Friday, April 8, 2011

So Readers Digest & I Talked Very Briefly, Exchanged Emails, & They Commented On My Blog - SO NOT IMPRESSED

Following the crowd will not get you anything but a view of their backside. Anon

So it's Friday afternoon and I though: Hey, I'm done blogging for the week, TGIF.

Karen Reynolds, of Reader's Digest happened to call me yesterday and wanted my email address . She didn't really want to talk right then, but she told me that she would be sending me an explanatory email and was available to talk afterwards if I'd like. And I was like, GREAT.

But, I was at my contract job yesterday and I couldn't respond to her email right then.

Plus, I wanted to marinate on my answer a bit, so I responded back to her today at lunch. Then, I called her office an hour later and left her a voice mail saying that we really needed to talk.

I went out and did work/ life errands all afternoon and just came home and there was no call or email from Readers Digest. But low and behold, at 4:09 PM this afternoon, there was a comment on my blog from them, you can read it, HERE.

Or, just check it out below.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Just Got Off The Phone With The Director of Custom...": 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

REALLY? That's the best answer you can come up with??? I thought my response to your comment was much better!

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

In the Spirit of full disclosure, I'm going to share the email exchange that Karen Reynolds, Publicity Curator for RD, so I don't get any of our exchange wrong.

I'll let you guys "marinate" on it and come up with your own thoughts.


Hi Kelly, It was nice speaking with you a few minutes ago. I want you to know that we understand your concerns and also want to provide you with some necessary background. Reader’s Digest has been serving the diabetes community faithfully for more than a decade. Books that include Stopping Diabetes in its Tracks, The Natural Solution to Diabetes, Eat to Beat Diabetes, Magic Foods for Better Blood Sugar, and Reverse Diabetes have together served millions of people in the U.S. and around the globe. Reverse Diabetes is targeted primarily to people with Type II diabetes. Lifestyle choices have been proven by scientific research to be a large part of the remedy. With Reverse Diabetes, we offer empowering, motivating, medically-substantiated ways for people to halt the progression of their condition and lead healthier lives. This includes lowering and stabilizing blood sugar levels, reducing heart-disease risk and increasing their overall sense of vitality. Based on strong customer satisfaction and demand for the tips, recipes, and motivation we provide, we have launched Reverse Diabetes as an ongoing publishing program. In addition to books, the Reverse Diabetes e-Newsletter is sent each week to nearly 200,000 loyal subscribers. The ad you are looking at is actually for the sixth newsstand magazine under the Reverse Diabetes name. We have received praise, almost exclusively, for our work, which is written by top medical writers and vetted by respected doctors. We completely understand that Type I Diabetes is a serious and challenging medical condition that requires nonstop monitoring and a lifelong commitment to insulin shots. There is no cure for a person who is unable to create his own insulin. I am certain we share the belief that no one should live the life of daily insulin shots and blood-sugar monitoring if it can be avoided. In that mindset, we’d urge you to support our efforts to show adults how to prevent Type II diabetes, or if diagnosed, how to live in a way that minimizes its impact on their lives. Thank you for taking the time to contact us for a response. Best Regards, Karen Reynolds Publicity Curator Reader's Digest Media 750 Third Avenue, 4th fl. New York, N.Y. 10017 646-293-6153

My Response to Karen's email:

Hi Karen -

Thank you for calling me personally and reaching out via email.

As far as all types of diabetes are concerned, I am very much aware of ALL THE TYPES of diabetes that exist, including: Type 1. Type 1.5, Type 2 and Gestational Diabetes.

As a Diabetes Advocate, it is my business and my passion require that I be educated on my disease and all it's family branches. My disease is not only my biggest passion, it's my business.

I have to be honest, I (and many others in the diabetes community, both on line and off) have a real problem with your headline, and that of the book of which it's based on.

I still very much disagree with the title. While Type 2 diabetes can certainly be helped by diet and exercise, it CAN NOT BE REVERSED. No matter how much exercise or healthy a type 2 person participates in, or how much weight they lose or medications they dramatically lower their intake of. Once a person is diagnosed with type 11, they will ALWAYS BE TYPE 2. The minute they forget that fact, the damage gets done.

If your publication is aimed at primarily at the type 2 diabetes population, why not SAY THAT in the title?

