Fun At The Fall Festival

Because I love the Fall Festival - And I love friends who encourage me to get moving and love me even if I don't.  And I've learned as of late that it's OK to go with the flow and indulge in the bolus worthy without going totally batshit and making myself feel guilty~
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Over the weekend my town had their yearly Fall Festival. Two days of fun in the sun and  on a main drag that was shut down to cars,( except for yummy food trucks,) and filled with a quarter a mile of booths from local and not so local artists, businesses and the likes there of. 
There were kiddie rides and dunking booths, a beer garden and a stage for live bands. 
And there was a hell of a lot of walking, laughing, eating and drinking going on. 

The festival was a place where you could literally run into old friends you haven�t seen in years and make new ones because they were standing next to you- and everyone has a great time. 
Between you and me, I LOVE the Fall Festival - even though it means saying so long to summer. 
And also between you, me, and the interwebz, with the encouragement of some friends this summer (you know who you are,) I�ve worked very hard to get moving again and eat cleanly 80 % of the time. 
The steroid weight I gained from May�s severe upper respiratory infection from hell, was taking it�s own time leaving my person and it was frustrating and depressing.
So when I finally got my ass back on the scale last week after a 4 week break from my weekly weigh-in, I saw that the scale was going in the opposite direction and that I�d lost 6 pounds. Yep, I was thrilled!
But back to the festival:  I spent all afternoon and into the evening on Saturday, at the Festival with friends. We walked for hours, laughed even longer, and dined on foods weren't all low in carbs.
Lunch was a grilled Kobe Cheese Dog, loaded with ketchup, onions and mustard  - and it was the first hotdog I�d had in maybe a year. 
It was made from Kobe beef, so it was healthier than most hotdogs and it was delicious. 
Then we sampled spicy hot pickles (FREE FOOD,) and enjoyed copious amounts of maple and cocoa covered almonds. 
Dinner included fresh mussels in a fantastical red sauce that was loaded with garlic and accompanied by fresh baked Italian bread and immediately followed by a slice of gourmet pizza that was piled high with veggies and washed down with 2 glasses of Cabernet. 
I didn�t worry about the calories or the carbs, I checked my blood sugar and bolused accordingly - and I enjoyed myself.
I reminded myself that I�d walked for hours that afternoon and had participated in a three hour yoga meditation workshop the night before. 
I also told myself that continuing to move and being flexible when it came to food was working for me - And that everyone needs and deserves to live in the moment every now and then - and even if they have diabetes. 

So did my blood spike after the pizza and even with the temporary basal rate? 
Of course it did, but it went down again with a correction bolus. 

Do I regret my food choices I made at the Fall Festival? Nope, not a bit. 

But DAMN if I'm not still craving those delicious mussels in that fantastical garlicky red sauce ;) 

The Daraprim Effect

I write about living with diabetes, I Advocate for people living with diabetes, and it's incredibly important to me that patients not only have Advocates, but that people advocate for themselves and others. I wrote this post because of my outrage and my fears regarding prescription drugs that save lives, but whose prices continue to skyrocket. Simply put, I'm afraid that The Daraprim Effect, which has been happening long before Shkreli came into the picture, will continue to spiral out of control ~
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 Yesterday, it was announced that Turing Pharmaceuticals would lower the price of Dararprim from it's overnight price hike of 5400%, after a public backlash of global proportions. 
When I first heard about the unethical,and yes I'll call it as I see it - dick move by Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO, Martin Shkreli, the man who decided to increase the price of the drug from $18 dollars a bottle to $750 dollars because he wanted to make more money from an older drug.  
The hedge-funder turned Pharma owner felt that the 62 year old drug was undervalued -and stated he still felt that daraprim was undervalued after the price increase. 
Watch his interview on Bloomberg TV interview and prepare to be disgusted. 
Shkreli also used the skewed reasoning that the 5400% price increase would help generate funds for new cancer drugs that Turing Pharma hope to create and sell in the future. 

Martin Shkreli has a history of Pharma greed and is current being sued by Rerophin, a Pharma company he founded and was eventually ousted from, because of allegations regarding misconduct, etc.
 Like many, I was disgusted and angry when I heard about Daraprim - and as a person who relies on a a prescription drug in order to lived, I was scared. 
In my mind I kept thinking: What if what was happening to Daraprim was happening to insulin?  Like millions, I need insulin to live - and even with insurance - the cost of my monthly insulin is over almost four hundred dollars - and that price continues to go up.
If it wasn't for my Endo giving me generous amounts of insulin samples - I'd be royally screwed.  

My fears don't seem so far fetched when you consider Shkreli's history of short selling  Afrezza stock. 

Eventually, I facebooked and tweeted what was on my mind. 

