Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Article Comments

Woman Inspired By Her Fellow Diabetic “Sisters”

For the last three days, I was out in San Diego for the Weekend for Women: Celebration of Strength conference, and throughout the course of my quick, two and a half day trip, I met so many inspiring women.  And I heard so many inspiring things.

Brandy Barnes, creator of the Diabetes Sisters organization, opened the session by talking about dispelling some of the myths and misconceptions of life with all kinds of diabetes.  “Fight the mental battle of making our diabetes management a priority, while juggling the competing forces of jobs, family, friends … we have this all in common.”  Everyone in the room was living with type 1, type 2, or LADA (and with one self-proclaimed “Type weird”, Ms. Natalie Sera, who I had the pleasure of meeting and hugging).

Natalie rules.  And all of her dresses have pockets!
“Lets wrap our arms around them and help them feel like they are part of our sisterhood,” Brandy said, encouraging those who have attended the conferences in the past to reach out to new attendees.

That was the theme of the weekend – reaching out and being there.  There were many speakers (and I was very honored to be one of them, on a panel with some fellow insulin pumpers, talking about diabetes and technology), and their topics varied but their messages all contained the common thread of community.

Susan Jung Guzman, Phd and Director of Clinical Services at the Behavioral Diabetes Institute, spoke about the diabetes juggling act.  She talked about how, if you sit in on an average diabetes education course, you will hear about over 155 recommended “things to change” in your life.  “Or at least 155 things, because we stopped counting after 155.  But really?  155?  That’s three hours per DAY that diabetes eats up.”

“All of you are diabetes jugglers.  Some of you are quite masterful.  And some of you are learning,” she said in reference to all of the things we, as people with diabetes, are trying to manage in the course of our lives.  And without a lot of positive reinforcement.  “You bring your A1C down from 11% to 9%, and it isn’t met with a ‘Good for you!’  Instead, you hear about the things that can happen when your A1C is 9%.”  She shook her head.  “There are 26 million  people with diabetes, but only 13% are managing to the established metabolic goals.  We’re scolding people instead of offering them help, and hope.”

I heard a lot of inspiring things over the course of the weekend, but one of my favorite quotes did come from Susan in that first session.  “We have a full spectrum of wellness in here,” she said, smiling at the group of women with diabetes who were listening to her.  And I appreciated that focus on wellness instead of illness.

The outdoor lunch on the patio, overlooking the water, was pretty nice.  :)

More on some of the other sessions later this week, including a mindful eating exercise involving an M&M.  Which I’m still wrapping my mind around.  :)

[Disclosure:  I was asked to attend the conference by the team at Animas, and they paid my travel, lodging, and expenses.  Full details on my relationship with Animas here.  Also, if you're interested, this is a really cool Rube Goldberg machine.]

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*


You may also like these posts

Read comments »


Comments are closed.

Return to article »

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

Read more »

How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

Read more »

The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

Read more »

Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

Read more »

See all book reviews »