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Is Diabetes a Disability?

Here’s a question for you: Is diabetes a disability?  This question came up while I was reading an article in the October issue of Diabetes Forecast.  There is an article titled, “Cracking the Case.”  Long story short, Jeff Kapche was denied a position at the FBI because of his diabetes.  He filed suit against them stating that they didn’t hire him because of his diabetes.  The FBI said that his diabetes is not a disability because he manages his diabetes well.  The court favored Kapche.  The case is still is heading back to the Federal Court of Appeals for another review.

There is no easy answer to this question, it may seem like there is, but there isn’t.  Let’s look at it from all sides.

Diabetes IS a disability

When you have diabetes(type 1) there are certain things that you must do in order to live a healthy life.  You must check your blood sugar, take insulin whether it is from an insulin pump or syringe, be able to have access to glucose in case of an emergency and many more things that we don’t have to get into at this time.  This can definitely hinder your processes of doing normal day to day or daily job tasks.  If you are working an extremely physical job then your blood sugar is more likely to drop faster, so this is where diabetes can be considered a disability.

Diabetes IS NOT a Disability

Even with all of the things that you need to do in order to properly manage your diabetes, they do not have to hinder your daily life or your day to day tasks.  If you are doing the things that you need to be doing, then you can control your diabetes which does not allow it to become a disability.  Whether you are wearing an insulin pump or taking multiple day injections (MDI), you can control your levels.

My 2 Cents

Here’s my 2 cents.  Diabetes is in no way a disability.  I live a normal life, I just so happen to be diabetic.  In the 6 years that I have had diabetes there has not been one single time that I have had to say, “no I can’t do that because I have diabetes.”  I eat ice cream cake for birthdays, I ride roller coasters that go upside down(Manta @SeaWorld)Manta_SeaWorld while wearing a pump hooked to my hip, I test my blood sugar at the table, at the desk, in the bathroom, at work, at the dinner table, I do everything someone without diabetes does, but more!  I don’t see diabetes in any way being a disability.  With proper management, you can control it.  A disability to me is something that you can’t control.

I think using diabetes as a disability is a scape goat for a lawsuit. Sure, there may be a reason that you don’t get a job because of diabetes, but that is a discrimination, primarily based upon ignorance and the cost of your health to the company hiring you.  So, if you are going to file a suit against somebody for discriminating against your diabetes it should be because you are defending that it isn’t a disability and that you are able to do the job just the same as someone without diabetes.  Instead, the guy in this article is fighting the FBI and saying that he was denied the job because he DOES have a disability and the FBI is claiming that his diabetes is not a disability.

This irritates me.  To think that the ADA is doing a 2 1/2 page article in their magazine talking about how diabetes is a disability.  What kind of negative thinking is that?  Not the kind that I want to think about.  How about they write articles about how it’s not a disability, but people’s pure ignorance to think that we can’t do something just because we have diabetes.  I don’t know.  But what I do know is that I’m not going to have an organization that is supposed to be furthering advocacy for the disease I live with, start to take steps backwards.

If you want to accept diabetes as a disability, then be my guest.  That’s your life decision.  But I’m not going to let this damn thing hold me down!

I would love to hear ya’ll feedback.

Diabetes Aside, What Do You Do?

What do you do?  I know that the number one thing that majority of us have in common is that we all have diabetes, or know somebody with diabetes.  But I want to know a little more.  What do you do, what is your passion?  What do you do for a living?  How many children do you have?  What do you do for fun, what are your hobbies?  I know some of this stuff about some of you, but I’d like to know more about more of you.  So, if you feel comfortable, please comment what it is that you, or what your passion is.  Put diabetes to the side and let’s know the rest of us.

Here’s a little about me.  I am an internet marketer.  I love the internet and geeky computer things.  I love social media, I love SEO.  I love blogging.  Currently I also coach a pop warner (12-14 yr old) football team in East Boca.  We are having a rough season.  The kids are 0-8, a real life version of the Little Giants, especially since our name is the Giants.  I have a girlfriend, Amanda, that I have been with for 4 years.  I do plan on marrying her, just isn’t the right time to make that move yet.  I moved down to south Florida from PA, where the rest of my family still lives.  My direct family consists of my mother and father who both turned 50 this year.  And one brother who turned 29 in September.  His wife is expecting their first child in just a few weeks.  I am extremely excited to become an uncle.

