Tag Archives: diabetes advocacy

Diabetes Blog Week 2012! Find a Friend

It’s Diabetes Blog Week and here is the prompt for today:

“Click for the Find A Friend – Monday 5/14 Link List.
It seems the most popular thing about Diabetes Blog Week is that it helps us find blogs we weren’t reading yet and connect with some new blog friends.  With that in mind, let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by making some new connections.  Think about the d-blogs you read that you think we may not know about and introduce us to one that you love!!  Let’s all find a new friend today!    (Special thanks to Gina, everybody’s Diabetes BFF, for helping me title this post!)”

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I think most people know about Riva Greenberg and her posts on her website Diabetes Stories and the Huffington Post but in case you haven’t had the pleasure of reading her posts, I’m telling you to check one out today!  Her posts are very intelligent and advocacy centered and I always take away some very useful nugget of information.

Everyone has their style of diabetes blog that they like to read.  I prefer diabetes blogs that aren’t so much therapeutic as they are sharing of information or inspiration that can be useful to me.

My exercise and hardcore athletics blogger friend is Chris Scully at CanadianDGal.  She has helped me so much with keeping up my exercise routine and pushing it further (and I love her dry humor).  I find that I keep up my exercise as long as I read her posts because I think that “surely I can take a walk, Chris runs marathons!”

I also have a really sweet blogger friend, Melissa who blogs at In the Short Rows who has a backyard farm and shares much of what she and her husband are doing there while tying it into her life with diabetes.  I totally love to hear about how she cooks their home grown food, takes care of chickens and bees, and balances that life with managing diabetes.

Edibles…(The Diabetic Edition) by Nathan is my new favorite blog.  He writes about his diabetes management in a way that causes me to question, learn, and think about my diabetes management.  Blogs like this one yield tangible results in my diabetes management and that is priceless!

I love reading about fellow diabetics who live differently from me and have talents that I don’t have.  It makes me feel awe about the world we live in.  It reminds me how there are a million ways to do the same thing and that our differences are fun and exciting and a great way to learn new things.

2012 Orange:Will Diabetes Awareness Walk

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Built into the DiabetesSisters Conference is the Orange:Will Diabetes Awareness Walk taking place on Sunday May 20, 2012 at 8:00 AM in front of the Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh,  NC.

Taken from the website where you can register and learn more:

“What is ORANGE:WILL?

The orange:will campaign was started by DiabetesSisters in 2010 to raise awareness of the unique issues faced by women with diabetes and to establish orange as the official color of women’s diabetes.  Most people are unaware of how different diabetes is for women, so this campaign is our way of acknowledging those differences and educating the public about them.

You can help by joining us for the walk, bringing friends/family members/co-workers to the Walk, forming a team, or raising funds to support our cause.  Everyone who raises at least $40 will receive a souvenir Walk t-shirt to wear at the event.  The top three individual fundraisers and the top team will receive special prizes – such as an iPad, custom-fitted tennis shoes, designer sunglasses, etc.  Stay tuned for more detailed information about prizes.

**LOCAL & NATIONAL VENDORS WILL BE ON SITE FROM 7:30am-10:00am on MAY 20th.”

If you’re going to the Diabetes Sisters Conference in Raleigh next week, please make sure to register so they have a proper head count!

If you’re going to be in the Raleigh area next week…join us for the walk!  The more, the better as media will be there taking note of the event!  Again, click here to register!

My husband, Alex and I will be there, we hope to see ya!

You’re Always Somewhere You’re Not

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Bad genes or no bad genes, excellent lifestyle habits or not, many are missing the point.  The issue isn’t “some people didn’t give themselves type 2 diabetes-it was their genes!”  I mean when we focus on that, what are we saying, that some people deserve to be judged and some don’t?  I don’t care if someone only ate McDonald’s from their couch their entire life and got type 2 diabetes, they didn’t mean (at least not consciously) to attract harm into their lives.

How about we focus instead on educating everyone to respect each other and to support each other with whatever step of their journey in life they are on.  Some people are just not “there” yet.  Some people aren’t ready to change their diet.  Some people are not ready to listen to recommendations from peers or experts.  Some people are.  Judging someone because they are somewhere you’re not is not a good idea.

Because wherever you are, I can guarantee there is somewhere you’re not and therefore, you’re just as vulnerable to the judging that goes around.

So what I’ve been pushing on myself lately is:

A:  Recognize that just because someone is not in the same place in life you are, doesn’t mean they aren’t trying or that they mean harm or that they won’t succeed in the end.  Can you read a person’s mind?  Maybe they are mentally getting to a place where they might begin to make big, lasting changes.  Your criticism doesn’t speed things up for them-your kindness, patience, and encouragement might, though.

