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15 Ways to Thrive With Type 1 Diabetes

By: Yerachmiel Altman I achieved 57 years of living with type 1 diabetes this year! I was diagnosed just one month after my 2nd birthday and have logged half a million hours of living with type 1 to this day! I want to share with you the tips and knowledge I’ve acquired through my top 15 tips living and working with diabetes. Hopefully you find these as useful as I have. Remember that everyone has a different way of treating their disease so don’t worry if some of these tips don’t apply to you!

1. Put your mind into it.

If you focus on what’s important to your health, it opens up wider possibilities than thought before.

2. Don’t judge yourself

3. Don’t compare yourself to others.

4. Its not your fault.

You didn’t choose to have diabetes, it chose you!

5. Make smart choices everyday

Diabetes self-care is all about choices. Human minds create over 35,000 choices about every five seconds.

6. Don’t wait for the cure.

Ever have someone talk about the “cure in five years” ? Do your best to control diabetes to best of your ability.  Monitoring your diabetes will only lead to better health and a longer, happier life with hopefully less complications. This will help to leave you in improved conditions to be eligible for breakthrough treatments when they ARE available.

7. No your way or the highway thinking.

Don’t think the way you are doing it is the best or only way.  Always read, research and try (under medical supervision) different ways of treatment, wellness, and care. Listen to those around you.

8. Know thyself and thy diet.

Always learn as much as possible about your own self.  Everyone has certain foods that for themselves don’t follow the standard “curve” (and/or standard “carb count”).

9. Find your niche and your system.

Each person has to find the system or methods that work best for them.

10. Get Techy

Technology has given us many many modern inventions which aid in our control and understanding of diabetes – you have determine which of them works best for you and which ones aren’t as helpful.

11. Find a mentor. Find a community.

Vitally important to have others who are type 1 and similar in length and type of diabetes as well as and other life factors.  It is also important to have a “mentor”; someone else to ask questions of.  Having another person to ask or to bounce ideas off of can many times resolve issues before they become problems.  Additionally long term use of equipment gets us into habits  –  having others to ask may open doors we didn’t even know existed.

12. Pay it forward: spread your knowledge to others!

It is very important once one has learned enough to help others.  It is both really helpful for the other people AND very good for yourself.

13. Surround yourself with love

Always have family and friends who lift you up, and help guide you through the tough times that come with being a T1D patient. There is always hope!

14. Open up

Diabetes doesn’t have to be a secret, share with others about your disease. Sometimes it can be hard to talk about your chronic illness but with more awareness comes more acceptance. However you always know how much is safe or okay to disclose,you are never obligated to tell people or only focus on your disease. You’re a multidimensional person!

15. Enjoy Life!! You CAN live a joyous and fulfilling life with diabetes!

Top Five Wellness Tips We Learned From Lauren Bongiorno!

At Lyfebulb, we’re SO lucky to have Lauren Bongiorno on our T1D Lyfebulb Ambassador Team! Her expertise in countless areas related to self empowerment, fitness, nutrition and health is what makes her such a great influencer. We can all learn a thing or two from Lauren’s expertise!

Today we’re highlighting some of Lauren’s best wellness tips from  IG to share with you today. Her advice is relatable to everyone living with a chronic illness, T1D patients, or  even those interested in creating a well-balanced life.

Check her out at LaurenBongiorno.com !

TIP 1: PENCIL IN VACATION WORKOUT SESSIONS TO KEEP BALANCED

TIP 2: ENJOY YOUR VACATION: DON’T THINK ABOUT “EARNING YOUR MEAL”

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HERE’S THE TRUTH: I aways work out on vacation so I can be less strict about what I eat. yeeeeeppppp. For me it’s not about burning calories/ earning my meal, but with being able to eat waffles, risotto, pizza, tropical fruit, truffle fries without my blood sugars roller coastering all over the place. Sure it would be easier to cook all my meals in the room or only order fish and vegetables out, but i want the freedom to indulge if that’s what I want. For someone like me with #typeonediabetes, if i’m not working out, eating these foods would spike my blood sugar real fast and it would take hours to get it down. When this happens I feel so tired, moody, killer headache… not fun. I feel 10000x better strategically structuring my workouts to support a little more flexibility on vacation. Also, I had 2 waffles for breakfast, pancakes, eggs, + a croissant and it was 💯. The end.

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TIP 3: PRIORITIZE YOUR HEALTH AND WELLBEING!

TIP 4: BE PRESENT IN THE MOMENT, YOUR BODY, AND LIFE

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part 1/3. New Year Intentions. I should have had multiple burn outs. I’m actually shocked at how all over the place I was last year. I know the only reason I was able to keep moving forward was because I prioritized my health( sleep, food, blood sugars). I heard once that busy isn’t a badge of honor. Couldn’t agree more. December was actually my best, most enjoyable month of the year. I told my best friend Alex it was my month of “yin”, which meant only dedicating time to the things that were absolutely essential, not overextending myself. Towards the end of the month I was so sad it was ending because I felt SO good. But then i realized oh wait i can do this all the time hahah. So that’s what i’m doing. My word of 2019: ESSENTIALISM. My guiding statement: “stay in relationship with what matters.”. Sign: 333 (the number I frequently see which I will use to remind me to trust that i’m on the right path). 2019, we in it. What did you guys set as your intentions? More excited for the next 12 months than I’ve ever been before. Can’t wait to throw these up on a vision board. #yearoftheessentialist

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TIP 5: STICK TO A DAILY ROUTINE

