You have yet another chance to share your ideas for diabetes innovation. Check out the DiabetesMine Usability Innovation Awards. You can nominate an innovation (not drug) that has helped make managing diabetes easier/more successful for you – wouldn’t you love to see it win? The link to submit a nomination is included on this page. The innovation can be from “diabetes drug or device makers, doctors’ offices/clinics/hospitals, pharmacies, insurers, software companies, individuals, anyone really.” This is your chance to acknowledge an innovation that has helped your diabetes life. Have fun!
Change is difficult. Not changing is fatal.
Are you willing to try something new? Are you willing to fail in the process?
Diabetes is no different from any other aspect of life when it comes to trying and failing. (In fact, I had a high school teacher who said that trying is failing and we just have to do.) So to reword the first question – are you willing to do something new or different? Are you willing to change?
When I was a nurse at diabetes camp, many parents gave me a hard time about the lancets or other equipment we had at camp. They said their child was used to only one way of doing things. It turns out that kids are adaptable and can use all sorts of different equipment – and have fun!
Every day we have an opportunity to start over, do something different, change the way we look at or respond to things, and find new successes. If something isn’t working – find a way to change it. My friend, Todd, calls this reinvention. He says that to invent is to be alive. What are we waiting for? What is one thing we can change today that will help us truly live?
Supposedly women with diabetes are less likely to have a mammograms, and people with diabetes are not “adherent” with vaccines. I have to say that I am not surprised! Managing diabetes is a lot of work – so much to keep track of, so much to do, so many appointments, etc. One more thing just may not be a priority.
When I was pregnant, I remember feeling like I had to have every intervention in the book – every test, every precaution. While it was completely worth it, I just wanted to feel like there was something I could opt out of. I did not find out the sex of my babies, and I felt very empowered by that decision. And not having to be tested for gestational diabetes was probably the one benefit of having pre-existing diabetes when I was pregnant!
As a young kid I believed that we can only get one thing: mine was diabetes. Now that I’m an adult (and a nurse), I know that’s not true. People with diabetes can get cancer and other horrible diseases/health problems. And vice versa. So I work hard to keep up with the things that will keep me healthy in terms of diabetes and in general, including mammograms, teeth cleanings, etc. I recently got my (overdue) tetanus shot, and I will be making an appointment for a mammogram when I return from traveling.
After all, I don’t want all this effort managing diabetes for decades to go to waste!
As a follow up to my last blog post, here is my interview about the upcoming DiabetesMine Innovation Summit and why I want to attend.
Guess what? I was chosen to attend the DiabetesMine Innovation Summit in November! I entered the Patient Voices Contest in March and was selected. I think this is the third time I’ve won something in my life after tickets to a Springfield Indians (hockey) game and a catered lunch for ten at Qdoba. The latter two prizes were both for calling in and answering a question on the radio!
Anyway, this one is the most exciting and pertinent to my life – personally and professionally – with diabetes. I am going to learn about diabetes technology and discuss ideas and possibilities beyond my wildest imagination. I admit, I’m not the biggest technology geek on the planet. I do have a few ideas for diabetes innovation, though.
I’d love to hear from others, too! What ideas would you like to see shared and discussed at the Innovation Summit of 2015?
So it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. But it’s also been a while that I’ve had diabetes!! In fact, Saturday, June 20th, marked 40 years since I was diagnosed and hospitalized. Last year my dad gave me a file folder full of mementos from my early diabetes days, and in there are the log sheets where the nurses (and then I) recorded my urine glucose and “acetone” results while I was in the hospital.
The first day I had 3+ glucose and large ketones (acetone); the second day I had 4+ glucose and large ketones (and received my first dose of NPH insulin). By the third day the ketones were down to moderate and then small, but the glucose was still up there. On day four the glucose started fluctuating and the ketones were gone.
