Dear Senator Al Franken:  Medicare and CGMS

Laddie_Head SquareI have had diabetes since 1976 and will transition to Medicare in early 2017. As most of you know, Medicare does not currently cover continuous glucose monitors for seniors with Type 1 diabetes.

There are companion bills in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate that would require Medicare to change that policy. My Representative Erik Paulsen is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1427: Medicare CGM Access Act of 2015 and one of my Senators, Amy Klobuchar, is a co-sponsor of S. 804: Medicare CGM Access Act of 2015. Unfortunately my other Senator, Al Franken, is not on board with supporting this bill.

Recently I was given the opportunity to work with a consulting firm, HCM Strategists, to share my story with Senator Franken with the hope of influencing him to support S. 804. This is my letter:

Franken Letter

I learned about the opportunity to work with HCM Strategists through a TuDiabetes forum post started by Emily Coles, the Community Director for Diabetes Hands Foundation. She writes:

Diabetes Hands Foundation (parent organization to TuDiabetes) has connected with a group called HCM Strategists, which does public policy advocacy around health and education. They’re organizing advocacy for Medicare coverage of CGMs, and have asked me to identify some community members who are interested in, and passionate about, this issue. We’re particularly looking for folks who are willing to share their personal stories about how Medicare coverage of CGM affects them.

If you’re interested in sharing your story, or taking a more active role on this issue in some other way, please let me know in the thread below and I’ll connect you with the fine folks at HCM! They are seeking people of ALL ages for this effort.”

There are two ways to become involved. 1) Go to the TuDiabetes forum post and leave a message for Emily. You must be a member of the TuDiabetes community, but it is easy to join and a great place to hang out. 2) Or you can email me and I will share your contact information with the HCM Associate who worked with me.

You will then receive an email from HCM with a series of questions (name, age, diabetes story, CGM use, etc.). Your answers will provide an HCM Associate with the information to draft a letter to your elected representatives. With your approval they will also use your letter as part of their outreach to members of Congress.

This is a unique opportunity to have your voice heard in Washington, D.C. Working with HCM Strategists is straightforward and professional and I urge you to advocate for Medicare coverage of continuous glucose monitors by sharing your story.


Letter to Al Franken

TuDiabetes: Type 2 Series


Laddie_Head SquareToday (Thursday, October 1) TuDiabetes is launching a series of live interviews that are centered around Type 2 diabetes. Does that mean that those of us with Type 1 diabetes won’t learn anything? Absolutely not! All of these interviews will have relevance for anyone affected by any kind of diabetes—whether you have diabetes or love someone who does. This series will address topics such as diet, the basics of Type 2 diabetes, diabetes myths, emotional support, shame and blame, and family dynamics.

Today’s event is an interview with journalist and author Gary Taubes. Two of his well-known books are Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat. I have mentioned Taubes more than once on my blog and I highly recommend that you check out his books and/or articles. His writing is clear, concise, and highly persuasive as he argues that ourtaubesFB current obesity crisis is caused by certain types of carbohydrates rather than fats and excess calories. When you read his stuff, it really makes sense.

Today’s interview of Taubes is at 1pm PT, 4pm ET, 9pm GMT. To get more details about the event, click here. This event page provides information about Taubes and links to some of his books and articles. In addition there is a teal-colored box to click at the time of the event.

Please note that you must be logged into the TuDiabetes site to view the interview live. At the top of both the event page and the TuDiabetes home page are boxes to click to Log In or Register if you are new to TuDiabetes.

If you are unable to attend the event live today, the video will be posted in the TuDiabetes video archives in about a week.

Mark Your Calendars!

The schedule and details for the other interviews in the Type 2 Series can be found here. The speakers and dates are listed below. All of the event times are 1pm PT, 4pm ET, 9pm GMT unless noted otherwise.

Today, October 1    Live Interview with Journalist and Author Gary Taubes    Details here.

October 7    Addressing Shame and Blame with Susan Guzman    Details here.

October 13    Ansley Dalbo presents “Diabetes What to Know”    Details here.

October 22    D-blogger Mike Durbin, in Conversation with Rick Phillips    Details here.

November 11    Susan Guzman, “Rebranding Diabetes”    Details here.

November 18    Corinna Cornejo on Type 2 Diabetes Myths and Misconceptions    Details here. This event is at 12pm PT, 3pm ET, 8pm GMT.

More about TuDiabetes labels itself as “a community of people touched by diabetes, a program of the Diabetes Hands Foundation.” On this website you will find information about all types of diabetes, forums where you can touch base with other people affected by diabetes, a live chat feature, an extensive library of video interviews, and a blog feature which is under construction but currently lists links to member blogs.

