Showing posts from 2020

A Writer's Pen

A writer carries a pen. That is the way it is. For as long as I recall, that's how it has been. Moments have appeared, of course, where that vow failed. Where I did not have a pen to write with. Where the pen was in my hand, but it didn't write. Moments in history are marked by the written word. Journalists know and live this truth*.... ( yes, truth matters. Facts matter. Alternate versions of both do not **.) ... [ the fact that we have to emphasize this in 2020-21 is ridiculous, but the reality exists ]. I carry a pen. Because I'm a writer. Because the written word matters. Because facts and details matter. Context is everything. Painting a picture with my words is what I've done, professionally and personally, for so long. Words have painted a picture, opened a portal into the heart and mind. I've read what others have written with their own pens, even if those pens aren't physical but mental and those words have materialized from digital tools. The idea of w

Look to the Stars

  Human beings look to the stars. We always have, always will. That becomes clear even more in a year like 2020, when the world is caught up in a pandemic that's reached global health crisis levels. We have what's dubbed "the great conjunction" of 2020 , when Jupiter and Saturn are closer than they usually are and can be seen by the human eye. While these large planets align and near each other every 20 years, they aren't often this close and even less often are they able to be viewed by the naked human eye. Sure, this happens every 20 years to some extent. But before 2020, the last time the two planets were this close was in 1623... and even then, that alignment wasn't visible to the human eye. It was way back in 1226 the last time this happened and could actually be seen. Think about that for a moment... almost 800 years. That's simply amazing. Think back eight centuries ago, to March 4, 1226. This was during the  High Middle Ages  period, about a decade

A New Maple Cream Designed for Low Blood Sugars

Maple syrup is an American favorite, given its North American origins and delectable sweetness, and many find it to be the perfect complement to holiday feasts. But if you live with diabetes, maple may seem taboo. Thankfully, 20-something Darren Celley in Vermont is working to challenge that notion. Embracing his family heritage in the maple syrup business, he is fundraising to launch a new product geared specifically toward people with diabetes (PWDs): Maple Rise , a spreadable maple butter that can raise low blood sugars quickly and more pleasantly than powdery glucose tabs, juice, or large mouthfuls of candy. Diagnosed at age 12 in 2008, Celley is proud to be bringing a diabetes twist to the traditional concept of maple syrup and its spreadable offspring, maple cream. What is maple cream? Maple cream is simply whipped maple syrup , that turns out more condensed than syrup in the production process. It is heated, cooled, and then mixed until a "rich, creamy

Sierra Sandison: Beauty Queen with Diabetes Turned Advocate and Engineer

You may remember her as the Miss America beauty pageant contestant famous for wearing an insulin pump on national TV during the swimsuit competition, but fellow type 1 Sierra Sandison is so much more than that. The Idaho-based 20-something is now finishing her degree in mechanical and biomedical engineering and has been a force behind diabetes advocacy lobbying to lower insulin pricing in the United States. Years after her 2014 Miss America run, she recently put her name back into the beauty pageant arena with the aim of empowering women who might want to enter the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) . We talked with Sierra recently about all that she's accomplishing these days, and where her advocacy is leading. Who is Sierra Sandison? Sierra Sandison Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at age 18, Sandison struggled at first and even pretended she didn't have it in hopes that "it would just disappear," she told Diabet

We will NEVER forget 9/11.... (on 9/11)

We will NEVER forget 9/11.... on 9/11. But every other day, we can and do. Every other day outside of 9/11, American people don't see a need to be civil, to keep each other in our hearts and do whatever we can to protect others' wellbeing if it doesn't serve our own selfish purposes. Wear a mask to protect the greater good? Work hard to ensure that more fellow humans, no matter how old or what other health ailments they may have, don't die? Work to adapt lives and businesses to ensure health and safety first, rather than a "only the fit survive" mentality seen in The Hunger Games? Nope, that kind of thinking is only reserved for 9/11. It's sad, sickening, embarrassing, maddening. I read this insight recently online: In the wake of 9/11, we stood united as one nation. The commonalities that bonded us during that time seem to be lost now and we need to strive to return to that common purpose as a nation. Therefore, it is not just the tragedy of September 11,

Do People of Color Use Diabetes Technology?

Sketch by Phoebe Tickner   Phyllisa Deroze remembers wondering, Do people of color with diabetes use insulin pumps or continuous glucose monitors? Based on Google search images, it seemed the answer was that only white people used these advanced diabetes tools. It was the same reaction she had after first searching for Black people checking their glucose with traditional fingersticks and taking insulin injections, too. That thought stuck with Deroze — a literature professor in Florida with multiple master's degrees and a PhD in English literature — during medical appointments in the early years following her initial type 2 diabetes (T2D) diagnosis. Even though she did know some people of color who were using insulin pumps and CGMs , she found herself wondering if doctors for the most part just assumed most people of color would not be suited for these devices the same way their white counterparts might be. Eight years later, in 2019, after years of struggling

How the JDRF Restructured Due to Pandemic

Despite a rosy spin by JDRF leadership that paints this national advocacy organization as becoming more “volunteer-powered” and synergized, the stark reality is that thanks to fallout from the continuing COVID-19 crisis, hundreds are losing their jobs and some critical research projects are being trimmed down or slashed entirely. This comes in a year marking the 50th birthday of JDRF, the world's most prominent organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D). It clearly never expected the economic gut-punch it's gotten in 2020, prompting a massive restructuring that includes staff layoffs, chapter consolidation, research funding cuts, and a shift in advocacy messaging. But even more concerning is that all of this may just be the tip of the iceberg, as COVID-19 continues to devastate America’s economy. Especially hard hit are health charities and medical nonprofits like JDRF because this pandemic has exposed the fault lines within the system and how broken the fundraising

IndyCar Driver Charlie Kimball Navigates Type 1 Diabetes, Racing, and Fatherhood in Pandemic Mode

As a professional race car driver, Charlie Kimball saw his life upended by the COVID-19 crisis like everyone else in early 2020. But toss in the birth of a second child and adjusting to managing type 1 diabetes (T1D) away from the racing circuit for the first time in 9 years, and it’s been a unique experience even in these strange times. Kimball was disappointed to have to forgo the usual start of the racing season in March. But this break has also afforded him a rare opportunity to be present in his newly expanded family’s day-to-day routine. He says being a dad of a toddler and a newborn just as pandemic-mode hit has been one of the most bittersweet moments in his life. We had a chance to reconnect with Kimball recently to chat about the impact on professional sports and personal lives during these unprecedented times. First Indy 500 driver with T1D While Kimball isn't the only T1D driver in professional racing, his story is probably one of the most renowned wit

Thousands Tune in for American Diabetes Association's First-Ever Virtual Conference

Like everything else in 2020, the biggest diabetes conference of the year was anything but normal. The American Diabetes Association's 80th annual Scientific Sessions were, for the first time ever, held completely online as a sprawling, fast-paced, virtual streaming experience. Thousands of medical professionals from across the globe tuned in for the five-day event, June 12 through 16, many in casual clothes rather than professional conference attire — from their kitchens, living rooms, and home offices with curious kids, home decor, and pets popping in occasionally. So it goes in 2020, as the world navigates the ripple effects of a global pandemic that's catapulted us into virtual business and telehealth mode. The SciSessions have been held as a huge in-person gathering consecutively since the org's founding in June 1940, with the single exception during World War II when the conference was not held. "There was a lot of trepidation about what this yea