sisterSTAFF Blog

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Here we GROW again!

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Hello everyone!  I am seriously pumped about all of the great things going on at DiabetesSisters right now!  (and I’m also exhausted!)  I can’t really talk about all of it, but I’ll share what I can!  First, I am working with Ayogo Games to create an awesomely interactive SisterMatch program on our newly updated website!  The forethought and detail they have put into creating a program that speaks to our members and addresses their needs (to connect and improve their health) is astounding!  We are moving into the final production phase and nearing the release of our beta version.

 

We have the second 2011 Weekend for Women Conference coming up in San Diego in October…and Susan and I have put a great deal of thought into the speakers and the activities.  I can promise that you won’t be disappointed!  We have initiated a new aspect to our program in which we honor a different woman each year with the “DiabetesSisters Inspiration Award.”  For 2011, Ann Albright is the recipient of the DiabetesSisters Inspiration Award.  She will be joining us in San Diego to accept the award and to share some of her personal “diabetes story.”  You can check out our highly esteemed speakers and session topics here: http://www.diabetessisters.org/component/content/article/20/1169

 

Our PODS Meetup program has really taken off!  Exploded might be a better term to describe it!  As a result, Brittney Powell has stepped in to assist Kelli Turner (our National PODS Meetup Leader) and we are actively interviewing volunteers to also assist with the program’s incredible growth.  We have been working with Micromass Communications to create Topic Modules for each meeting.  In other words, these modules will provide structure and direction through educational information, specific activities, and questions for the groups to discuss at each meeting.   I have to give Andi and Diane at Micromass a big hand for the incredible work they have done on these Modules to make it engaging for attendees and as stress-free as possible for PODS Leaders.  We have also been working to create a PODS Leader Training Manual.  This will be used for our first remote PODS Leader training scheduled for August 25th.  For more information, contact Kelli at kelli@diabetessisters.org or Brittney at Brittney@diabetessisters.org.  Oh yeah…and that reminds me…Brittney Powell just joined our constantly expanding PODS Meetup Leadership Team.  Welcome Brittney!

 

Last, but not least….two DiabeteSisters members, Kelli Turner and Lesley Gray, will be part of a photo shoot with Diabetic Living magazine.  Look for their story in the Fall 2011 issue (available on Nov 1)!  Kelli and Lesley will be profiled in a three-to-four page spread about DiabetesSisters’ PODS Meetups and the important connections being made through them.   So, they get the “star treatment” on Friday—complete with hair/make-up artists and new clothing for the photo shoot.  I’m so excited for them!

 

Now is an exciting time to be a part of DiabetesSisters!  I want to sincerely thank all of the volunteers who have done their part to help the organization grow.  I especially want to thank Markee Flint, Shandra Botts, Kelli Turner, Tanya Varanelli, and Connie Hanham-Cain for their tremendous contributions!  It feels great to be part of this Sisterhood!

 

ADA- New Products & Clinical Trials

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Hello all!  I hope you received our Monthly Newsletter this week.  If not, please register for it here: http://visitor.constantcontact.com/manage/optin?v=001mCoOzq0-G5L2S9pHIn9txTTyFThxYdmg. Shandra Botts puts in a great deal of work each month to ensure that the newsletter is professional and arrives in a timely manner.  It is packed full of information- from tips from health professionals to stories about successful women with diabetes to updates on all of the great projects DiabetesSisters currently has going on.

 

While I was at the Roche Social Media Summit and the ADA Scientific Sessions last week, I attended some interesting information sessions and learned about some interesting new products while in the Exhibit Hall.  First, I’d like to share some information about a promising alternative to the currently cumbersome glucagon injection kits.  The Glucapen is a great alternative because, as we all know, it is not ideal to try to read lengthy instructions during an emergency situation.  This device requires only 3 steps and the first step is actually pressing a button to mix the ingredients (so you don’t have to worry about doing it right!).

 

I also met with Lorraine Stiehl to discuss the latest research in diabetes at the University of California, San Francisco.  I’d like to share some information with you in case you are able/willing to participate.  Both studies are focused on Type 1 diabetes.  The purpose of the first study is to se if a combination therapy (Thymoglobulin and Neulasta) can be used as a possible treatment for people who have established type 1 diabetes.  Secondarily, they also want to see if this combination will preserve insulin production.  To be involved in this study, you need to have Type 1 diabetes that was diagnosed between 4 months- 2 years ago and you must be between 16-44 years of age.  The study will last for two years and reimbursement is available.  The other study is also focused on Type 1 diabetes.  The study will use an investigational product called Regulatory T Cells (Tregs) to see if they will stop the destruction of insulin-making cells.  To be eligible, you must have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes within the last two years and be between the age of 18-35.  Contact Kathleen Fraser at 415-353-9084 or kfraser@diabetes.ucsf.edu for more information about either of these studies.

