Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Black Friday Suggestion

For the first time this year, I will participate in Black Friday. For years, I have been anti-Black Friday, opting instead to relax in my pajamas with my family, eating Thanksgiving leftovers and wondering what atrocities people were committing to get their hands on more stuff. 
   But, I will not be at Best Buy, KMart, Target, the mall and hell-to-the-NO Walmart. I will be at a mom and pop store. This store has everything that I need for my Christmas shopping. 
   They are not opening their doors early. They are not putting out a strong advertising campaign about the deals they will offer. The crowd in the store will be minimal compared to what it will be at the box stores and the malls. 
   I like that. I don't want to see people behaving like animals over stuff that they don't need. I don't want to see corporate greed fueling this behavior. 
   I want to see a store and its owners treating Black Friday like any other special sale day. I want to see customers who respect their fellow shoppers enough not to punch them out or steal their finds. I want to give my hard earned money to people who also work hard, who will use that money to buy gifts for their children. I honestly don't see the Waltons using any money I spend in Walmart on Black Friday to get loved ones presents that will be valued. Plus, by spending my money at the mom and pop store, I know the money will go back into my community.
   So, I will support this store in their Black Friday sale. And I strongly urge you to give your business to the small mom and pop stores who are also open on this dark day of consumerism. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Update on Obtaining Cure Information

As I mentioned previously, I am going after exclusive Type 1 diabetic stories. At the top of my list are cures - either
potential or already "discovered." I put discovered in quotation marks because those are generally natural cures, which do not work.
   I sent out a list of questions last week to Dr. Denise
Faustman with the Faustman Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital and to Prof. Doug Melton with the Melton Lab at Harvard University. So far, I have not gotten a response, but I am a patient woman - also persistent. I understand that as researchers and scientists, they are busy, busy people. I just have to make sure that I am not forgotten in their day-to-day works.

   The questions I sent to them include:
1) Please explain your research.
2) Is this a cure? Why or why not?
3) How do you compare your research to others that claim to have either cured or are close to a cure?
4) How far away from you from clinical trials? What are the criteria for the participants? How long with the trials last?
5) Do you have any reason to believe the FDA and/or pharmaceutical companies will prevent your study/trials from being fully realized? i.e. available to the public.
6) What do you have to say to Type 1's who believe no cure will be found because there is not enough profit?
7) What made you begin this study?
8) (This was exclusively for Melton) How will your cure solve the immune system problem associated with Type 1?

Faustman Lab
   This is the one that shows the most promise to me. Faustman believes the pancreas can regenerate the insulin producing cells. And with injections of BCG, which is a generic tuberculosis vaccine, the immune system has shown signs of ceasing the attack on the body.
   No matter how many pancreases you get transplanted into your body or how many drugs you take to generate insulin production, you still have to deal with the immune system waging war. This study seeks to solve that.
   An update from Faustman on the Facebook page states that they are seeking participants for the first clinical trial. Participants must be 18 or older and have had Type 1 diabetes for less than 20 years. If you are interested, call 617-726-4084 or email Be sure to include Faustman Lab Research interest as the subject.

Melton Lab
    Melton began his research after two of his children were diagnosed with Type 1. He is working primarily with stem cells. Now, this will not take care of the immune system, which is why I reserved the eighth question for him.
   I have not been following the Melton Lab research closely (I've been following Faustman for years), but I will be looking into it more as time goes on.

Dr. Anath Shalev
   Shalev is working at the University of Alabama and is using the blood pressure drug Verafomil to try to stop the immune system's destruction. This is the latest Type 1 cure that has popped up into the news. I tried to get in touch with Shalev, but was unsuccessful. I called the contact person - Kentress Davison - and was sent to voicemail. However, in that voicemail, some participant criteria was given trials. The criteria I heard was participants must be newly diagnosed and between the ages of 19 and 45 and be within three months of their last screening visit.
   If you fit that, you can call 205-934-4112 or 205-975-9308.

   This concludes my work so far into these articles for Type 1. I hope to give you more as time goes on. For my next article, I am hoping to get answers to questions regarding the rising cost of insulin.

Different Things To Do for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is all about tradition, but traditions can get tiresome. Growing up, the tradition in my house was the women made the huge meal, the women did the dishes and clean-up afterward while indulging in gossip and the men retired to the living room to watch football and take naps. 
   I know plenty of other households then and now have the same tradition. Is it me? Or is that tradition rather one-sided? I'm all for trying new things, so lets throw some out there. 
1) The menu. Our meal was turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet
Or do as this little guy suggests and
forgo the turkey. Gobblers will
be thankful.
 potatoes, frog-eye salad, canned cranberries, rolls, Stove Top stuffing, a veggie tray, canned green beans and canned corn. With a plethora of pie to choose from for dessert. 

   I wanted to switch things up so badly every year. So, when I started to have my own Thanksgiving, I did just that. Every year, the menu is different - a different turkey, different stuffing, different sides and I have found favorites that way. My wild mushroom stuffing has been requested once more and its a tie between my sage and onion turkey vs my diabetic orange glazed turkey. 

