Changes – #DBlogWeek ’15 – Day 4

Banner for Diabetes Blog Week 2015

Find out what Diabetes Blog Week is all about. Check out the topics for each day’s posts, and even see a list of this year’s participants. Thank you, Karen!

The question I’m answering today? What would I most like to see change about diabetes, in any way? OR reflect back on some changes I’ve been through since being diagnosed with diabetes.

This is a great topic, and my mind goes in so many different directions. Changes with diabetes? Are you kidding? Yes, please!

I don’t have to explain that a lot has changed in the past thirty years with diabetes. We’re making great strides in many areas. We have a better understanding of how diabetes works. We have better ways to check blood sugars. We have more convenient ways to take medicine. It’s all really great, and I’m thankful for it. Really, I am. (more…)

Clean it Out – #DBlogWeek ’15 – Day 3

Banner for Diabetes Blog Week 2015

Find out what Diabetes Blog Week is all about. Check out the topics for each day’s posts, and even see a list of this year’s participants. Thank you, Karen!

The question I’m answering today? What’s in my diabetic closet that needs to be cleaned out?

There are a few different directions I could take here, but I really like the angle around diabetes emotions.

My head is a mess. And I’m afraid to dig in and look at it.

What do I mean? I don’t think I’m sick in the head, but to some degree, I think we’re all a little crazy from living with diabetes. There are things I do, repeatedly, that just don’t make sense logically. Like my unbalanced diet. There are psychological issues at the root of my eating behaviors that I’m just afraid to deal with, even though I know I should.

I think of it like a big, chaotic garage or old basement that needs to be cleaned out. Lots of dark corners full of giant spiders, messy stuff, and things I don’t know what to do with.

messy workshop or basement

Not my basement… or my head. But it could be.

Dig in, investigate, shine a light

I worked with some terrific coaches over the years, and I wish everyone could have someone in their corner helping them (somewhat) objectively explore self-improvement.

I learned that it takes a long time.

I learned that there are no shortcuts.

I learned that it is really hard work.

I learned that it can be exhausting.

And I learned that even the darkest, scariest corners of my mental messy garage weren’t that bad once I really got in there and started sorting things out, squashing bugs, and cleaning up debris.

If I slowly attack one messy section of my mind at a time, with reasonable expectations (and asking for help when needed), who knows what my garage might eventually look like…

bright big clean empty garage

I can dream, right?

This is part of Diabetes Blog Week, where a standard set of prompts encourages a ton of really great blog posts from around the community. Here’s today’s prompt: “Yesterday we kept stuff in, so today let’s clear stuff out.  What is in your diabetic closet that needs to be cleaned out?  This can be an actual physical belonging, or it can be something you’re mentally or emotionally hanging on to.  Why are you keeping it and why do you need to get rid of it?  (Thank you, Rick, of RA Diabetes for this topic suggestion.)”

Diabetes Dominator – Daniele Hargenrader

Dominating Diabetes with Daniele

Earlier this year I chatted with Diabetes Dominator Daniele Hargenrader. We talked for about thirty minutes and had a really great conversation on being diagnosed with diabetes, struggling, succeeding, and each of us finding the best way for ourselves.

But that’s not the interesting part…

But what I really love about meeting Daniele is her story of making a terrifying decision and jumping in with both feet.

What do I mean?

Daniele was not happy with herself and made a decision to change.

To get in shape and change her body, she decided to become a personal trainer.

What do you think of when you read the words “personal trainer?” You think of those super fit people at the gym pushing others to their limits, right? Me too.

Imagine an out of shape and overweight young lady (Daniele) enrolling in a program that put her in the company of a classful of those people. Actually, it didn’t just put her in the company of those people, it put her

Actually, it didn’t just put her in the company of those people, it put her right in the mix with them.

Sure, they had classroom coursework to do, but then it was out to the gym to do pushups and stuff together. That’s absolutely terrifying to me.

I admire Daniele so much for diving into this commitment and facing such intimidating circumstances.

Daniele on DSMA Live

We had a chance to chat with Daniele on DSMA Live in March, which is a great listen if you’d like to dig deeper into Daniele’s story.

