10 Ways to Ditch Your Cravings for Sugar, Salt, and Fats

written by Mark Hyman, MD
Printed from the Huffpost 8/13/2013

According to a recent article in the New York Times, “Food Corporations Turn to Chefs in a Quest for Healthy Flavor,” Big Food companies like PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, and even fast food giants like Taco Bell are changing their ways in response to the increasing public demand for healthier food options. To improve their image as healthy food manufacturers, Big Food corporations have called upon top chefs to help them create healthy menu makeovers, infusing real, fresh, whole food into old recipe favorites.

Why is this happening now? Intense pressure brought on by politicians and their constituents (you and me!) has given these food manufacturers no choice but to respond to the public outcry for healthier food. It’s no longer enough for these companies to earn a profit by selling food that tastes good. People are beginning to use the power of the pocketbook to show these companies that the food they sell must also be nutritious.

That’s because people everywhere are waking up. They are beginning to see the dangers of genetically-modified ingredients and all the sugar, salt, and fats hidden in our food supply. From fancy restaurants to fast food chains, chefs are catching on that people want their food to make them feel good, not just while they are eating it but hours, days, and years afterward.

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Heart of Autism: Teacher on the Spectrum Inspires Students with Autism

Thursday, February 20, 2014
This Heart of Autism post is written by Ann Kagarise, the Assistant Director at IDEA House Educational Services, a published author, a journalist, an amazing photographer, a counselor, a volunteer in her community. She also happens to be on the autism spectrum! Below is a beautiful poem written by Ann about her experiences as a woman on the spectrum teaching students with autism: “There is no other place I would rather be than at a school that ‘gets’ me.”
Pull up a blade of grass, sit down and get to know me
Sit quietly with me. I love your company, but I love the silence.
Look at life, with me, as if you are looking at it for the first time.
Watch my eyes dance as I think of something fun.
Look at the world as a toy.
When I hear others speak of Autism, they miss the best parts.
“People on the spectrum do not connect.”
When I look into the eyes of a child with Autism, I feel a connection that goes to my soul.
I feel what they are feeling. I hurt when they are hurting. I feel joy when they feel joy.
I empathize. I love them deeply.
There is no place I would rather be.
I would have done anything to have a school like IDEA House when I was a kid.
I would have done anything for someone to ‘get’ me.’
“She doesn’t make eye contact.”
“She doesn’t make friends.”
“She likes to be by herself.”
“She’s different.”
You think we don’t hear that?
Yes. We do. While thinking, if they knew how much we feel, they would understand why I have to get a break from life at times.
If they knew just how much connection I feel with the people around me they would understand why my skin hurts at times and why I just cannot look at them.
There is no other place I would rather be than at a school that ‘gets’ me.
A place that offers more for kids on the spectrum than I ever had as a kid.
To come alongside a kid on the spectrum and show them that they can do it, gives me purpose.
It makes my life of struggles all worth it.
IDEA House is a place that took me in. They allowed me to grow and to be who I was at first.
We meet kids on the spectrum where they are. I have a degree in counseling and there is no other place I would want to work than beside a child with Autism.
“I have Autism, too.”
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What to Know About Alcohol and Diabetes

Having diabetes doesn’t mean alcohol is off-limits. We’ve talked to diabetes experts to find the latest advice on drinking alcoholic beverages. How many calories does a margarita have? Does a glass of wine spike blood sugar? Will a beer derail your diabetes meal plan? From wine and spirits to beer and cocktails, our diabetes drink guide tells you all you need to know about mixing diabetes and alcohol.
By Diabetic Living Editors; Reviewed 2013

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Caring for a Loved One with Alzheimer’s or Dementia

Authors, bloggers and participants shared their stories and advice during a Twitter cha

By Kimberly Leonard Feb. 20, 2014 Leave a Comment SHARE
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are emotionally devastating to patients and their loved ones. Families feel sorrow, confusion and anger. Many don’t know where to turn for support or guidance.

