Today makes 38 (!!) years of living with type 1 diabetes. While diabetes itself is nothing to celebrate, each year I make a point to acknowledge and celebrate (even if just internally) all of the hard work I do to take good care of myself. It’s never easy, and diabetes is always a lot of effort. But I’m kicking ass and enjoying a magnificently blessed life. Thank you for being a part of my journey!
I am trying to drink more water. I’m not abandoning Diet Coke (never that), but I think it’d be a good idea for me to drink more water, too. So when the folks at “The Right Cup™” asked if I’d like to take a look at their cups, I was interested. They sent me two cups to try, one Mixed Berry and one Orange.
Disclosure: I received two “The Right Cup” sample products for review at no charge. The Right Cup had no editorial review or input on this blog post. I will not receive any affiliate benefits or other compensation if you decide to click on any links or give these products a try.
Co-founder and CEO Isaac Lavi was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 30 and was searching for a solution to help him replace the flavorful, but sugary, drinks in his life. He found a solution using scent!
The idea behind The Right Cup is to use fruity scents to hack our perception of taste, even when drinking plain water. According to their website, much of our what we taste comes from the sense of smell. The bright colors of the cups, along with the smell, should make water taste slightly flavored even when it’s not.
The cups themselves are bright and beautiful, and they smell delicious!
It was really interesting when I tried them. There was a slight hint of flavor! It was very subtle, and I’m not sure if I would have noticed without being primed for the experience. In their FAQ section, they say the flavor becomes more pronounced with continued use because the brain is learning from each experience.
I’ve been on the road a lot since first trying it, so I can’t say whether that’s true or not. But I do think it’s a little more fun drinking water from these than I expected, and I’ll continue to use them. Time will tell. I also thought it was worth sharing.
You might notice that there is a cola flavored cup available… will I get that one? Nah. When I want some cola, which happens on the regular, I’ll turn to my good friend Diet Coke. I don’t need any mind games to appreciate that experience.
Let me know if you try The Right Cup – I’d love to hear what you think!
I don’t often do reviews, but I was really intrigued by this concept and product and wanted to learn more. I was sent a demo of the Recovery Kit from Footbeat. It is a product that increases circulation through precise, cyclic pressure on the bottom of the foot.
Their website features testimonials from people with diabetes who’ve experienced great results with their neuropathy or edema after using Footbeat. I, however, don’t have any diagnosed foot or leg complications nor problems that bother me on a consistent basis. So unfortunately, I can’t say personally whether or not they make a difference in that way.
I can say that they were relaxing, it felt nice while I wore them, I felt I was doing something good for myself, and my feet/lower legs felt great after wearing them. It was a little strange at first but I got used to them really quickly (maybe even a bit spoiled). The pad of the engine pushes up into the arch of the foot every 35 seconds, holds there for a couple of seconds, then goes back down. It’s almost like a foot massage, but with some science behind it.
Apparently, there is a large venous reservoir and pump in the sole of the foot which moves 25-30 cc of blood every 20 seconds (!!). This pump is activated while walking and can be simulated by active intermittent external pressure. These findings are the origin of those machines you see people wearing in hospitals to stimulate blood flow in their feet and legs to prevent blood clots.
While Footbeat is not labeled or cleared for the same therapeutic use as the big sequential compression devices used in hospitals, they are leveraging the same knowledge to increase circulation through cyclic pressure on the bottom of the foot and argue that they’re achieving the same benefits and results with a different method that is much more mobile and cost-effective.
They are battery operated and charged with the cables you can see above. They connect to the charging ports of the insoles with strong magnets, which I found quick and convenient.
I was hoping for longer battery life between charges –maybe two full sessions – but usually didn’t get more than one. I spoke to the company about this and like any company using batteries, they are always working to increase run time and decrease size/charge time.
