Monday, July 7, 2014

I’m out of my box

As I type this, I’m still recuperating from this past week.  I’m not complaining.  I was given an amazing opportunity that will undoubtedly change my diabetes advocacy focus.  I have always had a passion for helping others to figure out how to live with their diabetes.  I have always had ideas on how things could be better in either diabetes education or healthcare policies.  What I haven’t had is a clear vision for how lil ol’ me could make a difference…until I attended Master Lab. 

Master Lab is the brainchild of the folks at Diabetes Hands Foundation.  The purpose was to bring diabetes advocates together to spend a day learning how to be better, more effective advocates.  Talking about “creating a formula for successful diabetes advocacy in the future.”  Realizing our potential, and boy do we have it!

Paul Madden, senior director of Wellness, diabetes/NCD, Project Hope, told us that as advocates we need to pay attention to make sure things for people with diabetes continue to improve.  Cases of diabetes are increasing and so will the cost of treating those people.  Insurance companies (including Medicaid and Medicare) are limiting test strips for PWD.  That is “insurers telling ill informed doctors what to prescribe.” In the immortal words of Bennet Dunlap, "How effin' stupid is that?"
We heard from many great speakers throughout the day who gave us their view of what it means to be a good advocate; how we can get through to our congressmen and the FDA; ideas on what our next steps should be.  Here’s the thing: we are currently a lot of small voices crying out to be heard and what we need to be is a loud, strong, united voice.  We need to be focused.  We need more voices!  

Why do I care?  Why should YOU care?

Because we’re 30 million strong and we aren’t a movement.

Because PWD don’t have access to the medicine and tools they need to lead healthy, productive lives.

Because no one should have to decide between food and medicine in this country.

Because many type 2s are too ashamed of their condition to speak up.

Because young children don’t know what it’s like to just eat an ice cream cone without first calculating the carbs and injecting insulin.

Because type 2s may be given 1 test strip a day by their insurance company and are expected to improve their blood glucose.

Because diabetics who have been using a CGM for years, and that one thing has helped them to control their diabetes and has probably saved their lives, and yet when they hit 65 and go on Medicare it will no longer be covered.

Because our test strips aren’t accurate.

Because I can’t sit idly by while these things are the norm in our country.  I must speak up.  I will join my voice with others to make a difference, because I can.

What can you do about this?  The first thing is to add your voice.  Go to the Diabetes Hands Foundation Action Hub and take this survey.  This quick action will connect you and you will receive emails that will keep you up to date on ways you can make your voice heard. 

Other than the wonderful information I received about how to become a more effective advocate, I also met so many people whom I admire and respect.  I’ve “known” these people online for quite some time but have never met them.  The name of this post came from Kerri.  I introduced myself to her and she hesitated for a second until she saw my name.  “Kate! (big hug) it took me a minute because you’re out of your box. (said as she framed her face with her hands.)  Yes, I’m out of my box; no longer just a small picture on the screen. 

There are too many stories to tell about my experiences at Master Lab.  There is too much information to contain in one post so be prepared, there’s more to come!  For now, please take the survey and add your voice to help all people with diabetes.

(Disclaimer: The Diabetes Hands Foundation provided me with a scholarship to attend Master Lab.  They paid for my airfare, registration and lodging.  Without their help I would not have been able to attend.  Oh, they also provided me with an amazing amount of fire in my belly that will forever change my advocacy for people with diabetes.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!)


  1. So glad you were there with me!!!

    1. Me too, Rachel! Such an amazing experience and I'm glad we could share it.

  2. Kate, I'm so happy you were there at MasterLab. I'm equally happy that it's made a difference for you with your diabetes advocacy. I'm equally equally happy that I got to meet you.

  3. Kate, I took the survey and followed through with the process to contact my representatives. It couldn't have been easier, so keep spreading the word.


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