ADA Walk in Allentown PA

Late last week my wife and I had to make the decision on whether or not we were going to evacuate our home in south Florida or stick out the storm. When we made our decision the path of the hurricane was not looking good. We knew that we wouldn’t be directly hit, but felt that we would get enough of the storm that it would make us lose power. And we did not want to lose power with an 18 month old.

So, we decided that we were going to evacuate. We thought about just making the short drive to Orlando for the weekend, but they were bracing for the storm themselves, so we had to go even further west or further north, so of course, we chose north since it’s where I’m from.

We made the drive north to PA and made it by Thursday morning. I was told by my mom that my brother was going to a diabetes walk on Saturday for my niece. I found out that the local ADA Step Out walk was going to be taking place at Coca-Cola Stadium in Allentown, PA, the home of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Phillies Triple A Affiliate).

This was the first diabetes walk that I was attending that I wasn’t the only person with diabetes that was walking. Typically, it is just me and the walk is about myself. This time, I was sharing the honor with my niece, but was mainly about her. I’ve done my share of walks and I think that they can be a lot of fun for kids, especially when they see other kids running around with an insulin pump or CGM.

kendall-simmons-chris-stockerSpeaking at the event was Kendall Simmons, who has partnered with Novo Nordisk to share his story. I’ve met Kendall in the past and have also interviewed the Super Bowl champion. When I met him again on Saturday, I wanted to check out the Super Bowl rings again. Primarily because I am an Eagles fan and I never know when or if I will ever see one.

During the walk there were a bunch of signs along the path that had a red hand and a picture of someone with diabetes. While we were walking through, my niece kept saying everyone’s name and looking at the picture and then bam…. “Hey, that one is me!”

My sister-in-law was able to get my niece’s picture and name and a special note on one of the signs. She was so happy and excited to see her face there. As people walked by they were cheering and clapping for her because of her excited look.

This was one of those good diabetes moments. Seeing someone so excited to see their picture, even though it’s diabetes related, it makes it exciting and not just the constant negative vibe that diabetes gives out.

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I Need Your Help with Recipes

I need your help.

I’ve found plenty of recipes online for some healthy snacks and healthy ways to eat unhealthy foods, but a lot of the times, they end up being too complicated, don’t turn out right or they need these crazy herbs that cost $20 and I only use a small little pinch of it and then throw the rest away.

I am looking for a few good recipes for cauliflower. I tried making cauliflower rice a few weeks ago and it took about 30 minutes to prep and it turned out disgusting, I could barely eat it. However, I’ve bought steamable bags of cauliflower rice before and it was good, so I know that I like it.

I’m interested in trying cauliflower pizza, so if you have a home recipe or a link to one that you like, please share with me.

Here are some of my favorite foods and what I’ve done so far to try and eliminate the unhealthy side of it.

  • Tacos – I’ve gotten rid of the shells and use lettuce wraps to eat tacos. The issue is that I LOVE rice in my taco, so I need a healthy alternative.
  • Pizza – who doesn’t love pizz, but who can actually figure that stuff out when it comes to bolusing for it? I know I can’t. For that reason, I want a healthy alternative.
  • Dipping Sauces – anybody who knows me, knows I am a dipping sauce fanatic, especially from Chic-Fil-A. Unfortunately, this stuff is just filled with sugar and fat. Any healthy options to replicate these things?
  • Chinese Food – This is by far my guiltiest pleasure. When I get stressed, I want Chinese food. Does anybody have any healthier options that could replicate this?

Please share all of your healthy side dish options with me. I love to cook and I love losing weight and eating clean, healthy foods.

Thanks in advance.

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Successful Lab Results

I quickly talked about my most recent A1C yesterday and mentioned how I really don’t care about it. During my endo visit last week, my doctor told me my A1C and I said, “ok, I figured that, what were my triglycerides because that’s what I care about?”

Luckily, I have been able to establish a relationship with my doctor that I can dictate the direction of my appointment like this. Now, why was I so concerned about the triglycerides? Well, earlier this year, they number was around 450. I didn’t know much about this number, but I knew it was supposed to be about 150. My doctor was very concerned and she said that these were heart attack numbers and put me on medication and told me I have to start eating better and going to the gym.

Well, after a month of going to the gym, eating better (most of the time) and being on medication, I was able to bring my number down to 112. I was extremely happy with this result. This, to me, is so much more important than what my A1C is. Same goes with the cholesterol numbers. Those also came back as close to perfect as they can. They were within the goal range that we set, and I like to keep it that way.

My lab results for a few straight visits were not coming back with the ranges that I was hoping for and I was anti-medication. Then during one visit my doctor explained it like this. My body is at a disadvantage of my diabetes. So, why not level the playing field with medication? That is why I am still on a cholesterol pill even though my cholesterol numbers are within a great range.

Making the decision to start taking medication and getting over my anti-medication, I can do this myself attitude, was the best thing for me.

