The Savvy Diabetic


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ADVOCATE: n. [ad-vuh-kit, -keyt]: a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc.

It’s really not very hard … and it’s really important. After all, who’s more important to your own life than you? It is survival.


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:

Savvy on the, 23 May 2017

I was asked to join 33 other bloggers in the diabetes community to contribute our thoughts about the  D community and what/how we support those with diabetes.  All of us bloggers have a main goal: to raise awareness and to educate about the journey we are all on, living with diabetes.  A bit about Is Not About Us…
It’s About You!
This site has been constructed with the purpose of providing up-to-date, emerging and reliable information for those living with diabetes.
Writing is not everyone’s strongest feat. Those who can convey a story, a lesson learnt, or a memoir through their writing are not only storytellers but also educators.  Bloggers and advocates who write about diabetes are just that. Through their stories and experiences, they share with us a vulnerable part of them in order to get a message across just in case it can help someone else who may be in their shoes. Its their way of saying “you are not alone in your journey!”
This time we were asked:

What is the hardest diabetes blog subject that you had to write?
What are some of the best techniques that you use in order to create a story to draw the reader in, and also help keep their attention while they learn about diabetes?
What are some of the most interesting comments or questions that you have had in relation to your articles about diabetes

To read all the answers, go to: 34 Diabetes Bloggers Give Us A Glimpse of Behind The Scenes

Here’s what I shared below.
Joanne Laufer Milo
A1: The hardest subject, actually before blogging, was about the death of my very close, T1 friend, at the age of 33. I attached the obituary notice I placed […]

Savvy Books: Bright Spots & Landmines by Adam Brown

At the risk of repeating myself, AMAZING! I’ve been reading Adam’s column on diatribe … always interesting. But this is a masterpiece of wisdom, experience, tips and techniques in an easy-to-read, MUST READ resource for how to live as well as possibly with Type1 diabetes. WOW!

I started reading the book as soon as I got it … and the subtitle says a lot: The Diabetes Guide I Wish Someone Had Handed Me.” I scanned the reviews by all the prominent folks in the diabetes community. I felt a bit intimidated. I thought, uh-oh, another “whatcha oughta do” books. In a way it is … but it all makes sense.



Adam, a born achiever and oldest of 6 children in his family, was diagnosed with T1 in 2001, at the age of 15. At the tender age of 21, three events changed his life, all for the good:

He started learning about nutrition and eating fewer carbohydrates and how to make better choices
He joined a diabetes-focused organization as an intern, where he learned to write about diabetes
He started using a continuous glucose monitor, which empowered him to figure out what worked well for his diabetes and what didn’t work well.

In short, he started to take charge of his diabetes, beyond just taking insulin.

He tells his journey and his living lessons with openness, honesty and real insight. He shares what he has learned and what works for him and why. He offers variations of these lessons so that you may choose to use them or modify them to work for you.

His book is divided into four VERY important topics:


Very few books on diabetes discuss these subjects as essentials. It’s really a […]

One Lump or Two? Things that Suck about being Diabetic

Haidee Soule Merritt is a “self-proclaimed” realist and cartoonist, doodling her life of personal struggles and experiences with Type 1 diabetes.  Her little book of drawings couched in her “dark sense of humor.”  Some are funny, some are snarky, some are angry, all are interesting and grounded in the reality of living with diabetes. 
Click on the cover below to Buy The Book NOW!

Nicole Johnson (Miss America 1999): Young Adult Type 1 Diabetes Realities

This is a great little primer, short and packed to the brim with practical advice and first-hand stories of how to successfully manage the transition from dependence (life with Mom and Dad) to independence in life while living with Type 1 diabetes. 

Nicole Johnson was the first Miss American to win the title while wearing her insulin pump for all the world to see.  She went on in her studies for master’s degrees in journalism and public health, as well as a doctorate in public health.  Living with diabetes since 1993, she’s raised over $26 million for diabetes research and programs.  She’s written 6 books, is a Telly award-winning television journalist and she serves the diabetes community in so many ways, from public speaking to writing to serving on boards and councils.  Nicole is executive director of Bringing Science Home at the University of South Florida, within which she founded a national organization called Students With Diabetes.

In her introduction, she writes, “Nothing about being a young adult with diabetes is easy.  Living with T1D can prompt insecurity, isolation, and pessimism. It especially torments teens and young adults.  … I remember that time of life well.  I still feel that T1D stole my college experience.  I didn’t live a typical college life because of the newness of the disease and the fear I harbored. Most stunning though are my memories of both feeling alone and wondering what impact T1D would have on the rest of my life.”

