ADA 74th Scientific Conference


The American Diabetes Association just held it’s 74th annual conferencein San Francisco.

16,000 medical professionals, patients, exhibitors and trade people attended. Of course I would have made 16, 001 but I was in Phoenix attending my peer-mentor annual conference, the A1C Champions.

So, while I wasn’t in San Fran, I’ve been following the research, science and encouraging shift highlighting patient voices posted on various web sites. 

Here’s are three if you want to catch up along with me:

Healio Endocrinology


Diabetes Mine

A bonding two days at Diabetes Sisters’ “Weekend for Women”

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About 100 women gathered for a full two days of bonding, learning, laughing and hanging out with fellow women with diabetes at Diabetes Sisters’ annual conference, “Weekend for Women.”

This was also the second year partners were invited, so I invited mine. He came and got to meet about 40 others who were learning more about their wife and girlfriend’s diabetes, to air their feelings and learn more about how to be supportive.

I led a workshop, “Ignite Your Diabetes Power” Saturday morning. The secret? Identifying your strengths, building emotional resilience, knowing how diabetes works and knowing the actions to take to work it for you. It was a great workshop with about 60 of our d-sisters in attendance. 

Saturday night I had a table full of sisters join me for dinner, including our guest host speaker, the irrepressible Mother Love. In fact, every time she passed me anywhere at the conference, her arms opened wide to embrace me and her warmth enveloped me. Her story of a family besieged with type 2 diabetes that has taken almost all her family members is tragic, while she has committed herself to helping others and getting the word out. 

Sunday some of us took a field trip to an organic farm while others took a tour of Novo Nordisk’s Clayton, NC facility where we saw how insulin gets packaged, stored, sent down the assembly line and on and on. It really makes you realize how carefully our medicine must be treated.

For me, it was in Brandy Barnes’, Diabetes Sisters’ founder, closing message that made me realize the absolute value of this weekend. There shouldn’t be any woman with diabetes out there alone. Brandy encouraged us to tell any woman we know with diabetes about the conference, bring her into the fold so she can gain strength and knowledge and community. Amen.

Diabetes Sisters will be offering their West Coast “Weekend for Women” conference October 4-6 in San Francisco. If you’ve never been, give yourself the weekend as a gift for all you do living with this disease.


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.

Back from the International Diabetes Federation World Congress in Dubai


The lovely David Edelman of (with a friend)

It’s been an amazing two and a half weeks. December 2nd I left New York for the International Diabetes Federation World Congress in Dubai. 

More than 15,000 attendees arrived for the conference and I reported its opening on the Huffington Post

In between running to press briefings I got to hang with a number of fellow diabetes bloggers and do a night on the Dubai-town. 

Pictured here are Cherise Shockley of Diabetes Social Media Advocacy, Elizabeth and David Edelman of and Manny Hernandez of Diabetes Hands Foundation and TuDiabetes.

Here is the Congress in pictures(and captions), thanks to my husband and newly minted press photographer.

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 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?

‘Friends for Life’ always delivers just that

The grand hall


Sponsored by Roche


Me and Kerri Sparling 


Tweeters abound


Canines detect hypo and hyperglycemia


Crystal Bowersox rocks


Entranced by Crystal 


Ironman Jay Hewitt



“Basal and Bolus aren’t Disney characters,” laughed Jeff Hitchcock gently chiding my husband. We were standing in the Disney Coronado Springs hotel on the last evening ofChildren With Diabetes’ (CWD) annual ‘Friends for Life’ (FFL) conference.

Each year Jeff Hitchcock, CWD’s founder and Laura Billetdeaux, who’s grown this haven for families who have children with type 1 diabetes (from 500 to 3,000 attendees) host a 4-day educational, recreational, Disneyworld-hopping and bonding event. And sure enough, kids go away with new friends for life. For the first time this year adults with type 1 diabetes were also invited and I’d bet they also made some new friends for life.

I was there to inspire parents and fellow patients through three presentations/workshops I gave, including one sponsored by Roche. I also love catching up with the friends and colleagues this unique event brings together every year.  

From my two workshops, “Flourishing with Diabetes” and “inspired Diabetes Self-Management” I collected Positive things about living with diabetes and Healthy habits and will post them later this week.

The event kicked off with the opening of the exhibition hall. No exhibition hall I’ve walked exudes more passion and unbridled joy than the one at FFL. Later that night, the tweeters were outside in full force lighting up the internet en masse. Among them were Scott Johnson,Kerri SparlingGeorge Simmons,Lee Ann ThillScott Strangeand the folks from Diabetes Advocates,which actually includes me.

