Jelly Baby Month Badges

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I don’t seem to get involved in JDRF Australia activities as much as I would like to, or perhaps as much as I should. However, I still appreciate the role they play in raising awareness about type 1 diabetes, funding research and in particular, supporting parents of newly diagnosed kids.

I was a 10 years old at diagnosis, and still recall the stress my parents went through for the first couple of years in coming to terms with what type 1 diabetes actually meant – not just for me, but for them as well.

I’m not sure if there will be a cure in my lifetime, but I hope there is one for the future kids that are diagnosed with type 1. As a result, I’ve purchased a Jelly Baby Month badge, and will be wearing it proudly throughout May.

Playing catch-up

Wow – it has been a busy week or two in diabetes land, so I’m playing a bit of catch up.

OneTouch Verio IQ Recall
I recently received a voluntary recall note from Johnson & Johnson asking me to kindly pop my OneTouch Verio IQ meter in an envelope and send it away, with a free OneTouch Verio, included as an interim meter.

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Old vs New

The recall is because “it has been found that, at extremely high blood glucose levels (56.8 mmol/L and above), the device will turn off rather than display the intended warning”. I’ve written before about how the IQ is awesome so given the relatively minor nature of the issue, I’ve decided to keep it. My blood glucose has been over 30.0 only once since diagnosis (and it was horrendous), so I am comfortable that the chances of my BGL nearing 56.8 are slim.

The one thing that frustrated me, however, was the lack of information about WHEN a replacement may be received. A week? A month? 3 months? 6 months? I understand in this scenario that J&J cannot promise anything, but it is important for companies to think about what we want and need to know in their communications, especially as the market becomes more competitive.

What’s in a name?
There have been a few blogs about lately about changing the names of type 1 and type 2 diabetes due to a petition out there at the moment – you can read a summary of the recent activities on The Butter Compartment or Diabetogenic. I truly can understand both sides of the argument, but my view is that that changing the name is unlikely make life better for any of us, and in fact, may enhance confusion.

I do think that the media can often misrepresent both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. I do think that diabetes representative organisations have a responsibility to ensure their messaging, activities and structures reflect the differences between type 1 and 2 (as a Victorian, I’m proud to say Diabetes Australia-Vic do a brilliant job with this). I do find it a bit weird that people think you can only get type 1 if you are a kid. And sure, I get frustrated when people ask me questions about diabetes that are completely bonkers. For the record, yes, I can eat ripe fruit. But will changing the name solve these issues? I don’t see it happening.

The government does not have an endless bucket of money to throw at diabetes and there are heaps of other conditions, all the way from Alzheimer’s and Asthma to Zollinger-Ellison syndrome all fighting for the public dollar. It’s a competitive space and given this, I think we need to refine our focus. That is – focusing on the things that will make diabetes an easier ride for people and are palatable for decision makers.

Whether it is called type 1 diabetes or purple-monkey-dishwasher, language will always be an issue, but I feel it is up to organisations like Diabetes Australia (and their branches) & JDRF; community groups like the Type 1 Diabetes Network and Diabetes Counselling Online; and the broader diabetes community to build understanding about the different types of diabetes. Changing the name of diabetes is simply shifting the responsibility on these issues – looking for someone else to solve these issues for us, whilst the issues remain in the background.

Fun Fact: in 1928, Vegemite changed it’s name to ‘Parwill’. This was to contest with the successful Marmite (a competitor to the yeast extract spread crown), with the logic behind the re-branding strategy being “if Marmite…then Parwill”. Er…yep. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t work and the name was changed back to Vegemite. The moral of the story? Focusing too much energy on the marketability of wording can be often misdirected. If you are really interested in Vegemite advertising – check out this post on Finding Family.

World Diabetes Congress 2013 – Melbourne

Registrations have opened for the World Diabetes Congress to be held in late 2013 in my beloved hometown of Melbourne. I’m certainly hoping to make it to this event and hoping members from the #DOC around the world are also able to attend.

A few tips about Melbourne for any global visitors:

  • Our coffee is by-and-large awesome – happy to provide some suggestions so feel free to tweet me.
  • Footy season will be over in December, but footy never stops in Melbourne. All you need to know is that the Hawthorn Football Club is the team to support and there are a few footballers with type 1 diabetes – Sam Reid and Jamie Cripps
  • Melbourne has cool streets. Streets of Melbourne provides a showcase.
  • If you can get to Queenscliff for a day- make sure you do!

Dexcom G4

I’m lucky enough to be giving the newly-arrived Dexcom G4 a test drive through my diabetes clinic. Whilst consumable costs are entirely prohibitive for ongoing use given the lack of subsidisation (much like the Medtronic CGM system) I am looking forward to giving it a whirl, so I’ll be providing my thoughts on the Dexcom soon!

Reality Check back on-line

In a recent post I talked about the Diabetes Blog thread on Reality Check. Soon after, the site crashed – big time! Reality Check is back on-line with no identified issues to date. Huzzah!

The Reality Check d-blog thread

First things first, I am a member of the Type 1 Diabetes Network (T1DN) management committee, most famously known for the Reality Check forum that provides Australians, and others, a platform to share experiences relating to type 1 diabetes.

Given the number of members on the forum and the significant expertise and experiences of these people, I recently started the Reality Check diabetes blog thread to:

  • encourage Reality Checkers share their diabetes blogs on the forum;
  • inform Reality Checkers that there are Australian diabetes bloggers out there; and
  • hopefully encourage Reality Checkers to start their own blogs.

As a recent diabetes-blog-starter-up-erer myself, inspired by folks like Renza and Jo, I think the more people involved in the Australian diabetes blogging community, the better. To quote Renza “while the number of Australian blogs may be thin on the ground, the quality of the ones out there are terrific.”

Therefore, if you are a Reality Check poster and a diabetes blogger, make sure you take the opportunity to post a link to your blog on the thread. Or start a blog up and then post it. Already the blogs by Kim, Ash, Maya and Nice Diabetes have been mentioned in the thread. I didn’t know about two of those blogs before I started the thread, so in my mind, the system works!

And if the system works, the diabetes online community in Australia continues to flourish!

Note: The content of this post does not reflect the views of the Type 1 Diabetes Network or the moderators of the Reality Check forum (who do a sterling job!).