Giving a workshop at TCOYD on diabetic peripheral neuropathy

Kim Lyons, team mate, fitness expert and certified nutritionist

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Tips on living with diabetic peripheral neuropathy

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Arlene after leading a group of new snow-shoers

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OK, I think I’ve never, ever traveled this much but Friday – just as I’m getting on East Coast time back from Asia – I’m off to Albuquerque, New Mexico to talk at a Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD) event!

If you attend please do join Kim Lyons, fabulous fitness expert and former trainer on TV’s “The Biggest Loser,” and me at our workshop, “Take the Next Step: Get Motivated,” to learn more about painful Diabetes Peripheral Neuropathy (pDPN).

This diabetes complication results from nerve damage and causes burning, tingling, stabbing and throbbing pain most often in the feet and/or hands – or it can leave you without any sensation at all. At worst without feeling in your feet, you can injure your foot and not know it, which can lead to a foot ulcer and amputation. pDPN affects more than 20% of people with diabetes.

While pDPN can interfere with every day activities, sleep and being active, there is help – simple exercises, medication if necessary, and discussing how to treat the condition with your doctor. You’ll find more information here.

In our workshop I’ll be sharing stories of some amazing people who live a full and active life with pDPN – like Tom who rode 70 miles on his bicycle to celebrate his 70th birthday and retired schoolteacher, Arlene, an active DESA member, who’s climbed all 46 Adirondack peaks and leads hiking tours. Kim will demonstrate exercises that can help one live more comfortably with pDPN.

If you can’t make it to Albuquerque, you can find Kim’s exercise videos, management tips and guidance on how to speak with your doctor on the Take the Next Step web site.

If you miss this opportunity in Albuquerque, Kim and I will also be at TCOYD in Tampa, October 1 and San Diego, November 12th. We’d love to shake your hand if you attend. TCOYD events are a great one day health event all across the country for patients to learn more about taking care of their diabetes, and all for a very small fee.

I’m really excited to be part of this effort and hope to meet you somewhere along the way. “Take the Next Step: Get Motivated” was developed and supported through a collaboration with Pfizer Inc.

Transforming diabetes from pain into purpose

Internist Jeff Horacek

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Wellness coach Heather Clute

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I’ve had a hellish cold and cough these past few weeks and so little energy to post. So I thought this is a good opportunity to make you aware of something sitting quietly on my ‘Press page.’

I was invited back to the radio show,Transforming Diabetes to talk about some simple tools to help you flourish with diabetes. In other words, help you improve your management and create a life with diabetes that’s healthy, happy, productive and meaningful. 

Hosts M.D. Jeff Horacek and wellness counselor, Heather Clute, honored me as their first repeat guest – probably because we got so gabby on the first show there was still much to talk about. That included steps to living from a more flourishing place.

Dr. Horacek is an animal of a different stripe. He’s one of the most open, caring, active listening physicians I’ve had the pleasure to talk with. His deep concern for learning from, and helping, patients puts him in a class of his own.

Heather, who has had type 1 diabetes almost 15 years, and has an old soul to boot with a specialty in mindfulness, authentically understands the every day ups and downs of living with diabetes.

Check out the blog post and listen to the podcast. It’s a great way to rev up your energy and shift your outlook for the better in just 30 minutes. Then tool around the site and have a listen to any number of podcasts that may interest you. I’m in some very good company.

NYC’s “Pouring on the Pounds” campaign is a scare tactic

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I just wrote on the Huffington Postabout the public service announcement NYC’s Health Department is running. It ends tomorrow. 

If you live in the city you’ve probably seen it on TV or in a subway poster. The city is trying to get New Yorkers to give up their sugary sodas and other sugar-laced drinks in an attempt to cut down on obesity and diabetes. 

You’ll see in my article, while I don’t fault their intent, I take issue with their tactics – fear. And fear unfortunately does not motivate behavior change.

As if eliminating sweetened drinks isn’t enough, a week ago we learned we’re not even safe drinking diet soda. Diet soda has now been linked to greater risk of stroke and other heart problems. 