I also found them to be louder than I expected. The motor that pushes the pad up was noisy, and enough to startle me sometimes. I did get used to it eventually, but I think it would be disruptive to people around me if I wore them in a public place like my office or on an airplane. Although considering all of the white-noise on a plane, they probably wouldn’t be noticed. I also spoke to the company about this, and it’s something they’re aware of and working on.
It is a significant investment. You’re looking at $449 via their online store or Amazon. But if you’re experiencing issues and feel that improved circulation might help, it’s hard to put a price on that. With that being said, I also looked at a complete sequential compression kit for sports recovery, and that was $1,495. It’s definitely not apples to apples, but it might add some perspective.
There is also a “Sport” version for the same price. The only difference is the timing of the compression intervals. Please reach out directly to Footbeat if you have questions or would like more information.
Disclosure: I received a demo of the ‘Footbeat Recovery Kit – Health’ to evaluate that I will return. I will NOT receive any commissions or affiliate pay/benefits from any purchases made from any links on this page. Footbeat/AVEX LLC had no editorial input on this content. I enjoyed this product enough that I am considering buying a kit for myself.
Are you an aspiring actor with diabetes? Do you have big dreams of bringing your blood sugar to the big screen? Read on! Erin Spineto has a project that you might be interested in. For more about how it all came to be, here’s Erin.
I was watching a CBS show the other night that had a diabetic character in it. The second it was mentioned, I got so excited.
It wasn’t because I finally was going to see my disease on screen. It gets screen time all the time.
I was excited because I could not wait to see how they screwed it up.
In this particular episode, the diabetic character was a dog. And a dumb dog at that.
He had wandered off and fallen down a fifteen-foot storm drain. When his owner finally finds him, the team of geniuses is already working on saving him. She informs them that the dog has diabetes. The stakes have just been raised.
Being the geniuses that they are, the first question they ask is when was his last insulin shot.
Twelve hours ago. And the music swells. The stakes have just been raised. The dog must be rescued in the next fifteen minutes or he will die.
Most likely the dog is running off a long-acting insulin, which means, even if it stopped working exactly twelve hours after injection–which it doesn’t– the poor dog’s blood sugar would slowly begin to climb after twelve hours.
It certainly wouldn’t pass out and die exactly at the twelve-hour mark. The dog could probably survive quite a few days without insulin. Sure, he’d feel pretty crappy, and maybe do a little long-term damage, but he’d recover once he got back on track with his shots.
One more example of how people who are looking for a cool plot twist grab for the diabetes card and throw in their misconceptions of what it means to have diabetes.
I have yet to see a character with diabetes who isn’t a day-player. Who has diabetes, but not because it will make a kidnapping even more dramatic, or being a multi-personality doctor have strange events in the operating room.
To have a group of people on screen who have lives and interests and desires and also diabetes, to see the different ways personalities interact with the management of diabetes, to have the jokes that we can all tell each other finally up on the screen would be incredible.
So instead of just complaining about how “they” just don’t get it or ever do it right, I decided to do better.
A Bad Case… is an original comedy series about four friends. It is not some PC, educational crap about fighting stereotypes and bringing a message of hope and happiness to the world. It is a dark comedy about when diabetes goes all wrong. It is purely for entertainment value and laughs and will be told in six episodes of five to seven minutes each.
I would love to have this series made by people with diabetes. There’s something about being in the trenches together that makes it ok to tell these kinds of jokes. We go through it. Our lives are shaken by it. We are the only ones who can really get away with making fun of ourselves.
If this sounds like something you would love to help make a reality, I am currently looking for a cast and a few select crew positions.
If you have ever wanted to be in front of the camera, or maybe behind it with a cast full of people with diabetes producing the reality of what life is like for us in a seriously funny way, I want to hear from you.
If you have that one friend who is hilarious and you have told them a million times they need to get into a show, I want to hear from you. And them.
If you have zero acting ability and no experience with a camera, but you can hold a pole above your head for a few hours while watching an amazing team put together something that has never been done before, drop me a line.
