Showing posts from 2016

Escaping Technology:: No More Insulin Pumping For Me

Here we are, at the end of 2016. And with that, I've made a decision: No more insulin pumping for me. For most of this past year, I've been disconnected from my pump, which is unusual for me since I have pumped since the middle of 2001, taking only an occasional short break (or pump hiatus) over the years -- but always eventually reconnecting the device under my skin. That was even the case this past Spring when I decided to unplug, after becoming a disgruntled Medtronic customer and deciding to test the waters of Multiple Daily Dosing (MDD) once again. But over this year's Holiday season, I've been doing a lot of reflecting on how far we've come and where we are going in this world of diabetes technology. As we start 2017, I've made a decision that we are so close to the so-called Artificial Pancreas that I am not interested in finding another device to hold me over until the AP hits the market. Hell, we're going to be at that point inside of two years,

Saying Goodbye to D-Dad and Advocate Alan Thicke

We lost an icon this week in Alan Thicke. He's the Canadian actor best known for playing iconic TV dad Dr. Jason Seaver on the '80s sitcom " Growing Pains ." And hearing of his death seems like a punch to the gut for an entire generation (myself included) who grew up watching his congenial humor. Like many, I feel like I knew him based on his incredibly relatable public persona. At age 69, Alan Thicke suffered a heart attack and died suddenly on Tuesday of this week. Not only was he a star on the acting scene and in the hockey world, given his passion for the sport, but he also shined in the Diabetes Community. Alan's oldest son Brennan was diagnosed with type 1 at age 4 back in the late '70s, and now 37 years later, that diabetes diagnosis has been a huge part of the Thicke family's life script. (Yes, one of his other sons is pop music star Robin Thicke .) Over the years, Alan became a veteran on the diabetes advocacy circuit, particu

National Meeting Addresses Insulin Affordability and Access (!)

Momentum seems to be building big time around the outrage over skyrocketing insulin prices, which are making this life-sustaining drug virtually unavailable to those who need it. In just the past several weeks leading into the final months of 2016, we've seen: Mainstream media coverage from sources including Bloomberg and the Washington Post , NBC News and even a nightly news segment with Lester Holt. Sen. Bernie Sanders taking to Twitter to call out players , accusing the "greedy" manufacturers of gouging with price hikes of 700% over the past two decades. Later that same week, Sanders joined Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings from Maryland in asking the Dept. of Justice to investigate the Insulin Makers for possible collusion. The American Diabetes Association on Nov. 16, 2016 issued both a resolution calling for insulin affordability , and an online petition for the Diabetes Community to sign, calling for Congress to hold hearings on this issue and for mor

My Faulty Pancreas Says: "Get a Flu Shot!"

I've not been a fan of flu shots for most of my life -- even though I know they're important with diabetes when the colder winter months set in. As a kid, getting an annual shot was standard protocol. But when I reached my adult years, that practice mostly fell off my radar, and became only an occasional afterthought. But that's been different in recent years, and I have my friends in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) to thank for changing my mind. True confession: Before getting back into the practice, my last flu shot was in 2012 (according to my blog posts reflecting as much). That was specifically because of the flu we came down with following Thanksgiving that year before, giving me a kick in the pants to re-start pursuing the vaccine. Of course you'd think I'd be all over preventing that "real person sick" (beyond the usual diabetes yuck) every year, but let's face it, there's a lot to manage with diabetes and sometimes we let things slip.

Following the Money Trail on Insulin Prices

Of course we've been closely following the hot topic of high insulin prices, hoping to find some answers about how to best address this quagmire. A recent  Business Insider article and this Wall Street Journal article shed light on the "middle men" at work, known as Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) -- while a Bloomberg piece uncovered the " secret rebates " between those PBMs and insulin manufacturers. PBMs have been under fire for contributing to the sharp rise in healthcare costs; earlier this year Anthem accused Express Scripts of overcharging it by as much as $3 billion a year! In our own Diabetes Community, one D-Mom in Mississippi has taken on the task of "following the money trail" of insulin pricing in her own corner of the country. That woman is Nicki Nichols, who has both a husband and young daughter with type 1 and leads the Living in the World of Test Strips group on Facebook. She is the woman whose predicament made headlines this sum

Playing Darts

For the past five months, I've been unconnected to my insulin pump and have been doing daily injections and inhaled insulin to keep my blood sugars in check. All is well on that front, and at this point I have no plans to go back to insulin pumping in the near future. As some may remember, I've been on a pump break since mid-May -- mostly because of my need to mix it up in my diabetes management, to motivate myself to get back in gear. But also, because of my frustration and disappointment in Medtronic Diabetes and their business decision-making that I, personally, do not feel best represents the D-Community. Anyhow, with that being said... I'm still perfectly happy " playing darts ." This is a phrase my Loving and Supporting D-Spouse uses to describe my insulin injections. Whenever I ask for her help in doing a shot in the arm, she jokes that it's time to "play darts." No, she doesn't actually toss the needle at me. It's just a

Way Back When... Insulin Was Cheap (And Then It Wasn't)

In light of all the outrage over high insulin costs these days, we thought it would be interesting (to say the least!) to take a "Wayback Wednesday" walk through the history of this topic in the US... In the Beginning Remember those guys who actually discovered insulin back in 1921? Dr. Frederick Banting and Charles Best were the main two, along with Dr. James Collip -- all three had their names attached to the patent awarded in January 1923 to their method of making insulin. Well, did you know that their original intellectual property rights were sold for just $3 in Canadian money? That's right. When the researchers were ready to turn over the patent of their discovery to the University of Toronto for production purposes in 1923, they agreed to receive only $1 each (the equivalent of $14 today) in compensation.  Here's an excerpt from a 2002 article chronicling this: "For $1.00 to each, the three discoverers assigned their patent rig

Our Wedding Engagement Newspaper

As I do every year, I sit back on this special day and re-read the newspaper I created to propose back in March 2003. This full eight-page broadsheet is the one I spent about three months creating many months in advance. It was quite the task, writing my own stories, editing and designing, selling ads to pay for the whole thing, and recruiting a roll of writers made up of family and friends. All of them keeping the upcoming marriage proposal a secret, of course! I still remember staying out late at night, telling you they were late nights in my real paycheck-providing newsroom job when in fact they were spent at my old college newspaper stomping grounds putting this paper together. It was tough, but it all paid off. This is really a place to post the full newspaper, to keep it alive in digital form online. Sure, I have a couple dozen copies left over from the 1,000 created for that night and beyond. And every one of those eight pages has been framed to display in ou

Diabetes UnConference Hits the Atlantic City Boardwalk

Even a few weeks after the Diabetes UnConference in Atlantic City, I'm still having a tough time getting my head around how my heart feels about the experience. There was quite the tidal wave of emotions there, and many of us were blinking back what we called "BoardWalkDust," referring to the tears it all brought to our eyes. This was the third Diabetes UnConference -- a unique opportunity for adult PWDs (people with diabetes) to share their experiences and learn in a participatory format -- organized by the non-profit Diabetes Collective. It was held Sept. 9-11 for the first time ever in Atlantic City, stepping beyond Las Vegas where it's been held twice before. What, Who and Why? You may wonder what makes a conference "Un"? The idea is to break down the tenets of traditional conference format, to create a free-flowing atmosphere that "allows participants to create and moderate the agenda, allowing for a wide variety of topics and viewpoints that mig