Are You Helping YOUR Doc???….TV’s Sandra Oh and Jim Turner Help us Take a Look.

jim turner sandra ohWhen is the last time you took your child with diabetes to your doctor?  If, like most of us, it is usually 4 times a year;  are you helping your doctor, in any way, care for your child?  You should.

When discussing a visit to the Doctor’s office, and this may seem elementary, but you would be surprised how much waits for the day of/before the visit.  I’m not quite sure what we expect of our Doctor’s but there are a few thing to always remember.

First, remember, you are not the only patients.  Some practices have hundreds/thousands of patients and here you are, with 5 minutes with your Doctor and/or a diabetes educator.  DO NOT WASTE this time for you or your medical team.  Between visits, you should be writing questions you may have based on experiences over the last three months.

Keep a log.  When you see something or hear about something….jot it down.  A new technology, meter, device, procedure-in-care, and even rumors….write them down.  Shortly before your appointment, prioritize your questions.  You may not get to them all so pick the 3 biggest things you would like information about that pertains to your doctor’s advice.

The first thing is the care of your child.  Have your child’s blood test done 2-3 weeks before your appointment so your doctor is dealing with a present A1C and not one taken the week after last visit; 3 months prior.  Work this out with the office how to best achieve this outcome.

As I have stated before, one of the most creative geniuses in diabetes matters mixed with entertainment is Jim Turner.  Jim’s creative genius is evident here with his friend TV Superstar Sandra Oh in this video about seeing a doctor.  Click the dLife.

The video states clearly things you should do before you see your doctor.  It’s your 5 minutes, make the best of it.

I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

What a First Year!

1st-anniversaryWow, that went fast.

Today begins my second year and it is hard to believe that it was just one year ago I hit the ‘publish’ button and my first daily writing was posted.  A whole year.  I have written columns for years at dLife, but a year ago started my daily writings and it has been a most exhilarating journey.

I’m so thankful for the many people who take the time to read what I write and as I stated a year ago; “funny thing about diabetes is that we can never know enough…..can we?”. That saying still holds true. 

I have stated a million times that no one makes more mistakes than I in this diabetes journey and I’m always looking for a reason and a way to learn more.  I’ve stated a thousand times that I write about my feelings about what I experience, what I hear, or what I may read.  And if you disagree with me; you surely are free to express yourself and tell me why you disagree, or why you agree; but most of all it is my hope to continue the conversation about diabetes.  To open a dialogue and to share things that we all may find interesting as well.

I hope to continue that effort. 

Almost every emotion has been shared at one time or another.  The pain of a lost one, the sharing of kids and adults LIVING with diabetes, the highlighting of an individual who seemed extraordinary in their efforts no matter how big or how small, joy in a scientific finding, frustration in the lack of education, laughter at the sense of humor of some, and items that peaked my interest and also seemed to have peaked your interest as well.

As a reminder, I work at The DIabetes Research Institute Foundation because I believe in their cure-focused mission-if I knew some place better I would be there.  I respect other people’s choices to support other organizations, and I believe in all my heart and soul that there are surely enough choices out there for everyone and anyone to find a place to help that fits perfectly with how they can help as well.  I will continue to share those efforts of others, no matter who or what they support, if it makes a difference in this world.

There are no entities at the end of the day; there is just us; the diabetes community.  Made of people.  A whole lot of wonderful people.

No one place is perfect and I have stated before that it will be up to those who are impacted  in some way by diabetes to make a difference…….no one will do it for us.  I like to, and will continue to highlight, those who strive to make a difference in a way that THEY are able.  From celebrating the fact that their child has achieved something important to an organization trying to change the world; I celebrate those victories.

I have made mistakes over the last year too; and I have learned the power of the written word, no matter who writes it–if it is out there, it impacts others.  But there is nothing more rewarding than the messages I received that informed me that I may have somehow created a thought, stirred an emotion, touched a heart, and even helped someone through something I wrote……..THAT is what is about for me.

I have been at this for almost 21 years.  Many people with diabetes have no choice.  And as long as my loved ones have to stay at it, so will I.  For as long as they must, I will too.

This being the start of year two and the end of year one, I would like to thank David Edelman, who encouraged me to start and helps me often on this journey; and Gina Capone who gave me my Diabetes Dad logos and inspires me also.  I would like to thank my many colleagues who inspire me daily at the DRI and in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) who teach by doing; and they do much.  

