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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


I came across an interesting thing today on Twitter: Kelly Rawlings (@kellyrawlings) had suggested that every diabetic "tweet" their blood sugar at 4 PM Eastern Time. Twitter and blogger did a great job of spreading the word (I heard about it through them). The goal was to get 14,000 'betics to post their number.

Unfortunately, I had a meeting run almost an hour past the 4:00 bell, but still posted my scrumtrulescent score of 94 (as Stu Scott screams Boo Yeah at my glucometer). Not that it mattered to those following diabeteshappens on Twitter or the hash tag of #14kpwd (my guess, 14k people with diabetes). I got comments on my Herculean number long after it was posted. For many, I think it represented a bond with fellow diabetics, and created a sense of community among those of us who have to test; some actually looked forward to it (the article was written by a guy named Farrell so you know it has to be good).

I agree it was a great show of support, and it makes me happy to think that at the end of this month I'll be checking my sugs with some tremendous diabetics in Vernonia, Oregon. It's nice knowing that I've got a whole week of testing and comparing and not just a day with a hash tag.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Big news on the DH home front kiddos. We got ourselves a Twitter account. Hit the user name diabeteshappens up and follow along. TB and I will be sharing our latest blood sugar levels, our travel plans (and what that means for the old BS) and thoughts we have on articles relating to the 'betes.

Also, after having seen TB's film (and not wanting to give too much away), I would like to be the first person to congratulate him for an excellent job. The film - though I only saw a rough cut that wasn't in it's full Cinescope beauty - is a tremendous achievement and speaks on many levels of what we all, not just diabetics, go through in life.

I love the message. Don't let your chord hold you back. Great job Tyler. You're my boy, blue.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Extension, Graduation, Anticipation

Its been a long time since I've posted on the diabeteshappens blog. But I intend to change that. Here are some long overdue thoughts from a diabetic on the verge of real life:

Having finished all undergraduate academic commitments at Wesleyan University and getting ready for Graduation on Sunday, I find myself a little bit antsy. Sure, its great to relax all day, but maybe free time is over rated. Senior year has been a very busy one, mostly due to my thesis for Film Studies, a 16mm short film that I wrote and directed called "Extension." Its is a very personal project that I've been working on for a year, and it is very closely related to not only my academic and creative work, but my everyday mindset, my health, and of course, diabeteshappens.

"Extension" is, very simply, about a boy who is electric. His name is Elliot. He must be plugged into the wall via an extension cord to survive. Elliot does not want to be limited by his cord. So he does something about it. If you haven't figured it out, "Extension" is very much based on my personal experience with Type 1 Diabetes, and my philosophy on how it should be dealt with. As diabetics, we can't let our cords hold us back. But its not as simple as unplugging. Even if we are "unplugged" and comfortable with our disease, we still have to wear insulin pumps or give injections. The fact is, we can be free, but we still have to be aware and be responsible and live in a world where most others don't have to do what we do. There is one thing that has helped me to get over this obstacle-- and that is the power of shared experience. Communicating and interacting with other people that are going through the same things has given me the individual strength to keep trying-- to keep doing my best. Here at diabeteshappens, we are all about a positive and proactive outlook on life with diabetes: it happens, so we make the best of it. Our cords don't hold us back. But most importantly, we believe in "extending" this attitude to others, and that's what we challenge you to do every day.

The ideas behind "Extension" do not only apply to diabetes. It is about overcoming any kind of adversity. Its about finding someone else like you. Its about shared experience. And dare I say-- its even about love. "Extension" will be up for viewing on the internet and available on DVD very soon. Please keep checking this blog and for updates.

As this year-long project is finally about to see the light of day, I face a pretty serious transition: Exiting the college bubble, saying goodbye to college living habits (good for the 'betes), entering the real world and dealing with jobs, bills and rent. Diabetes won't hold me back. But the hardest and most important part about the beginning of this new chapter: remembering my "cord" exists, making my diabetes management a priority, giving myself the best chance to live a long, healthy life, and never forgetting to extend a positive outlook in the new (for me) post-grad world.


