Walgreens diabetes magazine wins health information award

 Quarterly Magazine

I can’t say I’m in a Walgreens very often. Although I probably am more than I know as I recently discovered they took over the very famous, and for some unknown reason, beloved local New York City chain drugstore, Duane Reade. Oh, you’ll still see the Duane Reade sign, but they’re a Walgreens.

Anyway, I have dipped into Walgreens now and then because every so often they run a sale on my beloved Extend Bars – I love ’em for getting me through the night when my blood sugar’s going to take a nosedive as I sleep.

Anyway, it appears Walgreens has made an even bigger commitment to diabetes as sex ed/CDE Janis Roszler let me know with their “Walgreens Diabetes & You” quarterly magazine. Here’s a link to this fall’s issue.  The magazine won the national health information awards‘ top honor. So while I can’t give you any personal insight as I’ve never seen it Janis is writing for it and that alone gets my vote of merit.

So next time you’re in a Walgreens (or maybe a Duane Reade?) pick up a copy and check it out. I say it every time I give one of my peer-mentor A1C presentations  “Education is key to managing diabetes.” And as Oprah says, “The more you know, the better you do.”

How many ways can we “Take the next step” with our diabetes?

As Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I’ll be off eating turkey, I’ve been reflecting the past few days how thankful I am and how fortunate I’ve been this year in both my personal and professional life. One of my professional joys and accolades has been the many presentations I’ve given this year at health events and conferences, and I’ve loved them all. For a girl who grew up quiet and shy, I love educating and inspiring a group. 

I spoke in April at Diabetes Sisters’‘Weekend for Women’ conference to 100 women, and helped them see their unique strengths to manage diabetes. In July, at Children with Diabetes’ ‘Friends for Life’ conference, I invited patients to explore and share their healthy habits, discover their personal reason for doing the work diabetes demands, and look for 1 positive thing diabetes has given them. Not one turned away scoffing.

Early in the year I spoke at an American Diabetes Association conference in Madison, Wisconsin to diabetes educators, and I closed the year with the third of my ‘Take the Next Step: Get Motivated’ programs that I do with fitness trainer Kim Lyons, (sponsored by Pfizer) at TCOYD

‘Take the Next Step: Get Motivated’ is an educational program about diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN), a complication of diabetes a reported 20% of patients get. It’s characterized by stabbing, throbbing, tingling or numbness in your feet and/or hands due to nerve damage. It’s highly likely many more than 20% of patients have DPN. But as I learned giving the program, many patients don’t associate DPN with diabetes. Many others are ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it with their doctor, assuming it’s their own darn fault.

The best way to keep DPN from progressing is to manage your blood sugar. Kim and I share basic tips about managing blood sugar and diabetes – healthier eating, getting more activity – chair exercises if you can’t walk easily – taking your meds, and we share tips for living with DPN. Right now there are some great easy exercise videos Kim leads you through you can check out on diabetespainhelp.com. You’ll also find help for how to talk to your doctor about DPN. Please don’t let DPN, a very real and uncomfortable complication of diabetes, shame you away from getting the help you deserve from your health care provider. 

I like the title of the program. Living with diabetes, ‘Take the Next Step: Get Motivated’ can apply to anything that’s next up for us in our care. Maybe it’s time for you to take the next step to eat a little healthier – trade French fries for broccoli once or twice a week. Or take a step to move a little more – walk up a flight of stairs instead of using the elevator. Try lifting soup cans while you’re watching TV. Perhaps your next step is to know your blood sugar numbers better. If so, test a few more times this week. 

In the presentation, I share two stories of people I’ve interviewed, Tom and Arlene, who have type 2 diabetes and DPN and have not let it slow them down. In fact, it may have sped them up; Tom and Arlene are each about 70 years old and extremely active. 

When Tom was diagnosed at 52 with burning in his toes (DPN), he was, as he told me, a bona fide couch potato. His doctor said his DPN wouldn’t get any better. Tom swears it hasn’t gotten any worse and he’s so busy biking 50-70 miles a week he said he wouldn’t notice anyway. Arlene is leading hikes, snowshoeing, kayaking, and has climbed all the Appalachian mountains. 

I hold Tom and Arlene up as examples of ordinary people doing extraordinary things because they decided when they were diagnosed to be brave and “take the next step.” To not let diabetes stop them, but in fact have it motivate them to make their lives bigger, fuller, more satisfying and more active.

