Blog Entries With Tag: The Antidote


Posted: Jul 13, 2013

A few years ago I took part in ‘The Antidote” project at the Goddard College in Vermont that Dana Heffern presented as part of her summer residency there.   For myself, it was an exciting adventure as I was asked the same day of the performance by Ginger Vieira to come and take part due to a T1D (Type 1 Diabetic) participant cancelling at the last minute.   So what if it’s a 4-5 hour trip across the border – to “foreign” country – mid week to boot when I was working?  Pfft – no problem – when someone needs my help – and especially another T1D which Dana is (and an insulin pumper to boot) – I come a running – yes I do!!  I found a place to stay thanks to Dana pointing out a few places nearby to the campus that were in my price range – and bing bang boom – I was on my way – with bells on my toes.  I’m always the one for adventure! 

Artwork by Dana Heffern
Picture of Dana Heffern's artwork (more can be found here)

Fast forward to 2013 … Dana has recently been asked by
Smith College in Northampton, MA to create a ‘gallery show’ that will include the showing of “The Antidote” once again.  She’s looking for participants (I like to call ourselves “performers” – it’s the wanna-be actor in me I think) – and that’s where this blog post comes into play.  Dana is looking for folks that perhaps participants that live in the area OR don’t mind perhaps staying overnight similar to what I did last time I was called up if they live a longer distance.  I’ll be travelling from Montreal with my DH who will be one of the performers at the table – so we’re making this a weekend trip away from the home front – and having abit of a holiday.

 
Now to the nitty gritty of this blog –what are the details you need to know if you’re interested !  First - the performance is taking place on Saturday, August 10th!

There are TWO levels of participants: the dinner performers, and the audience.  The performers sitting at the table will be comprised of endocrinologists (MD) as educators on the disease, nurses (RN) as aids and demonstrators for the actual medical procedures performed, diet/fitness educators, non-diabetics (T3) as learners, and Type 1 Diabetics (T1D) as advocates.

During the performance at a large dinner table the performers will be served a delicious 5 course meal designed and prepared by Dana and a local chef (licking my lips in anticipation – last time it was AWESOME). The performers will sit and eat dinner for about a 1 hour. The T3 performers (my DH will be one of these) will act as T1D, checking their blood sugar, and injecting themselves with medicine if necessary (saline will be injected – NOT insulin – since T3’s already have a functioning pancreas – lucky buggers).  They will have to sit and eat alongside the Type 1’s.

Courtesy of Dana Heffern
                                                  Picture courtesy of Dana Heffern

The general public aka the audience can simply watch the performance, which will be roped off, as if it were a sculpture in a gallery or museum (think of the performers as being a
Van Gogh painting).  Now, if you, the audience member feel like sitting down with the performers, then there will be a few empty chairs at the table so you can listen in and observe  (we performers are not permitted to talk to the audience OR visa versa). 

This performance will be documented on video for the purpose of creating a short video essay on the project afterwards. So, everyone attending this event will be given the opportunity to be interviewed regarding their experience after the performance.  A copy of the essay video will be given to each of the performers upon completion of the project.  Also, after the performance we are all invited to mingle with cocktails and hors d'euvres!!  Fancy schmanzy I say - I best be on my best behaviour! 

As Dana wrote recently to me and I quote – “I believe a nurturing and caring environment will cultivate good communication. I hope you are interested in adding to the conversation and I look forward to hearing your story. I would be honored to have you attend the show as an audience member. I would be especially honored if you could participate in the dinner performance and sit at the table. Either way, please contact me if you are interested by July 20th. I look forward to meeting you!

For more information - please contact Dana - [email protected]

Feel free to forward this post on - to anyone you feel might be interested !

Picture courtesy of Dana Heffern Picture courtesy of Dana Heffern

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Posted: Apr 14, 2013
I had my birthday last week, and the way I celebrated it was to attend a JDRF Symposium a few hours drive away from my home here in Quebec in the province next door, Ontario.
 
