Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Of Eye Exam Stress & Spreading The Word About Spare A Rose~


I dragged my feet getting to my eye appointment this morning - and that’s nothing new. 
I am perpetually late for my eye exams because of the stress that those exams cause me.
Since the whole one in a million thing that forever changed the way I see the world, I get incredibly stressed out when it comes eye exams. 
And FTR, I HATE BEING LATE for anything because ironically, beings late stresses me out.
The practice I go to is large, has offices in three states, and the staff at my office understands the stress I feel (and every other patient they see,) and are always incredibly kind. 
 I drove faster than I should have and I was still 20 minutes late - and they still welcomed me with smiles. 
My eye pressure was great, digital scans looked good, and my Doctor was all sorts of happy and positive. 
At the end of the appointment when he asked me if I had anything I wanted to discuss. 
I mentioned that it was #SpareARose time again and that Valentines Day was next week, and that for the cost of one red rose, (actually, it's cheaper than a red rose -at least where I live,)  they could save a life of a child with diabetes in need of insulin.

Sidebar: For the past two years, the Spare A Rose Campaign always falls during one of my eye exams. 

Dr Eye: Break it down for me again, Kelly - I know we participated last year.  
I reminded them that if they went to SpareARose.Org, they would find that the cost of one red rose ($5,) would provide a bottle of insulin (a 1 month supply,) for a child in need.
So even if my Doctor bought his wife 11 roses - he could provide the 12th in the form of insulin - and printout a Certificate(s) of Awesome ~
 Dr Eye: And if I donated $10? 
Me: That would provide 2 bottles of insulin, and $15 dollars would provide 3 bottles of insulin, etc.

The Doctor was enthusiastic about Spare A Rose and told me he was in.

His Physician’s Assistant chimed in and said something along the lines of: This is really a great cause  - I’m writing the website down and will go over it with the staff - I’ll also email the link out to my address book. 
Me: Thanks - that would be great - a little goes along way and $5 really does save a life. 
And as the PA walked me out, she told me that I could count on her to participate and help spread the word and closed with, “it’s such a terrific cause, how could I not?”

I thanked her again - for everything  - and vowed that I would be on time for my next appointment. 
She laughed and told me not to stress.

And as I sit here at my computer, still anime eyed and looking like I’m hopped up on the goofballs, I am thankful for all sorts of things, and feel happy and blessed to be able to pay it forward via #SpareARose. 

Monday, February 8, 2016

Things Have To Change: The High Cost Of Insulin & Other Drugs - It's Not Only An Eli Lilly Issue - It's A Pharma Issue.

This post was supposed to go up late last week, but between life and real people  sick hitting hard towards the end of the week, it didn't happen.
 I've thought long and hard the subject matter. Like every person living with diabetes, the cost of diabetes medications and supplies is so very personal to me,  not to mention on a professional level. 
So many emotions and feelings and so much to consider - and if you live with a chronic illness you never stop thinking about the cost of staying alive.
On Saturday I found out that a family friend who didn't have diabetes, owned her home outright and had a good job and health insurance, lost her home because insurance wouldn't cover her anti rejection medications after a transplant (because they were considers experimental and her only choice,) and she was forced to pay cash. 
On Sunday I read a Facebook post showing a friend from high school's pharmacy bill that totaled almost $600 for his monthly medications because of his new plan's extremely high deductible.

I'm not against pharma or profit, but things have to change. 
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Like many people, when I first read the article in Marketwatch quoting Lilly CEO John Lechleiter's n the Eli Lilly quarterly phone call, I was mad at John Lechleiter’s responses and reasoning behind the continual price increases.
“Asked on the earnings call about the current debate over drug pricing, John Lechleiter, chief executive officer, said higher prices make sense because it helps the company fund the research needed to find better treatment methods or a cure. 
Yes, they (drugs) can be expensive, but disease is a lot more expensive,” and added, “In 2016, we aim to continue revenue growth, margin expansion and value creation for our shareholders, all while sustaining a flow of innovative medicines from our pipeline to improve people's lives."