People who drank diet soda daily were 48% more likely to have a vascular event during the nine years in which they were followed. Well maybe we have a short reprieve as the study lead, Hannah Gardener, said the findings are “too preliminary to suggest any dietary advice.”

Then, two days ago on the morning news I heard the caramel coloring in sodas (and other products) may cause cancer. Get the picture? We’re all drinking at our own risk, unless you’re guzzling water. 

Of course my credo is to stick to foods mostly recognizable in nature and, as Michael Pollan says, ones where you can pronounce the ingredients. 

Leave your vote on HuffPost as to what you think.

Sharing insights on ‘Transforming Diabetes’

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I had the pleasure of beinginterviewed on a fantastic radio show coming out of Portland, Oregon by two deeply caring health professionals. 

Heather Clute, counselor, wellness coach, and a type 1 herself, and MD Jeff Horacek, were the hosts who teased out my story (not that it takes much teasing) of my 38 year journey with diabetes and what I’ve learned along the way to stay emotionally strong; rising to the challenge of managing diabetes and doing my best every day – well, most days 😉 O.K., we did discuss whether diabetes is a disease or a condition, and I said it “depends on the day.” 

I love the title of this radio show from Integrated Diabetes Care – ‘Transforming Diabetes.’ It’s what I’ve learned to do after many years of living with it; use it as a catalyst to stay healthy, appreciate what I have and help others, which gives me profound joy and satisfaction. 

My talk will give you some tools to stay strong and a lift. We’ll be doing a Part II specific to tools for “Flourishing with Diabetes,” living in that space where you make diabetes “a part of” your life not the “whole of it” and look forward, not backward, to creating your best life. I’ll be sure to post that when it’s done. 

After the podcast, check out the Show Archive too. You’ll find leaders in the field like Susan Guzman from Behavioral Diabetes Institute and topics as diverse as overcoming depression, Robert Keegan’s work on investigating assumptions, reversing type 2 diabetes, mindfulness meditation, holiday eating and more. 

 

New education for insulin users

Insulin University Opens

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Gary Scheiner, CDE, exercise physiologist, author of 4 books and a type 1 himself for over 20 years, has accomplished one of his dreams – which may also be a dream for you: an online course to achieve optimal control of your diabetes if you use insulin. This is an education you won’t find anywhere else.

Gary asked me to share this with you and I do so with pleasure:

I am proud to announce the opening of Type-1 University: the online school of higher learning for people who use insulin.

Type-1 University (T1U) features a series of courses for those using intensive insulin therapy (pumps or multiple daily injections).  Each 40-60 minute course is available live (via webex).  Pre-recorded versions will be available soon after each live program.  The courses include a powerpoint-style presentation with accompanying audio and video of the presenter, along with an opportunity to post questions. 

Current course topics include:

·                     Mastering Pump Therapy

·                     Advanced Carb Counting

·                     Blood Glucose Control During Sports & Exercise

·                     Weight Loss for Insulin Users

·                     Getting the Most from Your Continous Glucose Monitor

·                     Strike The Spike:  After-Meal Glucose Control

·                     Hypoglycemia Prevention and Management

·                     Fine-Tuning Basal Insulin

Please visit www.type1university.com for more information or to enroll for an upcoming class.  

Thanks, and Happy Holidays to you and your family.

– Gary Scheiner MS, CDE

“Dean” of Type-1 University

Owner & Clinical Director

Integrated Diabetes Services

333 E. Lancaster Ave., Suite 204

Wynnewood, PA  19096

Toll-free:  (877) 735-3648

Please tell anyone else you know whom you think might benefit. It’s a great way to begin the new year.

5 Top Diabetes Myths Debunked

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Now that the holidays are fully upon us – I know because I can’t seem to stop eating – here’s a perfect gift for yourself or a loved one with diabetes: my book, “50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life and the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It.”

