Always an Optimist

Banner_DBlog Week

Today’s Topic:  May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and / or your loved one, and how do you cope?

 

Laddie_Head SquareI don’t carry a lot of emotional baggage with my diabetes.  I knew very little about diabetes when I was diagnosed as a young adult in 1976 and I didn’t know that I should be sad, mad, or depressed. Both of my parents had issues with depression and for whatever reason, I have been spared that journey into darkness.

I began my diabetes life before home glucose monitoring was available and my insulin regimen was one shot a day of Lente. I followed doctor’s orders when it came to testing my urine and taking my insulin. I wasn’t perfect when it came to my exchange diet, but I followed the diet plan more often than not. Diabetes wasn’t filled with too much guilt and I had no expectation of perfect control. In some ways I was also very naive. It was never part of my mental make-up that I even had diabetes. To this day my self-conception is that I am active and healthy and that whatever the stereotypes and realities of diabetes are, that’s not me. A phrase in the songs of several artists (The Band, Good ShapeCasey Shea, Harlan Howard, and more) fits me perfectly:  “I’m in pretty good shape for the shape I’m in.”  Stupid for sure, but it helps keep mental demons at bay.

Lest you think that I am all smiley-face and Pollyanna about diabetes, I find it to be an incredibly frustrating and mind-tangling condition to live with. Most of the time my blood sugar responds in a somewhat expected fashion. Things aren’t perfect, but the tracings on my Dexcom are familiar and not totally from Mars. Then days like yesterday. My BG started climbing after my morning walk when usually it stays level or trends low. Multiple corrections and a lunch of only 18g carbs rocketed my numbers high and higher. It was the day to change my infusion set and two changes later (the first one hurt), nothing improved. Boatloads of insulin finally brought things down just in time for dinner. Stir-fried chicken and vegetables (no rice!) re-launched my BG to the stratosphere.

Most people who know me think that I am incredibly disciplined and rarely veer off the path of lowish-carb good nutrition. Ha! Not so! A “good diabetic” would have spent the evening drinking oodles of water and avoiding the snack cupboard. Unfortunately my most common reaction to unexplained and “undeserved” highs is to say “What the heck!” and start gorging on crackers, cookies, and ice cream. Add another glass of wine to the mix and moderation is banished.

Frustration with diabetes. Disappointment in my lack of willpower. Guilt for sure. A night of Dexcom squawks. A recipe for mental anguish and depression.

But morning comes. And just as I have on each of the 13,693 days since I was diagnosed with diabetes, I get up and resolve to do a better job today. Another day filled with diabetes, but a new day nonetheless.

A Diabetes Poem

Abby with Abby Crown_no backgroundToday’s Topic:  This year, Diabetes Blog Week and TuDiabetes are teaming up to bring out the poet in you! Write a poem, rhyme, ballad, haiku, or any other form of poetry about diabetes. After you’ve posted it on your blog, share it on the No Sugar Added® Poetry page on TuDiabetes, and read what others have shared there as well!

Thanks to Abby the Black Lab who has taken time off from her busy day of napping to share some thoughts about diabetes.

 

 A Diabetes Poem by Abby the Black Lab

I don’t know fancy poetry,
But I do know how to rhyme.
Diabetes is a pain-in-the-butt
All of the time.

I’m not a smart alert dog.
I don’t smell lows or highs.
But I do wish that diabetes
Would take a big good-bye.

At eighty pounds I’m big and black
And always need a hug.
I’m just a big old lapdog
And cuddly like Lancet the Pug.

It’s true that I am just a dog.
Dog biscuits make me drool.
I am so glad to not count carbs
Diabetes is so cruel.

I’m starting to get old and stiff.
My joints are getting sore.
It’s sad to know that one gray day
DSMA walks will be no more.

Glucose meters come and go.
Diabetes seems to stay.
It’s faithful like a big black dog
And never goes away.

If I could bark and scare away
Type 1 and Type 2 likewise.
I’d ask for heaping bowls of food
And not the Nobel Prize.

