Be still my heart, T1D gets recognized

I know it’s been a while my friends. I’ve had a lot going on placing my mom in an assisted living community at the age of 92.

But my friend sent me this photo she took while driving down the road in North Carolina, “Spotted in Topsail Island North Carolina! We honked.”

Nice to be reminded we are not alone.

The Human Trial, a film about the sixth ever embryonic stem cell trial for T1D, out this week

Just got a note from Lisa Hepner, that the film is being shown on Facebook live today (Thursday), 5 pm PT, 8 pm ET. Also featuring an exclusive post-screening panel discussion with the filmmakers and participants.

The presentation of this film is free and accessible to audiences in the US and Canada.

Panel participants include (next time you join this panel !)

Lisa Hepner | Director, Producer

Greg Romero | Film Participant, Patient 2: University of Minnesota

Esther Krofah | Executive Director, Faster Cures, The Milken Institute

Alecia Wesner | Host, Healthy By Design Podcast, Diabetes Advocate

Moderated by Moira McCarthy | Author, Speaker, D-Mom

The Human Trial is a documentary by filmmakers Lisa Hepner, who has type 1 diabetes, and her husband, Guy Mossman. I know Lisa and I know how invested her heart has been in this film for the more than a decade she and Guy have been creating it.

The film follows a handful of people with diabetes who volunteer for a stem cell trial run by Viacyte to cure type 1. Along the way you realize what goes into a trial, the impact it has on those participating and whether or not we really can hope for a cure.

This week, it will be shown in these theaters across the country:

NADI is the natural low carb, low cal delicious drink you need to try

NADI Founder and CEO, Nina Tickaradze, with her kids

The NADI line of “juices” and apple chips is a family operation hiding in plain sight.

Let me start by saying I don’t drink juice and this NADI Wild Rosehip Original juice is not only delicious, but also nutritious, due to what’s in it – rosehips, water and stevia – and what isn’t, anything else.

Juice to me is medicine, 1/2 a glass if I’m having a low. And I don’t drink soda. Regular and diet are both too sweet. My beverages are mostly water, coffee, tea, wine and occasional hot cocoa I make myself.

So I was amazed when I fell in love with this drink. I tripped over it when it was spotlighted on the food and supplements website, Vitacost, only to be frustrated, after I tasted it, that I couldn’t get more. So I contacted NADI’s founder, Nina Tickaradze.

Nina told me they were waiting on more production. Meanwhile I invited her to share the story of how this juice came to be, part of that story includes a social enterprise that offers economic opportunities to refugees from Nina’s home country of Georgia.

All three NADI juices are available by the dozen on their website and you can also see if they’re available in individual bottles at shops near you.

Guest post by Nina Tickaradze, Founder & CEO of NADI

“One of the things many people with Type 1 diabetes miss is having fruit juices in their diets. Most fruit juices have a lot of sugar and carbohydrates, which can lead to unhealthy blood sugar spikes, fatigue and other problems.

Even so-called “healthy” juices that don’t contain added sugar still have high amounts of naturally occurring sugar from the fruits they are made from. As people with hypoglycemia know, one of the best instant fixes for low blood sugar is to drink some apple or orange juice because the sugar goes into their bloodstream almost immediately.

People with diabetes often avoid fruit juices and miss out on the healthy natural vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients that are in fruit juices. But NADI Wild Rosehip Original organic fruit juice is low in sugar and carbs so it is a perfect treat for anyone, including anyone with diabetes. It has ZERO sugar, only 2.46 grams of carbohydrates, and just 8 calories per 10-ounce bottle.

Our Wild Rosehip juice is the first and only USDA certified organic rosehip juice in the United States, and it’s made with just three ingredients — filtered water, wild grown organic rosehips that are handpicked, and a tiny bit of organic stevia to round out the flavor. The flavor is pleasantly tart and has dark fruit notes that are plummy and complex.

Rosehips are one of the best naturally occurring sources of Vitamin C, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and can have 20 to 40 times more Vitamin C by weight than citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. They’re also high in antioxidants, polyphenols, bioflavonoids, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, lycopene and many other nutrients.

For centuries, ancient healers used rosehips to promote heart health, blood circulation, soothe upset stomachs and promote wound healing, and there have been numerous clinical trials and studies by the U.S. National Institutes of Health that demonstrate broad benefits of rosehips and potential treatment applications for people who have diabetes, inflammatory disorders, arthritis, obesity and cancer. Rosehip oil is often used for wound and scar healing, and in face creams and lotions.

During World War II, government officials in the United Kingdom encouraged people to forage for wild rosehips and make tonics and syrups to prevent Vitamin C deficiency and scurvy during blockades that prevented fresh citrus from being imported. 

