swimming. Ugh. I just want to get out of here and eat dinner.

Suddenly, I remember that I didn't grab milk. U-turn. Back to the back of the store. Milk in tow. Back to the front.

I really don't want to be low right now. Dinner is sitting right in front of me; I don't want to eat glucose tabs right now too. I can make it.

And salad! I didn't grab lettuce! Spin move; to the produce.

Why does everyone have to be in my way right now? Seriously lady; move your cart over.

Okay; done. Check out.

Why did I get so many things? Got to make sure to put all of the cold things together so they get bagged together.

The girl forgets the reusable bag discount. I just want this to be done.

"Bread? Check. Apples? Check.
Low blood sugar? Check."
My Dexcom LOW!!! alarm goes off.

Hurry hurry hurry hurry... just want to get out of here... 

...oh, crap. 

I had forgotten that this is the store where they bring your groceries to your car for you. Normally, that's helpful. When you're below 55 mg/dL and can't remember exactly where your car is, it's embarrassing.

As soon as the doors swish open and I can see pavement, I start frantically hitting my car remote's lock button, hoping to see the lights flash. The teenage boy watches me, expecting me to lead to where the car is.

I bluff and head down the middle.


Was that the car or my CGM?

We find the car; I clumsily throw open the back hatch and try to help load things in, so that this goes faster. I say "thank you". I fall into the driver's seat and can finally stop putting off the dusty, chalky glucose tabs in my future.

I don't know why I do this.

I convince myself that I don't need to treat that low right then. I tell myself to wait a few minutes... but for what? I know I'm just going to feel worse, and I know that my blood sugar isn't going to go back up on its own. Rationally, I know these things.

In that moment, however, rational thinking can give way to the decision that procrastinating is a good choice.

I can't explain it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Road Trip!

Aaron and I just got back from a five-day weekend in the great state of Indiana, as we attended our friends' wedding (Yay Erin and Adam!!) and got into some other antics. Thoughts and highlights:

  • Indiana - at least, the part we were in - is so scenic this time of year! I felt like I was living inside of a postcard photo. But did I think to take pictures of the scenery? I did not.
  • The wedding was beautiful, and I DID remember to take pictures of that.
  • I also made sure to snap a picture of this banner at the church. I know that our friends did not personally select this to adorn the church wall for their wedding, so I feel (relatively) safe in saying... wow. Red eyes, pale skin, and outstretched bloody hands? You decide what that means.
  • In the olden days before I had this certain type of diabetes-centric confidence, I would have balked at wearing a dress to a wedding. (Why? Because dresses don't generally have nifty pockets to house various diabetes paraphernalia. I felt condemned to pants.) This weekend was an occasion where I felt comfortable in my own skin, so to speak. My insulin pump was hooked onto the front of my bra, my Dexcom receiver was stuffed into the side, and my confidence was on the dance floor. And guess what? No one noticed the robot parts. (Well, they didn't notice until later in the evening when I made it a point to be all blatant and "look at how MacGyver I was tonight!" about it with some of the bridal party - whom I had met for the first time that weekend. There may have been some wine involved earlier in the night.)
  • Being in Indiana also meant that Aaron and I got to grab some lunch with some DOC friends - Cherise (and her daughter) and Mike (and his wife)! We decided that while we were together, we should do a Big Blue Test by testing, walking around downtown Indy's Monument Circle, and testing again. Want to know what the Big Blue Test is and how you can do it, too? Go check out http://www.bigbluetest.org/ for more info! (There also may be video evidence of our walk and results coming soon. Maybe.)
  • Indiana has both Dunkin' Donuts and Chick-Fil-A, which meant that Aaron and I both got to satisfy our less-than-healthy food cravings. We also tried Steak 'n Shake for the first time. We were less than impressed. 
  • Since Eli Lilly has a huge campus right by the part of downtown we stayed at, I was hoping to swing through and take a look. (Because that's what normal people do on vacation, right? Visit the pharmaceutical companies that make their life-saving medication?) Unfortunately, the Colts game foiled our plans and this is as close as I got. (Also, I have no idea why this bullet point is centered.)

  • The hotel we stayed in Saturday night is housed inside of Indianapolis' historic Union Station, which meant that the hotel actually had (non-working) train cars in it. What's that? You want to know if I was totally solemn and serious while standing on one of the train car's steps? 

In short: we had a great time. :)

Disclaimer: Lilly did not ask me to visit them or mention them in this post. I wanted to go because I'm a huge nerd who will make special travel plans to accomodate diabetes-centric tourist destinations. Like you do.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Filling Gaps And Taking Risks.

