Diabetes resources and A1C Champion program information

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More and more patients living well with diabetes are teaching and supporting other patients by sharing their wealth of knowledge and experiences.

Here are lists of trusted diabetes web sites, social media sites, blogs, books and information about the A1C Champions peer-mentor program I participate in.

If you are interested in a free A1C Champion program for your patients, or becoming an A1C Champion peer-mentor yourself, the contact information is below under “The A1C Champion Program.”

Recommended Diabetes Websites  (in alphabetical order)

American Diabetes Association (diabetes.org)
















Social Communities

#DSMA (Weekly twitter chats)

DiabetesSisters.org (female-specific)



EstuDiabetes (Spanish)

MyGlu.org (Type 1 diabetes-specific)

Juvenation.org (Type 1 diabetes-specific)

PatientsLikeMe.com (Various disease states)

TypeOneNation.org (Type 1 diabetes-specific)


A list of those in the infamous Diabetes Online Communityhttp://diabetesadvocates.org/getting-to-know-the-diabetes-online-community-doc-2/

Blogs, communities and more. The most exhaustive list I’ve seen.http://www.diabetesmine.com/blogroll

Several books written by people with diabetes

Balancing Diabetes – by Kerri Sparling

Diabetes Do’s & How-To’s, 50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life and the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It and The ABCs of Loving Yourself With Diabetes – by Riva Greenberg

Emotional Eating with DiabetesYour Diabetes Science ExperimentDealing with Diabetes Burnout – by Ginger Vieira

Kids First, Diabetes Second – by Leighann Calentine

My Sweet Life: Successful Women with Diabetes and My Sweet Life: Successful Men with Diabetes – by Beverly Adler

SHOT – by Amy Ryan

The Book of Better: Life with Diabetes Can’t Be Perfect. Make it Better – by Chuck Eichten

The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed and Prediabetes: What You Need to Know to Keep Diabetes Away – by Gretchen Becker

The Sisterhood of Diabetes – by Judith Jones Ambrosini

The Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes – by Amy Mercer

TypeCast: Amazing people overcoming the chronic disease of type 1 diabetes – by Andrew Deutscher

Books by parents of children with diabetes

Raising Teens with Type 1 – by Moira McCarthy Stanford

Kids First, Diabetes Second – by Leighann Calentine

And now for some books written by patients who are also medical professionals:

Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution – by Richard Bernstein (Also a doctor)

Taking Control of Your Diabetes – by Steven Edelman (Also a doctor)

Any of Sherri Colberg’s books (Also an exercise physiologist)

Any of Gary Scheiner’s books (Also a CDE)

The A1C Champions Program

If you’re a medical professional and work with people who have diabetes, you can request one of these six free, hour long educational programs for your patients. Each program is presented by someone living successfully with diabetes.


• Taking Control – Basic educational program

• Managing Diabetes: The Next Step (live and webinar)

• Telling My Story – Adult with type 1 diabetes speaking to type 1 youth

• Our Diabetes Journey – Given by parent and child for parents and kids

• Me-Power – Program from a person with diabetes and CDE

• Diabetes Together – Given by a person with diabetes and his/her care partner

To request a program, please visit www.vprpop.com or call: 816-756-5999.

If you have diabetes and would like to become an A1C Champion, please contact the website or call the number above.

I’ve been an A1C Champion since 2006 and love going out and helping others with diabetes learn, grow and gain the confidence to do better.

Whether I’m speaking to a support group of patients in rural Ohio, or am part of a full day health event in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it’s the cliché in action – “you get when you give.”

Many A1C Champions say being in the program keeps them more committed to their own health. Fellow Champion, Doreen, says, “When I share my story people open up their lives to me, wanting to talk and share their challenges about diabetes. I can’t imagine doing something more rewarding.

81 years young Charles has been with the program almost since it’s beginnings in 2003. “These programs give hope and information that patients often do not receive from their healthcare provider, and, they actually see that people can manage their diabetes.”

Finally, as my new friend, new Champion, William, said, by way of Groucho Marx’ quote, I wouldn’t belong to any club that would have me, “I’m ecstatic beyond words that the A1C Champions program would have me, and allows me to be part of the team, do this work and give back.”

Believe in yourself to manage diabetes


I’ve been doing an ongoing Thursday shot-in-the-arm of inspiration from my book “The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes.” 

Emotional strength and resilience is critical to keep on keeping’ on managing our diabetes. Here’s today’s powerful thought for reflection.


How you feel about yourself influences how well you will take care of your diabetes. Do you treat yourself with the same regard, kindness and compassion you reserve for a friend?

When you believe in yourself, you live life expecting the best. When you believe in yourself and feel confident, the world responds to you with a very special magic; things seem to just go your way.

