Interview on TuDiabetes

 

dhf-cca

Tomorrow I’ll be taking questions during a video interview on TuDiabetes at 1PM PDT. Feel free to come by and ask anything you’ve ever wanted to know about GlucoLift, the product or the company. The interview will be archived a few days after it happens, so I’ll come back and post the link here in case you miss it.

 

***UPDATE 5/22/14***

Here’s the link to the archived show: http://www.tudiabetes.org/video/live-interview-with-chris-angell-founder-of-glucolift

When Glucose Tabs are a Luxury

 

sparearose

Glucose tablets definitely don’t seem like a luxury. They feel more like an unpleasant reminder of one of the scarier sides of life with diabetes: hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar.

But the truth is, in much of the world, children with diabetes don’t live long enough to ever know what low blood sugar is, because they don’t have access to something that we (and by “we” I mean almost anyone reading this on a glowing screen connected to the internet) pretty much take for granted: insulin. Lack of insulin is the leading cause of death for children with diabetes in the developing world.

I’m writing to encourage you to consider a donation as part of the Spare a Rose, Save a Child campaign, built around the idea that the cost of a single rose is enough to provide a child in need with enough insulin to keep him or her alive for a month. So if you normally give roses on Valentine’s Day (or even if you don’t) consider making this a part of your gift this year.

You can learn more, and make a donation at www.sparearose.org

Falling Test Strips (better than failing test strips)

Several years of test strips, falling from the sky. Each one represents a decision I made in my diabetes care: take insulin/eat food/wait to eat/take GlucoLift/keep on trucking.

Made for Diabetes Art Day’s “Strip Safely” edition. From the Diabetes Art Day website: “Diabetes Art Day is collaborating with the Strip Safely initiative to raise awareness about the important issue of test strip accuracy. Blood glucose test strips are at the center of diabetes life, and BG results inform all of our diabetes care decisions. The Strip Safely initiative calls on everyone affected by diabetes to send letters supporting policy change to their government representatives. Printed letters do not capture and convey emotion the way visual art can though, so everyone affected by diabetes is invited to join this special edition of Diabetes Art Day.”

Ira Cohen – A tribute to a great [diabetic] artist

collection of photographs by Ira Cohen in the GlucoLift office

For the past couple months, we’ve been getting set up in a new office space. Lots of travel has meant that it has proceeded slower than I’d prefer, but such is life.

Recently, we were able to carve out some space for a sitting area, which will hopefully get some use if anyone ever decides to visit us. Today, I put some art up on the wall.

photograph of Pharaoh Sanders by Ira Cohen in the GlucoLift office

Pharaoh Sanders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These photographs have been traveling around with me for over a decade, never having been hung or even framed before. They were taken by Ira Cohen in the late 1960s, and are the first photographs I ever purchased. Readers of a certain age will recognize Jimi Hendrix, William Burroughs, and Pharaoh Sanders, among others. All of these were shot in Ira’s mylar chamber, long before Photoshop and digital photography made manipulations like this commonplace.

photograph of Jimi Hendrix by Ira Cohen in the GlucoLift office

Jimi Hendrix

Ira was one of my first friends when I moved to New York in 1999 and began working in the art world. We would go to dirty gallery openings and poetry readings on the lower east side, and swankier events in Soho. Often, because he was already in his late 60s and moving slower, I would drive him home to his apartment on the Upper West Side, which was like a museum, piled high with untold treasures from a life lived in equal parts creating and witnessing some of the more important cultural movements in the second half of the 20th Century.

William Burroughs

William Burroughs

Ira was a poet, a photographer, a filmmaker, a publisher and a spiritual journeyman. He reeked of wisdom and adventure. He also lived with diabetes.

My years with Ira came before my own diagnosis, so my understanding of his condition was limited, and he rarely discussed it, but I do remember seeing him with his vial of insulin and syringe, which was probably my first recollection of those tools in person.

The last time I saw Ira was at a friend’s wedding in 2007, less than a month after my diagnosis, and it was clear that diabetes was starting to take a toll on his health. His feet were swollen and wrapped, and he was moving even slower than before. He didn’t offer me any guidance or warnings on living with diabetes, but it was one more thing we were able to share.

 

Self portrait- Astral Projections

Self portrait- Astral Projections

Ira passed away in 2011 of renal failure, no doubt a complication of many hard years of lifewith diabetes. Though Ira was a brilliant and highly regarded artist, and worked with many, many famous people, he was never a financial success (and by all accounts never aspired to be). In fact, some of my photographs were bought on a monthly plan to help him cover his bills.

In a day when almost any PWD with a modest amount of exposure in the entertainment world can expect to make the cover of Diabetes Forecast and gain the adulation of people with diabetes and their families across the country, Ira was a great artist who, to my knowledge, has thus far remained unknown to the diabetes community. It would be nice for more people to learn about the amazing work he did and celebrate all that he gave the world.

So after so many years, I’ve finally gotten around to getting his photographs framed, and, in a strange twist of irony, am hanging them in the office of my diabetes-focused business. Perhaps not nearly as exciting as many of the other walls his work has graced, but I hope a fitting home nonetheless.

So if you’re ever in San Diego and would like to drop in and say hi, and maybe peruse some beautiful work by an exceptional artist who happened to also live with diabetes, drop us a line.

