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Showing posts from April, 2012

The Beat Goes On

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Not too long ago, I was driving somewhere. Don't ask me to remember where, because I don't recall the route or what Point A or B might have been. All I know is that at the time, it was a bright sunshiny day and I had an urge to hear some Tom Petty. Fortunately, I'm a Petty fan and have several CDs with me in my vehicle. So I put one in the player to crank up. Clip Art Source . Sadly, the CD player at that moment decided to eat my music and wouldn't play. And I couldn't switch to other Petty CDs, or even eject them to try again. Pretty much, I was SOL. That door to listening to Tom Petty at that moment in my drive appeared to be closed. I wasn't happy. Then, something profound happened. Well, maybe it wasn't that profound... but it certainly felt that way at the time, and given all the other stuff happening in my life. Switching to FM and a classic rock station, I came across the introductory notes of the very song I had been hoping to hear

Necessary Coverage

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Insurance coverage is always an "interesting" topic for those of us living with diabetes. Or more to the point: the struggle to get what appears like logical coverage is always a tug of war that too often seems to leave one side face down in the mud pit. We have to fight the fight, pretty much every time we need some of the necessary medical supplies and life-sustaining medications in our D-Lives. So, just thinking about using a new D-device, especially one that's just recently-approved by the FDA and hot of the presses, can be a tad bit daunting and stress-inducing. That's what came to my mind when the recent topic of the mySentry came up at the Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum and everyone was talking about how insurers might want or not want to cover this new device given FDA-approval in January. Especially since it might not necessarily be seen as "medically necessary" at this early stage. Source . In many situations, it seems as though pe

Rage-Bolusing Cause & Effect

Diabetes can be annoying. This past weekend was a great example of the said annoyance. My meter greeted me with a "Hi" reading on Sunday evening, following a full day where I'd been higher and unable to go below 250 mg/dL or so. That "Hi" message came up, and I felt like it was greeting me with a mocking, taunt-tainted laugh. I glared at my meter, wanting to throw it. But didn't, because really I knew my carb count slacking and pump set fussiness that day were the likely culprits that I could've taken care of much earlier. Oh, well. A post-dinner hour correction of 16 units followed that High, but it only brought me down to about 488 mg/dL a few hours later. A new pump set was in order not long after midnight. A little rage-bolusing was also on tap, and of course I decided to stay up late thanks to the higher BG symptoms and restless that comes along with them for me. Some late-night TV watching, water drinking and d-blog writing helped pass the

Expo Awesomeness

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Attending my first-ever American Diabetes Association Expo in Chicago recently was a great experience, not only for the event itself but because of the great opportunity it presented for a D-Meetup with friends from the online community and others in the D-world for the first time. We traveled from Indianapolis to Chicago by bus, the 30 of us ranging from ADA volunteers, to parents of children with diabetes and adults living with all types. From the online community: Aside from myself, there Mike Durbin and his girlfriend who are from northern Indiana, and Jeff Neitzel from Central Indiana. Once in Chicago, we had the privilege of meeting up for the first time with Marie and Missy who live in that area. A couple others who live in the area were unfortunately unable to make it, but we carried their spirit with us. Plus we met an array of new friends in the Diabetes Community, from parents to people living with all types of diabetes and other chronic conditions. Being my firs

Reaching the Unreachable

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A theme discussed for the past couple years in the Diabetes Online Community has been how to take the "online" aspect of this offline, into our real life communities where we can reach those who aren't connected. But even more than that, it's about reaching those who aren't connected by things many of us take for granted: Internet access, health insurance, organizational and individual support, or medicine and health care accessibility that many of us take for granted. Many efforts have been happening on that front over time, yet it continues to be an area we must continue working on because so many people out there need to find what they don't have. We must do better, individually and collectively. At the recent Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum, this was a topic that came up a handful of times. One conversation focused on how the Diabetes Online Community, can reach out and connect with those people who don't have access to these support resources

Lows In Public

No Low is fun, any time or place. A low blood sugar at home can be scary and embarrassing enough. But being out in public, around other people who may or may not have any experience with diabetes or hypoglycemia is a completely different experience. I absolutely hate having Lows in public more than anything. To me, there's nothing much worse about an average D-Life than losing your ability to think, function and even take care of yourself when you are out among other people. If I'm going to be away from home for any period, I do my best to prepare ahead of time and make sure I know where my BGs are at. Being on an insulin pump gives me that control, to some extent. But regular BG testing and mindfulness - and consideration for other people - goes along away. If I go Low to a point where I am not lucid and able to self-treat, that puts at least one other person in the uncomfortable situation of having to navigate my health and Low BG. That person may not have any perso

MySpouse and mySentry

Without warning, the surprise came as the recent Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum was coming to a close. Our group of about 30 advocates was sitting in the conference room listening to Nancy Katz, VP of consumer marketing, give closing remarks when she made an announcement that caught us completely off guard. The news: We were being given the chance to use the newly-approved mySentry system and related products on a trial run for three months. We didn't ask for and honestly didn't expect this.... Incredible offer that would be open to us, if we choose to accept it. I'm pretty sure I heard a roomful of gasps and someone may have proclaimed "Holy shit" when hearing this. It might have been me. News about the FDA's approval of this gadget came in early January after something like four years of talk and waiting by many in the D-community, mostly parents. This is essentially like a CGM-connected alarm clock, which has a monitor that can sit on a nightst

