Monday, June 22, 2009

Join me in the St. Louis Diabetes Leadership Institute

I need my friends to help me out on this one. This would be a perfect opportunity for all the St. Louis area diabetics or PWD to get involved personally in advocacy and diabetes awareness.

Thanks to Kaycee Connell, the St. Louis diabetes Examiner, I found out about this free program. It just so happens that my endo, Dr. Garry Tobin, also promoted this program to me in May when I went for my twice a year check up.

What Eric and Garry want to do is create a community of PWD's who will volunteer their time to be educated (ha - like we aren't already) and lead sessions of 6 awareness and education topics in their community. It could be at your church, your synagogue, your school, your sorority, anywhere you can muster up a small group of people. Eric and Garry don't care whether it is 2 people or 20.

This effort is lead by the St. Louis Diabetes Coalition, but is also supported by Wash U's Endocrinology Dept., of which Garry is the head.

I was able to get my husband, Joe, to attend with me - only because I think he felt guilty that he didn't meet me for a happy hour the evening before [:-)], and he tested his sugar on the free Accu-Check Aviva meter Roche was handing out at the event - YAY! He was 106 before eating, and 114 after eating some fruit (1 hour post-prandial). This is the first time Joe has ever tested himself, and he's lived with a diabetic for some 15 years!

With the event of his father's diabetes coming so close to him, I was able to finally get him to get a closer look at his health. And boy, did he ever. He was able to see the connection between his dad's possible loss of his leg and his cardiovascular disease to a less than aggressive treatment plan for his diabetes of 28 years.

Not surprisingly, all the attendees were T2's, with the exception of a couple of caregivers of and one CDE who were T1. We were the youngest in the room by 10 years.

My husband was educated on proper foot care, kidney disease, and nutrition. It was a wealthy bounty of information that was very helpful, sometimes the first time some of these diabetics had ever heard.

Of course, they were able to give us a free lunch, and there will be a free dinner at our next meeting.

Eric, the PhD side of the team, presented to us a nice slide show regarding the growing statistics of diabetes in the Metro area. We, of course, discussed the sensational statistics that T2 diabetes is becoming an epidemic of obese proportions.

Garry echoed that by far his practice was filled with more T2 diabetics than T1's. It was cited that there are over 150,000 people with diabetes in St. Louis - that's Busch Stadium filled during a triple-header.

Of those diabetics, 48% are of healthy weight, 21% are obese, and 31% are overweight. From a public health perspective, the better we manage diabetes, the less expensive the condition can be.

The St. Louis Diabetes Coalition's goal is to bring control up in order to lessen the cost and the burden on the system, as well as improve the quality of life for diabetics.

Only 49% of diabetics here in the area have a controlled bgs Hb A1c less than 7.0, 51% check the bgs at least once a day, and 44% have even taken a self-management class.

One thing Garry said that really rung true to me was the answer to many of the folks' questions about T2 guilt, blame placing and fault at our lifestyles. "I'm a lumper, not a splitter," he said while pointing out that all of us, T1's and T2's and Others face the same symptoms and consequences. "It's NOT which drugs define you," he said - pointing out that NONE of us deserve this diagnosis.

Won't you come with me to the next meeting and help facilitate more education and awareness to some of the hardest to reach people? I challenge you!

Come enjoy a free dinner and some great conversation!

Twitter me @MomsL8 0r leave a comment here, and I'll meet up with you before the meeting!

Click on the link of this blog title to learn more about the St. Louis Diabetes Leadership Institute.

Our next meeting will be in Eric Armprecht's office on the 1st floor of the Salus Center at 3545 Lafayette, (the old Incarnate Word Hospital), St. Louis, MO 63104, on Monday, July 27th, at 6 p.m.

Here's to our health!