FTR: I know that Lilly is a for profit company and I'm not against dividends or profits. 
People are angry and rightly so with the wording and the reasoning, and I know their stock price has taken a hit since the MarketWatch article.

This kind of thinking brakes my heart and infuriates me on so many levels. 
First: his statement made no sense and in my opinion, show a lack of empathy for people living with diabetes. 
Yes, living with diabetes IS incredibly expensive, but continually marking up insulin prices steadily over the years to the point that the cost of for single bottle of Humalog sans insurance is $472 ( and it's been off patent for years,) is a big contributor to the high cost of living with diabetes and nobody can tell me that it isn't. 
FTR: The exorbitant cost of insulin is not only an issue with Lilly because it most certainly is not. This reasoning runs across the board and in tandem with other Pharma companies including Sanofi and Nova Nordisk when it comes to insulin pricing. 
When one company raises the price on a particular drug, in this case insulin, the competition immediately follows suit - matching the increase dollar per dollar and within days.
It's called Shadow Pricing. This article from Bloomberg (and be sure to listen to the audio - VERY important,) explains it drug per drug and dollar per dollar. 

Insurance companies are also to blame for the price increases because they want their cut of the insulin take. 
Many in pharma point to high deductibles adding to the cost and those in the insurance arena say that prices would go down if insulin was available in generic form, adding to the cost of brand insulin with insurance and damn near bankruptcy for those without insurance.

The continual increase in insulin prices have gone for years - well before deductibles went up and well before Obamacare came to be. 

And as far as taking/developing a generic form of insulin, in theory that sounds great. 
But in actually, I don’t want to take a bio similar generic insulin (and if said insulin were actually available,) because I believe that like certain generic time released drugs used to treat depression - bio similar generic insulins won't work as well - because molecularly, they wouldn't be able to work as well.
I think if generic forms of a drug will never be an option because of bio similar specifics,  Congress needs to step up to the plate and pass laws requiring insurance companies to make allowances for bio-similar brands that don’t punish the patient in the form of high cost for needing to take name brand drugs. 

Insulin is not a luxury drug, we take insulin because it keeps us alive as people with t1 - and for many with t2 and LADA - it keeps them healthy. 
Without insulin people with t1 diabetes would be dead.
Dirapram is not a luxury drug either. 
Anti rejection drugs aren't luxury drugs either.
Most drugs that insurance pays for or a portion of, aren't a luxury - they are a necessity in order for the people prescribed them to live.

Insulin has been on the market for over 90+ years and Eli Lilly's was basically given the North American patent rights so insulin could be mass produced and save lives, asap.

On a very personal level, I feel like Lilly has been part of my life forever because it has. Regular and NPH were my first insulins and I’ve been relying on insulin to survive every day for 38.3 years. 
Not only has it been a part of my life, but my two t1 aunts started insulin therapy as children in the late 1930’s and 1940’s. My t1 father began insulin therapy in the early 1950s, and my two oldest t1 sisters started insulin therapy in the 1960s. Eli Lilly kept them alive. Eli Lilly is one my dad was able to live to have six children, instead of dying from diabetes in his early 30's as a young father of two.

I’ve toured Lilly’s facilities, I’ve met the dedicated Lilly scientists who work diligently to make smarter insulins and I know people who work at Lilly and I know Lilly does good things for people with diabetes - and I'm glad and grateful. 

I know how insulin is made and it’s precarious and incredibly precise process - it’s not something that is done in a few minutes or a few days. 
I also know that if there’s one misstep in the insulin making process, be it cellular or in the bottling process - they have to start from scratch - and it’s not cheap. 
I absolutely get that.
But I also know the cost of a bottle of insulin far out ways the cost to produce a bottle of insulin without insurance - and in many cases with, and things have to change. 

