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Usher Please Take it Nice & Slow

2014 April 23

I never thought I would work a 1997 My Way song title into the title of a post, but thanks to Usher, I have been able to.

I’ve seen a lot of people commenting and talking about the announcement by Usher that his child has type 1 diabetes.  And for the most part, I disagree with a lot of what I’ve been seeing.

There’s been a lot of, “I hope he uses his celebrity status to advocate for diabetes” or “hopefully he will donate money to help find a cure”.  I’ve also seen the, “what a sad story, hope him and his family are doing fine with the diagnosis”

The latter is what I think is the best thing that should be said at this time.

Christel wrote a great post yesterday and I recommend that you read it.

She basically wrote everything that I was thinking before I could type it myself.  Focus on your child and the diagnosis and learning as much about the disease as you possibly can.  I’ve just hit my 10 years living with the disease and I’m learning things almost every single day.

Let’s be clear about one thing though, just because you are a celebrity and you have a large network and reach, does not mean you have to be an advocate of anything.  If you do not feel like being an advocate, don’t.  If you are not advocating for the right reasons, then don’t do it at all.  If your heart and passion is not in the advocacy world, then don’t do it!  I have more respect for a celebrity that turns down endorsements and advocating for something just because they are being paid to do it.

Advocacy is not just putting your name on an event or a fundraiser. I live in the south Florida area, so I see a lot of news about Ray Allen, who plays for the local Miami Heat, and what he does with the local community and JDRF and DRI.  His heart is in it.  If he didn’t do these things, I would not lose any respect for him.  Advocacy is not always easy, in fact, it hardly ever is.

This is not just about Usher and advice for just a celebrity with diabetes or a child with diabetes.  This is for anybody that goes through a diagnosis, either themselves or a child.  Focus on yourself and your family before you go out looking to help others.  It’s not stingy, it’s what’s needed.  Don’t feel obligated to do advocacy work. If you can do it, and your heart is in it, then absolutely do it.  But don’t do it because it’s forced and something that you feel like you should be doing.

Holding Myself Accountable

2014 April 16

When things go wrong, excuses usually begin to fly. This is not only true with diabetes, but also with anything in life.  So, this morning when it was time to review my latest blood work, I was going to hold myself accountable for whatever the numbers told us.  I was not going to blame it on the diabetes, but my choices.

I knew going into reviewing the labs that my A1C was going to be higher and that there may be some issues with the lipid panel because of the horrible diet and forgetting what the inside of my gym looks like.

A1C was a little higher than last time, but lower than what I thought.  I honestly felt that my A1C was going to be between 8.0 – 8.5 because I’ve seen the numbers on my meter and they have been bad, probably my worst 3 months in the past 5-6 years.  Which is also why I knew it was time to go back onto the pump and get off of MDI.  The A1C was 7.5.  Not good, but better than I expected.  It was 7.1 six months ago, so I obviously wanted to improve on that, but didn’t.

Everything else in the lab results was good, except for one big issue.  Triglycerides.

I’ve never had an issue with my triglycerides being high because I always had some form of exercise, not intense, but would get at least an average of 15 minutes per day.  My triglycerides were 455.  If you know about triglycerides, then you know that’s pretty damn high.  The doc was concerned about this number obviously, but as I’ve written before, we have a great relationship and she does not scold me, but provides me with the information I need to make better decisions and make improvements.

There was a side of her that wanted to put me on medication, but she knows that by giving me a warning and doing labs again in 90 days, that it will motivate me to improve that number that she feels I won’t need medication.

So, here is to holding myself accountable. No more bolusing 40-50 units for one meal. Yes, you read that right, 40-50 units for just one meal!  No more just sitting on the couch watching horrible reality tv shows (my wife loves that shit!) and more of getting back to the gym, walking around the neighborhood, ANYTHING.

Here’s to lowering triglycerides

YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program

2014 April 9
ymca-logo

Last week I was contacted by someone at my local YMCA because they were given my information from my endo (she’s not an endo, I don’t know her exact title, but she’s who I see at the endo office). As I’ve written about before, my endo office is great with sharing information that I give them about diabetes inititiaves and outreach programs going on, which is why they put me in touch with the Y.