And of course I wasn�t the only one feeling that way, aI received tweets and Facebook messages of support. And 1 tweet from a person who told me that applying economic theory to something so personal was like a Doctor treating their spouse. 
But it is personal got me. VERY PERSONAL. And I think it's personal to every single person who has dealt with a chronic illness or a deadly disease. 
But we don�t have to agree on everything -as long as we agree that that crazy Daraprim price hike was wrong.  

Daraprim is an old drug with multiple uses that help many. A drug created 62 years ago to combat malaria and now primarily used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can cause life threatening problems for babies whose mothers become infected while pregnant - and people with compromised immune systems including AIDS and certain types of cancer. 

"An old drug with multiple uses that help many," also reminded me of two other drugs used in the diabetes arena, Metformin and Ramipril. 
Metformin, a generic diabetes medication (brand name, Glucophauge,) that was originally marketed to people with type 2 diabetes, but has since been used along with insulin to help prevent spikes and combat insulin resistance in people with type 1 diabetes. 
Another magic power of Metformin is the protective effects it has on the vascular system - something that people with and without diabetes and regardless of the type, benefit from. 
Ramipril, while not created as diabetes drug, is a generic ace-inhibitor (blood pressure medication,) that not only battles high blood pressure issues, (something people with diabetes are prone to,) but is also incredibly beneficial in protecting the kidneys of people with diabetes. Endo's prescribe ace inhibitors to many with diabetes and normal and high blood pressure in the hopes of preserving and protecting kidney function.
Both drugs have been on the market for years, both drugs are reasonably priced, and both drugs have multiple uses. 
So yep, such an outrageous price increase could absolutely happen to drugs that people in the DOC and beyond use daily. 
Then I thought of my diabetes heroes and saviors, Dr. Banting, Best and McCloud. 
What would those men think of Shkeri's plan? Those men that all of us living with T1 diabetes owe our lives to. 
Amazing men who not only discovered and patented their extract of insulin and won the Nobel Prize in the process, but decided to give that patent to the University of Toronto, who used the income generated from said patent to generate funding for diabetes research. 

I had a feeling that those men were rolling over in their graves.

Then I saw the following tweet and became inspired and angry all over again. 
Yesterday I saw this Meme at attn.com and originally attributed to imgur.com , comparing Shkeri to Jonas Salk, the Virologist/Redical Researcher extraordinaire who spent 7 years developing the polio vaccine. A man who felt that it was his moral duty to vaccinate the globe against polio - and who said that putting a patent on the vaccine would be like putting a patent on the sun.  

Look, I know drug companies are for profit businesses, I understand and accept that.  
And I'm the first one to say that I've benefited and that I'm alive because of pharmaceutical drugs and diabetes technology. 
But like many Americans, the cost of living with a chronic disease keeps me up at night. 
I worry about my financial future - I don't want pharma to be run by Shkreli's of the world 

Except what Martin Shkreli attempted to do isn't new - It�s been happening with drugs for years, and the FDA needs to set up boundaries because if they don't, such hikes will continue. because people like Shekiri will buy the rights to old drugs and charge an astronomical price for them, all in the name of making a buck. 
60 minutes did a story on the high cost of cancer drugs in October: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cost-of-cancer-drugs-60-minutes-lesley-stahl-health-care/
And the price of generic drugs are skyrocketing so much, the feds are looking into it. 
The Atlantic's Julie Beck wrote a disturbing and excellent piece on the Deraprim's exorbitant price hike being part of disturbing trend. CLICK HERE, and read it!
Beck's article quotes and links to a study that was recently published in  Neurology.Org. The study states that first generation MS drugs, which originally cost between $8,000 and $11,00 dollars, now cost upwards of $60,000 a year for those who need them.
Click on the following to get a breakdown of the study - It's a must read that paints a very real and disturbing picture of drug pricing: http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2015/04/24/WNL.0000000000001608.full.pdf+html

Carolyn Johnson of the Washington Post said it best when she wrote: "Shkreli's actions were shocking for a simple reason: It was an unusual moment of complete transparancy in health care, where motive's prices, and how the system works are rarely ever talked about so nakedly." 

Because of Shkreli's "nakedness" and his blatant greed, he allowed the public a peek into a very opaque system regarding drug pricing in the U.S., confirming our thoughts and fears in the process - And I thank him for that. 
Now that our fears are confirmed - we must stop the epidemic of The Daraprim Effect from become a plague  - because our health and our financial futures depend on it.    

What should I know about title insurance?


Buying your home is likely one of the largest investments you'll make and a decision that can affect your finances for years to come. The OIC and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offer information for consumers about title insurance, a topic that is unclear to many people.

What is title insurance?
When purchasing real estate, your lender will likely require you to purchase title insurance.

