The Costs of Diabetes Innovation #notjustagadget

Diabetes Innovation and TechnologyRecently on the New York Times website, reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal wrote an article titled “Even Small Medical Advances Can Mean Big Jumps in Bills”.  This article paints a well painted picture of the rising costs of diabetes innovation, and diabetes care.  If you haven’t read it, I suggest doing so.  Many in the diabetes online community have taken offense to the article though.  The only thing I take offense to is Dr. Joel Zonszein.  His comments are also where the majority of the diabetic online community has found offense in the article.  Below is a quote from the article where Dr. Zonszein is referring to people with diabetes and their insulin pumps, high tech meters, continuous glucose monitors, and other diabetes technology:

JP-PROCEDURES-5-superJumbo“They may be better in some abstract sense, but the clinical relevance is minor,” said Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center.  ”People don’t need a meter that talks to them,” he added. “There’s an incredible waste of money.”

*sigh* . . . . . *shakes head*  There are no words . . . . . 

Dr. Zonszein is just an ABSOLUTE TOOL.  What an idiot.  I have a feeling that even a reader with an IQ of 2 would realize he’s an idiot and pay no attention to his statements.  I found the rest of Elisabeth’s article, as well as the replies to her article in the diabetes online community, educational and informative.  The costs of our technology for improving diabetes care, has no visible ceiling, which is frightening.  I feel lucky that I have decent insurance, and I can afford my healthcare costs, but many can’t.  I’ve been in those shoes before, where I had to ration my supplies to survive.  It’s not a nice place to be.  If the article has done nothing else, it’s opened the eyes of many, to the financial burden that we face as diabetics.  This is a good thing.

I’m A “Diabetic” And That’s Ok

I am a DIABETICSomething I’ve never understood in the diabetic online community (#doc), is the negativity surrounding the use of the word “diabetic”.  Many in the #doc have an extreme negative perception of that word.  My guest blogging is usually edited to remove this word, replaced with “person with diabetes” or PWD.  I don’t like that my work is edited in this way, but I understand why they do it.  Using the words “person with diabetes”, instead of the word “diabetic”, will not make your diabetes go away.  It won’t make it easier, it won’t make it better.  ”Diabetic” is simply an adjective.  It’s not intended to insult anyone, it’s not a 4 letter word, it’s simply an adjective used to describe a proper name.  No one other than the #doc is even aware that some diabetics find the word offensive.  I am a diabetic, and that’s ok.  I do not fear that word.  You didn’t have a choice when you got diabetes, but you have a CHOICE with how you respond to being referred to as a diabetic.

So many people fear their diabetes, and I can definitely understand that, especially if you’ve lived most of your life without diabetes.  But then some people become angry that diabetes robbed them of a normal life.  That’s where the problem begins, because: “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate . . . . . leads to S-U-F-F-E-R-I-N-G.”  I know that quote was made by a wrinkly green puppet, but those words have widsom none the less.  If you harbor these emotions towards your diabetes all your life, how will you ever enjoy life?  How will you ever be happy?  If you have so much fear of the word “diabetic”, or worse, so much hatred of the word, I would worry that you will never find happiness again as a diabetic.  That feeling will rob you of happiness.  It’s just a word, and you’re going to be diabetic for the rest of your life.  There are many diabetics like me that live a happy normal life as a diabetic.  Join us.  Negative emotions are such a waste of good energy, and they create so much drama.  Why not apply all that energy to something more positive?  I invite you to focus our minds on positive energy, instead of creating negative energy.  Let go of your hatred of your diabetes.  It’s a part of you now.  Embrace it, and be at peace.

JDRF Quad Cities Walk to Cure Diabetes 2014 – Niabi Zoo

Click to Donate!This will be my 4th year participating in the JDRF Quad Cities Walk to Cure Diabetes at Niabi Zoo.  The walk is on May 3rd, 2014 this year.  If you would like to walk with us at Niabi Zoo this year, please click this link to join our Positively Pumped Walk Team.  If you can’t walk with us, but you’d like to help us with our fundraising, you can become a virtual walker.

JDRF stands for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  Type 1 diabetes is often referred to as “juvenile diabetes”, but it’s not just children who have it.  Children that develop type 1 diabetes grow up to be adults, and sometimes adults are diagnosed with it too.  Much of the advertising for research and cure information about type 1 diabetes is focused on the children, but we adults want a cure as well.  We’ve had it longer!  I was diagnosed in 1970 when I was 2 years old, which means I’ve been living with type 1 diabetes for 44 long years.

All types of diabetes can be treated, and you can live with it a very long time, just like I have have, but a cure would set us free.  Everyone knows someone with diabetes in this day and age.  Who’s name will you dedicate your donation to?  Who will you set free?  Below is a video with clips from my life, and what I go through to manage my diabetes.  I hope it sheds some light on what it’s like to live with diabetes.  PLEASE DONATE NOW BY CLICKING HERE.