What a blast – being with others that are wishing  to find a CURE* for T1D's (Type 1 Diabetics). What I found the most interesting, that at this symposium they were discussing research aimed at older T1D’s  –  not just the younger ones which has always seemed to be the research topic discussions in the past at the symposiums I have attended over the years.  They are looking ahead – at those of us who were young T1D’s at some point in our life (I was diagnosed in the 60’s) – and living our lives to the fullest with all the new research and innovations – while we wait for that CURE.

Doctor Irene Hramiak from the University of Western Ontario (UWO) was the research doctor that night who presented her role in a  project called REducing With MetfOrmin Vascular Adverse Lesions in Type 1 Diabetes (REMOVAL).  The aim is to test whether 3 years treatment with metformin added to insulin therapy to reduce thickening of the arteries and prevent cardiovascular disease in T1 diabetics.  Heart disease is one of the many problems that diabetics can develop over the years due to the ups and downs of our blood sugar and diabetes control – not all of us can attain a purrfect  4.5-6% A1C that a non-diabetic has.

The study will be monitoring the thickness of the arteries in the neck, which is a marker used to predict the risk of future heart attacks and strokes (and yes, while she was talking about this, I was touching my fingers around my neck).  Also, the study will test the drug’s effects on the control of diabetes and treatment.  One of the small drawbacks of the recepient being on the actual Metformin maybe stomach discomfort and/or diarrhea (which one of my Ottawa friends who is going on this project says might help them lose weight as well as get better control of their A1C).

For those that do partake, of course they'll either be on the drug or they won't, and will be clossely monitored to ensure that they stay in good control (that would be my greatest concern as a test guinea pig).  The criteria fo taking part in this tudy is that you have to be over 40 years of age, had diabetes for more than 5 years or more, with an A1C above 7% but under 10%.  There is other criteria in order to take part in this trial which you can find at this link.  Note that this trial is being conducted in the UK, Australia, Denmark, and the Netherlands and they maybe recruiting as we speak (for Canadians - the deadline is rapidly approaching for participants as they hope to start in the next few months). 

Art made of syringes by Dana Heffern
*
When I posted about attending this symposium last week on Facebook a few long time T1D's like myself got their feathers a wee bit ruffled (very attractive to a bird loving cat like myself I might add). They were disillusioned by JDRF's  promise of “a cure will be found in 5 years”.  That is perhaps an old statement they used many moons ago but so far over the years I've attended JDRF symposiums there are no longer make promises made like that.  JDRF's goal all along has been to, and I quote - " improve the lifes of every person affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing the disease.
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Posted: May 31, 2012
Last summer, I had the fantastic opportunity to meet up with Dana Heffern - a Type 1 diabetic like myself .  She had been awarded with a scholarship to attain her MFA (Master of Fine Arts) at Goddard College in Plainsfield, Vermont and that year Dana did a show about what Type 1 diabetes is all about since there is sometimes a misunderstanding about Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. You can read abit more about my adventure to the USA to meet up with Dana / Ginger and other diabetics (and non) who were involved in this project at this blog link I posted last summer to understand more of what she was trying to show to the audience members (and I think she did a spot on job).  

Just this week, Dana released this much anticipated video putting everything together to make her 2 hour performance say exactly what she had intended the audience to come to understand about diabetes.  As I  told her, I would gladly participate in another one of her shows again (diabetic or not).  She has AMAZING talent.


Click on the picture below - and you will see why I am proud of being part of this project - making new friends (we still keep in contact despite living in different countries).  Diabetes has no boundaries!!


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Posted: Jul 28, 2011

Well, I just got back from a whirl wind tour of Vermont. Yes, I went in my little Smart CDI and …. it did not break down on me – Whoo! Whoo! My little French fry machine as I like to call it – as it’s built in France / engine is from France – is my way of making myself not feel so bad about the woes it’s had over the past 6 months with a mechanic buggering up the car. Smartie is now all better.

So, back to the topic on hand here.