I reached out across the internet to one of my contacts at Lilly and let her know that people with diabetes weren’t happy - and we set up a time to chat.
We talked about the frustration of the cost, I mentioned how people with diabetes found no comfort in John’s words or other companies continually increasing the price of  insulins - including insulins that are off patent, like Humalog
There was sympathy on the other end of the line and at one point I was asked what I would do to decrease costs. 
After the obvious - not charging a $472 for an off patent insulin... or an insulin on patent. 
I suggested that pharma needs to step up to the plate and start to police themselves regarding the continual price increases for insulin and other drugs, because soon, (and thanks to Pharma bro and asshat Martin Shkreli for putting the international spotlight on Pharma companies exponentially increasing the price of drugs, both old and new,) the government will do it for them - and they will make up for lost time because that's how elections are won.
 Increasing the price of drugs to the point of where it has people with diabetes and other illnesses choosing between mortgage payments and life saving medications is now a point of politics and is mentioned in speech after speech. 

If pharma doesn’t start policing themselves and act with empathy now, the government will not only do it for them - but in my opinion, will punish the industry for many reasons.
1. Putting the shareholders before the patients
2. making up for lost time
3. Lawmakers and the FDA deflecting the blame from themselves for not setting limits on the price of drugs years ago.

I don’t claim to have all the answers, nor do I wish to demonize pharma companies or the majority of the people who work for them  - sorry, Martin Shkreli is the devil. 

Things MUST change so people living with diabetes and other chronic illnesses can afford the drugs that keep them alive, while shareholders still receive their dividends - there has to be a middle ground where shareholders are happy and patients can afford the drugs that keep them alive - all of our lives and livelihoods depend on it

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Is It The Lack of Sleep Causing Bitch Blood Sugars Or Bitch Blood Sugars Causing Lack Of Sleep?

This post contains lots of ups and down blood sugar wise and is written by a woman who has been dealing with bitchy sleep/lack of sleep patterns, and bitch blood sugars for the past 4 days - all while dealing with this thing called life. 
Clearly I'm a little punch drunk, but I think (OK, I HOPE,) that some of you can relate.
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The past 4 days have have included 3 early morning lows in a row (even with decreased basal rates before bed,) and increased basal rates throughout the day because who the hell knows. The early morning lows certainly didn’t help with the mid morning highs, and there’s a chance that my scratchy throat and runny nose has something to do with the increased basal rates, too. 
Then there’s whole pre-menstrual hormonal thing going on. Sorry fellas, deal with it and you're damn lucky I didn't sneak in the word menses. ;)
And lets not forget the super miscalculation of Monday night’s dinner that resulted in a long stubborn high spell, combined with increased basals and a less then 20 hour old infusion site crapping out due to subcutaneous insulin overload. 
With all of the above - my sleep patterns have been really off - damn near non existent.
I plowed through yesterday and was exhausted last night. I went to bed at 10:40, (and between you and me,I fell asleep on the couch for 10 minutes at 7pm. And yes, I'm aware that catnap didn't help.) 
I would have gone to bed earlier, but the new infusion site not only kicked in with a vengeance - so did the rest of the insulin that I’d pumped throughout the day and I thought, hadn't worked. 
Sleep followed until just before 1:30 am. Then once again and what seems like a daily occurrence, I was wide awake. I tried to ignore it and even played my sleep app, but nothing helped. I ended up reading articles for a post I’m working on, (and maybe a little face-booking, because, WIDE AWAKE) until almost 4 am. 
I slept through this morning’s alarm, and woke up at 7:30. 45 minutes late and none to happy about it 

I like my sleep. I miss it. I need it. 

And I’ve found myself wondering out loud and on the twitter: Is it the lack of sleep that contributes to the challenging blood sugars or is the blood sugars that contribute to the lack of sleep? Does one influence the other and how the hell do I stop this from becoming a vicious cycle? 


 Also: I’m over it. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.

