The other day I decided to Snap an average day with diabetes. I downloaded the full Snap Story and uploaded to YouTube, so please go check it out:
As some of you may recall my niece was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes back in October of last year. The diagnosis was a few days before Halloween and also her birthday. She has been handling the diagnosis like a champ since day one. Fast forward a few months, she is wearing a Dexcom and Omnipod and playing soccer. Back in January, I was up in Pennsylvania for a quick little family visit and I had the honor of being her guest speaker at her Daisy’s meeting in order to get her Defeat Diabetes badge.
During her presentation to her Daisies she showed famous people with diabetes. One of those people was Sierra Sandison. She had a few pictures of her. One of her showing her insulin pump, her book and another one wearing her Miss Idaho crown. My sister in law had told me that she loves Sierra and always talks about her.
I wanted to do something for my niece because she has been handling the diagnosis so great, so I reached out to Sierra to just ask if she could do something for my niece.
Well, if you haven’t heard already, Sierra Sandison is pretty freakin awesome!
About a week or so later, I received the following texts from my sister in law.
I just wanted to take this time to say thank you to Sierra again. Little things like this go a long way in how a young kid handles their diabetes management. My niece is so excited to show people her pump and her CGM. She willingly tells and shows people about it. I am proud of my niece for how she is handling it and once again thank you so much to Sierra. I know for a fact my brother and sister-in-law are even more thankful for this wonderful outreach.
A few weeks ago I received an email (which I receive a lot of them with pitches about diabetes), but this one I found a little bit more interesting, so decided to give it a second read. The email was about a crowdfunding opportunity for the Peter Sheehan Diabetes Care Foundation. The mission of PSDCF is to:
Improve T2D care and prevention for at-risk communities, provide education to prevent the onset of T2D and its complications, and organize forums enabling an exchange of scientific ideas to further the understanding of T2D.
I am all for any one that is trying to spread awareness and education for diabetes.
You can check out their crowdfunding page here – https://www.youcaring.com/peter-sheehan-diabetes-care-foundation-503231
You can also watch their YouTube video below:
It has been a great month. Just like the last 8 months (since my daughter has been born), this month have flew by. There’s been a lot of advocating, a lot of new connections, a few arguments and bickering here and there (which is going to happen), and even a family member being diagnosed.
I learned a lot this month from my peers and from all of the Twitter chats and daily Facebook posts from others. I try to not only spend my time advocating, but also trying to learn new ways of advocating and learn more about this disease.
Now that the month is over, does that mean I’m done advocating? Absolutely not. This month just had a lot of media and press around it, so it was important to take advantage of that additional coverage.
I would call this year’s Diabetes Awareness Month a success.
Don’t stop now. Keep going. Keep advocating. Keep writing. Keep tweeting. Keep posting. Keep doing whatever you did.
What was one thing that you learned this month?
World Diabetes Day was a very long and tiresome day for me this year. I normally don’t really do anything to celebrate the day, I used to use it as a vacation day from everything I do with diabetes. Last year I participated actively for about 6-7 hours of the World Diabetes Day Chat, but this year, my goal was to break the record, in fact I wanted to actively participate in the entire event.
And I did.
Throughout the 13,14, 15 hours ( I don’t even know how long it was), I attempted to answer every question asked by every moderator. There were a couple of reasons why I did this. First, because I wanted to motivate someone to do something. I was hoping just one person would say to themselves, “if he’s been tweeting all day, I can find 5 minutes to send an email to my local reps.” Secondly, I wanted to show people that we all have time. I know we all live busy lives, but if you audit your day, you can find some time to do more advocacy related things that you feel like you don’t have the time to do. And lastly, I wanted to get a better understanding and feeling for how the DOC felt towards all of the topics that were being discussed.
So, what did I learn during this all day chat? A lot.
I learned that the DOC comes together like a boss. I learned that even when there were disagreements about certain things, there was still a common goal in the end, just maybe the paths were a little different. I learned that there are a lot of people that want to help and do more, but just don’t know they can do. I also learned that when we come together as a community like we did on Saturday, our voices are heard a hell of a lot louder than when we are just individuals shouting.
I learned how I can advocate better and how I can do things differently to better manage my own diabetes. I also learned that it’s very easy for your words to be taken out of context in just one tweet (well, I guess I already knew that).
What did you learn from the World Diabetes Day Chat? Comment below.
It is Diabetes Awareness month this month, so you will be seeing an overflow of diabetes information. You will also see bickering amongst people with diabetes because not everyone believes in the same advocacy efforts. And you know what? That is fine.
When it comes to awareness and advocacy, do you.
If you have a certain passion about something and that’s what you want to advocate about, great, do it. Don’t just jump on the advocacy bandwagon because you are afraid people will look at you weird because you’re not jumping on board with them.
If you choose not to do anything in the month of November, that is perfectly awesome too. However, don’t try and bash people that are.
We need to support each other’s efforts in advocacy. You may not necessarily agree with someone, but who is to say who is right in regards to that particular topic. If you choose not to help them with their advocacy efforts, that is perfectly fine, just please stop bashing each other’s efforts.
I have been participating in DSMA chats on and off for the 5 years that it has been around. I do not participate as much as I would like to, but I definitely try to jump in when I can. Last night’s was one of the best that I can remember being a part of. It was being promoted well through PR campaigns as well because there were some special sponsors of the chat last night.