To offer families a platform for discussing their experiences, U.S. News Health held a live Twitter chat Feb. 13 and invited leading authors and bloggers to participate in the discussion:

David Shenk, author of “The Forgetting: Alzheimer’s Portrait of an Epidemic” and senior adviser to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund;
Dan Browning, creator of the NextAvenue Blog “Under 60 and Living With Dementia” and health reporter for the Star Tribune in Minnesota;
Gary Small, author of “The Alzheimer’s Prevention Program” and director of the UCLA Longevity Center;
Jeanne Walker, author of “The Geography of Memory: A Pilgrimage through Alzheimer’s” and English professor at the University of Delaware;
Michelle Seitzer, freelance elder care writer and senior blogger/social media specialist for senior housing and search leader at SeniorsforLiving.com, a service that allows people to search senior housing options;
Alex Witchel, author of “All Gone: A Memoir of My Mother’s Dementia, With Refreshments” and a staff writer at the New York Times Magazine.
Each of the participants experienced the extreme ups and downs of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, at home or in a nursing facility. Participants discussed what it’s like to witness the degeneration of their loved ones’ minds and bodies. Despite their grief, many said they grew from the experience, gaining a deeper understanding of themselves and how their families became closer through the various trials they faced. U.S. News held the discussion as part of the launch of U.S. News’ Best Nursing Homes 2014 on Feb. 26, which offers consumers a user-friendly tool to help them access government data and choose a high-performing nursing home in their community. It also offers advice about senior care and other aging-related issues.

Physical and Emotional Aspects

Participants in the chat discussed common reflections about the phases they noticed their loved ones with Alzheimer’s go through. The disease begins to exhibit itself with changes in personality, followed by changes in memory and mood swings. People become confused and often wander. As Alzheimer’s worsens it takes a toll on people’s bodies.

As the disease progresses, patients become depressed because they feel they are losing control of their lives, tweeted Gary Small, director of the UCLA Longevity Center. In later stages, people tend to socially withdraw, tweeted Cori Everson, a social worker at Mayo Clinic Health System’s Memory Care Clinic in Eau Claire, Wis.

Memory lapses are unpredictable, as are the consequences. Author and journalist Alex Witchel saw her mother take the wrong medications, and once found her sitting inside the house in a winter coat, overheated, not knowing where she was. Dan Browning from the Star Tribune recalls an incident in which his wife started looking through her purse while driving the car and skidded into an intersection. On another occasion, he found her wandering 7 miles away in the snow. Rosie Perera, a participant in the chat, noted that her mother once got lost once while driving and ended up 100 miles away in another state. Shelley Webb, a registered nurse and geriatric care manager, wrote that her father, who had dementia, bought a truck and had it delivered to her house. “He was confused about why they brought it, but happy they left it,” she tweeted. “We couldn’t return it. He signed papers.”

Emotional and memory problems are only the beginning. Eventually the brain loses its ability to communicate with the body, resulting in the progressive deterioration and eventual shut-down of basic bodily functions, offered writer Michelle Seitzer.

Browning tweeted that his wife has trouble speaking because of her dementia. She chokes on food and her muscles are wasting, he wrote. Other ailments tend to accompany Alzheimer’s, such as falls, urinary tract infections, dehydration and malnutrition, Webb tweeted. “The very human instinct is to hope that the disease won’t get worse. But it always will. Stages are knowable. Be proactive,” tweeted David Shenk, author.

Becoming a caregiver

Spouses, adult children or siblings often take care of their memory-impaired loved ones at home. They may decide to hire a nurse, or they may work full-time to provide care themselves, including administering medications, helping with meals, bathing or bathroom duties. The care they have to provide will become more involved as the disease worsens. “My decision to become a caregiver [for my wife] was made when I said, ‘I do,’ in 1990,” Browning tweeted.

He is part of an enormous community of caregivers. In 2012, more than 15 million people provided 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care to people with Alzheimer’s, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates.

For many, the experience can lead to physical and emotional burnout, including depression, Shenk wrote. He stressed that caregivers need to take care of themselves. Caregivers often must seek help from family and friends, but all too often they can’t get the help they need. For Linda Owen, a participant in the chat, there was no one else in town to turn to. “Not how I planned to spend retirement but trying to do it well,” she wrote.

Browning called the day-to-day emotions of caring for his wife a “roller coaster.”

“Look for the high points and enjoy the view,” he said. “They get you through the terror.”