At NADI, we’re advocates for sustainable growing and harvesting techniques, which is why we use rosehips that grow wild and are hand-harvested from rose bushes that grow in the forests of the Caucasus Mountains in the country of Georgia.

NADI is also a social enterprise. We’re proud to create jobs and economic opportunities for refugees who have been displaced by war and had to leave their homes and all their possessions behind when they fled from regional violence. Every purchase of NADI helps refugees learn new skills, raise their families, rebuild their lives and plant the seeds for future generations.

About Nina:

Nina Tickaradze is the Founder & CEO of NADI, LLC, which makes NADI rosehip juices and Happy Hearts dried apple chips. She is originally from the country of Georgia, and immigrated to the state of Georgia in the United States when she was a teenager. In addition to raising her three children, working a day job at a professional services firm and growing NADI, Nina is also the founder of the nonprofit Georgia to Georgia Foundation that promotes cultural and business ties between the two Georgias and she helped establish the Atlanta-Tbilisi Sister City Committee.

Note: I am not being compensated to share this information.

Freestyle Libre version 3

While I use Dexcom G6 and am awaiting G7, hopefully by the end of the year, Freestyle Libre by Abbott is a very strong competitor, and its third iteration has just received FDA approval.

That means those who prefer Freestyle will soon have the world’s smallest, thinnest (pictured above) and very accurate glucose monitor that goes for 14 days. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Like Dexcom you can see your readings on a smart phone. Unlike Dexcom, which gives 5 minute readings, Freestyle shows readings every minute. It also claims to have a sub-8% MARD. All I really know is that means it’s pretty darn accurate. It also has alarms and an easy applicator.

At one third the price of competitors, I’d advocate getting one whether you have diabetes or not. I have found that when someone without diabetes wears a glucose monitor, they’re shocked to see how food and exercise affect their blood sugar.

The husband, who doesn’t have diabetes, when wearing my Dexcom for a week, couldn’t get over how his blood sugar rocketed after eating potatoes. This idea that people without diabetes have steady blood sugars all the time is just wrong.

If you want to know more, here’s the press release. Also here’s a review of Dexcom and Freestyle Libre 3 by my friend and expert Scott Strumello over at Scott’s Web Log where he examines diabetes issues in depth. Thank you Scott.

A new study regards healthcare and living long with T1D

Out to dinner with the husband. Notice the syringe and wine cork. Sort of says everything 😉

Day to day diabetes can have its own mind; certainly I recognize patterns, but sometimes I have no idea why my blood sugar is doing what it is doing.

I don’t really worry about this, I know enough to get through it, make a few guesses, ask my endo if necessary, and at some point it all settles down.

That said, I can tell you quite honestly, I do have some uneasy feelings about the future. At 68 years old now, how will it be when I’m 80? What will happen if I start losing my faculties?

So, I was delighted to discover there is a movement to shine a light on those of us living a long time with diabetes, particularly type 1.

The good news is we didn’t used to, so I guess I have to accept that, for now, as my blessing.

Here’s the study I just read about how healthcare can make it easier for us who live into our senior years with type 1 diabetes.

My blood sugar was 33 with no symptoms

After spending three weeks with my mom, packing up her apartment and moving her into assisted living, and spending the first night in her new place so she wouldn’t awake disoriented, I returned home. Tired, but knowing in my heart she was in the best possible place, the husband and I were ready to celebrate all that had been accomplished.

So we walked to our local Italian restaurant and sat outside in the glorious 70 degree sunshine for a delicious dinner. I had grilled swordfish with salad as my main. We shared two slices of bread with artichoke and parmesan cheese as a starter, and a cannoli with cheesecake filling as desert, and a bottle of vermentino wine, although he drank 3 glasses and me 2. My blood sugar was nicely around 100 mg/dl before starting the meal, so I took 2 units of Humalog, one for the bread and one for the dessert. I thought I probably needed more for desert, but I knew the wine would lower me a bit.

After dinner, we took a 10 minute walk home. An hour later my blood sugar had dropped to 41 mg/dl. I was wearing my Dexcom, but honestly I didn’t hear it because I had on my earphones watching a video on my iPad. And, I felt no symptoms of hypoglycemia. I am not surprised looking back now because I had a lot of lows over the past few weeks physically packing my mother’s apartment up, dragging furniture to the recycling plant and eating less than usual.

The husband came over to show me on his phone the drop. Over the next two hours, my blood sugar descended to 33 mg/dl before it started rising. I ate 3 glucose tablets, a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of preserves, some more stuff I no longer remember, and waited for what felt like forever before my blood sugar was at 98 mg/dl. That was around 11 pm and I went to sleep knowing it would likely rise a bit more, but I didn’t know how much so I didn’t do anything further.

