Fab Five Fridays: "Happy" Edition

IMG_3985I’d like to thank Pharrell Williams for that infectious little ditty stuck in my daughter’s head.

“Happy.”

Whenever she hears that song, the dancing must commence.

No matter what you might be doing, just drop it.

Grab a hand, jump up and down, and wiggle wiggle wiggle.

These are the instructions The Kid gives to me, drill-instructor style, while grinning and giggling.

She makes me happy. Just like these five things you should know about:

1. The Diabetes Technology Society announced the DTS Surveillance Program for Cleared Blood Glucose Monitors.

How important is this?

Wicked.

Epic.

For those of us who wonder if the number on our blood glucose meter is accurate, it’s a majorly huge thing. Once a blood glucose meter is released to the consumer after approval by the FDA, there is no way to find out if these meters are… accurate. This is the post-market surveillance program that Strip Safely and advocates of meter and strip accuracy have been wanting (and the FDA, too!) – it’s coming!

“This surveillance program will provide a significant benefit to both patients and manufacturers,” says David Klonoff, M.D., founder of Diabetes Technology Society and Clinical Professor of Medicine at University of California, San Francisco.  “Patients will benefit by having access to more accurate meters on the market and manufacturers committed to delivering accurate products will now have an opportunity to back up claims about quality and accuracy with proof from this independent, third-party testing program.”

Abbott Diabetes Care is already committed to supporting this program and other major manufacturers will be signing on, of that I’m sure. Manufacturers who do not pass the accuracy guidelines at this point will still be allowed to sell in the U.S. market, but I foresee these accuracy reports becoming important in the future as the FDA looks closely at how to ensure our safety with the help of the DTS. Huzzah!

2. The 2014 Diabetes Mine Patient Voices Contest is waiting for YOU

From the DiabetesMine website:

The 10 top entrants were selected to receive an “e-Patient Scholarship” to attend the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit that takes place annually at Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. Each year, our winners act as “delegates” for the patient community, expressing our needs and desires to the Powers That Be: decision-makers in pharma, healthcare, technology design, medical device regulation, software and app development, national advocacy groups and more.

This year, the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit will be held on November 10, 2014. Your entry is a product review video for the DiabetesMine Test Kitchen – and it needs to be in by June 19, 2014.

As a 2013 Patient Voices scholarship recipient, I say this:

The DiabetesMine Innovation Summit was a watershed experience for me. The passion of those attending from various communities: medical device, pharma, clinicians, developers, investors, insurance, and patient advocates was electric and infectious. All of us arrived wanting to share how we could work together to make life with diabetes easier using technology. We left with new ideas and a better understanding of what we need to do to make that happen.

If you have the opportunity to attend, do not pass it up.  And this is your opportunity to attend this invitation only event!

3. Sweet! Advantame – the newest artificial sweetener to be approved by FDA on May 19, 2014. 

For those of us who are stuck with limited choices for artificial sweeteners, here comes Advantame. It’s super concentrated sweet, but here’s the scoop from the FDA’s site:

Advantame is chemically related to aspartame, and certain individuals should avoid or restrict the use of aspartame. To that end, FDA evaluated whether the same individuals should avoid or restrict advantame, as well.

People who have phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare genetic disorder, have a difficult time metabolizing phenylalanine, a component of both aspartame and advantame. Newborns are tested for PKU using a common “heel-prick” test before they leave the hospital.

Foods containing aspartame must bear an information statement for people with PKU alerting them about the presence of phenylalanine. But advantame is much sweeter than aspartame, so only a very small amount needs to be used to reach the same level of sweetness. As a result, foods containing advantame do not need to bear that statement.

So, heads up – it’s chemically related to aspartame (Nutrasweet). I’m a sucralose (Splenda) chick when I use artificial sweetener (I buy Diet Coke with Splenda in can form, and have been known to bring my own 12 packs everywhere…). I try to avoid aspartame, so this new sweetener will be interesting to watch from a marketing perspective.

4. Speaking of Sweet!, I’m over at A Sweet Life, too. 

I recently wrote an article about guilt and food and diabetes. See them all traipsing off into the sunset together? That’s what I’m talking about. (Spoiler: They don’t traipse off well.)

There are some stupendous articles written by some of my favorite peeps… and I’m happy to have been asked to add my voice over there. Pop on over and check the site out!

