i’m medicine x, and you should too.

in a little less than two weeks, i will be tweeting and blogging and face-booking to you live from:

med x

the stanford medicine x conference centers around emerging health technologies and therapies that integrate market, academic AND PATIENT perspectives.

back in february, i was selected as an ePatient delegate for the conference this year on partial scholarship. along with other members of the diabetes online community, scott strange, dana lewis, chris snider, and kim vlasnik, i will do my best to both represent and include you in the discussions and information being shared.

thankfully, the entire conference is going to be accessible to you! i highly, highly encourage you to sign up and attend the conference from your home. when you get curious about something or have questions, we will be there to ask them and mediate.

heather gabel (me!): @heathergabel
scott strange: @Strangely_T1
kim vlasnik: @txtngmypancreas
dana lewis: @danamlewis
chris snider: @iam_spartacus
medicine x: @StanfordMedX

i am so so so so so so so so so looking forward to this one guys…

you can sign up for the global access program here. it is free, you simply have to sign up!

win, win, right?

looking forward to chatting with you there <3

and so it is the shorter story

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he shared a parable.

as it goes…

there is a flood
firefighters rushing door to door to help people to safety
knock knock and a man answers, his family behind him.
“hurry up” begs the fireman,
“no, our god will save us” replies the man.
the waters rise,
and the man and his family climb to the roof.
just as the water approaches their feet,
a helicopter flies overhead
with his arms outstretched
“grab my hand!” calls the man dangling down
“no, our god will save us” replies the man.

the family is taken by the waters of the flood,
and put before their god
the man asks, with his family behind him,
“why didn’t you save us?”
“i tried. first the firefighters and then the helicopter.” replied his god.

he was having a cherry hefeweizen, there to chat with others from the skeptics group.

there was another person with diabetes there, kept turning down beers because of ‘the betes’. there’s a line i’ve used before. ;-)

sometimes we deny what is presented to us even though it is vary thing we are seeking.

if i’ve never seen a quarter, am familiar with dimes and nickels, and are presented with all three, i will reach for two dimes and one nickel to make 25 cents.

maybe i’ve never seen a quarter.

to identify foreign forms of what we seek is to be curious. to be curious is to be open. to be open is to be unafraid.

the end.

and the world is so big

it’s my 100th post and i’m happy to have saved this until now….

i’ve been plugged in to the dexcom g4 for a week and a half.

look at all of this glorious data:
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i could pretend i wasn’t thrilled with the 144mg/dl average
i could say “i know i can do better”
and in fact, saying it would be really easy.

however, saying it would mean at least partially skipping out on the huge pat on the back i should be offering myself for going for the dexcom to begin with.

i did it! and even though seeing the first up, up, and away arrows is a little like stepping on a scale after a big dinner, i find myself wanting to keep going.

i had a few ideas of why my a1c was 8.5, but no evidence to back it up.

now, i know.

and knowledge is power.

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…note taken.

move onward, my friend, onward.

i’m gonna show you what i’m made of

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last night was magnanimous; built of epic proportions.
i moseyed to work at sleepy dog brewery in tempe, AZ, ready for a good night of pouring beer and laughing it up.

often on thursday evenings, a talented artist named ian plays for us. last night, he announced the night to include open mic.

open mic.

i’ve been writing quite a bit of poetry in the cadence of slam, as of late. so, as the night went on and more artists stood up to sing and play guitar, both my courage and my nerves were stacking.

it was close to the end of the night, and i looked to terry (one might dare to call him a ‘regular’) and told him that one day i’d find the courage to read one of my poems aloud.

we talked for about 15 minutes about how simultaneously difficult and rewarding it is to call yourself an -ist or an -or or an -t for the first time,

when you allow yourself to be what you do:
a person who makes art becomes an artist
one who sculpts becomes a sculptor
an individual who writes becomes a writer
the writer of poems becomes a poet

terry without many words, but much emotion, shared with me his own moment of transition.

i could feel the self-fulfilling power radiating off of him, and it stunned me.

he put no pressure on me to read right then, he didn’t even mention it.

in fact,

i think that’s why i went for it.

i stood up to the mic and felt shaky.
one more check of my dexcom to be sure this feeling was nerves and not a hypo on the verge of landing


i told those listening that i’d never done this before and that it would likely be horrible. then i apologized because it was about diabetes and everything i write is about diabetes and secretly hoped it wouldn’t be too cryptic.