 

Onglyza is the final “new” product I’ll mention.  It is made by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Astra Zeneca.  It is for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.  Specifically, is in a class of medications called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. It works by increasing the amount of insulin produced by the body after meals when blood sugar is high.  If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be interested in checking it out.

ADA and Social Media Summit Re-cap

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My flight back from San Diego was pretty quiet, but then you kind of expect that on a red-eye flight.  My flight left San Diego at 8pm on Monday night, and after a connection in Los Angeles, I arrived home bright and early on Tuesday morning at 7am.

 

To provide a re-cap on last week:  I attended the Roche Social Media Summit on Thursday and Friday (I was supposed to be there on Wednesday afternoon, but with bad weather, flight delays, and flight re-routes, I didn’t make it to San Diego until after 12:30am on Thursday morning.  Since I was still on East Coast time, it was 3:30am as far as I was concerned!)  I wasn’t off to a great start, but I was excited to re-connect with my friends and colleagues in the diabetes blog world.  In other words—the people who are the “movers and shakers” of the diabetes world!  Everyone is always excited to learn what everyone else is doing and ready to support each other’s causes in any way possible.  In fact, after Roche highlighted DiabetesSisters’ PODS Meetups during the meeting, I was inundated with requests from fellow bloggers in the room who wanted to start a PODS Meetup in their own town.  Note: If you are not familiar with our PODS Meetup program, they are small, intimate gatherings of women with diabetes (all types), usually in the home of DS member or a public library meeting room.  What makes them so awesome is that they provide an opportunity for women with diabetes to come together, get and give support, uncover new information, stay up-to-date on the latest technology, and maintain their motivation in managing their diabetes.  By nature, women are very social creatures and often we are willing to share things in front of women that we are not willing to share with men.  There’s just a bond between women.  We don’t get annoyed or think someone is being “overly emotional” when we see tears and we also know how to have a good laugh (even a good laugh at ourselves sometimes!).  Anyway, if you haven’t attended a PODS Meetup, I encourage you to attend or host one in your area so that you can experience the strong Sisterhood bond like we have established in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area of North Carolina.  There are new PODS Meetups popping up all over the country!

  

Also, while at the Social Media Summit, I was pleased to hear from Jeffrey Brewer, CEO of JDRF about the organization’s vision for the future.  He seems really down to earth, sensible, and genuinely likeable.  One of the things he mentioned was that, in the past, the JDRF had been focused on raising lots of money and putting most of the money into research because they were operating on the belief that there would be a cure for diabetes in the next 5 years.  However, many years (5, 10, 15, 20) have passed and it has become clear that the cure for diabetes will not likely be in the next five years.  I realize we all want to believe a cure is near, but I’m almost tired of hearing about it now because it seems like a 20-year-old lie now.  Personally, I would rather be told the truth than strung on, so I appreciated his candor.  In light of this information, he made the decision to put more money into the infrastructure of the organization, especially since it is going to be around for a while longer!  In order to do this, employees have been hired.  He also addressed the rift between JDRF and ADA and acknowledged that there is still work to be done in partnering, but that they have begun to have meetings with ADA leadership.

 

The ADA Scientific Sessions began on Friday, June 24th and ended on Tuesday, June 28th.  It was sort of the “Red Carpet” for the diabetes community: famous researchers, endocrinologists, nurses, authors.  At these sessions, you can see all of the people whose work you’ve read about….if you know what they look like, that is!  (It's also an opportunity to see the latest and greatest products in diabetes.  More about that in next week's blog.)

 

As the CEO of a nonprofit, this is five days jam-packed with meetings with potential funders and partners, networking events to meeting new partners and funders, lots and lots of promoting DiabetesSisters and the great things we have going on, and lots of soliciting funds.  It may seem like my purpose for traveling and attending meetings was just for fun.  In actuality, it’s a lot of hard work.  I’m always drained when I get home, yet also excited about the conversations I had.  Of course, that sets in motion another whole line of work—which is following up with the contacts, setting up more phone meetings to further discuss ideas, and nurturing the new relationships just formed.

Traveling with Diabetes--- Arggghh!