Title insurance covers you if title problems come up based upon claims prior to when you purchased or refinanced a property. For example, let�s say there is an unpaid mortgage on the property you just bought. Without title insurance, you might have to pay legal costs to settle a dispute. If you lose a dispute, it could cost you money, the equity you have in your home and perhaps even ownership. Title insurance would pay legal costs to settle the dispute and/or to resolve the problem.

Where can I buy title insurance?
You can buy title insurance from a title insurance company or a title agent who sells title insurance. Title insurance companies and agents must be licensed by the OIC to sell title insurance in Washington state.

Many consumers aren�t aware of title insurance until they sign their closing paperwork. You are not required to use the suggested title company or closing agent. You have the right to shop for and choose your provider of title insurance and settlement services.

You'll need to know the purchase price of the property you are buying to make price comparisons on title services. You can search for licensed title companies and make a list of questions to ask title insurers before you sign a contract. Be sure to ask what services and fees are included in the title premium, any separate fees and whether you qualify for any discounts.

Some title insurers may be affiliated with lenders, real estate companies, developers or home builders. Ask the person making the referral if their company is affiliated with the recommended title agent and what they are receiving or not receiving for referring you to the title agent. Federal law requires affiliated relationships to be disclosed in writing.

Read more about choosing and buying title insurance.

More information
Read more about title insurance on our website. Questions? You can contact our consumer advocates online or at 1-800-562-6900.

Health Care and Spices

One essential element of most cooking is spice, and they are as varied as there are types. A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetable substance primarily used for flavoring, coloring or preserving food. Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are parts of leafy green plants used for flavoring or as a garnish. Many spices have antimicrobial properties.

Spices are more commonly used in warmer climates and why the use of spices is prominent in meat, which is particularly susceptible to spoiling. A spice may have other uses, including medicinal, religious ritual, cosmetics or perfume production.  

The spice trade developed throughout South Asia and Middle East in around 2000 BC with cinnamon and pepper, and in East Asia with herbs and pepper. The Egyptians used herbs for embalming and their demand for exotic herbs helped stimulate world trade. The word spice comes from the Old French word espice, derived from Latin. By 1000 BC, medical systems based upon herbs could be found in China, Korea, and India. Early uses were connected with magic, medicine, religion, tradition, and preservation. Over thousands of years, spices have been used for many reasons.

In healthcare, certain spices are used to help treat various maladies, especially in holistic or naturopathic medicine. For example, spices that help treat inflammation are tumeric, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, and clove. As with the other supplements, you should talk to your healthcare clinician before adding large amounts of cinnamon or oregano to your diet. Your discussion will help you avoid medication interactions or complications with a pre-existing condition. More details about these spices and other info can be found at this website: http://ministryhealth.org/HC/Home/2015/Winter2015/Spices.nws .

Another site has similar information with a bit more detail on these spices. Spices and herbs can do a lot more than add pizzazz to your cooking -- they can also promote heart health, fight cancer, reduce inflammation, and more. Visit this website: https://www.caring.com/articles/spices-with-healing-powers .
                                                                                                  
Heart patients need to know more about spices in particular. Herbs and spices contain trace amounts of sodium, according to Emory Healthcare. Their website shows herb and spice recommendations to infuse into your current recipes in place of salt: http://www.emoryhealthcare.org/heart-failure/self-care-strategies/salt-substitutes.html .

Spices not only just excite your taste buds but are composed of an impressive list of phyto-nutrients, essential oils, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that are essential for overall wellness. Spices have been integral part part of our food since centuries, and today, even become more relevant for us. Thanks to the Arab and European explorers, whose contributions in spreading them from their place of origin to the rest of the planet has immensely broaden their use and popularity all over the world, according to this website: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/healthy_spices.html. Here are some reasons why they say you should include spices in your diet:

         Spices contain an impressive list of plant-derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties. They have been in use since ancient times for their anti-inflammatory, carminative, anti-flatulent properties.

         The components in the spices have been found to have anti-clotting action (prevent clogging of platelets in the blood vessels) and thus help easing blood flow, preventing stroke and coronary artery disease.

         The active principles in the spices may help in smooth digestion through augmenting intestinal tract motility as well as increasing the digestion power by stimulating excessive secretion of gastro-intestinal enzymes inside the gut.

         Throat gargling with tepid thyme water can help relieve sore throat and bronchitis symptoms. Thyme is also being used as an anti-septic mouthwash in the treatment of caries and gingivitis.

         Decoction of certain healthy spices is taken by mouth for the treatment of colds, influenza, mild fevers, indigestion, stomach upset, and painful menstruation.

         Spices are also known to have natural anti-helminthes (control worm infestation) function in traditional medicines.