 

5. Diabetes Hands Foundation has got you in mind: MasterLab for Diabetes Advocates on July 2nd in Orlando

Want to be a champion for effective diabetes policy? You’re in luck. The Diabetes Foundation will host the very first MasterLab, July 2, 2014 at Marriott’s Orlando World Center in Orlando, Florida! We are excited to offer the first of its kind, action to amplify diabetes advocacy. If you don’t have a background in diabetes advocacy, that’s ok! No previous experience needed.

I never thought I would be an advocate for diabetes. Hell, I never thought I’d be an advocate for anything. It’s funny how life brings you to new places.

I’ve learned a lot since I made the decision to speak up for myself, but I still have a long way to go… and I’m thrilled that this is happening.

Please seriously consider joining us.. Learn more and register here…

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And a bonus Fab Friday Happy, because I’m deliriously happy about this…

Register for The Diabetes UnConference. We don’t want to miss you while we’re there, talking about the things that are important to us – people with diabetes.

Come on, it’s Vegas. un-diabetes-conference-fullcolor-icon

 

 

 

Now go wiggle, wiggle, wiggle. Make yourself have a happy day.

 

Fab Five Fridays: The Tax Man Edition

452697_93454420Some people give to non-profits because it’s the right thing for them to do. Others give to non-profits because they can claim the donations on their taxes. I don’t care why you donate, but today, I’m giving you my choices for non-profits that will not only help your bottom line, but will also help those who help us. (And if you’re going along with my Beatles theme I’ve got going on here… “Help!”)

There are a lot of great diabetes related non-profits like JDRF and the American Diabetes Association – and they do a fantastic job raising funds for research and projects through various events and walks and the like. I’m focusing on the ones who rely on us to seek them out. These organizations don’t have a ton of staff or volunteers to rally around events and fundraise, but still need help. In no particular order, these are near and dear to my heart:

1. The Diabetes Hands Foundation isn’t looking for a cure. It’s looking to empower the community and connect those with diabetes (and those who love them) with others. The incredible staff and volunteers work tirelessly to create value for all who need services and help to raise funds for other organizations. Seriously, how cool is that? You can make a one-time donation or set up a recurring investment.

2. While not a recognized 501 not-for-profit in the United States (it’s a non-profit based in Australia so maybe if you’re an Aussie, you can get a tax break…), Insulin for Life is an organization that brings lifesaving supplies to those who don’t have access to it. I can’t even imagine how panicked I would feel if I couldn’t have access to the one thing that keeps me alive, can you? They are looking for not only monetary donations, but unused, unexpired diabetes supplies. Every little bit helps to defray the cost of shipping, so if you are inclined, give them a few dollars to help others have what they need to live.

3. Diabetes Scholars Foundation offer scholarships for two important groups: Type 1 high school seniors who plan on continuing their education after graduation and families of Type 1s who wish to attend the phenomenal Children With Diabetes conference. Every little bit can help a teen or a family who needs a little extra to get the education (whether academic or emotional) they crave and need. (They’ve awarded scholarships to over 400 families to attend conferences. Seriously amazing.) Speaking of Children with Diabetes, they are now a not-for-profit, but did not have a donation button on their website. As soon as that becomes available, I’ll post it here. Why? This.

4. Joslin Diabetes Center also allows you to donate and is a tax-exempt organization. I was given the best possible care after my diagnosis and for several years after with their top-notch medical staff and researchers helping me along the way. Without them, I’d be in a sorry mess of things. If you have a medical center that focuses on diabetes research or patient programs, I’d love to hear them. List them and the links in your comments and I’ll add them at the end.)

5. And last, but certainly not least, diaTribe is now a non-profit organization, “committed to improving the lives of people affected by diabetes and prediabetes and advocating for action.” The newsletter and research information that they profit is the best I’ve ever seen for those of us who want to learn about the latest and they have been incredibly supportive in so many endeavors.

So, if you have a few pennies to spare, please consider donating to these worthy organizations who support the things we need to keep us “alive and kicking”. (Yes, that was a Simple Minds song reference and not the Beatles.)

“All you need is love…” and a little cash for charity.

Fab Five Fridays: Dumb and Dumber Edition

Dumb. And Dumber.
Dumb. And Dumber.

Not a huge fan of the movie, Dumb and Dumber, mostly because if I wanted to watch unintelligent people, I don’t need to spend money. There’s an entire world out there of individuals making jackasses out of themselves and we have front row seats.

