On Valentine’s Day

Lack of access to insulin is the most common cause of death for children with diabetes in many countries around the world. In fact, in some parts of the world, the estimated life expectancy of a child who has just developed diabetes could be less than a year.

This Valentine’s Day our community can help change that.

Through the Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign, we raise awareness and donations for Life for a Child, an International Diabetes Federation program which provides life-saving diabetes supplies, medication, and education that children in developing countries need to stay alive.

Spare a Rose, Save a Child is simple: buy one less rose this Valentine’s Day and donate the value of that flower to children with diabetes. Your loved one at home still gets flowers and you both show some love to children around the world who need it.

One rose, one month of life. A dozen roses, a year of life for a child with diabetes.
We’re hopeful that you will embrace this cause this year.

Spread the word!

Do you Strip Safely?

Imagine your life depends on knowing a number. Imagine you have the tool to find what the number is, and based on this number you have to follow the rules or you may end up in big trouble—and by trouble I mean death. I’m not joking… this is what people with millions of people with diabetes are dealing with now.

It is sad and scary to learn that there is no proper regulation for the manufacturing of certain types of glucose testing strips, which leads to inaccurate numbers… very inaccurate. If you have diabetes, and you’re on insulin, you may either over-treat or under-treat a rather complicated condition; and don’t forget insulin is a very dangerous drug. Too much, too little… NEVER a good thing.

Imagine you’re the parent of a child with diabetes and you need those numbers to be accurate so you know what is the right thing to do. Imagine you give your child more insulin than what they really need. Or less. Inaccurate readings are every person with diabetes’ nightmare, and that is one of the things we keep hollering about. One would think that after all the hollering we would be heard. But that isn’t the case

According to Strip Safely:

At a recent public meeting the FDA acknowledged that there are some 510(k) cleared blood glucose (BG) meters and strips that do not meet the accuracy standards for which they were approved. There is currently no clear course of action to insure people with diabetes are using blood glucose strips that meet regulatory requirements.

Then you have a person like me, who is not on insulin, and whose doctor recommended to test 2-3 times A WEEK (that’s a story for another day). If I already have a hard time getting an idea of how my diabetes behaves, you can do the math when it comes to a meter that isn’t giving me accurate numbers. The problem is, which one do I trust?

Last month, David Edelman posted a Blood Glucose Meter Accuracy Comparison chart. It isn’t the only one I’ve seen lately. Well known brands of glucose meters are barely making it, and they are well regulated by the FDA. What about those who aren’t? The “cheap” ones that will make you spend more money on complications at the end of the day?

And you must be thinking what you can do about the accuracy issue and ask for stricter regulations from the FDA when it comes to something as vital as adequate blood glucose level readings. Well, YOU GO TELL THEM!

Contact your congress person and make a DEMAND for stricter regulations from the FDA. Diabetes isn’t a joke. Glucose meters aren’t a toy. And we aren’t puppets.

I don’t know about this, but I’d like to

One of the things I like about my life is that I decided to be an advocate for people with diabetes even before my own diagnosis (you can read all about it here). But since I have type 2 diabetes, in order to be a true advocate, it has been my latest mission to educate myself more about other types of diabetes. I have to confess that until a few months ago I had no idea of what people were talking about when they mentioned the word “basal.” It made me uncomfortable not knowing, so once I met my friend Marie, I started asking all kinds of questions about insulin-dependent diabetes.

There is still a lot for me to know. I remember when I thought that diabetes only came in 3 types: 1, 2 and gestational. And then I started reading all about it… let me tell you, it’s a jungle out there with so many symptoms, treatments, outcomes, age onsets, etc. And that’s why I want to learn as much as I can about it. I have a pretty good idea of how my type 2 diabetes works, but I want to be able to help other people. I may not be able to give them medical advice but sometimes it’s good to talk to someone who has a clue of what’s going on. And like I said, what kind of diabetes advocate would I be if I only go for my type?

Advocate and then some more!

This weekend, as we took a break from  the activities at the Taking Care of Your Diabetes expo in Des Moines, I told my friend Marie that every day I strive to do something good for someone, big or small. It comes from the example my parents gave me. That is probably the main reason why I decided to become a diabetes patient advocate, and try to learn as much as I can about how to understand every single person affected by this condition. I don’t do it for recognition; at the end of the day I prefer my name NOT to be mentioned anywhere… I just do it because I care.

One of the things about diabetes (and any other kind of disease) is that when you meet someone who is also dealing with it, it feels like you just added insta-friend powder. The most awesome moment of my weekend came after I shared a lunch table with my friends, and then a lady we didn’t know asked if she could join us. We talked about diabetes, shared what type we had… you know, the usual. And then we mentioned DSMA, of course (Scott Johnson and Mike Durbin were at the social media booth telling people about what diabetes advocates do). When we finished lunch, the lady got up to leave and I gave her my website business card and a Diabetes Advocates brochure I happened to have with me. Her eyes watered up and she asked me if she could give me a hug. She was grateful to hear us say that she’s not alone, that there are people out there who will listen to her and she can count on. And that, my friends, is what makes me so proud to be part of the DOC. Because no matter what I do, I can do a good deed every single day.

This was my first year at TCOYD, and I have to be honest and say that my main reason to go was to hang out with the fantastic people I’ve met in the diabetes online community. But it’s not because I want to hang out… it’s because I love to see them in action. People involved in the You Can Do This Project, inspiring patients to support each other via words of encouragement. Projects like Diabetes Art Day where we learn to express what we can’t with words via art. People like Mike and Marie who took the time to help a very funny old lady when she wanted to check her blood sugar and didn’t know how to. That is what moves me, that is what makes me see my friends as superheroes, people who give big part of their lives without asking for anything in return… or maybe just a hug, like the one I got.

You Can Do This Booth  Diabetes Art Day
There is an excellent article written by Kerri Morrone Sparling on how to become a patient advocate. Everyone should read it. We can be our own advocates and we can help other people. For me it’s all about reaching the community and I’m grateful for being part of DSMA because it allows me raise my voice every week and tell other people with diabetes that they are not alone.