So diabetes, please be cured
And don’t come back another day.
You’re not a friend like cats and dogs,
That’s all I have to say.

Banner_DBlog Week

Change the World

This is my first time participating in Diabetes Blog Week and I am overwhelmed at the idea of publishing a blogpost every day for seven days.  I usually take a long time (too much time!) to write each blogpost and that just won’t be possible in this scenario.  At least I had access to the topics a week ahead so that I could get a head start thinking and writing and thinking more and writing more and thinking a lot more and ….  Well, you get the picture.  Thanks to Karen Graffeo of Bitter~Sweet™ for being the brains behind this project and organizing it for the fifth year.

 

Banner_DBlog Week

Today’s Topic:  Let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by talking about the diabetes causes and issues that really get us fired up. Are you passionate about 504 plans and school safety? Do diabetes misconceptions irk you? Do you fight for CGM coverage for Medicare patients, SDP funding, or test strip accuracy? Do you work hard at creating diabetes connections and bringing support? Whether or not you “formally” advocate for any cause, share the issues that are important to you.

 

Laddie_Head SquareAs I looked at the topics for this week, today’s subject is the hardest one for me to write about.  In recent months, discussions about advocacy have been everywhere.  In some ways I think I’ve already said it all.  And if I haven’t said it, for sure someone else has.  Unfortunately just because we’ve talked about issues over and over again doesn’t mean that the problems have been solved and we no longer need to think about them.  No, the problems are still here and we need to keep bringing them back to the forefront.

I think that there is an umbrella under which all of my advocacy concerns about diabetes fit.  I strongly believe that everyone with diabetes needs access to proper care and supplies.  That can mean a lot of different things.  I participated in the Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign in February.  That was and is the nitty-gritty of needing proper care and supplies.  Many children diagnosed with diabetes in developing nations have almost no access to education and insulin.  Every donation to the campaign made a huge impact because a child who had absolutely nothing was given the gift of life.

Although insulin and diabetes supplies are more readily available in the United States than in developing countries, I would still argue that many people in our country are not getting proper care for their diabetes.  Every person who is told that she has a “little bit of diabetes” and then sent home without education and test strips is not getting proper care.  Every adult with crazy high blood sugar who is handed pills without any consideration that he might have Type 1 instead of Type 2 diabetes is not getting proper care.  Every child who has the flu-like symptoms of diabetes at the pediatrician’s office and doesn’t get a routine blood glucose test is not getting proper care. Unfortunately these stories happen every day.  Too many people with Type 2 diabetes are only diagnosed once complications have set in.  Too many people with Type 1 diabetes are simply handed Metformin when their bodies are screaming for insulin.  Too many children end up in the ICU with DKA or even die when a simple fingerstick at the pediatrician’s office might have diagnosed diabetes.

My co-blogger Sue from Pennsylvania has written extensively about the struggle to have Medicare cover the cost of a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) for her Type 1 husband.  What was considered proper care for him when he was 64 years old is now considered “precautionary” and being denied now that he is 65.  In addition, Sue’s husband and many other pump-users on Medicare are increasingly having problems finding vendors to provide their insulin under Part B because Medicare’s outdated reimbursement rates are less than the vendor’s cost to purchase the insulin.  Medicare coverage needs to reflect current standards of care for diabetes and its reimbursement rates need to cover current costs for things such as insulin. Without those changes, many seniors with diabetes will continue to struggle to access the diabetes supplies and medications that keep them healthy and safe.

As someone who is living with Type 1 diabetes and getting older, I increasingly worry about receiving proper care once I am no longer able to care for myself.  Whether it is a short hospitalization or a permanent move to a nursing home, I need my caretakers to understand the differences between the types of diabetes and treat me appropriately.  I have been “privileged” to have good insurance throughout my diabetes life, but no amount Umbrella of Concernsof privelege will protect me from a potentially lethal injection of insulin based on a Type 2 sliding scale.  Proper care isn’t a sometimes thing.  It needs to be an everyday thing for every individual with any type of diabetes.