 

 

What are the warning signs of diabetes?

diabetes risk testI had an interesting day today.  I spent the day with an old high school buddy, hopping from hobby store to hobby store.  We started by getting a couple of sandwiches for lunch.  Then we started our hobby store visits.  We were reliving and remembering our youth.  I ordered some paints for miniature painting and he bought a model rocket kit for his 8 year old son.

After our 3rd hobby store though, he said he was suddenly feeling like shit.  I asked if he wanted me to pull over.  He said no, then a moment later he said yes.  He leaned out of the car, and lost his lunch.  He closed the door and we sat there for a few minutes.  We drove away to head for home.  I asked him if I should take him to the ER.  He said no.  On the way home it happened again, only this time it was worse.  He was sweating profusely (even the tops of his hands and fingers were sweating), having difficulty breathing, still nauseous, dizzy with tunnel vision, his hands were tingling, and he said he’s been lethargic for weeks.  He had to concentrate so he didn’t pass out.  I pulled over quickly and I think he emptied the entire contents of his stomach.  We both used to volunteer for the ambulance team, and we both know what these symptoms “might be”, and so I asked again if I should take him to the ER.  This time he agreed.

We arrived at the ER around 4PM.  They told us it would be a bit of a wait.  So we sat down, and I kept asking questions trying to diagnose, since he couldn’t think very well.  We thought it may be food poisoning from the chicken sandwich he ate earlier, but his symptoms also matched up with a severe anxiety attack, or severe dehydration, OR . . . diabetic ketoacidosis.  When I thought of that, I knew the ER wouldn’t even think of it, so I told him to ask to be tested for diabetes with a simple blood sugar check.  I’d have done it myself if I had a new lancet with me, but I didn’t.  When he went to the bathroom later I asked him to check the color of his urine, and he said it was clear, so I doubt it was diabetes,  but isn’t it sad that I have no confidence that the ER staff will even think of testing him for diabetes?

He didn’t get in to see a doctor until 3.5 hours later at around 7:30PM.  His wife arrived at about 8:30PM, and they urged me to go, but I stuck around for another hour before leaving.  It’s 11:30PM now, and I just got a text from his wife.  The doctor basically has no clue what was wrong after all the tests they ran.  I hate that about doctors.  We go to them for answers, get none, yet we have to pay the bill.  So that was 7.5 hours, for no answers.  I’ll bet when they come by tomorrow to pick up his truck, they’ll tell me the doctor didn’t check him for diabetes, so I will.

What are the warning signs of diabetes?  The following symptoms of diabetes are typical. However, some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.  Common symptoms of diabetes:

  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)

Diabetes Alert Day is Tuesday March 25th, 2014.  This is the day each year where we encourage EVERYONE to take the risk test for diabetes.  Send the test to all your family and friends and ask them to take it.  Lets save as many lives as we can.

TAKE THE RISK TEST to discover your risk for having type 2 diabetes.

TAKE THIS QUIZ to find out what you know about diabetes.

 

Australia’s JDRF JUMP to Cure Diabetes?!!

CLICK to Donate!I write this blog in support of my favorite little type 1 superhero Tristan, who lives on the other side of the world in Melbourne, Australia.  Tristan is now 5 years old, and he got type 1 diabetes at the age of 2, just like I did 43 years ago.  I met his mom in a Facebook group over a year ago.  Tristan has struggled through some scary hospital visits in that time, and his mom stays strong to be there for her son, like so many parents do.  She does SO VERY MUCH in fundraising for type 1 diabetes research.  She never stops.  She’s like Joan of Arc in the battle to find a cure for juvenille diabetes.  Now her daughter Annaliesse is joining in the fundraising efforts in a unique way.  It’s the Australia JDRF JUMP to Cure Diabetes.  Annaliesse will be jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, with a tandem instructor, to support her little brother Tristan.

The reason this family is so special to me, is that once, when Suzette showed Tristan my picture and told him that I was type 1 diabetic like him, and that I got diabetes when I was 2, just like he did, Tristan told his mom that he wants to grow up to be strong like me.  I still get a lump in my throat as I tell this story.  Whenever I’m having a bad day with my diabetes, I remember this, and I stay strong, for kids like Tristan.  For parents like Suzette.  For brothers and sisters like Annaliesse.

Won’t you join me in supporting my friends in Melbourne?  (Yes, we can donate here in the US, to the Australia JDRF.)  In the comment of your donation, let them know you’re a friend of Rich the Diabetic.  CLICK HERE TO DONATE and then click the orange ‘Donate to Participant” button on the right side of the page.

Kia Kaha Tristan, Suzette, and Annaliesse!!!

