My diabetes-head is growing just slightly larger

UnknownThe global symbol for diabetes day: blue for the sky under which we all stand, a circle for unity

Having made the acquaintance of so many remarkable fellow diabetes bloggers a few months ago at the Roche social summit, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to share some of my thoughts and experiences on several web sites. So, for a few posts you won’t see here as well as posts from fellow bloggers, jump onto theWorld Diabetes Day blog. You’ll find a lot of posts to inspire you. Here are mine:

Diabetes Day: Wouldn’t It Be Nice Not to Need One?

Riva’s Story: The Diabetes Express

What Diabetes Is – and Isn’t

Then check out all of World Diabetes Day which was created by Manny Hernandez, founder of TuDiabetes and David Edelman, founder ofDiabetes Daily. You’ll find an amazing songbook of educational information, patient stories, blog posts, doings about Diabetes Month and Diabetes Day and how you can pick up the gauntlet in your community. 

I’m honored to be in such fine company.

2,000 amazing book signings

All smiles

With little fanfare, my husband turned to me about two months ago and said, “Wouldn’t it be something if we gave away your books to the speakers and member nations who’ll be at the International Diabetes Conference this year? After I rolled my eyes I said laughingly, “It sure would.” And, I’m here to tell you it was!

1,000 copies of “50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life and the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It” and 1,000 copies of “The ABCs of Loving Yourself with Diabetes” made their way to Montreal where they were on display last week in the Exhibition Hall of the IDF as my gift to all those who work to make life better for people with diabetes. The books were accompanied by thisletter that expresses my appreciation.

By noon the second day of the conference all the books had been handed out and are now heading back to libraries, clinics, hospitals and patients as far away as China, South Africa, the Philippines, Russia and most everywhere in between. The IDF has more than 200 member countries around the world.

For an author who rarely sees the impact of her work, chatting with those who surrounded me, seeing their delight in the colorful and unique pages of the ABC book, hearing them agree how we only talk about negative emotions in diabetes rather than strength, joy, appreciation and pride, was thrilling. Seeing their smiles glance over the playful cover of the 50 diabetes myths book that dispels a huge myth right on its cover was also a thrill.

So much so in fact that when the books were gone by 11:30 AM the second day I felt bereft. It had been so fulfilling to talk to so many who are working tirelessly every day in diabetes that I wished I had brought another 2,000 books! 

I did spend a fair amount of time at the many behavioral sessions offered at the conference where I heard confirmed the value of story-telling in helping patients in their healing process and that most behaviorists in the field are currently advocating motivational interviewing and patient-centric methodologies. I actually find both a step in the right direction but at the same time not quite the right step. Motivational interviewing is a directive approach where the HCP largely directs the conversation and intent rather than without prejudice openly exploring  the patient’s ideas for options, and as pointed out in one presentation, the HCP can bring his or her own prejudices to the process and a number of other blocks. Also, while most HCPs need to become more patient-aware, making the patient/doctor interaction patient-centered, too heavily weights the interaction on the shoulders of the patient and minimizes the HCP’s contribution. I am well aware of these approaches and working on a behavioral intervention that moves patients further and will be unique to the diabetes world.

Back to the conference, while it was a chore to leap out of bed early the first morning and walk a half hour in the cold to the conference center for the 8:30 AM session, it was the session that resonated most deeply with me and was most akin to the work I’m developing. 

It was given by Dr. Jean-Philippe Assal who spoke with the knowledge of a physician, the understanding of an educator and the eloquence and wisdom of someone who has evolved in his study of patient/physician interaction and human nature to understand that treating patients with diabetes is as much art as science.  

Dr. Assal also presented a remarkable video about gondoliers developing their skills to maneuver the waterways in Venice and comparing the development of those skills to how we develop the skills needed to live successfully with diabetes. An incredible metaphor and one that can only be recognized by those who look beyond the traditional care model.

The second day of the conference my husband and I found ourselves to our good fortune lunching with Dr. Assal, his wife, Tiziana, an education specialist, and their assistant, Benedetta Barabino, a biologist who is working in stage directing to help patients and physicians work through blocks and barriers. Needless to say it was a stimulating lunch centered around how the patient must be regarded as an equal expert to the provider as he/she is the expert on his/her life, and that working together the best outcomes can be achieved. 

