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The Friday Six: Spare a Rose, Toaster Selfies, and Inhaled Insulin.

Happy Friday morning, she writes from the train that is scrambling up the eastern seaboard, going from No Snow to OMG Snow.  While I’m looking forward to getting home and returning to the Birdzone, I’m not exactly thrilled to see what this week’s snowstorm dumped onto our home in Rhode Island.  (Also, almost wrote “snotstorm,” which, if you know me at all, would be the worst natural disaster that could ever, ever come my way.)

Today I’m working through my inbox and sharing what cropped up as curious.  Have at:

Updates on inhaled insulin from the team at diaTribe.

A sample of what Dr. Korey Hood and I partnered on this week – talking about diabetes management, the importance of options in technology choices, and Animas Vibe[Oh hey there, disclosures.]

“A few weeks later Letamendi opened her new issue of Batgirl. In it, she found a shocking surprise. Simone had turned Letamendi into a character: Batgirl’s psychologist.”  This article is so cool.

Berci at ScienceRoll takes us through the current and future state of diabetes technology.

“I am lucky to have such a great best friend, and I know that down the road, on my wedding day, she’ll be there not only to straighten my gown train, but also to remind me to check my continuous glucose monitor.”  Great insight on friendship from Lauren.

Exploding kittens.

“But I was most struck by the realities of the family’s daily routine. Grace’s mother, Patricia, who is the sister of my boss at Saddleback Leather Company, where I am a filmmaker, told me about nights punctuated by alarms to get up and check her daughter’s blood sugar, at ‘midnight, 3 and 6.’” The opinions on this NYTimes article couldn’t be more diverse.  I’ve decided that I actually can’t decide how I’m most comfortable diabetes being portrayed, as I struggle to walk the line between “I’m fine/I’m sick.”  Your thoughts?

Flowers die, children shouldn’t.  The Spare a Rose campaign starts on February 1st.  Please consider joining the diabetes community in supporting our own.

The Boston Yeti almost replaces The Real Bigfoot as my favorite Twitter account.  Almost.

When emotions drive health behaviors.

Kim takes on the benefits of growing up with type 1 diabetes over at T1EverydayMagic with some fantastic cartoons to illustrate her point.  (GET IT?!)

“I think she felt bad for me. She acted as if it were cruel that I’d had to pay “a lot” of money for medicine to keep me alive, medicine for a disease I couldn’t help having. How thoughtful of her.”  Getting insulin in France.

Selfie toaster.  Bring on the gluten-free edible faces of my cats!

One Voice.

[Disclosures first:  I attended the Partners in Patient Health Summit yesterday in Washington, DC, which was an event sponsored by Sanofi.  They paid my travel and lodging.  I paid attention and generated my own opinions.  Now you know.]

At the Partners in Patient Health Summit yesterday, there was a spirited discussion about the power, and then the powerlessness, of the diabetes community.  John Schall, CEO of Caregiver Action Network, told the group (and I’m paraphrasing) that he was disappointed to see a community with so many people in it, yet so powerless.

This statement stuck with me because it forced me to step outside of the diabetes comfort bubble, and as the conversation moved forward, I wondered why we, as the diabetes community, have such a hard time coming to consensus on things. Why are we so disjointed, at times, in this space?  Diabetes, in my case, is a disease that will span decades and has been present for the vast majority of my life, causing relevant issues to shift with time.  When I was diagnosed at the age of seven, my parents needed support in taking care of me and my main priority was getting to soccer practice, or turning in my homework.  As I’ve grown older, priorities changed to include staying healthy to take the best care of my daughter.  “What matters most” is redefined every few years, but at the core, what matters most truly is my health.

Later in the afternoon of the summit, advocates from other health conditions took the stage to talk about what has worked, advocacy-wise, in their community and where they’ve drawn success from.  A common message from the other advocates was that consistent messaging matters, and to be heard, we have to speak with “one voice” as much as possible.

Can we speak with one voice?  Can the diabetes community come to agreement on two or three issues that we can rally behind with passion and conviction, raising awareness and our voices?

What can we, as a group rally behind? Where are our common goals? And how, for crying out loud, can we bring them to fruition?

(And to check out some of the discussion from the Summit on Twitter, take a look at the #diabetesPIPH hashtag.)

Sausagebetes.

Man, I hope this cat is okay. Siah Sausage is the best.

The cat is being tested for diabetes. There goes my whole "it's not contagious!" assertion. ;)

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

Twitter Rant.

The lows that have been creeping in lately need to stop.  They are inconvenient at best, completely debilitating at their worst and the in-between is a muddled mess of glucose tab dust and frustration.  Yesterday I had a diabetes technology fail coupled with a highly symptomatic hypoglycemic event that occurred simultaneously with a phone call to the Joslin Clinic … which sent me over to Twitter with an agenda of rage.

First, it was my Dexcom receiver that went berserk on me, telling me on both my Animas Vibe and my G4 receiver that my blood sugar was 202 mg/dL with double arrows down but after my feet weren’t responding to the “MOVE!” commands from my brain, I grabbed my meter to double-check. And saw a blood sugar of 43 mg/dL.