         The essential volatile oils in certain spices (cloves, peppers, etc.) may work as a rubefacient (soothes skin around the site of application and improves the local blood circulation), increasing the flow of blood to make the skin feel warmer. They are being applied as a popular home remedy for arthritis and sore muscles, and used either as poultice or in hot baths.

         Spice's essential oils are being used in the aromatherapy as well as de-odorants in the perfume industry.

         Spices contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps in controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.

According to the Washington Post, spices last a while, but they lose their flavor over time, so buy them in usable quantities. The ground versions lose flavor faster than their whole counterparts. Seal tightly in glass containers, and store in the dark, away from the heat of the oven, for optimal freshness. 

Many plastic spice containers contain the harmful chemical BPA, so glass is best. Never buy a spice rack with spices in it! Chances are they are not fresh, and there might be ones you won�t use. Choose the spices you desire and look for expiration dates. More details are located at this site: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/spices-and-their-health-benefits/2014/01/07/4f074f24-6f2d-11e3-aecc-85cb037b7236_story.html

Herbs and Spices have antibacterial and antiviral properties and many are high in B-vitamins and trace minerals, according to Wellness Mama. True sea salt, for instance, contains 93 trace minerals. Most herbs and spices also contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than fruits and vegetables. The problem in America is that the most potent and healthy herbs are rarely used, mainly from lack of knowledge about them, while the least potent (salt and pepper) are the most commonly used seasonings. More details are found at this website: http://wellnessmama.com/1092/health-benefits-of-herbs-spices/.

Spices are good for you, and have certain benefits for your health. However, not everyone can use them. Check with your healthcare provider or personal physician before using spices for any reason, especially if you have certain food allergies, have a compromised immune system, or are taking any prescription medications. Better safe than sorry, even if you want to use spices to spice up your life.


Until next time.  

Cookabetes: Grilled Asparagus Salad

It's pretty simple, I love to eat and I love to cook - not a huge fan of the cleanup. 
I especially like cooking for other people because.. well, I just do. 
But, I've been making a concentrated effort to make tasty meals for myself with as much zest as I do when I make meals for my friends. 
And with the advent of smart phones; facebook, twitter, and instagram, I've been known to post pictures of some of my creations online. 
And a lot of people have reached out and asked me to post more recipes on the blog  - which is very flattering and most incredibly cool.
Ironically, all who have requested more recipes on the blog have expressed that they don't want "diabetes friendly," recipes - which is one of the reasons that they like my food posts.

And I totally get that. 
Personally, I don't set out to make "diabetes friendly," recipes - I set out to make foods I'm interested in eating - many of those meals are healthy - and some, not so much. 
But as long as I'm being honest, I've been known to refer to my cooking as "cookabetes," 
because: 
 1.The person cooking these meals,(me,) has diabetes 
2. You all know how much I dig a good diabetes play on words.
Anyway, here's a recipe for a really tasty roasted asparagus salad. 
Was it easy on the blood sugars? 
Yep, it was. 
But this salad was even easier on the taste buds...some might even say it was diabetesalicious~ 
I made this and it was effing amazing~
Ingredients for the Grilled Asparagus salad
Grilled Baby asparagus or regular asparagus - as much you feel like eating
and sauteed in extra virgin olive oil and fresh garlic.
Lettuce that you like and will eat
Raw red and or sweet onions
Tomatoes -diced or quartered 
Sweet and spicy peppers 
Sea salt and black pepper to taste.

Ingredients For The Vinaigrette 
2 to 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of red, white, or balsamic vinegar 
1 tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice 
1 or 2 tablespoons of diced raw onions - FTR, I used 2 tablespoons red onions
2 or more tablespoons of pitted and chopped kalameta olives 
3 tablespoons of crumbled french feta cheese 
Sidebar: I find French feta to be much creamier than Greek Feta and I prefer it.
 ** for those who are dairy free, Trader Joe's baked savory tofu is an excellent replacement for the feta 
1 clove of chopped garlic
1 tablespoon of honey 
1 teaspoon of dried oregano/ 3 or four stalks of fresh oregano 
1/4 a teaspoon of dried parsley - make sure you make it powder like - I think it tastes better that way
Dill to taste
Sea salt and pepper - as much or as little as you like. 

Mix all the dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake like you just don't care. 
Take the grilled asparagus and place on a plate of clean lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and peppers. 
Pour some dressing over the salad. 
EAT. 
PS: The leftover vinaigrette also tastes really good on grilled chicken. 

I don't believe that there's a lot of carbs in this salad - Personally, I bolused for 20 grams of carbs, but I also added a small italian roll to the mix - that's what the majority of my bolus went towards.
But as always, your diabetes may vary~
Hope you enjoy like it! 