I enjoy watching football, Philadelphia Eagles, baseball, Philadelphia Phillies, hockey, Florida Panthers, basketball, Orlando Magic, and NCAA football, Virginia Tech and NCAA basketball, Michigan State.  Yes, I know my sports teams are all over the place, but there is a reason for each of them.  If you’re curious, here we go.  I like Orlando Magic because I became a fan when they signed Shaq back in 1992-93 and stayed a fan since then.  Virginia Tech became my team when a local high school QB went there in 1995 to play there.  Phillies and Eagles, I’m from the Philly area.  Michigan State came from their freshman point guard in 1996, Mateen Cleaves.

That is about it.  That sums up most of my life.  If you have other questions, I am open to answer them.  I look forward to seeing your stories as well.

Diabetes Doesn’t Make Sense Sometimes

Sometimes diabetes just doesn’t make any sense.  As soon as you think you are understanding it, there it goes again.  Most recent example was last night.  Throughout most of the day my sugar was low, I was eating glucose tabs and Skittles all day at work because it just kept going back down.  When I got home at about 5:30 and went to the gym my blood sugar was right around 110 or so.  I ate, then worked out at the gym for 45 minutes went to Wal-Mart and Target and then came home and checked my sugar and it was up to 230 – something.  Unbelievable.  I didn’t even eat anything that would have caused it to go high like that.  Like I said, it confuses me at times.

Then there are times like Sunday when I went to Olive Garden.  It has been well documented on what happens to my body and sugars when I go to Olive Garden.  I overeat and then next thing you know my sugar is soaring over 350 just about everytime.  So I took just a little more insulin than usual but spaced it out a little more this time with a wave bolus.  Well, instead of my sugar getting up to 350, it was about 300 points lower, about 67 when I tested 3 hours later.  What the heck is that all about?  I have no idea.  Once again, diabetes confusing me.

I guess if I was wearing my CGM I would be able to catch these things a little easier.  But I’m not wearing it.  The sensors that I have are expired, even though I think that they would still work, I have just been too lazy.  I’m not going to get more sensors until next year because of the whole deductible thing.  There was a span in there that I didn’t test for close to 4 hours, so that is my own fault.  Especially when at work I test once an hour, so it’s almost like I am wearing a CGM.

Please remember to dedicate at least one blog post to getting diabetes awareness into the faces of professional athletes so we can have even a bigger voice.

Thank you all.

Diabetes Awareness Month, I am Challenging Jay Cutler’s People – Stand Up, Stand Together

In yesterday’s post I brought up the point of not always working together for the same goal.  I think that the way everybody is working together for IDF and World Diabetes Day is phenomenal.  In the month of November can we band together to do one more thing?  Can we work together to get a sport to support diabetes month?  Just like wearing pink for all the games, let’s wear the blue circle on the back of the helmets or on the arm of the jersey’s or on an NBA jersey.  I think this is a huge opportunity for awareness for diabetes.  But where do we start?

We all have a voice online now, so I say we all dedicate a blog post some time this week and Tweet about it all week until people start to listen.  If we can get one celebrity or a bigger voice than myself on board, I think it will be easy.  I know, let’s start with Jay Cutler.  I admire Jay Cutler, as a former quarterback myself, tremendously.  He may be too tough to get to, so how about Jay’s people.  My people can try and get in touch with his people.  Wait, I don’t have people, I have a blog and Twitter account and some other social media accounts.  So, if Jay Cutler’s people are listening, well reading now, I am challenging you.  I am challenging you to get the NFL to support Diabetes the way they support Breast Cancer awareness.