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Hello Ladies! I am writing from JFK airport. My flight through Detroit to San Diego was delayed and I was re-routed through JFK. Now, I am scheduled to arrive in San Diego at 10pm (1am EST!). Ahhh! The joys of traveling!


Speaking of the joys of traveling, the average person has no idea what is required for a person with diabetes to travel across the country. First, we have to store our insulin in a temperature-safe place (And since flights are known to compromise the potency of insulin, it’s still not foolproof even we if do our part to keep the insulin cool. Secondly, for those of us on insulin pumps, we have to pack an ample amount of pump supplies or for those on insulin shots, needles must be packed. Now, I haven’t been on insulin injections in over 15 years, so I don’t know what it is like to try to get through Airport Security with needles in my purse. Lucky for me, I always store the pump supplies in my checked luggage. However, as I am writing this, I am realizing that may not be the best idea because if my luggage were to be lost, I would have no pump supplies! Then, there’s thinking through the outfits you are going to wear and determining what “extras” you might need to bring for your pump. For example, with some dresses, I need to wear “the Leg Thing” (that’s what it’s really called) to carry my pump. If I forget it, then there will be no wearing the dress!


When you get to the airport, there’s the TSA (Airport Security) that must be conquered. Some choose to go through security with their insulin pump on, but I choose not to do so. One bad incident was what changed my thinking about this. It was about five years ago and I was traveling with a group. I had my pump on and when I went through Security, the alarm went off. I walked back and stepped through again, and the alarm went off again. I was getting frazzled! Crap! I knew I needed to explain the insulin pump —which is what I did. I hoped that was enough, but it wasn’t. While my entire party waited, I went into a small room and was searched. Then, I was asked questions about my insulin pump. That single incident taught me that it is easier to quickly remove my pump right before I get to Security, then re-attach after I’ve made it through Security unscathed.


Of course, the WORST is when you get somewhere and realize that you have forgotten an essential element of your diabetes management paraphernalia….. And that’s what happened to me last week at the beach. I took my daughter to the beach to celebrate her graduation from kindergarten. About two days after arriving, my pump started alarming that my insulin level was getting low. Then, suddenly it dawned on me…I totally forgot to pack my insulin. It has been years since I have done this…In fact, probably 10 years! Anyway, since my prescriptions are filled at Kroger and there was a Kroger down the road, Summer and I went for a visit. I explained my situation and was excited to learn that I wouldn’t have to pay the $150 for a vial of insulin (cash price). Instead, they could submit what is called a “vacation override” to my insurance company and I would only have to pay a co-pay. Yay! Disaster averted! If you are ever on vacation or traveling and realize you don’t have insulin or other diabetes meds, don’t forget to ask them to submit a VACATION OVERRIDE to your insurance company. Not all insurance companies accept them, but many do. I know it saved me A LOT of money!

A Day by the Pool

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Hello Ladies!  It’s official!….School is over and summer is here!  My daughter, Summer, “graduated” from kindergarten this past week and we slipped away for a quick “girls’ beach trip” before she gets started with summer camps.  Beach trips are A LOT of fun, but they also carry a certain amount of anxiety due to the preparation that must take place for us (women with diabetes) to enjoy a day at the pool or a day at the beach.

 

Many, if not most people, have no understanding or appreciation of what women with diabetes go through in order to have a fun, stress-free day at the pool.  First, those of us who wear insulin pumps (with tubing) must plan accordingly with bathing suits and cover-ups that accommodate them.  We also have to stay "plugged in" to our pump at the pool while also protecting the insulin from the blistering heat of the sun.  And, as I learned recently-- we must be aware of where our pump is at all times...or else you will make the same mistake that I did and inadvertently toss your insulin pump into the pool while picking up your towel!  (Talk about diving into the water!  I don't think my sister has ever seen me move that fast!)  Lastly, taking an insulin pump into the heat, especially for days at a time can compromise the potency of insulin, as it did mine, resulting in me changing my infusion site after two days in the sun.

 

Of course, this kind of preparation isn’t restricted to those who are on insulin pumps.  Those who take insulin injections must also manage the storage of their insulin while at the pool or at the beach because they must have insulin available they need it.  And all women with diabetes, even those who are not on insulin, must be aware of the location of our meters to ensure they don't get too hot in the sun-- resulting in only error messages!  Another thing we can’t forget is that we all must plan accordingly with treatment for hypoglycemia (glucose tab, snacks).