Nursing Home Care

Sooner or later, many caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s or other dementia realize they have reached the limit of the help they can provide at home, even with the support of visiting nurses. Then comes the next hurdle: Seeking assisted-living or nursing-home care. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 42 percent of those in assisted-living or other residential facilities in 2010 had Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.

Shenk tweeted that it was important for caregivers not to feel guilty for using a nursing home.

Many organizations offer guidance to those seeking nursing home care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association provides a series of tip sheets about how you can advocate for your mom or dad in a home. The National Institute on Aging offers a guidebook about caring for someone with Alzheimer’s and for getting legal documents in order. The government’s webpage, Nursing Home Compare, provides a search tool that allows people to see how nursing homes in their area perform against each other, using federal and state standards. U.S. News Best Nursing Homes uses data from Nursing Home Compare to provide a much more user-friendly tool, along with a list of articles to guide families in their search.

Moments of Triumph and Hope

As heartbreaking as the disease can be, some participants found moments of hope and understanding. They became closer with their families and found comfort in moments of humor. Shenk wrote that families often tell him there can be many life-affirming moments. Browning tweeted that he learned to love the essence of his wife despite the disease.

Author Jeanne Walker, Author, tweeted that she rediscovered the mother she knew earlier in life. “It was comforting to think of my mother’s past ‘selves’ coming out,” she wrote. Her mother’s past “selves” reminded her of things she had forgotten, she wrote.

Perera wrote that it was important to savor humor. “We save funny quotes from mom, stories like when she put a panty liner in the church offering plate,” she wrote.

Walker agreed. “Don’t try to set them straight. You can’t,” she tweeted.

“Laugh when something’s funny. Laughter is close to tears, but better for you.”

Over-the-Counter Allergy Nasal Spray Triamcinolone – What Does It Mean for Patients?

This article has been reviewed by Thanai Pongdee, MD, FAAAAI

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved nasal triamcinolone for over-the-counter use. This means that consumers will soon be able to go to their local drugstore and purchase a nasal steroid spray. Other brands will still be available by prescription. Previously, all nasal steroids were available only with a prescription so they required occasional monitoring by a medical provider.

There are benefits and risks that come along with the decision to allow access to over-the-counter corticosteroids. To help you make an informed decision, this article will describe the pros and cons. It will also explain the importance of working with your doctor even if the medicines may be obtained without a prescription.

What Are Nasal Steroids?
Nasal steroids are important medicines to help treat allergic rhinitis (hay fever). They are helpful in reducing nasal inflammation, nasal congestion, runny nose and sneezing.

Other medicines that are available to treat allergic rhinitis include oral antihistamines, nasal antihistamines, anti-leukotriene modifiers and nasal saline. Allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots) can also be given to improve the immune system to not react or desensitize itself to the allergens.

If you’re wondering which medicines and treatment strategies will work for you, your doctor will help you navigate the many options and will work with you to decide the best treatment plan.

What Are the Concerns with Using Nasal Steroids?
Although these medicines are safe under a medical provider’s care, they do have some potential risks and concerns:

1. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis can be similar to other ailments like sinus infections, viral colds, chronic sinus inflammation, sinus polyps, and in rare cases certain cancers and other serious problems. It is possible that consumers may treat the wrong condition and a more serious problem could go unnoticed.
2. Nasal steroids can lead to nose bleeds that can be very concerning to patients, which is why proper usage and technique are important. Your doctor can examine the nasal tissues to make sure no damage is occurring. A rare complication that can occur is a hole, or perforation, in the nasal septum (bone separating each nostril). To make sure this does not happen, individuals should be monitored and receive nasal exams.
3. Growth restriction is a well-known risk of using steroids, although topical steroids like nose sprays are less much risky than oral corticosteroids. Even so, every person is different and some are more sensitive than others. For that reason, height and weight should always be monitored.
4. Side effects involving the eyes, which include glaucoma and cataracts, are potential yet uncommon risk factors of topical steroids. Those at risk for these conditions should talk with their physician.
5. Since the medicine will be over-the-counter, you will likely have to purchase it “out of pocket,” which is the case with many antihistamines and heartburn medications. This could increase the amount of money you pay each year for health costs.