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part 2/3: My 6 new years daily habits💫 Its cool to set intentions in whatever way you’ll feel most successful! For me i’m a lover of checking boxes off + getting real specific. So last week i took some time to map out my 2019 daily habits: 1. Movement: yoga, hiit circuits, weights, pilates, walking. My WHY: blood sugars are best, mood is happy, love a challenge. 2. Tackle the big rocks before 12pm: the things on my to do list that are the most difficult. MY WHY: i have most energy and focus in morning hours. Want to sync up more with sunrise and sunset energy. 3. Be present through listen + feel. MY WHY: i sometimes find myself guessing where convo is going or rushing it to be doing something else. I want to feel a greater sense of connection and appreciation, treating every convo as sacred. 4. Lateral thinking exercise: solve a brain teaser or write down 10 ideas. MY WHY: get outside my box and limitations of habitual thinking patterns. See what blossoms. 5. Study outside my industry of health: book, podcast, documentary, the Economist, become more proficient in SPANISH! MY WHY: expand my knowledge into different areas. 6. Align + Manifest- journaling, card pull, visualization, or meditation. MY WHY: we attract the level at which we vibrate at. Excited for all these! My daily routines were getting a bit stale. What things are you looking to make into habits this year? #newyear #growthmindset

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Real Talk With Dave- HOW TO: THE NEED TO KNOW ON NEEDLES

 QUESTION FOR FELLOW DIABETICS : HOW DO YOU DISPOSE OF YOUR USED NEEDLES?

            This is one of THE MOST asked questions those of us with Diabetes often face.

 MY JOURNEY TO SAFETY:

When I first got diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes back in 2008, I vividly remember how unaware I was on the topic of safe needle disposal. I didn’t know of the harmful effects of throwing away used needles right into the trash.

Fast forward to one year after my diagnosis, I setup my very first pump at the age of 12! This opened up a whole new world that I never experienced before.

It can be pretty daunting when you’re 12 years old. I learned a whole encyclopedia’s worth of experiences. I learned everything from putting on my pump to how to wear it and even how to actually use it!  I’d like to share with you my top tips for disposing needles safely.

My journey to safety was NOT an easy one! I had lots of trash that needed to be thrown away. A used needle and inserter were among that pile of trash, so without the knowledge I needed, I threw away my used needles in the trash!!!

MY TOP TIPS ON HOW TO DISPOSE NEEDLES SAFELY:

  1. DO NOT THROW USED NEEDLES AND INSERTERS IN TRASH

  2. ENLIST A PUMP TRAINER

    • When I began my new world as a T1D, I constantly threw away my used needles in the trash. My pump trainer quickly caught me in the act of throwing the needles away unsafely and showed me how to break my long-term habit!

 

  1. HAVE ACCESS TO A SHARPS CONTAINER:

    • Unused needles go in a sharps container as well as used syringes, lancets, and any other form of needles.

Today, this is something that I am very passionate about. After  educating myself on the dangers of disposing used needles the wrong way, I made it my goal to always have a sharps container in sight. Whether I am at home following a set routing or creating temporary plans for traveling-I always make sure to dispose safely!

 

  1. LOCATE A SHARPS DISPOSAL ANYWHERE YOU ARE WITH SAFENEEDLEDISPOSAL.ORG

  • I partnered with SafeNeedleDisposal.org to bring awareness on this very important topic. This website allows you to search for drop off locations in your area by zip code and teaches you how to safely store your used needles at home! Some areas even allow disposal in your household trash bin if placed in the proper container. I find that education is so very important since many may not be fully aware of the potential dangers in disposing their needles unsafely. As SafeNeedleDisposal.org states, the bottom line is that safety is the point.

HOW TO USE SAFENEEDLEDISPOSAL.ORG:

  1. LOCATE DROP-OFF LOCATION:
    • Use the site to locate the appropriate drop-off location in your area is so vital and so very convenient.
  2. STORE UP USED NEEDLES:
    • Store up all your used needles for a few months.
  3. DESIGNATE A REGULAR DISPOSAL DAY:
    • Designate a certain day to go out and dispose of your needles at your local drop-off location. You are not only bettering the environment, but your own health and safety as well.

 Let’s be honest ,as Diabetics, we go through lots of needles, daily, weekly, monthly, and so on. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Diabetes yet, so we must insert pump sites, CGM sites, inject Insulin, and prick our fingers daily! Basically, we go through LOTS of needles and they need to go SOMEWHERE at the end of the day. By having designated areas and a great website to help us find those locations, it becomes a great way to dispose of needles both safely and efficiently.

Bottom line, safety is the point.

Live well,

Dave

Interview Series: Amin Zayani, LBNN 2017 Winner

We are excited to share our interview with our Patient Entrepreneur and 2017 Lyfebulb Novo Nordisk Summit winner, Amin Zayani. As a T1D since 2006, a solar energy engineer by training, and hardware expert by trade, Amin is revolutionizing pharmaceutical care through his creation of Med Angel.

Hi Amin! Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in Tunisia, and then moved to Germany for studies. I graduated as a solar energy engineer, and then worked in Berlin for several start-ups. I was lucky to work closely with the founding teams, both in engineering and business roles. I was diagnosed with T1D in 2006, but my diagnosis was not a big deal to me, because my brother has had T1D since age three. Since his diagnosis in 1994, our family had a special relation with carb-counting, insulin, and everything that comes with it.

What drove you to start MedAngel?

I woke up one morning in August 2013 with high blood glucose. And despite injecting many corrections from several insulin pens, it wouldn’t go down. I ended up in ER that day (luckily without major complications).

 I went home with a fresh batch of insulin after a couple of hours, but I was frustrated and determined to understand the cause of the problem.

