sisterSTAFF Blog

sisterSTAFF Blog

Do YOU believe in the movement?

sisterSTAFF Blog

July 19, 2010

What movement? You ask.  The movement here at DiabetesSisters that is fired up about serving women with diabetes around the world!  That’s right!  We’re the movement that says, “Diabetes IS different for women than it is for men and these differences need to be recognized and researched!”   We are the grassroots movement that has women around the US excited about hosting PODS meetings in their local area, enthusiastic about organizing Quarterly Gatherings in their city, passionate about serving on a planning committee for one of our upcoming conferences, fervently sharing their lives through weekly blogs, actively using their professional training to answer questions posed by other women with diabetes, and talking energetically about DiabetesSisters to anyone who will listen!  Are you one of these vibrant women who is rolling up her sleeves to help women with diabetes?  If so, I applaud you!  Thank you for taking time to make a difference that will impact your peers and you, not to mention future generations of women that are diagnosed with diabetes.

Update on 3 June/July Conferences

sisterSTAFF Blog
Me (Brandy Barnes), Manny Hernandez, Elizabeth Edelman, David Edelman.
whom I now consider "dear old friends"

July 11, 2010


In June 2010, I had the honor of representing DiabetesSisters at three (yes, 3!) important events in the diabetes community.  First, I attended the ADA Scientific Sessions from June 25-June 29th at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.  The number of people in attendance at the sessions and in the exhibit hall was astounding.  It seemed as if everybody who was anybody in the diabetes world was there!  I met many of those people such as Joy Pape (author), Kelly Rawlings (Diabetic Living), Paula Ford-Martin (dLife), and Howard Steinberg (dLife) for the first time!  I also got to see and spend time with some dear old friends like Manny Hernandez (Diabetes Hands Foundation), David Edelman (Diabetes Daily), Elizabeth Edelman (Diabetes Daily), Amy Tenderich (Diabetes Mine), and Kelly Kunik (Diabetesaliciousness).  I attended a few sessions, but I must admit that most of them went over my head after about the first 10 minutes.  So, I don’t have many new and innovative research/products to report on (darn!)  I did see a new meter for kids that was pretty innovative.  It was Bayer’s new Didget meter.  It actually plugs into a Nintendo DS (helps kids keep up with it) and it uses the gaming system to reward kids for testing consistently.  I also saw the not-yet-approved POGO meter, which is an all-in-one meter that stores the test strips, lancet, and lancing device into one compact system.  Almost all of the pharmaceutical companies have their own patient-focused website.  I was excited to see a new emphasis on the psychosocial well-being of people with diabetes.  For example, Novo Nordisk (along with the International Diabetes Federation) a global program to improve psychosocial support for people with diabetes in 2001 called the DAWN (Diabetes Attitiudes, Wishes, and Needs) Study.  It involved over 5,000 people with diabetes from 13 different countries.   DAWN was initiated to increase the understanding of how people perceived their diabetes in order to develop better outcomes for treatment.  

Better Late than Never!

sisterSTAFF Blog

July 1, 2010

Having Fun at the 2010 Roche Social Media Summit (Orlando, FL)

Hello again!  I am so sorry I am considerably late in posting my blog this week….I am just going to have to chalk it up to how incredibly busy I have been!  I flew into Orlando last Friday (June 25) and attended the first ADA Scientific Session on Friday afternoon.  From that point on, everything is a blur…until today.  I met/had meetings with so many wonderful people in the diabetes world, many of whom will surely become significant in DiabetesSisters’ growth over the next year.  Stay tuned as we work out the details. 

Test Strips, Test Strips EVERYWHERE!

sisterSTAFF Blog

June 21, 2010

Hello Sisters!  I don’t have any updates on the organization this week, but I hope to have some news to share soon.  I will be leaving for the ADA Scientific Sessions in Orlando on Friday.  I will be attending Roche’s Social Media Summit in Tuesday.  Then, I will be attending the Children with Diabetes Conference in Orlando.  I have a BUSY week ahead!   Please let me know if any of you are attending any of these meetings and maybe we can meet up.  I can’t wait to report back on the exciting happenings of the week.

DS Quarterly Gathering in Raleigh, NC

sisterSTAFF Blog

June 13, 2010

Another week has come and gone.  They seem to be passing faster and faster, but I think that’s because DiabetesSisters is keeping me busier and busier with every passing week.  You won’t hear me complaining because it is a wonderful thing that DiabetesSisters has so much going on! 