Unlike taking a pill, the way you use the nasal spray is important. As mentioned above, it is important to avoid spraying the medicine into the middle of the nose, the septum bone that separates the nostrils. Sometimes it helps to use a mirror, or have another person or doctor make sure this is being done correctly. If you do not use the medicine correctly, it may not work, or worse, could cause serious side effects.

As with all medications, the benefits and risks should be weighed before deciding on a treatment plan. When used properly, nasal steroid sprays can be very effective at treating allergies. It is just important to recognize that steroid nose sprays can create risks if not monitored or used correctly.

Your allergist is trained to help you navigate the best treatment course and monitor your health. He or she can explain the benefits and risks of these treatments and answer any concerns you may have. Together, you and your allergist can decide the best treatment plan.

Carbs: Beyond The Basics

The pros and cons of using the glycemic index for carb counting and meal planning

By Tracey Neithercott
February 2014

Carbs count. Eat too many and your blood glucose can spike. It’s the first lesson people with diabetes learn at diagnosis: Watch the number of carbohydrate grams you eat at each meal or snack. That’s all well and good, but what about the type of carbohydrate you choose to eat? Increasingly, researchers are asking that question. Their answer may surprise you.

The GI Revolution

Back in 1980, most people with diabetes were using carbohydrate exchange lists, and “glycemic index” was a term foreign to researchers, doctors, and patients alike. Scientists at the University of Toronto, led by David Jenkins, MD, PhD, DSc, began digging around in the body’s glucose response to different foods, and the term came into use. In a 1981 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers listed what they called the glycemic index for 62 common foods.

The glycemic index (GI) measures the glucose response to a given number of grams of carbohydrate. Imagine a chart with a line representing glucose levels during the first two hours after you eat 50 grams of carbohydrate. The area under that line, when compared with results from a test using 50 grams of pure glucose, indicates a food’s glycemic index (graph, opposite). Foods with a high glycemic index have higher peaks and more area under the line than those with a low GI. The glycemic index, then, is a ranking of foods from zero to 100 based on blood glucose levels after eating. So 50 grams of a plain white baguette has a GI of 95 (and a taller graphed line) while 50 grams of an apple has a GI of 39 (and a shorter line).

“If you’re carb counting and if you have 20 grams of carbohydrate from an apple or a banana or rice, it’s [as if it’s] all the same,” says Thomas Wolever, BM, BCh, DM, PhD, coauthor of The New Glucose Revolution: The Authoritative Guide to the Glycemic Index—the Dietary Solution for Lifelong Health, professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto, and coauthor of the 1981 glycemic index study. “But it’s not.”

You might imagine that the glycemic index would be useful for people with diabetes. Yet more than three decades after its discovery, the glycemic index still isn’t among the most-recommended meal-planning tools.

The Glycemic Load

Graphing Blood Glucose Response
To determine the glycemic index of foods, researchers plot glucose levels for two hours after subjects eat portions containing 50 grams of carbohydrate and compare the area under each line with that of pure glucose.

SOURCE: Adapted from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2009

In its 2013 nutrition position statement, the American D
iabetes Association says picking low-GI foods over high-GI ones “may modestly improve glycemic control.” Yet despite the ADA’s slight encouragement, the recommendations note that while some studies showed drops in A1C (a measure of average glucose for the past two to three months) from following a low-GI diet, others found no blood glucose improvement at all.
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Autism and Toxic Chemicals: Are Pollutants Fueling Rising Prevalence?

Date: February 18, 2014
Researchers link more pollutants to disorders of brain development; call for global prevention strategy to control their use

A new report implicates a growing number of industrial chemicals as contributing to autism and other disorders of brain development. The authors call for a global strategy to reduce exposure.

The report appears online in Lancet Neurology. The authors are Harvard environmental epidemiologist Philippe Grandjean and Mount Sinai Medical School pediatrician and epidemiologist Philip Landrigan.

The new report summarizes evidence from published studies on industrial chemicals and brain toxicity and updates the review that the authors conducted in 2006.

Five known threats to brain development
Their 2006 review identified five widely used industrial chemicals as “developmental neurotoxicants.” Such chemicals can contribute to developmental brain disorders such as autism. The five were lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic and toluene.

In addition, the 2006 report identified more than 200 industrial chemicals that cause brain damage in adults. The authors warned that many of these might likewise cause developmental brain disorders.

