If you’re looking for context, here’s a little Sega Genesis Internet history.
I spent Saturday helping to clean out dad’s garage. We found an old tackle box with some low BG supplies inside.
These don’t have dates on them, but they are at least twenty-five years old. At least.
Back in the day we didn’t have glucose tabs. In fact, I remember baggies of sugar cubes and tubes of cake frosting being the go-to tools of camp counselors. Pocketable? Not really.
For as long as I can remember, I’d have two Fruit Roll-Ups in my back pocket at all times. Flattened to death before long, but still worth 12g of carbs.
Peel from cellophane before eating, yo.
I’ll Read it For You…
Are you on the move? Let me read this to you…
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Welcome back, Jay!
When you think of flying you probably think of lousy service, high prices, crowded airplanes, and a lot of waiting in line. You will most likely stress about getting on your 6:00AM flight and then stress yet again about making your 45-minute connection in Atlanta. There’s another side to flying that many people never get to experience and even fewer diabetics get to experience. My name is Jay Haapala; some of you will remember me from my guest post here on Scott’s blog a little over a year ago. I am back today to share what is new with me and my quest of becoming a private pilot.
Long story short… when you’re addicted to aviation, you’re addicted. What starts the aviation addiction varies from person to person. I caught the “Aviation Bug” in June of 2007 when my mom and I flew to St. Louis for a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) conference. On the way home we ended up stuck in the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport for nine hours. I have close to no recollection of what I saw in the airport but whatever it was it sure had a very profound impact on me. Aviation became my life and it was all I talked about. I spent 4th grade with my face glued up to a window in my classroom that sits directly under the approach path to Charleston’s Yeager Airport. I would go on to fly every chance I got and more recently started working as an intern at Yeager Airport.
In April of this year I decided enough was enough and decided it was time to start my journey of becoming a licensed private pilot. While this isn’t an impossible task for someone with T1D it has its added challenges. In May of 2014 I applied for a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Third Class Medical certificate. Currently people with T1D cannot hold a First Class Medical Certificate (the type required to fly for an airline). I’m happy to say that after close to 1.5 months of calling the FAA and getting a United States Senator’s office involved I now hold an FAA Third Class Medical Certificate. This certificate allows me to fly an aircraft solo and to eventually fly as a private pilot.
My instructor and I made a decision that I was ready to fly an aircraft while acting as pilot in command, my first solo! This is major milestone in any pilots’ training, the person that acted as your safety net steps out of the aircraft, knowing you are capable of flying that aircraft by yourself. The day was July 9, 2014. I flew two “patters” (or circuits around Yeager Airport consisting of a take off and landing) with my instructor, Brenda. We decided I was ready, I taxied back to Executive Air (the private terminal at Yeager Airport), Brenda stepped out and said “bring the plane back safely”, she signed my logbook and walked off. I’ll be honest; I was scared to death. However, I knew I could do it. I’ve waited for this moment since I knew the average person could become a pilot. My first solo went great. I was able to fly one pattern (loop) around Yeager Airport (CRW). While a first solo is special for any pilot in training it really meant a lot to me knowing I was doing it with T1D. I won, diabetes lost. The type of private flying I get to experience is much different from the airlines; if you ever get the chance to fly in a general aviation aircraft, do it.
I’ve come to the realization that when it comes to aviation I posses a ridiculous amount of serendipity. Serendipity is defined as: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. That one word pretty much sums up my aviation life. If I were to give anyone around my age advice it would be something like: your age doesn’t matter (you can do whatever you want at your age assuming it is legal), be interested in an industry, share your passion with others, use social media (if done correctly it will help you greatly), never take no for answer, if you have diabetes (or any other health related issue) don’t let it stop you, connection are key. Finally, as the slogan of AirTran Airways states: Go. There’s nothing stopping you. As I continue my quest of becoming a private pilot, follow my website and social media feeds. My website has some of my pictures and videos flying including an onboard video of my first solo! Thank you to Scott for the opportunity to share my story on here; it is always a pleasure.
Jay Haapala on DSMA Live!
I was blessed with an opportunity to finally meet Shawn in person at CWD’s Friends for Life conference in Orlando – and he’s twice as awesome in person as I’d imagined him to be. We weren’t able to coordinate a video while together in Orlando, but we made sure to connect not long after.
Shawn does a TON of amazing advocacy work and is just a treat to be around. If you all don’t follow him already, please make sure to get him on your radar and support the work he’s doing.
I’m honored to be a part of his story through sharing our story.
I owe a huge hug and thank you to the marvelous Sandy Struss for the introduction.
About four months ago the FDA’s Office of Health and Constituent Affairs hosted an extremely informative Patient Network Live Chat with FDA Expert Courtney Lias and Patient Advocate Bennet Dunlap. If you missed the live event, there is a recording online you can watch. iOS users, it’s a Flash site…sorry.
This is well worth your time to watch if you want to know more about the FDA and its role in blood glucose meter and test strip regulation, specifically the FDA’s new proposed guidelines and what standards blood glucose meters should have to meet before the FDA clears them for sale.