B:  Next time you ask yourself why someone does or doesn’t do something, think about what you do or don’t do.  You’re not exempt of faults and shortcomings so try not to make a fool of yourself.

C:  Support people wherever they are.  Do they want to start training for a marathon?  Cheer them on.  Do they want to get outside once a week for a walk?  Cheer them on and think of that feat in the same way you think of a marathon completion.

People firing back and forth over how others see them as responsible for their disease are not getting anywhere.  Educate people through your actions and your goodness and honesty.  Take responsibility for what you can do for yourself.  Admit what you feel you’re not doing well or right.  You’ll be surprised how everyone will appreciate your openness and feel they can safely admit to their challenges as well.

Peer to Peer Support Reigns

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My type 1 sister Ana’s diabetes themed artwork-you can probably guess what this is, right?

 

I definitely don’t think of myself as an “A1c Champion”.  I just think of myself as someone who finally stumbled upon what works and what doesn’t for myself in the realm of diabetes management because of my being excruciatingly tired of the alternative and unwilling to settle in life.

By keeping healthy and by being rather disciplined with my diabetes management, an opportunity opened up for me to interview for a program called, A1c Champions.  This program sends people with diabetes to lead discussions with other people with diabetes.  Peer to peer support is a brilliant idea and basically my motivation to start this blog in the first place.  So to be able to get out there and talk to people face to face, tell my story, and show them that it’s never too late to turn things around is like a dream come true.  I’m happy to report that I passed my three interviews and will be training later this year.

It’s a dream come true because I wish I had experienced this opportunity as a teenager with uncontrolled diabetes.  I would have loved to see someone with diabetes come talk to me about how they manage to stay healthy and how they too, have struggled.  I did have one experience like this but this woman said she always had taken great care of herself and this made me feel like I couldn’t relate to her.  I also had plenty of people try to cheer me up and motivate me but none of them had diabetes and therefore their words didn’t have the weight attached.  I didn’t feel understood and therefore it was like their words weren’t meant for me.

So to be able to talk to someone who is where I used to be and tell them that I really understand where they’re at and have been there is something I really want to do.  For the little kid inside me.  For the sake of helping others avoid the years of suffering that I recall having.  For those who don’t feel empowered about their diabetes.  For those who feel like hopeless failures.  Before the fabulous “You Can Do This” project came about I wrote one reason on my site for wanting to blog and it was, essentially, to spread the message to others with diabetes that, “You can do this!”  I think that message is extremely powerful and empowering.  And more so when coming from one’s peers.

So if you’re interested in becoming an A1c Champion, check out their website here.

And if you haven’t already participated in the “You Can Do This” Project that Kim Vlasnik launched last year, then I highly encourage you to do it now.  Do it for someone who sees themselves in you.  Or if you need the therapy, watch videos and take comfort in knowing you are definitely NOT alone.

My Ideal Diabetes Support Group

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This month’s DSMA Blog Carnival Topic is: “Describe your ideal diabetes “support group”? What would you discuss?”

Well, I’d be happy to tell you.  My ideal diabetes support group meets once a week.  That’s a tall order isn’t it?  But that’s what I would like.  Frequent “support”.  There would be plenty of members so that if half of the group can’t show, there is still a group to meet and carry on.

Also, I would like any type of diabetic because that way, we could all become friends and defend each other against the media’s war between the diabetics and spread our ideals all over the land, causing no more arguing between the types ever again!  Muahahaha!

Next, I’d like us to all exchange numbers and emails and facebook and twitter handles.  I’d like us all to know we can interact later on the DOC as much or as little as we’d like.

My ideal support group would discuss any and all issues brought up by the members of the group.  Why not?  If we are going to talk about something R rated, we can definitely decide to do so on a pre-established day so those who don’t want to discuss that topic don’t go or meet up at a coffee shop to talk other things.

I think it’s ok to get into groups by “type of diabetic” in order to get down to the technical nitty gritty aspects of living with type 1, 2, and so on.  It’s true that a type 1 doesn’t know what it’s like for a type 2 and a type 2 doesn’t know what it’s like for a type 1 so it makes sense if people want to divide up in order to discuss particular things.  Maybe people would want to divide up by age as well and that certainly makes sense.  I like the idea of meeting with everyone and then splitting up to talk about certain things like motherhood and diabetes or dating and diabetes and therefore specific groups forming for that.

Overall, we’d be a support group utopia!  How does that sound?