Six more chemicals on the danger list
The new report adds six chemicals to the list of developmental neurotoxicants. They are high-doses of manganese or fluoride, the pesticides chlorpyrifos and DDT, the solvent tetrachloroethylene and polybrominated diphenyl ethers. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers are flame retardants applied to furniture.

Manganese and fluoride become toxic only at unnaturally high levels. The doses in vitamins and dental-hygiene products are safe.

While exposure to some of these chemicals is common in North America, the highest exposures tend to occur in developing nations, notes Alycia Halladay, Autism Speaks senior director for environmental and clinical sciences.

“Most exposures are hard for individuals to control themselves,” Dr. Halladay adds. “One way to prevent exposure is through regulation. Examples include the elimination of lead from gasoline and paint and the Clean Air Act.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Halladay agrees with the authors’ call for more research on the hundreds of toxic industrial chemicals now polluting the environment.

Many other neurotoxicants are likely contributing to a “silent pandemic” of developmental brain disorders, Drs. Grandjean and Landrigan write. As evidence, they cite studies linking autism risk to prenatal exposure to high levels of air pollution. (Click here for the full text of one of these studies, funded in part by Autism Speaks.)

Autism Speaks funds further research
Autism Speaks has funded a number of studies on autism risk and air pollution. In addition, it is currently supporting several studies collecting information on autism risk and exposures to other types of toxic chemicals.

To further speed discoveries, Autism Speaks is also funding the development of the Early Life Exposure Assessment Tool (ELEAT). Designed for autism research, this instrument allows investigators to combine the results of multiple studies on early environmental exposures. By increasing sample sizes, this will boost scientists’ ability to uncover toxic effects.

Learn more about Autism Speaks Environmental Factors in Autism Initiative here. For a full list of Autism Speaks studies on environmental risk factors for autism, click here.

Explore all the research Autism Speaks is funding using this website’s grant search.

Autism’s Subtle Early Signs: More Findings from Infant Eye Tracking

Date: February 11, 2014
Study adds to earlier research showing autism-related attention differences at 6 months; opportunity for earlier intervention?

Study authors Katarzyna Chawarska, Suzanne Macari and Frederick Shic (left to right) examine results of an eye tracking study in the Yale Early Social Cognition Lab. Photo courtesy Yale University School of Medicine.

Infants who go on to develop autism not only look at faces less than other babies do, they also tend to look away from important facial features when a person speaks, according to a new study.

The findings, by researchers at Yale University School of Medicine, appear in the February issue of Biological Psychiatry. They add to those of a recent eye-tracking study that likewise associated autism with subtle differences in attention to faces among 6-month-old babies.

“Babies who later develop autism may already have difficulties focusing on important social information at 6 months,” says study author Frederick Shic. “This, in turn, could be hampering the early development of their social and communication skills.” Dr. Shic’s co-authors included Yale psychologists Suzanne Macari and Katarzyna Chawarska.

“If children at high risk for autism are identified at such an early age, it may be possible to develop ways to assist their social development,” comments Alycia Halladay, Autism Speaks senior director for environmental and clinical sciences.

Dr. Shic is part of the Autism Speaks Baby Siblings Research Consortium (BSRC). The BSRC brings together research groups from around the world with the mission of discovering the earliest predictors of autism. Much of their research focuses on the younger siblings of children diagnosed with autism. These “baby sibs” are at higher than average risk of developing autism because the disorder tends to run in families.
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I Love Someone with Diabetes: Roger Lee Holman

Posted on February 13, 2014 by American Diabetes Association
Diabetes affects the whole family, whether you’re a parent, sibling, child, grandchild or spouse. This week on the blog, we’ll be featuring stories about loving and caring for someone with diabetes.


I love many people with diabetes. It has impacted countless friends and family members.

I’ve seen firsthand what happens to a person when they have diabetes. It can be a very hard disease to control (even seems impossible sometimes).

I lost my grandmother to type 2 diabetes when I was a small child. She didn’t even know she had it until just before it killed her. It was agonizing for her. She was only 56.

My aunt Sharon was only 54 whenever she died from kidney failure and other complications of type 2 diabetes. I remember seeing the fear in her eyes. The pain she was going through seemed to be unbearable.