Do you get health insurance through Washington Healthplanfinder? Payment changes start Sept. 24

Starting Sept. 24, 2015, if you buy an individual or family health plan through Washington Healthplanfinder, you must pay your premium directly to your health insurer or dental insurer. Any financial help � such as tax credits or cost-sharing reductions you�re receiving � won�t be affected by this change.

Washington Healthplanfinder will continue to accept premium payments until 4:59 p.m. on Sept. 23 for coverage for the month of October. As for future monthly payments, deadlines may vary by insurance company.

Tips for an easy transition

  • Pay your insurance company directly by Sept. 23 at 4:59 p.m. for your October coverage.
  • Look for information in early October from your insurance company about your November premium payment deadline.
  • If you have health and dental insurance provided by two different companies, remember to make a payment to each insurance company.

Already pay your insurer directly?

If you�re already paying your insurance company directly, you can keep doing so. If you have auto-pay set up through Washington Healthplanfinder, follow these steps before Sept. 24 to cancel it:

1. Sign in to your Washington Healthplanfinder account at www.wahealthplanfinder.org
2. Click the �Billing &Payments� tab from your account dashboard
3. Select �Edit/Cancel Auto Pay�
4. Select �Delete payment method�

Remember: After canceling auto pay with Washington Healthplanfinder, be sure to set up your premium payment with your insurance company right away! Contact your insurance company to see what payment methods they offer.

If you have auto pay or automatic funds transfer set up through your bank, you�ll need to contact your bank to redirect your monthly payments to your insurance company before Sept. 24, 2015.

For more information

Insurance Commissioner prevails in conviction appeal

Andre Zamora

A man convicted of insurance fraud lost a recent appeal to overturn the conviction.

Andre Zamora-Sarmiento (Zamora) was convicted of one count of felony insurance fraud in July 2014 after attempting to bilk an insurance company of more than $13,000 by altering medical bills that he submitted for reimbursement. Read our news release about his conviction.

In November 2011, Zamora was involved in a car collision in Tacoma. After the collision, Zamora sought medical attention at a Renton hospital emergency room and later sought a second opinion from a Bellevue hospital. Zamora then submitted falsified medical bills to USAA insurance company for reimbursement. He submitted three false claims to USAA totaling more than $14,857; the actual amount of the three claims totaled $1,621.

The insurance company paid Zamora's first two claims, netting him $4,200 more than the actual cost of the bills. He submitted a third claim that was inflated by $9,000. The company sought documentation, which Zamora refused to provide. He also refused to provide authorization for the company to contact the hospital directly for a copy of the bill. The insurance company declined the bill and referred the case to the Insurance Commissioner�s Special Investigations Unit.

The appeal hinged on a legal technicality about the number of offenses versus the number of charges. In this case, attorneys used multiple examples of falsified bills Zamora submitted to prove one act of insurance fraud. There�s also an argument about the technicality of the instructions the prosecutor gave the jury. The appellate court found the state prosecutor did not err and upheld the conviction.

Zamora was sentenced in July 2014 two months in jail with work release and credit for 14 days served, and to pay restitution of more than $7,100.

Affordable Care Act helps lower state uninsured rate to lowest since 1987

The latest figures from a highly respected national research organization support what backers of the Affordable Care Act said all along � expanding health care coverage would lower the rate of uninsured in the nation and in Washington state.

Two reports came out this week, both from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The first, the Current Population Survey, showed the percentage of uninsured in Washington dropped 317,000 in 2014. This survey reported that roughly 643,000 state residents remained without coverage.

That represents a decline in the overall percentage of uninsured residents from 14 percent in 2013 to 9.2 percent in 2014. And the 2014 figure is even better than the 16 percent of residents without coverage in 2012, according to the Census Bureau.

A second report, the American Community Survey, showed pretty much the same numbers as the Current Population Survey.

The American Community Survey is considered the gold standard among such data reporting because it delves into more detail about health insurance coverage.

Both reports show the lowest rate of uninsured state residents since the Census Bureau began its tracking in 1987.

Much of the success, according to the reports, is due to Washington�s expansion of Medicaid, the health care program that serves lower-income residents, called Apple Health in our state.

Washington was among the 28 states that expanded Medicaid when given the opportunity. The latest reports show that states that took this option have achieved greater success in lowering the rate of uninsured compared to those that rejected expansion.

Nationally, about 9 million citizens have gained coverage since the Affordable Care Act took effect.

The latest figures also match closely with what the Office of the Insurance Commissioner has reported on regarding the uninsured in Washington. An updated report by the OIC is due in November.



Small business fair offers free resources on Sept. 26

Learn from the experts how to form and run a successful business at the 19th annual Washington Small Business Fair on Sept. 26 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Renton Technical College, 3000 NE 4th Street, in Renton.