Well, here’s to another successful round of labs in 3-4 months.

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Back on Novolog After a Rough Summer Without It

The summer of 2016 is one that was something that I would love to forget when it comes to my diabetes. I was using a temporary insurance and this temporary insurance did not have any prescription, well it did, but if you call getting your insulin at 10% off retail costs coverage, than ok.

I was using Novolin R during this 90-120 day period. I was using this because it was affordable, at only $24-$27 per vial at Walmart. This “insulin” was affordable but it did not work. No matter what I tried, I could not get my blood sugars to act anything like they do when I’m using Novolog.

I would take 30 minutes before eating and still shoot high. I’d not know that I was going to eat soon, so I’d end up taking the insulin over 5-10 minutes before hand and my sugar levels would sky rocket. I would take a large amount of insulin to correct a high and it would do nothing, so I’d take more, and then 6 hours later, in the middle of the night, I’d drop down low and need to correct with middle of the night Skittles and OJ.

September 1 started my new insurance that allowed me to pay $50 for my 3 month supply of Novolog.

I had a feeling that my A1C was going to be pretty bad (and no, I don’t care about my A1C). I was right, it was the highest that it has been since I was diagnosed 12 years ago.

I have also lost about 15 pounds since I returned back from my summer trip, so I know that’s going to continue to help with my insulin usage. Which means better eating, more time at the gym, which both lead to lower glucose levels.

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50 Pound Weight Loss Goal

Back in February after a visit with my CDE, I went on a 30 day no carb diet and then started with a low carb diet after that.  Within the first week I lost nearly 10 pounds and after a month I was down 17. I ended up dropping a total of 23 pounds, but then we decided to sell our house and that whole process threw me off of the diet.

I ended up having to eat out because people were walking through my house during dinner time and we didn’t want the house to smell like food or do anything to turn a potential buyer off.

After selling our home, we went to visit family in Pennsylvania for nearly 2.5 months. As you can imagine, there was a lot of bad eating and not much dieting.

We have now been back in Florida for a week and I began my gym trips yesterday as well as diet. It is just about impossible for me to be on a zero carb diet, but I try to eliminate as many as I can. That means lots of chicken and lots of non-starchy veggies in my near future.

I have set a weight loss goal of 50 pounds.

I actually want to lose more, and think that I will, but I don’t want to set an initial goal that is too lofty that I never reach it. But I also didn’t want to set a goal that was so small and obtainable that it’s not much of an accomplishment.

Well, here’s to the start of another new journey in life

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Diabetes in the Wild

I’m sure at one point or another we have felt like we are the only one that is going through a specific problem or issue with diabetes. But then we log on to social media and we see 10 others with the exact same problem and the solution to the problem becomes a lot easier to see. However, in our daily lives, we may not come across diabetes in the wild as often as we may like (not that we want others to have diabetes, but to know more locally who do.)

When I am at home in PA, I unfortunately, do see diabetes in the wild, in the form of my 6 year old niece.

The other day we went to the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia. Which, by the way, is an awesome place. But while there, my brother had tested my niece because the Dex was showing about 115 double arrow down. The results on the meter were much lower…. 36.

Seeing my brother and sister-in-law spring into action so quickly and give two juices and a quick snack right before lunch to fix the low was weird to watch. It was weird because I’m so used to just seeing myself do that and make quick decisions like that to correct my lows.

Then at lunch, another discussions ensued about how much she treated with, how many carbs in the meal, take into consideration that there is still more playing to be done at the museum and also the ride home. Discussions like this are exactly what I have in my head every day, but I’m not used to hearing them from other people, except for when I’m at a conference or meetup.

As exciting as it is to see diabetes in the wild, I wish that I didn’t have to see it in this fashion, but when you see a 6 year old fight through a 36 blood sugar in order to get back to playing, it makes you realize that I as well can get through a low to get back to adult activities like working.

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Life Had Me in a Rut

For the last three months, I have been in a bit of a funk when it comes to advocacy, being active within the DOC and basically everything to do with diabetes. There are multiple reasons for this and they are primarily all family focused.

Several months ago my wife and I decided that we were going to sell our home so we can travel between Pennsylvania and Florida a lot easier. This meant that we had to completely clean the house, pack and organize everything into our garage. We then had to get all the yard work done, plant flowers, lay mulch, pressure wash and all the other fun things that go into prepping a home for sale.

Once the house was sold, we had to move. After we moved, we decided that we were going to come up to PA for 2 months (which is currently where I am). While up in PA, I have basically just done as much stuff with family and friends as possible and that has left me with little time for work and all that goes with my diabetes activities.

Not only have I had zero time to do much else than hang out with friends and family, I’ve been having a bit of a battle with my own diabetes. Because of an insurance snafu a few months, I’ve had to switch to Novolin R insulin because I have no insulin coverage and have to pay 95% of the retail costs.