Monday, May 4, 2009


April showers bring May flowers. JMA just brings the motivation. All May long.

Monday, April 13, 2009


I finally got around to reading the newspaper today after finding out about the death of one of my favorite baseball players of all time. My list includes two players, the first being Jim Abbott, the one handed hurler who pitched for the University of Michigan and then had a stellar career with the Angels before moving on to the Yankees (for whom he threw a no hitter). The second, also a pitcher, was from my favorite team and has to be one of the biggest sport personalities ever. Mark the Bird Fidrych talked to the ball as he wandered the mound preparing for his next pitch. His untimely death occured on his farm in Michigan. Rest in peace Bird.

However, as big of a story as that is, it wasn't in this mornings paper. What was, was an article written by Linda Johnson entitled "Diabetics skimping on care in recession." You can guess what most of the article is about just from the title. Folks with diabetes (both type 1 and 2) are not seeing their doctors or are using less of their prescriptions because of the downturn in the economy. Cutting back on jobs means fewer people have health benefits, or at the very least severely reduced health care. As this happens more and more the overall cost to the average American citizen will only increase as these people will eventually end up in the emergency room (with no health insurance to cover).

Clearly the Obama administration has made health care a priority, but with partisan bickering still running the House and Senate the issue has a long way to go. I understand the the reason America has provides the world with most of the cutting edge medical research is that it is so cut throat. Doctors and researchers have monetary stake in advancing science.

But, there has to be a point where we collectively say it's not OK for people who have disabilities (especially those of us who have no control over getting the disease) to suffer the consequences because of job losses in an economy that is failing. I am fortunate enough to be employed at the moment and to have savings enough to pay for COBRA when I wasn't employed, but clearly that is not the case for everyone.

Let's make a change so that everyone can be taken care of.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Just do it. We didn't coin it; we just live it. All day. Every day.

Monday, March 30, 2009


This past weekend was the inaugural Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Walk to Cure in Volusia County (Florida, that is). Must give the proper respect to my employer Embry-Riddle University for hosting the walk, and to all of the sponsors of the event for generously giving, especially in the current economic climate. Over 300 people came out to get a little 5K exercise, and the goal of the walk is just within reach - that would be 40K in USDs.

Team diabeteshappens, though smaller than last year when we over took NYC, made the trek out to Daytona Beach to spread the gospel of a positive outlook on diabetes.

April cometh soon, so be prepared for another JMA installment shortly.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Sometimes you need to be reminded that life with diabetes is still just life, and that you need to enjoy the moment of things. There's no need to fuss and worry all the time - and March Madness is the perfect time for that. Today starting at 12:00 PM I will be parked in front of a TV watching the Big East Tournament at MSG. Got to go to the Semifinals last year, and it's by far the best conference tourney around. The Big Apple. The biggest conference.

Major shout out to my boy Andy Toole the Associate Head Coach at Robert Morris University. I coached with Andy for a year, stellar dude, and they just won the NEC tournament and are headed to the Big Dance. See the highlights from above. No lower than a 13 seed for Bobby Mo.

Monday, March 9, 2009


We here at diabeteshappens apologize for not being consistent with our up-keep of the blog lately. Things are changing, it's just taken us a little bit to get used to our new schedules. Tyler is in the editing room making things happen on his film - which may or may not be an allegorical tale about life with the 'betes. I've been scrambling trying to make the atmosphere at Embry-Riddle athletic contests the best it can be. Between the two of us I feel pretty certain that we've been working or schooling almost 140 hours out of the week. Doesn't leave a whole lot of time for DH, but we know it's important to a lot of you our there, and it's definitely important to us. And a big thank you to Chris Yost our field reporter who's been in Seattle reporting on his life with diabetes.

Look for some updates to the website soon and stay posted on the DH blog. We'll get ourselves in a rhythm. For the moment, here's a long lost JMA Motivational Moment from way back in January that I don't believe ever got posted. We hope it suits your fancy.

Be sure to check below for JMA's March Motivational Moment. It's good. Scary good. He might just motivate your blood sugars to drop by listening to his voice (not that we recommend you drop the insulin habit for the sultry sounds of JMA).

