Missing type 1 diabetes in children ends lives

I know Betsy Ray, not well, but our paths have crossed at conferences. Lucky girl, she got to give this moving TEDx talk about diabetes. Its beginning caught even me unaware and  makes a point, quite dramatically, that we need to teach providers to recognize type 1 diabetes in children. Betsy goes on to give us important information. She is moving in her delivery and carries a very important message.

Headed to World Health Organization to represent IDF’s Blue Circle Voices

The Blue Circle Voices is the International Diabetes Federation’s (IDF) group of people with diabetes around the world advocating for better care in their country. We are the ear on the ground for the IDF regarding access to care, education, prevention, promotion of healthy lifestyles, discrimination – and we are the experts who live the experience of diabetes. IDF’s intent is to consult with the Blue Circle Voices on new initiatives to truly be the global voice of diabetes.

We are 102 men and women with varied types of diabetes and people connected to diabetes. We are newly created so emerging, but so far I have provided feedback on surveys, created a testimonial video, which I link below, and now will be introducing the group at the WHO in Geneva. It’s an honor.

Here’s my video where I share a personal experience of diabetes discrimination. While I personally don’t come across it often, for many it is ubiquitous in daily life.

Okay, gotta go pack!


Sign up for Livongo’s glucose management program and you’re making a charitable donation to diabetes research

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 1.49.32 PM.png

I’ve been using the Livongo system for the past two years and I’m a happy camper. Now the progressive company in Mountain View, California has taken another milestone step.

Livongo, a glucose management/support program (advanced meter, unlimited strips, digital tools, personalized messaging, coaching)  announced a few days ago a partnership with the American Diabetes Association, JDRF, Diabetes Hands Foundation and Beyond Type 1. They aim to generate millions of dollars for research and advocacy for their new partners. More info here.

How? By launching the Livongo Family Care Plan. That means for everyone who signs up for the plan (outlined below) through Diabetes Hands Foundation, JDRF and Beyond Type 1, Livongo will donate $3 every month to that organization. So, you in effect, are making the donation.

I use Livongo and I will tell you twice I had a professional call me when my blood sugar number was under 55 mg/dl on the meter. Standing alone in my kitchen, and having the phone ring minutes after my reading came up, with someone from Livongo asking if I was okay was amazing! Trust me, there is nothing like knowing there is someone else out there who knows you may be in trouble.

From one company that will benefit, JDRF President and Chief Executive Officer, Derek Rapp, said, “With this partnership, not only do people with type 1 diabetes benefit from access to this innovative program, JDRF also receives important funds that will go directly toward finding a cure.”

Livongo’s Family Care Plan is a comprehensive diabetes program that provides support at critical moments for people with diabetes and those who love them. The monthly subscription is $49.99/month for which you get:

• An advanced glucose meter that uploads readings and gives tips and insights. Studies verify Livongo is one of the most accurate meters around.

• Unlimited test strips – yes unlimited!

• 24/7 live outreach from diabetes specialists when numbers are out of range

• Immediate text messages to update family and friends, if you chose

• Coaching via phone, email and text for education and support

If you can benefit from a great meter, education and support, check it out, and know you’re also helping us move toward a cure.

It warms my heart to see a player in the device market come up with such a winning strategy, to help people with diabetes through their product and program, donate to diabetes charities and strengthen their own company to be able to continue to help us.

Thank you Livongo.


Three new books by people living with diabetes

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 1.49.21 PM.png

I have a stockpile of books everywhere – by my bed, under the coffee table, behind my computer chair. Yes, I still move in the old analog world; I like a real book in my hands.

Three that have passed through my hands recently are all diabetes books written by  those who have diabetes. They are three authors I know personally and consider friends, and they are sharing their wisdom and experience for everyone living with diabetes.

I have covered these books on the HuffPost as it’s now called. For the reviews check here for Adam Brown’s Bright Spots & Landmines: The Diabetes Guide I Wish Someone Had Handed Me and Oren Liebermann’s The Insulin Express: One Backpack, Five Continents, and the Diabetes Diagnosis That Changed Everything.

If you’re pregnant, or your wife or girlfriend is, or you plan to get pregnant, or your wife or girlfriend does, you’ll want to take a look at Ginger Vieira’s and Jennifer Smith’s book reviewed on HuffPost, Pregnancy With Type 1 Diabetes: Your Month-to-Month guide to Blood Sugar Management.

Dipping the cloth again – inside

My purpose.jpgWhile the husband is off on an intensive weekend of Chi Gong (sorry, not for me) I have used his budding spiritual growth to spur me back into my own. I learned Transcendental Meditation during college and practiced for years – until an advanced retreat course caused me to back off. But I never forgot something the man who brought this form of meditation to America, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, said – Meditation is like dipping a cloth in paint and letting it dry in the sun. Each time you meditate, you dip the cloth in the paint again, and it retains more color – or calm.