It’s a genuine and beautifully written collection of practical advice and personal stories.  A quick read (124 pages) and a great gift for any young adult T1D or their parents.
Buy This Book NOW!  Young Adult Type 1 Diabetes Realities

Savvy DBlog Week 2017: D Also Stands for DOG!

Today is the final day of’s Diabetes Blog Week 2017.  The topic is: More Than Diabetes, about me, with or without a relationship to diabetes.  Easy peazy!




D Also Stands for DOG!  INDEED!

I seem to absolutely ADORE dogs.  I often can imagine their voices if they spoke in human.  They make me smile, breathe easier, brings laughter and joy. 

My passion for our four-legged spirit guides started when I was in my thirties, with Toby, my English cocker spaniel and then King Louis IV, a feisty toy poodle puppy with lots of interests!  After I dig up some physical pix, you will see him showing up in my blog posts! 


But then life became seriously more dog-centric, with Ginger, the wonder toy poodle.  She “chose” me and seemed to be my alter ego.  And she taught me so much about life.  The biggest lesson:  If someone enters your life who is not “good,” it’s okay and best to retreat under the bed!  I beg your indulgence here but I couldn’t just choose one photo!  Included below is Ginger’s 7th birthday party with 14 people and 10 dogs … and all dogs were served birthday cake (made of ground chicken, carrots, broccoli and the icing made of mashed potato in the shape of a bone)! Ginger left us at age 16:

My little dog – a heartbeat at my feet.  ~ Edith Wharton


























And some of Ginger’s best friends:













Annie and Annie








Enter Hey Buddy and Bon Bon in 2008 … pure joy and love!  Hey Buddy is our Westie (his middle name is I’m Busy) and he’s definitely an old soul. Bon Bon is our Lhasa Apso, definitely a new soul!  Once again, please indulge me … I couldn’t […]

Savvy DBlog Week: What Makes Me Crazy Mad

Today is the 4th day of Diabetes Blog Week 2017 … and the topic is What Brings Me Down.  Easy, huh?!?  Well, I’ve taken it a step further.







I thought long and hard about this.  

I’m mostly living in gratitude, being amused and happy most of the time.  I’d rather smile than frown.  I like to laugh and giggle.  That’s just me.  I find the world fascinating and curious. I love the word JOYFUL!

I can, however, tip over.  I often see it coming. I’ll do my best to describe it as I’m sure you will UNDERSTAND!

I work very hard to manage my health and be mindful and live well.  I try to help others.  BUT when I encounter barriers to getting what I need for my health, I get MAD.  For example:

Prior authorizations!  My doctor chooses a course of treatment and insurance wants more documentation and precious doctor time.  I trust my doctor more than I trust a pharmacy rep!
Miscommunication between insurance and my doctor’s office.  Orders and rx’s get faxed … BUT no one seems to have received it!
It takes an hour to to reach a human being at a device company, medical supply company or insurance company, only to find out that you need another prior auth.
Mostly, TIME!  It already takes several hour   s/day to manage diabetes:
calculating dosages
changing infusion sites or taking injections     
testing blood sugar and doing calibrations
chasing high blood sugars
chasing low blood sugars
ordering and refilling prescriptions
going to healthcare providers and local pharmacies
and MORE! 

You know!  And I’m okay with that as I feel grateful that I CAN go to the doctor and I CAN get […]

Savvy D-Blog Week 2017: You’re the Same as Everyone Else

The Wednesday topic for D-Blog Week 2017 is “The Blame Game.”  As I think back over 52 years of D living, I’m recalling the times when someone (on my healthcare team or family or friends) said or did something that felt blaming or hurtful.  Not too many times, actually … and I mostly look back and laugh.

I’m going all the way back to when I was newly diagnosed and seeing one of the top endos in New York City at that time.  Dr. D. had written lots of book and seemed larger than life.  But he had this awful, shrill nurse who spoke loudly and with a sharp German accent.  Just hearing her voice across the office felt like fingernails on a chalk board. 

On every visit, she would call my name and say (shriek), “Joanne, COME, let me STICK YOU!”  I was 11 and I got upset every time. 



In retrospect, I do not think she meant harm. But it always strike me very harshly. And I never said anything. Sometimes I cried.





If it were today, I probably would:

Ask her politely to use gentler words that didn’t get my heart started. I’d try to explain how it sounds to a child with diabetes.
If she didn’t show concern or make changes, I would probably discuss her behavior and my reaction with the endo. Most likely, he would have laughed it off.
THEN, if nothing changed, I would probably change endos! No one deserves agitation and disregard  at a healthcare visit.