Today is Friday so we’re supposed to talk about something that involves self love.  Getting support is TOTALLY an important part of loving yourself.  If you are able to, check out a local support group!  If there isn’t one, consider starting one!  And if those aren’t options, join the diabetes online community!  Check out DSMA and all the support it offers.  Oh and read more entries like this one.

Happy Friday!  Have a great weekend!

My Experience at the DTC Conference

 

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Days after many of my fellow diabetes advocates and bloggers were at the Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum giving their valuable input, I was in Washington D.C. attending the National DTC (Direct to Consumer) Conference for the thought leaders in the healthcare marketing industry.

On Wednesday I met one of DTC’s 25 Top Marketers of 2012 and the Discuss Diabetes blog community manager, Sanofi’s Laura Kolodjeski.  She interviewed me about my diabetes and blog (and more!) and we spent the day chatting about our unique perspectives on Pharma’s role in social media and in patient communities.

The 36 hours before meeting Laura, I was so nervous and full of adrenaline and struggling with blood sugars between 250 and 300 because of my anxiety issues with public speaking and social situations in general.  But for the 36 hours after initially meeting Laura, my blood sugars hovered much closer to normal and didn’t go higher than 175.  And I have to say this is because she was so genuinely kind, humble, and interested in what I had to say.  She totally put me at ease with her friendly self.  I listened to her carefully as well and It’s my impression that she is very much aligned to the role I believe a healthcare marketer should have-and that is to listen and work to serve the needs and desires of the patient, or as she prefers to say, “healthcare consumer”.

It really was such a pleasure to meet Laura as well as her colleagues Sean Nicholson and Jeff Risley.  I also had the pleasure of meeting Ann Bartlett, whose posts I’ve been reading on Healthcare Central for some time now.  She owns a Wellness Center and has had type 1 diabetes for a long time (and though I didn’t pry into her health status, I must say, she looks fabulously healthy).

I found we all agreed that there should be a healthy integration between healthy lifestyle habits and the use of what Pharma provides.  We can work together for the benefit of all.  Is this a tough task?  You betcha.  Are there people in Pharma who don’t get this?  Loads of them.  But I was so inspired to meet a few individuals who work for the common good and for communication and understanding between both parties.  I agree with Ann Bartlett, I could never say that I will shun pharmaceuticals for they keep me alive.  But I will always do my best to rely as little on them as necessary.  And I’m proud of that.

What I went to do in D.C. was to take part on a 3 person panel alongside Laura Kolodjeski and sikcell.com’s Ade Adeyokunnu.  We were to talk about what we thought about 3 start up companies that WEGO Health’s Bob Brooks gathered to the conference to showcase their products.  Then the DTC crowd voted for the one they thought provided the most value.  Interestingly, It was a three way tie.  Also, I’m happy to report Bob Brooks is a really energetic, fun guy.  This showcase event was his great idea.

I will be telling you about the three start up’s in coming posts because they are genuinely awesome, awesome products that have no side effects-just side benefits-you’ll see :)

I was nervous before speaking (you all know my history with anxiety!) and yet I was shocked to discover that as soon as I sat down in front of the mic, I felt the weight of the opportunity hit me like a ton of bricks.  I wanted to speak up.  I was ready.  Laura and Bob reminded me that Ade and I had special perspectives to offer which had never really been heard before at one of these conferences and that people were seriously going to be listening.  They made the point that it was important that we represent our communities by speaking up and just being honest.

And so we did.

I went to the conference intimidated by who I was surrounded by.  Top thought leaders in Pharma.  Then I got to know a few, networked with a few others, and suddenly didn’t feel intimidated anymore.  I remembered that we’re all people.  I stand for a great varied number of specific things.  And so does Pharma.  I hope they don’t judge me on a generalization, and I’ll try not to judge them as if they were one single unit.  We should just talk about specifics and continue talking to each other.  The battle of “good vs. evil” doesn’t belong here.  And everyone agrees there is a lot of work to be done in our country’s healthcare system.  Communication is an essential part of that work.

Thanks to WEGO Health for this opportunity and for providing an honorarium for the trip.  It didn’t even cover half of my expenses but that’s not because it wasn’t generous-instead, Washington D.C. costs several month’s worth of test strips (And ya’ll know that’s a lot!)

This opportunity opened up to me for signing up at WEGO Health for the Speaker’s Bureau.  If you’re interested, do sign up, they actually utilize us health activists and provide us and our communities the platforms with which to be heard!  Awesome stuff.

Thanks for reading!

Your Help Needed for Diabetes Art Project!

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As most of you know, the illustrator of the site is my youngest sister Ana, who has had type 1 diabetes for 18 years now.  She is a Junior at James Madison University studying studio art.  Ana is wondering if we, the DOC could help her out for an art project involving diabetes advocacy.  She needs:

-One statement describing one of the hardest things about living with diabetes.