Eye on the Water Glass

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Late last week, I met with Mind Ninja for our first session in almost a month. We had a lot to talk about, especially given my recent visit to California as part of the annual Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum. Overall, we caught up and talked about the positives and negatives of life I've been experiencing lately. We discussed the theme of one door closing and another opening. After our gap in visits, one of the things I wanted to talk about with her was my experience of just interacting with people, with friends, and how my mind and self-consciousness can sometimes get in the way of that. A story I told her was that in past years, despite my recognition that I was among great people and friends and that I was representing many others in the D-Community who couldn't attend, my head was telling me that I wasn't up to the task and should just withdraw. That led to my dwelling on this amazingly anti-social behavior, something almost foreign to me because that's NO

Inside the Hive

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One of my key takeaways from the Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum 2012 was how this company is focused on patients and actually wants to know what we think about the products and bigger diabetes picture overall. Set at the company's California HQ in Northridge (outside LA), this forum and particularly a tour of where the CGM sensors are made was something I was really looking forward to. In large part, because I've been using Medtronic Minimed for most of the past decade as my one and only insulin pump and have used the company's Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), before switching over to Dexcom. So, to see the place where these sensors and D-supplies are made was personally very exciting for me. But it's also a privilege being able to be a part of a broader discussion with fellow advocates, diabetes colleagues and industry folks about where we are and how can get to the next level. For disclosure purposes : I'm sure most readers know that Med-T paid for airfa

On Parole

Without actually participating in the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge , I saw the Day 10 prompt "Dear 16-year-old Me " and decided to offer some thoughts on that topic. Not exactly in letter format, but close enough.  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - In a particularly powerful role, you may remember Morgan Freeman's passionate monologue in Shawshank Redemption about how he wished for the chance to travel back and talk some sense into his younger self. "Am I sorry for what I did? There's not a day goes by that I don't feel regret... I look back on the way I was then, a young stupid kid... I want to talk to him. Try to talk some sense into him. Tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone, and this 'old man' is all that's left. I gotta live with that." For this type 1 diabetic of 28 years, I regret my actions in one formative phase of life just like Red did in Shawshank. If onl

Any Bit Better

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We're all trying to be better, whether we're talking about our own human or spiritual lives or the health components that come with Living With Diabetes. Insulin pump manufacturer Medtronic hosted its second Diabetes Advocates Forum March 29-30 at their headquarters in Northridge, California. While I wasn't at the inaugural event in 2011, I was honored to be invited to this sequel that brought about 30 diabetes advocates from the online community together to discuss how we can all work together in reaching people who need it. One of the topics on the agenda was hearing from a fellow Person With Diabetes, Chuck Eichten, who's been living with type 1 for many years. He led a discussion about the idea of Doing Better, and as we entered the meeting room that Friday morning we all were able to see a copy of his latest book, The Book Of Better , sitting at each of our seats. I'd read his smaller bite-sized version, Better Is Better , a while back after it was pub

Skittles On a Plane

Somebody once made a movie about Snakes On a Plane . Nobody has decided that Diabetes on a Plane is script-worthy, but I'd like to put that invitation out there to any budding screenwriters who'd care to toss their ideas into the hat. It may not be the most suspenseful and dramatic movie, but I'm sure it would be appealing to some of us who are always finding something of an adventure when it comes to Traveling With Diabetes On a Plane. In my case, I'd offer a D-version of a substitute for those snakes: Skittles. On my recent travels to the Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum in Los Angeles, the travels to the D-conference started out early - to the tune of making a 6 a.m. flight out of Indy. Getting to the airport without any coffee in my veins because of the early hour, it's nothing short of a miracle that the TSA didn't give me any hassle. Decided to not bother with declaring my medical devices, so just took them off and stuffed them in my carry-on laptop

Forum Photo Recap

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We're just back from the 2nd annual Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum out in Los Angeles, and there's a lot to recap. But first, I need to process everything. And sleep. Not to mention maneuver my day job. So before getting to the actual accounts of the full schedule, here's a photo recap until I can find the time. Of course, there was plenty of coffee & Diet Coke. One of the first slides, about MedT's Enduring Mission. MedT's CGM unit has 400+ people working on tech for us.   Cherise listens intently to Dr. Francine Kaufman talking about taking D-Advocacy in Haiti. Me and Lenny!!! Photo taken by Sarah (Sugabetic). Some of the DOC, wearing blue inside MedT. Photo courtesy of Cherise. The Cool DSMA Live Crew - Scott J, George, Cherise. Charlie's D-Angels - Sarah (Sugabetic), Kelly Kunik, Cherise Shockley. David Edelman, Kelly Close, Manny Hernandez working hard post-dinner. Still