With November 1 coming up which marks the beginning of Diabetes Awareness month, it may be tough, but things happen a lot faster now with the tools that we all have.  By the way, November 1 is my birthday, sorry little side note.  It is also the day the Eagles play the Giants.  But back to the subject.  I know I am not the only one that believes in this and I know for a fact there’s others out there that are more passionate about it as I am, so work with me, let’s all work together.  Think of how big of an accomplishment this can be for diabetes.

Yesterday when JA Happ of the Phillies won the rookie of the year, he announced that the bonus money they receive for winning the award goes to a charity of their choice, he chose the Diabetes Research Institute.  He even talked about type 1 diabetes like he was an educator.  This is what we need, more people like JA Happ.  I would start with reaching out to him, but quite honestly, I want him focusing on sweeping the Yankees, sorry the Philly fan had to come out somewhere in here 🙂

Whether you are type 1, type 2, type whatever, a family member, a friend, a co-worker, if you have even just ever heard of the word diabetes, commit just one post this week, that’s it, just one short post about this and it can be a great start.  I thank you all in advance.

Top 3 Things Diabetes Related That Make Me Mad

Recently I started to think about some of the things related to diabetes that really make me mad.  Diabetes in general doesn’t because I have learned to live with it, deal with it and manage it.  It is usually other people that make me mad when it comes to diabetes.  Let’s start with the top 3 things, in no particular order.

Diabetic vs Person with Diabetes

I personally don’t understand all of the hype around this.  If you want to call me a person with diabetes, go ahead.  You want to call me diabetic, which I prefer, then go ahead.  I don’t really care what you call me.  Diabetic is just the term that is used to call somebody who has diabetes.  Why all of a sudden is it such a bad thing?  I think it is a good thing when someone calls me a diabetic, because I have diabetes, so therefore I am diabetic.  I guess if I hear one very good logical reasoning of the PWD thing then I will go with it.  Like I said, I have no problem if that is what you want to be called, I will call you that.  Quite honestly, I would rather call you by your first name and not diabetic or person with diabetes at all.

Supply Switching

Who the hell are you (fill in the blank with your supply company) to tell me what meter, strips, lancets or pen needles I want to use?  Do you think that I care about your bottom line figures and that you make more money off of the generic lancets than the brand name.  I don’t really care about the 200% profit you are making, I care that the lancets that I am using are not damaging and bruising my fingers constantly.  I want a pen needle that is going to penetrate my skin and not hurt when it goes in because its not sharp enough.  A few years ago when I was still using an old supplier, will not mention names, they continued to send me these cheap generic lancets when I wanted the One Touch ones.  They kept sending them every 90 days and I would call and tell them to stop, but they wouldn’t let me return them, I still had to pay for them.  They then went far enough to tell me that the One Touch ones are no longer made, they have been discontinued.  So when I was walking through Wal-Mart one day I saw them there and then went off on the company.  I called 4 times a day every day for like 2 straight weeks to make sure I got every customer service rep there.

Not the same goal in mind

There are a lot of non-profits, organizations, blogs, communities and they do not know how to work together.  What do we all want?  A cure, right?  Of course there are some other things that would be great along the way, but ultimately it is about finding a cure, spreading awarenss and giving people an arena to share and talk about, especially in the online world.  Then why can’t we just all work together and not look at other people in the diabetes world as “competitors”.  I’m not saying that everyone does that, I’m speaking of the minority on this one, but it just irritates the hell out of me.

Those are the 3 main things that just make me mad.

What are some others that tick you the wrong way?

MMM….Insulin

MMM….Insulin.  That’s what I said to myself today around 10:00 a.m. when a co-worker came up to my desk and said, there’s a package downstairs for you.  I was starting to get extremely nervous because about 20 minutes before that, my pump beeped and said “Low Reservoir” and I was completely out of insulin.  I am supposed to get a phone call when my insulin is shipped, but I never received a phone call, so I was really worried because it was Friday and I knew it wouldn’t be delivered on the weekend.  I finally received that call about 3 hours after the insulin was delivered, what good was that?

