The Savvy Diabetic


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

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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:

A Child Died from T1 … SO WRONG!

Parents on Trial for Refusing to Give Insulin to a Child with Type 1 Diabetes is the headline in InsulinNation’s piece by Craig Idlebrook, 23 September 2016 … and it caught my attention. Emil and Rodica Radita are on trial in Calgary for the first-degree murder of their 15-year-old child, Alexandru (“Alex”), who had Type 1 diabetes. Prosecutors allege that the Raditas withheld insulin and starved the child until he was 37 pounds, according to a CBC report. By the end of his life, Alex was wearing a diaper and his body was covered with sores. The Raditas were trying to cure his Type 1 diabetes through prayer, and had attempted to wean him off insulin.

Read Craig’s piece:  Parents on Trial for Refusing to Give Insulin

For the complete and horrifying story: Diabetic teen parents guilty of murder

Whenever I hear about a child dying from Type 1 diabetes, my heart seizes up.  It’s beyond sad, shouldn’t happen, all wrong.  I remind my friends and family, who have small children, that if their child seems to have the flu, he or she should be checked for diabetes, even by a simple urine dipstick that can be bought, without prescription, at any pharmacy or even online.                     Urine Sugar Test Strips

But this story took my breath away.  Alex’s death was allowed to die because of his parents’ belief that he “didn’t have diabetes” and could be cured by prayer.

When I was diagnosed at age 11, I had been a practicing Christian Scientist for many years.  I went to Sunday School and attended a Christian Science summer camp and read Christian Science stories.  UNTIL I WAS DIAGNOSED.  I was terrified but my parents immediately gave me medical care … […]

Remember Bill Carlson? Truly Inspirational!

I met Bill Carlson many years ago at one of the early IDAA conferences (IDAA: International Diabetes Athletes Association, started by Paula Harper in Arizona in the 1990’s).  I was in awe and I was surrounded by other amazing super athletes.  I, of course, was not ever an elite athlete!  But we all had Type 1 diabetes in common.

Bill Carlson Returns to the Ironman World Championship in Kona, by Blair Ryan for A Sweet Life, 6 October 2016, details the career of this T1 legend.
In 1983, Bill Carlson made history when he became the world’s first person with Type 1 diabetes to complete the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon World Championship.
In an age when people using insulin were discouraged from doing strenuous exercise, Bill was one of a thousand World Championship competitors to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a full marathon. He did it in thirteen hours, twenty minutes–45 minutes of that time was spent on medical checks.
To people with diabetes everywhere, Bill Carlson was immortalized as a pioneer. He used the world’s stage to show us that there’s no type of exercise a person with diabetes shouldn’t do, as long as they’re willing to control their condition.
And he’s making a come back in Kona, at the age of 55, being cheered on by his 19 year old son, Clayton (also a T1) and his wife Suzanne who is battling Hodgkins Lymphoma.

You go, Bill!!!

Read more: Bill Carlson Returns to the Ironman World Championship in Kona



How Do I Advocate for Myself? From 2 HC Professionals

How Do I Advocate for Myself was written and posted by Kathleen Hoffman on Medivizor on 27 September 2016 and contains some wonderful suggestions and insights.
Kathleen Thompson, MD is a physician specializing in pharmaceutical drug research in the UK.  A breast cancer survivor, Kathleen is the author of “From Both Ends of the Stethoscope: Getting Through Breast Cancer – by a Doctor Who Knows.”
As she says: “Should we challenge our doctor? After all they are the experts, surely they know best?  Well yes, usually they do, but we are the experts about ourselves.”
On her list of ideas and resources, she recommends:

Take someone with you
Increase your level of knowledge
Understand your self worth

A quick assertiveness course:

If you need something, speak out
Your needs are as important as everyone else’s needs
Make yourself speak a little  slower and louder than normal
If you are unclear about what you are being told, request further explanations until you are confident you understood – do not leave until you are sure
Be polite but firm

Stephanie Zimmerman is a pediatric oncology nurse practitioner, a childhood cancer survivor who, at age 38, needed a heart transplant due to damage caused by the cancer treatment.

