Monday, August 31, 2009

Avoiding LAG

Our friend Gray just got the Omnipod all-in-one pump and was soooo psyched to get it. Gray's been on novolog insulin shots since his diagnosis 3 years ago, and this is his first experience with joining other insulin "pumpers." At first I wanted to tell him all about the new upcoming SOLO pump I blogged about (which for all practical purposes is the next generation Omnipod) but I held back.

The reason?

The Omnipod for Gray was huge step forward compared to his old way of diabetes management. If I had told him to send it back or hold out for another 12 months for the SOLO pump he'd miss out on 12 months of (potentially) tighter blood sugar control.

- Some other new technology will always be around the corner.
- NOW is always better than later.
- Waiting for the "Latest And Greatest (LAG)" is the wrong strategy for getting the best care for your diabetes.

A special that Omnipod just released last week for qualified/existing pumpers makes it even easier to "trade up" RIGHT NOW. They're offering a $299.99 starter kit at the Omnipod website.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Button up your overcoat!

The London Times published an article about the higher incidence of diabetes during winter. It cites a pretty large research study of 31,000 children in 51 countries from the Diabetes Medicine journal.

My daughter and wife were both diagnosed in summer. Which doesn't jive with the study.

I'm not surprised about the winter correlation. Type-1 diabetes has been found to be (sometimes) triggered by external stress. Certain viral infections have been identified that set off the autoimmune response that can result in T1 diabetes. Winter, after all, is a perfect breeding ground for infection when everyone huddles around indoors in sniffle-ridden classrooms.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

2 A.M. wake up call

Two nights before school started, Cassie spent the night with her friend Hannah to do last minute catch up on their Summer reading assignments and to watch the latest episode of "The Secret Life of the American Teenager."

Even though my wife and I didn't HAVE to get up at 2 am that evening to check her blood sugar, the habit of doing so night after night woke us up anyway. Diabetes is a sucky alarm clock.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sneaker Care

As JDRF walk seasons kick off around the country, you'll probably notice several stores and banks plastering those colorful paper sneakers all over their windows and cash registers.

In my neighborhood, the Advance Auto Parts store, Harris Teeter grocery store and Walgreens pharmacy shamelessly push their sale on behalf of the charity and turn in the money at the local Walk for a Cure fundraiser. These retailers collect $1 for each sneaker from generous donors and usually tape them up all around the store.

Looking at the huge jumble of colorful clutter always makes me choke up. It's an amazing sign of how much people in our community care about our loved ones who suffer with diabetes and their shared commitment to finding a cure.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Speaking of Flu Shots...

This just in from our local JDRF enewsletter...

You and your family can receive flu shots at many locations, including your local Walgreens store. Walgreens--which is forging close ties to JDRF--will conduct flu clinics starting in early September.

Anyone can set up an appointment or walk in whenever an immunizing pharmacist is on duty; all stores have at least one immunizing pharmacist. The cost/shot is $24.99, and Walgreens will also have a needle-free option for $29.99 and a preservative-free vaccine for $29.99. In Walgreens stores where the pharmacist is Blue Cross Blue Shield-credentialed, flu shots will be free for those covered by BCBS.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cheat Sheet

Only a few more days before the first day of school, and it's time again to train a new batch of teachers about diabetes and the proper things to do to keep Cassie safe throughout the school day.

One trick that my wife Marinda dutifully uses is a printed sheet of what to do if Cassie's blood sugars are within a certain range. For example, if she's 50-80, she gets one juice; 80-130, no insulin correction; 130-180. 0.5 units of insulin, etc. She prints out this sheet and the teachers keep it in the room. It also has handy info like our phone numbers and my work cell number in case of emergency.

I highly suggest you laminate the sheet. It's easier to find and it keeps it from getting smudged and wrinkled. Most Kinko's can laminate your diabetes cheat sheet on the spot, while you wait.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hit and Myth

It's amazing what people think they know about diabetes. Before Cassie's diagnosis I thought I had a pretty good idea about it. After all, I got a fancy-shmancy biology degree from a prestigious New England university, and I figured I had a pretty good grasp about the subject.