Yesterday I received a press release touting a certain brand of beet juice as a way to prevent type 2 diabetes. This beet juice contained all sorts of magical and medicinal properties and claimed to cure what ails you
Look, I have no doubt that beet juice has lots of vitamins and might have some medical properties.
I believe that certain foods, spices and herbs are good for us.
Mint is great if your stomach is upset and Valerian/chamomile tea helps if you're having trouble falling asleep. 
Caffeine wakes me up in the morning and prevents me from bitch zombie like tendencies for the rest of the day. 
And turmeric is supposedly very good for inflammation, but I'd still check with my Dr. if said supplement interacted negatively with any of your current medications, including blood thinners. 

As far as cinnamon - it's always been one of my favorite spices since I was little and I'm not even going "there."

Lastly, I feel better when I eat foods that aren't processed and made with ingredients I can pronounce and aren't found in a chemistry class. 

 But HELL'S NO, I'm not going to tout beet juice as a preventative pre-diabetes or t2 measure, based on a marketing press release from a beet juice company that links said claims to one 'experimental sciences,' study - so stop spamming my inbox and taking up my bandwidth! 

Instead, I highly recommend that if someone you love is worried about developing t2, have them set up an appointment with an Endo who works with a Certified Diabetes Educator. 
If someone you know/love is concerned about pre -diabetes, have them click DoIHavePreDiabetes.Org and they take a one minute test that will give them the answer.
And then have them get schedule an appointment with an Endo.

And FTR, I seriously considered sending this as  the response to the PR.

Sorry Dwight, but beet juice doesn't cut it!
Photo credit and courtesy of Cheezburger.com 



Monday, January 25, 2016

And The Winner of The American Girl Diabetes Care Kit, Diabetesalicious Giveaway Is.....

And the winner of the Diabetesaliciousness American Girl Diabetes Care Kit, is....
I know I was supposed to announce the winner of the American Girl Diabetes Care Kit on Friday, but like much of the east coast, super storm Jonas messed with my jam in a major way - please accept my apologies~ 
For the record, coastal flooding in the winter is very real and very destructive and I do not wish it on anyone.

Luckily, I survived mostly unscathed, except for a busted water heater. 
With that being said, I'm pleased to announce  the winner of the Diabetesaliciousness American Girl Diabetes Care Kit, Giveaway is..........
Leigh Fickling! 
Leigh, CONGRATS and please shoot me an email (kellykunik(at)gmail(dot)com ,) with your mailing address so I can forward it to the folks at American Girl. 
And for those who didn't win, I will continue to look for fun giveaways here at Diabetealiciousness and good luck next time!
Lastly, big thanks to American Girl for creating such wonderful Diabetes Care Kit for your dolls and the children who love them - and for being so generous in providing a kit for the Diabetesaliciousness giveaway. 
American Girl 's Diabetes Care Kit is empowering and is an excellent diabetes teaching tool and I'm so grateful and glad that your company created such an amazing and wonderful Diabetes Care Kit! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

American Girl Diabetes Care Kit Review & Giveaway

Very cool and incredibly detailed, American Girl Diabetes Care Kit~
Two years ago, the then 11 year old Anje Busse created a Change.Org petition asking American Girl to create a line of Diabetes accessories for their dolls. And that's exactly what American Girl did~
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Like everyone else in the DOC, I was thrilled when I heard the news that American Girl had created and was launching the American Girl Diabetes Care Kit for their line of “Truly Me” Dolls.  
I reached out to AG and they were kind enough to send me my very own American Girl Diabetes Care Kit. 
My very own American Girl Diabetes Care Kit~
The kit comes fully loaded with diabetes accessories and I am so incredibly impressed with the details and thought that went into creating the diabetes accessories.
The logbook has a stitched back binder, the insulin pump has a clip and arrow keys, and from the BG number on the pump’s screen, I've come to the conclusion that it also has CGM capabilities.   
The tube of glucose tabs look just like the tubes of glucose tabs I keep in my car and my gym bag. 
The medical ID bracelet is pretty and perfect for a young doll with Type 1 diabetes. Sidebar: I believe that an American Girl Doll who wears a medical ID bracelet will encourage the little girl who loves her, to wear their own medical ID bracelet/ necklace. 