However, the title is apropos for today, as I’m going to give you five responses to five dumb things people say about diabetes. (Warning: You may not want to actually use these. Then again…)

1.  “You have to take shots? I could never do that!”

The answer I want to give:

“Oh, I totally agree with you. I’d rather waste away, having my body slowly poison me with ketonic acid. I mean, dying slowly by acid is straight out of a sci-fi movie, right? The insatiable thirst I’d have? I love Diet Coke, so that’s a win. Drink as much as I want. I’m not really thrilled about that whole organs shutting down, going into a coma, and not waking up ever again, but what you gonna do, right?

Wait. I know. Take a shot because my life depends on it.”

2. “My (insert family member) had diabetes and had to have (insert body part) amputated/transplanted/dialysised (I know it’s not a word, but…) but they died anyway.

The answer I would love to give:

:: middle fingers waving wildly on both hands::

The answer I would probably give if I didn’t have a filter:

“Wait. Let me try to understand this. You want to tell me all about someone who died from the disease that I live with everyday and all the horrible things that could happen to me? What kind of sadist are you? The verbal kind, apparently. You’ll never make it into the 50 Shades of Grey movie that way.”

3. “Should you be eating that?”

The answer I would pay money to give:

::stuffs four of whatever it is into my mouth, then proceed to do my impression of John Belushi in Animal House::

The answer I would give if there were no mashed potatoes present:

“I’m so glad you caught me eating this! In reality, all I am allowed is water and cardboard sprinkled with artificial sweetener. Once in a blue moon, I can have a wilted piece of Bibb lettuce with some fat free dressing. Without you standing here questioning my judgement about what I can or can’t put in my body, I’d be done for! Thank you!”

4. “I heard about how someone who took (insert useless food item here) or used (some inane thing) was cured of diabetes. Have you tried that?”

The answer I’d give if it wasn’t illegal:

::grab the closest cudgel and hit the person over the head::

The answer I would prefer to give if I couldn’t render them unconscious:

“No way! Get me some of that stuff right now! My doctors have been lying to me all of this time! All that money wasted on insulin and testing supplies and labs! All that time spent in hospitals! All those tears! All that heartache! How come no one before you ever mentioned this! ARRRGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

5. “I thought you couldn’t have kids if you have diabetes. I saw Steel Magnolias.”

The answer I give:

“I saw it, too. It sucked. It sucked more than Dumb and Dumber. Have you read my blog? You should.”

Fab Five Fridays: Weapon of Choice Edition…

The song Weapon of Choice by Fatboy Slim has been stuck in my head for days, so I’m passing it on to you, along with my diabetes management weapons of choice.

1. Accu-Chek® Multiclix Lancet Device – I’ve shunned all other lancet devices, because this one is the least painful of all that I’ve ever tried. (Mine is blue. Go blue for diabetes awareness!) It doesn’t matter if you have fingers that are as smooth as a baby’s bottom or as tough as a long-haul trucker’s bottom… there’s a lancet setting that will draw blood without you squinching up your nose and holding your breath before you push the button.

It uses a drum system, unlike the lancet devices that I used a long time ago (and some not so long ago…) where you have to pull the protective cap off the lancet after putting it in the device. It’s cleaner to use and did I mention… it doesn’t hurt much. (I won’t lie and say it’s painless. Don’t you hate those advertisements you see on TV saying that? I’m going to find the marketing genius who came up with that fallacy and have them use a lancet 15 times in one day. “Hurt yet? No? Again.”)

I did have a chance to try the Fastclix device from Accu-Chek® recently and here’s the fatal flaw. It doesn’t require you to “cock the trigger” like the Multiclix, so it’s one push and you get blood. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Why would you want a two-step process? Answer: When your toddler gets her hands on it and pretends to be like mommy, she doesn’t get a pretend prick. We were both pretty surprised.