And if you have been working in Hollywood for years, but haven’t had the pleasure of playing someone with diabetes like you, (yeah, I’m talking to you Derek, Austin, and Jennifer) reach out.
And if your best trait is your ability to sit behind a screen and binge watch shows for hours while Tweeting and Snapchatting and Instagramming all your friends, we need you, too, to get the word out and to enjoy the show. Feel free to drop me a line and tell me you’re out there, too, waiting to see a version of yourself on your phone.
A project like this needs a community to make it happen and I tend to think we have one of the best communities out there. Here’s your chance to prove me right.
For more info on how to join the cast or crew and on the production details, go to SeaPeptide.com/ABadCase
Awesome – thank you, Erin!
Diabetes Strong is a new health and fitness website for people living with diabetes. It’s the place to go if you’re looking for information and advice on everything from exercise and nutrition to the latest diabetes products and tech.
Diabetes Strong was originally created as TheFitBlog in 2015 and is the passion project of Christel Oerum, a fitness professional with type 1 diabetes. It started as a venue for Christel to describe her experience as an active woman living with type 1 diabetes, and share how she manages insulin, food, and exercise.
The website quickly grew into one of the most popular diabetes websites with over 100,000 monthly visitors and was just re-launched as DiabetesStrong.com, an online diabetes magazine with a team of expert contributors.
The mission and design of the website are centered around Christel’s belief that there is nothing you can’t do with diabetes if you have the right knowledge, tools, and mindset. The articles on the site all have a positive “how-to” approach to diabetes and focus on solutions to some of the most common issues faced by people living with diabetes (like how to lose weight when you live with diabetes or how to prevent low blood sugar when exercising).
All of the information on the website is free to access so you can spend as long as you like reading through the hundreds of diabetes articles.
Spreading the word about important and reliable hurricane support efforts. Please help get the word out.
Diabetes Coalition Continues to Support Southeast Texas with Critical Diabetes Supplies and Ready to Respond to Hurricane Irma’s Impact in Puerto Rico and Florida
1-800-DIABETES continues extended hours, and new call center activated for physicians and
health care providers to request supplies
ARLINGTON, Va. (September 8, 2017) – Convened by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), a coalition of seven leading diabetes care and research organizations have formed a strong Diabetes Emergency Relief Coalition (DERC) to help provide critical diabetes supplies to regions impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Nearly 4,000 pounds of diabetes supplies have been shipped to the southeast Texas region impacted by Hurricane Harvey, and the DERC continues to collaborate to ensure supplies are in place to provide care to those living in shelters or at local health department clinics. In preparation for Hurricane Irma, contacts have already been made in Puerto Rico and Florida, and support in Georgia and South Carolina is in process.
ADA’s Center for Information, 1-800-DIABETES, continues with extended phone hours through the end of next week to assist anyone in need:
- 8:30 a.m. ET (7:30 a.m. CT) to 10:00 p.m. ET (9:00 p.m. CT), Monday through Friday, through Friday, September 15; and
- 10:00 a.m. ET (9:00 a.m. CT) to 4:00 p.m. ET (3:00 p.m. CT) on Saturday and Sunday, September 9 and 10.
Given the expanding needs of Hurricane Irma and the continuing needs of the Southeast Texas region, the Coalition has activated a new call center for physicians and health care providers to request diabetes supplies: 1-314-INSULIN. The supply request line will be open and staffed daily by members of the DERC beginning Friday, September 8, from 9:00 a.m. ET to 6:00 p.m. ET.
Please check diabetes.org/hurricanerelief for the latest information.
Information and resources include specific support in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, in addition to these:
- How to donate unexpired and unopened diabetes supplies to Insulin for Life USA
- Link to list of open pharmacies in the hurricane-impacted regions of southeast Texas, Puerto Rico and Florida (Please note, this website is updated regularly.)