Proper care and access to supplies and medications.  That’s a gigantic umbrella over a huge number of issues for people with diabetes.  Until children in developing countries have reliable access to insulin, until people with Type 2 diabetes are diagnosed before complications have set in, until Medicare recipients with hypoglycemia unawareness have access to CGMS, until no child has to die of undiagnosed diabetes, until….

Until everyone with diabetes receives proper care and access to needed supplies and medications, our job is not done.

IF ONLY

Sue B_Head SquareFor the past few months, I’ve been working on Level 4 of the Medicare appeal for my husband’s CGM. It finally went in the mail to the Medicare Appeals Council (MAC) at the beginning of April but I needed a few weeks to clear my brain after weeks of trying to get this appeal in order. Fortunately, for this level, I was able to find an attorney who drafted the appeal. There was a lot of back and forth to get it right and I was thrilled with the end results. The argument is that Medicare’s regulations clearly indicate that blood glucose monitors are covered if (1) the patient has diabetes; (2) the patient has been trained in how to use the device and is capable of the same; and (3) the device is designed for home rather then clinical use.  Included in the appeal letter were 130 pages of attachments displaying that CGMs are recognized as the standard of care for brittle diabetics not only within the United States, but internationally. I have been told that the wait to hear from the MAC can be anywhere between three to six months but our attorney has indicated that if the wait is longer then three months, we’re going to escalate it to District Court. Future blogs will keep you informed of what’s happening.

But now onto an interesting article that was recently in the Tampa Bay Times. The headline was “Low blood sugar cited in death of prominent community leader’s husband after Tampa police traffic stop.” If you would like to read the entire article, you can follow this link.

To give you a synopsis of the article, Officer Anthony Portman received calls of an erratic driver who was swerving onto the sidewalk and into a stop sign. When Officer Portman arrived at the scene and asked the driver, Arthur Green Jr. 63, to hand over the keys, Mr. Green became combative. Officer Portman called for backup and then called for Tampa Fire Rescue to send medics. When Cpl. Matt Smith, the backup officer arrived, he indicated that he had seen diabetic incidents before and suspected that this what Mr. Green was having, but because Mr. Green was resistant, the officers restrained him with handcuffs. At that point, Mr. Green stopped breathing. The officers attempted to give Mr. Green CPR but when the Fire Rescue arrived at the scene, Mr. Green had no pulse. He was transported to St. Joseph’s and after 19 minutes of trying to resuscitate Mr. Green, he was pronounced dead. He had a blood sugar of 29.

A few days after receiving the article, Laddie, my fellow blogger, sent me an email and asked what I thought about the incident. Both Laddie and I agreed that we had no idea of what Mr. Green’s diabetes history was. In pulling up whatever information I could about this incident, I do know that Mr. Green was not wearing a medical bracelet. There is no mention in any of the articles that I’ve read that Mr. Green had a CGM so I am assuming that he did not have one. The main issue of most of my blog posts is Medicare and their denial of coverage for the CGM. Mr. Green does not seem to fit in with this since he was 63 years of age and unless he was on Social Security Disability, he obviously wasn’t on Medicare.

Tampa StoryAfter thinking about this situation for a few days, I decided that the broader issue is that this man died because he didn’t have a CGM. Had he had one, he would have been alerted of his falling blood sugar in enough time to make a correction to get his blood sugar elevated. The reason why he didn’t have one isn’t the important part of the story.   It’s the fact that he didn’t have one. It proves the point that the CGM is a lifesaving device and that anyone, whether young or old, on Medicare or not, could be saved from a preventable death with the use of this device.

This could have been my husband. He’s had quite a few incidents where the same thing could have happened to him as happened to Arthur Green Jr. Call it luck or a higher power. My husband has been fortunate enough to have been stopped by officers who recognized immediately that he had a medical problem (he does wear a medical alert bracelet) and notified EMS quickly enough for them to get to the scene and administer glucagon (a hormone that stimulates your liver to release stored glucose into your bloodstream.  It is used as medication to treat someone with diabetes that has become unconscious from a severe insulin reaction). He does not have a CGM presently. This has been what our 1 ½ year long appeal has been about.

