Joe from Germany Comes to the Diabetes UnConference

I am thrilled to introduce Joe. He came all the way from Germany to attend the very first Diabetes UnConference and asked if I could help him share his experiences. I’m absolutely honored, Joe. Take it away!


The Diabetes UnConference

6,000 miles for just two days

A lot has been written about the first Diabetes UnConference already, so I want to focus on the view from the outside, from the perspective of a German participant, and share what made the UnConference so valuable for me.

The idea of visiting the Diabetes UnConference inspired me from the very first moment I read about it. The only problem was that it was in Las Vegas whilst I live in Germany – about 6,000 miles away!

Welcoming and Open

Even though a lot of the attendees knew each other – either personally or from the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) – I felt like I was part of the group from the very first moment. There were no isolated groups from people knowing each other already, separating from the rest. And everybody was always open to integrate others into their discussions. This openness was something new to me as Germans tend to be more distanced – at least at the beginning – and it has never been so easy for me to integrate without already knowing somebody.

Joe from Germany

Joe enjoying the “High Roller” (photo via Katie W.)

But the biggest surprise for me was the intimacy I found at the Diabetes UnConference. Not only in small, personal talks, but also during session in the main room with almost 100 people. So many offered a look deep inside their heart, maybe allowing a deeper look to other attendees than they allow even to their own partner. This was something I did not expect and I will not forget.

Technology and Access

There are also technical differences between America and Europe. As Europeans we always expect the Americans to be way ahead on all technical issues. But I found out that, at least concerning diabetes technology, this is not always true. We had the Animas Vibe long before it was offered in the USA. And the Abbott FreeStyle Libre Flash Glucose Monitoring system has been driving diabetics in Germany crazy with excitement for more than three months, whilst the rep from Abbott USA was not even allowed to talk about it. On the other hand, Americans are enjoying the Dexcom Share receiver which will not be available in Europe at all.

Expectations Exceeded

I flew over to Vegas with little more expectation than to meet people I’ve only read about in their blogs. But what I experienced during the two days of the Diabetes UnConference was so overwhelming that I feel the strong desire to return in 2016.

6,000 miles is quite some distance, but the trip was worth every single mile. Thanks to Christel Marchand Aprigliano, the facilitators and all attendees for letting me be part of the group from the very first moment.

Diabetes UnConference 2015


Joe, thank you for taking a risk and coming! I’m so glad you felt welcomed, valued, and respected, and that you enjoyed the experience. You added so much perspective and value to everything, and helped make the Diabetes Unconference a success for all of us.

Scott’s Sweepstakes – Free Session with IDS!

I have a really exciting prize for this edition of Scott’s Sweepstakes! Are you ready for this!? You can win a FREE SESSION with Gary Scheiner’s team at Integrated Diabetes Services! Wow!

Enter now for your chance to win! This round ends at Midnight, Monday, March 30th, 2015. Good luck! :-)

 

Diabetes and Kidney Disease Updates from diaTribe

diaTribe Logo

diaTribe is one of my favorite organizations. The quantity of high-quality work that comes out of their office blows me away.

If you’re not already subscribed to their free newsletter, what are you waiting for? Sign up!

If you can, I also encourage you to financially support the diaTribe Foundation. Can you imagine diaTribe on steroids? :-)

There are two articles from a recent mailing that I want to share that focus on diabetes and kidney disease/kidney health.

Bringing Metformin to More Patients

diaTribe article from Kelly Close about metformin

In this article Kelly Close talks about new research published showing metformin is safe to use for many more people, especially those who are restricted because of kidney function.

Her article also mentions additional research on possible benefits of metformin use in other populations, including an interesting JDRF funded study on metformin & type 1 diabetes.

I take metformin and I’m excited to see interest in learning more about its benefit in type 1 diabetes.

PERL Study

diaTribe PERL StudyI’m happy to see the PERL study getting more attention, and I appreciate diaTribe spreading the word.

I’m a fan of Dr. Michael Mauer, co-principal investigator, because of his care for me during a previous study (RASS), and would love to see he and Dr. Alessandro Doria (co-principal investigator) meet their recruitment goals quickly.

Bigger Picture

One of my favorite things about diaTribe is context.

With a great understanding of the overall diabetes picture, the diaTribe team is able to explain what a win for the PERL study means for us.

In this case, Leda & Alex talk about a couple of things that go beyond study outcomes, specifically the innovative approach using remote study locations and how future diabetes research funding may be affected.

Please read diaTribe’s article to learn more.

Thank you, diaTribe!

 

 

Asante Snap – Use Pump Body Settings?

There’s a really cool feature of the Asante Snap insulin pump that I don’t think people know about. Here’s a quick video about it.

*Disclosure: I have a business relationship with Asante Solutions.

Pretty cool stuff.

