You might know me as the publisher of Diabetes Health. I’m also a mother of two, the daughter of a woman who died of type 2 diabetes, and a theater buff. But from now on, I hope you’ll come to know me as someone who brings important stories to you every issue, stories about people who are making a difference in diabetes.
How It All Began
Seventeen years ago, my business partner and I started Sugar Happy, a diabetes supply store in San Francisco. We began by helping educate patients about the products that their doctors recommended, and we became an overnight success by specializing in meters and insulin pumps. I trained patients and provided helpful materials to local hospitals that were interested in what was, at the time, a radical new therapy. I also educated the insurance companies by showing them the economic benefits of insulin pump therapy.
Sugar Happy Diabetes Supply gave me a great opportunity to speak to people with diabetes on a daily basis. At the time, misinformation was rampant about diabetes, and education was less available than it is now. I remember one customer telling me that his doctor said he no longer needed to test his blood glucose because he had “borderline diabetes.” Motivated to address such ignorance, my business partner and I started a diabetes radio show, Diabetes on the Dial, which was sponsored by LifeScan. We interviewed physicians and diabetes nurse educators with special expertise in treating this disease, and our local audience called in and asked the experts for advice.
As we became more seasoned, people began to ask us for transcripts of our show. To fill that need, we launched the magazine Diabetes Interview fourteen years ago. A few years back, we changed our name to Diabetes Health to better reflect our evolution into an educational magazine. It’s been a long ride, and a very satisfying one.
So there you have my professional evolution. I do not pretend to be a credentialed expert. But I have been immersed in the world of diabetes for almost two decades, and my personal experience has given me even greater insight into diabetes and the emotional and physical toll it can take on the families whose lives it touches.
A Personal Story
My mother was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 52 and died from complications of diabetes at age 65. Diabetes had always frightened her. Her own mother had had diabetes and had ignored it, and my mother adopted the behavior that was modeled for her. In spite of my frantic efforts to make her care for herself, she could not bring herself to do what was needed for her own health. She was a brilliant woman, and her behavior still haunts me, though with time I have come to better understand how the depression associated with diabetes immobilized her.
You Can Make a Difference
My hope is that this column will be something that my mother would have liked reading and something that might have helped her. I’m going to write the stories of people who are making a difference in diabetes, whether professional or ordinary, whether to one person or to many. So I’m asking for your help in searching out the stories that I know are out there, around every corner. We can all make a difference by sharing our experiences. I want to know what your story is. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.