 I traced the cause to my malfunctioning refrigerator, which froze my entire stock of insulin overnight, and then defrosted it again. Unfortunately, the damage was irreversible. I was aware of insulin’s vulnerability to heat, but I never suspected it to be at risk when stored as instructed in my refrigerator. I hacked a simple solution using some electronics I had
lying around (a microcontroller, a thermometer and a buzzer) and I showed it around at local meet-ups. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, I quickly understood that this is an overlooked problem that affects millions of people and that there was also a market opportunity. I quit my job, invested all my savings and a loan from the bank, and joined Rockstart Digital Health Accelerator in the Netherlands. MedAngel was born as an easy to use, reliable and affordable solution in early 2017. The solution consists of a wireless Bluetooth temperature sensor that is kept with insulin and communicates with an App on the phone. The App supports all types of insulin on the market in the USA and EU (plus a couple of hundred hormones and biologics), and knows the safe ranges for stored or opened meds and alerts you only when there is a real danger.

Why should people buy MedAngel?

Our mission at MedAngel is to eliminate the uncertainty about insulin’s potency. We believe that no one should ever have an insulin pen in their hand and not know if it is still good to use or not. Many of our users have one sensor with their stock in the refrigerator, and one with the insulin they carry on the go. Many of them started using it for their travels, and we noticed that a majority of users place them in cool bags or Frio pouches in summer (to make sure that the protection works well). To summarise I would say that our solution achieves the following:

1. Bringing peace of mind and reducing some the burden of living with diabetes

2. Ensuring optimal therapeutic outcomes of insulin and other drugs

3. Avoiding financial waste by giving early alarms before it is too late, or avoiding discarding medication because of doubt.

How do you feel about winning the LBNN17 award?Our team is honoured and proud to win this award, especially after competing with such high-level start-ups! We worked very hard to do the pitch, and we wanted to stand out with a unique proposition and story. I have not felt happier in my life! For me personally it feels like a well-deserved recognition after 3 years of non-stop hard work. For us as a team, it is proof that we are doing things right, and that we work well together.

What does this award mean for you and your company?

It is a major milestone for our company! It feels like everything we were doing, everything that was on hold is falling in place! Business leads, investments, projects. We were overwhelmed with the number of emails, calls and inquiries that we received in the next few days: all major pharma companies got in touch with us, people sent us their CVs because they want to work with us, VC funds from Europe and the USA. The validation, exposure and visibility that came with winning the award are priceless. Thanks again to your team and to Novo Nordisk for making it happen.

What is next for MedAngel?

Great things! Big and ambitious plans! We need first to close our fundraising round (which I hope we will announce soon), then we will focus on growing the business and scaling up. We plan on reaching more users worldwide, and keep our high user satisfaction.We are also concentrating on working with a select number of pharmaceutical companies to make their digital transformation happen, and together bring a nicer, richer user experience to all people living with chronic conditions.

 

Real Talk With Dave: Cruising with Confidence

When I first began driving, I was about 17 years old and all I wanted was to be free and independent, allowing me to feel like a mature and responsible adult. I knew that I had this extra thing to deal with and worry about. However I didn’t want my Diabetes to stand in the way of me learning and trying something new. I pushed and trained myself to think first and make my own decisions that would benefit my safety and wellness over all. The first encounter I had with T1D and driving happened shortly after getting my license where I had just checked my blood sugar before leaving my house, had a perfect and safe number, and then just 5 minutes into driving, I felt shaky and kinda funny. Immediately, I thought that I must have been low, so trusting my instincts, I pulled over, checked my BG, and I was right, a low number. So without panicking, I drank some juice, called my mom to let her know just for piece of mind (for the both of us), and waited about 5-10 minutes until I felt much better and stronger. Once I checked my blood sugar and saw that I was back in control, I began to drive again. It just takes a few of these minor experiences to allow you to feel confident in driving with your Diabetes as you would know the right actions to take if something like this were to happen again.

While driving is something we all fantasize about doing when we are young, when it comes to Type 1 Diabetes, there are some things to think about before getting behind the wheel.

Before you get behind the wheel, make sure to think of all the possible scenarios in which your Diabetes can take a toll on you and have a back up plan. For example, always have back up Diabetes supplies in your car in case of an emergency. Say your pump site somehow rips out of your body as you are commuting to work or on an outing with friends, you can easily pull over and park in the nearest parking lot and change out your site (wouldn’t you be glad you thought of it before hand?). What I like to do personally is have a small medical bag stored somewhere safely in my car filled with a back up supply of pump sites, test strips, syringes, glucose tablets, lancets, batteries, etc. This way, I am ready for any tricks my Diabetes may decide to play on me! Something else that has been a true lifesaver and has given me peace as I drive has been my Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) and I can’t even express how nice it is to just see where my blood sugars are as I drive and where they’re headed, allowing me to gage my time and plan ahead.

The most important thing to think about is how your blood sugars can affect your driving. If your blood sugars go below 70 mg/dL or above 300 mg/dL, that can be as dangerous as drunk driving as your reaction time and though process is delayed and slowed down quite a bit. I would recommend always making sure to check your blood sugars before your turn on the car to ensure you’ll be safe along the way. Planning ahead can be quite helpful. I know that may sound easier said than done, because we’re human. Life is unpredictable, so if you do have to drive somewhere unexpectedly in the case of an emergency, perhaps planning ahead wouldn’t be an option. However, having your own personalized back up plan can be a big help and reduce so much of the stress of driving. Driving can already be a stressful thing in itself, and Diabetes can add on lots of stress, so you should go whatever you possibly can do to eliminate that stress! Safety is the way to go, because not only are you responsible for your own life, you’re responsible for all the lives around you on the road.