Yesterday (Saturday) I had the pleasure of eating lunch with a group of about 20 of my local DiabetesSisters at our Quarterly Gathering at Brio Tuscan Grill in Raleigh.  We heard an inspirational talk from a woman living with diabetes and shared in priceless laughs and realizations with our fellow DiabetesSisters.  Many of the women in the room have become very important in my life!  It seems so long ago now that I was searching for a friend with diabetes.   Yet, it was only three years ago!  Life is so much different for me now.  Now, I have the joy of sitting in a room full of women with diabetes every month at our PODS meetings and once every quarter at our Quarterly Gatherings.  I even have access (via email and phone) to more women with diabetes… and I spend the majority of my days talking to women with diabetes or talking about the issues faced by women with diabetes.   I am so blessed!  It is my goal/my life’s work to see that every woman with diabetes has the opportunity to experience this kind of support and education.  It is truly life-changing.

Back from Disney!

sisterSTAFF Blog

June 7, 2010

Yes, that’s right!  I’m back after a week at Disney World.  Talk about HOT!  I don’t know exactly what the temperature was during the day down there, but one evening we came out of the park at 7pm and got in our car to see the outside temperature was 100 degrees!  Which leads to the next question…if it was 100 degrees at 7pm, what was the temperature at 12 noon??  Of course, as a pump wearer, I was worried that the consistent heat might decrease the potency of my insulin.  I am happy to say that the heat didn’t affect my insulin or blood sugars. 

During the plane ride, I was able to read a few articles that I thought you would find interesting (and maybe even helpful!).  The first article was printed in the March 2010 issue of the Obstetrics & Gynecology journal.  Regarding gestational diabetes and pregnancy, this study showed that the amount of weight gained was not the only factor that increases a woman’s chances for developing gestational diabetes during their pregnancy.  In fact, how fast the weight is gained is also a big risk factor for gestational diabetes.  The study included 1,145 women and researchers found that those who gained weight the fastest prior to a gestational diabetes screening test (more than .89 pounds per week) had a 74% greater risk of gestational diabetes than women who gained the slowest (less than .6 pounds per week).  This was especially pertinent during the first trimester of pregnancy. 

An Open Book

sisterSTAFF Blog

May 30, 2010

Good day, Ladies!  I hope the Memorial Day weekend has been relaxing and reflective for you.  In last week’s blog, I mentioned that I had something emotional to share with my Sisters, so here it goes.  Let me first explain why I waited until now to share this story: I didn’t want my personal life to interfere with the success of the 2010 Weekend for Women Conference.  In other words, I didn’t want the success or lack of success of the Conference to be attributable to my personal situation.  The past six months have been very challenging for me for a few reasons.  As many of you know, I had my thyroid removed in September 2009 because it had grown too large and had many nodules.  In October, the surgeon called me into his office and told me that thyroid cancer had been found and I would need to undergo radioactive iodine treatment.  A month later, in November 2009, my dad was diagnosed with cancer.  It was very difficult to diagnose his exact type of cancer, so there were numerous tests (and even a surgery performed to get a biopsy).  The awesome oncology doctors at Duke finally diagnosed him with a very rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (a mutation of Hodkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgin’s lymphoma) in December 2009 and he began chemo on the Monday after Christmas.  Thanksgiving and Christmas 2009 were the most solemn holiday gatherings I have ever experienced at my parent’s house.  During that same time frame, I was also working hard to secure enough money from sponsors to hold the 2010 Weekend for Women Conference.  Then, on December 1, 2009, I was laid off from my job in pharmaceutical sales (before I had undergone the radioactive iodine treatment that was scheduled for January 6, 2010).  NOW, all of that could be overwhelming.... 

Weekend for Women Conference Post-Event Update

sisterSTAFF Blog

May 25, 2010

The email I received from Weekend for Women Conference attendee, Linda Mahoney, says more about the Conference than I can ever put into words.  Thank you, Linda!

Hi Brandy,

It is Monday just past noon.  I stayed an extra night last night at the Marriott, had a 7am flight into Boston and came directly to work from the airport this morning and I am still flying high from the weekend!!  I have not stopped talking about the entire event and THEN, I sat next to someone else on the plane who attended, who also happened to be a nurse (like myself) and then joy and energy just kept flowing during our 1 and 1/2 hour flight home!!

Brandy, right before the conference (in April) I was hospitalized for 4 days due to my gastroporesis backing up so badly that my gallbladder acted up. The week after I got discharged, I broke two toes. So, here I am eating pureed food-cream of wheat, jello, pudding, etc. AND unable to work out. I was headed south quickly and was so close to the edge and throwing in the towel BUT, with a second grandson on the way, I have to keep going.  The conference has TOTALLY turned me around and motivated me to keep doing even better than I had tried to do over the past six months. 

