Every spring since 1999, the Diabetes Education and Camping Association (DECA) has distributed our publication to their young campers. In honor of their youthful enthusiasm, our springtime issue always focuses on people who inspire us, from the young to the old. In this issue, we bring you the stories of people who refuse to let their diabetes limit them, people whose example re-ignites our determination to live our very best and healthiest lives. As a publisher, I am always seeking inspiration, and each of these individuals is a fresh reminder of what we can do if we put our minds to it.
Last summer, I led the third annual swim-run biathlon for the Barton Center for Diabetes Education, which hosts two Massachusetts camps for children with type 1-Camp Joslin for boys and Camp Clara Barton for girls. It was at Camp Joslin that I met a memorable eight-year-old boy who exemplifies what being a diabetes hero is all about. I'll call him "Adam.'
"If you weren't having this conversation with me, who, other than your wife, would you be having it with?" That question, in response to something I'd said about treating my nine-year-old daughter's diabetes, was posed to me over the phone by a friend I had made less than six months earlier. She has a daughter too, the same age as mine, who also has type 1. Their diagnosis came a couple of years before ours, so I respect her experience and opinion, and so does my wife, Franca.
Scientific studies -- and our own common sense -- tell us that staying motivated and engaged helps control our diabetes. We know what we should resist temptation at the dinner table, monitor our blood sugars avidly, and get regular check-ups. But knowing all of these things, and knowing that self-motivation is the way to achieve them, isn't quite enough.
The piece of cake sits there on the plate, daring you to eat it. The blood sugar meter rests on your nightstand, an obstacle formed of lancets and test strips. Life with diabetes is a parade of challenges, from diet temptations to healthcare hassles. You know--we all know --that the only way to say "no" to the cake and "yes" to the blood sugar check is through consistent self-motivation.
I am excited to have this opportunity to write a diabetes-focused blog for Diabetes Health about living and thriving with type 1 diabetes. First of all, I am extremely passionate about racing road and mountain bicycles, running 5K runs and sprint triathlons, and doing other activities that I find to compete in for Team Type 1. But before I start blogging, I would like to tell a little about myself.
Phil Southerland's autobiography is an inspirational coming-of-age memoir about a type 1 baby who wasn't supposed to live. But his doctor's dismal prediction didn't take into consideration his mother's indefatigable determination that her baby would thrive no matter what, and Phil's own fierce drive to conquer every single challenge he encountered, including his diabetes. It's an engrossing book, a sports adventure story with a medical subplot and a roster of dynamic characters, the most dynamic of whom is Phil himself. If we could harness his energy, our dependence on foreign oil would be a thing of the past.
Italian and Greek researchers conducting a meta-analysis* of the diets of more than 500,000 people have concluded that the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of risk factors that are common precursors to type 2 diabetes. Those factors include overweight or obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, high blood sugar, high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure, and high "bad" cholesterol. The Mediterranean diet is high in fruit, vegetables, whole grain foods, and low-fat dairy products. Proteins include fish, legumes, poultry, tree nuts, and mono-unsaturated fatty acids from olive oil. Alcohol intake is moderate and almost always in conjunction with meals. Red meat is only an occasional menu item. The scientists looked at 50 studies that involved more than 500,000 people, then extrapolated the effects of a Mediterranean diet from them. Although the meta-analysis pointed to the usefulness of the Mediterranean diet in fending off metabolic syndrome, its authors said that their conclusion is tentative, given the need for more research on the topic. The study was published in the March 15 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. * A meta-analysis looks at a number of similar studies and tries to derive new and useful results from them by detecting common patterns among them.
Hispanics are almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to have type 2 diabetes, and more than a third of working adult Hispanics do not have health insurance. For this audience, Jane Delgado, PhD, has written The Buena Salud Guide to Diabetes and Your Life. Available in both Spanish and English, it's a culturally sensitive and reassuring book that dispels myths and presents detailed science while gently guiding readers toward the right path in caring for their diabetes. The tone is conversational, as Dr. Delgado speaks to her readers like a family member who knows them well and has their best interests at heart.
Ellen Granberg is an obesity sociologist who studies the processes that people go through when they lose weight and keep it off. As she says, "If the problem were that we don't know what people should eat to lose weight, that would be one thing, but we don't have that problem. There are a hundred weight loss plans out there that are perfectly good. We understand all about the physiology of weight loss maintenance and the metabolic impacts, but nothing about the social and emotional impacts. People who sustain weight loss over time move through a lot of different challenges."