 

I say all of this not to say, "Diabetes is too much work."  Instead, I highlight this because I want to bring a sense of awareness and appreciation to women with diabetes during the summer months.  Although the general public is not aware of our challenges of doing the common, everyday things of summertime-- the Sisterhood is well aware of the strength, courage, determination, and motivation it requires and we celebrate you for it!  HAPPY SUMMER!

 

UPDATE ON MY AUNT JOANN:  Thank you for your prayers and words of concern.  Since I wrote last Wednesday, she began to show signs of movement on Thursday and on Sunday she awoke and asked, "What happened?"  They are still performing tests, etc. to determine if the cause of her unconsciousness was a low blood sugar or a stroke.  Thanks again for your continued prayers and support!  

 

My Aunt JoAnn and the Frailty of Life

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While I started writing my blog this morning (6/8/2011) with lots of excitement about our new changes to the DiabetesSisters website and new PODS Meetup locations, my excitement was crushed by a call from my mother. She called to tell me about my paternal aunt, JoAnn, who has lived with diabetes for over 50 years did not wake up this morning.

JoAnn has lived alone since the death of her husband a few years ago and her sisters call to check in on her every morning. When there was no answer this morning, they quickly drove to her house and found her lying in her bed unconscious. An ambulance took her to the local hospital in my hometown of Hickory, NC and she was then transported to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC. As I write this now at 3:30 on Wednesday afternoon, she is still unconscious. Her insulin pump was removed and taken to her endocrinologist to evaluate the blood sugars that had been recorded over the last 24 hours. They are evaluating her now to determine the exact cause of her unconsciousness with the two most likely causes being either a low blood sugar or a stroke. According to the doctors, the next 72 hours are critical in determining whether or not she will recover.

I know, from conversations with her, that dying from a low blood sugar in the middle of the night alone was one of her biggest fears. She told me she kept snacks by her bed every night to ensure she could reach them in time. I know there are many of us with diabetes who can relate to this fear.

So this week, I want to make a simple request of my Sisters: Please pray for my aunt, JoAnn. I have personally witnessed and felt the mighty power of prayer. Thank you, Ladies!

New Pump

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Well, I have been debating whether or not to try a new pump for the last six months. When Medtronic called right before the Weekend for Women Conference and told me it was time to upgrade my pump because the warranty had run out, I simply went along with it out of convenience. And finally, about a week ago, I pulled the pump out of the box to get it set up. (I’m still intrigued by all of the new technology out there and I’m looking forward to attending the ADA Scientific Sessions in June to learn more about other pump options.) Anyway, I got my new pump set up, basal rates put in, Bolus Wizard correctly input, etc. and I must say that I can tell a big difference in my blood sugars over the last week. This leaves me thinking that there was really something wrong with my pump’s delivery system. For the last six months or so, I have had an increasing number of blood sugars in the 300s. I kept telling myself that I must be off on my carb counting or my basal rates must be wrong. So, first I increased my carb ratio from 1:15 to 1:12. When that didn’t seem to stop the high blood sugars, I increased by basal rates. NOW, my basal rates are set too high because I am having low blood sugars throughout the day AND my carb ratio of 1:12 is too high because I am now getting low after breakfast every morning. (Note: I eat the same thing almost every morning for breakfast, so I had the bolus measurement down to a science. For the longest time I took exactly 2.5 units of insulin to cover it. Over the past few months, I gradually increased it to 3.5 units but was still high after breakfast.) Interestingly, my aunt had a similar issue with her Medtronic pump not distributing her insulin correctly. As a result, she ended up at the hospital with both high blood sugars and extremely low blood sugars. No doubt, this is a very serious issue and I am concerned that other people might be experiencing the same issue. Have you experienced this with your Medtronic pump?

I’d also like to share an interview I did with Laura Kolodjeski of Sanofi-Aventis’ Discuss Diabetes Blog. We discussed the creation of DiabetesSisters, the Weekend for Women Conference in Raleigh and San Diego, and what I consider to be my greatest accomplishment. You can read the interview here: http://www.discussdiabetes.com/2011/05/a-story-of-sisterhood-featuring-brandy-barnes/

Inspiring Women and more...

