Monday Morning Musings…

1427584_81613555I took a little blogging break last week. It wasn’t intentional; I had other things cooking on the burners and gave them the time that was due to them. In the end, it all goes in the same pot, but it was strange to not write. (And that’s the extent of my chef metaphors.)

And now I sit with a large amount of caffeine, thinking about the good things that are happening in the diabetes world. In no particular order…

The Power of Community

According to an unofficial total (but from a source I trust), the Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign raised…drumroll, please… $26,519. That’s a lot of insulin. That’s a lot of love. That’s a lot of lives that will be saved because the Diabetes Online Community raised their voices as one. I am in awe of the power of this community. For those who shared the message, thank you. For those who donated, thank you. (And it’s not too late to give a rose… )

StripSafely

Just because we’re not shaking the gates in person doesn’t mean that we aren’t working on ensuring blood glucose meter accuracy isn’t on our minds. Larry Ellingson has a guest blog post over at StripSafely.com, asking us all to join him in calling for congressional oversight of meter accuracy. I had the pleasure of meeting Larry at the DTS meeting in September, and I’m glad he believes as we do: whatever it takes to make sure we stay healthy and safe.

Think meter accuracy is not important? Larry gives another statistic that scares me (and it should scare you, too!):

 A second survey confirmed that 27 percent of patients with type 1 diabetes had experienced health problems due to inaccurate blood glucose meter readings.

The FDA can only do so much at this point. It’s up to us to rally together to bring Congress the news: we need their help. Bennet and I will be putting together some points that you can use when talking with your representatives soon.

It’s an i-port Advance

Medtronic announced the i-port Advance, an “all-in-one” injection port. For those who take multiple daily injections, it basically takes the place of injecting into different places… and into the injection port. You insert the i-port Advance and for the next 72 hours, you inject into the port.

Injection ports aren’t new. I remember using an injection port years ago. (I don’t remember why. It was probably a sample or two to see if I liked it, but obviously I didn’t care for it, because I didn’t use it for long.) If you have needle phobia, it’s a great way to ease the fear of having to inject more than once a day. If you micro dose fast acting insulin for optimum control, this may be a great way to avoid seven or eight injections each day.

There was a study done in 2008 about the impact of insulin injections on daily life and the results didn’t surprise me much. The study showed that out of 500 subjects, 29% of them stated that injecting insulin was the hardest part of their diabetes care. Fourteen percent of the subjects said that insulin injections have a negative impact on their life. So… obviously there’s a need to help alleviates some of the negativity. The i-port Advance is one way to do so.

The Future of Glucagon

For anyone carrying around that red hard case in the bottom of a bag or a purse or next to your bed, you will nod your head when I say this: Glucagon is a pain in the ass. (Sometimes literally.)

The Glucagon Emergency Kit has been around for quite a while, but unless you’re with someone who knows how to use it, it’s useless. If you pass out, the last thing a stranger will do is rifle through your bag looking for something to help you. Even if you’ve shown a friend or a work colleague how to use it, when push comes to shove (or push comes to drop on the floor), it may be too complicated.

True story: I would give a little primer about my glucagon emergency kit to my staff. New team member = pull it out and go through the motions. I would end every discussion about glucagon with this: “Call 911 first. Then attempt to inject me.” Then the discussion would be who would draw the short straw to do this. I trusted my team, but knew that glucagon was a last resort.

These days, I’m hopeful that glucagon will be available in an easier delivery mechanism – and perhaps even not by injection! Mike Hoskins over at DiabetesMine has a great article about Next-Gen Emergency Glucagon, in which he discusses the big issue: stability of glucagon. (Currently, once mixed, it’s good for 24 hours. After that, pfftt.) But even more exciting? This:

Assessment of Intranasal Glucagon in Children and Adolescents With Type 1 Diabetes – Yes. It’s a clinical trial that currently is recruiting kids for an intranasal dose… Could this be more awesome? Nope. I am hoping that this is what’s in store for all of us. I’d be much happier giving a primer about: Hold this up to my nose and squirt. Wouldn’t you?

By the way, there’s also a trial for adults: Effectiveness and Safety of Intranasal Glucagon for Treatment of Hypoglycemia in Adults. You can get a little more info here: Evaluate the Immunogenicity of a Novel Glucagon Formulation. The company behind this is AMG Medical, Inc. out of Canada. I’m eager to see the outcome of these trials!

So, as I sit here this morning, I’m buzzing with excitement (or is it caffeine) with hope for the future. What are you excited about?

 

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.