Sure I’m being self-promoting, but I wrote the book so you would benefit. Having the latest, accurate information, recommendations from top diabetes experts, tips and tools, along with my story how I’ve become successful managing my diabetes, and other patients’, is worth gold, let alone $10 in paperback on Amazon. Also available on e-readers.  

Oprah says, “You do better when you know better” and I agree. If you feel in the dark about managing your diabetes, get 5 myths debunked right now in my Huffington Post post

Then go for the whole 50. The book is easy to read and getting all the information you need through dispelling myths is a simple, memorable and fun way to start doing better. I guarantee you’re sure to find a few ahas that will make a huge difference in what you do taking care of your diabetes. Really, or I’ll eat this page.

TCOYD sets patients up for success

A1cs go from 12% down to 7%

I’m piggybacking today off of Amy Tenderich’s blog post over at DiabetesMine, Inside TCOYD’s Extreme Diabetes Makeover ‘Reality Series.’ The reason being I found watching this trailer of Taking Control of Your Diabetes’ extreme makeover program, extremely moving. 

It highlights some of what 7 patients discover getting control over their diabetes. On Amy’s blog you’ll find more about what the patients had to say and some advice for your own makeover from professionals like psychologist, Dr. William Polonsky.

While I have sculpted my routine to support my diabetes management, watching people at the beginning of their journey – maybe not at the beginning of their diagnosis, but the beginning of getting on track –  finding the strength within to do what’s necessary with the support of a professional diabetes team, and their patient-teammates, it touched my heart to see their success. I trust it will touch yours too and inspire you if you need to get on track. 

The full series of makeover episodes is on the TCOYD Extreme diabetes Makeover site. Take time while you’re there to also see if a TCOYD health day is coming to your local area next year.

(Double clicking on the video will let you see it larger on YouTube.) 

Don’t let fear and worry steal from you

I want to tell you something it took my mother roughly 70 years to learn: Fear and worry can be giant stalkers and thieves. I grew up with a mom whose two primary emotions were fear and worry. Admittedly, there are times these can save a life. But usually they steal from your life. Fear and worry for decades have colored how my mother sees and interacts with the world, “Take a hat or you’ll get sick!,” “Let’s go now (2 hours early), there’ll be traffic!,” “No, I’m not going. They only invited me because they were being polite.” These are not life-savers, they are life-stealers.

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My mother’s automatic response to most situations is: “You shouldn’t X, because Y will happen and Y will be terrible!”  Fear and worry affect her decisions and expectations of others and the world. It is a heavy load to bear when fear and worry are what you hold most close, simultaneously creating comfort, distress and so much limitation. 

I’ve pointed this out to my mother for years, since I was a teenager actually. She is wholly aware and agrees, but knowing and doing something to change are two different things. When she imposes her fear and worry on me, I stop her as quickly as I can. Sometimes graciously, sometimes not so much. She has learned at these times to back off. It is self-protection for me: I don’t want to absorb her negativity. I love my mother and I know after years of trying, I will not change her and I don’t want her outlook to change me. Funny thing is if you met my mother you would think she is lovely, warm and personable, and perfectly normal, all of which she is. And she harbors these demons.

I have seen these emotions narrow my mother’s world and opportunities, like the friends not made because “They don’t really want me” and the job offered not taken because, “I won’t do it properly” when hands down she would do it better than anyone. I’ve been ruminating about this because I recently read a quote that captured these thoughts so well and reminded me how easy it is to nurture fear and worry living with diabetes:

“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” Cornelia (Corrie) ten Boom.

So succinct, so profound, so true. I shared this quote with a group of patients I presented to a few weeks ago in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. If you spend time worrying about the future, complications or premature death, you will not change anything except probably feel worse than you already do. However, if you take that same investment of time and energy to do something productive and useful – like learning how to and eating healthier, being more active, going to the doctor and spending more time doing what you enjoy, you will change everything.