-One statement describing something positive that diabetes has taught you.

-Years with diabetes or how diabetes affects you (if you don’t have it yourself).

-Indicate if you would like your statements to be anonymous, no last name, etc.

-Handwritten would be great but not required!

Send to:

Ana Morales/  802 Orlando Ct. /   Roanoke VA, 24019

Also, if you don’t want to hand write and mail, then email your statements to:  moraleam@dukes.jmu.edu   so that Ana can print them out and compile.

Let’s help Ana tell the world a little about diabetes through art!

XOXO

March 27th 2012 is American Diabetes Association Alert Day

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If you have diabetes, today is a good day to mention to friends, co-workers, family, acquaintances that today is Diabetes Alert Day and that it’s good to be aware of the symptoms of diabetes because early intervention is super important.

If you don’t have diabetes, today is the day to take action.  What I want you to do is to act on making sure you and your loved ones don’t have diabetes.  Go here to learn more about diabetes and to find tons of helpful resources in English and Spanish.

Procrastination and denial are dangerous, more dangerous than diabetes.  Be informed and act now.

What Makes A Bad Diabetic?

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“What makes a bad diabetic?” was a search term that someone entered in order to land on this website.  When I saw it, several questions popped up in my mind.  First, who asked that question?  Was it a person with diabetes?  Or even worse, was it a healthcare professional?  Was it a diabetic’s loved one or acquaintance?

I’d like to answer this question today.  Of course, it’s my opinion, but it’s also my blog, so here goes:

What makes a bad diabetic?  Bad is one of those ambiguous and overly used and general words that doesn’t do well to describe anything anymore.  But, I know that being termed a “bad diabetic” is a negative and unwanted thing.  Society thinks of a “bad person” as someone who makes decisions that impact themselves or others negatively based on negative intentions.  Because someone who makes decisions that impact themselves or others negatively while having positive intentions would be all of us at some point or other.  And I think that’s called being human.

So how can there even exist a bad diabetic?  How is it possible?  What about someone who has all the intention in the world to purposefully hurt themselves or others?  I would call that crazy.  I mean literally, this type of person is not well.  They are sick, mentally sick.  Because no on wants to have high blood sugars and feel ill and die young.  No one who is well in their mind.

I hope medical personnel never refer to a person as a bad diabetic (I’m sure some do though).  It’s a very ignorant thing to do.  I mean, we might as well assume we’re all bad then because we all sometimes make decisions that hurt us and others.  Who’s exempt?  I hear crickets…

So to the soul who typed in “what makes a bad diabetic?” into their search engine, if you have diabetes please know that if you think you may be a “bad diabetic” I believe that you are just struggling  and in need of support, information, and hope.  Seek help.  If a medical practitioner asked the question, I hope I’ve answered it for you and helped you think a bit differently about it.  And if a loved one or acquaintance of a diabetic asked the question, please support this person and not judge them.  It’s one thing to tell someone you notice they aren’t taking care of themselves and to offer them help and it’s another to say they are “bad”.

There is no such thing as a “bad diabetic”.

For the Love of Advocacy

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I have always been very nervous about public speaking.  In elementary school I was evaluated for mental retardation because I found it so hard to speak in front of teachers and classmates.  In middle school I used my diabetes as an excuse to not have to give my speech in class “My blood sugar is high, I just can’t do it today.”  In high school, I got really goofy with my public speaking as a way to curb my fear.  I used humor and I always began by saying how nervous I was so people wouldn’t whisper to each other “she seems nervous right?”  It seemed best if they just knew and then rooted for me to not bomb my presentation.

I did several public talks about my diabetes and other topics as a teenager at camps and church youth groups.  I have done presentations for work, twice presenting in Spanish to dozens of male contractors, an intimidating crowd for me.  Each time I was sick to my stomach, trembling, and 100% in love with the idea of speaking in public.  I really enjoy it but it has made me wonder why I like torturing myself.

I think I love it because I am SO moved by public speakers.  So incredibly moved and inspired.  And if there is the slightest chance that I could do a little of that for someone else by sharing my story or struggle or anything, then the nervousness is more than worth it.

I’m hoping to participate in the A1c Champion’s program.  I’m also going to be presenting in public this year in various local workshops about nutrition and other wellness topics to people who want to hear what I have to say.  I hope to be relaxed through it all but maybe also accept that perhaps part of my nervousness is just extreme excitement over doing something I really, really want to do that just might possibly help someone.

So mostly, I think I want to do it for the love of advocacy.  Since I was little, speaking up to help someone has always been one of my favorite things.