Dr. John F. Kamp is Washington Counsel for the Coalition for Healthcare Communication, a drug marketing group with offices in New York City and Washington, DC. He is well-known as an advocate for First Amendment rights of individuals and corporations, as well as for his understanding of communication and drug issues, especially at the FDA. He has been an enthusiastic supporter of TCOYD and is an example of what it means to live well with diabetes.
How long have you been living with diabetes?
I was diagnosed on my way to Vietnam. The diagnosis kept me out of combat, and since I was a clumsy soldier, that may have saved my life. I spent my time in Vietnam as a reporter and base newspaper editor. My diabetes has been well controlled for over 50 years, first with diet and exercise, and for the last 20 years or so with the aid of pills, GLP-1s, and basal insulin. At Steve’s suggestion, I recently started using a FreeStyle Libra 2, and I’m delighted at the increased information and control the CGM gives me.
What do you find most challenging about living with diabetes?
Actually, managing my diabetes is not much of a challenge. While it takes more attention, it takes about the same amount of time as brushing and flossing my teeth. Check the CGM, take a few pills and a shot, adjust your eating, and get on with the day. It’s just another part of the daily routine. Steve, Jeremy and the crew show you how to do it effectively and efficiently. With their information and advice, diabetes management is — shall we say — manageable.
What changes do you see coming to the diabetes landscape that will enhance life for people with diabetes?
The new tools and toys are just amazing. They inform our management journey as never before and enable control like never before. Meanwhile, the tool and the practice guidance are changing rapidly. Let me just give you my example of this. I’m a type 2 taking daily insulin. At Steve’s urging, I started using CGM. My management power increased dramatically. And, the feeling is returning to my fingertips. More importantly, I now know every minute where my blood sugars are and where they are going. I know when to and when not to eat carbs. I’m alerted when I’m going too high. Even more urgently, I’m alerted if I’m headed too low. I know my precise time in range, and can keep it there.
In the meantime, Steve and Jeremy are fighting to inform Medicare and insurance companies to broaden reimbursement for these type 2s. Broader reimbursement would save lives and save money. That’s the kind of public advocacy and private practice guidance that make TCOYD so great!
How has TCOYD had an impact on your life, and what inspired your contribution?
I gave because every dollar I contribute enables people to take better charge of their diabetes. Diabetes is a management disease that must be managed by the patients and their caregivers. Doctors and other providers are their coaches. Steve, Jeremy, and the crew are simply the best coaches in the business. They are fully informed by the research and patient care. Their creative — if at times a little goofy — presentations are full of information and support that helps patients take charge of their diabetes. That’s why I give. Join me and be a part of the most important movement in diabetes management.
What’s the best advice someone has given you about living with diabetes?
An early diagnosis of diabetes often leads to a longer life than those without the disease. That’s because diabetics who actively manage their condition are in better shape than their colleagues. They eat better, exercise more, and generally take better care of themselves. TCOYD teaches new and experienced diabetics how to do exactly that while living a normal life. Steve, Jeremy, and the crew are giving away the secret sauce to a longer, healthier life.