My little sister Tawana suffers from the effects of type 2. She has open sores and deteriorating bones in her foot. The fear of losing her feet is always on her mind. She is only 37 years old and has had to stop working because of her condition. She’s so far behind on her bills, I’m afraid she’ll never catch up.

My wife Lahonda and I have been together for nine years. She was diagnosed with type 2 a few years before we met. Lahonda is now 53 and constantly struggles with her weight, abdominal pain, fatigue and overall poor health. Counting carbohydrates and sugar content for every meal is harder than it sounds. Low-carb/low-sugar products generally cost more. My wife’s blood glucose has ranged from 30 to over 500 mg/dl. She has had heat exhaustion countless times, plus diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). She has neuropathy (nerve) pain all the time, too.

I feel so helpless for her at times. Her diabetes medication is so costly that we can no longer afford it. Our insurance only pays a portion of the expense. We’ve started the long process toward gastric bypass surgery, only to have our insurance lapse. We’ve been on many, many diets, and it’s always the same story.

I pray every day for her and everyone else I know with it. I ask God to please give strength and be with all who live with this awful disease. I also pray that someday soon a cure will be found. Stop Diabetes®.

I Love Someone with Diabetes: Jessica Vermaak

Posted on February 11, 2014 by American Diabetes Association
Diabetes affects the whole family, whether you’re a parent, sibling, child, grandchild or spouse. This week on the blog, we’ll be featuring stories about loving and caring for someone with diabetes.


I have a wonderful husband, a sister and a brother—all with type 1 diabetes. Oh, yes, and I am also type 1! It is a joke around my family that you are the odd one out if you don’t need a shot before dinner!

Diabetes has been part of my life since my older brother Joshua was diagnosed at age 12. My parents didn’t know anything about diabetes and went through training for a whole week at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. They asked the doctors about the chances that any of their other children would be diagnosed and were told it was very unlikely to happen.

I was diagnosed at age 17, my senior year of high school. I was showing symptoms: drinking a lot of water, losing weight, waking up at night to use the restroom. I just contributed it to exercising but I think my mother knew exactly what to look for.

By now my brother had been living with diabetes for six years and was in his first year of college. I went to stay with him for a weekend and my mother asked him to prick my finger while I was there. He didn’t do it until my parents came to pick me up. My brother looked at my mom and just said “Mom, I know. By the looks of her blood. I’m sorry.” My blood glucose was well over 400 mg/dl and I spent the next day at Joslin, a place my family was all too familiar with.

This was extremely difficult for my parents, but my mother and father had already been through it once before and taught me so much. I was one lucky kid, but I’m sure they felt far from lucky at this point.

I was so used to seeing Josh take shots and prick his finger that having diabetes didn’t faze me at first. If he could do it, so could I! After a week of waiting for my mother to give me my insulin shots, I started doing them myself. And Josh offered great support whenever I had problems or questions, like dealing with high numbers, how to handle alcohol and how to manage when you are active and exercising.

Another two years later, my sister Tanya was diagnosed at age 15. Our youngest sister, Kayla, was now old enough to understand and was scared that she was next. At this point my parents thought there was no hope for the youngest. Within eight years, the oldest three children had been diagnosed, right down the line from oldest to youngest—and there was only one left!

The doctors at Joslin were in shock and didn’t have answers for my parents. No one else in our family tree has diabetes. They asked the three of us to participate in research studies that the hospital is involved in.

My husband of five years, Duane, was not diagnosed until he was 21. We became great friends before we even knew diabetes was a part of both of our lives. He always notices if my mood changes and knows that I’m most likely having a low. He works three jobs and I do worry about him not having time to take care of himself, but he is doing great!

My insurance was cut off back in October 2013. I had been on the pump for five years and had to go back to insulin shots. It was a rough few months for my body, but now I’m doing okay. It’s hard to get supplies because I don’t work full time and my husband’s family plan is so expensive. I am still waiting to hear if I am eligible for State Health Insurance. So for now, I drive 35 minutes to the community health center for my supplies. I will do whatever it takes.

As tough as it is, we are all blessed with the ability to see the bright side. Checking our numbers and eating right is just a way of life! I can’t imagine not having my siblings and husband to talk to. I hope we all have many more years to enjoy life’s greatest moments together as a family.