Boy was I wrong --- and I'm not the only one.

Riva Greenberg has written a book entitled 50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life: And the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It. She delves into are myths like the following that infuriate and astound me: “You have to be fat to get diabetes,” “Eating too many sweets causes diabetes,” “Insulin shots are painful,” and “Type 2 diabetes is not as serious as Type 1.” It looks like a read that's worth checking out, and I hope that it will help dispel the myths.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Flu Day!

Doctor Mark (Cassie's endocrinologist) and the CDC both recommend that we get a yearly flu vaccine. Seasonal flu vaccination is important for people at high risk of serious flu complications, including young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like diabetes, asthma or heart and lung disease and people 65 years and older. There are lots of different flu viruses. Each year the flu vaccine is formulated to protect against the three seasonal viruses that research suggests will be most common. This year there's also a flu shot that's in development for H1N1 (swine flu).

It's easy to forget to get this shot. After all we take so many shots every day why would we ever look for another to add to the pile?

One easy way to remind you and your family to get vaccinated is to designate a specific date and observe it like a national holiday. Maybe you can tack on another ritual to it too. If you can have cake on your birthday, maybe flu day warrants cookies.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lost at Sea

When Christopher Columbus set out to find the western passage to India via the Atlantic, he had no idea where the goal line was. In fact many doubted the goal line could even be reached by sailing west.

As I think about the uncertainty of our efforts to control diabetes and to help find a cure, I sometimes feel a bit like Columbus in the middle of the ocean. There are no guarantees; there's no one to reassure you that you're on the right course and there's no clear idea how long the journey will take.

Hope is sometimes the only thing you have to keep you afloat.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Diabetes Bigots

A couple weeks ago, my friend meme on the type 1 diabetes community was very upset.

She wanted to know why there was so much anger toward the type 2 people on the discussion boards. Meme has a daughter with type-1, but she also has a husband with type 2 diabetes.

The bias that Type 1s have against Type 2s, and vice versa, is really unfortunate. I think it comes from frustration by being lumped together with a dramatically different disease.

But it's kinda like being mad at cancer patients. It's unproductive, unrelated and ultimately hurtful.

The good news is that meme became vocal about it in the juvenation forums and has helped to bridge understanding.

Having dialogue, being open to learning more and educating those around you can help stem this kind (or any kind) of prejudice.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Solo Micropump: Omnipod evolved

Omnipod took insulin pump technology to a different level when it created the all-in-one pump and infusion set several years ago. Medingo is rolling out a new product called the SOLO that introduces some really helpful improvements.

Here's what you can do with SOLO that Omnipod can't do:

1.) the micropump can be temporarily detached and reattached to the infusion site (great at the pool)

2.) boluses can be administered by pushing a button on the actual pump instead relying solely on the wireless hand held remote.

It's cool to see advances made here, and we're acutely aware of the importance of a small silhouette now that we've switched to shots to accommodate Cassie's active summer lifestyle. It's not available yet, but FDA approval seems imminent.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Manny's Mission: You aren't alone

Sometimes when I'm checking Cassie's blood sugar at 3 a.m., I feel alone in the struggle with diabetes. I know she feels alone when everyone at the dinner table is eating but she can't. I've met people online who have never met another person with diabetes face to face. It's a discouraging feeling and can make one feel really isolated.

My facebook friend Manny Hernandez has been on a one man mission to help alleviate this. In March 2007 he started an online diabetes community like juvenation at and followed up with a Spanish version at Through hard work and perseverance he hit a pretty significant milestone last week by reaching 10,000 members. That's 10,000 people that are connected. That's 10,000 people sharing experiences. That's 10,000 not alone fighting this disease.

Manny has successfully leveraged technology to help us come together. We should all do our part and join him (and 10,000+ others) to share our knowledge and support.