But above all I want to thank all of you for somehow or some way finding some of what I write interesting enough to both read and sometimes even to share.  You have changed my life, and for that I humbly thank you.

I love your spirit, your ability to share an opinion, your drive toward perfection for your self or your loved one, and above all your ability to just ‘not do nothing’ to make this a better world for all of us.

We have each other and it is because of our collective strength, diabetes just will not do in our lives.  Let’s keep looking to manage it daily, look to keep working together, and look towards the day that the advancement to a cure leaves the discussion table and becomes a reality for all.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Diabetes “Mad Men”…..What Commercial WOULD YOU LIKE to See?

mad menFrom my time as a producer, I can tell you that it is a very labor-consuming, frustrating, and difficult time frame, from conception to airtime, creating a commercial or Public Service Announcement (PSA).

Trying to think of a commercial with a concept that captures the viewer’s attention by being edgy like this one created for the 1984 Superbowl. (Click links to see Ad).  Is no easy task.



Or perhaps a lighthearted approach like this one reminding us to “buckle-up’—-this became a huge classic.

Buckle up




And if you like Public Service Announcements, here is an all-time classic.

Like father like son




In between all of these thousands and thousands of commercials and public service announcements are the ones that missed the mark. Not every commercial can be remembered like Smokey the Bear.  And when it comes to disease-specific like diabetes it gets even tougher as we learned in the last few days.  We want this, but you cannot do that; this is good, but don’t say that; OMG my kids will see that–no way; they are healthy, they could die at any moment; the list is extremely hard to navigate, extremely hard.

While at dLife I wrote and produced the PSA spot below (look for Sandra Oh and Bret Michaels) to try to engage people to ‘Test’ their blood sugar more often.  dLife had already changed their ‘Know your Number’ to ‘Test, Don’t Guess’ in print work but to run a PSA, more thought had to be considered.  So you know how difficult this process can be; while figuring the entire process, Paula (Producer colleague) and I agonized over the use of the word ‘test’ and not ‘check’ for over a week before we bought it to dLife Creator Howard Steinberg for approval and air time; the deciding factor–they are not called ‘check-strips’ they are called ‘test-strips’.  So as simple and low-budget as it was; we ran with this spot (edited together by the incredible Holleran Media Productions) which, as many now know, became an award-winning spot (Telly Award).

test don't guess

With the recent announcement of the new IDF PSA; the DOC was not short of opinions chiming in about the spot; but that’s easy.  To look at something and say; “Fabulous’, “Realistic”, “Horrible’, “Seriously?”, and many more comments both pro and con; well that is the easy part of the commercial.  Whether you like something or not, well that is your opinion.

So here is the challenge.  By replying to this article, start to tell me what ‘your perfect’ diabetes commercial would be.  The more exact you make it, the better the understanding; so be specific.  If we can come to one unified concept, I will check with ‘some friends’ I still have and see if they can produce the spot (no promises, but I will try–I’m also not a big fan of animated, or cartoon, spots; just so you know).  Of course if someone out there knows someone who knows someone who would love to be involved…..shoot me an email.  😉

The spot needs to be engaging, thirty seconds in length, edgy enough to be talked about but not edgy enough to offend.  It can be funny, dramatic, poignant, and focused.  It must be focused.  You have one message to get across….what is it?

As you go through this process you will find that it is not as easy as it looks, or you may even think it to be.  Now I know that it ‘is not your job’ to create a PSA or a commercial, but if you had an opinion on the IDF spot, you should be able to relay what you would duplicate or what you would not duplicate.  Post your thoughts here and also feel free to comment on each other’s work.   It will be like ‘we’ are the agency creating the spot.  A little diabetes ‘Mad Men’ as it were.

Have a feel of what this process is like, and let’s see if we can come to a resolve on what the spot should look like. 

Okay………..Lights!  Camera! Action!   Rollllllllll ’em……………….

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

“D” ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

I wrote this a few years ago for my column on dLife….here it is slightly updated. Apologies still to Clement Moore, the original author—Merry Christmas 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with  prayer,
In hopes that Santa would bring the cure with him this year.

The children were nestled from head to their feeties,
While thoughts in their head were no more diabetes.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, she prayed for the cure too,
A dad still wonders what else could he do.

Remembering this year; the D,C, health reform clatter,
So many were still wondering what was the matter.
Away to the news wires we ran in a flash,
Congress can’t get along, might it all crash.

