The Savvy Diabetic


Buy The Book

Get The Book: The Savvy Diabetic - A Survival Guide

Tips, Tools, and Techniques to help you Stay in Control and Balance

Buy The Book
Buy The Organizer

NEW!!! Healthcare Organizer ~ All About You

for the Savvy Patient!

This new binder is an invaluable tool to help you organize your medical records, prepare for healthcare appointments and keep track of your medications, doctors, Rx's, insurance and more...

Buy The Organizer

21th Annual Shooting Stars JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes Sunday, October 23, 2016 in Newport Beach, CA at The Waffle House

For a contribution of $50 (or MORE!), walkers will receive a VERY COOL Shooting Stars Team T-Shirt while supplies last. Contact Joanne if you are interested in attending the event. To donate on-line, please go to:

Medicare Declares Dexcom’s CGM to be DME, COVERED!!!

From Debbie Parrish, attorney who has been fighting cases for us sent me this email:

Tonight Medicare issued a ruling deeming Dexcom’s CGM to be DME covered by medicare. I’ll send more in the am.  So happy for all!

Savvy Closed Loop Update, January 2017

FROM, 12/14/2016 : When JDRF started the Artificial Pancreas Project in 2006, the idea of automating insulin delivery using a standard insulin pump, a CGM, and a control algorithm seemed crazy to many patients. Even back in the early 2000s, researchers believed it could be done, but there were many barriers. CGM sensors were not considered accurate enough. Algorithms were immature and untested.

Experiments took place in tightly controlled research centers, far from real life. Insulin was thought to be too slow. And there was no clear FDA path to bring an actual product to market.

But a lot can change in ten years, and boy, was 2016 a pivotal year.

This is one of the best overviews of what’s coming in the next 2-3 years … and will answer most of your questions.  Remember there are also do-it-yourself (#WeAreNotWaiting) closed loop systems available today … build, set up and use at your own risk.  I’m hoping to start “Looping” in the next 1-2 weeks, using the RileyLink algorithm system, an older version Medtronic 723 and my Dexcom G5, as well as interfacing with Tidepool’s BLIP software app.  I’m just so curious to know what it feels like to have a system that makes 280 decisions/day and levels out my blood sugars.  And then, hopefully, the amazing hackers might have a way in to the Omnipod system, so I can “loop” with pods.  Fingers crossed.
The Players, Products, and Timing – Listed in Chronological Order by Expected Time until Launch

Medtronic MiniMed 670G Hybrid Closed Loop
Tandem Predictive Low Glucose Suspend and Hybrid Closed Loop
Bigfoot Biomedical Smartloop Automated Insulin Delivery Service
Beta Bionics iLet Bionic Pancreas
Animas Hypoglycemia-Hyperglycemia Minimizer
Insulet Omnipod Horizon

Read more: 2016: A Pivotal Year for Closed Loop/Automated Insulin Delivery

I […]

SAVVY UPDATES 1/10/2017: Fun Tidbits

A WOMAN with TYPE1 is the Next UK Prime Minister!  Thanks to InsulinNation, Theresa May became prime minister of the United Kingdom in July 2016! May was diagnosed with T1 in November 2012 at age 56, and uses daily insulin injections.

Read more:

Will a Woman with Type 1 be the Next UK Prime Minister?
Wikipedia: Theresa Mary Brasier May




Nude Diabetes Advocacy Calendar 2017, published in Finland with profits going to fund the operation of Diabetesseura Plasma, a Finnish Diabetes Association focusing on the cause and raising the awareness of Type 1 diabetes in Finland.


Read more AND order: Nude Diabetes Advocacy Calendar 2017




10 Weird Things People Have Eaten for Lows, from InsulinNation, 4 January 2017 … definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart.  As Craig Idlebrook says, “We all know that a glucose tablet or glucose gel is the proper way to treat a low, but that isn’t always what happens. Sometimes people with Type 1 diabetes are forced to fend off hypoglycemia with whatever is within arm’s reach. According to an extremely informal Facebook poll, here are 10 weird “foods” people with Type 1 diabetes have used to treat a low.”  I’m only sharing 3 of these 10 … please go to Read more for the rest.  AND, please comment here if you too have eaten something pretty strange to treat a low!

Cake frosting spread on hot dog buns.  ~ Angie P.
 A partial jar of maraschino cherries in the middle of the night. It worked, but it was about 10 years before I could eat another maraschino cherry.  ~ Berea F.
 My wife has taken shots of Hershey’s chocolate syrup.  ~ Blake H.