When I awoke at 8 am, my blood sugar was 148 mg/dl. That was fine with me given what could have happened.

It was a mystery to me how 2 units of rapid acting insulin could have knocked me so far down, and how long it took for my blood sugar to rise. My only guesses are maybe my blood sugar was dropping before dinner, maybe the bread, not being dense but airy, only needs 1/2 unit. Maybe the cannoli, albeit sweet, didn’t have that much sugar. I’m also guessing the wine and the fat from the cheesecake filling in the cannoli delayed the rise in my blood sugar after I started treating it.

When I was at 33 mg/dl, the husband asked me if I wanted the baqsimi that has sat in my drawer for a year and I said, “no.” As long as I can chew and swallow I’d rather eat my way up. Was that smart? I have no idea, but I know the baqsimi would have brought me up to around 180 mg/dl and I didn’t want to have to contend with then fixing the high.

Fifty years with type 1 diabetes will never mean that every day isn’t a new day. Every day brings its own blood sugar ride. It was scary to watch the descent and scarier to wait so long for the ascent. It was scary I felt no symptoms. But I know I need to go now for a week or two without a low to regain those symptoms.

Still, I’m grateful that going this low is a very rare occurrence. This is just the fourth time in my life with diabetes it has happened. Every day is just another day with diabetes –– and no one and nothing is to blame.

Technological advances from presented at the ATTD international conference

I haven’t posted much lately as I’ve been busy helping move my mom into assisted living. If any of you have done this, or something similar, you know what it means and what it takes.

That said, I’m not going anywhere. This blog will continue.

Here’s an article from diaTribe, one of my favorite diabetes resources, of new technological advances presented at the Advanced Technologies & Treatments for Diabetes conference that just concluded in Barcelona, Spain.

PAHO/WHO global conference on NCDs and mental health conditions

This week I had the pleasure to participate as a speaker in the collaborative conference held by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and World Health Organization (WHO). This body has been, over the past year, working to create a framework to include the voice of people living with non-communicable diseases and mental health conditions as equal co-creators of policies, programs and principles. I am honored to be part of this esteemed group of professionals who are passionate, committed advocates of public health.

If you care to, you can watch the two day conference using the links below. The two days are a mix of very short presentations and groups working to come up with how to make this “meaningful engagement,” or inclusion of our voices, happen in the most productive and sustainable way:

Day one:

Day two: I I present for 5 minutes at 11:48)

The “Glucose Goddess” has 4 hacks for you

Two weeks ago I heard Jessie Inchauspe, who goes by the name “Glucose Goddess”, interviewed on the Dhru Purohit podcast. It’s podcast #90 released March 31st of this year. I found the content illuminating. I learned brown rice isn’t necessarily better than white regarding blood sugar rises, and eating your meal in a certain order, particularly not grabbing the bread first thing, can save you a glucose spike.

She also has an interview on YouTube, “How High Blood Sugar Wrecks Your Health.” Inchauspe is a biochemist and has long been studying the effect of food on our health. Of course it all began with her personal story of how she discovered what she ate as a teen was causing various conditions and a broken back at 19.

Much of her learning comes from wearing a CGM (as a person without diabetes) and seeing what food did to her blood sugar. When asked why a person without diabetes should bother about their glucose levels, Inchauspe says she discovered 80% of people with out diabetes do experience glucose spikes and crashes. Her motivation, she says, is to help people who don’t wear a CGM, most of the world, have more insight into how food affects their blood sugar and take actions to help avoid those spikes and crashes.

This morning the Goddess Inchauspe shares four hacks in the article, “Surprising Hacks To Balance Blood Sugar That Don’t involve Changing Your Diet,” in the journal “mindbodygreen.”

Here’s the gist, but I recommend reading the article to understand why. Inchauspe also has a book out, Glucose Revolution. I put it on hold at my local library, I think I’m number 37 on the list! Obviously lots of people want to know the details when it comes to what we eat and our blood sugar

4 Hacks

  1. Eat Your Meal in Order (as I mentioned above). “Science shows that if you eat the constituents of a meal in a specific order, you can reduce the glucose spike of the meal by 75%,” says Inchauspe.
  2. Put Clothes on Your Carbs. When eating carbs, eat them with some protein, fiber or fat to help lessen a blood sugar spike.
  3. Beware of Sneaky Spikers. For example, sweetened yogurts and rice cakes.
  4. Move your Muscles. It just takes 10 minutes of movement after a meal to steady the glucose rise.

If you’ve read my blog or articles you know I argue we can’t “control” blood sugar. That said, I’ll take every weapon in my arsenal to make it a little easier to work with.