The theme of the chat was #ChatActChange
I broke that down as, we chat during DSMA, we act the next day (and every day after that) and then we will see change. But, we will only see change if we communicate and act on those communications. Change will not just happen by itself.
One of the questions last night was geared towards how someone can get started if they don’t know where to begin or what can they do to get started advocating for change. Well, I want to see as much action as possible, so I figured I would outline 5 quick easy ways that you can act today!
Contact Your Local JDRF and American Diabetes Association
Head on over to your local JDRF or American Diabetes Association’s website and just send them a quick email. Explain to them that you are interested in working with them on a specific cause. Maybe you can simply volunteer at a local walk and be able to communicate and meet people in your community and from there you can build a peer to peer support system. Your local chapters may be involved in something locally that sparks your interest, but reach out and introduce yourself and let them know that you are a helping hand.
Contact Your Local Politicians / DiabetesPAC.org
These two are very similar so I decided to combine them together (but it’s still 5 total right?) If you are anything like me than contacting your local politicians can seem intimidating and trying to even figure out who these people are and how I contact them can be nearly impossible. Except for the fact that DiabetesPAC.org exists.
While there you can view some of the top issues such as safety, quality and access. You can also make just a few clicks to actual actions.
What I think is the coolest thing on the entire site is the Diabetes Scorecard. This basically outlines for you where your elected officials stand on important Diabetes related issues. From there, you can send them a message to say thank you for supporting a specific cause or send them a note as to why they should be supporting something.
First, find out who your officials are. Go to http://diabetespac.org/whydpac and in the lower right hand corner simply input your zip code. All of your elected officials will pop right up for you. It is my recommendation to keep that site open so you can easily reference it. Open up a new tab or new browser window and head on over to http://diabetespac.org/dpac/scorecard
From there you can search for your elected official and find out if they have supported any of the Bills listed. Now that you know who you want to contact and about what, you can use this page to search for their social media accounts – http://govsm.com/w/House
Connect with Locals on Twitter
Connecting with people on Twitter can be easy because you can just easily jump into conversations and also build relationships. I’ve connected with a lot of people on Twitter who I never met, but consider them some of my closest friends.
Here is how you can find people locally (there are several other tools to use, but let’s keep it simple with Twitter):
- Go to the Advanced Twitter Search tool
- In the All of These Words area type “diabetes” (or any other word you want to use)
- Under Places, if your area is not currently selected, then make the appropriate changes
- You can scroll through these tweets and look for people that may be tweeting about items that grab your attention
Just Simply Ask “How Can I Help?”
This is a very simple way to get started. If you have a Twitter account (and if you don’t sign up for one right now) simply log into your account. Think about what you are passionate about when it comes to diabetes. This can be anything, CGM and Medicare, Insurance issues, Work place issues, diabetes and schools, etc. Now type the following in Twitter “I am passionate about XYZ and diabetes. How can I help? #dsma”
That hashtag is followed by thousands of people, someone will either have an answer for you on how you can help or they will connect you with someone who can.
If you don’t want to go to Twitter, here’s a really simple, quick way. In the comment section below, tell me your passion and I will help connect you myself with someone within the diabetes community.
That’s it. Just by doing at least one of these items today, you are already taking action. If you want to spread these out over the next week and just do one a day, that is perfectly fine with me.
I just ask that you do something. I am going to hold myself more accountable and take more actions where I can.
Happy Take Action Day!
Back in 2012 I wrote about a new movie called, The Longest Swim, which is about the story of one kid attempting to save the life of his best friend with diabetes.
I received an email the other day from one of the film’s creators, co-producer Don Mainardi that the movie was released and is for sale from Amazon and Best Buy.
The main goal of the film is to help raise awareness about diabetes and to work together with non-profits like American Diabetes Association and JDRF.
You can buy the DVD here –The Longest Swim
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. (more…)
I’m approaching my 10 year diaversary (not until April 2014), but it’s close enough for me to consider it approaching. I wanted to take some time for myself to reflect back on where I was in my life 10 years ago. And, if you did the math properly, you will notice that I didn’t have diabetes 10 years ago.
10 years ago, I was in college playing football at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The season was winding down with only a few games left and I was really looking forward to the season being over and getting a break from football. I seemed to be getting worn down and just didn’t have the same amount of energy that I previously had and I just wanted to get home for Thanksgiving break.
I don’t recall having any of the symptoms of diabetes at this time, I just remember that I was feeling burnt out from the effects of a long football season. I didn’t start feeling any symptoms until about January – February. Once I came back from Winter break in January, I still felt sluggish going to the gym everyday and getting into our off-season workouts. I started to believe that my years of football were done, that I just didn’t want to put in the hard hours of the off-season anymore.
It wasn’t until spring break in early March that I decided that I just had enough. I couldn’t lift as much in the weight room, I couldn’t run as long during workouts and my arm would be tired after a 30 minute throwing session, so I wanted to have spring break to discuss with my parents about quitting football. I had never once thought about quitting football. Even when I had a full ride to Maryland and Rutgers thrown away because of an ACL injury in high school, I swallowed my pride and went to a D3 school. But, this time I could not take anymore of the off-season workouts.
While I was at home during that spring break, I remember going to breakfast with my mom and eating french toast with regular syrup and feeling like I was swallowing thorns because of how dry my mouth was after eating and going to the bathroom every 15-20 minutes while I was home and going out with my friends.
It wasn’t until a month after that I was on my way to the emergency with the 858 blood sugar diagnosis.
And then the life with diabetes began.