I can remember countless times in which my blood sugars were all out of whack and my mind was foggy and unclear, so if I was with other people who knew how to drive, I would ask them if they could drive for me since it was unsafe for me to get behind the wheel and be responsible for their own lives.

Don’t stress driving with Diabetes. Think of it as when you first learned to ride a bike, you fell a few times most likely, but you didn’t give up, tried again, and ended up riding like a pro! Driving with Diabetes is the same thing, you may have a few complications every now and then, but eventually, managing your Diabetes in the car will be just as easy as turing the radio on to your favorite song! I don’t even stress it anymore and I am comfortable driving, all while managing my Diabetes. Of course I still take the appropriate precautions, I just don’t let it get the best of me! And you shouldn’t either!

So go ahead, get in your car and cruise with confidence!

Live well,

Dave

Real Talk With Dave: Loving Your Numbers!

As a Type 1 Diabetic of 9 years, I have had certain time frames in which my numbers were wonderful, and times in which I just could not gain control over them.

Most Type 1 Diabetics are diagnosed at a very young age, which makes it a bit more difficult to gain control over their blood sugars as they are, in reality, kids who just want to be kids. This disease takes a certain part away from you, and most T1D patients hardly remember a childhood without Diabetes. Wanting to go out with friends, sports teams, or on field trips make it hard to stick to a day to day regimen and diet, which then causes blood sugars to spike up and crash from time to time. At some point (and we each discover that point in our lives at a different rate), we need to find a common ground between living and loving our numbers. It can be tough, time consuming, and overwhelming to have to figure out what works out for each individual person and the way their body reacts to certain things, but at one point in time, your numbers will cooperate if you set your mind to healthy living.

What it takes is self-discipline.

Just a few weeks of training your mind to carefully watch your numbers as they change throughout the day (maybe by monitoring them on a continuous glucose monitor (CGM)), sticking to a healthy diet consisting of different nutrients that are beneficial to a person with T1D, and figuring out what truly works best for you can be all you will need in finding happiness with your numbers. I’m not saying you have to give up your favorite dessert or be on a strict health plan in order to work towards those better numbers. What I am saying is that in moderation, anything can be done. I for one can not give up my favorite food (sushi), which can be very high in carbs and tricky to calculate how many carbs I am eating, so that is what I may call a “cheat meal” in which I accept that fact that my numbers may go a bit higher than usual, actually much higher than usual, but I am able to let it slide.

Us Diabetics work hard each day just to stay alive, so every now and then, it’s okay to have a day where we eat what we want and however much we want

…just as long as you do get back in the zone of those great numbers.

I can remember countless times in which I would have a determined mindset which allowed me to gain the numbers I wanted, but then there were also times in which I simply did not care about my numbers, diet, or exercise plan, but you know what? That is absolutely okay. We all go through a burn-out period and it does get in our minds and makes us think we are failing on our bodies, but we just need to find out what inspires us to pick ourselves back up and start over again.

Something that helps me is that if one day is really tough and I just cannot seem to get one good blood sugar reading that day, I tell myself how it’s okay to continue the rest of the day with not so good blood sugars, as safely as possible, just as long as the next day, I start fresh and new and treat it as a blank page in a notebook, allowing me to make better choices and plan ahead for the day and what I want it to look like. Highs and lows come from a number of different causes, such as different foods, exercise, stress, and sickness, etc. That is why as much as we try to gain the control we need, some days just get the best of us and don’t allow us to truly live. But we are human. We get sick. We get stressed out. We are active. So as hard as we try, it may not work out the way we intended it to work out, but again, that is absolutely OKAY.

Nobody is perfect.

There are no Diabetics out there who have mastered T1D completely as this disease is aggressive and doesn’t care how long you’ve had Diabetes for.

It is not an easy thing to get right away, but eventually, accumulating as many “good” days as possible makes it easier to overlook the bad days. Days will pass in which you may feel like giving up, but you have to remember who you are here on earth for: your parents, friends, family, and ultimately, yourself. The better the numbers, the better (and longer) the life you will be able to live.

So go ahead, work towards those amazing blood sugars that you are capable of!

Live well,

Dave

Real Talk With Dave: Motivation & Diabetes

You can do it!

I know Diabetes is hard, but you can do it. There are days in which it seems impossible, but those are the days in which we push harder, gain strength, and fight even more for an end to this horrible disease. I have had my share of bad days, and still get them, but on those very days, I feel like I am learning vital life lessons on how to cope in a bad situation, how to treat others, and how to rise up.

Despite the needles, the blood, the emotions, the highs and lows, and the day to day tasks we have to remember to do, we are all awesome for being able to put up with these tasks and are all capable to keep on pushing through. I personally think it is so cool, as much as I would give up this disease on any given day, how we as Type 1 Diabetics have put up with so much that goes unnoticed. In my opinion, we all deserve awards, just saying. But that is because some people come and go in our lives and don’t quite realize all that we put up with daily or are even going through at that very moment. Regardless of the fact, YOU are amazing. We’ve all lived countless days with this disease, trying to make ends meet, trying new diets and workout routines, and meeting with our doctors just to get things right, but whatever may be going on, good or bad, you are awesome. Nobody else puts up with the things you do and that is why you are so cool.

When I see someone who has Diabetes or a chronic disease and they are doing something so great, whether they are working towards a great cause, doing what they love while dealing with their disease, or even just smiling, that is such an inspiration to me by seeing how they manage to stay so happy when I know that they are going through something that does present some challenges every now and then. I truly see the good in them and though I feel bad they have to deal with their disease, I am proud of them and applaud them for what they do and how they do it. We all are unique individuals with a desire to learn and grow, we all are creative and special, and when it comes to T1D, that is something that connects us all. If Diabetes hadn’t affected the millions of people it has, many of us wouldn’t have the social connections we have with each other right now or we wouldn’t have something to be inspired by.