2) Get the lazy moving. Luckily, Tony always helps me with the meal (my husband rocks), but if you have a straggler who frequently opts out of the work, give them something to do. Chances are, they are not doing anything, because they have not been asked and are looking to avoid your radar.

3) Switch the programming. Make it a movie if you are not into football. Have everyone agree on one. If you have someone who is complaining about not watching football, tell them to suck it up or go watch the game elsewhere.

4) Turn off the programming. TV does not have to be the central theme after the meal. Play some fun board or card games.

5) Get your craft on. This is a good way to keep the kids busy. Get a variety of craft materials and tell them to go wild! Join in on the fun of creation!

6) Scavenger hunt. Everyone should get up and move after that big meal! Put together a scavenger hunt and give the winner a prize!

   I hope this helps you have a Thanksgiving that is just a little different. Tradition is good, but sometimes you get so bogged down in tradition that you close yourself off from new experiences. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Review: Andrew's Reclaimed

There is no doubt that the green and eco-friendly movement is gaining more and more traction every week. More people
are seeking ways to leave a smaller impression on the Earth. Husband and wife team Andrew and Melissa, owners of Andrew's Reclaimed, are turning that desire into a business with an Etsy shop. They use recycled material and turn them into lovely, modern, practical pieces for your home.

The Multi-Purpose Wall Hooks featured in the
Thankful for Giveaways blog hop!
   It started when Andrew was a child. "[I] used recycled wood to help build my neighbor's deck and discovered how old wood can look new again when re-sawn," he said.
   He's been using that knowledge and experience gained over the years in Seattle, Wash. to make a variety of useful household items, such as coat hooks, planters, docking stations and candle holders. It all stems from where Andrew draws his inspiration, which he describes as threefold.
   "1) The material available, its condition and limitations; 2) Simplicity; and 3) Our own household needs (basic, pretty, durable stuff you want to just buy once)." 
   If none of the items on Andrew's Reclaimed catch your fancy, he said they also take custom orders! "We love custom work. Most memorable was actually a music stand I built for a couple."
   And Andrew's Reclaimed has gotten incredible reviews from consumers on Etsy, giving Andrew and Melissa a five-star rating!

Succulent Planters
   "Very cool! Nicely made and easy to install. I've received compliments on them - even from the guy at the hardware store who is a retired wood worker. Shipped quickly."
   That was just one review of more than 1,500. According to Andrew, his customers really like his Succulent Planters - his most popular piece. Andrew himself does not have a favorite piece of his own. "I really, truly do not have a favorite. I am happy with most of our work for different reasons."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thankful for Giveaways: MULTI-PURPOSE WALL HOOKS

Welcome to the Thankful For Giveaways Giveaway Hop, brought to you by The Hopping Bloggers & Up All Night Blogging! We are a group of bloggers that specialize in giveaway hops - so stay with us and you will have many chances to win some amazing prizes! Each blogger participating in this hop has a giveaway with a prize value of at least $15 - and some are much more than that! Be sure to visit them all - there is no limit to how many prizes you can win! Good Luck and Have Fun!

Here at Experience A Life, I am giving away a set of five Multi-Purpose Wall Coat Hooks - Kitchen Hooks from the lovely Etsy store Andrew's Reclaimed. These hooks are stylish with a wonderful
modern look to them and are made from 100 percent recycled wood! Talk about a beautiful way to go green! With a $35 value, these hooks have a flat protective finish that will prevent peeling and flaking.
Be sure to check out my review of Andrew's Reclaimed! And to enter the awesome giveaways in the hop below!
In the meantime, please enter on the Rafflecopter below the blog list. A winner will be chosen via and will be notified via email. The winner has 48 hours to respond or another will be chosen. Experience A Life is not responsible for prize fulfillment.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Natural Cure? Check It At the Door

As much as it pains me to write this, there are no natural cures for Type 1 diabetes. I love the natural medicine movement. I use it for minor illnesses - colds, flus,
headaches, sore throats, etc. While I do not know everything there is to know about the natural movement, I have done enough research and spoken to enough professionals to know that there are no natural cures for Type 1. The only treatment for Type 1 diabetics is insulin. Plain and simple.
   I have had a number of natural cures thrown at me over the years . . . and they are all used to treat Type 2. Which leads me to say that it is possible for Type 2 diabetics to reverse their condition through the natural cure of diet and exercise. I
   I got into a discussion about a year ago with some coworkers. They had the opinion that ANY condition can be cured through natural means. I told them that is not necessarily true and told them Type 1 diabetes is impossible to cure by eating just vegetables and fruit and exercising daily. While eating fresh produce and exercise does help keep our blood sugar under control, it is not going to cure it. Anyway, they did not believe me and proceeded to tell me about different diabetics they knew that reversed their condition. Again, I told them that was Type 2 diabetes, not Type 1.
   The biggest reason that there are no cures for Type 1 diabetes is this disease is not brought on by lifestyle. It was not brought on by bacteria or a virus. It happens because the body attacks itself. The immune system makes a mistake and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. And this disease has been around for a millennia. There are historical reports from ancient Greece and Egypt about "sugar urine." That can only mean Type 1 diabetes. The bodies in those afflicted back then were desperately trying to rid the excess sugar in the blood stream by expelling it through the kidneys and the bladder. There is no doubt in my mind that those people died slowly and painfully - their muscles becoming so sore they could not move, their weight decreasing at a rapid rate, their thirst so intense that nothing could quench it, their minds clouded by the excess sugar in their brains, their nausea so bad they would not be able to hold down any food even though they were starving, their kidneys shutting down and finally slipping into comas and dying.
   If there was a natural cure for this, I'm sure they would have found something by now.
   That okra soaked in water cure that someone sent to me? Nope. The cinnamon that is sold in the Walmart aisle with the other diabetic supplies? Cinnamon is good for you, no doubt, but it's not going to cure me. Cinnamon will not even help Type 1 diabetics control their blood sugar levels. There are reports that it will help control Type 2, though. Those awesome hormone regulating pills sold in health food stores? It's not going to control my immune system.
   So, please check any and all natural cures at the door. Just accept the fact that insulin made by pharmaceutical companies is the only option available for Type 1's.