I keep this on my desktop from Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements:

  1. Be impeccable with your word
  2. Don’t take anything personally
  3. Don’t make assumptions
  4. Always do your best

This past week, thanks to the amazing library on YouTube, I have been watching Eckhart Tolle and compassion videos. On the subway I’m reading on my iPhone a book on solution-focus brief therapy. Yes, high-tech spiritual delivery. I know there’s something odd about that, and yet…

I scribbled this down from my subway read because I thought it wise to remember. The point is the value of positive emotions and what we focus our mind on, expands:

“Whether you are sitting in your living room, using the bathroom, driving your car, or riding a bus or train, ask yourself, “What is right about my current circumstances?” “What makes me lucky to be here?” “What aspect of my current situation might I view as a gift to be treasured? How does it benefit me or others?” Taking time to think in this manner ignites gratitude. Take a few moments to savor and enjoy this good feeling. Now turn positivity off. Examples of positivity-spoiling questions are “What is wrong here?” “What is bothering me?” “What should be different and better?” “Who is to blame?” Ask yourself these questions, follow the chain of thoughts they produce, and see how quickly positivity plummets.” —( 101 solution focused questions for help with depression, Fredrike Bannink).

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 2.34.36 PM.png

It’s actually quite nice to make a concerted effort to have a calm mind, breathe in and out and know in this very moment all is well. Oh, and there is one low-tech practice I’ve started to do each evening that gives me a double dose of joy. It’s writing in a gratitude journal – The five-minute journal – with my oh-i-just-love-them fountain pens.

Screen Shot 2017-05-07 at 12.43.44 PM.png

Presenting at the premiere Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre in Toronto

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 1.13.56 PM.png

I was honored to be invited to present the Flourishing Treatment Approach to 300 diabetes educators, nurses, dietitians, social workers, pharmacists and physicians at the 6th annual Charles H. Best Diabetes conference last Friday.

Forget the fact that the night before going to Kennedy airport for my flight there had been a water main break and all cars were being diverted away from the airport. Forget the fact that I had to travel on a bus, railroad and the AirTrain to get there. Forget the fact that my flight left 90 minutes late and when I arrived in Toronto I had no idea how to get to my pre-arranged car because I had no phone plan for Canada. Yes, Canada is a separate country.

Ignore the fact that when I did find the car we drove in a wicked thunderstorm 90 minutes to the hotel. That I dined alone at 8:30 pm in the lobby pub of the Sheraton. That I had to climb on some cabinets (up to my childhood antics) to pull the plug out of the full size refrigerator that was making a racket of noise in my room. That I barely slept and woke at 6:30 am to spring into action. Forget it, ignore it, because none of it matters. I realize like a pregnant woman (no, I’m not, don’t start any rumors) who forgets the pain of childbirth, I forget the pain of flying and hotel living. Because when you get where you’re going and you do what you do, it is soul-gratifying.

Conference day at 10 AM, as I walked up the staircase to prepare the room where I would give my workshop, I stopped in my tracks seeing this poster (above) on the stairs. What popped into my head was a palm reader’s prediction,  (I went to many readers when I was in my twenties searching for the meaning of life, my life) “You will be known, not by your face, people won’t follow you down the street, but many will know you by your work.” An amazing prediction at the time. And there it was, this poster sitting at my feet making me recall that prophesy and feel slightly heady. As I did the whole day.

There is such a dearth of tools for the professionals who dedicate their lives to working with people who have diabetes. And most of these tools, and the approach most providers have been taught, is old-fashioned thinking and limited; I bring them fresh air and fresh insights. I am also advantaged at conferences by not being a medical person. I do not come armed with clinical statistics and bullet-riddled powerpoint slides. I come with a patient’s experience, pictures that evoke feelings and tap into intuition and ideas that provoke one’s mind and the status quo. My opening slide for example:

Cover slide Toronto.png

I am in my element on stage which is still a wonder for this girl who grew up so shy. But I feel the love and support that emanates from the floor, it comes in waves rising to meet me. Before I take the stage my body is flooded with stress hormones and my blood sugar surges (yes, this career will kill me) but once on stage I am relaxed; I am where I should be. I revel in each nodding head affirming what I say, in the eyes that follow mine, and last Friday in Toronto, in the unexpected standing ovation that greeted my close.

I have been told that I embody my message. In that way I can almost not fail which is a comfort. But it is the connection, the open heart and offering that I come with and the open hearts and willingness to hear that my audiences return, where the magic is made. Thank you I do not take it for granted.