- The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies has a hotline, 1-800-626-4949, to help people with disabilities and the elderly to safety and provide immediate needs of durable medical equipment and supplies
- Live map of open shelters from the American Red Cross, or 1-800-RED-CROSS
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hurricane resources
- Department of HHS support services, HHS Disaster Distress Line 1-800-985-5990
During an emergency crisis such as this, it is critical for people with diabetes to have access to the medications and testing supplies needed to maintain proper blood glucose control, and to prevent serious sudden complications such as hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia1. Visit diabetes.org/hurricanerelief for the latest information.
The Diabetes Emergency Relief Coalition, convened by the American Diabetes Association, includes JDRF, Insulin for Life USA, Endocrine Society, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, American Association of Diabetes Educators and Research America. For more information about the Coalition, click here.
1 W Cefalu et. al. The Hurricane Katrina Aftermath and Its Impact on Diabetes Care. Diabetes Care 29:1, 158-160. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/29/1/158.
I’ve asked Mindy to share more about her upcoming book. With great pleasure, here she is with some of her story and more details about how you can connect with her. Thank you, Mindy, you’re wonderful!
I’ve greatly benefitted from the power of me too when it comes to diabetes. When other things popped up in my life, I wasn’t able to (and sometimes wasn’t ready) to apply this beneficial power.
When my dad passed away when I was 12, I didn’t know a lot of people who understood what it was like until I got older and found more people. I also wouldn’t talk about. I had to be strong.
When I was struggling with mental health, I not only kept these feelings to myself until I was in college, I flat out denied them to myself.
I grew up having issues with my period, but I didn’t talk about them because I grew up with the notion that you kept that to yourself.
One thing that changed how I looked at these things? Being honest and open about them. In college, I changed how I looked at all of these things- including diabetes and life.
After diabetes burnout in college, I started posting more about the good and the bad of diabetes and mental health, but of course other things- of course- life.
When I was diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis, I posted about it online.
That’s when I started hearing or seeing the me too’s. The relief of knowing I’m not alone made a huge difference in my life.
Over the years, I’ve adjusted my blog.. I wanted to talk about everything in my life- the type 1 diabetes, PCOS, endometriosis, anxiety, OCD, ADHD, (other diagnoses), loss, and more- because like the title of my blog says- “There’s More to the Story”. I wanted to talk about it honestly- the good and the bad. It’s hard to imagine that I never even wanted to write a blog- but here I am now!
About two years ago, I realized that I was applying rose-colored glasses to a lot of things in my life already at the age of 22. I was starting to say that all the bad things were worth it or completely ignoring them. I firmly believe that yes I can do it. That I (and others) can get through things. But I want to acknowledge that it can suck. That’s what life is. It’s what I needed to do.
Between the decision to be honest about the positive and the negative and realizing that rose-colored glasses were starting to impact how I looked at things. I decided to write a book about chronic illness and mental health. I’m aiming to balance the positive and the negative together on growing up in general but also with chronic illness and mental health along for the ride.
I’m pursuing self-publishing, and I’m utilizing crowdfunding to make this happen.
Mindy is self-publishing an honest book about growing up with chronic illness and mental health. She wrote the content before rose colored glasses impacted her experiences too much. To help this book get published, you can visit the crowdfunding page to learn more, back her project, and help spread the word. You can also follow Mindy on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and her blog “There’s More to the Story”.
Heads up, Twin Cities! JDNL.org is putting on another free driving clinic for teens with diabetes (August 4th, 2017 at Dakota County Technical College)! But you’ll have to hurry up and register! There are only a couple of openings left for this year’s session.
My son just started driving (he doesn’t have diabetes). It’s an awesome accomplishment and an equally awesome responsibility. I’m so proud of him. And like any parent with a new driver in the family, I’m nervous anytime he leaves. My wife and I (and his grandfather – thanks, dad!) did everything we could to prepare him. It was a lot of time, work, and money. And all totally worth it. However, I recognize that if my son also had to think about diabetes and driving, there was nothing in all of the classes, instruction, or behind the wheel that would have helped him.
