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bookDiabetes articles about daily topics that affect those living with diabetes. There is a lot of information about diabetes and hopefully you find this information useful in your everyday life. Here we have compiled a list of older articles from our previous "The Diabetes Network" along with links to blogs and articles, an extended reading archive. You can use the search in the top-right menu to search for specific articles.

 

An original video - why everyone should be on the insulin pump

6 month review of insulin pump, click HERE

Medtronic Revel insulin pump review, click HERE

P90x & the pump, click HERE

Complaining never helps, click HERE

A visual aid (graph) to prove the point, click HERE

What I regret about choosing the pump, click HERE

My family explains the benefits of the pump (a video), click HERE

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P90X, diabetes, and the insulin pump - a match made in...

...the brain of some delusional being!

Only kidding there.

I advocate getting exercise. When you have diabetes, it's that much more important. Go walk Fido, take a stroll with your sweetie, mow the lawn, play the wii..... :) you get the picture.

P90X is an extreme home fitness routine. If you have cable, you've seen the ads - regular people like you and I working (very) hard and getting (very) fit. I wasn't so sure about this, but I really wanted to try it. I mean, every time the infomercial came on (no matter which one, there's multiple ones!) I watched it, and wondered....

Could I not only get BACK in to shape, could I get in to the best shape of my life? The answer? Yes.

To learn more about P90X, you can go anywhere on the internet and read countless stories of staggering health transformations. Before I get in to the diabetes part, I want to share my motivation.

When my feet starting hurting (BAD) I went to see a neurologist. A nurse there is an acquaintance, and when I stepped on the scale she muttered, "I never would have guessed."

Cue total shame and anger simultaneously.

The nerve, I mean come on - really? 201. 201. 2 - 0 - 1. Is it really that BIG of a deal? Apparently so. The next day the diet changed and the cardio and weight training (re)started. A few months later, it was my birthday and my wife surprised me with P90X. That was the best gift she's ever given me, after our son Nate and our golden retriever, Bentley.

But before P90X you begin you have to take this fitness test.

P-Uuuuu-Lllll-eeeeee-aaaaaa-sssssss-eeeeee I was thinking. I am SUPER FIT (in my mind). Then I got started. It's exhaustive - vertical leap, push ups, pull ups, etc. I was ok (they give you minimums) until I had to sit down and try to touch my toes. Now, I was never a dancer, gymnast, etc. and had never at that point done yoga (just for girls, I thought); but still I really considered myself flexible. Not so much. The minimum GAP between outstretched fingers and toes is 6." My best effort? 6", and barely at that. Whew - on to the program.

Suffice to say that after day 2 I literally could not walk right for 5 days. I just wasn't used to it. But after another week or so I hit my stride, and I was addicted.

Being on the pump (or just having diabetes) and engaging in strenuous exercise can be taxing. I was going low, A LOT. So here's what I did.

Google!

I came across a professional-grade athlete with diabetes, and I emailed him, asking for his help. A day or so later I heard back, and what he told me made all the difference in the world. He recommended a book to me that I am here and now recommending to you, no matter what kind of exercising you do:

"The Diabetic Athlete's Handbook."

Yeah, diabetic is a word some of us are not crazy about, but the info in the book is incredible. It profiles athletes and their specific programs, and make suggestions for pump users, shot takers, and type-2'rs. There's something there for everyone. Back to my journey...

When I did the program (aprox 1 hr/day) I would take my pump off entirely. Prior to exercising I would reduce my insulin (bolus for eating) by 50%, and my basal rates would be decreased by 30% or more for at least 12 hours AFTER the exercise.

That did it for me, I drastically reduced my lows, and most days worked-out problem free. There were occasions I had to stop working out due to a low, and other days I had to delay a start because my level was 'normal.' If it wasn't elevated at the start, it would crash for me.

The program itself is incredible, and I found the Yoga portion to be most challenging, yet mutually rewarding upon completion.

It IS possible to do an extreme program like P90x while on the pump, or shots - it just takes more planning than normal.

The payoff is worth it, though.

Plus, now I can reach BEYOND my toes, and I am in the best shape of my life!

So get out there, get moving, and stay healthy!

Until next time, keep pumpin'...

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Diabetes Transplant Summit experience - Part 1

I'm still just glowing from my experiences yesterday here in Bethesda.  It was a day full of new and exciting opportunities.  Beyond that, it felt like I was an important part of a group of people with a common desire to show the world how islet cell transplantation can change lives.

