Weekend for (Diabetes) Women, May 3-5, Raleigh, North Carolina

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Join me and other diabetes advocates and luminaries for a great weekend of learning and bonding provided by Diabetes Sisters.

‘Weekend for Women’ is two and a half days that offers a unique opportunity to gather with an intimate group of about 100-150 of us women, type 1 and type 2, to share experiences, learn from experts and each other, have fun, take a short walk through town to raise diabetes awareness, and come away – renewed, invigorated, smarter, wiser and more able to manage our diabetes. You can’t lose.

Friday night kicks off with a social gathering, Saturday is a day of health, wellness and transformation with the most influential voices in diabetes leading incredible talks, break out sessions, and giving practical tips and tools. Sunday is packed with more information and opportunities to cement the new friendships you’ll be making. Here’s the full schedule.

Also, you can bring your partner or spouse. They’ll be a whole track of seminars for them to have their needs addressed, bond, and better understand how to support you.

I’ll be speaking along with Kerri Sparling Morone and Ginger Vieira, fellow PWDs and top diabetes educators, dietitians, nurses and PhDs.

Early registration is open now til February 15th for just $125. General registration $150.

Phoenix airport syringe disposal and shooting up


It’s kind of a double-edged sword when we get to see something just for us. Nice, and an unfortunate reminder. But I was glad to see this syringe disposal nestled in the bathroom of the Phoenix airport. I didn’t bother to think, whose syringes are they targeting? I just enjoyed the fact that maybe there’s some recognition for those of us using insulin.

I try to take my insulin discretely, meaning I don’t flaunt it in front of anyone. After all, I don’t particularly love watching others inject. But I never try to hide when I need to give myself a shot. And, I often wonder – where are all my fellow insulin users? I never seem to see anyone else “shooting up.” 

But I do it in the open as I like to think of it as a ‘teachable moment.’ So while seated on the plane, waiting for the last few passengers to take their seats, I took out my Lantus Solo star pen trying to inject before the last passenger arrived to take his seat next to me. And there I was, pen in stomach, when my husband leaned over and said, “Are you OK?” I looked up and there was my seat mate standing at our row waiting to take his seat. I finished, extracted pen from body, and in he came without a word, as if he hadn’t just watched this woman take a needle out of her body.

Later, my husband told me he had asked the gentleman if he could just wait a moment while I finished giving myself my insulin injection. The gentleman politely nodded. My husband also remarked that, the stewardess standing not far away, caught my husband’s eye and smiled. Comraderie? Knowingness? Compassion? 

I will never know, but maybe one or two more people were reminded that diabetes exists in the world, as so do those of us who live with it.


Dr. Anne Peters reviews new CGMs


For those of you who use a Continuous Glucose Monitor, or think you’d like to, here’s an excerpt from Dr. Anne Peter’s review of Dexcom’s newly available fourth generation, the G4, and MiniMed’s CGM, Enlite, which will be available in the Spring. Dr. Peters is an extremely respected endocrinologist, well known in the diabetes community, who practices at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

I love that Peters wears the sensors, although she doesn’t have diabetes, to understand what it’s like for patients. With all their advantages, one thing she finds burdens patients is the devices many alarms. Funny, we think of the benefit, alerting us to low and high blood sugar, but not the annoyance factor – I guess unless you wear one, I do not. 

Excerpt: With Dexcom G4 continuous glucose monitoring, the patient can easily insert the sensor under the skin — …on the abdomen or the back of the arm. A small transmitter is then placed on top of the sensor. The transmitter sends the interstitial glucose value to the device so the patient can see the blood sugar level. It transmits this information wirelessly every 5 minutes, so a patient can get a sense of whether their blood sugars are going up, going down, or staying the same.

…the new Dexcom G4 is somewhat smaller [than the earlier-generation device]. It is not as wide, similar to an iPhone, and is easy to put in your pocket. It has a pretty good range so that you can be moving around in your house and the signal will still reach the device. A blood sugar level that is 100 mg/dL and is going up may require much different treatment from a blood sugar level of 100 mg/dL that is flat and the patient might be just fine. Or, if a blood sugar level is falling fast, it may mean that the patient needs to ingest carbohydrate to avoid a low. The patient can get a lot of information in real time from this device. Then, in my office, I download the device and interpret the data for the patient so I can help the patient analyze the data retrospectively, so that in real time patients can make more reasonable choices.

we also have the new MiniMed continuous glucose monitor, the Enlite™ sensor, which is supposed to be available in the spring. This is similarly inserted under the skin and taped down. In most cases, this device is talking to the patient’s insulin pump. The insulin pump has the tubing necessary to give the patient insulin, but now this pump also becomes the receiver for the signals from the sensor. The patient can look at the pump and see what the blood sugar levels are doing.