Friday, November 7, 2014

This is NOT Type 2

I got to thinking today of the situations that too many Type 1 diabetics find themselves in daily, of the questions that
hound their minds on a weekly basis and the struggles that they encounter regularly. As a fellow Type 1 diabetic for almost 27 years, I fully understand and I keep abreast of the topics and the news that involve this disease.
   But, I have to be careful when it comes to news about diabetes when it is supplied by the mainstream outlets. Because eight times out of ten, it pertains to Type 2 diabetes and there is little to no distinction made between the two, even though they are completely different diseases. It is a problem that has bothered me for years and so I decided to create a subsection of my blog devoted solely to Type 1 diabetes.
   I was a newspaper journalist for eight years and a freelance reporter for three. I always wanted to do an in depth article on Type 1 diabetes and when I found out about a possible cure years ago (one of numerous), I jumped on the chance to write about it. In the article I wrote, I distinctly made the difference between Type 1 and Type 2. I never referred to Type 1 as just "diabetes." I called it Type 1. The editor of the newspaper, however, changed it diabetes throughout the article. I tried to explain to him that there is more than one type of diabetes and that Type 1 is not the one that is running rampant among the waistlines of the American public. But, he said that the readers did not care. My hands were tied and the article went out as it was - diabetes. Never mind that the possible cure was strictly for Type 1 and had nothing to do with Type 2. It infuriated me.
   And this is my chance - my chance to put the skills I gained over the years to good use on a topic that I am truly passionate about; to get my questions answered and hopefully the questions of other Type 1's out there; and to make that distinction that I know Type 1 diabetics desperately desire to read.
   Type 1 diabetics constitute 5 percent of the diabetic population in this country. That's it. Five percent. And we are frequently overshadowed by Type 2 because it is so prevalent. We are frequently ignored. We are frequently given the stigma that Type 2 diabetics carry with them. When news of Type 1 diabetes does come across the TV or radio channels, they are only small blurbs; tiny snippets in most newspapers. It is certainly not the major headlines that Type 2 get
   Yes, this is a small blog and no, I do not have a great many readers. But, if I can just get a few non-diabetics to recognize the difference between Type 1 and Type 2, then it's worth it. And more importantly - if I can find answers to questions that will help just one or two Type 1 diabetics, to give them some form of hope, then it's more than worth it.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Take a Cue From Tony

Attending an opera is something that I have wanted to do in the last 10 or so years. I developed an appreciation for the opera - particularly the Carmina Burana - in my early 20s.  
  The Carmina Burana is a set of 254 poems and texts from the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries. In the 1930s, a handful of the poems were set to music by German composer Carl Orff. The opening movement - O Fortuna - is very popular and is very recognizable. I don't remember how old I was when I first heard it, but it moved me.
   So, when I got home on Friday, I was surprised by a dozen roses, sushi and tickets to see Carmina Burana performed by the Tulsa Orchestra Symphony, Tulsa Opera, Tulsa Oratorio Chorus and Tulsa Ballet. All courtesy of my wonderful husband.
   The opera was performed on Sunday, so I was super excited for our big date. I listened to clips of O Fortuna on YouTube a number of times. Tony was definitely stepping out of his element by attending this with me. Especially the ballet. But, I was more than happy that he was willing to do this for me.
   He got us seats in the Mezzanine at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center, which are mid-level seats. I watched with anticipation as the choir members filed into place - the men on one side of the orchestra and the women on the other. All were dressed impeccably. The lighting went down and the haunting music and lyrics began. The clip below is almost exactly what I heard. It was absolutely breathtaking and so much better when you see it in person. If you get the chance to see Carmina Burana performed live by professionals, DO IT! 
   If opera is not your thing, give it a try anyway! You never know if you truly love it until you see one performed live. Step outside of your normal boundaries and experience something new! Tony did and while he did not enjoy the ballet (which, I can't fault him for because I was there for the music), he did enjoy the music. And he said he was willing to do it because he had never done it before. So, take a cue from him.