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This week was quite memorable. I attended the WNBA Inspiring Women Luncheon in New York City on Tuesday. Katie Couric was the keynote speaker. She has always been a source of inspiration to me as a female news anchor, so I was excited to hear her speak. She shared some of her life journey and bumps along the wat. She discussed how, although she has always been described as “perky” since she was a little girl, life hasn’t always given her things to be “perky” about. Of course, we all remember her losing her husband, Jay, to colon cancer. But, there were also things that impacted that weren’t so public, like the death of her sister to cancer. She was also quite comical when she relayed memories of her long-standing media career and numerous interviews. She talked about how rapper Lil Jon was one of her most interesting, yet strangest interviews ever with him explaining his life to her by saying, “I’m jus gangsta Miss Katie”—which made the audience roar with laughter to hear her quote his accent and mannerisms. She also shared her personal feelings about the power that we, as women, hold in the world. She ended by explaining how her new book, “The Best Advice I Ever Got,” came about and gave everyone in attendance a copy.  Her book is a collection of the best advice ever received by some of the most influential people in the world.  I also had the pleasure of sitting with WNBA Player, Matee Ajavon.

Prior to her talking, we heard from WNBA President, Laurel Richie. Her story was also inspirational. She shared how, in her former job, many celebrities came through the doors, but none were as inspirational to her as Lisa Lesli. Unbeknownst to Lisa, a brief meeting a few years ago, inspired Ms. Richie to join the gym the following weekend and lose 50 pounds over the course of the next year! It made me think about how everyone, no matter who you are, celebrity or not, has a sphere of influence. We all have the ability to impact and influence those around us. It’s our choice whether we want to be a positive or negative influence. You can start the day by saying, “Good Morning!” to family members or saying, “Don’t talk to me in the mornings. I hate the mornings.” The choice you make about seemingly small things can impact how your child or spouse views mornings.

On the ride to my hotel, I pulled out Katie Couric’s book and began reading. I LOVE getting lost in a book, but I rarely have time any more to do so. So, I savored the one hour ride to my hotel (in New Jersey) and enjoyed the peaceful time spent lost in the uplifting thoughts of the writers in her book. It made me think about what I would consider the best advice I ever got. I’m still pondering that one, so I’ll have to share that story in another blog (when I determine the answer)!

Although I have not shared about the new and improved SisterMatch program that we will be launching soon, I am dying to share how excited I am about this new program. It is going to be something very new and innovative—like nothing you have ever seen in the diabetes community. So much research and thought has been put in to it and I am excited that we are moving out of the concept stage and into the development phase. The current plan is to launch a beta version in July or August 2011 with the full version coming in the fourth quarter of this year. There are so many different ways to engage with other women with diabetes (learn from them, talk to them, get to know them, support them, receive support from them) through this program that it’s unbelievable!

Make this week a great one!….and take some time to think about the people in your life and the ways (positive or negative) that you influence them. Better yet…reach out to them and ask them. But be prepared for the harsh truth and how you are going to handle it in a constructive manner.

 

Lessons Learned from the 2011 Conference

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May 15, 2011

I attended the Diabetes & Menopause session at the Conference because it is one of those areas that scares the “you-know-what” out of me. In some ways, it’s like diabetes and pregnancy: you hear horror stories about it; people tell you that you have to experience it to really understand it; and it’s a very different experience for women with vs. those who do not have diabetes.  Another VERY frustrating way that it is similar to diabetes and pregnancy is the fact that so little research has been done on the topic, therefore there are few resources available to help us.  That more than annoys me…IT ANGERS ME!  Because it seems that, if men with diabetes had to go through these life stages- pregnancy and menopause—with so little understanding of what to expect or resources to help them, there would be much more research on these topics. 

Look at all of the research that has been done on erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes and how many erectile dysfunction medications are on the market for men with diabetes. Although I was not in the beginning of the session, I learned a lot from both the speaker and attendees who voiced their opinions and concerns during the portion I attended.  For example, I was unaware that women with diabetes are more likely to enter peri-menopause and menopause earlier than their peers without diabetes.  In fact, I I talked to one woman who entered peri-menopause in her late 30s and menopause by the age of 40.  However, her male physicians provided very little assistance in identifying the symptoms and providing treatment options. 