What is Personal Medicine Plus?

personal-medicine-plusWhat is Personal Medicine Plus?  Well, they’re a start-up company that’s developing a smartphone app, designed to help those who struggle with managing a number of different health conditions, including diabetes, smoking, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and maybe some others too, but I’m not exactly sure yet.  My day job involves helping customers understand how to use their smartphones, and educating them on what their smartphones are capable of, so I know a bit about smartphones, and I like to share neat apps that I discover, and so far what I’m seeing in how this app works, impresses me.  I like the simple homescreen, with large icon based information that’s easy to see and understand.  I like that it will integrate with numerous health devices that are already on the market, and import their data.  What I like most though, is that it’s goal is to DEVELOP HEALTHIER HABITS.  I especially like that it is capable of developing healthy habits for numerous conditions.  When you don’t report into the app that you’ve drank your 8 oz of water at the scheduled time, it reminds you.  When you haven’t had enough fruits and vegetables, it reminds you.  All of this leads to getting a health score.  You can set a health score goal, and do your best to reach it by a specific date.  This will develop healthier habits, all right there in your smartphone.  It’s attached to your body anyway, why not let it work for you, instead of against you.  Instead of wasting money playing Candy Crush on the couch, get up and go for a walk.  You can still play Candy Crush, but do it while you’re walking and raise that health score.  Right?  Here’s some info on their Medstartr group funding campaign.  If you like what you see, please consider donating to their start-up.

 


 
For more information about Personal Medicine Plus
Please visit their website at:
 http://www.personalmedicineplus.com/

My Diabetes Supplement Stack

supplementsI’m in a local diabetes support group, and over the weekend I was asked what supplements I take, what brand I use, and why I take them.  My diabetes supplement stack consists of CoQ10, Fish Oil, Vitamin D3, Magnesium, and Aspirin.  Notice I don’t have a multivitamin?  Most people need a multivitamin.  Anyone on the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) usually need one.  I’ve been tested with a blood test called a “Comprehensive Metabolic Panel”, which gives me a good overview of my nutritional needs.  [Note from my CDE] While you do get sodium, calcium, and potassium with this test, you don’t get magnesium or any vitamin levels. Vitamin D and B12 are very common deficiencies in PWD and are often ordered for people with general complaints of fatigue, malaise, etc. whose thyroid levels are normal.  All lab values, similar to A1C’s or blood sugars, vary based on your current level of hydration, blood sugar, and nutritional status. See something slightly out of range? Get it rechecked another day soon. If it’s still out of range, or if you see something really out of range? You likely need a medication, BG, food, or supplement change. [End CDE Note]

Maybe ask your health care provider about getting these tests done for you?  I just think that supplementing without a need, is a waste of money, right?  One important thing about supplements is quality.  Whatever you do, don’t buy supplements off the shelf at Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, or the grocery store.  Those supplements are the lowest quality out there, and they often produce no results.

First, some cautions that I’d like to mention about supplementing.  There are 2 basic types of vitamins.  Water soluble and fat soluble.  The main difference being that a water soluble vitamin, your body will just get rid of in your urine if it doesn’t need it (and it turns pretty colors).  However, if you take more than you need of a fat soluble vitamin, it can become toxic and cause you harm.  Your body stores the vitamin in your fat cells, and levels rise, until toxicity occurs.  Also, some supplements like magnesium, iron, and calcium can interfere with some medications like blood pressure, blood thinners, and thyroid medications.  Before starting any supplement, talk to your health care provider and do tons of research.  Most health care providers don’t know about supplements, or disregard them, so you may be on your own.

So the first supplement I take is CoQ10 from Cocoa Well.  High quality with the benefits of cacao, and the company supports fair trade.  Without CoQ10, your muscles wouldn’t move.  It’s part of the ATP synthesis process.  (Google it!)  I take it because of my heart history.  I take only the recommended dose.  It’s a fat soluble anti-oxidant, and has been shown to improve HDL cholesterol and reduce blood pressure, among other things.  The brand I take is Cocoa Well brand.  After adding this supplement to my stack, the next HDL test I took went from 54 to 74.  Very few men ever have an HDL that high.  HDL is the cholesterol that protects you.  It cleans your arteries so to speak.  Oh! If you take a statin drug for your cholesterol, you NEED A CoQ10 supplement!!!  The statin destroys most of your naturally occuring CoQ10.  Have muscle aches?  Yep, that’s why.  Take CoQ10 and those muscle aches will probably go away.