Entertainment people always say that any press is good press whether it’s positive or negative. So in this instance, The Tampa Bay Times calling attention to the unnecessary death of Arthur Green Jr., as sad as this death is, calls attention to the fact that this can happen to any diabetic at any time. If only Medicare would be aware of this incident and understand that those people who are asking for coverage for their CGM are not doing it because they want another piece of equipment to attach to their bodies. They just want to assure themselves that they are safe and able to keep others safe as well.

It’s so difficult to understand why Medicare just doesn’t get it.  IF ONLY they did.

 

Diabetes Cookbooks: A First Time for Everything

IN JANUARY I SAW A REQUEST FROM THE BOOK DEPARTMENT OF THE AMERICAN DIABETES ASSOCIATION FOR BLOGGERS WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN READING AND REVIEWING BOOKS. AS SOMEONE WHO ENJOYS READING AND IS ALWAYS LOOKING FOR BLOG TOPICS, I JUMPED AT THE OPPORTUNITY.  RATHER THAN BEING ASSIGNED A BOOK, I WAS ABLE TO SELECT THE BOOK(S) I WANTED TO REVIEW.  I DECIDED THAT I WOULD OPT FOR BOOKS THAT WERE A BIT OUTSIDE MY COMFORT ZONE: BOOKS THAT RIGHTLY OR WRONGLY I MIGHT NOT NORMALLY READ.  THE BOOKS THAT I CHOSE WERE PROVIDED TO ME FREE-OF-CHARGE, BUT MY REVIEWS, AS ALWAYS, ARE MY OWN OPINIONS.

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Laddie_Head SquareTwo weeks ago I was having a glass of wine with some girlfriends and one of them asked: “When was the last time that you did something for the first time?” I did not have to think for very long to come up with an answer.

The one thing that I have done in recent weeks that was a first time experience for me was to use a diabetes cookbook.  Actually not just one cookbook, but two.  I have had diabetes for 37 years and until recently, I have never owned nor used a cookbook that was intended for people with diabetes.  I may have cut out a few recipes from magazines like Diabetes Forecast or Diabetes Health, but I don’t think I ever fixed any of them.

You might wonder whether I have anything against diabetes cookbooks.  I don’t think so. In general I’m not very interested in cookbooks and most of the cookbooks I own were gifts or purchased to support a fund-raising project. I don’t like to cook and I keep waiting for my husband to have a mid-life crisis and decide that he would like to be a chef. Unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be on his agenda.  My guess is that newly-diagnosed diabetics are a big market for cookbooks, but when I was diagnosed in the 1970’s, I wasn’t carb counting and didn’t need the nutritional analysis that is now contained in diabetes cookbooks.

When I decided to go outside my comfort zone and review two ADA cookbooks, I actually got excited about doing it the “right way”.  For me that meant choosing 4 or 5 recipes from each cookbook and following them exactly. (I have a bad habit of altering recipes and then wondering why they are not as good as advertised.) It also meant using the carb counts as provided and evaluating whether the nutrition info was a helpful tool in my diabetes life.

3D Family ClassicsThe first cookbook I delved into was the ADA standard bearer titled The Family Classics Diabetes Cookbook.  This is a collection of 140 “favorite” recipes from Diabetes Forecast Magazine.  My overall impression was that this is a well-organized cookbook with beautiful photographs and clear detailed instructions.  There is a good mixture of standard favorites such as Old-Fashioned Beef Stew, Classic Potatoes Au Gratin, and Classic Baked Artichoke Dip along with newer-style recipes such as Chickpea Tabbouleh, Tilapia Tacos, and Zesty Broccolini and Garlic.

I tried five recipes from this cookbook.  My two favorites and recipes that I will make again were Fresh Greens Soup with White Beans, Basil, and Tomatoes and Provencal Zucchini and Yellow Squash Medley.  Two other recipes were just fine and maybe worth repeating.  I only disliked one recipe and it was because of ingredient substitutions designed to make the recipe lower in fat than the original dish.

