Friday, November 30, 2007

Your Stories Matter

AmyT at Diabetes Mine started a post about Feeling Displaced which turned into a heated discussion about the attitude people with diabetes have online.

Well one of the responses got me thinking...
Terry: "When you find us tugging on people's sleeves and bitching out loud to non-diabetics on a constant basis about how bad we've got it or how misunderstood we are, THEN you can call us cry-babies. Otherwise we're just our own little club with our own language and concerns. Let us have our whiny fun."

Terry makes an interesting point.

As a non-diabetic, I never ever cared to know what diabetes even was. But stumbling upon Diabetes Mine and countless others has opened my eyes to something that's actually a BIG deal. Do you think people would care about the AIDS epidemic if they didn't talk about it all the time in the school system? Do you think that finding out someone had Cancer would have the same shock if it wasn't always perceived as so "deadly".

There's a problem with diabetes awareness because it is both an epidemic and a very deadly disease yet it hardly gets the attention of something that is either.

All it took was 1 guy traveling the world with a drug-resistant strain of Tuberculosis to grasp the nations attention in fear. Yet something like diabetes doesn't even need to be spread, it doesn't discriminate, and can affect virtually anyone.

People just don't seem to care if they don't think it ever affects them... and that's a deadly misconception about diabetes. I'm always grateful to have found the online diabetes community and everyone's contribution in helping me learn more. Your every day stories are reality. That's a reality that helps remove the ignorance that keeps the rest of us oblivious (until it's too late).

So until a real cure comes around... keep sharing, crying, laughing and whining to your heart's content.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

If Only I Had Better Meme-ories

Well since Chris tagged me about 2 week ago and just about everyone else in the DOC has participated, I've definitely been putting this off too long!

Here's my 7 random facts:

1. When I was on the wrestling team, I always weighed in around 115 lbs. Since we had more than enough wrestlers that were under 112, my coach would let me weigh in at the 119 lb. weight class, and allowed me to compete against 125 lb weight class. Which was awesome since I would be the only one pigging out the day before a tournament. I figured I had enough wrestling practice to satisfy a lifetime, so it ended after 1 season.... #1

2. When I lived in Los Angeles, I wore glasses. The week I moved to Boston, I switched to Contacts. So everyone in L.A. always knew me with glasses. Everyone in Boston had no idea. What does glasses have to do with all this? I have 2 eyes... #2

3. I took Japanese in High school, and I don't remember any of it except: "Watashi no namae wa Albert des." which means "My names is Albert." yeah... 3 years down the drain... #3

4. I was a very poor student... like completely apathetic about homework... yet somehow I pulled off 4 years of perfect attendance. Go Figure... #4

5. I was the Drumline Section Leader in my high school marching band. I was given the opportunity to write several cadences and arrangements for the drumline during those years. Though most people associate the drumline leader on the Snare Drum, my passion was in the Tenor Drums. yeah, baby... 5 drum goodness for #5

Now you guys might understand why I'm excited about the game Rock Band.

6. When I first started to learn how to ride a bike, I crashed onto the asphalt parking lot in front of Sears one day, halting my desire to ever learn how to ride the bike. Last summer, my friends came to visit me in Boston and we went biking around Boston. I was utterly terrified because I never learned how to ride in the first place... since I was 6 yrs old... #6

7. In California, I told myself that when I had the money, I would change my license plate to "SOLOBAN". Which is my music artist name. Now I'm in Massachusetts and it wouldn't quite fit as perfectly as on California's 7-character license plates... #7

Alternate #7:
My Grandpa has been insulin-dependant for the past 7 years. Sadly, it meant nothing to me until about the time I started this blog.

Well there you go! You probably know way more about me than you would have ever cared to know. But I figure if I'm going to be a part of this community, I need to start putting myself out there!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

WiD? Wednesday: Sale, Sell, Cell!

Thanksgiving, Black Friday
Well it's one more day until Thanksgiving, but more importantly, it's only two days until Black Friday! Retail stores throughout the country rejoice. Shoppers hoping to save a buck scramble to spend their money. Tensions flare in long lines and traffic jams.

Me? I'll probably enjoy sleeping in for once. Though the sales at these stores are tempting, it's not as tempting as a couple more hours of sleep!
  1. Speaking of sales, Scott Strumello shared about which is working to "highlight that your prescription drug buying history -- including name, address, date of birth and drug regimen is FOR SALE."

  2. George at the B.A.D. blog shares about his experience with Weight-Watchers and Diabetes. "I can still eat whatever I want. I have to make sure I know the carb count and the points value." Along with his weight, Ninjabetic also watches his carbs, his blood glucose level, his insulin intake and... YOU.