On Sunday, I attended a JDRF Research Update Event in Omaha, Nebraska. Speakers included Linda Johnson, MPA, CLP (Senior Director of Strategic Alliances) and Dr. Sanjoy Dutta PhD (Director of Glucose Control; Treatment Division), and though some of what was covered were things I'd already learned from previous JDRF webcasts and announcements, I did pick up a few things to think about. It's also nice to be able to talk to folks in person, so there's that. :)

Before I get into the recap, I want to say that I wish more people would have/could have attended. It's not very often that a Midwest city like Omaha gets to have people of this caliber to come speak. I wish the event could have been better promoted (and with much more notice given), as I felt the 40 or so of us that attended were not nearly as many who would have, had they know about this (and had they realized how unique this opportunity was). Attendance was low, and for that, I'm a bit sad.

Anyway. *cough* Onto the recap.

Linda Johnson spoke about the alliances JDRF has forged with governments, with other disease advocacy organizations, and with industry. She acknowledged that this is a relatively new direction for JDRF (she dated the beginning of such alliances as 2005), and emphasized that these partnerships and agreements can help us more expediently reach better treatments and eventually a cure. Alliances not only can provide a way to pool resources (monetary, knowledge and capabilities) to accomplish what one organization alone may not, they also help minimize unnecessary duplication in the areas of research and development.

She mentioned partnering with the Canadian government to secure funding for research ("Hey, if they want to give us $20M to do clinical trials there, we're not turning that down!"), and spent a great deal of her time speaking about the various industry alliances JDRF has entered into.

(I should also note that she made sure to point out that while many have expressed concern over the money JDRF puts towards these ventures, in the last fiscal year [FY11], just 10% of research funding when to industry partnerships. To me, that's a rather small amount, considering what it COULD be.)

There was talk of Merck/SmartCells, Amylin, Lilly and the University of Geneva research lab, Selecta BioSciences (whose focus, prior to JDRF's influence, had been on nicotine control) and iCo (who is working on repurposing existing meds for the treatment of diabetic macular edema). Linda pointed out that industry partnerships are critical to JDRF's mission: "You reach a point where you can only take your research so far, and need an industry partner to take things to market". (For more on those alliances, please click on those hyperlinks.)

Next up: Dr. Dutta. (I'm also going to say here that I think JDRF has done a great job of putting researchers who are able to put things in understandable terms in touch with the diabetes community. It can't be easy to translate things so eloquently, but people like Dr. Dutta are able to do just that.)

The work Dr. Dutta is involved in (treatment therapies) has two goals: to restore glucose regulation (think Artificial Pancreas [AP] and Glucose-Responsive Insulins [GRI]), and to discover, develop and deliver therapeutics that prevent, reverse and treat complications in all stages and all individuals with type 1. He talked a bit about the AP, and the recent news that patients in Europe have, for the first time ever, successfully used the AP in a real-world setting - that's big news!

He addressed some of the "gaps" that need to be filled when it comes to the physiology of a person with type 1 diabetes. Insulin production isn't the only thing "broken" - the production (and body's decisions for appropriate use) of hormones like glucagon, amylin and leptin are also affected. In a person with type 1, glucagon is present in the "wrong place at the wrong time" - meaning that it's missing when we're low and present when we're high. The fix here can't be to simply shut off glucagon production; a balance of suppressing and activating is needed.

Insulin delivery was another key topic. Dr. Dutta pointed out that current insulin delivery methods, which have insulin arriving in the body subcutaneously (meaning, under the skin), don't make a lot of sense. Think about it - in a healthy human body, does insulin get produced under the skin? (Nope - pancreas.) Does it do it's work under the skin? (Nope - it has to get to the blood stream.) Intra-dermal delivery techniques (which would engage more blood vessels) would also eliminate some of the more common complaints we insulin pump users have, as no tubing would mean no occlusions, kinks, etc.

Graph of how insulin works in a
non-diabetic person (that's in green)
and someone administering a
current insulin (in pink). Notice
how we're missing that big spike
of insulin at the start?
Another idea along those lines would be what's called an InsuPatch. Have you ever taken insulin and soon after gotten in a hot shower or hot tub? Insulin works REALLY fast then, right? Well, same idea - put a bandaid-like warming device around pump infusion sites. (I had to laugh when Dr. Dutta was explaining this one - "This is so simple; we looked at each other and said, 'Why didn't we think of this before??'".)

And lastly, the "high risk" project: glucose-responsive insulin (GRI). What needs to get accomplished here is that GRI needs to mimic physiology (deliver insulin when and where its needed), be device-free (limiting fingersticks, replacing insulin pumps, and reducing human intervention), and also address the critical gaps in type 1 treatment. Basically? It needs to reduce the burden of managing the disease, big time. (That... yeah. That would be nice.)

You may already be aware, but JDRF introduced a prize incentive related to GRI as a way to engage a new audience of experts. Dr. Dutta explained that while offering a prize in this arena is unorthodox, it was necessary: "If this were easy to develop, we'd have it already. People have spent time and effort trying to develop GRI but keep failing at it. We need people outside of the "usual suspects", and offering this prize can help us engage with those people."

