#3 Huffpost: 17 Tips From a Diabetes Patient-Expert

Here’s the third in my series of 10 top articles I’ve written over the past seven years for the HuffPost. I’m not typically a fan of “tips and tricks” articles; I don’t think for real value that most things can be reduced into a few simple sentences. But I will say, there’s a lot of my hard-won wisdom from decades of living with diabetes in this post.

One tip I would likely add today is to keep abreast of new medications and devices. If you can afford it, they can often make managing diabetes easier and offer new insights.

When I was diagnosed in 1972, we didn’t even have glucose meter. It took 10 years for them to be available to patients. Today we’ve got all kinds of medications for type 2 and faster insulin, smart insulin pumps and pens and continuous glucose monitors.

Meanwhile here are the 17 tips that are just as valid today as in 2011 when I wrote this. And now you know a great many things that I’ve learned over a great many years.


#2 HuffPost post: Amazingly delicious low-carb yummies

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 9.53.35 AM.png

Seedy, nutty muffin above. Cooks one minute in the microwave in a mug.

I said a few posts ago that I would post the top 10 of my HuffPost articles. If you missed it, this was #1 Type 1 Diabetes Finally Explained.

I may be part of a video series about “getting real” about diabetes, and in a cooking segment. I’ll post here if it happens. That recent discussion couldn’t help but call this HuffPost article I wrote last year to mind. “The Fantastic, Delicious, Super Low-Carb Muffin, Bread and Biscotti.” 

These are all foods I’ve made and typically have on hand. The secret is using no flour but almond meal; the carb count goes down dramatically, and they’re still as the title says, delicious.


Why doesn’t Dexcom talk about “compression lows?”

After using Dexcom on and off for a few years, now the G5, I found a flaw I wasn’t aware of before.  Often in the morning the sensor reads lowish (around 60) while my meter put me 30-ish points higher. For a long time I thought Dexcom just needed to be re-calibrated upon waking.

Then I recalled reading something someone had posted on Facebook called “compression lows.” I posted my own question on Facebook last week and got confirmation. If your sensor is on a place on your body – for me my upper left shoulder – and you sleep on it or roll on it while you sleep, the sensor begins to calculate lower blood sugars. 

While I sleep on my opposite side, before I go to sleep I read and I’m lying on the sensor to keep my book light from shining in my husband’s eyes. And, of course, we all roll in our sleep.

So, this morning, I ran this short, but irrefutable, experiment.

I woke up at 6:30 AM, checked on my meter which said 92 while my Dexcom said 90. Good start. Then I lay on on my arm where my sensor is; my sensor was now under the weight of my upper body. Presto – the next three numbers drop down on my Dexcom to 64 within 15 minutes (3 readings). I then rolled off the sensor, and sure enough the next four numbers take me right back up to 92.




I can’t believe Dexcom doesn’t talk about this. I searched the web and found nothing from the company, only reporting from other patient users. Thank god for that. There must be many users making inaccurate dosing decisions based on these false readings.

If you wear the sensor on your upper arm, how do you avoid this problem? And c’mon Dexcom tell it like it is. You know people are wearing it on various body sites, not exclusively the abdomen, the one place for which you submitted FDA approval.

7 years of HuffPost writing ends

Screen Shot 2018-01-18 at 4.49.06 PM.png

Today the email went out: HuffPost is closing its platform to contributing bloggers. For me, it’s the end of an era, and about seven years of writing as expert an article as I could. Yes, it’s true, we were never paid, but the reward was of course in visibility and sharing my point of view.

I still remember my first post was about Dr. Oz giving a distorted explanation about diabetes on the Oprah show. And so I wrote, “An Open Letter To Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King.” And it got published! Admittedly, it was thrilling too see my work published week after week, month after month.

The explanation directly from HuffPost to its bloggers for closing the contributor’s platform is vague. Here’s just a piece of it –

Today, with the proliferation of social media and self-publishing platforms across the web, people have many more opportunities to share their thoughts and opinions online. At the same time, the quantity and volume of noise means truly being heard is harder than ever. Those who are willing to shout the loudest often drown out new, more-deserving voices. The same has proven to be true on our own platform.

It is with this in mind that we have made the decision to close the contributors platform on our U.S. site.

As they say, everything changes. I will post from time to time going forward on Thrive Global. My first article for Thrive appeared in November, “The most important thing we’ve forgotten in healthcare.”

I will also continue to blog here. Over the next few weeks, I plan to post here the Top 10 articles I’ve written on the Huffington Post during the past seven years.

For now, I leave you with my most read article that got a voluminous amount of likes and shares – Type 1 Diabetes Finally Explained.  So many people wrote to tell me how much it meant to them and how they could now talk to their friends and family about diabetes in a way that they would understand. It moved me no end.

The link to almost all my Huffington Post articles is here. Most are timeless.

Thank you HuffPost for the great run and for putting my voice on the global stage.

Can you get complications despite good diabetes management?

In a word, “yes.”

I pose the question because someone I know who’s diabetes-savvy posted this on Facebook today:


Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 10.05.40 PM.png

Melissa Lee, amazing fellow T1D, then posted an article I’d written about this topic in response:

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 10.07.37 PM.png

It made me go back and re-read my own post that I had written a while back (originally for HuffPost, reprinted on a sweetlife.com). It’s exactly about my personal experience of working hard at my diabetes management yet complications still come.

Excerpt from the post:

“Now you see me, now you don’t, diabetes. You are there and not there. I can forget you, but never as long as for a day. And while I know I’m better off working to keep my diabetes well managed to have my best chance to keep complications at bay – and I am very positive most of the time, even seeing gifts I’ve gained from having diabetes – I also know I cannot control anything.”
As Stacey asks above, it points out that we who live with diabetes need to know complications are not necessarily a reflection of our efforts. And people who don’t have diabetes need to understand that you can manage diabetes tightly and still get complications. There is no blame to be placed, it’s the nature of diabetes, and the spin of the dice.
That said, this is not to discourage you, but to say the best you can do is your best, and doing so, take some comfort in that.