As costs continue to rise on everyone’s supply,
So many wonder how they’ll get by.
D-bloggers continue to write of these capers,
It certainly can’t be left to all the newspapers.

Some insulins are now no longer produced in large numbers,
Who made the decision on these stupid blunders?
To those with diabetes these really are not funny,
You’re playing with lives; it’s not about money.

As parents search for the docs and schools that really care,
So much about this disease just doesn’t seem fair.
But as we turn and realize the continual fear,
I have some wishes for so many this year.

When you look outside at the fresh fallen snow,
Or out at the sea where cold you don’t know,
Think of those who inspire and soon you will see,
Those things have changed in the past and will continue to be.

Innovations like getting supplies to those in foreign lands,
There was Team Type 1, IDF, and a Foundation of Hands.
There were great events where no one would lose ya’,
There were rides, walks, another Jessapoolaza.

Of course we always had times that supplied daily strife,
But there were always seminars and CWD’s—great Friends for Life.
There was JDRF continuing in closing the loop,
And the ADA’s Stop Diabetes is still really a scoop.

There was TCOYD and programs were pooled,
And DRI’s drive for a cure is still very fueled.
Online giving went up a new step for sure,
By causes, by Facebook towards a real cure.

Information is available more than ever before,
Online, personal sites, bloggers still score.
So as the year ends and criticisms comes quick,
Remember there are good things and not all from St. Nick.

So listen carefully as you think of all that is run,
There is so much more work that needs to be done.
Don’t leave it to others; it’ll be just a few,
“Don’t do nothing” is what you really must do.

And if you think you’re done, tired, and feeling sort of sore,
Think of your loved one with diabetes, it’ll make you do more.
And if not for you, it will be for their sake,
We will stop it all when they get a break.

And then, in a twinkling, one day we’ll hear on the roof,
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
And the only thing needed is Santa’s toy bag for sure,
When diabetes is gone because of a cure.

So we will all continue to work, where is up to you,
But you have to make the decision on something you’ll do.
And one day we’ll scream and exclaim, “diabetes is out of sight,”
The Happiest Christmas ever, and to all a good-night!

I am a diabetes dad

Yes Virginia, There Will be a Cure! A Take on a Classic Tale for a Diabetes Cure.

In answer to all of the postings I have recently seen from children asking Santa for a cure, today, with apologies to The New York Sun, I dust off an old article I did for dLife and respond to a letter from a young lady who asked a simple question during this holiday season. Her name is Virginia and she asks simply, “Is there a cure for diabetes?” 

Dear Diabetes Dad,

I am eight years old and I have type 1 diabetes.
Some of my little friends, and others, say there is no such thing as a cure.
Papa says if you see it in an article from Diabetes Dad, it’s true.
Please tell me the truth, will there be a cure for diabetes?
Your friend,

Dear Virginia,

Virginia, your little friends — and others — are wrong. 

They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical day. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there will be a cure for diabetes. It exists as certain as the results from love, and generosity, and devotion exists, and you know that these results abound and give you the highest hope and joy. Alas, how dreary would be the world if there were no hope for a cure. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginia. There would be no childlike faith then, no wishes, no challenges of those searching for a cure, no hope to make living with diabetes tolerable. The light at the end of the tunnel, for which children and their parents constantly seek for the world, would be extinguished. 

Not believe in a cure? You might as well not believe in science. You might get your papa to hire men to watch every bit of science all over the world. And even if they did not see the cure actually coming, what would that prove? Nobody can be everywhere all the time to see a cure coming. Just because it isn’t here today, does not mean it isn’t coming. The most real things in the world are those neither children or men (or women) can see right before them at the time they ask for it. Did they know that a polio vaccine would work? Did they think a heart could be transplanted? These were things that people never saw coming and now they are commonplace. Nobody can conceive all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. 

You may tear away the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world, which not the strongest men, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, dedicated work of science, and collaboration can push aside that curtain and view and picture the glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, there is nothing else as real and abiding. 

No cure? Thank God the hope lives and will live forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten thousand years from now, people will look back at this time of hope in the heart of a child. A child named Virginia, who always believed there would be a cure. May we all have the heart of Virginia and may all who seek the cure know the importance of the work they do to help all the Virginias of this world. 

Yes, Virginia, there will be a cure

Happy holidays to all and to all, a good night.

Your friend,
Diabetes Dad