Last Friday I had the chance to meet with Robin from the Y to discuss the Diabetes Prevention Program. If you have not heard of this program, no worries, because I didn’t either until Friday when I stepped into the office. Basically, the program helps those that have a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and works with them to reduce their risk for developing T2D (or help slow it down) by making improvements to their overall health (eating, exercising, lifestyles, etc.) This program is based off of research done by the NIH that these changes in lifestyle can help reduce the numbers of Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis.

Before anybody tries to jump all over me, I know that diet and exercise is not going to stop everyone from getting Type 2 Diabetes, but we all do know that these changes help prevent those that are at risk. read more…

A Decade with Diabetes

2014 April 3

So today is my 10 year Diaversary. I’ve been living with diabetes for a decade now.  That feels very weird to say.  It almost doesn’t even seem real.

Growing up and not knowing anything about diabetes, there are a lot of things I always dreamed and thought that I would do when I got older and I had no idea that I would be doing those with diabetes.

Turning 21 and going out with all of my friends….with a BG meter and insulin pump.

Moving in with my now wife….and having a storage area in the closet for my diabetes supplies.

Getting married….at that time with a syringe and vial of insulin in my tux pocket.

Going on a honeymoon….. with a package of syringes and lots of insulin.

Having kids….and worrying about if my child will also have diabetes.

And many, many more life events that occurred during these past 10 years.

Every year around this time, I think back on the night that I went to the hospital and think about the couple of months leading to me being rushed to the ER and think about if I knew then what I knew now. This is the number one reason why I am so adamant about getting general diabetes information to the public, so they never get to an 858 blood sugar and almost go into a coma without even knowing what is going on.

I’ve told my diagnosis story plenty of times, but a brief version goes like this. For 2-3 months before being diagnosed, I had every single possible symptom of high blood sugars that existed.  I was drinking water like a boss and going to the bathroom every 5 minutes. I felt bad for my college roommate at the time because I was getting 20 times during the night to go to the bathroom.

On a Friday night at college, I was sick all day long and vomited at least 5-6 times. Finally around 9 p.m. while getting sick again in the community bathroom on the 7th floor of the dorms, a friend of mine from across the hall was in the bathroom at same time and said he was taking me to the hospital because I “looked like death” and that’s when the phone call to my parents happened and I was taken to the ER with an 858 blood sugar.

Two interactions from the ER that night replay in my head almost every single day.  First, when the triage nurse pricked my finger and said that I need to be rushed to a bed right away because the meter wouldn’t even give her a reading. At that time, I had no idea what that even meant.  The second interaction is when the ER doctor walked in and said, “Chris, you have type 1 diabetes”

And that’s when my new life began.

I have learned so much about this disease in these 10 years. It shocks me how many people living with type 1 diabetes barely even know enough about their diabetes to manage it.  I’ve met so many incredible people that have been such a positive influence on my life and motivate me to manage my diabetes better.  Hell, I would have never met my wife if it wasn’t for being diagnosed with diabetes.

One decade down, many more to go.

 

 

Blogging Over at dLife Today

2014 March 31

Check out my post over at dLife today on the release of Medtronic’s i-Port Advance.

I remember seeing this i-Port product about 5-6 years ago, but it was not owned by Medtronic, so it’s interesting to see it making a come back.

Officially Making the Switch to Verio

2014 March 29

So today is the day that I am officially making the switch to the Verio meter.  Over the last two years I have used about 5-6 different meters.  This was primarily because I didn’t have insurance and I was using strips from anywhere that I can get them.  With having insurance now, I had more of a choice, but not a choice of anything that I wanted because of the costs.  The strips for the Contour USB were about $150 for a 90 day supply but the Verio strips were only $25 for 90 days, so that’s what I chose.

I’ve been using up all of my old OT and Contour strips over the last couple of weeks and while I was in Vegas, but I’m all out.

This will be a little short lived though because I will be starting a trial period of the Medtronic 530G shortly.

DOC is interviewing the FDA

2014 March 27

The information below was emailed last night and I wanted to share with y’all on here.  The message was originally from the FDA.

Please join us for a Patient Network Live Chat!