That’s where Juvenile Diabetes No Limits Foundation comes in. Tom at JDNL has been organizing the free Check B4U Drive sessions for years. They are the only place I know where the focus is on learning how to drive safely with diabetes. And they do it for free, which is amazing. Thank you, Tom, JDNL, and sponsors!
There are more cool pictures on their website. One great shot is of a fire truck spraying their fire hose all over the pavement in preparation for one of the exercises to simulate driving on wet roads.
I love that this is available. Big thanks to JDNL for organizing it every year. They’re also planning one near Chicago in September. As I mentioned earlier, there are only a few spots left for August 4th in the Twin Cities, so register now if you’re interested!
You can also reach out to [email protected] with questions or call 952-886-0152.
If you attend, please let us know how it goes!
Lucas Davenport, Mitch Rapp, and Jack Reacher are a few book characters I enjoy sharing time with. I recently added Thea Paris to that list.
She is one of 25 elite response consultants who travel undercover to the deadliest situations in the world to recover hostages by any means necessary. And diabetes doesn’t slow her down.
Howe’s book is a thriller that kept me up all night. I finished it in a single sitting and enjoyed every moment. I can’t wait for the next installment.
After reading The Freedom Broker, I had an opportunity to ask K.J. a few questions:
Scott – My blog is about living with diabetes and therefore draws readers touched by diabetes. We’re all too familiar with characters with diabetes portrayed in mainstream media inaccurately, but I was pleased to find this wasn’t the case with Thea. Where does your familiarity with diabetes come from (dare I assume you have a personal connection)?
K.J. – I’m very pleased to hear that you felt Thea’s diabetes was accurately portrayed. My grandfather had diabetes, and I can remember as a child him explaining why he was giving himself needles, and he showed us how he learned to inject himself using an orange. The experience made an indelible impression on me, and I yearned to write about it. I’m also a former medical writer, and I created many articles about diabetes for patient education newsletters, booklets, calendars, etc.
For me, it’s critical to get it right. Research is a real passion. I also had the incredible help of two amazing ladies: Bethanne Strasser, a mother and long distance runner with type 1 who is also an author (authorbethrhodes.com), and Laura Rogers, a brilliant woman with type 1 who spent a year traveling the world (diabetictraveler.org), shipping medicine and supplies to herself along the way. These two spectacular ladies were beyond helpful with insights into what Thea’s life would be like.
Scott – I was also pleased to find just the right amount of diabetes peppered throughout the book. It felt like an interesting touch to an already interesting character, but not so much that it might be a turn-off. Was that balance difficult to find? How did you decide how much to include or leave out?
K.J. – Great question. I definitely edited the diabetes information, tried to weave it in with a light touch. When I originally wrote the story, I included details where they fit organically, then I came back to it later, tried to ask myself what was needed and what might be extraneous. My editor was also quite helpful with feedback on that front, coming at it from a fresh perspective. Diabetes is a huge part of Thea’s life, and she takes it very seriously, but she’s also a healthy, fit woman in her 30s who doesn’t want to let anything hold her back from her calling, which is helping hostages across the globe return home.
I have the deepest respect for how people with diabetes balance their medical condition with their hopes, dreams, and fitness/career goals, and I wanted to demonstrate that while managing her diabetes is always in the forefront of Thea’s mind, she doesn’t let it interfere with her demanding and active lifestyle. I think the key message is that people are more than their illness, and with the right commitment and drive, spectacular things are not just possible, but probable.
Scott – There were some nice seeds for the future planted, such as Rif’s discovery in Nikos’ safe and the team at Quantum pulling together at the end to openly support Thea’s diabetes. What can you tell us about Thea’s next adventure?