One outcome that was immediately achieved over lunch is the husband and I have an invitation to visit the Assals at their Geneva home. Hmmm…I wonder how long it takes to get to Geneva from Brooklyn?

20th World Diabetes Congress

Just landed home from two weeks in the U.K. where I’m collaborating with an expert in behavioral intervention to help patients better manage diabetes. This promises to be exciting new work in the coming months and something I’ll be writing more about. 

Off again tomorrow morning to theInternational Diabetes Federationconference taking place this year in Montreal. The conference brings together the top researchers in diabetes from around the world. It begins this Sunday, the 18th and finishes on the 22nd. I’ve never been to the IDF conference so it promises to be enlightening. 

If you happen to be there check out the display area where my books will be available. 

Now that I’m still on U.K. time which means I’ve been up forever and the room is beginning to spin, I’m going to say come back next week when my travels will be limited to my walk around the park and shlepping groceries home from the local market

Revving up for Diabetes Day, November 14

L1030211Learn and Do on Diabetes Day

This is my last post for a few weeks and so I wanted to leave you with some interesting things to check out and do while I’m gone. And, remind you to come back the end of this month to hear about where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. Meanwhile,  as we rev up to November’s Diabetes Month, here are some great ways to start your learning curve now.


1. Check out World Diabetes Day, the new web site Manny Hernandez, founder of TuDiabetesand David Edelman, co-founder with his wife of Diabetes Daily, have created. The site brings greater awareness to diabetes in general and things you can do to be a part of diabetes day, November 14, and spread the word. You’ll find lots of news and lots to read, including blogsfrom an assortment of bloggers, including three from me that will show up throughout the month. 


2. If you’re new to my blog or come sporadically, you might want to read some past posts. Most are timeless since you may have noticed I tend to write about the emotional experience of living with diabetes and how to reframe diabetes, using it as a catalyst to create more health and happiness. 


3. You can listen to my recent podcast on the Diabetes PowerShow. A lively discussion between me and the show’s four passionate hosts about diabetes myths and the emotional resilience needed to live with diabetes, and how to create it. Also available on iTunes.


4. Do your homework, but I promise I won’t collect it. Pay attention over this next month to what you do well in your diabetes care and appreciate your efforts in some tangible way, whether buying yourself a little something or just giving yourself a pat on the back. Also, pay attention to what you could do better and figure out one simple step you are willing and able to take that will help you do better. Take it, look for improvement and write down your improvement. Then go back and buy yourself a little something or give yourself a pat on the back to commend your efforts. 


I’ll see you in late October after I return from the International Diabetes Federation conference in Montreal. Hopefully I’ll be a little more educated and so will you.

The Diabetes Resource web site

What’s a blogger to do when she’s going to be away for a few weeks and can’t post except from home? Well, one thing is I’m working on solving that problem, but not in time for the next three weeks I’ll be away. So, I will leave you with this post and the next that give you something to do. Of course, you have to promise to come back the end of the month.

Take some time to check out my fellow blogger, Gina Capone’s, fabulous new web site, The Diabetes Resource. This one-stop, convenient and easy to navigate site covers everything related to diabetes; from camps to monitors…professionals to articles and chats, and it is updated daily. Remarkably, this is the only site that puts the whole spectrum of diabetes resources in one place. 

Check out:

1. A directory of everything under the sun related to diabetes, i.e. magazines, pregnancy, celiac disease, dieting, diabetes drug companies, home delivery services and on and on and on and on…………..

2. Events happening in your neighborhood and around the country

3. A chat room every Wednesday night

4. Great articles 

5. Advertising

“I developed The Diabetes Resource to take the hassle out of searching the web and navigating site after site to get the critical information you need when you need it,” said Gina, herself a type 1 since the age of 25. “I tried to think of everything I could that related to diabetes and then brought those resources together at one location, one web site.”

“The Diabetes Resource is the first web site dedicated solely to consolidating and bringing organization to all of this information and I welcome that,” said Kitty Castellini, Founder and President of Diabetes Living Today™, a popular radio program dedicated to discussing issues pertaining to diabetes.  

So, take a look. It should keep you busy and allow me to feel less guilty.