I immediately went for the glucose tabs and housed several of them. The low symptoms were intense – confusion, anger, tears, and a hand too shaky to hold the jar of tabs properly, so I held it with two hands, like those stock photos of baby panda bears drinking from a baby bottle.

Then the phone rang, and I answered it because: 1. When I’m low, I make bad decisions, and 2. It was the Joslin Clinic calling and I always answer their calls because Joslin.

Yes, my insurance company is requiring a c-peptide test to confirm my type 1 diabetes status in order to cover my new insurance pump.

The irony was not lost on me.

I felt like a crumb for ranting but sometimes I’m a crumb.

And then the anger/adrenaline surge subsided and I was in that “weak with post-hypo panic, stupid body, knew I’d be fine in a few minutes but what the fuck” sort of fallout.

Eventually, as it always does, my blood sugar came back up and my brain tuned back into things happening on the planet. My CGM/Vibe/meter were back in alignment, showing me in the 80′s and holding steady.

But I’m still waiting for Joslin to call me back. You know, to confirm the type 1 diabetes I’ve had for 28 years.

Diabetes Interruptus.

Yesterday I had a hovering sort of low before a conference call, a low that took its sweet time letting my brain check back into the conversation despite my blood sugar number coming up reasonably quickly.

This morning, my pre-conference call routine involved a quick site change at my desk because I ran my insulin reservoir down to the fumes.


Standard work day: computer, iced coffee, insulin pump site change. #diabetes

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

Diabetes, I have another call this evening.  I fully anticipate that you’ll dress up in a clown suit and come skipping through the Skype screen waving your arms and burping, subtle interrupter that you are.

Inside Track: Chris and The Atticus Institute.

This afternoon’s post is an interview with the screenwriter in my house … because he lives here, too.  With our kid.  And the cats.  He wrote and directed a film called THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE, which is available on-demand and on iTunes today!

*   *   *

Kerri:  We’ve done this before, but we’re doing it again.  So hi.

Chris:  Hi.

Kerri:  So you’re my husband, you’ve come here into my office and you are sitting right next to me.  And you haven’t left yet.  So what would you like to talk about?  Today’s a big day, right?

Chris:  Is it trash day?

Kerri:  That seems like a not-so-nice thing to say about your film.

Chris:  I thought you were being passive-aggressive about the trash needing to go out.

Kerri:  That’s Friday.

Chris:  Right.  So today is Tuesday, which means that it’s the day my film, THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE, comes out on VOD and DVD.

Kerri:  And that also means you have three days until the trash goes out.

Chris:  Now you’re just being aggressive.  Regular aggressive.

Kerri:  Fair point.  Okay, so for people who don’t know what THE ATTICUS INSTITUTE is, can you give a brief “this is what it is?”

Chris:  In short, it’s a pseudo-documentary about the government’s efforts to weaponize possession.

Kerri:  And you wrote this film.  And directed it.  I know this because I am your wife.

Chris:  And because I was away shooting a film for two months.

Kerri:  Right but you’ve written a number of films, and this was your true directorial debut.  So how was that, going from putting it on the page to putting it on the screen?

Chris:  I liked the process.  I liked being able to see my vision through to the end, instead of passing off the baton.

Kerri:  Hang on, I wrote “bison” instead of “vision.”

Chris:  I’d like to see my bison through to the end as well.  If at all possible.  But wildlife aside, I liked being able to fully explore this idea.  Rather than the more familiar version of a possession movie, where the church sends in an exorcist and all that jazz, I wanted to take a scientific approach in dealing with the supernatural.

Kerri:  So you wanted it to be more grounded?

Chris:  Ultimately, yeah.  I wanted to play out the scenario of “what if there was a government confirmed case of possession,” studied and proven scientifically, and then show how the government might want to militarize something with that much power.

Kerri:  Wow.

Chris:  Yeah.  So it’s pretty much a romantic comedy.

Kerri:  I know you’re being cheeky, but honestly, this film isn’t a horror film.  It’s not like a jumpy-out scary sort of thing.

Chris:  No, it’s not.  It’s creepy more so than scary.  It’s unsettling.

Kerri:  Do you find it unsettling to sit here and do a formal interview with me?

Chris:  I wouldn’t exactly call it “formal,” since you’re in your bathrobe.

Kerri:  Fair point again.  Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today.  I appreciate it.  Please take the garbage out on Friday.

Chris:  Since we are now being formal, I seriously want to say thank you to the people in the diabetes community.  They’ve been a great support to you, and I’m grateful for how supportive they’ve been of me, too.

*   *   *

Thanks to Chris for the interview, and for the taking out of garbage things.  You can download ATTICUS from iTunes, watch the trailer here, and follow CSparl on Twitter @chrissparling.

Knotted Tubing.

Apparently I knit insulin pump tubing into cute little pretzels while I sleep.

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