Welcome?

If you have found this blog, saying Welcome does not really seem appropriate. I know you wish you weren't surfing the internet for diabetes. I felt the same.

A big part of me wishes I were not writing about diabetes, nor did I anticipate to become so opinionated or informed on the subject, but it happened. In 2010, my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

It wasn't really part of the plan… Correction - it was not part of the plan, but it happened. It is not always easy, but I think we are all doing okay, and I hope we continue to do so.

Why the Middle East? I happen to live in Dubai. I don't think that living in the Middle East makes mine or my son's diabetic experience any more unique or challenging than it does elsewhere in the developed world.

I hope you stick around, or read something you like. Feel free to comment and join the conversation, subscribe or follow this blog by liking the Facebook page Diapoint.

Please note: This blog does not give medical advice. I am opinionated, and I share my experiences, but the first rule of diabetes is to follow up with your doctor and/or nurse educator about your care, diagnosis or medication. If you do not have a medical practitioner that is helping you find your way through this crazy world, then do not give up until you find the right one.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day

Over the last few years it seems that Women's Day has become bigger every year. This year with the political discussions in the West, particularly after the Women's March earlier this year in the US, Women's Day feels like it is getting more attention than ever.

And it should get attention. I don't dismiss the fact that over the years I have watched men get paid more, and women get different treatment. And in some places the world wishes that this would be the least of women's concerns.

This year in the US and in other countries the movement is asking women to take off a day of paid or unpaid labor. "A day without a women" it is called.

At Diapoint ME we are not a political organization. However, this "Day Without Women" has fostered some strong feelings as to why a day without anybody is simply not an option in the diabetic world.

No one gets a diabetic break... ever. Neither the diabetic nor a diabetic's caretakers. The job of the pancreas is 24/7. One day off and the results can be very severe, or even deadly.

Today I woke up as usual and was about to get into the shower. Just before I was about to turn on the water, I heard that famous phrase "Mommy, I feel low".

I ran into my son's room armed with the glucometer and a juice box to be ready if the glucometer confirmed what he was feeling.  And blood sugar at 57, it did.

I was still in my pre-coffee sunrise grogginess at the time to recall it was March 8th. It didn't take long because nothing will shock a parent out of bed like the sound of their child calling for help.

As his blood sugar increased and I continued to get ready, I realized what day it was. If I made the choice to strike from all labor today, who would take care of my son and his diabetes? Who would have treated his hypoglycemia? No one, that's who.

So to all you women (and men) out there who are fighting this thing for yourself or on behalf of someone else, you have a higher calling. You must keep going - whether that be to continue to work to pay for your medical bills and diabetes supplies, or if you are a housewife that is orchestrating everything behind the scenes so that your child can have a somewhat normal social life, or maybe both: You Are Valued and Important. Your contribution is priceless, and it is noticed.

You are what makes this day what it is because you do so much already. You do not have to take off a day of laboring for the world to know that you are awesome and important.

March on beautiful warriors...



Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Diabetic Complications In Young People

Today I received notice that a new medical study was published that compares complications in young adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The results surprised me. 

"Teens and young adults with type 2 diabetes develop kidney, nerve and eye diseases - as well as some risk factors for heart disease - more often than their peers with type 1 diabetes in the years shortly after diagnosis"

My son is Type 1, so some may be thinking this might have me feeling better about my son's diabetes as he is "less at risk". 

This doesn't make me feel better at all. It makes me incredibly sad.

Dr. Barbara Linder, one of the authors of the study and a senior advisor for childhood diabetes research at the NIH points out that "there seems to be this assumption that young people will not develop complications from diabetes, but that's just not true."

Participants in the study had complications or were showing the risk of complications by the time they were 21 years old.

Diabetes is hard. You get no break from it. Ever. And it changes almost daily and throws you curve balls all the time. It. Is. Hard.

One of the first things the endocrinologist (who I owe my son's life to for educating me about dealing with this monster) told me is that "Diabetes is a horrible, nagging thing." At the time I thought that was a strange thing to say. "What kind of doctor would say this to a newly diagnosed patient?!" Now I know... an honest doctor, that's who. An honest doctor who is preparing their shocked patient to grab this bull by the horns, that's who.

No matter what age you are, as tired as you are, and as difficult as it seems never ignore or give up on your diabetes. Doing so means you will give up on you.

Dig deep because you have much more to contribute and give to your family, society and to yourself than to settle for this.

Don't settle. Don't ignore it. You can fight this...


To read more about the study visit this NIH link.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Unsolicited Advice



I'd be willing to bet that there is not a diabetic on this earth that has not been told by a friend, acquaintance or stranger about a miracle cure or natural remedy that will help them.

I see examples shared almost daily in diabetic groups, and many of the ones that I have been sent are the most impressive fiction out there.

What is it that makes people feel we need to give unsolicited advice? And on a subject that we know nothing about! In the information age, just because its on the internet does not mean it is true.