What I am trying to say is that coming from a background with Diabetes and living it for almost half my life now,

I am filled with appreciation for the members of the Diabetic community as we are some of the strongest and bravest people out there.

Each disease has it’s own difficulties and struggles.When one is affected by Diabetes, it may seem like their life is over, but that is not the case. Diabetes can and will turn you into someone you didn’t think you could be. When I was first Diagnosed, my life turned around completely and I had taken a huge step back, but then I think of where I am now. I am alive, happy, and healthy, despite my Diabetes, and that is all that matters.

So I ask you so think of what your passion is and what motivates you to keep on going. After that, just go with it and live your purpose. Life is short and yes, you may have Diabetes, but that is okay, because you can live the life you want if you set your mind to it. I’m here for you, rooting for you, and cheering you along the way in this race to the finish line being a cure to end Type 1 Diabetes. You got this!

Live well,

Dave

Beating Diabetes

Diabetes is a tough disease to live with – I know this first hand. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) the summer I was turning 17, and it changed my life. At the time I was a competitive athlete, playing tennis on the Swedish National Team, and an excellent student. Nothing had prepared me for this diagnosis. We did not have diabetes in our family, and I had no friends with the disease. I saw it as a defect and a failure. It became something I would hide from everyone for many years.

Almost twenty years later, I received MD and PhD degrees from the Karolinska Institute, a post doc at Harvard, and worked on Wall street. I had taken a company public on NASDAQ and become a partner at a Venture Capital Fund, but I was really not feeling well. The spring of 2007, 18 years after my diagnosis, my kidneys and eyes were failing, my blood pressure was uncontrollably high and my hemoglobin was so low that I required blood transfusions. What happened? Well, diabetes had slowly but surely destroyed my system, and was on its way to take my life.

This was when I realized that I cannot hide my condition, and that the treatments on the market are not good enough – there must be a better way.

Fast forward 10 years, I had now been the head of Metabolic Strategy at JNJ, had a senior role in the world’s largest diabetes foundation, JDRF, and had run clinical trials in diabetes for a biotech company that I had helped take public. Most importantly, I had gone through two transplants and received a pacemaker. The pacemaker was placed due to repeated fainting episodes that would happen inconveniently, and often risked major injury and even death. Before the pacemaker, my heart would just stop because of diabetes nerve damage and complete body fatigue from all the injuries I had endured. I was also given a kidney from my father that saved my life, and a pancreas transplant from a deceased donor. I finally had a new chance to make life worth living again.

It is 2017. I am a strong, happy and very determined woman; but I am far from done. My company, Lyfebulb, is here to make a difference and I will not give up until we have accomplished our goals.

Diabetes is not a lifestyle disease.

It is a disease that slowly but surely kills, cripples and debilitates. I wish it were cured and abolished from our planet but in the meantime we need to address it much more aggressively.

Our current landscape of companies is driven by a few very large ones that have provided patients with the life-saving drug, insulin, since its discovery in 1921. These companies, namely US-based Eli Lilly, Danish Novo Nordisk and French/German Sanofi, are enormously dedicated to diabetes, patients and to research. The developments over the years included using insulin used derived from pigs and cows that was modified by the addition of zinc in the 60s to influence the absorption of insulin. Then, in 1977 Herbert Boyer of Genentech developed the first engineered insulin, so-called “human insulin”, and in 1982, Eli Lilly did a deal with Genentech and started selling Humulin. Insulin analogs were introduced in 1996 and 2001, which triggered higher pricing for the products, although marginal improvements in diabetes measurements such as long-term glucose control (HbA1c) were achieved. The price of insulin rose by a multiple of 25 from the 70’s to 1996, and in 2001 the price increase had risen to 35 times that of bovine insulin. At this point, Lilly owned the US market with an 85% share, and Novo Nordisk was mostly successful in Europe. What happened in the past 10 years is remarkable. The insulin market has tripled, currently being in excess of $30B, from $7B in 2006, and predicted to approach $45B in 2021.  The insulin market is currently one of the largest therapeutic markets in the pharma world, and before its patent expiry, Lantus (Sanofi) was among the  World’s 5 largest drugs by revenue and clearly by profit. Even after generic entry, Lantus is among the top 10 at almost $8B sales.

So have we beaten diabetes in those years? No.

Being diagnosed with T1D is no longer a death sentence, but we are far from done. Despite having the best doctors, education and access to care, I struggled with control and eventually suffered from microvascular complications clearly driven by diabetes. Insulin, for me, was not enough and I am not alone. Diabetes is still the most common cause for blindness, kidney failure and amputations in the developed world, and increases the risk for heart attacks and stroke by about 4 times. It also leads to depression, cognitive dysfunction, impotence, dental disorders and various other issues. It truly attacks every cell in the body and accelerates the aging process.

What is happening in the innovative landscape, such as academia and small companies, is not reflective of the severity of the disease.

While we are seeing major influx of capital and talent into important areas such as cancer, immunology, and infectious disease, we are not seeing the same in diabetes. The average endocrinologist is above 60 years of age. Young scientists are not lining up to do research in diabetes, and funding into disease organizations for diabetes is going down as evidenced by JDRF research funding. In fact, 2015 revenues were down by $84M from 2008 and $26M from 2014 (http://thejdca.org/jdrf-financials/).