Diabetes: Glucose Monitors and Test Strips

Talk with FDA expert Courtney Lias and Patient Advocate Bennet

Dunlap about Glucose Monitors and Test Strips

Monday, March 31, 1:30–2:30 pm (EDT)

Talk, share, and connect with the

FDA and the Diabetes Patient Community

• Do you want to learn more about the role of the FDA in the regulation of medical devices,

such as glucose meters and test strips, used in the management of diabetes?

• Do you want to learn what the FDA is doing to increase the accuracy of blood glucose

monitors and test strips?

When you participate in this friendly online chat, you will:

• Enjoy an informal, open discussion with a fellow patient advocate, CDRH subject-matter-
expert and others in the diabetes community.

• Learn more about the role of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health, specifically the

Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and its work to ensure the safety and effectiveness of medical

devices used in the management of diabetes.

• Get your questions answered about the newest FDA draft guidances, which are proposing

new recommendations intended to improve the accuracy and safe use of blood glucose

monitoring test systems, giving health care providers and people with diabetes better tools

to manage blood glucose levels.

Whether you want to just listen to the interview to get informed, ask

relevant questions to better understand the medical device regulatory

process or just speak your mind on the newest draft guidance document….

you should join in the conversation.

Mark your calendars and be sure to join us on March 31st, 2014.

Help AZ Legislature Help Low Income People with Diabetes

2014 March 26

This is not a post of mine, but I wanted to share a link to A Sweet Life for a post today from Catherine Price.

Basically, we need to communicate our thoughts to leadership on the importance of insulin pump coverage for Medicaid.

You can read the full article here - http://asweetlife.org/catherine/blogs/insulin-pumps/urgent-please-help-arizonas-legislature-protect-poor-people-with-diabetes/35603/

DRI Walk for Diabetes Recap

2014 March 10
photo 2

This past Saturday, Amanda and I ventured 30 minutes down the Florida Turnpike to Dolphins Stadium for the DRI Walk for Diabetes & Family Fun Day.  I haven’t had a chance to attend a DRI walk before because of previous engagements, but this year we put it on the schedule well in advance.   I’ve been to Dolphins Stadium over 10 times since I’ve lived in Florida over the last 8.5 years, and every time I go there for something, I still picture Ace Ventura with the big wad of gum in his mouth bringing ole’ Dan Marino back to finish the game against my Philadelphia Eagles, but that’s a bit of a side story. read more…

Oh OptumRX – Why Must it be a Hassle

2014 February 25

As you may remember, I went about 18 months without insurance.  During that time I had to buy strips and insulin out of pocket and I also received a lot of items from people throughout the DOC because of how awesome everyone is.  One thing that I didn’t have to deal with during that time was insurance companies and mail order pharmacies.

Since I getting insurance back after getting married in July, I’ve been dealing with OptumRX as the mail order pharmacy and it has been nothing but a nightmare.  I really hate having to complain about companies on the blog, because I want to keep things positive and not just reflect on the negatives, but some times, you hit a boiling point and something needs to be said.

In just over 6 months of dealing with OptumRX I have had the wrong type on insulin shipped, the correct insulin shipped, but the wrong amount, having to change my password everytime I login online, prescription refills not being listed on the website so I have to call and wait on hold, 3 faxes from doctor before they finally “received” it, and now… this.

optumrx-damaged-stripsoptumrx-damaged-strips2

Yes, that is how my test strip order was received.  This is the order that took almost 3 weeks because they were not receiving the fax from my doctor. I did run out of strips and was using some leftover Contour strips that I had during this time period, which is primarily my fault for thinking that I could get more strips within 1-2 weeks. I was excited to get my first order of the Verio strips so I can continue to use the meter after I only had 10 trial strips to begin with.

This isn’t just a full blown bash against OptumRX.  I did call them right away and after speaking with 4 different people, they told me that they would send me replacement boxes with a return label to return the damage ones. I was told, “we will just ship them regular mail because some of the boxes weren’t damaged.”  Even though that statement is correct, I don’t know if it’s just me, but when you screw something up because of poor packaging, I shouldn’t have to wait another week to get it back.

All in all I can’t stand having to pick up the phone to call OptumRX for something.