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Latest Posts

Managing Diabetes: Dealing With The Lows

For a good, long time, I ran higher than usual on purpose because of my focus on the baby and my fear of low blood sugars while I was responsible for her care.  In the last few months, I’ve started to lower my blood sugar goals to reclaim a little more control and tighten up that freaking standard deviation.

Which also means that my sensitivity to low blood sugars is tossed out the window once again, along with any whisper of a symptom.  (“Pssssst.  You’re low.”)

So these lows are starting to creep back into rotation.  For a few weeks, it was Read more »

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

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 Read more »

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

We Are All Patients

We are all patients, damnit.Two weeks ago, I attended my third year at Kru Research’s ePatient Connections conference, and every year, I’m amazed at how many different industry people show up and showcase their impressive efforts … but how few patients.  But this year, there were a lot of patients.  Lots as in “more than five.”

For a conference with “ePatient” in the title, it was good to finally see more than just a handful of ePatients in the audience.  (And this is thanks, largely in part, to the ePatient Bill of Rights project that took place on September 19th, across the hall from the SXSH event).  And it wasn’t just a handful of diabetes patients – there were many health conditions well-represented at these events.  For me, it was nice to talk about the universal issues that people with chronic illnesses face, instead of drifting around in the bubble of diabetes.  I like stepping outside of our comfortable space and learning about what others are living with.  I need that exposure to other types of patients … keeps me thinking globally.

Part of the panel discussion Read more »

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

Diabetic Deals With Temporary Visual Impairment

Normally, my vision is better than 20/20.  (20/15 is mine, which always prompts my eye doctor to say “Oh, you should be a pilot!” and then I laugh my face off because, really, do you know me, lady?)  I’m lucky not to wear glasses or contacts at this point in my life, especially considering that everyone else in my family needs a little visual help at this point.

I’m grateful that my vision is excellent most of the time, despite a few diabetic retinopathy issues.  But for the last 48 hours, it’s been a little dodgy, and managing diabetes while my eyesight is impaired has been challenging.  Yesterday was the worst day for this latest relapse of the ol’ corneal abrasion, so my vision was very limited in the affected eye (and the other eye was swollen in a lovely, compassionate response to its friend’s injury, so basically I look like I’d been tagged in the face with a baseball – twice.).

My Dexcom graph was next-to-impossible to read. Read more »

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

Diabetic Considers All She’s Learned In The Last 25 Years With The Disease

What I’ve learned in the last twenty-five years with type 1 diabetes:

  • Some of what “they” said is wrong.  It just is.
  • There are times when “they” make a good point, and it’s up to us as patients to figure out what information we react to.
  • The needles don’t hurt as much now as they did then.  Lancets have become smaller and sharper, syringes can make the same claim.  Insulin pump sites, once they’re in, usually go without being noticed.  Same goes for Dexcom sensors.  (But “painfree” is a misnomer and so subjective that medical device advertisers had best just steer clear of that word entirely.  All needles pinch at least a little bit.)
  • Progress isn’t always shown in tangible technological examples.  Sometimes progress is being able to look at a blood sugar number without feeling judged by it. Or to look in the mirror without wishing you were different.
  • There is life after diagnosis.
  • Diabetes is sometimes funny.  It has to be. Read more »

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

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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