Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Just Got Off The Phone With The Director of Customer Care for Reader's Digest

OK, first and foremost: BIG THANKS go out to Kim Vlasnik from Texting my Pancreas, (who not only informed us all about the publication, but also wrote a kick ass blog post in the form of a letter to RD all about it!

All of you (all of us?) are very much aware that Reader's Digest is putting out a special Diabetes Magazine called, "Reversing Diabetes - Your Total Guide To Blood Sugar Control" debauchery that will hit the stands in May.

Kim tweeted the info last night and started the Reader Digest storm a brewing! SHE ROCKS!

Others followed her lead, and yes, THEY ALSO ROCK.

As for me, I spent all morning unpacking, working on my Medtronic Diabetes Advocate Forum Post for tomorrow and Googling Reader's Digest Contact info - And I am the Queen of GOOGLE.

I spent even more time calling a series of different numbers for people who may or may not call me back, including; the Reader's Digest main number, where I got a live switchboard operator who gave me the number for their Editorial Desk that went right to voicemail: 914-244-5815.

And RDs Corporate Communications office, (212-850-5600) where I was able to leave both Evan Goetz & Rachel Rosenblatt voice mails - and as I went to press, they have not called me back .

I also called Mary Berner's office (Publisher of RD) & had a very nice and detailed conversation with her Secretary, who forwarded my information to the Customer Satisfaction office.

About 15 minutes ago, Brenda Wendt, Director of Customer Care called me back and listened as I aired my complaints and concerns. It went something like this.

Me: Hi Brenda, thanks for calling me back - And then I explained who I was, but I won't do that here.

Are you aware the RD is publishing a magazine called: "Reversing Diabetes - Your Total Guide To Blood Sugar Control." Brenda, do you what's wrong with that title? And between you and me, I think she had a good idea of what was wrong!

Diabetes, regardless of they type, can't be reversed. If that were the case, Reader's Digest would win the Noble Prize for Medicine.

If it were that easy, type 1's, type 1.5, and type 2's would all be doing it!

I've had type 1 diabetes for 33 years, and it's not going anywhere, no matter how "controlled" my blood sugars are!

Brenda, that sort of thinking makes the public not only blame people with diabetes for their disease, it also seriously damages our funding efforts for research & a cure. 150 people whose families are affected with type 1 diabetes just stormed Capital Hill 3 weeks ago asking our governments officials to continue funding money for Diabetes research, and that headline could do SERIOUS DAMAGE to not only our research funding, but our health in general.

Are you aware that Arizona officials are considering making all members of their states Medicaid with diabetes pay a fee, because they consider diabetes to be a healthy lifestyle choice?

For the record, she was not.

Places like the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation rely 100% on donated funds to research for the diabetes cure. How will that headline affect them?

JDRF has thousands of fundraising Balls every year; do you think people will buy tickets if they think that diabetes is all about being lazy???

Finally, there are desperate and scared people who are being diagnosed (or their loved ones are) with type 1, type 1.5, and type 2 diabetes every single day. Some will try anything for a cure. That title, not to mention that school of thought is deadly!!

As far as being type 2, it's considered more genetic of all the various types of diabetes and I know many type 2s who are not over weight.

Look, I don't care if you're a type 2 and loose 100 pounds or 10 lbs, your always going to be a person with diabetes, regardless of weather or not you cut back on your meds.

The minute people think they've found the golden diabetes egg and stop worrying about their heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and diabetes mindset, is the minute the damage is done!

Then I went on to mention that a storm was (is) brewing on line - That since last night, a boatload of blog posts, tweets, facebook, etc. are all over the internez regarding this subject. And that people who live or whose loved ones live with diabetes are VERY protective of their community- and we make lots of noise, both on-line and off. And then I think I said, ”It’s probably on tumblr by now."

Then I breathed.

And to Brenda's credit, she listened and she took lots of notes. Brenda was very nice, there wasn't an ounce of condescending tone in her voice and I was impressed at her listening & empathy skills.

And even thought Brenda said that she wasn't involved with Editorial in anyway, shape or form, she promised to pass along our concerns to the Editorial and Corporate Communications staff.