Read more: 10 Weird Things People Have Eaten for Lows


By |January 10th, 2017|Extra|0 Comments

SAVVY UPDATES 1/9/2017: Lots of Tech News

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2017!  This promises to be an exciting diabetes year and we’re starting off with lots of updates!



The Biliary Tree of Life, as described by the researchers at the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), is a network of stem cells in the biliary tree, liver and pancreas, being proposed as a framework for understanding liver and pancreas regeneration after extensive or chronic injuries.  These Stem cells will also be considered for the study and treatment of diseases that affect these organs, such as Type 1 diabetes.  Indeed, animal trial results suggest that cells outside of the pancreas can produce insulin.

Read more: The Biliary Tree of Life



Higher Insulin Doses May Require More Aggressive CV Attention, according to the findings from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Newfoundland and Labrador Research and Development Corporation, 3 January 2017 and reported in The Lancet, January 2017. These studies conclude that higher insulin doses are associated with increased mortality.

Read more: Insulin dose and Mortality





Twenty-two New Patents Added to ViaCyte’s Intellectual Property Portfolio, reported by ViaCyte, Inc., 4 January 2017.  In early 2016 the Company announced the consolidation of the assets of the Janssen BetaLogics group into ViaCyte.  Five of the new patents originated in the BetaLogics group, while the other seventeen are from ViaCyte research and development activity.  Collectively, these composition, method, and design patents cover the full spectrum of ViaCyte’s activities, strengthen the already robust combined intellectual property position, and further ensure the success of the Company in its efforts to develop a functional cure for insulin-requiring diabetes.

Read more: Twenty-two New Patents Are Added To ViaCyte’s Intellectual Property Portfolio



K’Track Devices Monitor Glucose and Lactic Acid using […]

By |January 10th, 2017|Extra|1 Comment

Savvy NEW Apps

I recently attended the DiabetesMine D-Data Exchange and Innovation Summit at UCSF.  Several app developers displayed their new products … just so you know what’s out there.

Sugar.IQ (a collaboration between Medtronic and IBM Watson) uses Medtronic CGM and  pump data, along with meal info that users input manually, to “find hidden patterns in diabetes data.” Using pattern recognition, you will be alerted about actions you can take in your diabetes management.



Loop is an iPhone app which provides a user interface for the hybrid closed loop and requires just one little relay device (called “RileyLink” encased in a 3-d printed case about the size of a Tic Tac container), an old Medtronic pump and a Dexcom CGM.  It automatically adjusts basal insulin delivery.  It is an open source app and not FDA approved.  I expect to be “Looping” in early January when the updated RileyLink is released.  Stay tuned!


Nutrino is a log for user input data, such as food and various data sources, which then provides a picture of how your daily food intake and other inputs impact your glucose levels.



Suggestic shares personalized eating recommendations for a variety of eating situation, currently only available on iOS.



Glucose Advisors with Engine 1 is an exercise decision support tool which recommends food intake based on planned exercise start time, IOB and current glucose levels, developed by an Ironman triathlete T1.

SAVVY UPDATES 12.14.16: Islet Transplant Benefits, T1 and Arsenic, Nanoparticles ,Platypus Venom

This is an “OUT THERE” blog of some of the more fascinating research. Enjoy!

Long-term Improvement in Glucose Control and Counterregulation in T1 by Islet Transplantation was reported in the August issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 29 August 2016.
The bottom line:
In patients with T1D experiencing problematic hypoglycemia, intrahepatic islet transplantation can lead to long-term improvement of glucose counterregulation and hypoglycemia symptom recognition, physiological effects that likely contribute to glycemic stability after transplant.
This study demonstrates near-normal glycemic control and improvement in glucose counterregulation in 10 patients with type 1 diabetes during 24 months following intrahepatic islet transplantation.
Read more: Long-Term Improvement in Glucose Control by Islet Transplantation for Type 1 Diabetes

Development of T1 is Linked to Arsenic Metabolism, as published in Diabetes Care, November 2016. The study, conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, examined the correlation of arsenic with T1 and T2 diabetes.  It’s complicated but just in case this piques your interest.
Read more: Association of Arsenic Exposure and Metabolism With T1 and T2 Diabetes in Youth

Nanoparticles May Be Used to Treat T1, as reported by Katie Bacon on, November 2016.  Apparently there are several immune therapies being developed to treat autoimmune diseases, by slowing the process or stopped the body’s attack. Research is being funded by JDRF to explore these approaches.
In particular, a project by Dr. Francisco Quintana, who runs a lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, focuses on developing nanoparticles that would address the autoimmune attack on islet cells that characterize T1.  In a joint effort with Dr. Quintana, Pfizer and a venture capital firm, a new biotech start-up, called AnTolRx is working on bringing targeted nanoparticle tolerance therapeutics (TNTT) to market […]

By |December 14th, 2016|Featured|1 Comment

Savvy Year End Appreciations PLUS a HOLIDAY OFFER!