The OIC will have consumer experts on hand who can answer your questions about finding health insurance for individuals or small businesses, and other questions you may have about insurance issues. 

Here's what else you can expect at the Small Business Fair:
  • Attend seminars that cover important, up-to-date topics for all stages of business ownership. Savvy business experts share their knowledge and real-life experiences with you. 
  • Connect with 30 federal, state and local government agencies, and business and trade associations to get the information you need. 
The fair is free, with plenty of free parking and no advance registration. For more information, visit www.bizfair.org or find the fair on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bizfair.

Health Care and Suntan Lotion

In the waning days of Summer, there are still a few good days of sun worshipping available to those people who want to glean every last drop of tanning available until the cooler winds of autumn begin to blow. Of course, any time you�re outside, you should consider wearing some form of sun block to protect your skin, even if it�s a small number of sunscreen to block the harmful UVA and UVB rays that can cause damage to you. Using a good suntan lotion is one good way to protect yourself.

According to EWG, sunscreens can only provide partial protection against harmful effects of the sun. Limiting sun exposure and wearing protective clothing are more important for protecting your skin from cancer and premature aging. Be extra careful about spending time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun�s rays are most intense.

And remember that UVA radiation doesn�t decline as much as UVB when the sun is lower in the sky or it�s overcast. UVA penetrates glass. Apply sunscreen generously 30 minutes before going outside and reapply it often � at least every two hours. Even the best sunscreen won�t work well if you don�t use it correctly. Much more detailed info can be found at this website: http://www.ewg.org/2015sunscreen/faqs-your-sunscreen-questions-our-answers/.

Sunscreen (also commonly known as sun screen, sunblock, suntan lotion, sunburn cream, sun cream or block out) is a lotion, spray, gel or other topical product that absorbs or reflects some of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation and thus helps protect against sunburn. Skin-lightening products have sunscreen to protect lightened skin because light skin is more susceptible to sun damage than darker skin. A number of sunscreens have tanning powder to help the skin to darken or tan; however, tanning powder does not provide protection from UV rays.

Depending on the mode of action, sunscreens can be classified into physical sunscreens (i.e., those that reflect the sunlight) or chemical sunscreens (i.e., those that absorb the UV light).
Medical organizations such as the American Cancer Society recommend the use of sunscreen because it aids in the prevention of squamous cell carcinomas. Suntan lotion is a variation of the liquids, sprays or gels that are available in most retail locations, or can be ordered online.

Many sunscreens do not block UVA radiation, which does not primarily cause sunburn but can increase the rate of melanoma and photodermatitis. The use of broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreens can address this concern. Diligent use of sunscreen can also slow or temporarily prevent the development of wrinkles and sagging skin. Additional significant details can be located at this site: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunscreen.

Although the words suntan lotion and sunscreen are commonly used interchangeably, according to pediatric specialist, Dr. Vincent Iannelli, you won't find any products claiming to be suntan lotions anymore. Instead, a product that is considered to be a suntan lotion is usually a sunscreen with an SPF of less than 15. These 'tanning' sunscreens, which typically have an SPF 4 to SPF 8, do not provide enough sun protection, especially for kids.

Some dark tanning oils do not even contain any sunscreen ingredients and may even include a tanning accelerator. Suntan lotion products and tanning oils include:

         Bain de Soleil Mega Tan Sunscreen With Self Tanner, SPF 4
         Coppertone Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 4
         Banana Boat Dark Tanning Oil Spray (Contains No Sunscreen)
         Banana Boat UltraMist Continuous Spray Sunscreen, Deep Tanning Dry Oil, SPF 8
         Hawaiian Tropic Dry Oil Clear Spray Sunscreen, SPF 6
         Panama Jack Trophy Oil, Full Sun Continuous Oil Spray (Contains No Sunscreen)

Since they don't provide enough sun protection, instead of a suntan lotion or tanning oil, kids should only use a sunscreen that provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection. Much more detailed information can be found at this website: http://pediatrics.about.com/od/sunscreen/a/710_suntan_lotion.htm.

According to the LiveStrong Foundation, if you perspire heavily or engage in outdoor physical activity, pick a waterproof or sport sunscreen. To protect your face, check labels to find products for sensitive skin or faces. If too many choices lead you to indecision, keep it simple. Choose a broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30 and wear it daily. The Foundation provides an overview of the top 10 sunscreens on the market available to consumers. More information about that material is available at this site: http://www.livestrong.com/article/140532-top-10-suntan-lotions/.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S where 1 in 8 people will get skin cancer in their lifetime and 1 in 50 will get melanoma. This makes skin protection important for everyone, according to Dr. Aaron Hartman with Family Practice Associates in Virginia. The best sunscreens are those that block both UVA and UVB light from damaging your skin and will last all day without reapplying. Think of UVA as the �aging� rays and UVB as the �burning� rays. Most sunscreens protect against UVB rays, while not really protecting against UVA.