 

Corrie Boom was an interesting woman – the first licensed female watchmaker in The Netherlands who after WWII became a preacher traveling the world preaching forgiveness. During the war Corrie worked with the Dutch underground recusing Jews, until in 1944 her entire family was arrested and sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. When released from the camp – due to a clerical error, otherwise she would have died there like her sister – Corrie returned to the Netherlands and opened rehabilitation centers. Soon after she went back to Germany where she began preaching, bringing her Christian beliefs about the power of forgiveness to over 60 countries. In her post-war experience talking with other Nazi victims, she discovered that those who were able to forgive were best able to rebuild their lives.

 

There is more and more literature coming out about the power of positive emotions, which I believe just as strongly as I believe negative emotions are disempowering. While fear and worry provide the comfort of feeling like you’re doing something, in actuality all you’re doing is using up time and energy that can be put to actually improving something. 

 

My mother’s turning 80 this January and in many ways she is recapturing much of the life she gave away. While fear and worry are still fond friends, she has found a way to turn her head away a good deal more often now and see them as the thieves that they are. 

 

Revving up for Diabetes Day, November 14

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This is my last post for a few weeks and so I wanted to leave you with some interesting things to check out and do while I’m gone. And, remind you to come back the end of this month to hear about where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. Meanwhile,  as we rev up to November’s Diabetes Month, here are some great ways to start your learning curve now.

 

1. Check out World Diabetes Day, the new web site Manny Hernandez, founder of TuDiabetesand David Edelman, co-founder with his wife of Diabetes Daily, have created. The site brings greater awareness to diabetes in general and things you can do to be a part of diabetes day, November 14, and spread the word. You’ll find lots of news and lots to read, including blogsfrom an assortment of bloggers, including three from me that will show up throughout the month. 

 

2. If you’re new to my blog or come sporadically, you might want to read some past posts. Most are timeless since you may have noticed I tend to write about the emotional experience of living with diabetes and how to reframe diabetes, using it as a catalyst to create more health and happiness. 

 

3. You can listen to my recent podcast on the Diabetes PowerShow. A lively discussion between me and the show’s four passionate hosts about diabetes myths and the emotional resilience needed to live with diabetes, and how to create it. Also available on iTunes.

 

4. Do your homework, but I promise I won’t collect it. Pay attention over this next month to what you do well in your diabetes care and appreciate your efforts in some tangible way, whether buying yourself a little something or just giving yourself a pat on the back. Also, pay attention to what you could do better and figure out one simple step you are willing and able to take that will help you do better. Take it, look for improvement and write down your improvement. Then go back and buy yourself a little something or give yourself a pat on the back to commend your efforts. 

 

I’ll see you in late October after I return from the International Diabetes Federation conference in Montreal. Hopefully I’ll be a little more educated and so will you.

Knowledge is powerful medicine

Expected release, July 2009

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It just amazes me. This very afternoon, not three hours and 46 minutes ago I turned in my manuscript for the book I’ve been writing this year–and it’s already posted on Amazon! Did you miss that? Already posted on Amazon–with a publication date of July, 2009. What can I say. Sometimes the world goes just a bit too fast for me.

I finished my book this afternoon writing a Postscript at the very end that I could only write after reading through the 300 pages I’ve scribed with a clear, objective and fresh editor’s eye. I’ll share part of it with you here:

“As I look back over writing this book: talking with top diabetes experts, conducting my research and having so many fellow patients share with me their personal story, I have learned two things. The first is that having correct information and practical knowledge is a prerequisite for living a healthy life with diabetes. The second is that you have to believe it’s worth the effort to take good care of yourself, and your diabetes, to have that life: one that’s not only healthy, but happy, productive, fluid and fulfilling. 

While it takes a bit of work, when you become the “expert” on your life, and your diabetes, you win the prize—the ability to live a more simple and ordinary life, just like anyone else.”

That is the prize, I have realized, to live a simple life and enjoy all its pleasures without always feeling like you’re carrying a monkey on your back. 

So, look for 50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life: And the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It next summer. I do believe it will be a break away hit, maybe not a summer beach read, but surely one of the best books out there to separate fact from fiction and appeal to your curiosity. And besides, it’s chock full of stories from fellow patients, including me.