The for profit side is not much better. Venture capital is not going toward diabetes, and the new IPOs are not diabetes companies. An analysis done by BIO, showed that of all private financing only 5.7% went to metabolism, while 24.2% went to oncology. Only 5.3% of IPOs were in the metabolism field, while 22.8% were oncology related (https://www.bio.org/articles/emerging-therapeutic-company-investment-and-deal-trends). In the established company’s deal-making allocations, metabolism did even worse, with 3% of all licensing and M&A deals being in metabolism, while 26% went to oncology and 28% to infectious disease.

There are some great examples of success in our space where risk takers have made money and delivered new therapies and devices to market that have made a differences. We applaud investors in, for example, Dexcom (Don Lucas) and Animas (HLM management), companies that brought us continuous glucose monitoring and consumer-friendly insulin pumps.

Currently, we believe in the future for several companies, for example the ten finalists in the Lyfebulb Novo Nordisk Innovation 2016 Award competition including marketing veteran, Jeff Dachis’s OneDrop, John Sjolund’s Timesulin and newcomer (and winner) Brianna Wolin’s FidYourDitto. http://lyfebulb.com/lyfebulb-innovation-award-at-the-innovation-summit/. Recently, JDRF, announced the launch of their T1D Fund which will aim to invest donated funds into companies and their first bet was on BigFoot, a company run by former JDRF CEO, Jeffrey Brewer.  

What is also interesting when you reflect on the diabetes industry is the lack of smaller, public companies that are willing to place bets on emerging technologies and settle for revenues that are less than blockbuster quantities. There are less than 20 public diabetes companies in the US, with a majority being very large, and at least half of them in devices (http://investsnips.com/list-of-publicly-traded-medical-equipment-and-device-companies-focusing-on-diabetes/).

These kind of numbers do not generate new drugs/diagnostics/devices to help improve the quality of life for people with diabetes. The total number of people with diabetes is growing exponentially. There are 29 million diabetics in the US, 86 million with prediabetes, and a worldwide prevalence of over 400 million. The cost of diabetes in the US is approaching $300B, up from $245B in 2012 (http://www.diabetes.org/advocacy/news-events/cost-of-diabetes.html?gclid=CMPI_KCe4NECFQ6BswodnE4PlQ ). Interestingly, the cost is not driven by the drugs that treat diabetes (12% of total), but by the cost for complications and hospital care.

So what can we do about this relative lack of innovation and disinterest from the medical and investment communities about a disease that is taking lives, crippling people, and causing enormous damage to our economy? In my opinion there is a big need to change our attitude toward diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is not a lifestyle disease that can just be addressed with diet and exercise. Type 1 diabetes is not a disease that can merely be addressed with insulin and better glucose measuring methods. More insulin in type 1 causes more difficulties in regulating sugar and a greater likelihood of complications. Not addressing the underlying problems with type 2 diabetes will never solve the problem of why certain families have both obesity and type 2 diabetes in every generation.

I was wrong when I hid my type 1 diabetes for almost 20 years, and I was wrong when I tried to show that diabetes did not affect me.

Type 1 diabetes does affect the person and we must take it seriously. I know that organizations advocating for diabetes often try to portray success stories of people running fast, jumping high, climbing mountains, and winning trophies, but that is not the norm and those people would be winners with or without diabetes. Before I was diagnosed with diabetes I was the third best tennis player in my country and the top student in my school. I was a competitive person and diabetes did not change that, it actually drove me harder, but my body eventually told me to stop.

We must encourage financial institutions such as venture capitalists and banks to invest more money into companies doing innovative work in the field. We must encourage research in academia, and we must push the large companies that are doing well selling drugs that save our lives. Only with a newfound interest in the area will we see talent moving to diabetes, and only with the clear articulation of an unmet patient need will we see the overall landscape shifting towards addressing the opportunity. Investing in metabolic companies is a target for Lyfebulb and we hope many will join us. It will bring both health and wealth to our constituents.

Together we can beat diabetes.

 

Real Talk With Dave: The Power of Social Media In Bringing Type 1 Diabetics Together

I’ve started my journey on social media as a Type 1 Diabetic back in 2014 when the idea of social media was just beginning to pick up. Since then, I have noticed a huge growth in support, awareness, and a building community develop right before my eyes. Being a T1D, I go through things that many non-Diabetics simply do not understand or are unable to relate with. Social media, however, has opened up that awkward space, allowing Diabetics to find other Diabetics going through the EXACT same thing.

I can honestly say that I was in a dark spot in my life right before I created my Diabetic-based Instagram page and shortly after creating @type1livabetic, I saw how many people began to visit my page, Diabetic or not, and they all were someone who seemed to have a familiar idea about T1D. It makes a huge difference when your audience actually knows what you are talking about. As we are being completely real here, I want to share how important social media has been to me thus far and how it can be just as important to you as well.

The amount of support and care that others can provide online, simply by sending a quick message or commenting on a post can play such an important part in our lives, more that one can imagine.

The Diabetic community, as sad as it may seem, is growing quite rapidly, but that just means that there are more and more people each day who are out there, sharing what they go through, looking for support, and being a shoulder to cry on during some of the worst days possible. That being said, there is a large community out there just waiting to help out and lend a hand as Type 1 Diabetes is no joke and is very real. When I have a rough day, I simply put out content when I feel like I need relief and support and in return, I get some of the kindest responses. Those are the moments in my Diabetic life in which I feel like I can continue and push through that rough spot.

To me, social media is about allowing for creativity and our own unique space in which we can share our style and personality with others. I love prepping my posts where I apply my own unique creativity and do designs, lettering, and illustrations on my photos, hoping to excite the viewer and show them that Diabetes can be fun, regardless of what it has to throw our way. Social media was designed to give people a purpose and a platform in which they can connect and share openly with one another things that interest them. Having a group of people in the Diabetic community staying loyal and true to what really goes down in their lives allows for more people to be inspired and share.