This explains why often people would spend a day in the sun and not burn, but notice the freckles on their skin got darker or they became more tan/brown. Most commercial sunscreens today use chemicals that absorb UVA or UVB but then over a few hours they break down and no longer work. They also often only block UVA2 and not UVA1 which also can affect your skin. The best sun protectants are sunblocks that contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. These block both UVA1/UVA2 and UVB and, if applied correctly and you do not sweat or get into water, they can last all day.

SPF measures only UVB protection, which causes sunburns, but does not reflect UVA protection. UVA exposure has been associated with melanoma and other kinds of skin cancer. A SPF of �2� blocks 50% of UVB radiation, a SPF of �10� blocks 90%, SPF 15 blocks 93% and SPF 30 blocks 97%. So you can see that once you get to a SPF of 15 you don't get much additional sunburn protection. You should look for a product with excellent UVA protection.  More details can be found at this website: http://www.fampracticeassociates.com/what-suntan-lotion-is-best-for-summertime.

Suntan lotion, sunscreens, and sun blocks are used year round, but those products need scrutiny by you for your use and for your protection from the sun�s rays. When purchasing products like these, it pays to do your homework. Sometimes, cheaper isn�t always better, especially when your health is at risk. If you need more guidance, consult your family doctor or a healthcare specialist. Fun in the sun can be great, but it has its risks. Be careful to protect yourself and your loved ones from serious skin injuries by using quality sun protection products.


Until next time.

Corresponding With The Man In "The Diabetes Man Cave."

A few months ago on the twitter, I saw that someone named @DiabetesManCave had starting following me. 
I dug the name so I checked out the blog, The Diabetes Man Cave that said twitter feed linked to - and found the writing to be honest; straight from the heart, eye opening and a much needed addition to the diabetes blogosphere - And shared the link on twitter, Facebook and the blog

Why is The DMC so important? Because it gives men with diabetes a safe space to share/discuss diabetes complications that only men deal with. Things like, but not limited to; male infertility, erectile disfunction, retrograde ejaculation.
Things that have to be discussed, but that most men with diabetes, (and women with diabetes for that matter,) don't feel comfortable sharing with their spouses; healthcare professionals, and others living with diabetes complications. 

But we have to talk about those complications, so we can help ourselves and others. 

The Diabetes Man Cave is a place where the creator/writer (who goes under the pseudonym, Mr. DGuy,) discusses all of the above with frankness, bravery, and honesty - and encourages others to do the same.  
I was impressed with Mr, DGuy�s bravery and honesty, (as well as his frankness,) and wanted to interview him. 
I found his email address on his blog, sent him some questions. Mr. DGuy responded & gave the OK to share them with you - And that's what I'm doing. 
#### 

Kelly: You describe your blog as, " a virtual sanctuary where those of us guys living with diabetes can hopefully find a place to share our stories about what�s getting to us, from the men�s perspective."
Here's the thing - most guys don't talk - and you are, I think that's not only great, it's necessary and very needed, so thank-you so much.

Mr. DGuy: Thanks for these questions, Kelly. And for the support you've shown, and the nice comments there. I really do appreciate that.

Kelly: Speaking of talking, How did you get the courage to create a space where you could write/share what's on your mind re: diabetes issues related to men, specifically issues like ED? 

Mr. DGuy: The need to share this part of my life has been bubbling up for awhile. But I never had the courage to share this side of me with the world, because it's so very personal. Maybe I felt ashamed, embarrassed, guilty. 
Maybe it was a subconscious acceptance of society's need to classify things as taboo, TMI, hearkening back to the days when you just didn't share these things at all outside your own family and home. Whatever the reason, I just didn't do it. But I was searching, waiting, hoping that others might write something on this that I could relate to so I didn't feel so alone.

What changed? Three things happened.

In August 2014, someone stepped up and shared their story. That was Benno Schmidt, and I saw his story on Tom Karlya's blog. That planted a seed of courage and hope.

Then, My Diabetes Secret gave me a voice when I needed it. That site had been around since October 2013 and was born from a blog post Kerri Sparling had written in 2011, giving people a way to share their inner most thoughts (or secrets) but remaining anonymous. After Benno shared his story and made me think "me too," regular life carried on for a bit. 
I broke down in a particularly tough Father's Day moment and in the heat of my depression and tears, I turned to MDS and shared what I was feeling. That felt good, even if it was an overly-depressing note.

But then I realized something: I still felt alone. Hundreds of people may have read that and been nodding in agreement, or no one may have cared. 
I had no idea. And that human need to connect with others like me, that need to experience the "me too" feeling that I'd experienced in diabetes generally, and that Benno had offered me, took hold.