  3. Now I know this might be old news, but I just stumbled upon this video about Raw for 30 days the other day. In the trailer they "show" how a handful of people "cure" their diabetes through a change in strict diet for 30 days. Hurray! (NOT) So as great as that sounds, they did not seem to take the time to really differentiate between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. It also adds to the stereotype that Diabetes = Obesity. After watching the trailer I felt angered. (uh-oh) I know they're just trying to promote healthy diets, but by making diabetes into something so general, it really makes it unfair for those who live with it each day. (especially type 1s)

  4. While we're on the topic of misunderstanding, here's a great article written by Julie K. Silver, M.D. of Harvard Medical School that I found on Gather. She addresses the many misconceptions of linking sugar intake with causing diabetes: "Assuming an elevated blood sugar level is the cause of diabetes is like assuming that coughing is the cause of pneumonia."

  5. For those of you who actually care about understanding how diabetes directly and indirectly affects our daily activities, Denise writes about what happens physiologically during exercise: "because blood flow increases during physical exertion, absorption of insulin from injection sites may be accelerated, especially if it’s injected near the muscles being used. Certain medications for type 2 diabetes, especially sulfonylureas, can also cause blood sugar levels to drop too low during exercise."

  6. Though exercise and diet may help people with type 2 manage their diabetes, type 1s are still searching for a cure. Recently, NPR reported that "Two teams of scientists have independently discovered a way to turn ordinary human skin cells into stem cells with the same characteristics as those derived from human embryos." (thanks to Manny for the tip)

I'll be spending my Thanksgiving here in Boston, away from my family (who are all in sunny southern California). However, the friends that are still around here in Boston will keep me busy during this short break. I hope everyone has a happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Inflammation, Calibration, & Diabetes Education

I wish I had taken pictures of the Prudential Center while it was lit up, but it would have probably turned out blurry and small. So here's a nice picture of the Prudential Center here in Boston all nicely lit up [courtesy of ADA]
Prudential Center blue lights

Went to Philadelphia this past weekend and visited the famous Pat's and Geno's for the first time. While I was riding in a cab on the way to the hotel I spotted a building with the ENTIRE side of the building lit up in the shape of a blue ribbon. I'll just assume that it's linked to WDD, but if not, that's still cool. Unfortunately, I did not have my camera out at the time and the image exists only in my imagination memory.

Definitely NOT a figment of my imagination.

Other online buzz about diabetes:

"Inflammation is the key. Their research proves that obesity without inflammation does not result in insulin resistance, much less diabetes."
- David Mendosa

"DexCom™ Receives FDA Approval to Calibrate Its SEVEN™ Continuous Glucose Monitoring System Using Any FDA Cleared Blood Glucose Meter."

"...the field of diabetes education is facing a crisis. There are only about 15,000 CDEs in the U.S., yet nearly 21 million Americans are already affected by diabetes, and the number is growing every day."
- Amy Tenderich

Friday, November 16, 2007

Betting $1 Billion On Another Flop?

MannKind makes inhaled insulin"Pfizer, the world’s biggest drug company, flopped miserably with a seemingly can’t-miss idea. But Alfred E. Mann is so certain he can succeed that he is betting nearly $1 billion of his own money on the effort."
- New York Times

"This should be great news.
However the President has stated that he plans to veto this bill."
- Dr. Bill Quick

"...while the big organizations like JDRF get a lot of attention, the fact is that smaller organizations like Insulin for Life have a much more immediate impact on the lives of children around the world..."
- Scott Strumello

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

19 Essential Facts about Diabetes

Since today is World Diabetes Day, I put together 19 simple facts that everyone should know...

1. There is NO CURE for Diabetes. (yet.)

2. There are 2 Types of Diabetes.

3. Type 1 Diabetes = Broken Pancreas = No Insulin Production = Deadly Amounts of Glucose in Blood

4. If left untreated (insulin shots), you can will die from Type 1 Diabetes.

5. More than 200 children get type 1 diabetes every day.

6. #5 does NOT happen because their parents fed them a bunch of sugar.

7. Children may die because their families cannot afford the medication they need.

8. Type 2 Diabetes = Malfunctioning Pancreas

9. Type 2 does NOT necessarily = Obese

10. Obese does NOT necessarily = Type 2

11. Obesity is sometimes linked to Type 2 Diabetes, NOT Type 1

12. Diabetes does not discriminate and is linked to genetic disposition.

13. Over 50% of type 2 diabetes can be prevented.

14. "nearly 80% of the American public does not know the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes."

15. You don't want to be in that 80%

16. "almost 70% believe a cure exists for type 1 diabetes."