Check out more DSMA Live episodes at DiabetesSocMed on BlogTalkRadio

Check out Daniele’s blog

Daniele has a lot of great stories and interviews available on her blog ( and I’d love for you to go check it out. You’ll not only get to enjoy more of Daniele, but you’ll also get to meet some other really great people doing great work in the diabetes space.

Thanks for being awesome, Daniele!

PSA: Asante Snap Replacement Program

asante-snap-insulin-pump-brandMany of you know that I have been a big fan of the Asante Snap insulin pump and that I’ve also been doing some work with them. Yesterday at 5:30 PM PST, Asante Solutions announced that it is closing down and the Snap pump is no more.

In an email communications from Asante sent to all Snap users, it was suggested we contact Animas if we are interested in transitioning to a new pump, and that Animas is graciously stepping up to help with a limited time offer for existing Snap users to help with the transition.

I also received communication from the team at Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Solutions and the Animas team letting me know that their goal is to help every Asante Snap pump user however they can and that they understand this is shocking news and a difficult transition.

This is a very new development, so the details of the replacement plan are still being worked out.

If you are an existing Snap pump user and want more information please call Animas Customer Care at 1-877-937-7867 x1562. Representatives are available Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM EST.

Personally – I’ve not yet decided what I’m going to do (I can hear my old Cozmo whispering to me from the drawer…), but I very much appreciate Animas for stepping up to help.

Keeping it to Myself – #DBlogWeek ’15 – Day 2

Banner for Diabetes Blog Week 2015

Find out what Diabetes Blog Week is all about. Check out the topics for each day’s posts, and even see a list of this year’s participants. Thank you, Karen!

The question I’m answering today? What aspects of diabetes do I choose to keep private from the internet?

My friend Bennet says that your diabetes may vary, and I agree 100%. With that in mind, I work very hard to keep clear of personal dosing, ratios, factors, rates, calculations, or any other sort of things that sometimes work for me, but might be dangerous for other people.

I am blessed to know a lot of people living with diabetes, and I’ve seen that we all manage in very different ways. It’s amazing, really. And sometimes it sheds some light on why we might collectively drive the endocrine society crazy.

But it’s also really beautiful, and I’m really beginning to appreciate that.

Your Diabetes May Vary

Thank you, Bennet, for giving us all such an easy way to describe such a very difficult idea.

This is part of Diabetes Blog Week, where a standard set of prompts encourages a ton of really great blog posts from around the community. Here’s today’s prompt: “Many of us share lots of aspects of our diabetes lives online for the world to see.  What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet?  Or from your family and friends?  Why is it important to keep it to yourself?  (This is not an attempt to get you out of your comfort zone.  There is no need to elaborate or tell personal stories related to these aspects.  Simply let us know what kinds of stories we will never hear you tell, and why you won’t tell them.) (Thank you Scott E of Rolling in the D for this topic.)”

What am I Proud of? – #DBlogWeek ’15 – Day 1

Banner for Diabetes Blog Week 2015

Find out what Diabetes Blog Week is all about. Check out the topics for each day’s posts, and even see a list of this year’s participants. Thank you, Karen!

The question I’m answering today? What have I done that I’ve been particularly proud of?

Over the past few years, I’ve accomplished some major things that I’m very proud of. But what I’m most proud of might surprise you.

I learned to run, then ran some races (an 8k with Gary Scheiner, then a half marathon with Dana Lewis).

I won some prestigious awards.

I rode my bike for 102 miles in a single day.

And I celebrated 35-years of living well with type 1 diabetes.

35 Years Ago Today

I’m very proud of every one of these things. But most proud? No. What I’m most proud of is…

Fighting the little fights

What I’m most proud of is fighting the little fights that make up these big accomplishments.

The little runs that built up to running an 8k and then a half-marathon. The little rides that built up to riding 102 miles. The day-by-day grind that built up to a week with diabetes, then a month, then a year, then a decade, then three decades.

I’m most proud of pushing forward a little bit each day.

I’m most proud of not giving up when that would be the easy thing to do, and when nobody is watching.

I’m most proud of the hard work I do every day.

I’m most proud of working hard even when I’m scared, afraid, and uncertain.

I’m most proud of fighting the little fights.