The bottom line is that having a space to feel comfortable in talking about something so huge (Diabetes) is so important to an individual. Now a days, really young people are joining the social media game and it is important that they find the support that they may be looking for. Some days I even forget that I have T1D, simply because I have a huge online support group that keeps me going and is cheering me on, allowing me to feel inspired and positive that I can continue to take on this disease, one day at a time.

Real Talk With Dave: Living With Diabetes, LITERALLY.

Each day, most people wake up to a fresh new start. People living with Type 1 Diabetes, however, tend to be going through something 24/7, to the point where they don’t end one day and start a new day. Diabetes carries throughout the night, waking up the person with low blood sugars, ripped out sites, alert messages from various medical devices, frequent trips to the bathroom, or no insulin going through. Through these experiences, one may feel as though they are not actually living, almost as if they are just doing what they need to in order to cater to the demanding needs of Type 1 Diabetes. That doesn’t have to be the case.

When we think about our lives, we each have different drives, motives, and passions in life that we want to achieve. Having a chronic disease may make it very difficult to find a balance between a normal life and a life where we are actually healthy and doing everything in our power to stay in control. It’s all in the mind, though.

If we tell ourselves how we truly want to live our lives to the fullest, we will get there.

Nobody wants to sit at home and worry about their Diabetes, having to constantly do what it tells us to do. We are the ones who are in control.

The day to day experiences we go through with our Diabetes can be very draining and overwhelming to cope with, so we need to find a balance where we can still maintain our life outside of the Diabetes world. Living your very own purpose can and should be done. If Diabetes seems to get in the way, it’s really not. It’s just adding more experiences to go through and to have knowledge on for the future or to help others. Don’t get me wrong though, we still have those very dark days where we can’t seem to find peace with our numbers and overall wellbeing, but it is the good days in which we can be a light for others and show them that despite what we go through every moment of our lives, we can still be kind to one another and live, actually live.

I personally have had my own personal battle with Diabetes and though I still fight the fight like no other each and every day, I live the life I choose to live. I want to be helpful to others. I want to share, create, and learn. I want to go out and explore the world, and you know what, that is exactly what I do. I don’t let Diabetes determine what type of life, let alone what type of day I am going to live. We all go through Diabetes a little differently and it takes time for one to truly own this disease and not let it be in control, but trust me, it can and will happen to you, and when it does, you will feel like you have just crossed the finish line to the race of life!

Dave

Interview Series: Anna Sjӧberg of AnnaPS Scandinavia

One of our favorite brands of diabetes friendly clothing, is AnnaPS. They design clothing from t-shirts, tank tops, and sports bras, to underwear for men, women, and children that have integrated pockets to carry diabetes devices, thus making life a little bit easier for those living with diabetes! Founder and CEO, Anna Sjӧberg, is a T1D and is a part of the Lyfebulb Entrepreneur Circle. I got a chance to chat with her about how she started AnnaPS Scandinavia. Read our interview below!

Bruna Petrillo: Hi Anna! Tell us a little about yourself.

Anna Sjӧberg: Hi Bruna. I am from Sweden, Scandinavia and I have been living with T1D since 1998. I started my insulin pump therapy in 2009 and immediately realized that my insulin pump really disturbed me. I got hooked in the tubing, I dropped it, I needed to use one hand to hold it during a lot of situations, so on. To solve this problem I began designing underwear with integrated pockets for my diabetes devices. Then I began to design tank tops and swimwear for women.

I have two wonderful kids who do a lot of skiing, scouting and soccer, so my husband Per and I are very involved in lot of activities as parents. We live at the coastline in a small town and I really love the nature. I also love to do a lot of sports, and for me it is important to not feel held back by my diabetes.

BP: What drove you to start AnnaPS?

AS: When I designed this underwear with integrated pockets, it really helped me with my pump. The pump became a part of me, and I never had to think about it or get disturbed by it. It was freedom. The pump and the tubing were secured into the pockets and it was easy to put the pump out or back in the pocket when I need it. It was so nice to make it easy to carry, and I started making all kind of clothes, and even bikinis, that were good looking and had pockets in a discrete way. I love to not have to carry any extra diabetes cases or clips.

I think my driving force has always been to make a difference and find solutions. It is me as Engineer.

This feeling became even stronger when I realized I can help others, and make their lives easier. I think those living with diabetes have so many things to think about every day, so it feels great to help others with diabetes. If I can do anything to support life with diabetes and make it a little bit easier, I will do it. When someone says to me, “this was the first night in years I slept all the night thanks to your clothing,” then everything I am working on is worth it. Messages like that make my heart warm.

BP: That’s wonderful Anna! Where did you get the inspiration for your designs?

AS: Of course we are inspired by our nature here in Scandinavia! I love sustainability and to make clothes with a great design and color that always makes the customer feel comfortable. Long-lasting products also means high quality. I also think clothes should give you energy, and this means the fit is adapted to how our bodies are constructed.  To combine this with functionality is our mission.

The pockets are placed to minimize disturbance by the pump. It also has openings from inside and outside of the garments, and makes you feel safe (the pump has to stay in the pocket even when you take the garment off.) Today we have mainly our basic assortment or product offering, but I hope to have opportunities to design more loose fit clothing in the future.

BP: Why should diabetics buy AnnaPS products?

AS: Because the products really solve a big problem for diabetics: how to carry all of the diabetes supplies you always have to bring! And it really minimizes the risk to leave things behind.

When I started to use my own designs with integrated pockets, I really felt how much it helped me to bring all of my diabetes stuff I needed everywhere I went. I put my phone, my blood sugar meter, and my sugar in the pockets (along with the pump). It was really freedom to always have my things close to me.