17. You definitely don't want to be in that 70% either.

18. If you understood facts 1~17, you are now much more informed than 80% of the US about Diabetes.

19. Halle Berry did not cure diabetes.

Ok, so the last 6 facts weren't really THAT essential, but good to know nonetheless!

[please leave me a comment if there are any corrections to these facts that need to be made if you discover them]

Monday, November 12, 2007

Word In Your Hand

This video pulled from over 120 photos that were submitted between August and November, 2007 by members of for the Word In Your Hand project.

Music by me.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Does America really know Diabetes?

Even though the President has declared November 2007 as National Diabetes Month, I really wonder how aware of Diabetes he really is. I'm sure he's heard about diabetes and probably heard about the statistics of how greatly it affects Americans... but does he KNOW diabetes?

I just have the gut feeling that, just like most Americans, our president isn't quite aware of the personal realities that surround such a disease. I, like most, didn't know jack about diabetes until I had a reason to learn about it. Despite my grandfather having Type 2 diabetes longer than I've been alive, I never really thought much of it. All I knew was that he had to prick his finger every once in a while, and that he was probably taking meds for it.

Well now I know that he's been insulin-dependent for the past 10 years! Actively seeking out information about what living with diabetes is like has helped me understand the daily struggles he goes through. My parents worry about him often, and my mom tells me his blood sugar levels are all over the place (from 60 to 400). I wish there was some way to motivate him to care more about his diabetes management. But seeing the tiredness in his eyes from all the different medical issues he's lived through, it's understandable how fed up with everything he can be.

It's tough when you don't have people to share your struggles with. But fortunately, my parents are always there for him. Always encouraging him. Always loving him. Always sacrificing themselves for him.

This week in Diabetes Month is focused on Caregivers. I've been blessed to be able to witness the unconditional love my parents have shown for their parents. It's love that I see when my mom and dad used to carry my grandma everywhere during her last years. It's love that I see when my dad puts up with his father-in-law's stubbornness to exercise. It's love that I see when my mom sacrificed her every morning to care for the basic needs of her mother-in-law.

This is the kind of genuine love and care I'd want to have for my parents and loved ones as I continue on in life. This is the kind of sacrifice and love I see in the parents of children with diabetes. This is the kind of love and care I see in the wives of non-compliant spouses.

This is what it really means to support a loved one with diabetes. It's something that most of America will never understand. It's something we all can only hope the future leaders of America (our world) would truly understand...

Here are some links provided by the ADA:
Here are a few of my own links for those who are looking for support:
Here are some blogs by parents of children with diabetes:
For spouses of diabetes:
(not sure why I don't know any blogs of spouses of compliant diabetics off the top of my head.)

Friday, November 2, 2007


That stands for No National Blogging Month For What is Diabetes?

Though NaBloMo looks like fun, I know I'd just be disappointing myself and my (very few) readers. So there's a lot that has happened last month and I haven't really had time to post as often as I'd like. So here's a half-month-long procrastinated quick update of random seemingly unrelated things:

1. The JDRF/TuDiabetes video...
('cause Community is #1)

I can't stress enough how important community is in our lives. We aren't meant to live life alone, nor are we meant to struggle alone. Having a community that understand you best is what helps everyone overcome the hard times, and celebrate the good times. Places like TuDiabetes help people who's lives have been touched by Diabetes to come together.

The DOC's Allison Blass recently wrote an article at The Diabetes Self-Management Blog about how support and education intersect in diabetes blogs.

2. Word In Your Hand
(not quite 2diabetes, but TuDiabetes)

My submission was selected as an honorable mention! If you haven't participated in this project yet, head over to TuDiabetes and add your own photo of what Diabetes means to you.

Word in Your HandWhat is Diabetes?
It's knowledge that I'm missing,
a void that needs to be filled.
Yet, it something within my grasp.

3. ADA Walk
(which happened a whole 3 weeks ago)

Ok, so this was quite a while ago, but I just wanted to post up pictures before It gets lost into the ether. There was a TON of people who showed up, and we pretty much stormed the Boston Commons and Charles River. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did walking for a great cause!
The Boston Hatch Shell!

The balloon finish line!

These guys had the crowd going wild! How? they were giving out iPods as prizes!

4. The Boston Red Sox win the World Series!!!!!!!!
(4-0 Victory baby)

The Sox take the title over the Colorado Rockies. I gotta admit that I'm now sucked into the Red Sox Nation ever since news of Daisuke starting appearing. What a year to start liking the Red Sox huh? Too bad I wasn't IN Boston itself, but I could hear the helicopters flyin around from a safe distance in my Cambridge apartment.

Now to enjoy the upcoming Pats vs Colts game!!!