Happy Valentine’s Day Type 3s! Happy Valentine’s Day Type 3s!


Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone, and especially to our Type 3s – partners and spouses who live with our diabetes – and yet get none of the credit. 

I can only imagine it must be like sitting in the passenger seat of a car wanting to grab the wheel when you see your mate start driving into an embankment or veer off toward the shoulder – feeling powerless and helpless to course correct – and weighing when do you hover, anticipate, plead, get upset or just stand lovingly by. 

So today I’m saluting you, our loved ones who keep loving us with diabetes and who watch over and support us. 

I also want you to know there is a group function just for male Type 3s to come together and share their feelings and frustrations, perhaps see what we live with a little more clearly and learn how to lovingly help in our disease management. 

Diabetes Sisters’ annual “Weekend for Women” conference – May 3-May 5 in Raleigh, North Carolina – offers a parallel track at the conference for male Type 3s called “Partner’s Perspective Program.” It’s for partners, spouses and significant others of we women attending the conference.Brandy Barnes, founder of Diabetes Sisters’, and her very loving husband Chris, saw the need and how such a program would benefit both our men and ourselves. 

From the male viewpoint Chris says, “As partners of women with diabetes, we really do want to better understand their disease and how to best support them so that they can live full lives with diabetes for many years to come.  The success of last year’s program illustrated that this valuable program is filling a large void that has been overlooked for many years.”

The Partner’s Perspective Program kicks off on Friday night from 6-10pm with a fun, relaxing social event.  Saturday morning commences with Partners Perspective attendees walking through historic downtown Raleigh, NC in the Diabetes Awareness Walk to support their partners with diabetes publicly. 10am-5pm partners participate in separate education/breakout sessions  chock full of educational information about diabetes to help them better understand and support their partner. There will be lots of “how to” discussions from leading experts who understand the physical and mental challenges faced by women with diabetes. Then, partners join their loved ones for a celebratory lunch and watch their spouse/loved one be publicly recognized for the number of years she has lived with diabetes. Sunday, partners will join back together again for a fun social activity in downtown Raleigh, NC.  

“Weekend for Women” runs May 3-May 5 in Raleigh, North Carolina. I’ll be there, among many experts, leading a workshop on how to “Ignite Your Diabetes-Power.” Join us and make it an event you can go to with your partner and both go home and talk about. Register here

When I told my husband, now of 11 years, shortly before the wedding, “Maybe you want to think twice about this. You know life with a diabetic will be uncertain…” he didn’t miss a beat. “I’m with you and you’re with me,” he said, and he’s been saying it ever since.

The abcs of helping patients

Yesterday I had the great pleasure to deliver 50 of my TheABCs of Loving Yourself with Diabetes books to Dr. Gerald Bernstein at the Friedman Diabetes Institute, a free diabetes resource/learning center in Manhattan, and part of Beth Israel Hospital. Dr. Bernstein, Director of the Diabetes Management Program at the Institute, pioneered a major diabetes center in the 90’s in NYC that was eliminated with almost all the others due to financial woes.

Today Dr. Bernstein, Dr. Leeny Poretsky, Director of the Institute, and attending staff, have created a dynamite educational resource above the city’s clamor, where patients can avail themselves of exercise instruction, nutritional guidance, a dietician, educational classes, support and more, to better manage their diabetes. Did I say it’s free?

Bernstein’s Novo Nordisk rep, Stacy Kilkenny, was the little angel who ordered my books for the clinic as Dr. Bernstein wants to use them as an incentive, and reward, to motivate and celebrate patient’s efforts and successes. What an incredible way to think! Bernstein’s other passion, that he showed me, is an oral insulin dispenser that he’s working on with a biotech company; it’s now in trials. It works similarly to an asthma inhaler and, thankfully, is the same handy size too. It sprays a mist of insulin onto your inner cheek, the sprayed insulin is directly absorbed into your bloodstream and working within 5 minutes, it’s also out of your system within 2 hours helping to avoid hypoglycemia. The prototype has already been approved in Equador, so exciting things to come. 

My heartfelt thanks go out to Dr. Bernstein and Stacy, and everyone else at the Friedman Institute, and my hope is that if you are in a similar position to use this book to motivate and reward patients’ efforts, you might just do the same – and don’t forget your purchase makes a donation to Diabetes Research Institute, one of the premier research institutes seeking a cure for diabetes. 

A friend, an injection and lots of laughs


I’ve interviewed more than 100 people who have diabetes in the past two years. At first I found my subjects just by asking friends if they knew someone with diabetes. Before long, I discovered everyone knows someone with diabetes.

I also went to two support groups for the first time. At Divabetics, here in New York City, I met Phyllis. I liked her right away. As we went around the room giving our two minute introduction she said, “I got juvenile diabetes at 58, now go figure!” I loved  her spunk and sense of humor. 

Yet below the kidding, she was having a tough time. A few years with diabetes, she was confused, carb counting was hard and she was more than annoyed with the difficulty regulating her blood sugar. And Phyllis was working hard at putting all the pieces together: visits to her doctor and educator, reading web sites, talking to others. Sometimes the pieces don’t interlock the way we expect. Case in point: several months ago three of usDiva-betics spent a weekend at Phyllis’s country house. It was an unintended, non-stop, Diabetes 101 workshop. “What’s your blood sugar?” “98,” “You’re kidding, we ate the same lunch how could I be 250!” “You’re kidding, you only need 1/2 a unit for that bowl of cereal?” “Let’s go take a walk, my sugar’s 198 and I want to get it down.” “No way, I think I’m going low. S__t, 45! Where’s the candy?” It was like a version of that old TV show with Beatrice Arthur, Betty White and Rue McClanahan, only ours would be called, ‘The Diabetic Girls.’ Maybe that will be us in our golden years.

But then I think it’s better to enjoy our golden years now, in a stream of golden days. So last week Phyllis and I gathered to celebrate my birthday and her fifth year anniversary living with diabetes. It was she who merrily made the suggestion. Today Phyllis not only talks intelligently about carb counting, Smylin, pumping, etc, she’s one of the women-behind-the-man at Divabetics, and she’s helping others newly diagnosed get their hands around managing diabetes. Next week she’s accompanying a “newbie” to coach her through her doctor visit.

Living with diabetes is a process. You don’t wake up one day and know it all. Gosh knows, I didn’t. But you could wake up one morning and “get it.” In other words, see there is a gift in having diabetes. The road to there though will come with much learning, trial and error, bumping into yourself, your mistakes, lucky accidents, big-headedness, empty-headedness, and all the teachers out there who have proceeded you. Then 1 year later, 5 years, 10 or 20 years later, you’re the veteran helping someone else. You have shed your old skin, transformed into a newer you, and discovered part of the secret living with diabetes is making every day as golden as it can be.

Were we celebrating having diabetes? No. But we can all celebrate having the courage and humor to responsibly make diabetes part of our lives and enjoy the  things, other than the tsouris (stress), that diabetes brings into our lives. Like a new friend with a really wicked tongue.

So that’s the book I gave Phyllis, (photo) a compilation of personal stories from Diabetes Forecast magazine. Just some light reading for the bus. Meanwhile Phyllis gave me two hours of laughs, kinship and our birthday/anniversary lunch.