i began to read.




i shook and i read and i became

a poet.

staring back at me

bright red

“there must be those among whom we can sit down and weep and still be counted as warriors.”
― adrienne rich

grotesque? maybe.

creative? hells yes.

me in a moment of weakness? not-a-chance.

me in a moment of strength? you-betcha.


blood? nah, it’s tempera kids paint mixed with water and splashy splashed on my face using a spray bottle.

creative expression is simply good for the soul.

mmmm feels good.

the lion sleeps tonight


a1c a1c, here we go again.

feeling a little stuck: habit changes, diet changes, exercise additions
a1c same same same.

i know nothing as demoralizing as changing your diabetes habits and not seeing any diabetes change. it is like trying to dig a hole in cement with a rubber shovel. stressful and even while putting your energy into it, you know it isn’t bloody likely to work.

will this get easier, i’m left to wonder
where is my metal shovel? my jackhammer?
or am i just digging in the wrong place?
is there softer ground somewhere other than here?


i wrote the above bit the day after master lab. thanks to diabetes advocates via diabetes hands foundation, i was able to attend in person.

i stored that post away because it was intended as a coming out story. inspired by the openness of master lab, the collective support system, and moving offers to engage in more advocacy efforts and initiatives by my (dare i call them) peers.

however, even after all the inspiration and motivation, my courage to share waned.

master lab was pretty incredible. a great many advocates in the room (find links to some of the blog coverage below), and a swelling sense of purpose illuminated by ‘we can do this’ talks and presentations.

the master lab came at the beginning of the friends for life conference, and this year for me was nothing short of a major emotionally-charged challenge.

i’d been traveling since may, had just left home and moved to a new state, and had a low under 45 every morning since we got there.

i was pre-disposed to breakdown, having checked off all the parameters forming a perfect head-storm.

overly aware of my ick-tastic toxic thoughts about identity and getting older (i know i’m not old enough for this process to begin), i found myself a clam. holding onto and conceling the parts of me i like best, i became sick with hesitation.

in the midst of master lab and all the grandness with which it was, i stayed closed and secretive. conflicted. hiding.

you see, i am 23 going on 24. i’m not ‘college age’ anymore, but i’m not quite an adult adult yet either (although i suppose that bit is my choice). i just got engaged, so while suberbly exhilarating, another wrench in the ‘find others like me’ mission became slightly more murky.

this year at friends for life, i spread myself too thin. i tried to straddle my time with one leg DOC and one leg college. i got lost in the here and there and rarely felt fully present where i was.

as the week went on, a quote from paul madden at master lab kept creeping up into my thoughts…

he said: “if you don’t stretch your limits, you set your limits

and the truth was, i stretched and didn’t set. i lived by that maxim while at friends for life and it took everything out of me.

i’m not even sure there is a point to this post any more, if not just to say: i wish that i’d been more present and less stratified.

i wish i’d been in a better head space.

i wish i’d advocated for myself like i’d been learning to do for our community at master lab.

i wish i’d been stronger.

with that said, i cannot fail to mention that we sure are a sensitive group of people. in my time of inner-conflict at ffl, many of you stepped up with open arms and generously allowed me to just be there. there was no pushing or prodding. just a kind gentleness. i’m always thankful to you for that.

so, pardon me for this exercise in flow-of-consciousness nonsense i am calling a blog post.

now. someone suggest a good sad song!

______ for your enjoyment ___________________________

blogs covering master lab:

stephen at happy-medium
sue at diabetes ramblings
mike at diabetes mine
brian at tudiabetes.org
kim at texting my pancreas
chris at a consequence of hypoglycemia
rich at rich the diabetic
christel at the perfect d
adam at diatribe
rachel at refreshing d
david at diabetes daily
meri at our diabetic life
kate at sweet success
kelly at diabetesaliciousness
alana at life on t1

diabetes action hub via diabetes hands foundation i.e. diabetes advocates

the holes of my sweater

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struck i was, by the call to depart from violent language

number four.

right there. ilana jacqueline typed the words i couldn’t shape in a blog post.

pushing my chronic pressure points, laughing and crying and relating. i wanted to reach out and hug her.

you’re not living with chronic illness if you’re “fighting” it,
she says,
you’re not living if you’re fighting

at last, at last! proof! another being feeling trampled by the jarring, taring, crashing, shooting, breaking, trampling diction of chronic disease

the death diction dramatizing the harshness of my day to day existence,

i get it

i get why we need it
the money! the funds!