The next morning I was on the roster early to talk about the mindsets we hold living with diabetes – coping and flourishing – and how to move more in the direction of flourishing. At the end of my workshop I met a new attendee, I want to say Becca, but forgive me if I got her name wrong. What I do remember is she’s one of the many dogs being trained to detect high and low blood sugars, how incredible!

I attended a few presentations in the afternoon and striding the long corridors filled with red-shirted ‘Friends for Life’ t-shirts, bumped into pump-trainer/CDE Gary Scheiner, J&J’s Paul Madden, TCOYD’s Bill King and family therapist, Joe Solowiejczyk.

Joe was utterly surprised on banquet night by a celebration in his honor – he reached 50 years living with diabetes this year. And as he said so touchingly in my “Flourishing” workshop, he was somehow holding onto the idea that at 50 years it would all be over, and was sorely disappointed to realize it wasn’t. When I heard him say this I thought, yes, I can well imagine feeling the same 11 years from now.  

Crystal Bowersox got the house rocking on the last evening playing guitar and singing on stage. Her introduction by DRI VP and dLife’s “Diabetes Dad” Tom Karlya, was not to be missed. Her music is rich and soulful and she was facile interacting with the kids all gathered at her feet. At 26 years old, she was a perfect young mascot for them. 

The conference closed with an inspiring speech by Jay Hewitt, type 1 Ironman Traithlon athlete. I will take away three things he said that resonate with me: “Turn the bad thing that happened to you (diabetes) into the best thing that’s happened to you. Each day work toward your personal finish line whether anyone’s looking or not, and failure is a part of succeeding. Don’t let it stop you.” While I think you’d have to be crazy to swim 2.4 miles in the ocean, bike 112 miles and then run 26 miles, (an Ironman triathlon) it’s all the more unbelievable that Jay does it again and again with type 1 diabetes.

The best way to share the event is in pictures of course, so here are a few of the hundred my oh-so-proud husband took. 

Here is also a salute to the roster of sponsors, and all who come every year, presenters and attendees, to learn, hug, laugh and draw strength and inspiration for the days in-between July’s annual FFL conference.

Thank you Jeff and Laura. Thanks also to Roche for sponsoring my presentation, “P is for Perfection and Knowing It’s Not The Goal.”

“Friends for Life” is no exaggeration, come join

Jeff Hitchcock, founder of Children with Diabetes


“Friends for Life” is the annual conference given by the largest online resource for families with type 1 diabetes – Children with Diabetes

This year’s conference is in Orlando, July 5-10th, and you should consider coming if you have a child with diabetes or if you are an adult with type 1 diabetes. Registration is open for 11 more days – till June 17th.

While for many years Children with Diabetes has been, and continues to be, the “go-to” online resource for parents and youngsters. And, Friends for Life, the “go-to” annual conference for parents and their children – this year there is something new – adults with type 1 diabetes are invited. That’s my group, and I can personally attest to the fact that as a type 1 adult I often feel invisible. But show up and you will feel as though everyone in the world has type 1 diabetes as you bump into pumpers and glucose testers at every turn – and that’s in the hallway and the lecture halls, not merely the Exhibition Hall!

Friends for Life was the second diabetes conference I ever attendedin 2007. It was amazing for me to walk into an environment of 2,500 people who were affected by type 1 diabetes.

This year I’m presenting two programs and one workshop on Thursday and Friday mornings: “Flourishing with Diabetes,” “iDSM: inspired Diabetes Self-Management” and a Roche-sponsored session, “P is for Perfection and Knowing It’s Not the Goal.” All will give you tools to better manage your diabetes, and be happier in the process. Here’s the impressive conference program schedule.

In some odd way I have always identified as a child with diabetes having gotten it at the peculiar age of 18; not yet an independently functioning adult, yet living away from home attending college and so bereft of everyday family support. 

What stands out to me about the support for type 1 diabetes is it was begun by parents. Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) was begun by parents who gathered to share their grief, questions and experiences about raising children with type 1 diabetes, and then began to advocate, and then created the most powerful type 1 research organization in the United States. JDRF remarkably dedicates $.85 cents of every $1 raised directly to research for a cure.

Children with Diabetes was started by a parent, Jeff Hitchcock, whose daughter Marissa got type 1 at 24 months. Searching in vain for information online about diabetes and children, frustration and purpose led him to start his own web site in 1995. In 2000 Laura Billetdeaux, whose son Sam got type 1 at eight years old, urged for an event that would bring families together so every year they pack their bags, as do thousands, and head to Orlando, Florida where Disney World is also on the conference agenda. 