During the holidays and at year’s end, we often review the past year, recalling the high points, giving thanks for surviving the low points, and giving appreciation to those in our lives who have been there for us, providing joy and love to us.

Last year, I designed this graphic to remind myself of all the little words that, when combined, help me live a good life, stay positive (despite challenges), laugh, breathe, do something creative every day, show compassion, smile, give hugs and love. For me, this has been a great little toolbox of what I consider to be the most important life concepts.





You’ll find quotes (including several from Dr. Seuss whom I love!) throughout this piece. Here’s one of my favorites:
So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.
~ Dr. Seuss (American writer, cartoonist, animator and artist, 1904 – 1991)
 “I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready, you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”
~ Dr. Seuss (American writer, cartoonist, animator and artist, 1904 – 1991)

Living in GRATITUDE is hugely important to me.  No matter what I’m faced with, it always helps me to stop and say, out loud, those things, no matter how small, for which I am grateful.  There’s always at least ONE thing.  Even when I’m feeling my worst, I appreciate the air that I breathe, snuggles and giggles from Hey Buddy and Bon Bon, a hug […]

Savvy about PBMs: Are They Causing Prices to Skyrocket?

Here a most interesting overview of prescription benefit managers (PBMs), which drug companies fear now, but consumer advocates might grow to fear, which appeared in InsulinNation, by Jim Cahill, a senior writer for Insulin Nation and Type 2 Nation. Before turning to writing, he was a lawyer in government and private practice who focused on consumer protection and regulatory law. He can be contacted at Here are some excerpts:
PBMs are organizations commonly understood to be the “middle men” in the chain of distribution of prescription drugs and medical devices from the manufacturers to the places where those products are dispensed or purchased through an insurance carrier or a prescription purchase plan. They are also considered the organizations to which health insurance carriers outsource claims administration. The Medicare program relies on private insurance carriers, under long-term national and regional contracts, to pay out benefits and make available purchase of prescription drugs at discount for Part C and often deeper discount for Part D beneficiaries. The carriers in turn rely upon PBMs to secure long-term commercial agreements with drug manufacturers to ensure that there will be an adequate supply of products for their policy holders and for the people they insure under their Medicare contracts, at prices predictable enough that the carriers can plan to stay in business. Some PBMs also manage prescription drug claims and pricing agreements for labor union benefit plans and workers’ compensation insurance carriers.
PBMs maintain that their role in managing the U.S. prescription drug distribution business is to make it more efficient by reducing the transaction costs associated with each step from the factory to the drug store counter. It would make sense that de-fragmenting the pipeline from prescription drug manufacturer […]

“Have I Got A Cure for You?!” Learn to Spot Scams!

They are out there!  People and publications singing the praises of The Cure and The Best Food and the The Only Exercise You Need!  What about the “supplement” sold through network marketing (used to be called multi-level marketing – you get 2 sellers, they each get 2 sellers, and so on and you make millions off of your “downline”)? Now really!?  If it sounds too good to be true, IT IS!



One of my family members was involved with a product years ago that “cured”, among many illnesses and conditions, diabetes.  I went to a meeting (more like a rally) where everyone was touting the miracle of this potassium supplement.  I was totally stunned, after having lived with T1 for, at that time, about 25 years.  I kept asking various “marketers” to simply introduce me to 3 people how had been cured of Type 1 diabetes.  Their response, “There are so many!  Just try it and you will be cured too!”  I replied, “NO, please INTRODUCE me to THREE people!”  They couldn’t. Unbelievable! Read more about KM:  Km (by Matol) “Christian” Cure-All or New Age Medicine?

And the scams and claims continue.  On this website, I just received the following (edited to remove contact info):
Thanks to Lord Alaglo for helping me cure my Diabetes Millitus, I had the disease for more than 2 years and it really ate me up because it was already worsening to Chronic Kidney Failure. I tried to get a cure from different sources but none could cure my diabetes. My husband took me to so many other places and hospitals to get cure but all could not yield any good results, until I saw some few comments about the Unique Lord […]

Savvy Humor: Top 12 Things Dr. Banting May OR May Not Have Said

The Diabetes Hero Squad, also known as the GlucoseMeterDuo, also known as Slaight Brad (Dee Hero) on Facebook brings humor every day in the online community.  Sometimes I just laugh out loud.  You can follow him on FB … here’s a little sample … ENJOY!


By |November 20th, 2016|Extra|2 Comments