Interestingly, an article entitled “Medical Mystery--- or Just Menopause?” in the March issue of Oprah magazine brings to light some of the commonly overlooked symptoms of peri-menopause and menopause: panic attacks, sore joints, dizziness, burning tongue, heart palpitations, increased seasonal allergies, sudden inability to breathe, irritability, and buzzing sensations.  In the article, menopause researcher Nanette Santoro, MD, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Colorado Denver, encourages women experiencing any symptoms to talk with their doctors because just knowing their strange symptoms are likely linked to fluctuating hormones can help.  The resounding theme of this article is similar to that of DiabetesSisters, “Hearing other women share their stories normalizes our ‘weirdness.’ “

Another interesting development talked about in the article is that soon it may be possible to find out if you’re genetically predisposed to early menopause.  In October 2010, scientists from the University of Exeter and the Institute of Cancer Research in England published a study identifying four genetic variants that increase chances of early menopuase.  Of course, I don't know how helpful that information would be to those of us with diabetes because we already know that having diabetes predisposes us to early menopause. However, for those women who don't have diabetes, this information would be especially helpful because early pre- and menopause is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis (hmmmm…yet another area that women with diabetes are at a disadvantage in terms of having diabetes which thenp predisposes them to  early menopause--both of which put them at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.)  To further drive home this important point-- I spoke with one woman at the conference (an attendee) who had a heart attack at the age of 38, but was brushed off by her male physicans when she tried to dsicuss her symptoms with them.  Even more distrubing for me was the fact that she had a daughter in kindergarten at the time-- and so I!  Important information we should all know...  

For the record...

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May 8, 2011

Hello!   This is an important week for me because I am going through the week-long process that culminates with lab tests at the end of the week which reveal whether or not my thyroid cancer has returned. (I received radioactive iodine treatment in January 2010).  Please pray for good results on these tests for me!!!  I also want to wish Happy Mother’s Day to every mother reading this blog!  As we all know, women with diabetes face a few extra challenges when carrying a child, so you deserve to bask in your childbirth accomplishment(s) today!

Speaking of being a woman with diabetes-- Every year when the conference rolls around, a few men come out of the woodwork to spew their venom at me, saying things like, “Diabetes is not a gender-specific disease.”  To which I promptly reply, “I never said diabetes only affects women.  Those words have NEVER come out of my mouth.  In fact, my view (and the stance held by the organization) is that women with diabetes experience hormonal fluctuations during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause which result in dramatic blood sugar fluctuations.  This is something that men with diabetes will NEVER experience and therefore have no understanding of- and often, though not always, no concern about.  There is little research and few resources on these topics --which leaves women with diabetes isolated in these various stages of life.  Women with diabetes also face increased health risks, such as depression, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders, body image issues, ketoacidosis, and osteoporosis that differ from those faced by men with diabetes.  Furthermore, women often deal with chronic illnesses differently from men.  In general, men aren’t known for sitting around talking about their problems, concerns, issues, etc.  Women, on the other hand, are known for going to their girlfriends to discuss issues and get advice.

This past week, when I was confronted by yet  man, I asked him if he had ever been in a room full of women with diabetes discussing the in-depth issues surrounding pregnancy, menopause, sex, relationships, or body image issues.  He replied, “It wouldn’t faze me to be in a room with women discussing these topics.”  I then replied, “It may not faze you, but it would bother many women and they would NOT feel safe enough to discuss the ‘real issues’ with you in the room.”  Of course, I am used to fighting these battles and I am ready to stand my ground with any man who comes forward with this kind of nonsense….It is just really untimely when I am so tired and worn out from the Conference to have to deal with this kind of ignorance.  My patience is always a bit thinner around the time of the conference because I have so much going on.  So I usually have to take a step back before pouncing on the men who make these ill-informed comments.

Interestingly, when I told my husband about one particular exchange I had with a male ‘heckler’ this week, he replied, “This man can’t be married.  He wouldn’t be saying this kind of stuff if he was.”  Of course, my husband was right.  This particular man was not married.  But, that got me thinking….I wonder how many of the men who come at me with this nonsense are not married.  I mean, it would make sense.  A good marriage requires a man to step outside of his own head and his own needs and think about someone else.  It requires them to make someone else a priority and make someone else’s happiness a priority—even over their own happiness.  If life is all about you, then why concern yourself with someone else’s challenges, right?

I tell you all of this for two reasons- 1) to provide some food for thought in case you are ever confronted by a male who has some incorrect misconceptions about DiabetesSisters or your involvement in the organization and 2) to clarify to our membership that neither myself or the organization is “anti-men” and we do not talk negatively about men in general or men with diabetes.  For the most part, we don’t talk about men (and especially not men with diabetes) because that is not our common area of interest nor is it an area that any of us feel knowledgeable about.  We are women, and therefore, we know the issues that women with diabetes go through.

Please know that if there is an opportunity for women with diabetes to join men with diabetes or any other organization (Children with Diabetes, ADA, JDRF, etc.) to work on a project, pass legislation that will benefit both, or advocate for an issue that affects both, I would welcome the opportunity to join together.