Hypos happen everywhere, and thankfully STARBUCKS are everywhere, so it’s helpful to remember that there are honey packets at the condiment station, just in case you have a hypo moment while you are enjoying your beverage. It probably wasn’t intended to be used as a mini rescue for hypoglycemia by Starbucks management, but I for one am delighted to have them available when and if I am out and about in the city, running and need to replenish the glucose level or gel packets in my SPI belt. Sometimes all you need is a honey packet. I have kept leftover honey packets in pockets for months without any trouble and even put some through wash cycles without them breaking open. Here is a quick video to show you where to find the honey packets at Starbucks.
Big news at ADA 78th Scientific Sessions this year was the FDA approval of Senseonics’ Eversense device: the first implantable Continuous Glucose Monitor. The featured picture here shows where the on-body transmitter is worn by a gentleman who has been using it for 180 days in Germany. Fewer start-up days, less down-time and higher rate of accuracy are some of the advantages shown in the clinical trial, when compared to other CGM devices. People who prefer not to have to insert something into their skin themselves will be pleased to know that the insertion of a tiny sensor is performed entirely by the physician in a 10-minute outpatient office procedure. Here’s a 2 minute video showing how it works: https://www.eversensediabetes.com/eversense-cgm-system/
The sensor is about half the length of a match and about as big around. Training and certification for the physician is scheduled and performed by Eversense staff at the physician’s office. Users need to return to the physician’s office every 90 days to get the sensor exchanged for a new one in the opposite arm. The user who spoke at the product theater presentation for Eversense mentioned that he has already worn the system during several marathons and triathlons with greater peace of mind and no technical issues. He likes the unobtrusive, quiet, on-body vibration that alerts him to changing trends in his blood glucose patterns. His family and friends also like it because it gives them greater peace of mind so much that they almost forget he has diabetes.
Eversense will be taking its “Ever Mobile” lab unit across the country to introduce the technology to health care professionals. “Research has repeatedly demonstrated the clinical benefits patients experience with regular CGM use, including improved glucose control and protection against severe hypoglycemia,” said Steven Edelman, MD, @TCOYD Professor of Medicine at University of California San Diego, Founder & Director of Taking Control of Your Diabetes, and Senseonics Board member. “Despite these benefits, a significant number of people with diabetes do not use, or have access to, continuous glucose monitoring. Furthermore, the data shows that many people who’ve tried traditional CGM in the past either don’t wear it as often as they should or don’t stick with it for a variety of reasons, including concerns surrounding sensor accuracy, sensor insertion, and sensor discomfort. So, it’s important that patients have choices and that medical device companies continue to advance the field of CGM with innovations that make it easier for the end user.” In this really great video, Dr. Edelman outlines the benefit of this for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes:
Jazmine Soto, Awesome Achilles Guide and me, preparing to run the New York Road Runners 18 mile “Tune-Up” while training for the marathon on Sunday, November 5th. Why run 26.2 miles? Read on: https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/team/zoes-zoomers-take-all-five-boroughs-of-new-york-city-on-november-5/zoeheineman
Starting a new school year is a logical time for people who have diabetes to get in the habit of refilling their prescription for glucagon (see example below), and used the expiring kit to train the people around them how to use it. Students and their parents, need to train teachers and school nurses. Coaches and childcare providers also need to be trained how to use Glucagon kits in case of severe hypoglycemia. Fellow classmates need to be trained how to recognize when help is needed to call an adult. Anyone who might be a first responder to someone with diabetes could help. To learn more, watch Safe at School: Chapter 6 – Glucagon Administration – YouTube
In order to learn from each other’s experience, I am gathering anecdotes and stories around hypoglycemia during September which is Hypoglycemia Awareness month. Today I invite you to share a story of your own regarding an episode of severe hypoglycemia. Please send them to me directly via email to firstname.lastname@example.org I will be posting what you share, and keeping them anonymous.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for your always welcome comments and contributions that guide me in knowing what you think and feel about the topics I raise.
Today a Lilly glucagon kit costs $365.99. WOW. No wonder why most people with diabetes haven’t got one. WIth or without insurance, maybe they cannot afford it or the out of pocket co-pay. As documented by my picture, my insurance company paid 100% $365.99 for me to carry a Glucagon Emergency Kit. Use of this kit by a trained caregiver or first responder will prevent brain damage that begins after 30 minutes without adequate glucose. Beyond brain damage, this kit could save my life. To be on the safe side, 2 kits should be dispensed with every RX. If not 3. I should carry one with me at all times. If I worked in an office, I would keep one there. Wherever I spend time, it is safe to have one available for the first responders in that environment. And if the kit is used, another one needs to take its place immediately.