Advocating for oneself in the hospital is challenging, Stephanie says, because of

inadequate staffing despite the ever-increasing complexity of most clinical scenarios
the introduction of hospitalists
an increase in the number of nursing assistants, coupled with
a relative lack of adequate education taking on nursing practice with less than optimal supervision

These administrative, money-saving,  trends impact the quality of care provided in hospitals.  Because of this, Stephanie believes that you should never leave a loved one alone in the hospital.  In addition she recommends these strategies for successful inpatient advocacy on the part of a family members, friends, and providers:

Honest […]

Savvy Updates, 10/9/2016: CGM’s Standard of T1 Care, J&J Letter on Pump Cyber Bug, Sanofi Moves to Block Generic Lantus, U Penn Pairs Med Students with Patients

“Diabetes Technology – Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Therapy and Continuous Glucose Monitoring in Adults: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline,” was published online and appearing in the November 2016 print issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, a publication of the Endocrine Society.
“Studies have found that people with Type 1 diabetes who use CGMs are able to maintain better control of their blood sugar without increasing episodes of hypoglycemia when blood sugar drops to dangerous levels, compared to those who self-monitor blood glucose with periodic fingersticks,” said Anne L. Peters, MD, of the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, CA, and chair of the task force that authored the guideline. “Scientific evidence supports the use of CGM technology in individuals with Type 1 diabetes whose blood sugar is above the targeted level as well as those whose blood glucose is well managed.”
The guideline task force also recommended the use of insulin pumps over multiple daily insulin injections in those with T1d who have not met their A1c goals and are will and able to use the device.
There you have it, the gold standard of care for Type 1 diabetes includes the use of CGM.
Read more: Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline recommends CGMs for Type 1 diabetes patients

Johnson & Johnson’s Letter on Cyber Bug in Insulin Pump, was mailed to all patients in the Animas diabetes unit on October 4, 2016, describing a cyber security vulnerability in its Animas OneTouch Ping insulin pump, as reported by
“We have been notified of a cybersecurity issue with the OneTouch® Ping®, specifically that a person could potentially gain unauthorized access to the pump through its unencrypted radio frequency communication system. We want […]

Interested in the Global Efforts? No Child Should Die of Diabetes

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is an umbrella organization of over 230 national diabetes associations in 170 countries and territories. It represents the interests of the growing number of people with diabetes and those at risk. The Federation has been leading the global diabetes community since 1950.

Its mission: to tackle diabetes from the local to the global level ― from programs at community level to worldwide awareness and advocacy initiatives.
Led by the International Diabetes Federation, the Unite for Diabetes campaign secured a United Nations Resolution on diabetes in December 2006. The Federation continues to lead the global effort to implement Resolution 61/225 under the Unite for Diabetes banner. The Resolution encourages UN Member States to develop national policies for the prevention, treatment and care of diabetes in line with the sustainable development of their health-care systems, taking into account the internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals.
Specifically, please note their program called Life For A Child (, chartered to:

Support the provision of the best possible health care, given local circumstances, to all children and youth (under 26 years of age) with diabetes in less-resourced countries, through the strengthening of existing diabetes services.
Conduct international advocacy and clinical research, and where possible help both young adults and also recipient countries with achieving sustainability.



To read their latest update: Update: Highlights from Bolivia, Tanzania, Vietnam and Jamaica


Insulin For Life USA (, based in Florida, collects in-date & unneeded insulin, test strips, as well as other diabetes supplies, and ship them to developing countries. They are then distributed, free of charge, to children and adults with diabetes who otherwise would go without these life saving medications.




2016 Insulin Goal: 60,000 mL

Collected 47,826 in 2015
To date: 46,039 mL

2016 Test […]

Amazing NYTimes Blog: Thinking About Diabetes With Every Bite

Catherine Price, a T1d, wrote this piece for the NY Times in 2009 … I just read it and it is as current as if it were written yesterday.  I sat here, nodding yes as I read it, spot on, every comment, every thought. Thank you, Catherine!