Once that new shipment of insulin came I took out 1 vial to let it settle to room temperature because I knew I would need to re-fill it soon.  I think we all know that cold insulin does not feel good at all.  I can remember the first time I took cold insulin, it was through an insulin pen, it burned like crazy.  I felt like somebody took a lighter and just put it up to my skin.  Never did that ever again. Now, into the problem that I have with my insulin company.

I have never seen a company so…ridiculous…for a lack of words.  It is the mail order company that my insurance requires me to use for my mail order services.  Last Friday I filled out the order form and faxed it in and faxed in the prescription that my doctor had just written out for me.  Not good enough for them because the prescription has to come directly from the doctor.  So, I called the doctor’s office and they then faxed it over to them.  Nope, still not good enough.  I have to fill out the order form myself, with my insurance information, billing, shipping, all the good stuff.  Then I have to fax that form to my doctor, who then has to fill out the prescription on that piece of paper, so it can’t be a separate prescription, it has to be hand-written onto that sheet.  Then finally my doctor’s office can fax it over.  So this took up until Monday to finally complete.  Then once they receive it, it takes 24-48 hours to enter the order into the system (I don’t know how it can take that long).  Once the order is in the system it takes 3-5 business to process the order (once again, no idea how it takes that long), but oh don’t worry they ship it overnight for free.  Well you freakin should for taking a damn week to process it!

Well, as you see here, my insulin is in my possession, finally, and I am very happy to see it here.  Time to now put it into the fridge and let it stay there until I need it.  Luckily I won’t have to go through this in December when I re-order because the prescription will be on file.

Well, it’s 8:00 p.m. Friday night, I need to go.  Good news today, my LLC finally went through, official company name is “CSI Marketing Solutions, LLC”

Doctors, Deductibles, Diabetes, Contract Work – OH MY!

Doctors and deductibles.  Both have things in common, but also a lot of differences as well.  You don’t want to have a high deductible, just as much as you don’t want to have a high doctor.  Your happy when you meet your deductible, hopefully you are happy after you meet your doctor.  But then comes my discussion and dilemma, which I know a lot of you share with me.  Do you skip or hold off on visits because you have met your deductible and then in two months it sets back to zero and you have to start all over again?

I need to go to the dentist because it has been almost a year and a half since I last saw my old dentist back in PA.  I don’t want to go right now because I haven’t met my calendar year deductible.  So why not just wait until January 1, right?  My endo was fine with that decision except that I said the same thing last year as well, which is exactly why I haven’t seen a dentist for as long as I have.  So then I started to think, is it just a lame excuse to not go and see the doc?  I also need to go get my yearly eye exam.  I do believe, however, that I went for a check-up earlier this year because I needed a new prescription for my contacts and needed new glasses.

Now, some of you may be thinking, how in the world have you not met your deductible this late into the year?  I got a new insulin pump in January, I have infusion sets, reservoirs, transmitter and sensors for my continuous glucose monitor (CGM), but they were all billed from an out-of-network provider, so that ate up my out of network deductible, but didn’t touch my in-network.  All of my doctors are all in network with the type of insurance that I have.  And of course the money that I pay every 90 days for my insulin does not go towards my deductible, why would it?  So that leaves me with only one thing going towards it and that is my doctor’s visits.  So until I meet that deductible, there is no co-pay, it is strictly going towards the deductible.

I started seeing my new endo back in May or June, don’t exactly remember and I have had monthly, well every 4-6 week visits since then.  And since the insurance isn’t covering anything yet, I’m sure you know much it is costing me for these endo appointments.  So I am paying a monthly premium for my insurance, but still paying monthly doctor bills.  I guess it could be worse because I don’t pay anything at all for my pump supplies and testing strips, at least not yet.