You can learn more about Ira at his official website, and read his New York Times obituary here.

Ragnar with Insulindependence

 

Insulindependence Glucolift Ultra Socal Ragnar

Anyone following us on Facebook or Twitter a few days ago will have seen a small flurry of posts about the SoCal Ragnar, a 195-mile relay race from Huntington Beach to San Diego.

Insulindependence organized two teams for this race, which GlucoLift sponsored: a 12-person team and the first-ever all type-1 Ultra team, which consisted of 6 people.
(you can read more about each team member here)

A Ragnar is a tough event, no matter which team you’re on. You run anywhere from 12-37 miles, both day and night, spread over 3-6 legs and around 34 hours. When you’re not running, you’re in a van with the rest of your teammates, heading to the next exchange point. Managing diabetes while enduring that much physical exertion, with little (or no) sleep, limited food options, and the challenge of actually finding your meter kit under the shoes, socks, water bottles and empty coffee cups littering the floor, is not to be taken lightly. Indeed, there were some potentially dangerous lows (one of which required glucagon) and some crippling dehydration/heat exhaustion experienced by both teams. Still, everyone managed to make it to the finish line.

It’s important to stress that we didn’t complete this race because we were teams of elite athletes (though there were a couple of those sprinkled in for good measure) or because we all have perfect blood sugar control. Blood sugars went as low as the 30s and as high as the 400s. We made it because we were regular (whatever the hell that means) people with diabetes who set a fantastic goal for ourselves and put in the work to achieve it. Most of us were able to set that goal because we were inspired by other people with diabetes who have achieved amazing things before us, and all of us hope that by completing this race, we will inspire other people to take on new challenges in their lives. But most important of all is this: we did not finish this race in spite of our diabetes, we all did it BECAUSE of our diabetes.

I ran the last leg for the 6-person team, which was supposed to be a five mile flat run from Point Loma to the Embarcadero behind the San Diego Convention Center. Along with a number of other runners, I overshot a turn (yes, I have lived in San Diego for 6 years) and ended up running onto and down Harbor Island, which, as the name implies, does not connect back with the mainland. This meant that I had to retrace my steps and add about a mile to the run. I was frustrated, tired, sore, hot, and losing steam. It was sunny and in the high 80s. I had slept about 45 minutes out of the previous 33 hours and hadn’t had a proper meal in as long. I had run almost 25 miles before I even started this final stretch. But after I corrected course, just as my spirits were at the lowest they’d been the whole race, a headwind began to blow on me. Normally, headwinds are unwelcome- you have to work harder, and you feel like you’re being held back. But at that moment, the wind focused my energy and quickened my pace. My head came up, my shoulders went back, my feet felt lighter, and I began to smile. It gave me something to push against, much the way diabetes has given me something to push against in my life, and focus my energy on accomplishing bigger things than I might have otherwise considered. It didn’t make my run easier, but it made it better.

Before I knew it, I was weaving through tourists in Seaport Village, and had crossed the street behind the Convention Center, with the end in my sights. I was waved into the corral heading towards the finish line. My team was there waiting for me and we all crossed together. It was a beautiful end to a great journey, in both life and diabetes, not despite the fact that it was challenging, but because it was.

Insulindependence Glucolift Ultra Socal Ragnar team

Wanna Get Physical?

Want to spend an incredible weekend with other PWDs, testing your physical limits, learning about diabetes from other people who are always on the lookout for new tips & tricks, and create some incredible memories? All within spitting distance of the Pacific Ocean and some of the most scenic beaches in the country? Of course you do!

The 2012 Insulindependence Northwest Passage Ragner Team

The 2012 Insulindependence Northwest Passage Ragner Team

GlucoLift is teaming up with Insulindependence to create two all-D teams for the 2013 SoCal Ragnar, from Huntington Beach to Coronado, on April 19-20. If you’ve never heard of a Ragnar before, here’s the definition from their website:

Ragnar is the overnight running relay race that makes testing your limits a team sport. A team is made up of 6-12 individuals; each individual runs 3 legs. The legs of the race vary in difficulty and distance, from 3-8 miles, allowing elite and novice runners to run together. Over 2 days and 1 night, teams run across 200 miles of the country’s most scenic terrain. Pair that with crazy costumes, inside jokes, a great finish line party and unforgettable stories. Some call it a slumber party without sleep, pillows or deodorant. We call it Ragnar.

We’ll have one 12-person team, and one 6-person “ultra” team. There are still a few spots left. For more information, or if you’re ready to sign up RIGHT NOW, email Brennan Cassidy at Insulindependence.  Your non-diabetic friends will be jealous.

A water break at last year's Ragnar.

A water break at last year’s Ragnar.

Diabetes Art Day 2012

Today is Diabetes Art Day 2012! It’s an online event started in 2010 by blogger, art therapist, and type-1 Lee Ann Thill. You can red more about the day, and see submissions from this year and previous years HERE.

Below is our submission for this year. Entitled “Persistence of Diabetes”, it’s a riff on/homage to the 1931 surrealist classic “Persistence of Memory” by Dali, inspired by the unshakeable presence of diabetes in our lives.

Persistence of Diabetes