Be good and as always: peace, love, insulin.


We've got your news source right here. Check out any of the following links to see what's happening with President Obama's lift on federally funded institutions and stem cell research. As diabetics we should be aware of what's happening in the world that can affect our lives.



Ladies & Gentlemen,

JMA is back in the house trying to make us all better diabetics. Do it. Congrats to Carrie Myers in the ATL for giving birth to a hopeful new diabetic. We'll work on the onesies.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Diabetes a common foe for two M's pitchers

Published: 02/24/09 12:05 am Updated: 02/24/09 2:03 am
PEORIA, Ariz. – The number of diabetics in the United States in 2007 was 23.6 million – about 8 percent of the population – and that total included Brandon Morrow.
Since then, the numbers have increased. Today, they include Morrow’s teammate on the Seattle Mariners, Mark Lowe.
Most Americans, studies show, believe diabetics are obese, that they somehow bring on the disease through poor diet or lack of exercise. Yet Morrow and Lowe are prime examples of just how incorrect those theories are.
Lowe found out his blood sugars were high last spring after his team physical, but he didn’t know much about the condition.
“All I knew about it was watching Brandon prick himself in the finger down in the bullpen every night in the fifth inning,” Lowe said. “I remember the moment that I realized it was pretty serious. I was talking to (assistant trainer) Rob Nodine and he was telling me that the Utah Jazz owner was diagnosed, and the second he was diagnosed he had to have both legs amputated.
“When he told me that, I told him right there, ‘Set me up an appointment. I’ve got to get this under control.’ It’s scary. I never realized how serious it was. It’s not anything to mess around with.”
Morrow, a Type 1 diabetic, learned he had the disease as a senior in high school, a star pitcher who was confounded by sudden symptoms he didn’t understand.
“I was complaining about … waking up in the middle of the night, dehydrated, dry mouth, having to go to the bathroom a lot, losing weight, tired, vision blurry,” he said. “One of the guys on our team suggested that I go get checked for diabetes because he’d just done a research project on it.
“I brought it up to my mom, but she thought that I had unknowingly put myself on a diet where you drink tons and tons of water, that I was losing weight because of that. She didn’t want to believe that I was diabetic.
“We went to the doctor and my blood sugar was in the 700s – 715, I think. That’s officially diabetic.”
Lowe is a Type 2 diabetic, adult onset, and his struggles only began with his diagnosis.
“Basically, they told me to control it with my diet – don’t eat a lot of sugar, don’t eat a lot of carbs,” Lowe said. “It really crept up on me this past offseason. It hit me really hard. I lost about 15 pounds, and I’m down to about what I weighed in high school. Fortunately, when I was diagnosed I had somebody right next to me every day to ask questions to.”
There situations are different. Morrow wears an insulin pump and can use it to control sugars after testing himself. Lowe is trying to control his numbers with medication and diet – with varying degrees of success.
Naturally, being ballplayers, they joke about diabetes. They wager on what their numbers will be before testing, to see who’s closer to their prediction.
“The loser has to eat a whole bag of cookies,” Lowe said, joking.
Both know it’s no joking matter.
“This offseason, it was hard for me to work out,” Lowe said. “I would get in and crush it for about an hour, but when I got home I would hit a wall. I had nothing left. I was really controlling my diet, which could have made me lose weight, too.
“But it was tough. It was tough to have energy because there were no carbs going in, no sugars.”
And during the course of a 162-game season?
“I know it did affect me last year. I would come in some days and be dragging. Some days in the middle of the day I would hit a wall. Some days it was so high that my vision was blurry,” Lowe said.
Morrow has had to watch for the opposite – having his blood sugar dip too low.
“It was the first inning against UCLA my junior year. I’d felt it a few times warming up where you start feeling jittery, getting the shakes, cold sweat and an overall anxious feeling,” Morrow said. “I made it through the inning. Now, I pay a lot of attention to it before I get out there. Once you get it set and level, it’s going to hold through the game.”