That leads me to a discussion of the “dietary philosophy” of this book.  The recipes are consistent with traditional ADA clinical guidelines prescribing a “heart healthy” diet with an emphasis on eating low-fat with a significant number of calories coming from healthy carbohydrates. This cookbook was published in 2012 and precedes the ADA’s 2013 acknowledgement that low-carb diets might be a successful tool for weight loss and diabetes management. Although the ADA has modified its stance on dietary recommendations, most physicians still advise their patients to follow a traditional low-fat diet.  Therefore this cookbook is a good resource for good food with a low-fat emphasis.  There are also some good recipes that are not high in carbohydrates if that is your preference.

3D Smart ShopperThe second cookbook that I tried out was The Smart Shopper Diabetes Cookbook. This cookbook by Robyn Webb, MS was filled with quick and easy recipes designed to be “stress-free” by using ingredients “from the Deli Counter, Freezer, Salad Bar, and Grocery Shelves”.  This book was published in 2013 and Webb’s introduction addresses the idea that there is no “one-size-fits-all nutritional approach for people with diabetes.”  She attempts to provide a variety of recipes that emphasize healthy fats, high fiber, varying amounts of carbohydrates, and lots of flavor.  Detailed nutritional information for each recipe is provided so that you can make up your own mind about which recipes are appropriate for your meal plan.

Because I am generally a lazy cook, I liked some of the short-cuts she used to make a healthy meal without too much time in the kitchen.  My favorite recipe was Chicken, Artichoke, and Spinach Soup with a close second-place finish for Mexican Chicken.  The other 2 recipes that I tried were fine, but I would probably try another new recipe before repeating them.  And there are definitely a few other recipes that are on my list to try:  Rosemary Turkey Salad and Salmon with Blueberry Salsa.

One thing that I liked, but haven’t used yet was the daily menus provided at the end of the book.  I find that when I want to experiment with a new style of eating, it is helpful to start with a structured program with daily menus.  Just follow the rules and don’t think too much.  These menus very much remind me of the balanced diet that was the basis of the Exchange System that I used in the first half of my diabetes life.  Although I carb count now, I still think in blocks of 15 grams and really feel that the Exchange System was not a bad way to eat.

Summary:  I enjoyed trying new recipes and expanding my normal dinner options beyond meat and vegetables cooked with little creativity.  The carbohydrate counts provided were helpful and saved me a little time.  At the same time, none of the measurements in either book were provided in grams, so I was stuck with guessing at what is the ubiquitous “medium banana” or “large onion.” Because I selected relatively low carb recipes to try, I was comfortable with guessing at some of the quantities.

I am very impressed with Robyn Webb, MS and would love to see the ADA publish a Low Carb cookbook with her input.  Although I am not perfect in living a low carb lifestyle, I am convinced that it makes my diabetes life easier and I would love to infuse some creativity into my menus.  I’ve definitely found some “keeper” recipes in the two ADA cookbooks that I explored.  But a whole low-carb cookbook would be fabulous and I would buy it in a minute.

If you would like to purchase the cookbooks that I reviewed or any other books in the American Diabetes Association Store, please go to this link:  http://www.shopdiabetes.org/  Also, Amy Tenderich at Diabetes Mine recently reviewed and raved about another ADA cookbook titled The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook.  To read her review, click here.

Spare a Rose

Laddie_Head SquareThe Diabetes Online Community has come together again in 2014 to sponsor the Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign.  The message is simple, but powerful.  Buy one less rose this Valentine’s Day and donate that $5 to the Life for a Child program sponsored by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).  Your gift of $5 will provide a month of insulin and diabetes supplies for a child in parts of the world where these life-saving medications and supplies are desperately needed.  Or consider donating the equivalent of a dozen roses and giving a year of life to a child with diabetes.