If you have spent much of your life saying “yes” to everyone around you, leaving you little time and energy for yourself, practice saying “no.” You can’t truly take care of anyone else when your own energy is depleted. And if your past has not reflected your greatness or your ability to manage your diabetes, remind yourself with love, that today is a new day; today you will take a new step.

Reflection: Today write down three things you’re good at and three good qualities you have. Look at the list throughout the week and allow yourself to take it in. 

Also, before you jump out of bed and when you’re drifting off to sleep, take a minute and see yourself at your best. Remind yourself, you always have this fantastic person inside you.

“Diabetes Do’s & How-To’s” the essential action-book on Kindle!

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As I travel around the country one of the outstanding things I see, and hear, is confusion about managing diabetes. So many of us, whether you’ve just been diagnosed or had diabetes for decades, whether you have type 1 or type 2, truly don’t know how to really take care of it, and ourselves. 

It’s not surprising. We get at most a few hours a year with our doctors and then have to make our own decisions what actions to take during those other 8,700 plus hours. And no one ever gave us an instruction booklet. Think about it – you don’t get to drive a car without first taking driving lessons, yet we’re all walking around with a complicated, life-threatening illness without  instructions.

That’s why I wrote this, my third book. It is the “instruction-manual” for diabetes. The small, yet powerful, doable, “real-life” actions to take – what to do and how to do it – regarding food, medicine, fitness and staying positive so you can live your healthiest life with diabetes. 

For example, you’ll discover how you, or a loved one, can eat healthy, bring your weight down if necessary, without dieting, how you can easily get a little more physical activity, manage your blood sugar much better to avoid highs and lows, keep your medicines stocked, know what you lab test results mean and what to do about them, prevent and delay complications – all that you need to know to live longer and better. Not to mention the incredibly funny cartoons from magnificent cartoonist and fellow PWD Haidee Merritt. Well, I figure there have to be rest-stops and rewards while you’re working.

For health care professionals the book is a tool to help you more easily, and more collaboratively, guide your patients, through steps and worksheets, to healthier behaviors. 

And while a team of top-notch certified diabetes educators consulted with me, and a slew of outstanding medical professionals and patient advocates endorsed it, this is not a “medical” book. It’s me talking to you from my real-life and sharing what keeps me healthy. It’s all the latest national standards and recommendations you need to know, and some pioneer-thinking I embrace. Most of all, it’s the practical actions to guide your steps, at your pace, to improve your health: to get the most reward for your efforts.

But don’t take my word for it, really. My passionate portrayal of the book is only because I want you to benefit. Go on Amazon, Search Inside the book, where you can see quite a lot. 

Also, check out my four upcoming posts about the book on Diabetes Dailythis month beginning next Tuesday. You’ll also get a $4.00 savings off the book (there’s a discount coupon on my posts at Diabetes Daily), so you can give yourself the gift of better health however you like it – in print or Kindle.

If you find the book helps you, share it with a friend. I want nothing less than for all of us to enjoy our best health, and the life we deserve.

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.

You have a great diabetes team and resource in diaTribe



diaTribe is the consumer monthly newsletter from Close Concerns.com, a grassroots company making patients, researchers, clinicians and pharma smarter about diabetes to improve how we live with diabetes. 

Close Concern’s Founder, Kelly Close, guides each issue of diatribe as Editor-in-Chief, and Adam Brown, diaTribe’s Managing Editor, both have type 1 diabetes. Several other contributing editors do as well.

Each month or so, the latest issue pops into my inbox covering a wealth of knowledge on diabetes, and relatedly, obesity. I get to read about the newest medicines, devices, studies, trials, posts from fellow diabetes advocates and insightful interviews with industry leaders, as the team criss crosses the country attending medical and health conferences. 

Perhaps, particularly as people here try to get their life back on track after Hurricane Sandy, and I am reeling from election fatigue, reading these two stories I found myself grateful, and invigorated by a device advance in the field, and the wisdom and humanity of one of our great endos, Dr. Anne Peters. 

Dexcom’s G4 Platinum CGM – A review of Dexcom’s new improved continuous glucose monitor

diaTribe Dialogue – An interview with the exceptional Dr. Anne Peters. 

If you’d like to get more informed, you can sign up for your free copy of diatribe here


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?

“My Sweet Life” shares women’s success stories living with diabetes

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Calling all patients – whether you’re newly diagnosed or have been living with diabetes for decades – and health care providers. 


There’s a new book hot off the presses, “My Sweet Life: Successful Women with Diabetes.” Published by PESI HealthCare, “My Sweet Life” is available for pre-order now and will be widely available next month, diabetes month.