2. Pumping Insulin: Everything You Need to Succeed on an Insulin Pump – by John Walsh. It’s been updated over the years, but it’s the first book I had about pumping and it’s been my go-to book when I’ve had to do adjustments. I don’t know everything about pumping, so this is a great resource to have on my bookshelf. (And another good book to have? Think Like a Pancreas: A Practical Guide to Managing Diabetes with Insulin by Gary Scheiner. That’s on my Kindle so I can read it anywhere…)

3. True2Go Blood Glucose System – This little 10 strip system has saved my bottom (which is neither a baby’s nor a long-haul trucker’s) more than once. I’ve been stuck out in the wild without my meter (or run out of strips while on vacation) and I’ve picked one of these up at the closest major pharmacy. The kit comes with a lancet device and ten strips, so you’ll be able to do the deed. I now keep one in my car glove compartment just in case. This is an ideal “throw in a go bag” item.

4. BIOFREEZE Pain Relieving Gel – This stuff is the bomb. Yes, it’s not particularly a “diabetes weapon of choice”, but for those of us who can’t use acetaminophen because we use a Dexcom (it makes the Dex go all wonky), this is an amazing thing. I’ve been using it for years for my muscular aches and pains (of which I have many, as you know) and while it doesn’t make you smell fresh as a daisy, it does work wonders. So, if you have a muscular ache (say, from running in that marathon or, more realistically, down the block), this is what you want to use. Best of all? It comes in a roll on. Better than Ben-Gay. Totally.

5. FRIO Insulin Cooling Pump Wallet – I have a pump and have learned the sad lesson of skunking insulin after just two hours at the beach (even with putting my pump in a lunch cooler). FRIO has all sorts of configurations and I’ll most likely get one for my emergency bag that I’m putting together for my insulin…). This keeps your insulin pump cool while you’re getting hot (and supposedly vice versa on the ski slopes).

That’s a peek into my weapons arsenal for this week. What’s YOUR weapon of choice?

Take the time to watch this video for Weapon of Choice. Christopher Walken is a bad ass and this proves it. Gah.

Fab Five Fridays: Trip Like I Do Edition

meeting-83519_640I love conferences and symposiums and events where I get firehosed with information. (Though, to be truthful, it’s not the info that I get excited about. It’s the people that I meet.) We’re in “diabetes conference season”, with most of the major ones already in the bag, but hey! Start planning for these five:

1. The American Diabetes Association’s 74th Scientific Sessions (2014) – June 13-17, 2014, at the Moscone Center, San Francisco, California. Big conference, lots of science (hence, the name) and it’s in SF, one of my most favorite cities in the world? Yes, please. There are opportunities for non-medical people to crash this and learn, so don’t be scared off by this. While registration won’t be available for a while (so, no linky love), put in your time off request now.

2. Children with Diabetes Focus on Technology Conference is being held from December 6-8, 2013 in the ‘burbs of Cincinnati (West Chester, Ohio, to be precise).  It’s a more intimate conference than the BIG one: CWD Annual Conference 2014 at the Marriott World Center Resort in Orlando, Florida.  Registration isn’t open yet for this. Once again, put your time off request now for this one. It’s July 2 – 6, 2014, so you can spend the Fourth of July with us!

3. Right now, the American Association of Diabetes Educators are all up in Philly doing their thing (and I so wish that I could be there, as many of the DOC are attending…), but next year? Orlando, FL at the Orange County Convention Center. (Boys and girls, get your walking shoes on, because that center is huge.) It’s being held from August 6-9, 2014. No link yet, but over the next few weeks, we’ll be hearing a lot from our fellow community advocates about AADE13.

4. World Diabetes Congress in Melbourne, Australia from December 6-9, 2013. Oh, how I wish I could pack up my daughter like a mommy-baby kangaroo and go “down under” for this conference, offered by the International Diabetes Federation. Alas… (But if you can, go!)

5. Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD) Regional Conferences are happening all over the U.S. for the next few months. There’s a lot for Type 1s (entirely separate tracks and support groups) and a lot for Type 2s. And it’s incredibly inexpensive for what you get. Seriously inexpensive. September 21, 2013: Worcester, MA. October 12, 2013: Omaha, NE. November 2, 2103: Albuquerque, NM and San Diego is November 23, 2013.  I’m hoping that they come out with the 2014 schedule soon!

There are more opportunities to learn and meet like-minded others. So many more. I’ll keep you up to date, as I’m planning on tripping next year to some of these. Wanna come with me? Let’s go.

*Crystal Method provided the title of today’s FFF.  The video is “ehhh…”, but I love the beat and the crazy lyrics

Back on my feet like a freight train I’m coming

Can everybody feel like I do?

Can everybody feel like I do?

Can’t you, can’t you trip like I do?