Showing posts from 2019

10 Milestones That Defined the Decade in Diabetes

Wow, what a decade the 2010s have been in the world of diabetes! Social media exploded to new levels and our Diabetes Online Community evolved along with it, as did the data-sharing from mobile devices and the throngs of Do-It-Yourself techies embracing a #WeAreNotWaiting mantra. Fueled by these patient voices, regulators opened up pathways to the first-ever commercial closed loop "Artificial Pancreas" systems. We saw the emergence of new forms of glucagon and insulin that have been years in the making. Our choice of diabetes gadgets changed dramatically, yet we saw scientific evidence that across the board, health outcomes are not improving as hoped. Meanwhile, a controversial healthcare law that was supposed to be a boon for people with chronic conditions ended up deepening the divide between the 'Haves and Have-Nots'. Politics, rising costs, and a culmination of unchecked corporate policies boiled over into an Insulin Affordability Crisis unlike anythi

How a Family Business Has Buoyed the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI)

A business making plastic bottles may not be the most obvious connection to diabetes cure research, but in fact a family-run company has a 25-year history of supporting the Miami-based Diabetes Research Institute (DRI). In fact, much of the DRI's work is supported by Biorep Technologies, run by a family impacted by diabetes, that makes essential equipment for the diabetes research community. Biorep is actually a spinoff of the original plastic bottle company established by Florida diabetes dad Ramon Poo (pronounced Poe), and it's now one of the leading medical equipment suppliers in the world. You might be fascinated to learn that one of the key pieces of equipment created by this company and used by the DRI (and in islet research worldwide) made an appearance in a Grey’s Anatomy episode a few years back. The DRI connection was fueled by Poo’s daughter Cristina, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 3 in the mid-70s. Not long after her diagnosis, Ramon and his wife Tin

One Man's Journey Combatting Diabetes Burnout

For the past several months, I’ve had a (yet another) case of diabetes burnout. It’s been a semi-constant itch that I ignored and tried not to scratch for a while, but eventually it became unavoidable. This is probably a byproduct of dealing with diabetes on both the personal and professional front. To me, the balance is always a challenge. When I’m at the top of my game professionally, my own D-management isn’t great, and vice versa. When I'm thriving on both ends, that only lasts so long before it's too much "diabetes all the time" and eventally there comes a boiling point. I imagine that for all of us, no matter what job or study course or set of responsibilities we're dealing with, there can come a time when we feel like the diabetes is "spilling over the wall" and drowning us. This is a fitting time to address the psychosocial state I’ve been spinning around in, and how I’ve begun addressing it. I'm working on some specific tactics to for naviga

Diabetes Advocate Forces Police Arrest at Insulin Vigil

Minnesota advocate Nicole Smith-Holt, who lost her son due to insulin rationing, was taken into custody after defying police orders about blocking traffic during a Sept. 14 insulin rally in Indianapolis. Grassroots group T1International is organizing protest rallies and vigils for victims of the Insulin Pricing Crisis around the country. T1International also held a dynamic workshop to teach patients how to be effective advocates with Pharma, lawmakers and more . A new documentary film, "Pay or Die," will highlight the human cost of outrageous insulin prices in America. Even before the candlelight vigil and rally protesting high insulin prices began, advocate Nicole Smith-Holt from Minnesota planned to break the law as an act of civil disobedience. She knew she would be confronted by police, and likely end up being taken into custody.  That’s exactly what happened in front of the Eli Lilly headquarters in Indianapolis on Sept. 14, as Nicole gathered with more than 100 others i

‘Diabetes Educators’ Just Got a New Name: What Does it Mean?

The healthcare professionals formerly known as “diabetes educators” will henceforth be referred to as “Diabetes Care and Education Specialists” (DCES). This was the biggest news coming out of the mid-August 2019 annual meeting of the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), the professional org that will also be changing its name soon as well to fit with this rebranding effort. That new name: Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (ADCES). It’s all part of something called Project Vision , a multi-year plan to define and refresh the roles, capabilities and care priorities of its roughly 14,000 members nationwide. This effort dates back to at least two years ago, when the organization realized that something had to be done to address the tides of change in diabetes education. Yes, We Said “Rebranding” The announcement of the new job title by current AADE President Karen Kemmis on the first day of the #AADE19 conference was met with some en

My First-Ever Laser Eye Treatment for Retinopathy

My first-ever experience with retinopathy laser treatment was a breeze. No pain, no big deal. That's why my eye specialist had told me going into the procedure, but I didn't take his word for it. I should've listened and trusted him. Instead, my anxiety fueled by a decades-long dread of diabetes eye complications -- a Fear of Complications -- clouded my emotions and prevented any sense of rational thought. All I could get my head around was that my retinopathy had finally moved to a point where something needed to be done, more than just the usual run-of-the-mill BG management that I'd been prescribed as a treatment since it first showed itself way back in 2007. This fear's only natural. Because we're human. And we get scared when scary things get thrown at us. When this Funky Left Eye Retinopathy was sprung on me earlier in the year, it was a quite a bit to process. I got pretty emotional about it. My eye doc tried to reassure me, as

20 Years of Diabetes Magic at Friends For Life

A little girl with a green bracelet sees an adult man wearing one and asks if he has diabetes, and when he says “Yes” she responds with: “It’s OK, we can have diabetes together.” Elsewhere, a boy crawls under a round banquet table in search of a dropped insulin cartridge that isn’t even his own. When asked why, he notes it’s for another green bracelet wearer, and it’s just what we do for each other. All around, kids and adults exchange hugs and laughs. There are abundant smiles, emotional moments, and diabetes device flashes. There’s a sense in your gut that you are part of a community, a club, a family... that people living with type 1 are a tribe who understand and look out for each other, no matter our differing politics or where we hail from, our brand of advocacy, or even how long we’ve been touched by this illness. That is the magic of the annual Children With Diabetes Friends For Life conference, going strong for 20 years now each July in Orlando, FL. It began as a

Jerry the (Cuddly Stuffed) Diabetes Bear Making Global Strides

Have you met Jerry the Bear with Diabetes? He's the cute, cuddly stuffed animal who lives with type 1 himself, and he's made incredible strides in the decade since he was first dreamed up by a group of creative college students; Jerry the Bear has evolved into a beloved figure in our Diabetes Community who's making his way into hundreds of homes and clinics around the world. Did you know that Jerry visited the White House and was in the same room as a sitting president? He's gone on a backpacking adventure through New Zealand, traveled to myriad diabetes conferences, hosts his own fun mobile app, and is now participating in a clinical pilot program to help teach kids and families about living with T1D. What's also huge is that Jerry's price-tag has dropped drastically since he first came on the scene -- making him more affordable than ever for those who want to welcome him into their T1D worlds!  Meet Jerry, Our Fuzzy Diabetes 'Design C