Reminder: Asante is donating to Spare a Rose, Save a Child for every free pump trial registration for a limited time. Learn more on their blog, or sign up directly to get started.

Changes at TuDiabetes! Yeah!

Bright, Clean, Change! Yeah!

I have been an active supporter of the TuDiabetes family for a very long time. So long that I was once quoted as saying TuDiabetes is “like MySpace on insulin…

When was MySpace? Hold on, I have ask Moses

Over the years, TuDiabetes has brought so many wonderful people into my life, so many smiles, and so many incredible memories. Numerous friends around the world, and even more locally. I’m forever grateful.

Leadership, Trust, and Great People

My focus isn’t the recent change in leadership at Diabetes Hands Foundation (Manny Hernandez is stepping down). But I thought it would seem strange if I didn’t mention it.

Manny has assembled a team of amazing people, both on staff at DHF and on the Board of Directors (and in many other supporting roles). I know almost all of them personally, and those I know, I trust completely.

Melissa Lee has been named Interim Executive Director. I admire her for many reasons and wholeheartedly approve of her for the role and responsibility.

The team will function just fine.

But Technology Won’t Stand Still

Last year I had to replace one of our televisions. The old TV was big. Not big in regards to screen-size, it was a modest 29″ set, but just big – one of those boxy models from ten years ago. It was heavy and really hard to carry. I almost needed a second person. It exhausted me, and my back muscles were sore for days.

Our new TV is a sweet 32″ set. I know – I’m living the life of a king with an entire 32-inches. :-)

It weighs less than a third of the old one, takes up a fraction of the space, and I could almost carry it under one arm. And get this… it even has a HDMI port so I can connect modern devices to it.

With the old TV I just accepted that I couldn’t watch HD quality shows or connect modern devices, and now I take those features for granted. It’s actually amazing when I stop to think about it.

And it’s a great reminder that technology advances, and almost unknowingly, our expectations do too.

Catching Up & Keeping Pace

Change can be rufWhen it comes to technology I generally start looking for solutions or upgrades when things become hard to do or don’t produce suitable results.

And tech changes often, doesn’t it? While it sometimes takes getting used to, it’s almost always a good thing. The changes usually make things easier to do and produce better results. Now I’m streaming HD quality shows via my Apple TV, and loving it.

With this in mind, I’m very excited to hear that TuDiabetes is migrating to a new system.

Why am I excited?

  1. Did you know that the best way to find something on TuDiabetes is to leave TuDiabetes and search for it on Google? That makes absolutely no sense. With the new TuD, searching will work so much better.
  2. On the current system, visiting TuDiabetes from a mobile device is difficult. Websites must be mobile friendly in 2015. I won’t talk about what happens to websites that aren’t… On the new TuD, interacting while on a mobile device will be so much better
  3. Maybe most importantly, the new TuD backend will allow DHF to keep TuD up to date with the fast-moving technology standards. This might not seem like much at first, or from an outside perspective. But if I may share my opinion as someone who’s run a diabetes blog for over a decade, this might be the most important piece. This will allow DHF to transparently keep pace with your ever-evolving expectations. In fact, if done right, you won’t even notice. :-)

There For You

One thing that is certain through the transition is Diabetes Hands Foundation has you, the diabetes community, at the center of everything they do. As long as I’ve known them, that has never changed, and I believe it never well.

Change is often scary. But Change is also often exciting, and that’s where I am with the TuDiabetes migration. I’m excited!

I urge you to trust these people who have taken such good care of you over the years. Lean into this change with them.

There are three things you can do to help them make it what you need:

  • Dive in with both feet (once they launch – expected in March).
  • Give yourself some time to get used to the new digs.
  • And offer constructive feedback when appropriate.

 

Where the Fun Starts!

 

 

Win a NeedleBay Colours System! Scott’s Sweepstakes!

Enter to win!

1 of 25 NeedleBay Colours Systems!

What exactly is a NeedleBay system? Allow me to demonstrate…

These things are pretty cool and I’ll definitely use one when I travel.

I think it’s really awesome of NeedleBay to offer so many (25 winners!) in support of Scott’s Sweepstakes, and I’m excited to get these out to you. Sweepstakes ends on Monday, February 16th at Midnight. Enter now!

Scott's Sweepstakes

Put five on it – Spare a Rose

SpareARose

It’s a beautiful gift to give, and to receive!

Lack of access to insulin is the most common cause of death for children in many countries around the world. You can change that.

Five dollars is enough for Life for a Child to provide a month of insulin to a child in need. It’s no coincidence that the cost of a Valentine’s Day rose is about five dollars.

Spare a rose, save a child. It’s that simple.