728x90tag_Spare a RoseThe website for Spare a Rose, Save a Child was created by members of the DOC as a source of information about the Spare a Rose program.  If you are a blogger, you can find links and images at this site to use to spread the important message about this campaign.  This one-page information sheet will tell you everything you need to become involved.

If you wish to donate, use this donation form to send your gift directly to the IDF using PayPal.  Please note the down arrow that gives you choices of how much to donate.  (Spare 1 Rose = $5 = 1 month of Life for a Child. 2 Roses = 2 Months and other options up to 2 dozen roses for 2 years of life for a child.)

As we approach Valentine’s Day 2014, let us all be generous in sharing our bounty with children all over the world.  To us, a rose is small.  To a child with diabetes, that rose represents another day, another month, another year of life.

To donate, click on this image.

To donate, click on this image.

Stories

Laddie_Head SquareThe Diabetes Community is a treasure chest full of stories:  your story, my story, your child’s story, your friend’s story, your neighbor’s story, a stranger’s story.  Many of the stories are inspirational.  Some of the stories make you laugh.  Others make you cry.  Some are reminiscent of Pollyanna with cheer and helpfulness in every sentence.  Others visit the dark places in your soul where you rarely dare to venture.  Some frustrate you because the author appears to have a backpack of helium balloons and yours is filled with rocks.  Others guiltily make you feel giddy because the writer is seemingly screwing up his diabetes much worse than you are.  Each of these Treasure Cheststories reminds you that although you sometimes feel alone in your diabetes journey, you are not.  You are part of a community: a family with a secret pinky handshake or at least a pump in the pocket or a meter in the purse or a Calorie King book in the car.

Some stories are told in words.  Others are shared in photos or drawings or comics.  You can find some on YouTube and others you can download from iTunes.  Many tales are typed on iPads and desktop computers while others are written with tears smeared across giant cupcakes in the boo hoo zone.  Some stories are elegantly written blogs while others are a brief cry for help on Twitter or an explosion of anger on a message board.

Lately I have been reading a lot of stories.

I just finished reading My Sweet Life – Successful Women with Diabetes and My Sweet Life – Successful Men with Diabetes.  Each book contains approximately twenty-five life stories written by “successful” people with diabetes.  These books are the work of Dr. Bev Adler, a psychologist and CDE who specializes in helping people cope with the emotional challenges of living with diabetes.  She was diagnosed with Type 1 in 1975 and she brings her experience with diabetes to everything she does. Her story is the first chapter in the women’s book.  Although I was familiar with her books, I first “met” Dr. Bev on Twitter @AskDrBev.

One view of success is that it is measured by the “important” things you do with your life and many of these storytellers fit that mold. Charlie Kimball is a well-known driver in the IZOD IndyCar Series.  Kelli Kuehne played golf on the LPGA Tour for thirteen years and Zippora Karz was a soloist with the New York City Ballet.  Dr. Jason Baker is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Attending Endocrinologist at Weill Cornell Medical College in NYC and the founder of Marjorie’s Fund, a global initiative dedicated to the education, care, and research of Type 1 Diabetes in the developing world.

But being well-known is only one way of thinking about success.  Success in living with diabetes might be thought of as taking the hand you’re dealt and using it to empower DrBev Books4you rather than limit you.  The storytellers in both of these books write of hard times with diabetes, both physically and emotionally, and not one of them claims to be “perfect” at living with it.  But they have all come to terms with diabetes, and many have made diabetes their life work.  There are doctors, nurses, CDE’s, psychologists, and authors.  Many of the writers are well-known figures in the Diabetes Online Community and you’ll see stories by Kerri Sparling, Scott Johnson, Kelly Kunik, Amy Tenderich, Gary Scheiner, and too many others to list.  Others have taken diabetes along for the ride in various professions, life adventures, and parenthood.  I was familiar with many of the authors and others were completely new to me.  It was a reminder that not everyone with diabetes hangs out on Twitter or writes a blog….

