Circling somewhere near heaven

I was leaving the nursing home where my father lives. My dad at 93 years old sits in a wheelchair now and pajama bottoms. No more the slacks he wore only a few months ago. No more walking down the hallway with a cane, wobbly but walking.

I wrote not long ago that this is the man I grew up hating. Truly, I did. Yet these past few years love is all I feel. I think now he loved me a long time before he could show it. For when I see him – or rather as soon as he sees me – I get this reaction. I am his long-awaited Christmas present, swinging colorful piñata, and every joyful thing he can imagine rolled into one. (Mind you this is not my best side, and he’s Jewish.) But, hey.

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Leaving the facility, my mother turned to me and I don’t know why, asked me, “Do you think growing up in a house where your father and I were unhappy together had anything to do with your diabetes?” “Everything,” I said.

My mother looked crestfallen. “But it’s okay,” I said. “Look at what it’s given me. I know how strong I am… my compassion, sense of purpose. I love this work, the people it’s brought into my life, traveling around the world.”

Of course I wasn’t thinking in that moment about the six to eight shots a day, the six to ten finger pricks a day. Constantly counting carbs. Worrying that my evening walk or wine at dinner or delayed impact from my morning walk or miscalculation of dinner carbs will cause me to not wake up in the morning. Hmmm… maybe I was having a low when I answered my mother. Nah.

Somehow, in quiet moments, it all makes sense. How I grew up, having type 1, my transformation from shy, shy, shy to speaking on world stages, becoming in many ways the person I’d hoped to be and the richness of my life today.

I’m truly grateful that my father has lived long enough for this love to be our swan song. And my mother’s who brings him companionship and comfort every day. As all the gurus say, this moment is the only moment. This moment is your life.Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 11.40.41 AM.png


What I brought home from the 2016 AADE conference

Just returned from the American Association of Diabetes Educator’s national conference in San Diego. There were about 3,500 attendees and the husband and I delivered an interactive workshop, attended by about 400 educators, on our Flourishing Treatment Approach. People loved it – a new approach based on what’s working rather than what isn’t.

It’s always a delight to see those I’ve met through the years in the diabetes space – in the flesh – and share news and just, well, face-to-face space.

One of my favorite two sessions (as you might imagine I go to the behavioral sessions more than medical) was diabetes psychologist Susan Guzman’s on the shame and stigma of diabetes. I was surprised to see shame is even higher among type 1s than type 2s.

We’ve got to do something about this, including the shaming language we use like “bad blood sugar numbers,” “non-compliant” and “diabetic.” A team of diabetes influencers met separately to begin a grassroots movement to start changing the language landscape of diabetes, led by CDE, PWD Jane Dickinson.

I also got a lot of hope out of the session given by diabetes psychologist Bill Polonsky and doctor Richard Jackson.  I learned something surprising given what we always hear. That  those living with diabetes are doing loads better than people were years ago. For one, diabetes complications have dramatically reduced. See the difference from 1978 to 2009.


As Bill says, “Well-controlled diabetes is the leading cause of nothing.” Of course, for me, well-controlled diabetes is a leading cause of – pride, strength, self-esteem, compassion and a more purposeful life, among other benefits.

I also picked up two tips worth sharing at the Dexcom table in the Exhibitor Hall.

  1. When you calibrate your Dexcom the first day you need only do it at 3 different times during the day. When the transmitter first starts up and asks for two calibrations, two hours after breakfast or lunch when your blood sugar will be at its highest (to expand its accuracy range), and before bed so you don’t get woken up for a 12-hour calibration the middle of the night.
  2. After picking up my fabulous stickie in Tokyo (which I’ve written about and posted photos of here a few stories ago) that fit perfectly around my Dexom transmitter and sensor, I learned there’s a site called that sells stickers that both go around your Dexcom and over. The choice is yours.

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Home again it’s time to unpack and get back to work and play feeling fortunate to have had such a great trip and met so many wonderful, caring diabetes educators, bloggers, colleagues and comrades.