A lot of patients want the pump to automatically give insulin based on their blood sugar levels, but that is not what happens. This is truly a sensor, and the patient then needs to use the Bolus Wizard [calculator] to interact with the pump to calculate the insulin dose. That coupling of the sensor and pump is part of the development of the artificial pancreas. Substantial research is being done to make pumps that can use continuous glucose monitoring data so that the patient does not have to think as much about diabetes management. [Those advances] are in the future. 

For now we have sensors that sense interstitial fluid, giving continuous real-time data, and we have pumps that patients interact with to give themselves insulin. You can couple the MiniMed sensor with the MiniMed pump. The Dexcom device does not interact with a pump, although the manufacturer is working on collaborations with some pump manufacturers.

Peter’s full review appeared in Medscape Diabetes & Endocrinology Jan 25, 2013, “Continuous Glucose Monitoring: Practical Uses in Diabetes.”

TCOYD comes to Tucson February 23rd, pre-register now



TCOYD, which stands for Taking Control of Your Diabetes, has been a fixture in my life for the past 10 years. It’s an incredible one day health fair that’s offered around the country, and it’s coming to Tucson February 23.

For only $15 (or $10 apiece for 2 people or more) if you register by noonFebruary 20th, you get a full day of learning from diabetes experts, endocrinologists, pharmacists and personal trainers who will ignite your motivation, answer your questions, share advice and recommendations, offer hope and can even change your life, or that of someone you love, who’s living with diabetes! Day of the event registration costs $20 per person.

I attended my first TCOYD conference eight years ago and it was there in a workshop being led by psychologist/CDE Bill Polosnky that I heard words that changed my life. He said, “Diabetes doesn’t cause diabetes complications like heart disease, blindness, kidney disease and amputation. Poorly controlled diabetes does.” When I heard that I knew if I really took care of my diabetes, I could improve my health dramatically.

Now here’s your opportunity to learn, do better, take charge of your health, help prevent or delay complications, have fun – and meet other people with diabetes in the process. 

TCOYD’s founder, Dr. Steven Edelman, has been living with type 1 diabetes since he was 15 and decided learning about diabetes shouldn’t just be for medical professionals, but directly reach patients. Now that’s a doctor who “gets it.” So since 1995 TCOYD has been educating patients around the country. Dr. Edelman is 57 today and living well with his diabetes, as am I.

To register, or to get more information, call 800.99.TCOYD (800.998.2693) or visit www.tcoyd.org. If you can’t make it to Tucson, the next event will be in Santa Clara, California on March 23rd. Trust me, you won’t be sorry. This can be the first day of the rest of your better life with diabetes.

Be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs

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I make no New Year’s resolutions because I know it’s just wishing on fairy dust: what I intend to do I will and what’s not that important to me I likely won’t. So, why set myself up for failure and disappointment?

But what I do want to do in 2013 is be a little more conscious of two practices I employ. The first is to be kind to everyone, in every interaction. For sure it’s not always easy, but I know even when someone is caught up in negative emotions – anger, frustration, jealousy, whatever – if I’m kind, their mood shifts from dark to light and they are more likely to greet the next person they interact with with kindness.

Second is the quote above I read some time ago, “Be brave with your life so that others can be brave with theirs.” I’ve forgotten where I read it, although I do know it was written by a woman named Katherine Center. 

I think in some ways this is a life lesson for me. For me it means go after your dreams, dare to be successful, be true to yourself, reach to be your best, brightest self. Even if that means you stand out. For someone who grew up shy, that’s a tall order.

But I’ve realized not a selfish one, as you might first think, but an unselfish one. The more we shine, provided we do it not from arrogance, but authenticity, striving to be our best self, the more we inspire others to shine, be brave, dare to go after their dreams. 

The photo above signifies this for me. I took it last week on my morning walk. The single tree in bloom, reaching ever upward, reminds me of this quote. Stand tall, let your gifts shine and those around you will be moved to do the same. 

These are the two things I’ll be practicing this year.