I’d like to express a huge “THANK YOU” to the FDA for hosting this extremely informative chat and making it available for the diabetes patient community. This is a really big deal and I very much appreciate it. Thank you!
And yes, I totally meant to get this posted a long time ago… better late than never, right?
Today I’d like to share a story from Nene Adams about a series of fun cards made just to lift our spirits and let us know we are loved.
Click on each card to see the message inside – I think you’ll love them (or is it just me?)! These are just a sample of what’s available. At the time of this post, there are something like 60+ unique cards available.
Thanks for sharing, Nene!
As a recently diagnosed a Type II diabetic, I read everything I could about this life changing disease. Since my partner, Corrie Kuipers, and I have been designing and selling specialty greeting cards since 2007, during my research, I was surprised to find very few greeting cards for diabetics, especially children and teenagers.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million adults and children in the U.S. have diabetes. Clearly, the need exists for special greeting cards to serve this community. Creating a series of colorful, sometimes humorous, always light-hearted greeting cards addressing issues like insulin pumps, body image, lifestyle changes, emotional reactions and other concerns seemed like a “no brainer.”
We want to encourage a diabetic who’s feeling a little down. To let them know they’re not alone. To say “I love you” and “it’s okay.” Our greeting cards have positive, supportive messages for diabetic children, teens, young adults and adults.
We’re so proud of our work, we wanted to spread the joy, so we invited other talented artists – Doreen Erhardt, Sharon Fernleaf and Betsy Bush – to join us in making unique greeting cards for diabetics and growing the unique collection.
To diabetics, we want to say—you are not alone. To the families and friends of someone with diabetes—yes, there are greeting cards just for your loved ones. If you know someone who’s been recently diagnosed, send them an encouraging note. The right reassurance at the right time can really raise the spirits and make the day brighter.
I was surprised by a really high blood sugar (280 mg/dl) at lunch today after an awesome afternoon on the basketball court. I took what I needed for my meal, and to correct for the high, and knew I’d have to keep an eye on things for the next couple of hours.
Back at home, and only about an hour after eating, I’m surprised to see 121 mg/dl and dropping on my CGM. Slightly worried, and wondering if my CGM is confused I do a BG test.
As soon as I see the number (110 mg/dl) I hear Kevin Hart in my head.
Still full from lunch, I scarfed down a bowl of cereal and a cosmic brownie. I’m now coasting at 95 mg/dl and holding steady.
Why did I freak out with such a “perfect” blood sugar? 121 mg/dl is great, right? So is 110 mg/dl, and 95 mg/dl, right?
It all depends.
Those numbers are NOT at all great when I have a large lunch bolus on board that’s just beginning to hit its peak (well, maybe if I had pre-bolused or did something else fancy, it would be different).
When I see a number like that so soon after a meal it means there is a nasty low blood sugar right around the corner and I need to take action right now.
It’s another great story about how a “great” number can mean so many different things depending on the situation.
And here’s more Kevin Hart because he makes me laugh. Caution: Just a little bit of language here. If you’re the sensitive type, just skip it.
I have loved the team at Sproutel ever since I first saw them running around in bear suits (long story, watch the video here for a sneak peek). They’re launching a big campaign today to get a bear in the hands of every child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the coming year.
After finishing an 8k with Insulindependence last fall I talked myself into completing a half marathon in Seattle and committed to doing so on live internet radio (it’s also recorded, so I couldn’t pretend it didn’t happen).
I trained, and trained, and trained, and was feeling good until about three weeks before the race when I hurt myself (turns out I didn’t pay enough attention to proper running form early in my training).
I tried to work through it, I tried to rest it, I tried pretty much everything except going to the doctor until I couldn’t take it anymore (two days before leaving for ADA, 11 days before racing). Diagnosis? Proximal hamstring tendinopathy.
That’s a fancy way of saying a high hamstring injury. Treatment? Acute physical therapy, with no hope for recovery or relief in time for the race. But the doctor was so cool about it.
“Of course – run the race. You have to run the race, we’ll rehab you afterward.”
I didn’t talk much about the injury online beforehand, but I was totally freaking out. It totally threw off my training plan, which, in turn, really shook my mental confidence for completing the event.
It’s one thing to push yourself hard through an event you know you’ve trained properly for. It’s something completely different to do an event when you know you haven’t.
Holy mind games, Batman.
Enjoy the Experience
But I was all in. I was going to do the race and just take my time. Slow down if I hurt, walk if necessary, and just take in the experience. And that’s exactly what I did.
I enjoyed Seattle, had some wonderful quality time with Dana Lewis & Scott Leibrand (#DIYPS), saw some old friends (hi Ghosn’s!) and met some new ones (hey Terri & David!). Oh yeah, we raised some money for the American Diabetes Association along the way, which is pretty great, too. Thank you, all, for helping make that happen.
I earned a half marathon medal, and it’s something I’m very proud of. I wore it all the way home and was congratulated a few different times. That felt pretty awesome. And you can bet your green, orange, and yellow bracelets that I’ll be wearing that medal at Friends for Life next week, too.
Why? Because if I can do this then you can set a goal and do it, too.