While I am pretty sure if my child eats certain foods his blood sugars will be more stable, or he may need less insulin, but there is no diet or substance that is really going to cure him and change his need for insulin as a Type 1.

And Type 2s with all the shaming about diet and exercise, I wonder if they are more at odds with how to deal with this advice than Type 1s are.

But yet, while I absolutely hate this, last night I caught myself wanting to give someone that had cancer unsolicited advice.

What the hell do I know about cancer?

Nothing!

I have observed someone try to give a good friend advice on how to manage cancer with her diet. I am sure it was due her experience in getting these comments all the time that allowed her to just smile and not say anything. I was almost out of my seat wanting to shout to the friend who was caught up in her knowledge, "Are you kidding me?!"

But yet, last night when a friend shared some results about a check up that she was not happy about, there I was debating if I should write her a personal message to share my thoughts in more detail.

Of course I desperately want to help, and not see anyone suffer or die from this horrific disease. But back to my original point. What the hell do I know about cancer? Absolutely nothing.

Thankfully, I controlled myself, tried to put myself in her position and thought it through. After all, she beat it, so her doctors must know something!

I guess it is human nature, so it won't be the last time I am inclined to share unsolicited advice. I just hope I have the sense to think about it before I open my mouth or take to the keyboard.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Making Fun of People With Diseases is Hilarious.... Said No One Ever

While Donald Trump and Alec Baldwin are the focal point of Saturday Night Live these days, the famous comedy show is getting a lot of feedback from the diabetic community this week.

The show is accessible here, but I have not watched in years. I first saw the clip in question posted by the Diabetic Journey on Facebook. I am not easily offended, but this clip is pretty offensive for diabetics everywhere.

They were trying to take a stab at McDonald's but sadly, it is our autoimmune blessed children that are the butt of such jokes. And many Type 2s were probably also having a bit of a face to palm moment too.

They highlight that McD's is planning to come out with two sizes of Big Macs... "One for each type of diabetes".  Um.. no.

Really, I am not easily offended, but you would think after the dismissal of a comedian for a comment about Donald Trump's son, they would care about kids and adults with diseases.

There are several Type 1s that felt it was not big deal, but the majority were not amused. Parents of children with Type 1 were definitely not happy. The producers of SNL are probably still going through all their mail.

My take on it... When Victoria Secret's launches a new bra, you never hear any jokes about breast cancer. Of course you wouldn't! How awful and stupid would that be! One, there is no correlation and two, cancer patients do not bring it upon themselves!

Well, you know what... neither did our kids.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Keep Calm & Hakuna Matata

Happy New Year!

While I am not a big resolution person, I do like to start the new year with a good plan and bigger picture of the things that need to be done.

A few weeks ago when I started going through my new business planner, it suggested to pick a word for the year. Honestly, I was blank.. Like really blank. There are so many words that could serve someone in a year it is hard to pick just one.

I left it blank and kept planning.

I took off for the new year thinking I would mindfully figure out my word of the year as I stared at the ocean.  But it still did not come to me.

I was thousands of miles away in the beautiful island paradise of Zanzibar and it still was not coming to me.

It didn't take long to explore the 1km stretch of white sand, rocks and seaweed where we watched children from the local village play and collect seafood every morning.  During that walk one of the men from the village approached us to ask if we would like a tour on his boat. We definitely wanted to do that to visit the nearby mangroves and watch the sun set. However we were not prepared to take his phone number to find him later as we left our phone back at the hotel in an effort to digitally detox.

"Hakuna Matata WhatsApp is everywhere" he tells us.

What?! Did I just hear words of the famed Lion King song and WhatsApp used in the same sentence?

Of course this Swahili phrase of Hakuna, meaning "There is not" and Matata, "Problem" has been around long before the Lion King. And Timon and Pumbaa joyously sing about it in a very passive approach because they want to be lazy.

In real life, this man did not use it this way at all. He was not worried because he was solving a business problem with the resources available to him. He was not going to wait for us to come back and not find him in a case of opportunity lost. I loved his use of this phrase!

How many times do we come across a problem, or what we even think will be a potential problem and start to worry about the future and outcomes, or not achieving our goal. Sometimes we do nothing. Sometimes we start worrying about other issues when we should really focus on what matters.

That was it. That is what I want my year to be! I want an Hakuna Matata kind of year!

I want a year of less time lost on stuff that does not really matter. I want a year about getting it done with the resources available.

I think you can also apply Hakuna Matata to diabetes management - and I am not talking about taking the Timon and Pumbaa approach to your diabetes management and not worrying about it. Do not dare do that! Those two words will not solve your problems as suggested in the song.

However, if you are resourceful with the knowledge and tools that are available to you, you will be able to manage your diabetes well.

For example...

Hakuna Matata, I can estimate the carbohydrates in this pasta dish I am about to eat so I know how much insulin I will take.

Not...Hakuna Matata, I will just eat that pasta and not worry about it or giving myself any insulin.

Another one...

Hakuna Matata, I did not get the A1c result that I wanted, but I am going to work harder to manage my diabetes for next time.

