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You Chatted, Now It’s Time To Act – 5 Things to Do Today to Take Action

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):

  1. Go to the Advanced Twitter Search tool
  2. In the All of These Words area type “diabetes” (or any other word you want to use)
  3. Under Places, if your area is not currently selected, then make the appropriate changes
  4. 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!

The Longest Swim Available for Purchase

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

YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program

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…)

Looking Back 10 Years in the Past

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.

Strip Safely and Meter Accuracy

I know that I’m a little late to the Strip Safely party, but I have been reading as many posts from others about their concerns with meter accuracy and the great grassroots campaign that has been created by several members of the Diabetes Community.  After a high blood sugar that occurred yesterday, I felt that today would be the best time to write about it due to the large inaccuracies from yesterday.

After sitting at the Social Security Administration for two hours in order to get Amanda’s last name changed, we were hungry and tired and decided to grab fast food.  While we were dining in, I went to the bathroom to take a shot of insulin with a syringe, and the insulin vial dropped and shattered all over the floor.  I figured that I would just eat and then go home and take insulin right away, it would only be a 15 minute difference.  Well, that was a bad idea, I can tell you that.  Two hours later my BG was 475….well that was the first test.  I tested again about two seconds later and the meter read 398.  Well, either way that’s high, but I was not very happy with the big difference.  Maybe there was something wrong with the meter, or strips, or who knows what.  But what I do know is that there is some serious inaccuracy there. (more…)

Dollar Dance Donation

Last night Amanda and I were reviewing some of the songs that were going to be played at our wedding in July.  We were discussing recessionals, bridal party intros, cocktail hour music, etc.  We came to the idea of a dollar dance and Amanda and I couldn’t decide if we wanted to do this.  Amanda is not a big fan of this, so I thought we could make it a bit more creative and we have decided that we will take whatever funds from the dollar dance and donate them.

I have been to weddings where the funds that would have spent on wedding favors was donated to charity, so it’s not like we are re-inventing the wheel.  I think that I’ve heard of others doing this also.

So, my question is, what ways have you taken something that is not really a fundraiser, but donated the funds from it to charity?

Being an Entrepreneur with Type 1 Diabetes

EntrepreneurAs some or most, or even none of you may know, I own CSI Marketing Solutions.  Owning my own business has been one of my dreams since I was a kid.  It is extremely cliche to hear from just about every entrepreneur, “I had a lemonade stand when I was 6, hustling in the neighborhood.”  Yes, I did have a lemonade stand, but majority of kids had a lemonade stand when they were kids.  I never knew exactly what sort of business I wanted to own, even going into college.  Until about my junior year of college I wanted to have my own financial advising firm, but obviously that never happened. (more…)

Speaking with Children with Type 1 Diabetes

Over the weekend, on Saturday, I had the opportunity to speak to a group of parents and children with Type 1 at the PEP Mini Conference by the DRI Foundation.  PEP stands for Parents Empowering Parents. This is a wonderful group because when a child is newly diagnosed, these parents reach out to the new parents and let them know that they can do the things that are going to be needed in order to help their child manage their diabetes.

I was asked to break off into a small little group with the teens and just have some sort of conversation with them.  I was joined by Patti Sinkoe, M.S.  We ended up talking about some of the things that may bother or frustrate them.  One of the most common examples given was that they don’t like being asked “Did you test your blood sugar?”over and over and over.  But, as us adults with Type 1 know, those questions will continue to be asked.  We worked on providing recommendations to the parents on how they could ask that question a little better.  For example, “What is your blood sugar?” because that at least implies that they trusted in you to have already tested.

Dr. Wendy Satin Rapaport, who is a clinical psychologist, was there, and damn was she great.  Having a psychologist at a meeting like this is extremely helpful because people have questions, and some times people may be scared to go and see a psychologist.

Finally, at the end of the event, I was able to speak with some parents and introduce them to DSMA and DSMA Live ‘Rents talk.  Hopefully we will see some of them participating on DSMA soon enough.

 

The Biggest Loser Fails Again

the-biggest-loserI wrote at the beginning of the new season that I was going to watch the Biggest Loser this year because I never had really watched it, but thought that it might help keep me motivated. It has definitely done it’s job in that area. Seeing some of the contestants reach the 100 pound weight loss mark and seeing others at the beginning of the season and realizing that I now weigh more than them puts a little spark in me.

(more…)

Tijuana Flats and American Diabetes Association

I am a huge fan of Tijuana Flats. Their food may not be the greatest, but the sauce bar they have can make any food taste amazing.  It is definitely one of my weak spots because they have a lot of good deals and specials and it is very easy for me to break my diet by going there.

However, today, Thursday February 21, 2013, they are teaming up with the American Diabetes Association to help raise money for the Tour de Cure.

They are calling it their Tour de Cure Give Back Night.  20% of sales from 5 p.m. – close for today will be donated to the ADA’s Tour de Cure.  I believe that this is only in south Florida locations, but I could be mistaken.

Here is the e-mail that was sent out:

TourDeCureSoFlo.113855.090157