And I believe she will.

But will the folks from Reader's Digest Editorial & Corporate Communication reach out & make things right?

I don't know if they will, but I do know that they should.

Readers Digest contacted me re: the above post on April 8th. I'll let you make up your own mind re: their response: http://diabetesaliciousness.blogspot.com/2011/04/so-readers-digest-i-talked-very-briefly.html


Kim said...

I don't have words to adequately expression how AWESOME you are, K2. I'm so glad you were able to get through to them via phone.

We're all waiting to hear what they have to say about all this.


Chris said...

Well...that was easy :)

While it's unfortunate that stuff like this happens, at least the channels of communication are relatively open and more importantly - effective. Between this and the MTV stuff that Abby (SUM) wrote about, it's nice to see that our efforts aren't falling on deaf ears.

Sysy said...

Nice job, Kelly!

The media doesn't like to mention type 2 in the place of diabetes and they don't like to mention the strong genetic variable involved which people are fighting against. (Although I've never heard that it's the majority of the reason most people get type 2). They need to make distinctions for all of our sakes. While they're at it, they should write more about how much help and support is needed instead of always saying the same old thing.

Thanks for making that call.

Cara said...

I love the fact that you hunt until you find someone willing to listen to you! I emailed and I wow my blog post. But you have me wishing that I had done the calling as well. Thanks for taking that extra step.

Renata said...

Way to go!!!!

Jess said...

you kick ass! nothing really left to say... :)

Unknown said...

You are SO BADASS!

Thank you for your persistent dedication to advocacy and education....thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Alissa Evelyn said...

amazing! well done for speaking up for us all, and telling them what's right. i hope it's able to change things :)

Unknown said...

Yes! Thank you!

Anonymous said...

As always, you rock. Nice job.

Anonymous said...

We know that you are concerned with the title of our publication Reverse Diabetes. This term, however, is widely used throughout the healthcare and health-journalism communities, not solely by Reader's Digest. Please be assured that we are committed to the same cause: to help the millions of Americans struggling with the disease. We, of course, respect your right to differ with our approach, but we know with complete certainty that we have helped hundreds of thousands of people improve their condition by using our magazines, books, and digital content. We respect your opinion, and wish you the greatest success in your work on behalf of all people with diabetes. – Reader’s Digest

k2 said...

Dearest Readers Digest -
I don't care how many other publications use the term "Reverse Diabetes," IT'S WRONG.
As I mentioned in my email exchange w/ your Publicity Curator, why not stop perpetuating diabetes myths & stereotypes & perpetuate diabetes realities!
And with "complete certainty that the title of your Diabetes publication is all about selling copies and will do much harm in diabetes fundraising efforts and understanding of my diabetes in the public eye!
Shame on Reader's Digest for going for the attention grabbing headlines!!!
Kelly Kunik

Wyldceltic1-Jenny said...

"Anonymous" Reader's Digest; Your publication has always been a staple in our house from my childhood. I am so disappointed in your choice to publish this.

I was diagnosed as having 'Type 1' (Insulin Dependent) diabetes 27 years ago. At the time, I was athletic, ate all the right things etc, but alas, my DNA did not care. This did not stop my biological propensity to become diabetic.

Despite anything I do otherwise for the healthier lifestyle, I will forever be dependent on exogenous insulin. No 'Lifestyle choice' I make will reverse this fact.

What *I* dread is reading a news report about more parents letting their child become deathly ill because they: "Thought they could reverse the diabetes...After all, it says so in Reader's Digest!" ... We already have seen this from religious zealots and their Faith-based medicine.

K2, you TOTALLY did a great thing getting this information to them. I applaud your efforts in this endeavor.

Kim said...

I have several issues with the comment from RD, but here's the one I'll address now:

" we know with complete certainty that we have helped hundreds of thousands of people improve their condition by using our magazines, books, and digital content."

Unless you have access to these people's medical records, you actually don't know that. You only know that you've sold that many issues.

Shame on you, Reader's Digest.

Silver MLM said...

I have every condenced Reader Digest book from 1952 to 2002 how much can I sell them for?