Not...Hakuna Matata, I am not sure my A1c will be good, so I am not going worry about going for a check up.

I think you get the idea.

Do not take a "no worries" approach to mean that you are not going to do anything about it.

Be resourceful, and focus on solving the issue, or whatever goal it is you want to achieve.

Whatever your goals are for the year, I wish you the happiest and healthiest year you can possibly have. And when needed, take the real island approach and be resourceful.

Hakuna Matata!

Zanzibar, Tanzania

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Man In The Mirror

As 2016 ends, I struggle to find something significant to write or say that reflects on this year. I have nothing of diabetic significance to say that hasn't already been said. Maybe I will over the next week, but as I think of my sign off blog post for 2016, I am at a loss.

The world seems to be a mess for many reasons.. racism, war, terror and other atrocities we read about daily. At least my son is still young enough to live in a bubble. Although that bubble is slowly getting poked at.

Just last week he was curious about 9/11 after a discussion in school about Phillippe Pettit who walked across a tight rope between the two towers in 1974. Some children were aware that those towers no longer exist, but were not completely sure as to why. Of course I "mommed up" and told him the full story.

Today I took the day off and we went to visit the Legoland that recently opened in Dubai. On the drive home, I put on my favorite playlist in Spotify that I fondly call "Peanut Butter & the JAM". Full of songs I love, it is definitely my most played - and keeps growing.

Michael Jackson's "Man In the Mirror" came on. My son asked if we could listen to it again. He is very much my child - listening to a song again and again until he understands all the lyrics.

I asked him if he understood the message in the song. He did.

He replied, "If you want to make the world a better place, you should change yourself".

After a few seconds of contemplation - as he often does - he says, "You know mom, sometimes you can just change the world with your smile. Your smile can change people."

And you know what. He is right.

Everyone wants a change. Sometimes it is hard to decide what to change, or where that change should start. Sometimes it feels bigger than us. And while sometimes it is bigger than us, and we can't move a mountain right away, maybe a smile is a start.

In many cases, a little kindness can go a long way.

In the context of diabetes.. I can't add much today.. Maybe it is a cure you want, or people to better understand your challenges, or you just want to understand why your blood sugars act up... whatever the case may be.. maybe he is right. Start with a smile. Whether that is to others, or showing yourself some compassion, a little can go a long way.

Monday, December 5, 2016

News or False

I subscribe to various news alerts for diabetes. There is so much happening in the world of medical research and technology that it would be impossible to keep up with it all from one source.

How else could I have learned this week about the potential of the malaria vaccine to help Type1s produce insulin, or a new joint venture that will bring an implantable Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) to market. Many exciting things are happening every day.

While I cannot read every single newsflash, for the articles I can read, I have a mental categorization: News, Not Quite Newsworthy, and False.

This week an article from a newspaper in a not so far away continent came buried in my string of news emails.  The title started “How I Naturally Cured Diabetes….”

I have written before that the natural cure promise is not always possible, and in some cases it is impossible. I am a strong advocate of complimentary medicine - complimentary in the sense it should compliment what has been prescribed by your endocrinologist or someone else on your medically certified diabetic team.

I typically ignore these types of claims now as there are too many to count. But this one I have to highlight because I do believe the confident tone of articles like these misleads a lot of people, and could result in the harm of unsuspecting diabetics, or those new to this crazy world of managing diabetes.

This article addressed the “most frequently asked questions”. Question number 2 was “There can’t be a cure for Type 1 when your pancreas is damaged, how are you going to make a new pancreas?” Which is a legitimate question to someone that offers you a miracle cure.

The answer. “Its only an organ and every organ of the body has the capability of regeneration”

ONLY an organ? ONLY? There is so much wrong with this statement. But I think my son has lived with diabetes long enough and I have worked around physicians long enough that I can openly say, your organs and body parts are NOT JUST ORGANS. They are incredible parts of you that give you life, breath, energy, vision and all of those amazing things that allow us to live the lives we do. Forget the very important overlooked detail that beta cells kill any regeneration of cells in the pancreas of a Type 1, and will continue to do so until a medical cure for this autoimmune issue is found.

The next question goes on to ask, “Then why do doctors not tell their patients?”

The answer “Its because they will lose their license if they do not promote harmful and toxic drugs from large pharma companies”

While it is true doctors would fear to loose their licenses if they told their patients to stop their medication because a regimen of only cinnamon and ginseng would cure them, it is not for the reason cited here. The "cure" promised here is false.

I will keep this short and brief, but please be aware. No matter what part of the world you are in, there is no cure for diabetes. Type1s are insulin dependent. They cannot live without insulin.

Type2s may need insulin, but they can often manage blood sugars with diet and exercise as prescribed by a doctor or nutritionist.

Please do not take my word for it. Ask your medical doctor first.

If there were a natural way to cure this thing, be sure, the more than half a million children counted by the IDF with Type 1 diabetes would have been cured by now.

Cinnamon and ginseng over insulin.... file under FALSE