And each year Laura is at the helm, with staff and volunteers, organizing the conference. This year I happen to know personally, that she does it with the organizational skills of a drill sergeant and the warmth of someone who has just become your new best friend. 

If you have a child with type 1 diabetes, you will find no other bonding experience and wealth of information like this. I know the same will be true for type 1 adults this year. Remember, you can register until June 17. 

As Jeff likes to quote Elliot Joslin, “The person with diabetes who knows the most lives the longest.” And, as Jeff and Laura prove every year, there is nothing like being in a place where you are understood and supported.

Upcoming speaking and travels

I’ve already blown it. I put the “Vacation Responder” setting on my outgoing emails last night and now everyone in my address book has gotten a message! Forgive me.

That said, this spot will go quiet for the next two weeks. 

Today I leave for Raleigh, North Carolina, weather permitting, to attend, and be the Saturday evening dinner speaker, at Diabetes Sisters’“Weekend for Women”. If you haven’t heard about it, check it out for next year. It’s just for us girls: 2 days of bonding, lectures geared toward diabetes and women, activities, great speakers and general diabetes care information. This year’s theme is “Celebrating our Strengths” and I’m delighted to be a part of it.

Then I’m off to Singapore where I’ll be addressing the endocrinology staff of Singapore University Hospital and medical students. Of course, I’m salivating  over the hot stone massage I hope my friend is booking. I had one there the last time I was in Singapore and I practically melted off the table. Of course that was after a ten-hour flight from Sydney. So, it promises to be doubly good after a 20-hour flight from NYC!

From Singapore I’m dropping down to Tokyo to visit friends. I lived there from 1986-1992 and I am always made to feel like an honorary guest when I return. And yes, for everyone who’s asked am I really going after all the destruction and earthquakes, I am. As I wrote on the Huffington Post, Tokyo is like a second home. Plus I have always figured when your number’s up, it’s up, and you can be anywhere.

I’d like to say I know exactly how to handle my insulin and blood sugar on these travels, but I’d like to say that; nothing could be further from the truth. I have no idea given the amount of time zones I’ll be crossing and jet lag and different foods I’ll be eating. And, I’ve never found any really good, clear information how to manage insulin while traveling. 

So I’ll use my usual method: test an annoying amount of times and keep adjusting till I seem to be on track.

So sayonara, be well and see you in a couple of weeks.



Diabetes Sisters’ “Weekend for Women”

UnknownDon’t miss out! April 29-May 1

Isn’t it time you gave yourself a pat on the back for all you do, more learning in a fun setting, and the joy of mixing with your ‘diabetes sisters?’ 

That’s exactly what’s waiting for you at the 2nd annual DiabetesSister’s (run by the powerful, gentle Brandy Barnes) “Weekend for Women”.

Friday evening April 29 to Sunday afternoon 1 PM, the conference takes place in Raleigh, North Carolina, a little hotbed of diabetes activity. 

The conference is open to gals-only (sorry guys) type 1 and type 2s and features sessions & workshops that deal with issues women care about: body image, pregnancy, spirit, strength, menopause, monitoring, cooking and moving,  relationships, sex and  self-acceptance. You’ll find quite an age range and people from around the country.

Gloria Loring, steamy song stylist from the ‘70’s, now mother of a child with diabetes and advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and  Ann Albright, a Director at Center for Disease Control, are key speakers. 

I’ll be conducting a “flourishing with diabetes” session Saturday night after our ‘Celebration of Strength’ dinner and many other experts are on board.

So come for a run, some fun and what most of us enjoy most of all, mingling with those who walk in our heels.

Here’s the agenda.  $100 covers the entire cost of the conference including meals. Registration is open to the first 200 registrants, but don’t delay.  Last year registration closed six weeks early, so make your booking now. Then come up to me at the event and say hello. 

The passing of Elizabeth Edwards

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 5.11.49 PMKeynote speaker at AADE, August 2008

I’ve been saddened by the passing of Elizabeth Edwards this week. Maybe it’s because I actually saw her just two years ago, she was the key speaker at the American Association of Diabetes Educator’s conference. 

Maybe it’s because she dealt with so much hardship and carried it all with such aplomb and peace, or so it looked to us.

I wrote a piece about my experience of her on the Huffington Post. Here’s the full story.