The day began at 7am.  Andi Stancik, the executive director of the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation picked up Dr. Hering and me at our hotel and transported us to her office which is in the same building as the Fox TV station.  We arrived early and were able to use the time planning what to say and just getting to know each other.  It was very special for me to be able to spend time with Dr. Hering.  Besides being dynamic, he is so personable that I was able to feel comfortable with him.  What an opportunity to be involved with a project such as this with someone that I admire so much.  Its an extraordinary experience that I enjoyed in the moment and will enjoy thinking back on.

During this time, I was also introduced to Dr. Walter Bortz.  Dr. Bortz has written several books and led a very interesting life.  He recently ran the Boston Marathon at age 80.  He was the moderator of the Transplant Summit and kept us all under control and entertained.

The TV interview went well.  Here is the link to our segment on  Fox at 5.   I was pretty nervous, but managed to get through it.  We were provided with possible questions which helped a lot.  Dr. Hering talked about the science of islet cell transplants and I told of my experience.  I have never been in a television studio before and that was interesting.  Its not what it looks like on TV.  The cameras make things look like the various sections are all linked together.  Actually they are separate islands.  The lighting was interesting too.  It really held things together.  The newscasters were very friendly and accommodating and I felt as much at ease as possible.  I watched them again this morning and they seemed somehow different and more professionally distant than they were in person.

 

When we returned to the hotel, Dr. Hering invited me to join him for breakfast.  I, of course, brought up the pig islet cells and he sounded very pleased with how the study was progressing.  He said that two transplants would be occurring today (in monkeys, not humans yet).  He is hoping to get enough transplants performed to get FDA approval to try with humans possibly sometime next year.

I have to temporarily end here and get to the airport.  I hope to get some pictures and a detailed description of the Transplant Summit soon.  We are heading to Tampa this evening with some friends.  I can't wait to see the palm trees and smell some salt air.  What a week!

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Glaxo, Tolerx diabetes drug fails in study

NEW YORK - Tolerx Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline PLC said Friday their potential diabetes drug failed to meet its goal in a late-stage study.

The companies are studying otelixizumab as a potential treatment for patients with Type 1 diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes, the autoimmune system destroys insulin producing cells, making it necessary for patients to receive insulin boosts. The condition is fatal if not treated with insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is more common and involves the body not being able to properly use the insulin it produces.

The companies have suspended a similar late-stage study on the drug, pending review of the failed study.

"While we are disappointed in the DEFEND-1 (study) results of otelixizumab, we remain committed to the development and commercialization of the candidates in our pipeline, each of which has a distinct mechanism and target for correcting abnormal immune responses," said Douglas J. Ringler, president and CEO of Tolerx, in a statement.

Tolerx is a privatel held biotechnology company based in Cambridge, Mass.

Sources include
http://www.tolerrx.com/index.php
http://www.tolerrx.com/index.php?page=trx4

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This is the long version... (Part 1)

When I started feeling not so good was maybe five years back... Well, it was longer than that, but when things started to get on-again-off-again bad was about five years. First I started having really bad heart palpitations- they would knock the wind out of me. I saw a cardiologist. I had tonnes of tests- everything was fine. About a year later I returned to my GP. I would go through bouts of gasping for breath; I was tired all the time and thirsty, really thirsty. Went out for bloodwork; came back for answers- everything was fine, though slightly anemic. I was on iron pills for three months. The anemia went away, but my symptoms didn't. I was told it was likely a virus that would pass and was told to continue taking a multivitamin. Then, suddenly, everything I was complaining about went away.

That was fall. The following spring when my seasonal allergies started up: I. could. not. breath. I was given Ventolin and put on Advair. When that didn't help, they added more inhaled corticosteroid to the mix. I went from having blood sugars within range (with a good dose of regular bad lows) to having blood sugars around 20 mmol/l (about 360 mg/dl) all the effing time. I felt disgusting while I got my numbers under control... and then once allergy season ended, I'd stop the inhalers and deal with the opposite: major persistent lows.

This was just the beginning though. Every year since then my ability to breath, especially during allergy season degraded. Every time I got a cold (which went from about never to about three or four times a year) I would end up bacterial respiratory infections. I became familiar with the various ER's in the city. I've had x-rays and bloodwork at all of them. My inhaler medication just went up and up until it couldn't go up anymore. Sometimes it would get so bad I felt like I was drowning in my own phlegm. Again, I went for tests and breathed into all sorts of tubes- everything seemed fine. All they could figure was that it was some sort of allergy induced asthma.