Here are some excerpts … but definitely go read the full article … OUTSTANDING!
Thinking About Diabetes With Every Bite

When I look at food, I don’t see food. I see sugar — in the form of carbohydrates — plotted on a multidimensional graph with proteins and fat and serving sizes and sickness and exercise and times of day.
To live with Type 1 diabetes means to be aware, constantly aware, of insulin — a hormone produced in the pancreas that unlocks your cells so they can use the energy in your food, which circulates in your blood as glucose. A healthy person’s pancreas pumps out insulin in exact, perfect doses, masterfully managing the level of available glucose so that it never rises too high, which could lead to complications, or too low, which could kill you on the spot.
Today, artificial insulin means that a Type 1 diagnosis is not a death sentence. But living with diabetes takes much more than simply giving yourself shots. It requires constant, unwavering attention to your meals, lifestyle and medication — and even the most conscientious person with diabetes will never achieve the balance that a healthy pancreas effortlessly maintains. If I take too much insulin, my blood sugar will drop too low; my body will sweat and tremble; I will become anxious, irritable and confused. If I don’t quickly eat something to give my body the glucose it needs — or, worse, if it’s […]

A Shout Out from Bonnie Sher about The Savvy Diabetic!







Wow, Bonnie Sher, THANK YOU!
At minute 29 in her UBN Internet Radio/TV show, The Bonnie Sher Show – Boomer Life, 9/29/2016, Bonnie gives me a GRAND Shout Out for my book, The Savvy Diabetic: A Survival Guide.  Bonnie, you are the best!


A Little Humor: Knock Knock Jokes about T1d

I just had to share this with you … something to make you smile, despite your challenges living with diabetes.  You might laugh, giggle or groan … ENJOY a sampler … and then click here: 8 Knock Knock Jokes About T1D

My special thanks for permission to Craig Idlebrook from Insulin Nation (

Knock knock
Who’s there?
A cure for diabetes.
A cure for diabetes who?
I’ll come back in 5 to 10 years.







Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Tess who?
Test strips all over your front step. Does someone with diabetes live here?









Knock knock
Who’s there?
High who?
Knock knock
Who’s there?
Low who?
Knock knock
Who’s there?
A malfunctioning meter. Please test again.


HOT TOPICS: Why is Insulin SO EXPENSIVE, How to Save on Diabetes Care and Tech Update for 2017

Type 1’s run on insulin.  We need it to live, every moment of every day, without lapse.  And we are all acutely aware of the skyrocketing prices for all insulins … and there are NO generic options available.  We have NO CHOICE!

The chart below shows the % rise in prices over the past five, til 2015 … 2016 isn’t even in this chart!  325% increase for Humulin?



Here’s a great and very frustrating article by Mike Hoskins of DiabetesMine, who approached the Big Three Insulin Makers (Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi) for some “straight answers” to the issue of skyrocketing insulin prices.  It’s a long post but so very telling … without any suggestions for any way to remedy the situation.

Read Mike’s Article:  Insulin Makers Respond to Outrage Over Skyrocketing Prices







From Craig Idlebrook’s InsulinNation, March 24, 2015, here is a small guide to resources and suggestions on how to pay for diabetes treatment.  As Craig says at the end of his article: This list in no way should be considered complete. If you know of other resources out there, email our editor at and we’ll add them.

Read Craig’s article: 15 Ways to Save Money on Diabetes Care


New Diabetes Tech on the Horizon, according to diaTribe, 22 September, 2016 is a fairly in-depth look at what’s coming down the pipeline?Read about your favorites: Tandem, Medtronic, LifeScan, Abbott, One Drop, Dexcom and more:

What New Diabetes Technologies by Mid-2017 in the US?


By |September 27th, 2016|Extra|0 Comments

InsulinNation: Sh*t People Say to People with Diabetes

This is a great, short video … “Hey, are you allowed to smile with diabetes???”

Thanks Craig Idlebrook, InsulinNation





By |September 27th, 2016|Extra|2 Comments