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DRI 2.0 Connecting the Community – My 2 Cents

dblogI was excited for a while to attend the Diabetes Research Institute’s 2.0.  This conference shows me that the people working towards a goal are finally listening to us web diabetes bloggers.  The list of attendees was amazing.  Just to name a few, Kerri Sparling, Manny Hernandez, Allison Blass, Scott Strumello, Gina Capone, and Sara Knicks.  This was just a one day conference and I unfortunately not be at all places at once but here is my recap of the event.

The day started off great.  The free coffee was spectacular.  Morning started off with finally meeting Manny.  What a great guy he is.  Just as nice and genuine in person as he always has been online.  We briefly discussed how awesome it is that the DRI is connecting with the diabetes community and not just speaking with doctors and researchers.  Manny Hernandez_Chris StockerManny was also very helpful in giving me some key insight about Cobra and certain people that I should speak to in order to get some better information about it.  I told him that with not working at the diabetes company anymore, it felt weird to be at a conference as an attendee and not behind the booth working it, I actually liked it better.

After the breakfast, or lack there of in my opinion, we were herded off into the next room to hear the lectures and updates from three of the top researchers in the world.  To introduce the three speakers was Dr. Nemery, she is a south Florida pediatric endo that is one of the best out there.  She finished her introduction by saying, ” my goal as a pediatric endo is to not have to treat my patients with insulin.”  Well said.  The first speaker was Camillo Ricordi.  It was very difficult to understand his accent, plus he spoke to us like we were also scientists and doctors, so it was tough to understand what he was talking about.  The main thing that I understood from his lecture is that insulin producing cells generated from human embryonic cells protect mice from diabetes.  That sounds like a good start to me.Ask the Researchers_DRI

Next up was Luca Inverardi.  Once again, this lecture was just as difficult to understand.  I believe that the DRI videotaped every session and plans on putting it up on their website or having the videos e-mailed to the attendees, I will find out and you all know.  The last speaker before the next session was Antonello Pileggi.  Now, by the time he started to talk, I think the whole crowd was becoming hungry, very hungry.  It was becoming difficult for me to concentrate because my stomach was taking over my brain.  The next session was the most informative in my mind.  “Ask the Researchers”

One of the first questions asked was asked in a “dummy” type of way, which was better for the people in attendence.  A lot of the research that is done can be classified into two parts, there are the “attacker” cells that cause diabetes and then the “victim” cells that get killed which causes diabetes.  The question asked why all the research is done figuring out how to help the victim cells, but why isn’t research being done to stop the attacker cells?  The scientists discussed that there is research going on in that area, but it doesn’t look as successful as the research being done on the victim cells.  Dr. Jay Skyler is one of the worlds most respectable doctors / researchers of diabetes.  Someone had asked a question on why there is such an epidemic of diabetes now and although there were a lot of answers Dr. Skyler describe it as there being a lot of cases of Type 1 plus type 2, an overweight child with type 1 which makes them become even less insulin sensitive and causes type 1 at a faster rate.  I am not sure how this next statement relates to diabetes, but he talked about how foreign countries feed their young feces in order to expose them to germs at early ages.

The next question was the mFood from DRIost important to me because I had heard so many different numbers and percentages.  “What are the chances that a child of a type 1 will also have diabetes?”  Well here is the breakdown.  If the father has diabetes, then there is a 6% chance, if the mother has diabetes then 3% and then if both parents do, it is 15%.  The reason that the 3% difference is there between men and women is due to unexpected abortions.  The final question was asked about an artificial pancreas.  Although an artificial pancreas can become a great tool in management, it is not a cure.  There is one main reason why.  In type 1 diabetics, when we eat the insulin that we then bolus with, or the artificial pancreas releases will never catch up to the food.  Meaning that 2 hours after you eat, your blood sugar may look normal, but in between those 2 hours your blood sugar has spiked which is still causing high blood sugar numbers.  In order to fix this, you must be able to anticipate the food that you are going to eat.  With an insulin pump or MDI even, you can do this.  You can count your carbs before eating and bolus, 10-15 even 20 minutes before the food touches your mouth.  Which, when lunch time came at the conference, we didn’t know what was for lunch until it was right in front of our face so there were 4 diabetics at my table all wondering when and how much to bolus, not a good move on part of The Signature Grand.

The final part of the conference, well for me at least because I had to leave at 2 p.m. to get somewhere that I had plans for a long time to be at, was about connecting the community and involved a panel with Jeff Hitchcock (Children with Diabetes), Manny, Scott Strumello, Kerri, and Ellen Ullman also with Children with Diabetes.  There were a few questions thatConnecting the Community Panel were prepared for them about how the diabetes OC has helped them, why they started, and advice tips from them.  A few quotes and answers that I really liked from each of them are listed below:

Scott – Diabetes is too much about glycemic control and not about the other feelings that go along with it.

Kerri – There was only bad things about diabetes, there just had to be more to it than that.

Jeff – We all seem to be invisible so this gave us a voice.

Ellen – As a parent, it gives you a chance to vent because you don’t want to do it in front of your kids.

I hope that this was somewhat helpful.  You can check out the other’s blogs as well because I am sure they will have some updates also.

Have a great Monday.

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.