Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Life Insurance - Another Diabetes Choice - John Hancock Vitality Program

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links.
I want and require options in my life ... and life with diabetes. 
Healthcare Options for PWD (people with diabetes) and the ability to choose among them, are critical for our physical; mental, Dtech, and fiscal well-being. 
We need more options and we demand more choices. 

When an option comes across my desk that I believe will give people with diabetes an additional choice, I want to know more.  

A few weeks ago, John Hancock reached out to me (and some others in the Diabetes Online Community, like A Sweet Life and Diabetes Daily, to talk about John Hancock Life Insurance with Vitality, and their recent survey* around people with diabetes and  life insurance.

The survey found almost 50% of PWD surveyed worry that they won’t qualify for a life insurance policy - and 45% thought life insurance with diabetes would be too expensive. 

In the past 18 months, 90% of people living with diabetes and looking for life insurance qualified for life insurance from John Hancock, with 88% reporting that they received standard or better rates.**

60% felt the John Hancock Vitality program could provide them with the extra support they needed/wanted in managing their diabetes.

I liked those stats. 

John Hancock Vitality life insurance rewards policyholders for the smarter choices they make every day to improve their health – exercising regularly, eating well and getting annual check-ups. Through the John Hancock Vitality program, policyholders can earn rewards and savings up to 15% on their annual life insurance premium. The Vitality Program is over 2 years old and thousands of customers are participating and pursuing healthier lives. 

So, when John Hancock asked to me to partner with them, I did some research and then said yes. Here’s why.

I like the options and incentives that John Hancock Life Insurance with Vitality offers people with t1, LADA, and Type 2 diabetes for doing things that our healthcare team continually ask, tell, demand of us.

Things like working out on a regular basis; eating healthy, getting a flu shot and visiting our healthcare team. 
I also like that the Vitality Program recognizes and rewards all the little changes that equal big ones.

Speaking of... I really like the rewards:   

*Choice of an Apple Watch for $25 (plus tax,) by exercising regularly.
*Or a complimentary Fitbit

*Up to $600 in annual savings on healthy food purchases from 70 national grocery store chains when you buy veggies, fruits, grains - healthy stuff like that. 
* Up to a 15% percent discount on your life insurance premium, annually.
*Discounts from national retailers – including Amazon, Hyatt, iTunes, REI, Royal Caribbean International. 

While, I did have concerns about personal info, as in who was looking and whether my info was safe, I was assured that: 

John Hancock is committed to protecting policyholders’ personal information and it will only be used in order to conduct business and administer the program and as permitted or required by law. They do not sell information or share health data with third parties for their marketing purposes. They’ve been protecting customers’ data for over 150 years, and understand the seriousness of that responsibility.

Bottom line: John Hancock Vitality Rewards Life Insurance is an option for you to explore if you live with diabetes. 
So, check it out and see if it’s an option that works for you!

To learn more about John Hancock Vitality and the rewards the program offers for living healthy, head to  JHRewardsLife.com. You can also tweet them at @JohnHancockUSA, #RewardingLife

This is the part where I talk about transparency and full disclosure: 
I am partnering with John Hancock (as in: I received compensation in exchange for writing this post) on a project promoting their Vitality Program. 

If I didn’t support the program and all the benefits it offers people living with diabetes, 
I wouldn’t have agreed to work with them. I’ve spent 10 years writing my blog, 4 decades living with and advocating for diabetes. As always, Diabetesaliciousness is mine - as are my thoughts and opinions. 
 *Source: Qualtrics survey on behalf of John Hancock, completed Sept. 2017.
**Source: John Hancock

Friday, December 1, 2017

It's December 1st, We Still Have Diabetes - And We Are Stunning!

Diabetes Awareness Month has come to an end, 
it's December 1st, I still have diabetes and I bet you do, too!
Lin- Manuel Miranda said it best.
"You're stunning and the world is lucky to have you.
We are lucky to have you.
Get some rest." 
Also: Keep on keeping on - in life and in life with diabetes! 
My #Dsma closing thoughts re: (National) Diabetes Awareness Month - courtesy of Lin-Manuel Miranda
#DSMA (Diabetes Social Media Advocacy) twitter chat is a twitter chat for people with diabetes, by people with diabetes. 

Follow @DiabetesSocMed and the #DSMA hashtag on the twitter and join the conversation Wednesday Nights at 9PM, EST. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

#WaybackWednesday: Diabetes And The Energizer Bunny

A #WayBackWednesday pic that will hopefully make you chuckle!
I shot this pic from a rooftop terrace on the upper WestSide, Thanksgiving Day, 2011.
1. It reminded me of people with diabetes, because we keep going.. and going...and even when we don't feel like it.
2. Also, I immediately checked the status of my pump batteries...just in case! 
Sidebar: I originally posted this picture on the blog in December, 2011.
Just like people with diabetes, the Energizer Bunny keeps going...
and going...and going.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Diabetes, Labs, And Taking A Beat Before Clicking On The Link.