RALEIGH, NC- DiabetesSisters is pleased to announce that registration for the 2011 Weekend for Women Conference in Raleigh, NC will open on January 1, 2011 at 8am. The Conference, a revolutionary national weekend conference designed specifically for women with diabetes, will take place April 29 - May 1, 2011 at the Marriott City Center in downtown Raleigh.
Hi Everyone! Just wanted to let everyone know about a big event I have coming up! Next Thursday, August 26th, I am chartering a bus that I am filling with 50 of my closest friends with diabetes and traveling from Taunton, MA to New York City to invade the Today Show on NBC with my blue flamingos! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a HUGE impact on people and let everyone know about my campaign! I hope that by doing this, people will realize that diabetes is a REAL disease that effects so many of us, young and old, and I hope to encourage people from all over the country to get out and do something to help raise diabetes awareness just like me and my friends!
We can all come up with plenty of excuses not to test our blood sugar. For one, yeah, it stings a little (No pain, no gain, the angel on my shoulder whispers in my ear). For another, testing isn't convenient, no matter how quickly the meter works or how small it is. While seemingly everyone else is carelessly enjoying a meal or leaping into the swimming pool, you are on the sidelines trying to ignore your diabetes. And of course, sometimes, we just do not want to know what the number will be. It's easier to ignore the ugly truth than face it.
Now that it's summer, I'm enjoying a typical teacher's vacation: summer break. I have three months of freedom, which for many is a dream come true. However, I live in the sweltering Midwest, where it's typical to see mid-summer temperatures of one hundred degrees or more, with an even higher heat index. These oppressive temperatures can continue into late October.
Last summer, I led thethird annual swim-run biathlon for the Barton Center for Diabetes Education, which hosts two Massachusetts camps for children with type 1-Camp Joslin for boys and Camp Clara Barton for girls. It was at Camp Joslin that I met a memorable eight-year-old boy who exemplifies what being a diabetes hero is all about. I'll call him "Adam."
I was in the parking lot of the mall, walking past wheelchair parking, when I noticed a man using the lift gate of his specially equipped van. There he was, lowering himself and his motorized wheelchair down to the ground all by himself. As I walked through the mall that day, I couldn't get the man in the wheelchair off my mind.
Hardly a day goes by that I am not asked a question related to diabetes. I'm a "heart on my sleeve" diabetic. Because one of my jobs, writing articles and guest blog posts, centers on the subject of diabetes, I'm known, in part, by my disease.
Increasing physical activity for greater health among the American public will take center stage on May 3 with the launch of the National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP or Plan). The signature events of the launch will be a press conference at the National Press Club and briefings with members of Congress in Washington, D.C. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Prevention Research Center at the University of South Carolina are providing the organizational infrastructure for writing the plan. The implementation of the plan will be coordinated by the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity (NCPPA). The goal of NPAP is "to encourage everyone to be more physically active, reduce barriers to inactivity, and make sure our communities and institutions provide opportunities to move."
When I was undiagnosed and sick, I was very angry with God. I didn't understand why I was weak, fatigued, constantly thirsty and hungry, scarily thin, and mentally foggy. I prayed and prayed for an answer. I cried, I cursed, and I yelled. Nothing. For a year and a half. When I received my diagnosis in a local emergency room, I felt instant relief. Finally, I had an answer, a name, and some hope. But soon after, the anger reappeared, this time because God had failed to pass over me. I had done nothing to earn this fate. Why me?
My four-year-diabetes-diagnosis anniversary is almost here. It falls on March 24th, a day just like any other to most people, but a day full of sadness, loss, and victory for me. Will I celebrate? I'm not sure if reflection is a form of celebration. I'd much prefer a birthday-like affair featuring balloons, cards, and, of course, something sweet to eat. But I also feel as if the impending date is much like a funeral on the calendar, a time for mourning as well as reflection.
Thousands of elite athletes from around the world are making their final preparations for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. Every snowboarder, short track speed skater, ski jumper and hockey player shares a dream of standing on the medium wearing an Olympic gold medal.
In 1994, Kelli Kuehne was on a roll. That year, she won the United States Girls Junior Amateur Golf Championship and a year later, she won the U.S. Women's Amateur Golf Championship, repeating that win in 1996 while also taking the British Ladies Amateur Golf Championship. The roll continues. Today, Kelli Kuehne is still playing matches in the LPGA and, through it all, has never allowed type 1 diabetes to beat her on the golf course or in her life.