Dr. Dutta left us with these thoughts: if something works (treatment-wise), jump on it. Your best defensive strategy is knowledge, so do your research. You can't expect your medical team to know about everything that's out there, so be an advocate for your own health by being engaged in learning about your disease.

And in summary: all of these technologies may not be suitable for each patient. We all have our own unique pathology, and we hope to get to a position where we can pick and choose from these advanced treatments, so that everyone can do what works best for them as individuals.

Thanks again to Linda Johnson and Dr. Sanjoy Dutta for spending a little bit of time with us here in the Cornhusker state. I hope they come back again soon.

Disclosure: JDRF did not specifically ask me to attend this event or talk/write about it. I was not compensated for my time there or for writing this recap. I am just super nerdy and like to learn (and then share) things like this. As per uzh, my opinions (and translation/recall of events) are my own.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's A Scary Place.

I'm writing this at a time when I've usually been asleep for a couple of hours, so bear with me.

I read this post from Jeff, and it got me thinking about the choices and trade-offs we make as people with diabetes. It got me thinking about the way that everyone's pathology is a little different, and how we all have different capabilities, resources, and preferences when it comes to how we maintain our health.

It got me thinking about how no matter what we choose - whether it's food, medication, delivery of that medication, timing of injections, amount (or lack) of exercise - we never really know if what we chose was right.

The unknown is a scary place to be pedaling toward, especially when it comes to your health.

For instance, I've been known to enjoy a Splenda packet or nine with my morning coffee allotment. I do that to avoid bolusing, to avoid excess sugar intake, and frankly I do it because artificial sweeteners were what I grew up using. (Real sugar didn't fit into that "exchange diet" too well. And by that, I mean not at all.) Those advantages are great, until I read an article on MSN about how I'm polluting the earth's water supply with my post-coffee pee. What if sucralose ends up being what does me in? (And how ironic would that be?)

It happens with every decision we make. Do I go low-carb, or eat how I want to eat and just dose for it? Do I aim for a smaller standard deviation of blood sugar, which may run higher, or aim lower and risk the hypoglycemic excursions? Do I exercise, even when I know I'm going to have to inhale all of those calories right back? Is it worth it?

How do we know that any of these decisions we make will ensure good health, and even if they do, for how long?

We'll spend our whole lives not knowing, until the one moment that we finally do.

It's a scary place.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Commissioned or Coincidence?

(This print is from outsidepeg.com. While this piece was not commissioned, they do offer that - just sayin'.)

(But for serious - it's uncanny, right?)

(Not so "wordless". I know.)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


It's November 1st, which the JDRF is now proclaiming as "T1Day". We're asked, as a community of people living with diabetes, to "raise awareness about type 1 diabetes on this day and throughout the month of November".

It also seems to mark a turning point in how JDRF is engaging the adult type 1 audience, as you'll surmise from the cheeky (and perhaps, to some, over the edge) videos they've put out recently.

As someone who is an adult (and I use that term loosely) with type 1, I do appreciate JDRF's efforts to engage the adult population - adults make up around 85% of the type 1 population, after all. It's a fairly large shift to now see adults with type 1 in their advertising and promotion.

I also appreciate their attempts to educate the public about the different types of diabetes.

This new strategy is unorthodox and frankly, a little bit shocking - how many disease advocacy groups can you think of who have asked you to "give the finger" to the cause?

I'm not sure this message hits the nail on the head, but you can certainly make an argument for its effectiveness in grabbing people's attention. It feels a lot like breast cancer marketing's use of "I Heart Boobies", in that it may not send the most PC message, but it certainly breaks through the clutter (to throw some marketing slang into this thang).

(Sidenote: The appropriateness and motive behind the IHB campaign is enough fodder for an entirely different post, but seeing as this is Diabetes Awareness Month, I'm trying to stay on topic.)

What's your take on T1Day, and JDRF's "Meg" campaign? Will you be giving diabetes "the finger"?

Disclosure: JDRF asked if they could send me a press kit a few days ahead of T1Day, which included some advance information about T1Day and other changes happening at JDRF. They also sent me one of the foam fingers from the video, but I'm not quite sure I want to go there. :)

Other thing you should know: JDRF is holding a press conference tomorrow. According to the email I got: "Members of Congress, diabetes clinicians and people with type 1 diabetes will hold a press conference on Wednesday, November 2nd at 2:30pm on Capitol Hill to urge the FDA to issue clear and reasonable guidance on the artificial pancreas and make an exciting announcement about the artificial pancreas petition.  We’ll be live tweeting from the press conference - login to our Twitter accounts to follow the hashtag #AP100k."