What’s your next step? If you’ve got one, why not take a baby step toward it today?

Ground-breaking documentary follows quest – and possible cure

Patient 13 is a documentary-in- progress seeking funds to continue filming. It’s also on a quest to find, and it’s possibly standing on the brink of, a cure for type 1 diabetes. 

Patient 13 is following two men: Dr. and medical researcher, Jonathan Lakey, who was part of the islet-transplant work more than a decade ago known as the Edmonton Protocol. Lakey is now part of a team of researchers and scientists developing and testing the ‘Islet Sheet’ (shown here in hand – transparent and the size of a business card) as a possible cure for type 1 diabetes.

Scott King is the man who will be patient 13 – the 13th subject in the clinical trial. King has had type 1 diabetes for 34 years and has been on his own quest for a cure as both a scientist and biotech entrepreneur.

The Edmonton Protocol in Canada, proved islet transplants could free patients of their need for insulin, but insulin-independence was short-lived, largely due to anti-rejection issues. Lakey believes the Islet Sheet will not encounter that problem; it is not expected to be recognized by the body as foreign and so not rejected.  

Filming began in 2010 and the film needs 30K in funding by December 2nd to continue. Producer, Lisa Hepner, who has had type 1 herself for more than 20 years says, this film will be the first in-depth look at diabetes and efforts to find a cure and that it will show the unfolding story about the search for, and possible discovery of, the cure for type 1 diabetes.  

If the funding goal is reached, Hepner hopes to release the $1-million, 90-minute documentary in 2013. 

If you’re interested to contribute to the film’s production – $1, $5, any amount is gladly welcomed as every dollar counts – there’s a KickStarter campaign. (Kickstarter is an online platform to raise money to seed creative projects.) To date, more than $19,000 has been raised for the film in pledges. However, that whole amount goes away if another $30K isn’t raised by December 2nd. 

Also you can read more back story in the Orange County Register.

At most the producers say this could just lead to a Nobel Prize and change the lives of millions of people who have type 1 diabetes. At the very least it’s another step forward toward a cure, and raising awareness and visibility of type 1 diabetes.

T:slim pump has go-ahead and Apple-like features and screen

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 3.30.41 PM

Slimmer, color touch screen

Well it appears someone is listening to diabetes patients’ cry for devices that work-cool and look-cool. 

Today Tandem Diabetes Care announces it has approval from the FDA to market t:slim™, the smallest insulin pump with a color touch screen that works and looks more like your iphone.

Kim Blickenstaff, President and CEO of Tandem said, “In creating t:slim we spoke with more than 4,000 healthcare professionals and people with diabetes, and the clear message we heard was, “make it cool and make it uncomplicated to use.” 

While a traditional tubed pump, the t:slim is slimmer and has a rechargeable battery and USB connectivity to management software. 

t:slim launches the first half of 2012. The company is now putting customer support, sales and clinical and business operations in place in preparation.

For more product description, Amy Tenderich over at DiabetesMine breaks it all down – beautifully ;-).

Today is World Diabetes Day

UnknownHelp make the blue symbol used and recognized

If you’re new to diabetes, or the diabetes online community, November 14th is World Diabetes Day. Nov. 14 is the birthday of Frederick Banting who helped discover life-saving insulin. 

World Diabetes Day was established by the United Nations to raise awareness of diabetes and increase funding for its prevention and treatment. We actually have the little nation of Bangladesh to thank for pushing through this resolution.

Today the World Diabetes Day campaign is led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Take a look at some of the great things going on and ways you can get involved.Today in many places around the world structures, and people, will be lit in blue to draw attention to the round blue symbol you see here. Like breast cancer’s pink ribbon, IDF is leading an effort to get all diabetes organizations to adopt the blue symbol.   

IDF just released in its Diabetes Atlas the latest global diabetes statistics: 

• One adult in ten will have diabetes by 2030 

• Currently 366 million people have diabetes, that will rise to 552 million people in 2030. That means 3 new people will be diagnosed every 10 seconds

• 183 million people are still undiagnosed

• 78,000 children develop type 1 diabetes each year 

So today wear blue to be part of the movement and so that we can all be a little less blue as we help diabetes get the attention it deserves.

Save a life doing the Big Blue Test: maybe save your own

Do the Test: Help save a life

Have you ever directly seen the impact of activity on your blood sugar? You’ve heard it a million times: exercise helps manage blood sugar and prevent and delay diabetic complications. Now see it for yourself, and be part of the movement that’s saving thousands of lives. And one of those lives may be your own!