And then this time last year, shit really fell apart. First, my skin started peeling. Especially from my scalp. I was parched all the time. Then my hair was falling out in bunches. My skin was bruising over the smallest bump and whenever I tested my blood I had times where I couldn't get them to stop bleeding. And, then, by this time last year I got tired... really tired... Like pre-insulin tired. I had times where I could muster up enough strength to get out of bed once a day. I would get up, practically crawl to the bathroom, clean up, grab a glass of water, go pee and make my way back to bed. The worst of it I remember lying in bed one night, my pulse had slowed right down and I had to actually make conscious effort to breath and in my head I was thinking 'If I fall asleep, I don't know that I'm going to wake up from this.' I fell asleep thinking of a list of what to do and who to contact in case I didn't wake up. I never wrote it down.

I can't remember now if it was before this or after that I went to my family doctor. I remember listing all the things that were happening and saying "I feel like I'm getting diabetes all over again." The colour drained from her face and she checked off almost all the tests on the bloodwork requisition sheet. This was the second round of bloodwork. She started prepping me for all the things that could be wrong. I remember none but the first- organ failure.

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Endo Appt #....(Oh who's counting anymore?)

Monday we set out early for J.J.'s 3 month endo visit. We debated even going, considering the snow storm and the amount of time it would take us. Normally a 1:15 minute drive took us 3 hours. We were an hour late!!! We called en route to let them know we were coming, hoping they would still see us. Our endo (I LOVE HER!!) said she would see us no problem!

The office was like a ghost town. Normally a very active clinic now had the lights dimmed, and very few people milling about. Turns out JJ was her only patient that morning. The nurse said they had a ton of cancellations. Well, good for us!! That means first class treatment!! As if we don't receive it normally.:)

The appointment was very routine. Great news is that his A1C is down from 8.2 to 7.7!! Awesome for us to see it come down on the pump. We were beginning to wonder. She helped us try to figure out our trouble spots!! Nights as usual are still bad and recently when he goes out to play in the snow he goes low. It's amazing what a little activity can do the the BG's!

Real Estate Issues

One new development was a lump on the bum!!! She found one on the upper quadrant of his left cheek. She showed me how to recognize it and had me feel for it. She asked if he wasn't feeling his site changes as much or would he direct me toward that spot for the site change? Sure enough....his site changes were becoming a breeze. What has happened is that he's kind of formed a "callous" of sorts. We've used that particular area so much that the insulin can't absorb as well and it's formed a "lump". He doesn't feel the site changes as much there, so he's always telling me to "go higher". She said the lump should go away, but we can't use a pretty large area of his small bum......we're losing good real estate!!!! Hopefully it will dissipate quick so we can rotate that site back in.

Since we had extra time with our endo we got in a discussion about "prevention" of diabetes. I had recently read an article in the "Diabetes Forecast" that said if a woman ate veggies every day of her pregnancy her child was half as likely to get diabetes. But those that only ate veggies 3 times a week had a 50% increase in risk. I was skeptical of the findings. But also there's a big push for Vitamin D supplements especially in Northern climates.....what's up with that? Well, she had some interesting information to share.

First the veggies thing. She said studies like that are so hard to pinpoint any one thing unless you begin to look at a lot of other factors. Since the "research" only studied veggies and nothing else, it really can't conclude a whole lot. She said about ten years ago she studied all the available studies out at the time and none of them could pinpoint any one factor for prevention.....like say we know that folic acid is important for pregnant women.

"....it is good for the eyes to see the sun!"(Ecc. 11:7)

However, she said one thing they have determined is that the closer people live to the equator the less people are diaganosed with type 1. And that they've tracked people groups that normally reside near the equator having a lower rate of diagnosis, but once that people group is moved closer to a polar region their rates increase. Thus all the research into Vitamin D....a vitamin we get most from the sun!! Their clinic now is recommending all kids get supplemented or make sure they take in 4 glasses of milk a day. She didn't say that taking Vit D would "prevent" type 1 (they just haven't proven that yet!), but most kids are deficient in it, especially us Minn-e-soh-tans!!!!

So......my thought......considering the LONNGGGG drive in a snow storm.....is that a move to a tropical location is in order!!! Equator here we come!!!!!:)

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