Back in early August, when I was dealing with a nasty viral infection that made me break out all over and feel like crap; required a slew of lab work and forced me to finally signed up for LabCorp’s patient portal. 
Bottom line it made communicating with my GP's office easier, especially since the staff was in rotating vacation mode, which resulted in unreturned phone calls re: my labs. 
I’ll admit that it was cool to see years worth of my lab work online, at my fingertips, and organized in one place by date and doctor.
In August I thought it was great. But last Wednesday? Not so much.
Cut to last Wednesday afternoon. 
3pm, me deep in thought and working on a project that was due on Friday.
I took a break, opened my email tab and immediately focused on the Subject Line of an email from labcorp, letting me know that my labs were available online.
All I needed to do was click on the portal link and sign in. 

I knew if I clicked on the link,I would be either happy... or I wouldn’t - because of my A1C.
Clicking on that link would take me down the rabbit hole of numbers that I didn’t have the time or mindset to go down.  
And at that moment, I knew I was reaching the brink re: my diabetes numbers breaking point. I took a beat, told myself my Endo appointment was the next morning and I would go over my results with Dr. J.
Until then, I was going to give myself a break so I could assess and be proactive at my appointment - no matter what. 

It wasn’t easy to ignore the email.... at first. 
Seriously, (like for the first 20 minutes,) I kept toggling back and forth between screens. 
But slowly, I forgot about it, except for when I didn't - but I never clicked on the link.  

Cut to Thursday morning at my Endo’s office. 
I sat in the exam room with a slightly elevated blood sugar and a normal blood pressure of 120 over a number I can’t recall. 
Dr. J walked in, said hello, shook my hand and stated: The good news - your A1C didn’t go up.......It’s exactly what it was last time you were here.

And at that moment I was so glad I'd stayed above ground and hadn’t clicked on the link and ventured down the diabetes rabbit hole of numbers and what-ifs. 
I would have lost focus and been upset for the rest of the day. 

I wasn't thrilled, but I ready to talk it out and make some changes. 
Sidebar: I know a 7.4 A1C isn't terrible - it's not.
But honest to God I really thought that I'd made strides since the beginning of August. 
I'd started on the Omnipod, (and really like it,) I'm taking less insulin per day, (by at least 10+ units,) and I thought my A1C would have reflected that. 
I was expecting it to be 7.0 or lower and not stuck in an the same a1c moment - and I told him that.

I was frustrated with myself and with diabetes - and I knew Dr. J was too - even though he remained calm and kept his game face on. 
We talked it out. Dr. J asked me what changes I’d made that led me to believe my a1c would be lower.
I told him about cutting back on my daily insulin intake and how I’d been trying to eat healthier. 
He asked if I’d been sick or dealing with anything that might have contributed to my A1C.
I explained about the viral infection that had me down for the count for parts of July and August... but it was November 18th. 
I was grasping at straws and we both knew it. 

He asked me if I thought I was getting enough exercise.  
I was honest. I told him that needed to do better in that department. 

And then he asked if I’d downloaded the Glooko app on my phone so I could download  my Omnipod PDM’s info, and share it with my Sorceress of a CDE, Cheryl - so she could work her magic on my basal rates, carb ratios, etc and assist me in getting unstuck. 
Sidebar: Insulet (the company that makes Omnipod,) and Glooko have been data management partners since last year - the Glooko cable and instructions are included with your first PDM and first pod order  - and my cable and instructions were still in the box. 
“Cheryl’s really knows what she’s doing,” he said. 
And he's totally right, Cheryl does know what she's doing. 
She and I had discussed me getting my data to her via Glooko when she was training me on the Omnipod. 
I told her I would - and I talked about doing it. 

But I didn't.

I needed to revisit and reconsider.
Calmness prevailed and Dr. J pointed out the positives in my labs - and I love that he always points out the good. ALWAYS. 

And then I blurted out to Dr. J how I’d ignored yesterday’s email - and he looked a little surprised and asked me how come. 
Me: I knew that if I clicked on the link and it didn't take me to the number I wanted to see - I wouldn’t be able to concentrate or get things done. I’m always dealing with numbers - I knew I was seeing you this morning. I needed a break, so I took one. 

Dr.J: OK, fair enough. Set up the Glooko, share your PDM data with Cheryl; make an an appointment with her for December. I'll be right back, I’m going to see if we have any insulin samples for you.

When he came back with insulin in hand, I'd downloaded the app to my phone and was willing to try it out. 
Because I am going to tackle those damn basal rates with my CDE. 
I am forging ahead.
I am keeping the promise I made to my healthcare healthcare team.
I am going to keep the promise I made to myself. 
And we'll see how it how it goes. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

World Diabetes Day 2017: Thank You, Great Job & You Are Magnificent!