Stories from the DOC are not new to me.  I am a faithful listener of DSMA Live and I regularly read about 50 blogs.  I am less active on message boards than I used to be, but I keep up with several friends whom I’ve met through TuDiabetes, Insulin-Pumpers, and the ADA Type 1 board.  I dabble in Twitter and Facebook and make new connections almost daily.  I have been lucky to meet many of my online friends in person and these relationships are incredibly rewarding.

I really do hate diabetes.  But I cherish all of the stories and relationships whose threads have been woven into my life because of diabetes.  Maybe we could write a new story:

Story2

Thanks to Dr. Bev Adler for providing me with complimentary copies of her books.  I enjoyed them tremendously.  If you would like to read her books, they are available at Amazon.com.  A portion of the proceeds from the purchase of the books is donated to the American Diabetes Association.

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Abby the Black Lab Discusses Nutrition

WHILE THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A PERFECT DIABETES DIET, THERE ARE CERTAIN GUIDELINES TO KEEP IN MIND TO ENSURE HEALTHY EATING WITH DIABETES.  TODAY ABBY THE BLACK LAB HAS TAKEN TIME TO ILLUSTRATE SOME IMPORTANT NUTRITION POINTS.  PLEASE NOTE THAT HER ADVICE MIGHT DIFFER SLIGHTLY FROM WHAT YOUR NUTRITIONIST TOLD YOU.

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Abby with Abby Crown_no backgroundAlthough I do not have diabetes, I know a lot about food.  Like most Labrador Retrievers, food is my hobby.  Food is my passion.  Food is my inspiration for excellence.  I think about it most of the time when I am not out shopping for new sunglasses and other fashion accessories.  Today I will share some guidelines that I am sure will help in your daily attempts to eat nutritiously while enjoying every bite of food and meeting your blood sugar goals.

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Abby Drool_ Meal Chart3

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Abby_Scale with hamb

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Abby_two bowls of dogfood2

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Abby Cow2

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Abby_My Vet Says2

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Abby_Don't Ask Don't Tell3

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If you have any questions about nutrition, please do not hesitate to leave a comment or send an email.  As always your friend, Abby the Black Lab.

Abby with hat and sunglasses

Reflections on Six Months with DSMA Live

Laddie_Head SquareI decided at the beginning of 2013 that I was going to listen to the entire archives of DSMA Live.  To tell you the truth, I can’t even remember why I decided to do it.  So for now, I’ll say I did it “just because.”

DSMA Live Factoid:  The archived podcasts are available through iTunes (search DSMA Live) and at BlogTalkRadio.

Diabetes Social Media Advocacy (DSMA) is the brainchild of Cherise Shockley.   BlogTalkRadio states that “The mission of DSMA is to promote social networking in all its forms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc) in order to educate and support all people affected by diabetes.”  That is already out of date because Cherise has bigger plans.  She realizes that not everyone with diabetes is part of the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) and she wants her inclusive message of support to be available to everyone, online or offline.

Because I cannot do justice to the scope of everything that DSMA is involved in, I encourage you to visit the DSMA website.  In addition to DSMA Live on Thursday evenings, you’ll learn about the Wednesday night TweetChat, the ‘Rents show for parents, and the en Vivo! show in Spanish.  There is also information about the monthly Blog Carnival and the weekly WDD Blue Fridays Initiative.

DSMA Live Factoid:  The only really bad show was the inaugural show on October 28, 2010. It was an on-air technical rehearsal where Cherise, George, and Scott spent an hour asking “Can you hear me now?”

iPod Nano DSMAThe early DSMA Live shows were an extension of the TweetChat, and the hosts and featured guest discussed the questions that had been posed the night before.  Over time the shows morphed into what is now an interview and discussion format.

DSMA Live Factoid:  Three of the first five guests interviewed on DSMA Live were named Scott.

The guest list from the first 2-1/2 years of the show is a veritable Who’s Who of the diabetes community starting with the well-known hosts:  Cherise, George Simmons, and Scott Johnson.  If you spend time in the DOC, you’ll recognize the names of the many bloggers and advocates interviewed including Manny Hernandez, Kerri Sparling, Wil Dubois, and Amy Tenderich.

