“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.

Bridging the gap between patient and provider

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I’m part of a new service being offered by QuantiaMD called “Ask the Patient.” I’ll be answering health care provider’s (HCP) questions about what it’s like to live with diabetes, and how they can help their patients achieve better control and make healthy behavior changes. Given the strong emphasis on cut and cure in medical training and bare mention of behavior change, here’s an opportunity for providers to understand how to turn on a patient’s desire, skills, hope, and enthusiasm to take care of their diabetes. 

Here’s my page which consists of a 3 minute introduction of myself, explanation of the service and a call for questions. After questions are submitted I’ll my answers will be presented in a follow-up video.  

The service is available only to HCPs so patients will not know what you are asking. All you have to do is sign up.Members can access QuantiaMD for free through any smartphone, tablet or computer.  

If you are a health care provider, or know of someone you think this would benefit please pass this along. Having patient-experts as resources to help HCPs better understand what we deal with is to me a fantastic idea, and a brilliant way to help both patients and health care providers achieve better outcomes. 

Ask the Patient

A new doctor-patient relationship feature coordinating an active conversation between health care providers, and selected patient experts, exclusively on QuantiaMD. Through Ask the Patient, QuantiaMD is bringing the patient’s perspective on engagement, chronic disease, medical errors and many more topics to their community of clinicians. QuantiaMD is a medical learning network where HCPs connect with and learn from knowledgeable patients eager to share their experiential wisdom. On QuantiaMD, physicians learn about clinical advances from expert faculty and connect professionally to better manage their practices, support their patients, and take care of themselves. 

A1C Champions is looking for you

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Are you successfully managing your diabetes? Are you interested in helping others do the same? Then you may be interested in being a peer-mentor as part of the A1C Champions group

There are 70 of us A1C Champions who live across the country and go across the country – or stay mainly in our local area – giving various presentations to help our fellow patients take better care of themselves, and their diabetes. That’s me above giving an A1C program. I’ve been doing it for 5 years and I find it enormously fulfilling work. 

VPR Communications, the group that trains us to do this work, is actively looking for more Champions. Here are the criteria: 

1) You must use insulin

2) Have an A1C less than 7%

3) Be at least 21 years old

4) Have a strong desire to help others

If interested, you can see more about the program on the A1C Champions web site. If you’re ready, or have any questions, please contact Becky Lodes at becky@vprpop.com or call 855-A1CHAMP (855-212-4267).

The power of the A1C Champion programs is that patients hear how to better manage their diabetes from a patient. Often they will have heard similar information from their health care providers, but when they hear it from you – and they know you live it – they hear it in a completely different way. 

The programs also allow you to share your story, your experiences, what it’s been like for you to live with diabetes and what makes you successful. 

You often become just the missing piece that moves someone to do something for their health that they’ve been putting off for years. 

I’ve given more than 50 programs, sometimes to ten people, sometimes to 200, and somehow I never tire of it. 

Help for families who have a child with type 2 diabetes

Your  Healthy Home Series

Here’s a great way to get the new year off to a happy and healthy start – if you have a child with type 2 diabetes:Your Healthy Home Series (YHHS). 

YHHS is a 4-week series of video coaching sessions from Helaine Ciporen. Helaine is a licensed clinical social worker who counsels children and families at NYC’s Mount Sinai Hospital, Center for Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes. 

Even better news – the first 50 people who sign up get it for free! 

Your Healthy Home Series consists of 8 interactive emails, each with a short video followed by a questionnaire designed to help families better understand their needs, so that they can make the small changes that will lead to big changes in their health. One of the advantages of this online program is families are right in the environment where they need to make changes – their home – and now they can have the ongoing support and guidance they need.

Although increasing numbers of children are getting type 2 diabetes, due to escalating childhood obesity, there are few educational resources for parents and families. Helaine’s coaching program, as well as the educational web site she developed after years in the field, DiabetesFamilies.com, is one of those resources. 

Having a child with type 2 diabetes is a different struggle than having a child with type 1 diabetes — but it’s still a struggle for families. Your child has to eat differently and start getting active. And these lifestyle habits that need to change usually need to change for the whole family. 

Further, children with type 2 diabetes often get the same associated ills adults do with type 2:  high blood pressure, high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. And if a child gets type 2 diabetes and doesn’t manage it, by time they’re in their thirties their quality of life is enormously compromised.

 

 

 

If you have a child with type 2 diabetes, check out the program and web site. If you know a family that has a child with diabetes, spread the word. 

Free Classes at Type 1 University: A holiday gift just for you

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CDE/pump trainer and author, Gary Scheiner, is offering free online diabetes classes throughout the month of January. 

Don’t miss this opportunity to relearn carb counting, lose weight on insulin, make better use of your pump or CGM and more. Gary offers 10 different classes to help you brush up on your management.

T1 University’s online one hour classes are available to anyone who uses insulin and parents and caregivers. 

Pre-registration is required, so take a look, check out this 10 minute sample class and then sign up today. 

You’ll be glad you did.

Walgreens diabetes magazine wins health information award

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 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?

A coaching conference in health leadership

So, can I say I’m a Harvard graduate when I come back from this weekend in Boston? 

I’m going to the Institute of Coaching, a Harvard Medical School affiliate for the fourth annualCoaching in Leadership and Healthcare conference. 

It promises to be both educational and interesting with some of the leaders in the coaching field leading discussions and facilitating workshops. Many also come from the field of positive psychology. People like Margaret Moore, Carol Kaufman, Bob Kegan and Richard Kogan. 

This is an annual conference designed for those in psychiatry, psychology, behavioral medicine, mental health clinicians, physical medicine & rehabilitation and coaches.And healthcare providers who want to add coaching to their repertoire of skills. Here’s a detailed itinerary.

While we know patients with diabetes are still failing, in droves, to adapt healthier lifestyle habits, coaching patients is beginning to be recognized as a key instrument and support to help patients improve their diabetes self-management. 

Of course I’m looking forward to the great seafood tonight as I’m meeting a friend on the waterfront by my hotel.

“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

Actors Paul and Mira Sorvino are diabetes co-stars

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Last Friday I went to the “Diabetes Cook-Off,” an event sponsored by SANOFI and hosted by father and daughter actor team, Paul and Mira Sorvino. The event was a pie competition. Two woman had sent in recipes for their healthy pies and they baked them up with the Sorvinos in NYC where a panel of judges awarded one the winner. (Recipe below) It was a generous event – all invited got to eat pie! 😉

But I was attracted to the SANOFI initiative Paul and Mira Sorvino are involved in, “Diabetes Co-Stars.” It’s awareness-raising around healthy eating and exercise, but also particularly, the importance of supporting a loved one who has diabetes. Paul was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes five years ago. 

I had the opportunity to interview the two actors for a few minutes after the event. (There will be a longer interview in November which I’ll post on the Huffington Post.) 

When I asked Paul Sorvino, “Why do you do this work?” he extolled the pleasure of helping others and gave me a great quote, “I wasn’t going to,” he said. “I was afraid it would hurt my career. But then I thought this is doing something good in two ways, educating others and it makes me more fearless to say, yes, I have diabetes.”

It turns out Mira didn’t even know her father had diabetes until he slumped over his plate during a family dinner. As for Mira, she said, “What can you give someone who’s given you everything, but sticking together through the hard times. It’s about family values.”

It was a lovely morning and all it took was one question to get these two sharing stories, recipes – now I know how Paul likes his salad – and I even have an invitation for dinner at the Sorvino’s should I ever be in L.A.  

But here’s the take-away. If you have diabetes, don’t go it alone. We all do better with support.