Savvy D-Blog Week 2017: It’s ONLY Money!

Today’s blog topic is: The Cost of a Chronic Illness.  Woooo, there’s a lot of room for writing here, including insurance, Medicare, coverage, cost of our care, accessibility and much, much more! 

I’m talking today about the cost of being an Early Adopter!  I simply can’t help it.  I admit it! When something comes out and looks fairly safe, I WANT IT!  I don’t want to wait (hence, #WeAreNotWaiting)!

I had one of the very first blood glucose meters in the early 1970’s called the Ames EyeTone Reflectance Meter.  It was a clunky, plug-in device, not terribly accurate … and cost about $450. But it was better than testing urine with Clinitest!

When I first heard of CGM, I wanted to start with Abbott Navigator … but Dexcom beat them to market … so I jumped in with the very first CGM, the Dexcom STS … it was NOT very accurate but I knew it was going in the right direction.  When Navigator came to market, I switched over, until Abbott pulled it off the market … then right back to Dexcom, by then, Dex3. 

I heard rumblings from the NightScout group … bought all the pieces for the “rig” and jumped in there too, using a Pebble watch. Loved it.

Cautiously, I decided to try Looping … and am learning every day and am amazed at the smoothness of my CGM data, especially throughout the night.

FIASP!  Approved in EU and now in Canada, it won’t be approved by the FDA until the end of 2017.  So I want it!  Others in the D community are trying it … and even Loopers are figuring out the algorithm using it. 

Do you know what it is?  Fiasp (Faster-Acting Insulin Aspart), made […]

Savvy D-Blog Week 2017: Diabetes and The Unexpected, LOOPing

So happy to be back blogging for’s annual Diabetes Blog Week, hosted by Karen Graffeo.  Some great topics coming your way this week!

Today’s topic is Diabetes and The Unexpected.  And my latest, of a lifetime of “Unexpected’s” occurred last week, as I’m learning about Looping with RileyLink. 

I noticed that, while running in Closed Loop mode, sometimes after an infusion site change, my Loop started a 0% temp bolus rate during a rising blood sugar.  It made no sense.  If I turned of the temp rate, it would turn it back on. 

Was there a demon living inside my RileyLink motherboard? 

NO!  I finally posted the question on the Facebook page, Looped … and got several very excellent answers, including how to resync the clocks on my phone and my pump.  But the big answer:  When I change my infusion site but use the same reservoir, as I fill the tubing and the cannula, Loop sees that as IOB.  Suddenly I’m showing 11 units of IOB, so OF COURSE, it should shut off!  And believe it or not, from the amazing folks on Looped, there is a definite work-around by deleting history so the Loop doesn’t get confused. 

Ta-Da!  Done … 2 problems solved!  Loving my RileyLink more and more every day, as I experience more “Unexpected’s”!

Savvy Update 5.14.2017: Fiasp

Happy Mothers’ Day to all of you who are moms, aunts, grandmothers, people with moms, pet moms!  Here’s a special Mothers’ Day edition about Fiasp!

Novo Nordisk’s Ultra-Fast Rapid-Acting Insulin Fiasp Approved in Europe and Canada, announced on Nasdaq GlobeNewswire, 10 January 2017.  Why am I just writing about this today?  Well, it’s available in Canada and reasonable prices … and coming to the US hopefully by end of 2017!  And from what I hear, it works very well!  Read the release: Fiasp® (fast-acting insulin aspart) approved in Europe
Here are some highlights by Mike Hoskins from DiabetesMine:

FIASP is not the most creative branding (sounds like a variety of wasps?), but the name certainly fits. Whether it will carry a new brand name here States when launched remains TBD.
Internationally, FIASP is available by vial, Penfill, and FlexTouch insulin pen. In Europe it’s approved for insulin pumps but not in Canada. Here in the U.S., Novo tells us FIASP will only be available in pen form.
While Novo officially still recommends taking FIASP before the meal, overall they’re touting more flexible dosing, mentioning “earlier, greater and faster absorption, thereby providing earlier insulin action.”
It’s twice as fast as regular NovoLog or NovoRapid. Getting into the science, that’s because two “excipients” have been added to FIASP’s formulation — Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) to increase the speed of absorption, and a naturally occurring Amino Acid (L-Arginine) for stability.
Data also show that patients lowered their A1C levels.

Read LOTS more including reviews from patients: The Scoop on Novo’s New Faster-Acting FIASP Insulin