Today is world Diabetes Day - Dr. Banting's Birthday and the day when those of us living the diabetes life wear blue, educate other,s about life with D, tweet, chat, and live our lives with diabetes. 
Diabetes is hard work, it’s never ending and what we do as people living with diabetes, goes unnoticed and under appreciated by the mass, most of the time. 
Seriously, THANK YOU for dealing with diabetes 365 days a year with no time off for good behavior. 
THANK YOU for pricking (and dealing with pricks, personified,) and bleeding for your diabetes health when it comes to blood sugar checks, fasting labs, and the likes there of. 

THANK YOU for dealing with insurance company bullshit on a weekly basis, fighting for you (or your loved one's coverage,) and BRAVA for making it look easy. 


Fantastic job counting carbs - even when you have no freaking clue and wild ass guesses, included!

Phenomenal job dealing with snarky diabetes comments from people who don’t understand. 

Diabetes burnout - you live with it, and it likes to rears its annoying and ugly head from bring us down - and it tries it’s best to keep us down. 
Getting back up can be so damn hard and there are moments when it seems like we can’t.
Thank you and great f^c$ing job for falling down seven times and getting back up eight.

MONDO job advocating, educating for yourself and others living with diabetes and doing the best you are able to do, every damn day. 

Thank you for the tremendous job you do for helping others (including myself,) in the Diabetes Online Community and in real life. 

STANDING OVATION for all your diabetes victories - big and small. 

Thank you for for inspiring others, for showing them that they are more than the number on their glucose meter or A1C. 
Thank you for showing healthcare professionals that every number has a story; word choice matters, and people with diabetes are PEOPLE first.  

YOU ARE MAGNIFICENT - never forget it! 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Diabetesaliciousness Turns 10

Time freaking flies~

10 years ago today, I published my first blog post. 
I had no clue what I was doing - clearly that's obvious from my blog's name. 
I knew that I had something to say, I wasn't quite sure how or where to say it. 
Blogger looked easy enough - like a glorified word file - so I went with it.

I didn’t know that the DOC (the Diabetes Online Community,) was an actual “thing” and 
I had no freaking idea how much I needed my community - until I found it.

And thank God, Jesus, Buddha, The Goddess,The Spirit In The Sky, Kali,
(whatever and whomever the heck you believe in) that I did! 
These past 10 years the DOC has given me love; laughter, support, knowledge and a fantastical D Tribe that has been there through all my HIGHS and the LOWS.... and not just re: my life with diabetes. 
Over the past decade, you guys have been there for all the highs and lows of my life! 
Cheering me on.... and picking me up whenever I fell. 
Blogging about and advocating for diabetes has changed my life; reinforced that I am not alone, altered my career path, and taught me that my greatest perceived weakness ( my busted pancreas,) is actuality my greatest strength and biggest passion. 

I learn and continue to learn from every person with diabetes - or who has a loved one with diabetes. 

 I’ve made friends around the globe - some I’ve been lucky enough to meet in real life!

My community taught me to speak up and speak out - that my voice mattered - that all of our voices matter. 

The DOC taught me that people with diabetes - and no matter the type, are in this together. 

There is no "separate but equal," when it comes to diabetes types - or anything else. 

And the Diabetes Online Community has proven to me time and again, that alone we trudge up hills, together we move mountains.

Guys, thanks from the bottom of my busted pancreas for always being here for me!
 Now, back to moving mountains! 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Don't Forget To Take Care Of Yourself During National Diabetes Awareness Month

I took a few days off before jumping into Diabetes Awareness Month on the blog. 
I celebrated my 40th Diaversary on Halloween (CRAZY,) had a celebratory dinner and drinks with friends on November 1, which was a fantastic way to kick of National Diabetes Awareness Month. 

Cut to Thursday me, the opposite of "chilled," and with the chills, the beginnings of a sore throat, and a low grade fever. Whatever crud I'd been running from (IGNORING,) had almost caught up with me. Almost because I was going to nip whatever in the bud before it had me down for the count! 

I went to my Nurse Practitioner, she prescribed an RX, and I spent the next few days chilling, but thankfully, leaving the chills behind.  
Woke up with a normal temp on Saturday, on Sunday I was feeling more groovy than not.
I’m still running an increased temp basal rate, (but it’s lower than it was over the weekend,) I'm starving, and I’m plowing through. 

National Diabetes Awareness Month is now officially in full swing and all of us are working hard advocating wherever and whenever we can. 

This post is your official reminder (and mine,) that we have to take care of ourselves - and not just the diabetes part, in order to advocate and take care of others this November - AND the other 11 months of the year.   
Keep advocating , listen to what your body is saying, be kind to yourself, and continue with the kicking ass.