Why not have it read: How To Be In Charge OF Your Type 2 Diabetes?

Are you aware that a title like :"Reverse Diabetes" can severely affect fundraising efforts for research for the cure for Type 1 Diabetes, The Artificial Pancreas Project, etc?

Are you aware that organizations such as The Diabetes Research Institute Foundation rely 100% on fundraising dollars to finance research for a diabetes cure?

Are you aware that hundreds of families recently stormed Capital Hill for The JDRF"S Government Day and spoke with hundreds of politicos about not cutting funding for diabetes research or programs?

Are you aware that the state of Arizona's Medicaid is currently considering measures that would charge people with type 2 a fee for "being unhealthy?"

Reader's Digest "Reverse Diabetes" Publication is promoting the diabetes myth & stereotype that diabetes is a lazy persons disease - and that is just NOT the case.

I don't separate between diabetes types, and as you're well aware, neither does the media.

So instead of attention grabbing headlines that continually promote diabetes myths & stereotypes, why not have titles that perpetuate diabetes Realities and empowerment?

Personally, I know thousands of people who will no longer be buying or renewing their Readers Digest subscriptions purely based on "Reversing Diabetes" egregious title. And that's not only a shame for RD, but it's a shame for those who could be helped by your guide.

I will be calling you in person to speak about my concerns, which are the very same concerns that thousands of others share!


Kelly Kunik

-- Kelly Kunik Spreading Diabetes Validation through Humor,Ownership & Advocacy~

BIG THANKS to Kim over at Texting My Pancreas is responsible for getting the Readers Digest ball rolling with THIS post!


Jess said...

go kelly go! and thanks for including karen's contact info! she'll be hearing from me as well!

Pam said...

Crack is also "widely used" but that doesn't mean that it should be.

Nicole said...

I'm pissed!! this is ridiculous and I'm getting my writing cap on as soon as these children are gone to bed!!

Saramy said...

You are so diplomatic Kelly! My response to Reader's Digest is more along the lines of go f@*k yourself. Keep up your GREAT work.

Unknown said...

Hi Karen,
I recently was informed that you and RD believe that Reverse Diabetes has helped many of your readers. This may be so, but only to a small minority. The myths and vast amounts of misinformation that is available to the public is infuriating!

My daughter has Type 1 diabetes, and my grandmother has type two diabetes. Either way, "Reverse Diabetes" does not help either one of them. Type 1 and 2 ARE NOT REVERSABLE, nor are they PREVENTABLE (type 2 diabetics can choose healthier choices, yes but they are still a diabetic)!!!! Both my daughter and grandmother are not obese, nor is she lazy... however they have the diabetes curse.

Every day they have to check their blood glucose my daughter sometimes over 6 times in one day, and will live with this every day of her life. or until JDRF finds a cure.

Its publications like yours that inhibits... not HELP the public become educated. Infact, you are only publishing half truths! Its unbelievable.

I have always been a RD fan, but you can count me out.

I refuse to support a publication that publishes half truths.

Kristina M. Ellis

Scott Strange said...

Dear Anonymous,

The "widely used throughout the healthcare and health-journalism communities" comment really reminded me of defense that has been widely used.

You know the old "I was just following orders." that is used when people are incapable of independent thought an don't have the stones to do that is right, only what is easy.

I hope it serves you as well as it did for those at Nuerenburg.

Scott Strange

Anonymous said...

Wow! She just doesn't get it!

"Lifestyle choices have been proven by scientific research to be a large part of the remedy."

What "remedy" is she referring to?

Sysy said...

So she (they) are aware of the point Kelly makes but are saying that they are actively choosing to exaggerate by using the word "reverse" instead of say..."prevent" or "manage"...because it's more empowering to people? Or because it's eye grabbing? Or because the doctors you work with agree that diabetes is reversible? What is the truth? We'd like to know.

Crystal said...

Thanks for doing and sharing all of this Kelly.

I cannot believe her response. I'm shocked. They have NO clue. They use a word that gets attention, that's it. They are followers, they want readers = $.

Same shit, different day.
Keep on keepin' on, it's what Diabetes Advocates do; fight the bullshit.

Hallie Addington said...

Oh my Hell... I'm so pissed. Not at all surprised - but pissed. I will write a response once I calm down enough to not spout expletives.