I had SO MUCH FUN Saturday evening, laughing out loud and being silly--it was  better than any antidepressant or chocolate bar I could have had!! So, how do I/we start a PODS group here in Boston??  I would love to share the wealth with people in this area. And if that is not possible, then I would like to volunteer somehow for DiabetesSisters.  Please let me know how.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the experience of a lifetime! In my 44+ years now with type 1 I have never felt more motivated and less stressed about living with diabetes. (Even my male administrative assistant commented this morning on how good I looked!)  I am so glad that I found this organization of sisterhood and by the way, I have orange on again!

In good health,

Linda Mahoney

WoW!  I can’t believe what a great time I had at the Weekend for Women Conference!  As many of you know, I have spent the majority of the last eight months securing the funding and planning all of the details for the 2010 Weekend for Women Conference.  With the Conference filling up within 8 weeks of opening registration, having a waitlist of over 80 women, and even having women come to the TCOYD Conference with their bags packed just in case someone didn’t show for the WfW Conference, it became VERY evident that the Conference is filling a void in the health care community.  It was so awesome to see the diversity of the Sisterhood as well as the acceptance of all women with all types of diabetes (type 1, type 2, pre-diabetes, gestational, LADA/Type 1.5, and MODY).  Although there are some differences in the various types of diabetes, what became evident this weekend were the similarities that exist in the various types of diabetes and our ability to support each other, regardless of what type of diabetes we have.   

Mother's Day/ABC11 Coverage

sisterSTAFF Blog

May 9, 2010

women diabetes diabetic woman
From L to R: Loretta Alford (DS Member), Jennifer Perkins, MD (Weekend for Women Conference Panel Member,
Brandy Barnes (DS Founder/Executive Director), Angela Hampton, Host of Heart of Carolina Perspectives (abc11)

Happy Mother’s Day, Sisters!  For those DiabetesSisters members who are mothers (and had diabetes during your pregnancies), you deserve an extra salute today!  Often, the hard work that is required of women with diabetes to ensure a healthy baby goes unappreciated.  Since we don’t go around 'tooting our own horns' about what we go through during pregnancy, most people—including our spouses, friends, and children--are unaware of the extra love that was put into our pregnancies.  So, today, I want to take the opportunity to tell you that your hard work and diligence is not overlooked and it is appreciated!   

We are ONLY two weeks away from the Conference and I am excited beyond belief!  We have one more planning committee meeting this Tuesday to finalize the last details.  I met with Susan Totten (Planning Committee Member) last week to work on our plan for the social activities on Saturday night and I walked away from that meeting so jazzed about the ideas we came up with!  So, you had better come prepared to let it all hang out, have fun, and celebrate being part of the sisterhood!  The first activity we have planned will definitely set the tone and get you loosened up for the rest of the evening.  It will also be quite memorable!  Feel free to bring any orange (DiabetesSisters’ official color!) accessories you have, such as glasses, hats, hair clips, necklaces, and anything else “girlie”.  We will use them during the first activity.    ALSO- Be sure to come to the Weekend for Women registration desk (in the Marriott City Center) at 5pm on Saturday to sign up for the pampering service of your choice! Sign-ups will be done on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Choices include: manicure, massage, hairstyling, and make-up application.  Then, from 5-6pm you will have time to get checked in to your room and get settled before dinner starts promptly at 6pm.  Trust me, you do not want to miss the Welcome/Introduction.  Before I forget--  I had a question come up this week about the dress code at the conference.  On Saturday evening, we recommend you come in business casual.  On Sunday morning, we recommend that you wear casual/fitness gear for the exercise session.  Then, for the rest of the day, we recommend business casual.

Finally, I am excited to share that abc11’s Heart of Carolina Perspectives did a segment on DiabetesSisters and the Weekend for Women Conference. It aired this morning--Sunday, May 9th at 11am.  In addition to hearing from me, you’ll also get to hear from Jennifer Perkins, MD (a Duke endocrinologist and a member of the Pregnancy Panel at the Weekend for Women Conference) and Loretta Alford (a Weekend for Women Conference Planning Committee Member).  I’ll post the segment on the website as soon as I have it!

This Wednesday, May 12th, I will be sitting down to talk with Sharon Delaney of My Carolina Today (nbc17).  I’ll keep you posted via Twitter ( and facebook ( for when to look for our segment on television.