“My Sweet Life” brings together twenty plus stories from successful women who have found a balance in their personal, professional and diabetes-management lives. One of the themes in the book is how diabetes can be viewed as a blessing in disguise. 


Clinical psychologist and CDE, Beverly Adler, gave birth to the book. I happen to know because only two months ago I was writing my story to be included in this compilation. While there seem to be a number of books that feature inspiring stories of living with diabetes this one is strictly of women, and predominantly women with type 1 diabetes. While a type one woman will no doubt see herself in these stories, I imagine there are things a woman with type 2 will relate to as well. If you’re a man married to or dating a woman with diabetes, particularly type 1, it may give you greater insight what your woman deals with.


Living with a chronic illness we all – newly diagnosed and long-timers – need to dip into a well of inspiration and hear each others’ stories every so often to feel less alone and recharge our batteries. Patients will find it here. These are stories of women accomplishing their dreams and, every day, dealing with the realities of living with diabetes.


Health care professionals may better understand what it’s like to live with insulin-dependent diabetes and how diabetes not only doesn’t have to stop anyone from accomplishing their dreams, it can actually be the jet-fuel. With that in mind, you may see a different, more hopeful, future for your patients. 


This may encourage you to approach your patients with an expanded view of what’s possible for them and find your relationship with patients and their outcomes improve. Within these pages are what you can’t get in an office visit; the deeper insights of what your patients live with, the intense management and how they balance their diabetes and their life. 


I’m joined in this book by an illustrious group of women including many well-known diabetes bloggers . 


List of Contributors:
Brandy Barnes, MSW
Claire Blum, MS Ed, RN
Lorraine Brooks, MPH, CEAP
Sheri R. Colberg-Ochs, PhD
Carol Grafford, RD, CDE
Riva Greenberg
Connie Hanham-Cain, RN, CDE
Sally Joy
Zippora Karz
Kelli Kuehne
Kelly Kunik
Jacquie Lewis-Kemp
Joan McGinnis, RN, MSN, CDE
Jen Nash, DClinPsy,
Vanessa Nemeth, MS, MA
Alexis Pollak,
Birgitta Rice, MS, RPh, CHES
Kyrra Richards
Lisa Ritchie
Mari Ruddy, MA
Cherise Shockley
Kerri Morrone Sparling
Amy Tenderich, MA

Heartha Whitlow

Make yourself a diabetes drawer


I just thought as I emptied another two bags of syringes into my kitchen drawer that if you don’t already have one, you ought to have a designated diabetes drawer. A drawer or a cupboard devoted just to diabetes supplies.

Mine is in my kitchen, second drawer down, on the right. When I began interviewing people with diabetes my very first interview was with a young couple who had a three year old with diabetes. She showed me around their apartment and pointed out the supply closet where they stored only and all their son’s diabetes supplies. “It makes it much easier to have everything in one place,” she told me, “and to keep track of what we’re running out of and need to reorder.”

I keep my boxes of supplies in my kitchen pantry closet, top shelf and then move things into my diabetes drawer to have a current stash to draw from.

You can see what’s in my diabetes drawer right now: syringes, glucose tablets and sweet tarts, lancets, vitamins and my Extend Bar. Oh, yeah, somehow take out menus seem to nestle in there too. 

It’s a good project, if you don’t already have a diabetes drawer to create one. Trust me, it makes it all the easier to reach in one place to get the daily stuff you need. 

The power of loving yourself from New York to New Mexico


Recently I read about one of my fellow diabetes bloggers who also attends Roche’s social media summit, yet I’ve never known much about the modest, quiet Wil Dubois.  

Wil is a type 1, CDE, author and Diabetes Coordinator for the nonprofit Pecos Valley Medical Center in New Mexico. The clinic serves one of the poorest counties in the U.S., about 1,000 square miles of rural, underprivleged people and relies heavily on state funding. 
Moved by the work Wil has dedicated himself to, I wanted to help. I looked around my bedroom where boxes of books are piled and offered to send him 24 copies of my book, The ABC’s Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes that I had translated into Spanish, El ABC para aprender quererte teniendo diabetes. The book provides 26 lessons to build more emotional strength, and happiness, on this journey we take with diabetes.
Will accepted my offer of books immediately and graciously, and so that afternoon I was standing in the middle of my bedroom furiously packing books and then running them down to FedEx. 
A few days later Wil told me they’d arrived. I asked him to use the books in any way he saw fit — give them to patients, use them working with patients…and to let me know what his patients thought.
He promised to do so and told me one of his colleagues has already made off with a copy. Now that’s sweet. 
As life would have it, just a week after I shipped the books I had the opportunity to thank my two United Nations translators, Georgina Báez-Sommer and Amparo Fernandez, over a Mexicn dinner in the hood. Now that was spicy!