If you have never checked out TuDiabetes, come visit. You can browse the site without logging in, but it is hoped that you will register and share your voice. If you used to participate and are flummoxed by the new platform, it’s getting busier, more organized, and you are missed. If you live with diabetes, TuDiabetes will make sure that you are never alone.

Introducing Rick Phillips

Laddie_Head SquareRick Phillips might be one of the busiest people in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC). The easiest place to find him is at TuDiabetes. He hangs out there under the name of “Rick the Blogabetic” and is an active blogger, forum participant, and member of the Care Team.

For those of you who are not active in the TuDiabetes community, the Care Team is composed of a group of dedicated members who moderate the forums, welcome newcomers to the site, post birthday greetings, look out for spammers, and provide support as needed to members of the community. It’s a big job and a compliment to be asked to be part of the team. After a few weeks of being part of the Care Team, Rick wrote a blogpost summarizing his thoughts on the “challenge to serve”. Here is an excerpt:

I truly love this site [TuDiabetes] and over the last few weeks I come to love it even more than today. Thank you so much for asking. It means a lot to me and if the reader of this post is ever asked and they accept the challenge, they will find a new way to serve you fellow diabetics and believe me it is so worthwhile.

Rick decided in late April 2013 that he needed to do something that was mega-impactful and he pledged to write 200 blogposts in one calendar year. Thus was created Rick Rick_2Rthe Blogabetic. Rick is somewhat like me in that he never uses one word when ten will do. Therefore his 200 posts represent a tremendous amount of writing and research on a vast array of subjects. You can read about anything from “Dogs and Endocrinologists” to the whimsical story of “Chick Duck” and from “What is -30-” to “When are We Not Diabetic?”  To learn more about Rick, you should read his 199th post in which he described what he learned as a result of his blogging marathon. BTW Rick the Blogabetic is still going strong although maybe not at the pace of 200 posts per year.

In recent weeks I have run into Rick at TuDiabetes both in the forums and on his blog. I have read his guest-post at Karen Graffeo’s blog Bitter Sweet™ where he compares diabetes education to spring rains. I have seen him (@LawrPhil) in the thick of the controlled mayhem of #DSMA TwitterChat on Wednesday evenings. Facebook? Yes, he’s there too. So if you don’t already know Rick, chances are you will soon!

Rick and I have a lot in common. He has had Type 1 for 40 years compared to my 38 years. He is somewhat younger than I am, but we have been married approximately the same length of time and our two sons are the same age. Even our grandchildren are close in age. We both live with multiple autoimmune conditions. Here things diverge. Rick lives with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) that has had a huge impact on his life.  He indicates that his arthritis is much more difficult to live with than diabetes and that the severity of his arthritis required him to abandon the career he loved in education/business/public affairs. Although I also have arthritis, mine is more easily managed and has not yet required me to make significant changes to my lifestyle.

Next week Rick will be guest-blogging at Test Guess and Go about the connection between Type 1 diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Because many of us with one autoimmune condition have clusters of autoimmune issues, this 3-part series should be an interesting and educational read. Rick will tell his personal story in Part 1, talk about his treatment regimen in Part 2, and conclude with a somewhat scientific discussion of the links between diabetes and RA in Part 3.

Thank-you to Rick for taking time to share his story with us. I encourage those of you reading this blogpost to take time to get to know Rick in the many social media platforms of the DOC. You will quickly learn that he is a Diabetes Advocate to the core and that he is a man dedicated to serving others. Those of us with diabetes are lucky to have him on our team.

Diabetes Art Day 2014

Laddie_Head SquareThis is my first year participating in Diabetes Art Day.  Lee Ann Thill started this project in 2010.  2014 marks the fifth year that people with diabetes and/or affected by diabetes are using art to share their stories and emotions along with increasing awareness about diabetes.

My art expresses my feelings about everyone in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) and pays particular tribute to two of the brightest stars whom we have lost in recent weeks.  First is Barbara Bancroft who was an active participant at TuDiabetes with the screen name of jrtpup.  She was beloved by members of that community and you can read the many tributes to her here.  Secondly I am honoring Dean Devalerio, a fellow Minnesotan.  I knew Dean online through Facebook and was fortunate to get to know him in person through our Type 1 Saturday meet-up group. Although he was a new friend to me, others of our group had known him a long time and the community of PWD’s in the Twin Cities will have a little less sparkle without Dean. Dean was one of the early supporters of Diabetes Art Day and this year’s Art Day is dedicated to him.

My “art” uses stars made from the sparkly blue attachments collected from my Animas Ping pump reservoirs.  I call it “The Stars of the DOC.”


To view the 2014 Gallery for Diabetes Art Day, go here and then select the 2014 Gallery or browse through the artwork from previous years.