I’m at the American border and the guard asks:

“What is your purpose for coming in the USA” In his mind he is going – where the F is the ass of this car????

I, the friendly Canadian say - “I’m going to visit some friends in Burlington and also attend an art show which I’m going to be acting in”. Oops as usual too much information – I’m so friggin’ honest!!!  Should I have mentioned to him I was also doing some table top dancing????

“Are you going to be paid for this and how much?” says the Border dude – thinking to himself – she is a spy – come to destroy our country with this disguise of a story!!!  Hmmm, wonder how fast that little French fry machine with no ass can go???

“No sir – it’s all volunteer – just out to have some fun with diabetic friends” says little FatCatAnna thinking in her head …. but I will make TONNES of money once the video of this event I’m attending goes viral / my pictures go into Vogue and I receive my Oscar next year and I will thank you … the friendly American Border dude for making me feel like an evil person at your border crossing when you should have welcomed me without any questions like John Candy.

Anyway, the jist of the whole thing since I guess I look like a threat to your country – but it’s okay – I’m over it now is that I just came to the good ol' USA to have abit of fun. I laughed / ate / petted Blue the doggie / farted & belched / had fun with Ginger Vieira along with a dinner table of 20 people and 10 guests. We all participated in this great art show entitled
The Antidote that Dana Heffern also a Type 1 diabetic was awarded with a scholarship to fund as she attains her MFA (Master of Fine Arts) at Goddard College in Plainsfield, Vermont. Dana wanted to show what Type 1 diabetes is all about since there is sometimes a misunderstanding about Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.


Ginger and moi (sans my black skin suit I usually wear - you know - the one with the little cape?)

I was asked at the last minute the same day of the event to be one of the 20 “actors” at the dinner table – where we were served up delicacies that we weren’t quite sure what they were. Alongside of us were nondiabetics who had brand new BG meters to use (yes they had to do blood tests) – along with needles (short needles – lucky buggers) – pretend insulin (saline). We “experienced” diabetics helped them out with determining what the carb amounts were that we were eating, and what we all thought appropriate amount of insulin to cover what we were gorging out on. We had to guesstimate for most of it; because the food was sometimes not recognisible (we only got the actual menu mid-way – which helped abit). All I can say, I was a stuffed pig after this episode of 3 fabulous courses (no wine – darn – the chef drank the bottle I’d viewed in the cooler earlier). Through the majority of it – I sadly was having a hypo (went as low as 2.9 mmol/l or 52 mg/dl) – but I was well taken care of by Alissa (my Mummy) for shoving a lollipop in my mouth (we had candies in fancy containers at the dinner table).

To top it all off – the audience was allowed to sit at the table with us and “observe” – though a few wanted to talk and got frustrated they we weren't sure if we should respond as we were told not to notice them (I did alot of winking to them - I'm so naughty). Through the whole 2 hour production – we were being photographed and video tapped (the reason for my upcoming Oscar nomination of the woman wearing crotchless underwear – this will be another blog discussion at a later date).

All I can say – WOW – another great experience in my life as a diabetic that I’ve been blessed with since starting to blog and mentor about diabetes a few years ago. Sharing how we take care of our diabetes – learning new things (
mini-dose glucagon) with others.

Even better? Getting to feel up Ginger’s muscles in her forearm – whooza – she is one strong Mama – should have had an arm wrestle with her at the dinner table …. but that will be another story for another blog one day (better start pumping iron and grunting like a pig!!!).

To check out more pictures from Dana's event – go to this link at my Flickr account!  UPDATE - HERE'S a SHORT VIDEO FROM THE EVENT THAT I POSTED HERE AT DIABETES1.ORG IN 2012!

Can’t wait for the next diabetic meet up which is …. TOMORROW …. at the Children With Diabetes Friends for Life 2011 conference and expo in Toronto. I’ll be taking the train as the little Smartie will be staying behind on this one – while I have a semi relaxing trip by train – and then get to work with D-teens over the next few days!!! Sleep???? Ahhh – I’ll wait until I’m older for catching up with sleep.

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