This is part of Diabetes Blog Week, where a standard set of prompts encourages a ton of really great blog posts from around the community. Here’s today’s prompt: “In the UK, there was a diabetes blog theme of “I can…” that participants found wonderfully empowering. So let’s kick things off this year by looking at the positive side of our lives with diabetes. What have you or your loved one accomplished, despite having diabetes, that you weren’t sure you could? Or what have you done that you’ve been particularly proud of? Or what good thing has diabetes brought into your life? (Thank you to the anonymous person who submitted this topic suggestion.)”

THE BETES Organization

Image of Rick Phillips

Today I’m sharing a post from Rick about THE BETES Organization. Their mission is to help you feel better about the hard stuff, and they help people, families, and caregivers understand the meanings of chronic illness in their lives through a unique, playful, and un-scary method. Also, sock-puppets. 🙂

When Scott and I talked about writing this guest blog about ‘the BETES‘, he didn’t have to invite me twice. It’s such a thrill because ‘the BETES’ means a great deal to me and I hope it will come to mean a great deal to you as well.

The BETES Organization (

A few months ago I wrote a blog post about my encounter with ‘The BETES’ Organization. I hope you’ll read it as an introduction to this post (here’s the link again). If you do you will find that I was able to visualize what diabetes looks like to me. I found that sometimes diabetes is docile other times it rages. Based on the response to that blog post, I believe my feelings about diabetes are more common than not.The BETES Organization Logo

People who engage in a BETES program find an active way to confront the emotional hurt of diabetes. After we participate, we are left with a tool to begin that confrontation. Those of us (both young and not so young) can use that tool and the ongoing support of The BETES experience to complement existing diabetes education efforts led by doctors, diabetes educators, mental health professionals, and most importantly by you and me – the people with diabetes.


Marina Tsaplina

Founder – Marina Tsaplina

Diabetes is often like a monster hiding under the bed. It gets worse the longer one chooses not to confront it. I liken it to socks under the bed. When my sons were young I had to chase monsters that hid under their bed. Invariably those monsters turned out to be socks. But as every parent knows those sock monsters are very real for our children until they are found and confronted. So too are the emotions that go along with diabetes. Emotions related to diabetes are always evolving as they expand and contract. But no matter how small the concern might be, it has been my experience that they always come back unless we develop the emotional resilience to overcome and keep them at bay. ‘The BETES’ Organization helps people with diabetes develop the resilience to handle the emotional impact of diabetes.

When my wife Sheryl and I chose to support ‘The BETES’ Organization with our money and time it was with the hope that we would help people with diabetes and our wonderful type 3’s confront the emotional impact of our shared disease. As a former monster chaser in my son’s rooms, I know that getting the first sock hiding under their bed is just a start. In fact it seemed for a while like I had to chase a sock out from under the bed almost every night until my sons found the courage to manage their own monsters.

Now of course both of my sons are expert sock chasers for their children. They have learned to not let monsters get out of hand. They can do this because their mom and I helped them learn to confront them.

Marina of The BETES at The Clara Barton Rainbow Club Day Camp


My Diabetic Monster

‘The BETES’ Organization helps us to confront our diabetic monsters. Yes these monsters are very real. Even as an experienced monster hunter for my sons, I was still incapable of confronting my own diabetic monster. It took much help from trained therapists and my family but today I have the resilience to confront that monster when it rears its ugly head. My own journey to resilience includes the questions posed when I encountered ‘The BETES’. The experience was cathartic; it gave me a chance to share with words and images what diabetes looks like. My wife said those words offered her a viable understanding of what diabetes means to me and as a result to her.

THE BETES Organization - Health Care is a Human Story

Please consider contributing to ‘The BETES’ because your financial support will make it possible for us to launch programs that will help build emotional resilience to confront and understand their disease. With your help our immediate goal is to provide ‘The BETES’ program to 10 diabetic camps in North America this summer. Today we need your financial support to deliver ‘The BETES’ uniquely engaging and powerful programs to the campers, the parents, and the camp counselors across the nation to facilitate a program of empowerment, community, and connection that fosters a path of true joy.

Even small contributions go a very long way. Help us confront the monster. And take it from an experienced monster chaser: when we act together we can put the emotional side of diabetes in its place.

You can make a tax deductible donation to ‘The BETES’ here:

Thank you, Rick! Learn more about Marina and some of the wonderful work she and The BETES Organization is doing with this quick video:

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.