Cards, gifts, chocolates, flowers, and romantic gestures. Isn't that what Valentine's Day is supposed to be about? My husband Brian and I had been going on that theory until 2002, when the holiday had the audacity to come around one month after our son Danny was diagnosed with diabetes. That year, we woke up, wished each other Happy Valentine's Day, and started talking about blood sugar levels, carbohydrates, insulin, exercise, and pharmacies. We hit those same topics during the day by phone, and although we vaguely planned to go out for dinner, by evening Danny wasn't feeling well, and we spent part of the night on the phone to Children's Hospital. We did remember to kiss goodnight before we collapsed into a restless sleep, but were poised for the alarm to wake us so we could test Danny's blood sugar levels again at midnight.
Remember that New Year's resolution that you made a few weeks ago? Oh yeah, that one. How's that going? If you're like most people, you may have started to slack off just a little bit. Or even worse, maybe it's already a distant memory. No worries, I won't tell. Let's get you going again.
I’ve always been a pretty good traveler. I simply checked the weather at my destination and packed accordingly. Easy. Then I learned that I had diabetes, and suddenly even weekend trips required an intense amount of additional preparation.
Sheri Colberg, PhD, who has type 1 diabetes, is an exercise physiologist at Old Dominion University who specializes in research in diabetes and exercise. She has co-authored an inspirational and relevant book called, “50 Secrets of the Longest Living People with Diabetes.”
Five weeks ago I hurt my ankle. Really hurt it. I either tore a tendon or a ligament or had a severe stress fracture or something. Although I’ve been to my podiatrist twice now, the diagnosis is still unclear. The X-ray showed no break, and while the doc didn’t feel I needed an MRI, I figured that if my insurance paid for it, I did. I want to know we’re doing everything possible to get this fixed as quickly as possible (which already seems impossible after five weeks), because not walking is having several unpleasant effects on me:
John Dennis, 58, says that self-monitoring to control his type 2 diabetes comes naturally because he is used to "going it alone." After all, taking care of himself is as much a solo responsibility these days as sailing his 50-foot boat around the world.
When it comes to exercise, there's literally no place but home for some of us. Many people cite a lack of transportation, finances or time as reasons for not going to a gym or fitness center. And many rural areas simply don't have gyms or fitness centers. Whether real or perceived, these problems do bring one option to the fore—exercising at home.
I was a 325-pound chef; a cooking machine with rave reviews; a man given to extremes. Then, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Suddenly, I had to change my diet and I was stunned and beside myself with concern. I have always had a lover's quarrel with food, but now I had to search for alternative ingredients that would appease my taste buds while being nutritious and beneficial for a diabetic diet.
Carlos's HbA1c had been above 10.2% for the last three clinic visits. We were frustrated because he was 16 years old, had a great personality and knew a lot about diabetes management. Every time he came to clinic without his blood-sugar records, he would promise to bring them next time and also promised to get his HbA1c down. It was hard not to believe him because he was such a nice guy.
Although runners of all levels are welcome at the New York City marathon, its course is unrelenting-a 174-foot ascent in the first mile, another steep climb in Queens, and 26.2 miles of hard asphalt that stretches from Staten Island to the Bronx and back down.
Many of you probably record your blood glucose in a diary or logbook, which you bring to your healthcare team on routine visits. This logbook has been an important component of diabetes treatment programs since the days of Dr. Elliot Joslin (Joslin Diabetes Center), the late pioneering diabetes specialist. Dr. Joslin believed important events in a person's life and diabetes treatment should be entered into a diary that both that person and his health care team could refer back to for treatment decisions.
Exercise for people with diabetes is crucial for good glycemic control. Type1s can reduce their insulin doses and type 2s can reduce the risk of numerous complications. But exercise for people with diabetes also requires special attention because it has special risks.
I know a young man. He is only 17. He appears to be a typical, everyday, run-of-the-mill teenager. He wears pants that are a size too big. His hair is in a crew cut. He drives a 1986 Nissan pickup with the windows down and the stereo blasting. He winks at the girls while sitting at the red lights and has a charming half-grin when he smiles.
As all people with diabetes know, one of the greatest challenges you will ever encounter is confronting the problem of maintaining an exercise program. Unfortunately, it is a challenge requiring skills that are not taught by most health clubs or included in most fitness literature.
