A Good Forum is Not So Hard to Find

"Why do we have a Star of David as a symbol?" one of my religious school students asked on Sunday. "What does it mean?"

It’s a good thing I don’t mind saying: "I’m not sure: I’ll find out and tell you next week." I say it a lot.


In the process of researching Stars of David, I ran across an article about a flower that has cells in the shape of the star. (For the curious, it’s a Persian buttercup with the Latin name Ranunculus asiaticus.) I even found a seed company that sells the bulbs. “It would be fun,” I thought, “to get some bulbs, let the children see the cell structure, and then we could grow flowers.”

And so I ordered bulbs. Which wasn’t easy because I live outside the growing zone and the company’s computer didn’t want to send me any. (“I promise to grow them in containers indoors!” I told the person on the phone, who managed to override the system.)

Then came the next problem. Microscope? I don’t have a microscope. I don’t what kind of microscope is needed. I don’t know how to use a microscope, whatever kind. I assume a thin slice of the bulb would need to be taken. Would a vegetable peeler give me a thin enough slice? How big are those cells? Would a microplane do? Does the sample need to be stained? With what? Food coloring? Pickle juice? Rub it over the cut side of a beet?


Luckily, I live in a town with a university and several colleges. Many of our congregants are either current or former faculty members or members of the administration at one or another of the institutions. In fact, I remembered, the father of one of my students is dean of the graduate school and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Perfect. It took him about 20 minutes to respond to my e-mail and tell me he would find a microscope and either somebody to operate it or tell him how.

Except for calling the seed company because I couldn’t figure out how to get them to send me the bulbs before the shipping date for my zone if I ordered online, all of this was done on the computer, including finding the dean’s e-mail address.

Aren’t computers wonderful? Over the years, I’ve found that they’re especially wonderful if you have diabetes.

A dozen years ago, I caught part of a report on the radio news about a new kind of fast-acting insulin. Despite listening to ensuing news reports, I didn’t hear anything else about it. Nor was anything in the newspaper. I’d heard about a diabetes group that “met” on AOL, so I went to the meeting to ask about the new insulin.

Nobody there knew about it, either, but joining the group was the beginning of my love affair with online support. There was no place I could go in my area with a support group filled with knowledgeable people. But there, online every Sunday night, were people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, on every regimen there was, and all with a good knowledge of diabetes. It was magic!

Today, you’re likely to find me on the mailing list at www.insulin-pumpers.org. In fact, I’m one of the volunteer list administrators. You don’t have to be a pumper to join. You don’t even have to have diabetes. We have members who have family or friends with diabetes who come to learn about living with the condition.

You can probably find a list that focuses on diabetes plus whatever you’re interested in. Low-carb? I’ll be darned if I can remember the name of that one, but I’m sure somebody will write in and tell us.

Low-carb and kosher? That would be www.friendswithdiabetes.org. That’s also where you go to get some tips on fasting on Yom Kippur or getting through a Passover seder.

Want a discussion group monitored by diabetes professionals, who sometimes step in to answer questions? A good one is at http://forums.joslin.org.

If you’re the parent of a child with diabetes, your group is likely to be www.childrenwithdiabetes.org. It even has a convention each year where you and your child(ren) can go learn, have fun, and meet up with other families in the same situation.

While the groups primarily focus on more serious matters — such as where do I put my pump when I have sex — we do have fun on occasion.

A recent thread on insulin-pumpers, for example, had to do with wearing your pump in your bra.

“Where else on the Internet will you be able to read about whirring, clicking, and beeping boobs?” one person wrote.

“And, I might add,” another responded, “boobs that light up? I’m a squaredancer and in those frilly dresses, the bra is the only place I can [put it to] get to my pump. When my alarm goes off, my backlight comes on!”

She explained that bra storage also “beat putting it on my waist and having it disappear into 65 yards of crinoline or, worse yet, migrate down inside my pantyhose to my kneecap.”

I’m no expert on what groups are out there. I just know about a handful. If you know of a good group you’d like to recommend, please post it here. If you want to know if there’s a group that meets your needs, feel free to ask. People are usually very helpful. After all, we all live in the same garden.

  • tmana

    I should mention another online resource for Jews with diabetes, and that is the Jewish Diabetes Association. There are links to a number of kashrut certification authorities, a newsletter (which I don’t think has been updated in some time), and links to purchase Nechama Cohen’s diabetes-friendly cookbook, En[u]lite[/u]nd Kosher Cooking.

  • Ephrenia

    The message boards at the ADA website http://www.diabetes.org were what saved my sanity. I had a Dr that diagnosed me on a Friday. Told me NOTHING, except “come back Monday for an insulin shot” and “don’t eat anything white”. I was afraid to eat ANYTHING on Saturday. I almost wrecked my car from what was probably a dangerous low. I found the messageboard on Sunday. I read all day. I learned that I needed to eat, and what was best to eat. When I did go back to the Dr on Monday morning 8am for that shot, I knew to ask him for a meter and what numbers I was going to aim for.

  • Fossil Lady

    I would rather read your blog than watch any comedy on TV—I always laugh! And laughing is good for diabetics and all other people. Thanks for the “giggles” and all the wonderful information you and the other bloggers give us. I can truly say I have learned more about diabetes from this site than from any doctor. Yes, sometimes I have to admit that I don’t know what I would do without my computer to find out about all sorts of things. Just keep up the good work on letting us in on “new stuff.”

  • JJAllenFit

    Just wanted to say you all have a great forum. Seems like a good place I can actually be a part of. :)

  • Absolloge

    Hey ,

    Im new here and just wanted to stop by and say hi :)

  • haupactuada

    I am here because i found this site very user friendly.

  • EnduntyMupt

    I’m not actually that tired during the day, but I’m up constantly at night. Sometimes to use the bathroom, and sometimes just because I’m uncomfortable. Before I got pregnant I always slept on my stomach, so sleeping on my side is a huge adjustment. I keep waking up because I can’t get comfortable.

  • Giceawake

    Drink lots of water

    We often confuse thirst with hunger, leading to load our body with unnecessary calories, when what we really need is a glass of cold water. If you prefer, you can add some lemon slices to the jug of water for extra flavour, or to drink tea with fruit flavour but no sugar. It is a simple and healthy trick that will help you a lot in your weight loss efforts.