World Diabetes Day: The Election And Some Busted Diabetes Myths

Today is World Diabetes Day, and since many people I come across often confuse Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, I want to take this opportunity to address a few myths about Type 1 diabetes.

But before I do that, I want to reflect on the distress of this past week. I’m not much of a political activist, and I was never enthusiastic about any of the candidates this election cycle. But having come to terms with who our country just elected to represent them, I feel I need to be more vocal (at least about the issues that affect me on a personal level), and I need to be better about standing up for those whose rights are in jeopardy.

That is my personal commitment in light of these election results. I will not judge based on your vote, and I will not give into the hate that is now plaguing our country (although it was difficult not to hate the white heterosexual male this past Wednesday but that’s unfair because I know plenty of white heterosexual males who voted in my favor).

But there’s something you have to know going forward. I’ve written about it a few times on this blog but not in depth. Mostly because I don’t like to give energy to negative entities, and I don’t want to draw myself into contentious battles with fellow family members and friends. And even though I wasn’t surprised by the outcome of this election (you have to remember I grew up in a red, conservative state), I was disappointed. Continue reading

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A World Without T1D

Today the FDA approved the first-ever hybrid closed loop insulin delivery system (aka the artificial pancreas). When I read JDRF’s news release I certainly felt inspired and excited for thousands of Type 1 diabetics around the world. Continue reading

The Day My Insulin Pump Outsmarted Me

I stare at Gizmo, my insulin pump. I review its user settings, and basal and bolus rate set-up. But nothing within this gadget tells me how to change my reservoir numbers.

Yes my body is no longer producing enough insulin. And yes that means I must use more insulin to function on a daily basis. My basal rates have increased from .325 to .900, and my bolus rates have increased from 1 unit of insulin per 20 grams of carbs to 1 unit of insulin per 13 grams of carbs.

When my roommate a few years ago told me her basal rates were 1.000 unit, I scoffed and hoped I would never reach that level, at least not for another five years. But now having only had diabetes for six years I am now almost there.

The downside? I’ve been switching out my pump’s reservoir every two days. It used to be that 100 units of insulin would last me three days, if not four. And in the past month, it’s only lasted me two days. Continue reading

The Future of Diabetes Management

“I imagine being diagnosed as an adult would be harder because you remember life without it.”

“Yeah.” I nodded at the woman to my left, mother to an 11-year-old with Type 1 diabetes (T1D).

We were both first-timers to the JDRF TypeOneNational 2015 DC Research Summit yesterday. While many parents of children with diabetes attended the day-long event, I was among some of the adults who had been managing this disease for years.

I’m about to celebrate my sixth anniversary with this disease, one year closer to a decade. It’s hard to believe I’ve been managing the disease this long – it’s even harder to believe that I have many years to go. But like speaker Tom Brobson, national director of research investment opportunities at JDRF, reminded us, if we had all been diagnosed one hundred years ago, we wouldn’t have survived a month.

I’d like to believe on the starvation diet I would have lasted a little longer, but he was right about one thing – we’ve come a long way technology-wise. And for that I am thankful. William Tamborlane, chief of pediatric endocrinology at Yale University and deputy director of the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, familiarized us with the “blue brick,” the first insulin pump device introduced in 1979. It would take another 20 years before the insulin pump would actually take off.

And Jessica Roth, senior director of health policy at JDRF, reminded us of the importance of advocacy. It’s not enough to have all these research advances such as ViaCyte, Smart Insulin, and the artificial pancreas without the ability for people living with this disease to have access to these treatments. It still pains me that Medicare refuses to cover the continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system for those over 65. Continue reading

World Diabetes Day: One Hope

Photo courtesy of Hilary Brown

Photo courtesy of Hilary Brown

Today is World Diabetes Day, a day led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) to raise awareness and advocate for this disease. Globally, there are 382 million people living with diabetes. The U.S. is one of the top 10 countries for the number of people with diabetes, which is about 24 million. The IDF estimates that worldwide the numbers will continue to increase so that by 2035, 592 million people will be living with this disease.

So what is diabetes, and why should we be worried? Put simply, diabetes is when the body’s pancreas stops producing insulin, which we need to digest our food for energy. Type 1, the version I have, is an autoimmune disease, where a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin completely, and one must take shots of insulin to live. Type 2, the version more well-known, is where a person’s pancreas is still producing some insulin, but not enough to convert all of the food into energy.

According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the largest global funder for Type 1 diabetes research, as many as three million people in the United States have Type 1 diabetes (15 percent of which are children). Like JDRF says, insulin is not a cure, and they are working to change Type 1 to type none.

One can hope. Continue reading

National Diabetes Month: Wearing Blue Proudly

Carb-worthy ecardNovember marks National Diabetes Month. It includes World Diabetes Day, which happens to fall on the anniversary of insulin discoverer Frederick Banting’s birth on November 14. Yesterday was T1Day, a day for the Type 1 diabetes community to come together and not only raise awareness for our disease, but to provide support.

Yesterday was also my first inauguration into the world of Type 1 diabetes. I have been a Type 1 diabetic for the past five years, diagnosed late at 22, and in that time, I’ve only met a few other diabetics like myself. But yesterday, I volunteered at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s annual Hope Gala in DC.

From the start, one of the fellow volunteers asked me if I had diabetes. I noticed the pump attached to her waistband, and for the first time in my life, I truly felt a part of a community. I explained that I had no family history and that I was diagnosed as an adult, as opposed to most Type 1’s who are diagnosed in childhood. But even so, we talked about insulin pumps, about exercising, about being diagnosed, and the everyday balance. Continue reading