Other fun items in the folder include a pamphlet titled “you and diabetes: an informative booklet for patients taking oral medication” (I was diagnosed with type 1 and taking insulin – go figure); a 2200 “calorie controlled diet” pamphlet with lists of A and B vegetables and all the exchanges; and bonus! a recipe for lemon gelatin (1 tsp unflavored gelatin, 2 tbsp cold water, 1 tbsp lemon juice, and 1/2 cup water), which “may be used in any amount.” Sounds amazing!!
There’s a copy of the Meal Planning with Exchange Lists copyright 1950 and a hand-typed Guidelines for Healthy Living with Diabetes written by my diabetes educator. And a (fun) Fact Sheet on Diabetes from the ADA, which included stats on death, decreased life expectancy, blindness, kidney disease, gangrene, amputation, heart disease, unsuccessful pregnancy, birth defects, and economic toll. I’m sure that was uplifting for my parents!
So 40 years later it’s interesting to think about where we’ve come (or not). For 40 years we’ve been “about five years away” from a cure. Yet in those 40 years we’ve seen the advent of insulin pumps and blood glucose monitoring. We have all sorts of insulin analogs, insulin pens, and diabetes-related technology. We certainly know a lot more about diabetes and how to manage it successfully.
I am a word-nerd, and reading through the pamphlets and information in that folder I was somewhat disappointed to see that our language hasn’t really changed much. We still use words like “rules” and “control” and “diabetic,” although possibly not as much or as often. And hopefully we are thinking about it more and aware of the difference that our words make.
My hope is that I won’t have diabetes for another 40 years. But I am realistic, so if I do, my bigger hope is that those who are either new to diabetes or even celebrating 40 years with it, won’t know those words in the context of diabetes. I hope they will only know a few inconveniences, but otherwise good health and happy lives.
Tomorrow is the American Diabetes Association’s first National Get Fit Don’t Sit Day. The motivation for this event was a report published in January of this year that said we are sitting too much!
I, for one, am guilty as charged. I work from home, at my computer. I sit for long periods of time. Luckily, I have a dog who has to be walked, and whenever I’m on a phone call I walk around the house, but otherwise I sit. And “sitting for hours every day creates serious health risks.” Although the risk is lower for those who exercise, it’s still not great.
They say we can stretch, walk, or in some way move our bodies – every 90 minutes – to solve the problem or at least decrease our risk.
I apologize for being a little late with this information – there is a toolkit available from ADA to help with ideas for getting fit. But at the very least we can be creative and figure out ways to move more tomorrow. And then keep it up going forward.
I recently read an inspirational article about The Gap. The author says that everyone has gaps in their life, which he defines as “the difference between what you say you want in your life versus the results you’re actually producing.” And seriously, who can’t relate to that on some level (or many)?
What’s your diabetes gap? Does it have to do with food? Or exercise? Or daily management tasks? Or complaining? Overtreating lows? Fear? Or is your gap completely unrelated to diabetes?
Todd says that we tend to fill our gaps with blame, justification, rationalization, and excuses. Yikes! But he goes on to say that we can close the gap with four things: effort, courage, love and presence. Ok, maybe not easy, but doable, right?
I discussed many of my gaps in my book, and I am still working on some of them (and I’m sure there are new ones). One of the most important gaps I have pretty much closed in my diabetes life is giving myself a break when I don’t meet my goals or expectations in diabetes care. By doing that I am able to keep getting back up and starting again and being successful more of the time.
Check this out! DiabetesMine is hosting their 2015 Patient Voices Contest. You could be the lucky winner of a scholarship to attend the Diabetes Innovations Summit at Stanford University in November.
What a fabulous opportunity – why not give it a try?
The American Diabetes Association has lots of resources available for people at risk for and living with diabetes. And they’ve been around for 75 years!
My favorites include
- Diabetes Forecast (a great magazine for lay people)
- DiabetesPro SmartBrief (an email digest of articles on diabetes for professionals)
- Diabetes Statistics (answers most questions quickly and easily)
Plus tons and tons of other resources for just about any diabetes-related topic you can think of. Check them out!