Karen Graffeo, a blogger and the founder of Diabetes Blog Week, made a comment that characterizes the journey of most of the people interviewed.   When asked about the background of Diabetes Blog Week, she said:  “So I started thinking that it would be great if someone did that for the diabetes blog community.  So then I thought that maybe I should try to do it.”  One after another the featured DSMA Live guests saw something that needed to be done and they did it.  They weren’t superstars.  They were people who started writing about their lives and reached out to make the world a better place for everyone affected by diabetes.

DSMA Live Factoid:  Two of the featured guests were 8 years old or younger.

Some of my favorite shows were introductions to people I had not “known” previously.  It was fun to hear the stories about their blogs, podcasts, advocacy groups, and start-up  companies.  Especially unforgettable were the crazy people who climb mountains, participate in triathlons, and drive race cars while juggling the never-ending demands of diabetes.

Also very interesting were the conversations with insiders in the diabetes industry such as Dr. Henry Anhalt, Director of the Artificial Pancreas Program at Animas, Lane Desborough, a Product Strategist at Medtronic, and Sean Gallagher, the Senior Director of Marketing at Insulet Corp (Omnipod).  DSMA Live also introduced me to Professor Jean Claude Mbanya, a physician from Cameroon who is President of the International Diabetes Foundation.

DSMA Factoid:  Art therapist and blogger Lee Ann Thill is the sole member of the 5-Time Featured Guest Club.

As my dog Abby outlined in her post yesterday, I listened to 149 DSMA podcasts in a 6-month period mostly while walking the dog. I got a lot of exercise. I got a lot of education. I got a lot of inspiration.  All great things for a successful life with diabetes.  I encourage you to put on your walking shoes and give DSMA Live a try.

Abby the Black Lab Discusses DSMA Live

Laddie:  In tomorrow’s blog post, I will write about my 6-month journey through the archives of DSMA Live.  DSMA Live is a weekly interview show hosted by Cherise Shockley, George Simmons, and Scott Johnson. DSMA stands for Diabetes Social Media Advocacy and more information can be found at the DSMA website.  Today my dog Abby is giving you a preview of the important details.

 

Abby_Crown_No background

Most dogs don’t know about DSMA Live. I do because on January 1st of this year, my owner Laddie decided that she was going to listen to all of the archived DSMA Live shows. Since that decision involved neither dog biscuits nor tennis balls, I totally dismissed it and curled up by a sunny window to take a nap.

Hearing the rattle of my harness and leash, I jumped at the opportunity for a walk. Laddie grabbed her pink iPod Nano and thus began our winter and spring of listening to DSMA Live. Well, actually I didn’t listen. My head is not properly shaped for ear phones. I just walked, stalked rabbits, and sniffed dog “Tweets” on mailboxes and fire hydrants.

Now you may not know what DSMA Live is. Neither do I. All I know is that because of this series of podcasts, I was the beneficiary of multiple long walks that far surpassed our normal dog walk frequency and length.

From January 1 until May 16, 2013, Laddie listened to 149 DSMA shows. According to her Fitbit pedometer, our normal pace was a 20-minute mile. Or as I prefer to think of it, we walked 3 miles per DSMA show. We could have gone faster, but this pace included dog potty breaks and socialization with other canine/human combos.

My favorite stat is that in 5-1/2 months, we walked approximately 447 miles accompanied by DSMA Live. That’s an average of 3.3 miles per day. I am indeed a lucky dog and my ever svelte figure is a result of my daily exercise.

Now that we are only listening to current episodes, I realize that the number of my DSMA walks will be reduced. But the addition of spin-offs such as the ‘Rents show and the en Vivo! show is a reminder that there will be a growing number of podcasts to inspire dog walks.

So to other dogs, I say: “I am a DSMA Dog. Are you?”

(By the way, I do not like Wednesday night DSMA TweetChats.  All humans with diabetes totally ignore their dogs during that hour and focus on their iPads instead.)

Abby DSMA