gimmie my program
my research, my daughter, my son

undo the struggle, give back the careless childhood

i get why we need it, the money, the funds

we must communicate the importance of our cause.
battle. fight. beat it. run. win. win it. kill it done.

ladies and gentlemen. these words sting me like a priest asking god to forgive the sins that washed this disease over me to begin with.

like something with an end point, changing, brewing, fixing

be it dramatic, my feeling is valid

and true.

invisible house, pounding invisible doors, withdrawing into nothing but disappointment

why haven’t we moved past this?

i was drafted to a flowering meadow disguised as a war
where sunshine looks like bloodshed and blossoms like scars
where weeds look like time bombs and…

my life is not a battlefield, and my pump is not a gun.

pardon my abandonment

tell you once i don’t want it, and change it?

i will

i’ll search for and find a treatment for this language

a treatment’s not a cure, but i’ll work out that too.

i’ll be it, not preach it

the exodus of violence in my day well lived

a most grand transcendence from fight and compete
to bold and complete

from grenade to morning dew

from trench to divot

fear to matrimony

together, in tandem

read me my vows, i’ll dance and say i do
if we work together,
with all we’ve got

well, we will get as far as we get…
knowing well we met in a flowering meadow and lived our days
most of our days
not scratching and death-trapping
kindly caring


insulin empty
try not to see yourself in the pathology.

i’m pulling out my old books and some new ones as i delve back in to the kind of diabetes research that stimulates my need-to-do-good faculties.

reading and reading:
remembering not to ruminate
to find meaning
to seek benefit
to stress less

to write more.

this morning has been an explosion of epiphany in the sound of this:

amidst these reminders and this charming song, something fabulous happened:

my mind wandered,
and i went on facebook.

there, many diabetes friends posting their written works, their stories and tales, predictions and art.

like and arrow to the chest, it hit me. i hadn’t read diabetes blogs in forevs and i needed to pick back up on that right now. this instant. right now, right now.

so i did and i am and i’m feeling more relief than i have since i drove away from my home base of six years to make home anew.

so thank you DOC, for feeding me right when i needed to be fed. for being alive and welcoming regardless of time or place. for doing what you do.

i’m jumping back on the DOC train. checkin-in.

more to come. asap (pronounced as a word, not an acronym).


thank you to chris for suggesting that today be a check in day (#dblogcheck). i’ll be more than a lurker today.

pop, pop, pop that thang


this post is not drug related, despite the title.

or, well, i guess it is.

insulin is a drug isn’t it?

correction to that first line there: this post is indeed drug related.

i moved to mesa, arizona on sunday night. yes, i did mean to write night. we left berkeley, california around 9pm and drove 12 hours straight through the night. we made it to our new home around 9am with a full day of car and van unloading to do.

elements that screw with bgs:

-not sleeping
-not sleeping because you are driving all night

-hot hot sun
-moving schtuff to the third floor
-moving schtuff to the third floor with no elevator
-moving schtuff to the third floor with no elevator in the hot hot sun
-moving schtuff to the third floor with no elevator in the hot hot sun with no sleep

-having a beer to celebrate getting moved in
-having a beer to celebrate getting moved in after moving schtuff to the third floor with no elevator in the hot hot sun with no sleep

fast forward to now:
i expected things to go wonky, but i didn’t expect this
low after low after low.
it’s like my pancreas kicked into gear or something.

sweet heavens of jupiter! move to arizona and de ‘betes cure you’ll have.

yes, i’m more active than i’ve been.
yes, the temperature takes a toll.*******(see side bar below)
yes, boozy schmoozy adds an extra bell to the curve.

but this amount of turbulence i wouldn’t have anticipated.

i’ve got mamma’s voice ringing in my ears:
basal testing dear, you must conduct basal testing. ;-) gotcha.

i am actually STOKED to find a new endocrinologist here.
i’ve got to work this schtuff out soon.
sheesh, it’s been rough.

how about you?:
if you’ve experienced weirdness during or just after a move, how did it go? wonky-ness? any sense of normalcy through this would really help.

at ada scientific sessions 2014 in san francisco, i heard and read about research for heating pads around the pump site to increase insulin absorption. could the heat be functioning like the heating pad? could it be heating my body and thus increasing my absorption rate? where is gary scheiner when you need him?