K.J. – Thanks for asking about those seeds, as I’m working on the final chapters of book two in the Thea Paris series, which is called SKYJACK, and it will be released in February 2018. Thea is shepherding two young African orphans to their new home in London when the plane they are on is hijacked and the action kicks off from there. The story includes secret stay-behind armies from WWII, the CIA, the Vatican…and I can promise you’ll learn a great deal about plane travel. And from a character point-of-view, Thea is still dealing with the aftermath of what happened in THE FREEDOM BROKER, coming to terms with her family issues.
K.J. also adds, “Anyone interested in reading the first chapter of THE FREEDOM BROKER can visit www.kjhowe.com. I’ll be sending out newsletter updates, and people are most welcome to sign up via my website as well. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity. Really appreciate your insightful questions.”
Thank you, K.J.!
I really enjoyed reading this book, and the next one sounds great, too. I’m already looking forward to it! If you might enjoy it, you can grab a copy from a bunch of different places:
Just before the holidays, I attended Team Novo Nordisk’s (TNN) media day at Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta, GA. (Disclosure: Team Novo Nordisk paid for my travel, lodging, and some meals)
I got a close look at the scale of Team Novo Nordisk’s vision, mission, and even got to ride alongside some of the athletes (I had to ride in a car to keep up). It was impressive, inspiring, and educational.
Team Novo Nordisk has nearly 100 athletes with diabetes from 21 countries spanning a number of sports (cyclists, triathletes, and runners) in a few phases of athletic development. One remarkable point in the story of many of these athletes is the story of being told “no.”
— Scott K. Johnson (@scottkjohnson) December 10, 2016
Twelve out of eighteen of the pro riders were told they’d never race again because of diabetes. Imagine receiving that crushing news along with the diagnosis? Racing was everything for these guys! And with a single sentence, their dreams were smashed. Thank goodness they didn’t give up so easily. And now, thanks to TNN, they are shining examples of what can be done with diabetes.
The mission of Team Novo Nordisk is to inspire, educate, and empower people affected by diabetes. They’re attacking this mission on many fronts and changing diabetes for the better in a lot of ways.
Some ways are really big, such as being the first all-diabetes professional team in any sport worldwide (that’s something often overlooked, but this great interview with Phil Southerland in diaTribe points out). And some ways aren’t immediately noticeable, like an aspiring athlete being told, “no” only to find TNN proving a resounding “yes!”
— Scott K. Johnson (@scottkjohnson) December 10, 2016
One of the things I most admire about Team Novo Nordisk is they continue to go above and beyond. What do I mean by that? I’m not a professional athlete, but I can imagine it’s already immensely challenging to compete at this level. But that’s not all they do. In 2016, Team Novo Nordisk published/shared more than 1,800 articles and participated in more than 365 diabetes related community events around the world to help set the record straight about diabetes. Nearly everywhere they go, they take time out of their grueling athletic schedule (and travel schedule!) to talk with the community and spread information.
Team Novo Nordisk is doing a lot of work on language and stigma in diabetes, and one of the stories I remember most fondly was told at a community event last June in New Orleans. It’s a very real example that sticks in my head as one that makes a big difference in how we are perceived.
The story is that one year, the famous television cycling commentators spoke of a TNN cyclist as suffering from diabetes (that’s one of my big pet peeves – “suffering“). After long efforts of patient and persistent relationship building, Team Novo Nordisk was able to teach the commentators more about diabetes – they were able to set the record straight. The next time the commentators talked about a rider with diabetes, the language was different. Suffering was gone, and instead, that rider lived with type 1 diabetes.
These may sound like little things, but I tell you, they make a difference to people who don’t know anything about diabetes. Just think about the difference between “living with” and “suffer.” There’s a huge difference there, right? There is to me, and I know which one I prefer.
The commitment to Team Novo Nordisk’s mission is remarkable and was something my friend Brian mentioned a number of times as we took in all of the information over the day.
— Scott K. Johnson (@scottkjohnson) December 10, 2016
And they’re always looking for more athletes – Phil even made a special call-out for more U.S. talent!
— Jane K. Dickinson (@JaneKDickinson) December 10, 2016