Between now and November 14th at midnight test your blood sugar, participate in an activity of your choice –  walking, gardening, vacuuming, chasing the cat – for 14 minutes, test your blood sugar again and share your results at the Big Blue Test. This is Diabetes Hands Foundations’ yearly initiative to show people with diabetes the impact of exercise on blood sugar.

When you do the Test and share your results, Roche Diabetes Care will fund life-saving diabetes supplies to someone in need in the U.S. or Latin America. The goal is 8,000 Big Blue Testers = 8,000 lives saved. If you want to save more lives, you can do the test as many times as you want as long as you record the results. 

Plus, you don’t have to have diabetes to do the Test. If you have a loved one with diabetes and a meter in the house, do the Test and save a life.

This is also about you: seeing the impact of movement on your blood sugar, you may decide in earnest it’s time get more active. And that, my friend, may just save your life.

My fuller story with details is on the Huffington Post: The 14-Minute Exercise That Can Save Thousands of Lives — Including Yours.

My test by the way – walking for 14 minutes to the library in my neighborhood – lowered my blood sugar 22 points! 

Dr. Oz’s SharecareNow picks “Top Ten Diabetes Influencers”


Top Ten Diabetes Influencers

Ten diabetes advocates in the online diabetes community – including yours truly – have been recognized by a new service from Dr. Mehmet Oz and partners called SharecareNow. The company’s mission is to help simplify the search for high-quality online healthcare information. They’ve just released SharecareNow 10 – their list of the top ten people reaching and impacting audiences, from mainstream news sites and personal blogs to community forums and Facebook

I’m honored to be on this list along with many fellow advocates and bloggers whom I know, and also know how hard they work helping to inform, educate and inspire all of us. 

Here’s the list: 

1) Amy Tenderich, DiabetesMine™ 
2) Kerri Sparling, Six Until Me 
3) Kelly Close, Close Concerns 
4) Manny Hernandez, Tu Diabetes / Ask Manny 
5) Leighann Calentine, D-Mom Blog 
6) Riva Greenberg, The Huffington Post 
7) Kelly Kunik, Diabetesaliciousness™ 
8) Elizabeth Woolley, About.com – Type 2 Diabetes / Diabetic Mommy 
9) Kim Vlasnik, Texting My Pancreas / You Can Do This Project 
10) Scott Johnson, Scott’s Diabetes

Diabetes is the first health area SharecareNow is recognizing. Jeff Arnold, chairman and chief architect of Sharecare says in their press release, the diabetes online community has exploded in the past decade, with people relying on these top influencers for credible and reliable information to help them effectively manage their disease, while also finding support through their online relationships. SharecareNow hopes to enable these key influencers and medical professionals to connect and expand the conversation, with the goal of reducing disease rates and improving the health of millions of people.”  

I don’t yet know how SharecareNow intends to do that, but it’s a good goal and I’m curious. If SharecareNow can help carry what we all do further, that’s a win/win/win: for us, for them and mostly for patients.

Along with Mr. Arnold and Dr. Oz, Oprah’s Harpo Studios is a partner. Of course I always did want to be a guest on Oprah, somehow I thought I’d be sitting in a couch in Chicago instead of my computer!

Diabetes Research Institute gives us a reason to believe in a cure

Kicking off Diabetes Month, the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), a leading organization in diabetes research, unveils their new heartfelt campaign about their commitment to never stop searching for a cure.

The campaign, Reason to Believe, is a series of videos that will be rolling out all month featuring parents, patients and researchers expressing their hopes and beliefs that a cure will come. 

The campaign aims to raise funding so DRI can find that cure more quickly. While we know intellectually how difficult it must be to have a child with diabetes, I dare you to watch this video about 3 year old Jace, diagnosed at two, and his parents and not feel immediately how heart-wrenching and difficult it is for every parent who endures the fears for their child when out of sight for just a few minutes, and the hardship parents and children share of daily finger pricks, injections, countless carb and insulin calculations, and the nighttime dread over a disastrous low and uncertain future.

Last year I interviewed DRI’s Scientific Director, Dr. Camillo Ricordi,“Curing Diabetes: How Close Are We?”. His life-long commitment inspires me to believe that yes one day there will be a cure. 

Let’s help make it faster. donation is what will keep the cure a certainty, not just a hope.