Please find out how much Glucagon costs you by getting a new prescription or a refill. Tell me – what is your copay? Based on a retail price of $365.99? Or more? Or less?
Unsweetened. That is the name of the book I am writing. Untold stories of people living with diabetes. “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.” I am writing this book to tell the true stories of people with diabetes. 29 million Americans are estimated to have diabetes or get diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. 317 million people – and counting – live with diabetes around the world. Scary big. Let’s stop blaming people who have it. Let’s stop shaming people who have it in public and around the dinner table. Let’s get real. Let’s get unsweetened.
Recently I moved to a loft apartment in a commercial building that has been zoned for use by artists. My new place has more space and an unexpected amenity: bakeries on 3 sides of the building. A bagel factory on one side. Behind me is the Dunkin Donuts facility where all of the donuts for NYC shops are made. And outside my bedroom window: Tom Cat Bakery, a huge complex that extends an entire block. Tom Cat makes custom breads for restaurants around the city.
My first night here, at 3am I was awakened by the aroma of freshly baked bread. At once I began to salivate. My subconscious brain assumed a warm loaf was coming our way. Past is prologue, right? Smell delicious food, ergo eat delicious food. I thought I must be dreaming, except I could hear the sounds of rustling paper and a running motor. I looked out the window to find men in hair nets and blue coveralls loading trucks with large carts full of baguettes and smaller bags of various shapes. I imagined what was in those. Dinner rolls? Focaccia? Sour dough? Pumpernickel? Sandwich buns? Or maybe the main event: croissants. The saliva crested in the corners of my lips in anticipation the choice of any kind of bread I wanted.
Then, the frontal lobe kicked into gear. This was madness. “You don’t eat bread at 3am” the inner voice of reason told me. Hypoglycemia is only reason I wake up at 3am and start eating carbs. Until now. All day and night the sweet aroma tricks my sense of smell while I work from home. As my thwarted appetite built up to an uncomfortable level, so did the craving reach my grumbling stomach. If I could have a little bread, maybe the distraction would go away.
The time to take an irrationally exuberant action had come. I got their number online and called Tom Cat to find out if they had an outlet store on site. The receptionist transferred me to the person who apparently takes calls from crazies like me. I explained my predicament; “I am your new next door neighbor. You guys are killing me with the smell of your bread. I would like to be come your next customer. Can you hook me up?” The proprietor explained that all of their product is destined for one of two places: either to a client or given away to City Harvest to feed the homeless.
3 weeks into my new home, the craving for bread lingers every waking hour in the back of my mind. I am hoping that my primitive brain will eventually unlearn its salivation response and I won’t even notice the smell. But for now, the good people of Pepperidge Farm have a new customer. I just have to run a gauntlet of Dunkin’s chocolate, vanilla custard, apple cinnamon filing or maple glaze on my way to the way to grocery store and back.
Claire Johnson, “Maple Frosted” Oil on Maple. (2008)
Do you have a favorite Easter candy? What is it? Jelly beans – what color? Like Peeps? Chocolate Bunnies? What about those Cadbury creme eggs? If you grew up with these traditional candies presented to you in a basket on Easter morning, whether you have diabetes or not, it is natural to have nostalgic craving for it. Happy memories are associated with it. I have a knee jerk desire for it when I see it. It is the only time of year when this stuff is available, so there that added sense of urgency. Holidays trigger emotional eating. We are faced with well-meaning hosts and “Food Pushers” you can successfully avoid the rest of the year. If your own internal challenges with eating aren’t enough, you bear the scrutiny of others and find yourself at events where you are stuck with no healthy options. Make your own rules about how you want to manage holiday eating. Don’t blindly follow Grandma’s rules because it is her house, and you don’t want to hurt her feelings at your own expense. You know yourself well enough to plan an ideal celebratory meal with the people who make you feel comfortable. If you chose to eat nothing but candy and hard boiled eggs for Easter breakfast, that’s cool. It was your choice and your plan. If you chose not to eat Grandma’s desserts because they weren’t worth the calories or the insulin to you, then Good For You! The goal is to feel happy about how you ate the day after Easter.