Now, getting a little off of the deductible topic and into a more general insurance topic, private insurance.  For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you know who I work for, and that has been disclosed before the FTC crack down on it.  Any who, I receive insurance from them as a full time employee.  I have also created a company within the last 60 days as well.  This wasn’t really a planned thing so I will explain it briefly.  I had friends and relatives that knew I was really into geeky, cool, tech things like website design, blogging, and social media.  A few people needed help getting started on Facebook and Twitter etc.  So then I said well why not start getting paid for doing this stuff.  Then it started to evolve and had people asking me to do their PPC campaigns, (Google Adwords primarily) and also some organic SEO stuff.  Now I definitely have to charge for that type of stuff because it is not the easiest and quickest stuff to do.  Do I have to disclose when I am talking about my own company?  Well, just in case, I own Chris Stocker Inc, with 10% of all profits being donated to JDRF.  Now you know the story, here is the question.

Since I am diabetic, I feel restricted that I have to work for a corporation that will offer me insurance.  Is this new PPC / SEO business paying the bills?  No, not really, so I’m not looking for this to be a full-time gig or expand it into something large with several employees, then in which I would be able to get some group insurance.  This is just something that I am extremely passionate about and love to do, so I do it on the side and would love for my career path to follow this way.  The only problem with that is a lot of work in this industry is done on a contract basis, and there’s no insurance in contracted jobs.

So what am I to do?  Are there any of you out there now that do this type of thing or any contracted work?  Or own your own business?  Like I said before, at this time there are no plans to expand to the level needed for insurance.  I would really appreciate all of your help on this.

Took a Little Break, Except from Diabetes

Last week I decided to take some time off from Twitter, Facebook, blogging and every other online outlet for 4-5 days.  I had a lot of things coming up and just needed a break.  It’s now time to get back to work however and catch back up, which is harder than actually doing the work in the first place.  I needed to get some offline things done, it’s crazy that theirs actually an offline life out there.  You know, all the fun stuff plus the diabetes stuff.  The life of a diabetic always consists of making sure you have the essentials.  Since I am type 1, I had to make sure that I had enough insulin in my pump before I went to do all of the fun events thisweekend because there is nothing worse than going out somewhere and not having enough insulin.

Friday night after work I headed down to the Panthers game for their exciting win over the Flyers.  It was a stressful event for me.  The Phillies started at 4:00 p.m on Friday, so I was wearing my Chase Utley jersey all day long and had Amanda drive down to the BankAtlantic Center so I could pay attention to the game on my phone.  When I got to the arena, I had to take the Phillies shirt off because the Panthers were playing a Philly team (Flyers), so I was in a little predicament.  Ultimately, the Phillies lost and the Panthers won.  During the game I decided to get some nachos, so I bolused for them and chowed down.  After eating them I started to feel a little low in the middle of the period, so Amanda went out and bought me a huge $4.00 chocolate chip cookie.  I didn’t test to see how low my sugar was because of course my meter was out in the car.  Finally, I felt better and my sugar was about 160 after the game.

As soon as the game was over, Amanda and I went to Super Wal-Mart because I had to get all the fixings for pasta salad (my favorite food in the world).  Saturday was my future father in-law’s birthday party for his 60th birthday, which is actually today.  My roommate (my girlfriend’s brother) and I decided to get a keg for the party because there was going to be a good amount of people there.  But that wasn’t the main reason for the keg.  We knew that the Oklahoma – Texas, Gators – Razorbacks, Virginia Tech – Georgia Tech, and the Yankees games were all on Saturday, so we knew there was a lot of beer to go through for the day.  I’m not even going to get into Virginia Tech blowing any chance that they have to play for the national championships.   At the party I didn’t have my meter again, starting to be a not so good recurring theme here.  I was eating a lot of pasta salad, macaroni salad, beer, chicken tenders and mini subs.  So a lot of insulin wasb eing consumed there.  When I went home I tested and I was near the low 200’s, which is where I stayed pretty much all night long.

And to top it off the Eagles barely outscored the Phillies on Sunday.  The Eagles game did have my stress levels at a high so far this season because they have been playing well so it hasn’t affected me too much.  Since my meter was left in my car, surprise surprise, I had no idea what my sugar was.  All I knew was that I didn’t feel dizzy and I didn’t have to pee a lot so I knew I wasn’t at either extreme.  I know this isn’t good because sometimes I am just dehydrated and drinking a lot because I was sweating so much.  Sometimes I will take some insulin because of that, which is not a good idea, so don’t try that at home kids.  But at the end of the night the Phils win at least made it a little better.