How bout I send a nice picture of my sweet little girl and say that thanks to them and all others like them who feel that the term "reverse diabetes" is an acceptable term in healthcare, my daughter may never benefit from a cure for this disease. Because shit like that seriously sets us back in our fundraising efforts. Who wants to give money to a cause if they think it could have been prevented or could be cured thru "natural remedies". So take a look at this little girl, RD. You tell her it's acceptable. Tell her you'd rather sell magazines that help her cure diabetes. Tell her the fingerpricks and the shots and pain is not your problem. Tell her you really don't care about HER future.

Ugh... Thanks, Kelly! YOU rock and are one outstanding advocate! I am so glad ton have you in my corner.

Unknown said...


I've been SO out of the loop dealing with a neighborhood tragedy...OMGsh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm stunned that a publication such as RD would KNOWINGLY perpetuate stereotypes and myths for their own gain.

Makes you wonder if the content can be trusted.

Wow. Speechless.

Jamie Naessens said...

RD is certainly ridiculous. It's hard to get my head around all that is wrong, but when I do, they'll be hearing from me too. Ironically, how many people are going to be reading this drivel in their doctor's waiting rooms. Thanks for sharing, and thank you for working so hard to be heard on behalf of all of us with any type of D. Now I'm going to be sharing a piece of my mind with them!

Anonymous said...

@readersdigest Where in scientific peer reviewed journal articles has it been proven that humans can "reverse diabetes" w/diet & exercise?

From @curet1diabetes

Alexis Nicole said...

You are awesome! Seriously I wish I had a roll of toilet paper for her to wipe the crap coming out of her mouth!

So blessed to have you on our team K2!

Renata said...

I agree with both you and Scott. Who gives a rats ass if that's what everyone else is doing. And in the end, if they are wishing to serve all diabetics, DIABETICS know the fricken disease can't be reversed. So who in the hell is the publication for?
Keep up the good work Kelly.

Unknown said...

UHGHHHHHH! Seriously...enough already. Clearly they have no clue and/or don't want to get a "clue" and/or don't care. They just want to sell...sell...sell.

Anonymous said...

There is power in numbers! I sent Ms. Reynolds my own email expressing my frustration. Please send her an email too!! The more emails, the better. They need to understand that it's more than just a handful of outraged people. I am also going to start sending similar emails each time I see the term "diabetes" used so generically.

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Good on you Kelly I am an Aussie and when I read the words "Reverse Diabetes" I thought WTF although I have heard people say if you change your diet or lose weight you can get rid of diabetes which I know is a load of rubbish.

I have Type 2 myself as does both my parents and a sister. My mother lost over 30 kilos and she still diabetic.

Such terms as "Reverse Diabetes" is like slap in the face to those of use who have diabetes.

Scott S said...

The editorial staff at Reader's Digest is feeding you a line of crap.

In fact, the statement "reverse diabetes" is NOT used throughout the healthcare and health-journalism communities as anonymous states. In fact, on October 29, 2009, the American Diabetes Association published a Consensus Statement entitled "How Do We Define A Cure for Diabetes" in it's journal Diabetes Care which stated: "Medically, cure may be define as restoration to good health, while remission is defined as abatement or disappearance of the signs and symptoms of a disease." It went on to state "Abnormal glucose metabolism leading to hyperglycemia defines the disease diabetes, yet hyperglycemia exists on a continuum and the diagnosis of the disease occurs at levels sufficiently high to be associated with the diabetes-specific complication retinopathy. Should the absence of diaebtes be defined as glucose values defined as within the normal ranges, sub-diabetic but not necessarily normal values, or the complete absence of underlying abnormal physiology such as insulin resistance or beta cell dysfunction or loss?" Essentially, the consensus stated that under no circumstances can diabetes be cured or eradicated, at best it can be described as having gone into remission.

No one in the medical profession claims diabetes can be reversed, at best some forms of the disease can be put into remission, but the underlying disease continues to exist. Anonymous should do their homework before leaving a comment like this!

Sandy said...

Hi Kelly!! I just discovered this 2011 issue!!! I've been a long time RD subscriber but will not renew due to this nonsense!! Thanks to u and Kim for bringing this to my attention. Even 3 yrs later, the media is still using the term "reverse diabetes".

I can't believe RD would just perpetuate a myth to sell magazines to desperate people. Shame on them!!

Thanks again!!