Some friends reminded me over the summer how many in the DOC had taken that bold step a decade ago to put themselves out there. To share their lives with the online world. They reminded me that others have done the same -- on mental health, eating disorders, wearing medical equipment, living with ALS and cancer and so much more. They took the step to start a needed conversation, and that led to others being able to say "me too" and not feel so alone, lost, ashamed.

And so, I decided to blog about it.

Kelly: How do you hope to engage your readers and get them to open up about very personal issues re: diabetes & sex - not to mention other D and non D related man stuff? 

Mr. DGuy: Well, I don't have any magical elixir to make men or anyone else share anything. No idea whether people will or won't open up. All I can do is share my own stories, and invite others to respond to that and share their own experiences or thoughts.

Comments and Twitter are probably the best ways. That's big for me -- I don't like blogs that don't allow people to comment without having their name attached. 
I am not on Facebook and will not put the Diabetes Man Cave on Facebook, because that's just too much. If others want to post links and stuff there relating to the Man Cave, so be it. That would certainly help "spread word," I'm sure, but I worry about anyone sharing their own stories there just because so many real names are attached. It's not really built for being anonymous, that Facebook.

These are such personal issues, I think even if some do open up, many won't want to put their names to what they say. That's fine by me. That's exactly how I am doing it. I think respecting the need for being anonymous sometimes is needed. If someone chooses to reveal their identity, that should be on their own terms. I respect that here, just as I hope others will respect my need to keep my name out of this. Because right now, I am not comfortable going beyond that. Will I ever? Time will tell.

Kelly: Have you found blogging about the subject to be cathartic? 
For example, does blogging about what's going on elevate some of the stress you've been dealing with know that your actually talking/blogging about it?
Have you seen a positive change in your blood sugars, your outlook, etc., since you've started sharing online? 

Mr DGuy: Yes, it does feel good to just express myself. Whether anyone's reading my words or not, figuring out how I feel and writing that down is very cathartic for me.

This also helped me organize my thoughts, expanding beyond the "this sucks and it's the worst thing ever and even worse than the world ending because it's so horrible." It's helped me see patterns and recognize what I might be failing to take action on. What can I talk to my wife and doctor about? In a lot of ways, it's me holding myself accountable. Kind of like how you look at blood sugar logs or CGM data to pinpoint how you're doing.

No, I haven't noticed any specific changes related to my sharing on the Diabetes Man Cave. Sure, my mood is OK a lot of the time, and in the past two months I haven't felt like I'm drowning in this. But that's probably more related to life than anything else. Managing blood sugars and diabetes is its own world of attention-needing headache. But in sharing this side of my life, and seeing how it's all connected to BGs and meds and mood in general, it does give me a good channel to keep tabs on how that D-side may be impacting my "in the bedroom" side.

Kelly: What's your goal regarding "The Diabetes Man Cave?" 
Mr. DGuy: Don't have a particular goal. Aside from just sharing what I need to share, and hope it's useful for anyone who needs it. Again, I felt alone and needed to get that "me too," and so maybe that's how others feel, too. So I hope that happens, if nothing else. 

Kelly: What has the response from the DOC been so far? 
Mr. DGuy: It's been great. Many have offered some very nice comments, and some have even shared their own thoughts and feelings. I think Kerri Sparling at sixuntilme.com brought a lot of attention this way for a time, and so I have to thank her for that. And I think it's been mentioned in other places, that have been nice. And you, Kelly, for being so supportive. Same goes to so many others. Everyone that I have "met" on Twitter has been nice and supportive so far.

Kelly: What do you hope HCPs (because healthcare professionals absolutely need to read your blog,) will take away from The Diabetes Man Cave? 

Mr. DGuy: That they can give great doctor advice and medical info, but many of us need more than the advice of "Take care of your BGs." There is a whole emotional and psychosocial side, and many of us need to connect with others. Not all of us with diabetes are that way, of course. And many guys probably won't share even if there is a channel or place for them. But still, some will. And I hope doctors will consider sharing that with patients who are experiencing these issues, to at least let them know it exists. From there, whether someone uses that resource or not, it's up to that person.

Kelly: What do you hope others who are dealing with the same/similar issues will take away from your blog? 

Mr. DGuy: You are not alone.

If you are feeling this way or going through these things, there are others too.

If you have a man in your life, maybe he is feeling some of these things too. And maybe he's not OK about talking about them, even admitting them to himself. Please keep that in mind.


Maybe for guys who are going through these issues, remember that even those who "don't get it" are trying to better understand and help as much as possible. We have to meet them in the middle.

Thanks for being so open and honest Mr. DGuy, and thank you for helping others to do the same~

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