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I’m Not a Doctor, But I Can Help.

“Mom, what is that rose?” she asked as colored at the kitchen table.

“It is part of a thing I’m working on that helps kids with diabetes who need insulin.”

“You give them insulin?”

“Kind of.  These kids live in countries that are far from here, but they have diabetes like I do.  And their fridge doesn’t have insulin in it, so we’re helping to give them insulin.”

“What happens if they don’t get insulin?”

“They can get sick.  And feel really bad.  So insulin helps keep them from getting sick.”

It’s hard to explain to my daughter why our fridge has insulin in it and why I don’t worry about where my next injection is coming from.  It’s hard to explain why insulin is so small, so silent, but so important in keeping her mother alive.

“I want to help.  I’m not a doctor but I can help,” she said.  “We can take one of your bottles of insulin in the fridge and put it in a FedEx and send it over to those kids.”

We send a little bit of money that helps do that.  Five dollars.  It helps.”

“So they can have insulin, too?”

“Exactly.”

“And so they can not be sick?”

“Exactly again.”

“That sounds like a good idea, mom.”

Exactly.  

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

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.

SMASH.

Sometimes the symptoms of my low blood sugars are frustration and anger, which is often misplaced and taken out on the people closest (proximity-wise, and emotionally) to me. I was trying to explain this to Birdy two days ago, as I was treating a low blood sugar that was making me feel every inch angry and disoriented.

She nodded solemnly.

“You’re like the Hulk, then?”

… you wouldn’t like me when I’m low.

Animas Vibe APPROVED in the US!

Oh YAY!!!

[Disclosures first:  I have a sponsorship relationship with Animas and have since early 2010, so everything said here is colored by that bias.  For more information on my disclosures, you can read my disclosure page.]

I was really excited to see in my inbox this morning that the Animas Vibe insulin pump has been approved for use in the USA for adults.  This device integrates my insulin pump and my CGM into one device, giving me one less thing to lose and one less thing to carry (and one less expensive thing to throw when frustrated).  As a human being who is not a kangaroo, this is a plus for me.  And integration with the CGM product that I know and trust (and also have a disclosure about – bias!) is an even bigger plus.

Worldwide President at Diabetes Care for LifeScan/Animas, Val Asbury said:  “We are excited to celebrate this significant milestone in our efforts to expand Animas® Vibe’s™ global footprint and our insulin delivery offerings to adult patients (ages 18 years and older).  Animas® Vibe™ is an important addition to our product portfolio because we are now able to offer patients in the US a solution that allows them to view glucose data and administer insulin right from the pump – simplifying and aiding in their ability to make more informed decisions and fine-tune insulin delivery.”

(For the record, Val and her team added their own little R-in-the-circle thing because they are official.  I am not as official.  I’m just excited.)

I asked the Animas team about upgrades for folks who are using an Animas pump but are still within warranty, and the response I received from Dave Detmers (Director of Communications) was:  “Once Animas® Vibe™ is commercially available in the US, we will provide an EZAccess Upgrade program, which offers patients who qualify the opportunity to upgrade to our latest technology. More details will be available surrounding the EZAccess Upgrade program once the program has launched.”  Like you, I am not sure how that will shake out, but once I have more details, I’ll share ASAP.

For now, I’m thankful that the Vibe has finally been approved by the FDA, as this moment marks progress.  I like progress. And I’m excited to see it happening.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!!  <3 the Sparlings

Diabetes Month, Diabetes Year.

Diabetes Awareness Month is almost over, closing out on November 30th.  Throughout the month, I’ve watched some really inspiring efforts take flight to raise awareness for diabetes, including the Project Blue November campaign.  Project Blue November has been a big part of my Facebook feed throughout the month, showcasing photos of advocates and celebrities alike sporting their blue circle pin.

My blue circle pin is something I wear every time I’m out in public.  I have one that I take on-and-off whatever jacket I’m wearing and a one permanently stuck on the bookbag I use when I’m traveling.


Diabetes Month is almost over, but I wear my awareness everywhere I travel. #PWDpride. Also, #rhodypride.

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

I don’t spend the majority of my days on a diabetes advocacy soapbox, but having that pin on me at all times makes me feel like I’m wearing a teeny Bat-Signal of advocacy.  It sends out a signal that I love someone (many someones) with diabetes.  It’s a beacon for broken islets.  It’s a sign that I care about the community as a whole.

Every month is diabetes month when you live with it.  This disease is every day, every month, all year long without respite.  But it’s not a “woe is me” headgame.  It’s more a “keep going; life is worth the effort” sort of mentality.

This month has been more scattered than usual, and I felt like I kind of phoned it in for diabetes month.  My focus was on other things, other people, other events and honestly?  That break felt good.  I think when the focus is “supposed to be diabetes,” I lose steam.  (File it under “Don’t Tell Me What To Do,” which might be the biggest file in my mental cabinet.)  Advocacy has to feel right, and natural, and not forced for me.  Finding my footing sometimes requires a few weeks of mental quiet.

I’ll keep my pin on.  And when I’m ready to raise my voice again, I’ll do just that.  In the meantime, I need to feel comfortable with whatever level of storytelling and sharing fits my need, regardless of the month or awareness initiative.

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