My mission is to let all diabetics know how much easier their life with diabetes can be when they have the clothing with integrated pockets for their diabetes devices.

We as diabetics need to bring so many things with us wherever we go, that we sometimes risk forgetting something, or have to bring along an extra diabetes bag.

 

BP: What has been the biggest challenge you have faced with AnnaPS?

AS: The biggest challenge is reaching all of the diabetics around the world, and growing the business so that we can exist as a brand and develop more products. We are still a small company run by my husband and I. It has also been a challenge to develop clothing with so much inbuilt functionalities that is environmental friendly and high quality.

BP: What has been your most proud moment or achievement with Anna PS?

AS: I am sure it was when I was nominated to the LyfeBulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award! I didn’t win the first prize, but to be a part of this team for three days at the Summit in Copenhagen, and to participate in such inspiring workshops within the field of diabetes made us all feel like winners. It was fantastic! I am really impressed with Lyfebulb for setting up this Innovation Summit and Award together with Novo Nordisk.


You can shop AnnaPS Scandinavia products in the Lyfebulb Market Place!

Follow Anna on Instagram: @annaps_scandinavia

How Camp Ho Mita Koda Has Impacted My Life

A lot of things have impacted my life, few as much as Camp Ho Mita Koda (HMK).

I first went to camp sometime in the late 1980’s for a picnic that was put on by the doctors and staff at Case Western Reserve University and Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. I was a few years into my diagnosis of type 1 diabetes and was a participant in the Diabetes Complications and Control Trial (DCCT), a landmark study looking at the long term effects of tight blood glucose control vs. “standard” treatment which at the time was less intensive. The staff thought it was a way for some of us participants to meet and to thank us for our dedication and commitment to this research study. This first day on the camp grounds felt very good to me. I had been an advocate of outdoor activities my whole life and this was the perfect “playground”. I had just been in the process of changing careers and was recently accepted into the Ursuline College School of Nursing and asked Dr. Saul Genuth, the DCCT chair, how I could get involved with camp. He linked me to Dr. Marc Feingold, the medical director at camp at the time, who set me up as a dispensary aide for the next summer during my freshman year at Ursuline. Little did I know that almost 30 yrs. later I would still be involved in the special place that became my second home.

The first five years at camp were the best. This is because I was able to spend nine weeks each summer physically at camp. The second year I was asked to be the dispensary (healthcare center) charge. I, along with a nurse named Betsy Brown, who was my mentor and a DCCT coordinator, interviewed many candidates and we hired my staff. I worked with camp director and storyteller Rich Humphreys and we ran a capacity camp for three years. During this time, I has some of the best times of my life, meeting friends who are still people I communicate with regularly today including Rich Humphreys, who remains one of my best friends. Rich received the Lilly 50 yr. diabetes award eight years ago and is still a role model for so many youngsters with type 1.

In 1993 I met a dietary intern from Metro Health Medical Center in Cleveland who was on her final rotation of her internship.

We spent two weeks together at camp which began a relationship that ended up in marriage five years later.

We were married at Notre Dame College of Ohio and had our wedding reception at camp HMK on May 23rd, 1998. It was truly a special day and I can’t believe it’s been 19 yrs. The final year of the five that I lived at camp, Rich decided to take his three teenage children around the county in a motor home so I directed camp that year. I had the best staff ever and will never forget that summer. It was truly magical.

The next 15 or so years I’ve remained involved with HMK in several different roles. I was the camp health care manager and along with medical director Dr. Douglas Rogers from the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, kept the program safe and effective working through all of the changes to diabetes management. I’ve continued to direct other camps along the way; we did teen weekend for kids too old for camp (last done in 2016), volunteered for a camp for kids with cystic fibrosis, directed type 2 diabetes camp for seven years and directed a camp for kids with PKU, an inborn error of energy metabolism for 14 years. I continue to sit on the steering committee and help out whenever I can. My wife Jill and I now have three teenage daughters who grew up at HMK.  I would often bring them along when they were younger and put them in cabins with the campers, it was very special to them who obviously wouldn’t be on this earth if it wasn’t for HMK. I could go on but need to run to work. I am currently a certified diabetes nurse educator at Case and Rainbow where I started currently coordinating diabetes clinical trials and am still a participant in the DCCT/EDIC study.


Camp Ho Mita Koda was established in 1929 as the world’s first summer vacation camp for children with diabetes.

It was founded by Dr. Henry John and his wife, Elizabeth (Betty) Beaman, on land that was originally their family’s summer cabin, in Newbury, OH. Dr. Henry John, a MD who graduated from Western Reserve School of Medicine (now Case Western Reserve University) in Cleveland OH, was also a founder of the American Diabetes Association and the first physician to administer IV glucose. He was one of the pioneers of insulin treatment for diabetes. Dr. and Mrs. John envisioned a summer camp where children with diabetes could learn how to manage their diabetes while enjoying the company of other children. In the summer of 1929, Dr. and Mrs. John took six children to their summer cottage and continued to direct Camp Ho Mita Koda for the following 20 years! The 72 acre camp now caters to children ages 4-17 with diabetes. Its management was recently taken over by a new nonprofit called the Camp Ho Mita Koda Foundation.


You can support Dr. and Mrs. John’s 88-year-old vision by visiting: http://www.chmkfoundation.org/

To participate in the Camp Ho Mita Koda Foundation’s first fundraiser please visit: https://rafflecreator.com/pages/15457/camp-ho-mita-koda-cash-calendar-raffle#

Facebook:  Camp Ho Mita Koda Foundation, @CHMKFoundation

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