Last night after work I had to coach a game which was the best game all season so far.  It was a 12-6 loss for my kids that have been averaging about 21-0 losses.  Then at night, Mr. Jimmy Rollins rocked Philly with a walk-off double, which sent me running and screaming around my house at about midnight, waking up my roommate who is cheering for the Dodgers.

My Interview with Greater West Palm Beach JDRF

Yesterday I was lucky enough to conduct an interview with the events coordinator of my local JDRF, Greater West Palm Beach Chapter.  I have worked with Esther on multiple events over the past two years and have come to have a great working relationship with her.  She also has an amazing story about diabetes and I wanted to share a little of Esther great heart, mind, and efforts with you.  This interview was conducted via e-mail.

1. How long have you been with JDRF?

  • I’ve been with JDRF for 10 years.

2. How did you get started?

  • I’ve worked for another non-profit in the past (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital) and so I know how important it is to fight for children who are faced with a serious disease.

3. Explain how diabetes struck home?

  • One day after hosting a Walk to Cure Diabetes, I took my daughter to the emergency room because I had notice the warning signs of diabetes for a few weeks, but was in denial that this could indeed happen to me and my family.

4. One word to describe how you felt after your daughter’s diagnosis?

  • After her diagnosis, my head was spinning … literally .. I felt shock, disbelief and bewilderment.

5. One word to describe how you feel now about it?

  • Although one of the most serious diseases anyone can be affected by, I know that diabetes is very manageable and I remind my daughter that she can still to anything she puts her mind to.

6. Best part of working at JDRF?

  • I have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people, filled with the same passion … to find a cure for diabetes and its complications

7. Scariest diabetes moment?

  • When my daughter first came home from the hospital, her blood sugar had dropped into the forties, so my husband and I gave her glucose tabs and a 15 gram snack.  This didn’t seem to move her blood sugar number up much after 20 minutes, we gave her an additional 15 gram snack and that took her blood sugar to about 350.  Yikes …we were so scared that we would never learn how to properly regulate her numbers.

8. Funniest diabetes moment?

  • Shortly after diagnosis, a little boy at my daughter’s school called her a “diabetic.”  Well my husband and I don’t believe in labeling her, so she knows that we never use that word.  So, in response to this little boy, my daughter said, “I am not a diabetic.  I am a little girl who has diabetes.  Would you call someone with cancer a “canceretic”? No, you’d say that they have cancer.  So, don’t ever call me that again.  To this day, no other student at her school ever uses that term around her.  🙂

9. Favorite movie, book, singer?

  • Favorite Movie:  Mask (with Cher); Favorite Book:  Misery;  Favorite Singer:  Michael Jackson (of course 🙂 )

10. If you could change one thing in the world today, other than the obvious of finding a cure, what would it be?

  • If I could do one thing, I would find a way to keep children and seniors, the most vulnerable people in our society, away from those who would intentionally do them harm, be it physical, emotional or otherwise.  And, I would want to see anyone caught harming them, prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

If you have any questions for Esther, please leave a comment on my blog and I will make sure that they are answered.  If you live in my area, please let me know if you are interested in helping with any local JDRF events.

Busy Day Today, Interview with JDRF Tomorrow

Today was so busy that I didn’t even have time to open up my TweetDeck on the laptop or TwitFon on my iPhone.  I only have a few minutes here, I have to get back to work on some other things.  I will be posting an interview tomorrow with my local JDRF events coordinator, Esther Swann.

My blood sugars in the morning were amazing.  I woke up with a 105, 120 after breakfast, 109 right before lunch.  I switched out my infusion set right before lunch because it was almost falling out.  After lunch 225, two hours later, 301.  Ok what the heck is going on.  Around 5 when I left for work I was at about 350.  Before dinner I was 245 and just about 5 minutes ago I was 130.  I don’t know what all that was about, but it was a crazy day of blood sugars as well.