And I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that American Girl included an insulin pen in their Diabetes Care Kit because just like real life, your diabetes may vary and not every little girl wears an insulin pump. 
The kit’s meter has a test strip already inserted, the number on the screen matches the number on the insulin pump, and a lancing device. 
All the diabetes accessories fit nicely into the kit’s carrying case, which has a working zipper and ID Card all ready for you and your doll to fill out. FYI: when I spilled water, I discovered the kit’s bag was water resistant.
And now for more awesomeness: The folks at American Girl have generously agreed to Diabetesaliciousness American Girl Diabetes Care Kit, giveaway. 

How to win: leave a comment on the blog stating why you’d like to win an American Girl Diabetes Care Kit  - the winner will be announced on Friday afternoon and will be chosen by Random.org. 

Who can win: Anyone with diabetes no matter the age, or who has a child/loves a child with diabetes. 
Also, if you're a T1 parent/auntie/uncle, godparent with diabetes, I think that the American GirlDiabetes  Care Kit is an excellent teaching tool for the children in your life to learn about living with diabetes! 

**Please make sure you your blogger ID contain your email address, or leave your email address in your comment. If I can't contact you, or if I don't hear from you by Midnight on Monday, January 25th, I will be forced to choose a new winner. 

American Girl Diabetes Care Kit costs $24, comes with a blood sugar monitor, lancing device, insulin pump, insulin pen, medical bracelet, glucose tablets, log book, I.D. card, stickers, and a carrying case. 
The kit is available at americangirl.com, at all American Girl retail locations, or by calling 1-800-845-0005

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Diabetes Annoyance #993,599 & Considering Myself A Lucky Duck~

Because even though it was incredibly annoying, I'd discovered the issue while it was still only an inconvenience and before it turned into a major problem. 
And every now and then, I think we need to remind ourselves that diabetes annoyances and inconveniences are just that - and be thankful that they didn't turn into the huge problem they had the potential to become~ 
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My blood sugar was 278 post meal and right before bed last night, which was really strange because I'd eaten salmon, veggies and a bit of sweet potato for dinner, and that meal usually has the opposite effect on me. 
 So I grabbed my trusty pump to do a correction bolus, but decided to take a peak at my less than 3 hours old infusion site, first...  and I’m so glad I did. 
Because when I lifted up my shirt and looked down, I saw purplish skin peaking through the clear plastic window part - and I was not amused. A lump had formed under the skin of the new site and I knew what had to be done.
11 pm, a second sight change before bed (not optimal, but necessary,) a waste of a precious resources including; abdomen real estate, a pricy infusion set, and insulin, and all I wanted to do was go to bed. 
I pulled out the site and of course it started bleeding a bloody trail, because why wouldn’t it?  
I cleaned up, scrubbed the blood off my fluffy, warm sweatshirt and changed my site, did a correction bolus and then decided to be useful. In the grand scheme of things, I knew it could have been so much worse - the past week had been a reminder of that. 

For the next 15 minutes, I transferred the clothes from my bedroom hamper into the washing machine - one less step for tomorrow nights laundry. Put away the clean dishes that had been drying in the dish rack and cleaned my kitchen sink so it was all nice and shiny, then prepped the coffeemaker with the next morning’s coffee and water. 
All I would need to do when I woke up was turn it on. 
I set the alarm clock on my phone and plugged it in for a charge, then grabbed the copy of  “The Goldfinch,” from my desk, sat in bed and finally cracked open.
26 minutes later and deep into what I think is going to be a very great book, I checked my blood sugar. 215 flashed on my glucose meter - things were going in the right direction and crisis averted, I was tired and ready to go to sleep and now I could.
Plus I finally had a chance to start "The Goldfinch." WINNING.  
And lucky for me, I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
This morning went off without a hitch, except for the 19 degree temperature and howling winds - and I am a lucky duck, indeed~ 

Oh, and speaking of lucky ducks - tomorrow there's a giveaway on the blog ;)