My diabetes has been very difficult to manage with using this insulin. The two hardest parts are having to take it at least 30 minutes before I eat and trying to correct a high.

I am not much of a planner when it comes to eating. Especially when on vacation. My wife and I just go along with the day and then eventually decide we’re going to eat and that could be within the next 5 minutes. Because of that, my blood sugar sky rockets. Then, when I use Novolin R to correct, it takes hours to come down.

With all of this added together, I have been in a rut. But, the only way to get out of the rut is to keep going and push through it. So that is what I am going to do.

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healthcare experience

Upgrading My Healthcare Experience – DBlogWeek Day 4

I think that I may spend more time on the phone with my insurance company throughout the year than I do speaking with my healthcare team.

Go back and re-read that.

This is coming from someone who gets a good 30-45 minute discussion with my educator at every single visit (I see an ARNP not endo).

That would be very high on my list of things to change. That the insurance companies actually read the notes from the previous callers because every single time I have to explain the situation and that’s when my frustration levels begin to rise.

Another issue I would like to see fixed is that when I actually pay for health insurance, that they provide some sort of prescription co-pay. Currently, I had to change to a temporary plan due to a marketplace hiccup, if you will. With this new plan, there is no prescription coverage, basically I pay whatever the pharmacy discount is. So for my 6 vials of Novolog (or Humalog or Apidra, doesn’t matter) it will cost me just under $1,000 and that includes the co-pay assistance from Novolog. Just last month on my previous plan, it was a $25 co-pay.

I’m sure this is one is going to be listed on everybody’s post today – Choice.

I think that one explains itself.

I cannot complain against my medical visits because I get a good 30-45 minutes and it’s an actual discussion back and forth with my educator. We figure out what went wrong, what worked, and make a plan for the next 90 days before we regroup again.

I know that is not always the case, so I would like to see that my doctor be able to get paid for the time that they put in. A lot of education is missed out because they don’t get reimbursed for it, and that doesn’t help anybody.

I would also like to not have to hear stories anymore from people that say, “what?? You’re doctor emails back and forth with you??!!??”

Yes, I will email her and say, hey I just uploaded 7 days of sensor data, can you take a look and she will respond with what she thinks.

Now, do I think that she should be able to bill for that? I don’t know. Here’s why..

I own a business and sometimes I have to do work in order to either gain a client or keep a client that is work, but not billable work, it’s relationship building work. And that is how I see these emails.

But, I would like to see the healthcare system have a way for doctors to get paid and reimbursed for Skype calls and it not have multiple hoops to jump through.

My primary issue is just a simple customer service one when it comes to insurance. Just simply have great customer service and a great customer relationship management system and don’t be another roadblock in my life for better health.

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language of diabetes

I’m Not Big on Words – DBlogWeek Day 3

There are certain words that I think can certainly hurt and those are related to race, direct insults like fat, ugly, etc.

When it comes to diabetes, I may be in the minority here, but in a lot of circumstances my thoughts are this….. It’s just a word, get over it.

Take a second to look at the name of my site, do you think I care about the word diabetic? You can call me a person with diabetes, diabetic, or whatever else you choose. Diabetes is not all that I am, but it is a way to describe part of me. Just like if I went into a sports bar on a Sunday afternoon, I would be identified as an Eagles fan, not Chris, but as an Eagles fan.

If you prefer to be called one or the other, that’s great, I also don’t have anything against that… why? Because I respect everyone’s decision to like or dislike certain words.

Checking vs testing blood sugar is another one that doesn’t bother me. I understand that testing makes it sound like a pass or fail, but honestly, that is way overthinking it. It’s just a phrase. Once again, my own personal opinion and I respect the opinion of others who may not like the word.

I’m not one to deep dive analyze every single word. I don’t think into this stuff like that. There is way too much other crap in my life to worry about and stress over, that the simple choice of a few words is not one of them.

Another one that I see a lot of chatter about is patient vs consumer vs customer. Another one that I don’t care too much about but I see it this way. I am a patient of my doctor and healthcare team. I am a customer to an insurance company. And I am also a consumer and customer to supply companies. I am NOT patient of Novo Nordisk, Medtronic, Bayer, Roche, Lilly, etc.
However, if you want to call me a patient of these supply companies, it’s not really going to bother me. Like I said, I have family health problems, business problems, a 14 month old, and plenty of other battles to fight, like access.

When I have to go from paying $25 for a one month supply of insulin to $985 for that same one month supply because my insurance changed…..I don’t give a F&^# what the insurance company calls me. Much bigger issue to deal with.

Once again, I want to re-iterate. I have no problem with people who do not like these words. I am not saying that my way of thinking is the right way, it’s just the way that I think and handle things, that’s all. Fighting to eliminate usage of some of these words is just not something that I am passionate about, therefore, I don’t spend my time worrying about it.

I am all for finding your passion in advocacy and advocating the hell out of it.

So, if this is one of your advocacy passions, then fight on and I will support you as an advocate.

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