[su_button url=”http://sparearose.org/give/” target=”blank” background=”#d5132d” center=”yes” icon=”icon: heart”]GIVE NOW![/su_button]


 

Real Life Diabetes Podcast by Diabetes Daily Grind

Logo of the podcast, Real Life Diabetes - by DiabetesDailyGrind.com

I enjoyed a new diabetes podcast today and wanted to spread the word about it. It’s the Real Life Diabetes Podcast by Diabetes Daily Grind.

Amber & Ryan at DDG are fun and laid back. They promise occasional explicit language and content that may not always be suitable for children.

But it doesn’t take long (less than a minute) to see that they’re also serious when it comes to self-improvement and living better with diabetes, and helping others do so, too.

More reasons to like it?

The opening theme song is pretty awesome…

Tell me sugar-mama what’s your A1C, are you into endocrinology…

And I think the closing has a kazoo.

But what really sold me was when Amber burped into the microphone. :-)

Let ‘er rip, sis! Seriously though – great job, you guys! I’m already looking forward to the next episode!

Loving People and A Compulsion to Share

I love this quote from conductor Leonard Bernstein. I don’t mean to trivialize his brilliant words by saying I feel the same about the diabetes online community.

“The original energizing motor that makes me compose is the urge to communicate — and to communicate with as many people as possible. Because what I love about the world and life is people, I like them as much as I like music, if not more. I love people, and I have a compulsion to share with people what I feel, what I know, what I think.” — Leonard Bernstein, Conductor, New York Philharmonic

Leonard Bernstein

Photo: Allan Warren, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Supporting PWD’s in India through Penpals United

Penpals United header image

Jack Terschluse

Jack took me on an amazing field trip. In the space of about 90-minutes we visited four different clinics in India spread over 3,000 miles and reaching hundreds of people living with diabetes.

Jack Terschluse is the founder and President of Penpals United, an inspiring community of people with type one diabetes worldwide offering support and inspiration to children and teens using online support groups and traditional pen pal opportunities.

Dr. Santosh GuptaHe got the idea when his former endocrinologist, Dr. Santosh Gupta, retired to start her own foundation to support children with type one diabetes in northern India (the Manav Seva Foundation).

“She told me about the lack of support networks for children in the developing world and connected me to a teenage girl named Surbhi who I started exchanging letters with. An idea popped into my head: what if an online support group existed for children with type one diabetes around the globe?” — Jack Terschluse, Penpals United

Thus, Penpals United was born. Thier vision is to build an inspiring community of people with type one diabetes worldwide by offering online support groups and pen pal opportunities for children and teens with T1d.

Penpals United Support GroupWith mentors from the US, Canada, England, and Mexico now serving over 250 children monthly in India, Mexico, Rwanda, and Uganda, they are making a difference and continue to grow.

Jack says, “Our motto, Many miles, Many people with T1 diabetes, One connection, reflects the power we’ve discovered in sharing stories about living with T1d, ultimately empowering kids to be diabetes leaders in their villages who then can lift other kids up as well.”

My Experience

A map of India with pins showing the clinic locations we visitedMy time with their online support groups was nothing short of incredible. After connecting with Jack and his team, we spent the evening virtually zooming around India visiting with four different diabetes groups at local hospitals and clinics.

At each group I spent a few minutes sharing my story and talking about living with diabetes, then I took questions from the attendees. I was impressed by similarities we all face and their drive to grow their ability to support their peers, not only in terms of diabetes education, but also in the psychosocial space that we all know is so important.

Image of the video conference screen showing Scott, Jack, Hannah, Alex, Dr. Santosh Gupta, and one of the groups in India

I was also very impressed with the rhythm and system that Jack has put together. As we wrapped up at each site, one of Jack’s team (in this case, Hannah in the upper right, or Alex in the lower left) would stay behind with the local group to answer any additional questions, spend a few minutes following up, then transition it to the local group facilitator.

Penpals United Group Shot 2In the meantime, Jack, Dr. Gupta, and I would zoom off to another site and start the discussion with a new group. About halfway through, one of either Hannah or Alex would rejoin the call, ready to handle the transition again. It was all very smooth and gave me the impression that each local group was very well taken care of.

We only see part of the team here, but Jack has an awesome group helping, including Jay Haapala, who you may have seen on Scott’s Diabetes before.

One of the most powerful memories I have from my time with Penpals United is something Dr. Gupta said to me after we finished.

“Most people there, even the doctors sometimes, don’t expect people with diabetes to live more than 20 years. So simply seeing me, and others like me, who are living well after so many years of diabetes sends an incredible message of hope and inspiration.” — Dr. Santosh Gupta

She continues, “Having a Penpals United online mentor who lives successfully with type one diabetes shows these children that they too can live long, happy lives.”

How Can You Help?

I asked Jack if he had to pick one call to action, what would it be?

Write a letter to a child with T1d and then tweet to @PenpalsUnited that you wrote a letter! Building the international T1d community through the internet and Twitter is vital. — Jack Terschluse, Penpals United

View the United Penpals photo gallery for more