Morrow said he thinks Lowe has it tougher.
“It’s almost harder for Mark because he doesn’t have the insulin to take. I think it’s harder to control it by diet,” he said. “I can pretty much eat whatever I want. I don’t have a very strong sweet tooth and I’m not eating pizza every night and stuff.
“I have insulin and when I want to have a cookie, I can hit the button and do it. But Mark has to wait three hours if he wants a cookie, which is tougher.”
Morrow is 24, and has been living with diabetes for years. Lowe is 25 and is still adjusting. The two are close friends, and when Lowe was officially diagnosed last year, one of the first things he did was text message Morrow.
“I was down at West Tennessee for the first two weeks. It was a day or two after he was officially diagnosed when I got called back,” Morrow said. “He’d just gotten his (testing meter). We were messing around pricking ourselves and sharing numbers.”
“It was not fun knowing it was something you’ll have to do the rest of your life, poking yourself with a needle forever,” Lowe said. “But you get over it and know it could be way, way worse. In the long run, its something that will help you – staying in shape, eating right. You have to look at it in the big picture.”
Neither Lowe nor Morrow had diabetes in their families, so the reaction to having the disease hit home in similar ways.
“I remember calling my mom and she started crying. I thought it was silly, but if I look at it from their perspective and got a call from them, I’d be sad too,” Lowe said. “It’s just Mom being Mom.
“I went home for the holidays and all the food was based around diabetes. It drove me nuts. Can you have this? Can you have that? ‘I can have whatever I want, Mom.’ ”
Morrow laughs at the story.
“The first year, everybody is trying to make you special Splenda cookies and stuff,” Morrow said. “It was like, ‘These are sick. Get rid of them.’ ”
Having two diabetics on the team has led to some interesting evenings in the Seattle bullpen.
“The jokes are on us in the bullpen. We’ll sit next to somebody and the other guys will say, ‘Oh, diabetes germs,’” Morrow said. “We have fun with it. But if they see you popping your finger, they’ll come over to see what the numbers are.”
How do they control their blood sugars during a game, when they’re often working hard?
“Being in the bullpen, you have the luxury of six innings and you’ll know when it’s coming on,” Lowe said. “Usually mine is on a routine. Every day at the same time it starts going down and I know what to do. But I haven’t been on these pills while I’ve been in a night game, so that will be something new to me.”
Morrow, now a starting pitcher, has to handle his blood sugar differently.
“I try to get it almost perfect before I go out, then I start dropping during my warm-ups,” Morrow said. “Then you try to get it up, and it goes back up again in the first inning. I try to check it between innings. Maybe by the third or fourth innings, it has leveled out and pretty stable, so I don’t have to worry about it too much by then.”
Occasionally, they talk about what they miss – things they used to eat but no longer can.
“If I was in Brandon’s shoes (using insulin), I would crush food. It hurts me a little bit, but it’s not that bad,” Lowe said.
“I’ll have some ice cream every now and then. But I won’t sit and eat a whole sheet of cookies,” Morrow said. “I never had much of a sweet tooth to begin with. But I do like my starches. I could eat a whole vat of mashed potatoes.”
Once in a while, a diabetic will try to talk to one or both of them at Safeco Field.
“There have been people in the bullpen. There have been parents who push their kids up to the fence,” Morrow said.
The questions come naturally. How have two major league players handled a disease that can be lethal if it goes unchecked?
“Take it serious. It’s a big deal and it’s your livelihood,” Lowe said. “As you get older, a lot of things can change and you’ve got to take care of it for the long run.”
Morrow’s advice is similar.
“Don’t let it hold you back,” he said. “It’s a serious condition, but if you take care of yourself and monitor it, you can be as healthy as anybody else.
“With both of our personalities, we keep it loose. We both take it seriously, but we don’t let it dictate who we are.”

Monday, January 5, 2009


I am sad to say that the Holidays hurt me in my quest for an A1c of 6.7.  It was just extremely difficult with food always around me.  I am hoping to get back on track.......maybe I still have a shot.  Will keep you posted.  Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays.