The Gleanings (MasterLab and FFL 2015)

It took me four days, but I’ve sorted my notes out into this idiosyncratic recap of MasterLab and FFL 2015. I wonder if it will make sense to someone who wasn’t there. Or to anyone who was.


I’d never been and didn’t know what to expect! While MasterLab was happening, my main feeling was one of being in over my head and able to swim, but barely. The whole time I was also grateful to be there and for the tangles of bacon and non-stop tiny bottles of Perrier.

By the time MasterLab was over, I had changed. The biggest thing I learned is a mash-up of: if not you, who? Do things. You can. Ask (for things-money-help). Tell. Your ideas might or might not be good. Try them out. This is not magic and it’s not someone else’s exclusive territory. There’s no reason to be a lump.

Inspired by Stacey Simms‘s MasterLab talk called “Alert the Media,” I came right home and attempted to a the m to a wicked cool (Rhode Island!) event happening this weekend. So far the response has been (ten hours of) crickets, but it felt good to exercise that doing-something muscle as well as the doing-something-new muscle.

I also absorbed things like:

It’s a plutocracy. Money = speech = power.

Federal government spending per person per year with HIV/AIDS: $1200. Per person with diabetes: $2, so…PWD should pipe up.

(And having diabetes, any kind, costs $15,000 person/year.)

Do not wear cologne on the radio.

Do not wear a black turtleneck on tv unless you want to look like a floating head.

Assertions happen in one direction. A story is created in the middle, when the reader connects the dots through her own participation.

If your story is too strange, the listener will disregard it OR normalize it into a story they already know. Tell what you think is expected, then subvert it.

More people own a cellphone than a toothbrush.

How clean is your tweet stream? (Make sure your hashtag is specific enough.)

Some war planes complete one mission and survive to go on another. Look at the surviving planes: their undamaged parts are a clue to what’s absolutely necessary! If the planes were people, those parts would include: access to health care, food, community.

Tell your story. Geniuses are analyzing Facebook and Twitter and making trippy infographics. Legislators and corporations notice the gestalt of what’s said, as well as some of the specifics.

The joy of collaboration. Go for the no.

Listen more than talk.

DPAC makes advocacy convenient & easy. You don’t have to know much more than your name and zip code to be part of things. Everything is organized and it takes two seconds to participate. If everyone did it, WHOA.


Mine was the grapefruit rickey in the hand that looks like a disturbed bird fetus.

Mine was the grapefruit rickey in the hand that looks like a disturbed baby bird beak/face.


This was my fourth FFL, and I was sure I knew what to expect. Even so, there were many surprises, and—since I was attending without my family—cocktails. Listed below are the big things I learned.

Parents: put your D-plan on paper. Take turns leading. Give a non-D sibling a D-job, and acknowledge what’s helpful.

Family conflict = worse metabolic control.

Nothing’s colder than Orlando in July in a convention center.

The Meal Memory App.

There is no lecture or inspiring sermon. Consequences must be in a currency currently in use. Phone use YES. Future lost limb NO.

Most PWT1d who “manage intensely” don’t feel lows until 55 mg/dL. Being 40 mg/dL and going right back up is no problem. But 55 mg/dL for three hours = hard to wake up.

At bolus time, for each up arrow on a Dexcom, add enough insulin to offset 25 mg/dL. (That means for two ups, add enough insulin to offset 50 mg/dL.) Same deal for each down arrow. (But with subtracting insulin.)

Use your Dexcom stats for fun and profit: make a bet with your/your child’s endo that you can name the A1c within 0.3. Use this formula: [(One month’s average BG x 1.02) + 46.7] / 28.7. Look at the % of time above, below, and within range. A good goal is 70% in range and less than 5% low. Standard deviation: a good reasonable goal is 1/3rd of the person’s one-month average BG.

After a high fat meal, there will be insulin resistance. Try adding 40 – 60% to basal for four hours in anticipation of insulin resistance.

Observing a spouse performing exquisite d-care is an aphrodisiac.

The Bionic Pancreas is golden.

Starting at age 12, your child should have time alone with the endo for personal questions.

Cocktails cost $12.50 – $14.

Disclosure: Diabetes Hands Foundation, through the Diabetes Advocates program, covered the costs of my travel, registration and lodging while at MasterLab through a scholarship. That being said, the views and opinions expressed are my own.




  1. Larry Here · July 16, 2015

    Lots here. Lots of good stuff here. I’ve always added or subtracted insulin at bolus depending on Dex arrows (well, at least in the 16 months we’ve been Dexing) but it’s nice to see a formula, any formula for this. I will try the formula, and fully expect it to be off, but I will be happy just trying it.

    Also – the high fat meal thing is potential gold for us. Any formula, any way to zero in, is a beautiful thing.



  2. Anonymous · July 16, 2015

    personal faves:
    “Observing a spouse performing exquisite d-care is an aphrodisiac.”
    “if not you, who? Do things. You can.” <— universally inspiring. welled me up, damn it!

    please to teach me how to make a grapefruit rickey


    • Carol · July 16, 2015

      Thank you for sharing the tip on the basal for insulin resistance. I have been doing that on my own for years and my endo said not to. He said I should use the square wave bolus. But I find the “increase in basal in anticipation of insulin resistance” to work more effectively for me. Thank you for the validation.


  3. Lisa · July 16, 2015

    I didn’t make it to Master Lab, but think it definitely needs to be on the list! As do Grapefruit Rickey’s. It was nice to see you, however briefly!


  4. Heather · July 16, 2015

    Thanks for all this great info!! FFL is far to dense of an experience to absorb alone.


  5. StephenS · July 21, 2015

    I’m so glad you were at MasterLab, and I’m so sad that I wasn’t. Glad it was a great week.


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