Jay Leeuwenburg is an imposing, 6-foot, three-inch, 295-pound physical specimen which goes a long way in his field of work as an offensive lineman in the National Football League (NFL). Even before Leeuwenburg was a teenager, he weighed as much as 170 pounds. At the age of 12, however, he began losing weight at a rapid pace, and eventually whittled away to 130 pounds. Upon seeing a doctor, Leeuwenburg discovered he had type 1 diabetes.
On September 11, 1998, Jackie Warren Demijohn, 42, a domestic violence outreach counselor from Farwell, Michigan, took a monumental leap in controlling the diabetes she had suffered from for the last 37 years. Demijohn underwent the first-ever islet and bone marrow transplant at the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) in Miami.
In 1993, Ross Adler of Lakewood, Washington, was 58 years old and taking a four-shot-per-day regimen of NPH and Regular insulin for a total of 110 units per day. His HbA1c was 8.4%, and his fasting C-peptide was 3 ng/mL which strongly suggested type 2 diabetes was caused by insulin resistance. Obviously, with such a high HbA1c, his injected insulin was not lowering his blood sugars.
Nothing has changed. Recent studies show that the majority of Americans are still exercising less and gaining more weight. This could mean trouble for people with diabetes, and anyone who wants to stay healthy.
Not too long ago, I received a hero's medal from Joslin Diabetes Center for having diabetes for more than 50 years. Now approaching 52 years with diabetes, I'm still going strong. I've had a few complications from diabetes, but nothing that has kept me from leading an active life. The complications I've experienced have made me more determined to maintain my present quality of life.
My daughter, Savannah, was diagnosed with diabetes at 9 years of age. At that time, she was put on insulin injections. For at least the first three years, her HbA1cs were in the normal ranges, and we were able to control her diabetes. She started having problems, however, as soon as she got into her teenage years. Her HbA1cs rose to the 8% range, and no matter what we did, nothing helped.
Kurt hates shots. Since he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 4, my wife and I administered all of his shots, whether he was at home, school or a slumber party. Kurt seemed unusually sensitive to pain. Although Kurt was intelligent enough to draw them up, count carbs and appropriately suggest how to treat highs and lows, he refused to do the shots himself.
Five years ago, Nicole Johnson, 24, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes after contracting a flu virus. Up until that point, blood glucose management was probably something to which she had never given much thought. She learned that her daily life would be forever altered as a result of the disease.
In response to February 1998's article "Out of Africa" on Arthur Teuscher's, MD, work in Tanzania, DIABETES HEALTH has received numerous letters and phone calls from concerned readers asking where they can donate insulin and money to those diabetics who lack the basics of diabetes care.
It seems like half of America is either on a diet or thinking about going on one. Every month a new exercise fad is promoted as the miracle solution to weight loss. Entire sections of grocery stores are devoted to fat-free foods and low-calorie snack items. Book shops feature the latest in celebrity exercise books and tapes. Yet, statistics tell us that Americans are still gaining weight.
Exercise for people with diabetes is crucial for good glycemic control. Type Is can reduce their insulin doses and type 2s can reduce the risk of numerous complications. But exercise for people with diabetes also requires special attention because it has special risks. The following list of recommendations should help you avoid any unnecessary risk when it comes to all forms of exercise - from dancing to jogging.
Interested in learning more about how to control your diabetes? Steven Edelman, MD, associate professor of medicine at the University of California at San Diego, is directing a series of conferences specifically designed for people with diabetes.
There came a point in Evelyn Narad's life when she knew it was time to get serious about losing weight. She was 75 years old and had been diagnosed with type II diabetes 22 years ago. A broken shoulder and hand in the summer of 1995 kept her from exercising, and every inactive day she spent inside her house seemed like another pound gained.
Diabetes has affected my life since before I was born. You see, my father was diagnosed with diabetes in his early teen years. By the time I was born, chronic high blood sugars had done their devastating damage to him-he was nearly blind and in the advanced stages of diabetic kidney disease. He died of the latter complication when he was just over 30 years old. I was nearly 3 at the time and my older brother was five. My mother was left to raise us alone, and developed good deal of anger at the disease. I know many of us share that anger towards diabetes and how it has affected our lives.
It was a year ago that Evelyn Narad found herself practically immobilized by a broken shoulder. A 74-year-old woman with type 2 diabetes, she was very overweight, dependent on daily insulin, and miserable.
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