Where is my GlucoLift?

A lot of you have probably noticed that supplies of GlucoLift have been low recently- no 3/6 packs, and no cherry until this week. Don’t worry, we are very (very very very very very) aware of the problem and have been losing sleep for weeks trying to get it fixed.

Here’s the story: we made a few changes to the tablets to make them dissolve even easier and faster, because that’s something that really matters to the bulk of our users. And it worked! Unfortunately, it added a few manufacturing challenges that took longer to work out than anyone anticipated.

The goos news is that they’re finally starting to come off the production line, and they’re great. It’s going to take a couple more weeks to finish them and get them all bottled and ready to ship out, but the wheels are turning and they’ll be here soon. We’ll announce it on FB/Twitter/our blog, and of course inventory will be updated on Amazon and our online store.

Thanks for your patience.

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.”

Video: How did GlucoLift start?

I know the point of videos is that you DON’T have to do a lot of reading, but let me just say this: I spent a lot of time working on this video. WAY too much time. Then, I basically gave up on it. Then, I was reminded/encouraged to finish it, and went back and did that and now…well, try not to think about the fact that this actually took a really long time to make (you’ll only be disappointed if you do that) and just enjoy.

-Chris

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

March Madness

It’s a busy month of shows for GlucoLift!

While we kicked off the month with a great TCOYD Conference in Tucson, the rest of March belongs to JDRF.

A fan stopped by the GlucoLift booth in San Diego

A fan stopped by the GlucoLift booth in San Diego

Last Saturday we hung out with our local chapter at their Meet the Scientists Day at the La Jolla Institute of Immunology. In addition to speeches by leading doctors and diabetes researchers, there was an exhibit area out in the glorious San Diego sunshine, with representatives from a number of companies and non-profits, including Insulindependence, TCOYD, Tandem, and Dexcom (all San Diego-based). In addition, TrialNet was on site doing blood draws for relatives of people with Type 1.

This coming Saturday we’re journeying east (just in time for a blast of winter weather) for the JDRF Research Summit in Bethesda, MD. Moderated by everybody’s favorite Miss America, Nicole Johnson, this event features talks on the Artificial Pancreas, islet cell encapsulation, and more, as well as youth programs.

Next Saturday, it’s back east again, this time to New England for JDRF Providence’s “Living Well with Diabetes” Expo, which will give us a chance to catch up our friends from Jerry the Bear, six until me, and Bigfoot Child Have Diabetes.

Finally, we’ll wrap up our shows for March with another TCOYD, this time a little closer to home in Santa Clara, CA (Still a flight, but a short one!).

We’re excited to have the chance to connect with so many people and show them that glucose tablets CAN be all-natural, non-chalky, and delicious. I hope some of you will be able to see us at one of these upcoming shows!

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.

Riding on GlucoLift

Riding on Insulin Logo

 

Even though I’m still getting ready for this weekend’s Children with Diabetes event, it’s hard to keep my mind from drifting to the next rodeo on the calendar, a day at Snow Summit with the Riding on Insulin crew.

Riding on Insulin (ROI) is a great organization that introduces children with diabetes to snowboarding or skiing, through the instruction and inspiration of founder, pro-snowboarder, and fellow PWD Sean Busby and his wife/partner Mollie.  Participants are encouraged to learn more about their diabetes management and their potential as PWDs through the challenges and shared learning experiences that a day on the slopes provides.  Riding on Insulin has grown rapidly, and now has camps in 4 different countries (here’s their full 2013 schedule).

Not only will GlucoLift be passing out samples and giving away some prizes (not to mention be in the pockets of all coaches/volunteers), but I’ll be an on-mountain volunteer, which I’m thrilled about.  I started skiing when I was 4, and it’s always been one of my favorite things to do, and something I never considered giving up after my diagnosis.  Hopefully I’ll be able to share my passion for the mountain with the next generation, and pick up some on-slope diabetes management tips and tricks for myself!  There are still a few spots left for next weekend’s program, so if you’re interested, get in touch with ROI right away!

On the run!

Well, it’s definitely 2013.  It’s almost so deep into 2013 that saying “Happy New Year” is no longer appropriate (I’m still saying it though.  I’ll stop by February).

I’ve got a rapidly-filling calendar of shows and events we’ll be visiting this year, so hopefully one or more those will be in your area and you can come say hi.  I LOVE meeting our customers in person.

Our first event for 2013 is the Children with Diabetes Focus on Technology in Crystal City, VA on February 1-3.  If you’re in the neighborhood, I’m sure it’s going to be a great event.  This is the same group that puts on the wildly popular and totally amazing Friends for Life week in Orlando every summer (which we’ll also be attending).

This event will focus on the technological tools available for managing diabetes, and allow parents and children to learn about all of the different options and explore what might be the best fit for them.  There will also be a keynote speech by ultra-endurance athlete and Team Novo Nordisk (formerly Team Type-1) member Sebastien Sasseville.

If you’re not close to this event, we have lots more all over the map, and will be posting info about those as they get closer.

In the meantime, Happy New Year!

 

-Chris