Off the Dial


Hanukkah with Diabetes (a response)

We’re right in the middle of Hanukkah, lighting four candles tonight. This will be our 8th since Benny’s diagnosis,  but I can’t say I’ve thought a lot about diabetes and the Festival of Lights.

Interesting then, to read a post on Diabetesmine about Hanukkah in Israel and T1D.  The author, Jessica Apple, is the founder and editor of the terrific website ASweetLife and she recently founded the Diabetes Media Foundation. I was surprised to read her words; she spells out the exact opposite of how I treat holidays and food:

“Dr. Tal began to list foods I should no longer eat, which—of course—included not just anything with sugar, but most carbohydrates, including all of my favorites: pasta, pizza, pita, burekas, and cereal.  To make it even more depressing, it was Hanukkah season, so Dr. Tal said potato latkes, jelly doughnuts, and the traditional chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil were all out of the question too.”

“Dr. Tal’s words ran through my mind. “Be afraid of sugar,” he’d said.”

This is a very interesting and well written post (link here). Apple weaves her T1D diagnosis through a remembrance of her families challenge of trying to keep kosher during her upbringing in  Texas. She was diagnosed with T1D while pregnant with her third child. I have a lot of respect for the strength she must have shown to keep her family going and come through with a healthy pregnancy. But I think her doctor’s advice in general is way off.

I posted this comment on the blog:

I’m Jewish and you can bet your dreidel my T1D son will be eating his share of latkes, gelt and sufganiyot (jelly donuts) during Hanukkah. Of course, in moderation, but with enjoyment and without fear. I love this article, but it saddens me to think that a doctor would tell a newly diagnosed T1D to be afraid of sugar or any food. My son was dx’d before he was 2, he’ll be ten in a few days and he is allowed to eat anything. Measure, bolus and be smart (his A1cs are great). People in general have enough food issues. People with diabetes should not be taught to add fear to the mix. Have a happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, wonderful New Year and enjoy your family foods and traditions!

What do you think? Should more doctors tell us to be afraid of sugar? Would that help us achieve better health?

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My front lawn right now. Really. I’m not a fan, but my kids and neighbors love it!



Diabetes Connections #WDDchat14

Last week I was thrilled to host one hour of the 24 Hour Twitter Marathon for World Diabetes Day. It was a bit of a blur, but it was a lot of fun.

I wanted to share some highlights. If this looks like fun, and you’re on Twitter, consider following the hashtag #DSMA. It stands for diabetes social media advocacy and every Wednesday from 9-10am (ET) there’s a chat with a different diabetes focus.

My topic was “Diabetes Connections:”



These are just a few answers and part of the conversation. You can check out the entire day on Twitter by searching the hashtag #WDDchat14. It may take a while to read them all, though. Remember, it was 24 hours!

Looking forward to doing this again next year. Especially because I got some great feedback:



Catching up with NASCAR’s Ryan Reed

We met NASCAR driver Ryan Reed a few years ago, when he was on the ARCA tour. Now he’s in his rookie year on the big stage and he’s really fun to watch. I like knowing that he’s got the same Dexcom receiver Benny uses mounted right on his dashboard!

I was able to catch up with him recently at Charlotte Motor Speedway:

Lily Diabetes has done a great job of explaining all the hard work that goes into being a driver who has type 1 diabetes. They’ve created a web series talking to Ryan’s “pit crew” and his “diabetes crew:”

How cool is his doctor?

Loads more info at:



Big Blue Test at School

The Big Blue Test is one of my favorite diabetes advocacy campaigns. It’s very simple: check your blood sugar, exercise for 15-20 minutes and then check again. Enter the results online at Sometimes we forget how important exercise to manage diabetes. This is a great way to bring that point home.

We’ve done it a couple of times, but when I heard they were expanding it to schools, I knew Benny would want to take part. He’s in the Turning Tigers this year, a very popular jump rope club at his school only open to 4th and 5th graders. They perform at events like Davidson College basketball games & Town Day. My daughter did it when she was in grade school and still remembers the routine, almost three years later.

We were thrilled when the Turning Tigers agreed to take the Big Blue Test. It’s the perfect setting; almost 50 kids jump rope an hour before school starts. There’s even another child in the group with type 1 diabetes (thanks, Michael, for helping us out!).  I explained the program to the kids…


And off we went!

The boys were really excited when their teacher, Mr. Rabb, agreed to check his blood sugar for the video. What you don’t see is that it took us almost ten minutes to get it done! Benny had asked ahead of time if Mr. Rabb was willing. When he was, we decided to bring in a different meter and lancer to use. We could have easily switched out the needle in Benny’s, but we have a few extra lying around. In fact, I opened up a brand new one just for this.

The boys poked Mr. Rabb’s pinky twice. No blood. They did it again, setting the lancer on #2 (the higher the number, the deeper the needle goes in). Still nothing. We switched fingers, we dialed it up to 3. Then 4. After I tried twice (pressing pretty hard) we figured out what was wrong.

It helps to have a needle in the lancer.



So thanks, Mr. Rabb, for agreeing to help out and then being a great sport when it didn’t go exactly as planned!


Learn more about the Big Blue Test (just click the picture)