The second supplement I take is a fish oil supplement called MorEPA (yes, that’s spelled right), from a company called Minami, a subsidary of Garden of Life.  I take the recommended dose of 1g per day (1 pill).  I take it for heart health, but it helps with so many other things in the body, that I can’t possibly write about them all here.  (Google it!)  I take THIS brand, because it’s pharmaceutically pure and they consider the environment in everything they do.  With Minami, you only need take 1 pill per day.  Any doctor worth their weight, recommends fish oil for their patients.  With any fish oil supplement, if it doesn’t tell you what kind of fish is the source, don’t buy it.  Quality brands are made from the smallest possible fish source.  In most cases sardines, mackerel, and anchovies.  If it doesn’t say that it comes from these sources right on the label, then don’t buy it.  MorEPA does say this right on the label.

I just started taking magnesium citrate, made by Vitamin Shoppe.  I take the recommended dose of 200mg once per day.  I take it for my diabetes. Magnesium activates the enzymes necessary for a number of body functions, including muscle contractions, and heart function. It’s known as the muscle relaxer. So far it seems to have improved my insulin sensitivity, which was my goal.  My guess is that improves insulin sensitivity by relaxing the muscle cells allowing easier carbohydrate synthesis.

I also take Vitamin Shoppe brand Vitamin D3.  I take it because I was dangerously deficient 2 years ago.  I take more than the recommended dose.  I take 5000mg once per day.  Vitamin D levels should be above 31 mg/ml and lower than 100 mg/ml.  Mine is now 47 mg/ml.  2 years ago, it was 11 mg/ml.  Lastly I take a basic 81mg aspirin every day.

I take all but one of my supplements in the evening with my thyroid and blood pressure meds.  My research showed there was no adverse interaction between them.  The one I take by itself in the morning is the magnesium, since it would interact negatively with my thyroid medication.

Before taking any supplement, research it from only respectable sources such as Harvard Health, Mayo Clinic, university clinics, etc.  Check not only the benefits, but the possible side effects and drug interactions.  If you have a health care provider that’s not clueless about supplements and nutrition, ask their advice.  Here is a video from my favorite celebrity doctor about the benefits of supplementing for diabetes . . . . .

 

My Best A1C Results In 43 Years Of Diabetes!!!

hba1c-a1c-glycosated-glycated-hemoglobinLast Thursday the 19th of December, 2013, I went to my follow-up appointment with my nurse practioner (NP) after having blood work done the previous week. I got lots of tests done, but was most eager to get my A1C results.  I got lipids, c-protein, full metabolic panel, kidney test, and my A1C.  If you’re not diabetic, and don’t know what the HbA1c or A1C is, they are 2 different names for a test that measures the average blood glucose for the last 90 days.  Old school diabetics call it HbA1c, and new school call it A1C.  The goal for most diabetics is to have a number under 7.  This is how diabetics measure their control.

I’ve been what’s called a brittle diabetic all my life.  Meaning that my blood sugars have no pattern, and jump from high, to low, to high, to low constantly.  You get the picture, right?  2 years ago, before I became a diabetes advocate, my A1C was 11.4.  Most of my life I’ve been above 10.  With lots of work, determination, and education, it’s been 8.2 or 8.4 for most of 2013.  I’ve been working SO DAMN HARD at getting that below 8, and I just could not crack that barrier.

For a year now, I’ve had a Dexcom G4, which has been helping tremendously.  My former CDE (who I’m still friends with), and my new nurse practioner (NP), understand how to decode those reports to adjust my pump settings, and fine tune my control.  My pump’s config is more complex than it ever has been, and so is my control.  I actually understand some of those Dexcom reports now.

When I started seeing the NP in August, after explaining my history, she set a goal of 7.5 for me.  MY goal was just to crack the 8 barrier.  I wear my Dexcom 24/7, because I feel naked without it, and when I took the 90 day average blood glucose from that and converted it to A1C, it said 7.7, which I was super happy for.  When the NP came in with my A1C results and said “you’re gonna be happy, because I am”, I was a little surprised to hear her say it was 7.4!!!  I didn’t show much emotion other than satisfaction at the time, but when I walked down the hall my smile was from ear to ear, and I got butterflies.  As I got into the car, and started thinking about how freaking hard I’ve been working to get this damn A1C into good control, I got a lump in my throat and tears welled up in my eyes.

I have the paleo lifestyle (specifically author Robb Wolf, who responds to messages from nobody’s like me),Team Beachbody, Tavia Vital (CDE) and Brenda Borkgren (NP), and the diabetic online community (#doc) to thank for the best A1C of my entire life.  When I became a Beachbody coach, and then  later when I discovered the #doc and started blogging, people started treating me like a diabetes advocate.  So as a Beachbody coach and an advocate, I felt a strong responsibility to get my A1C into control, so I could set a good example.  So thanks everybody!  Now I have a new goal to break the 7.0 barrier.  Since a goal without a deadline is just a dream, I give myself the deadline of April 1st, 2014.  Wish me luck?!!

December’s DSMA Blog Carnival

CLICK HEREPer December’s DMSA blog carnival topic, today I’ll be reviewing 2013 as it relates to my diabetes.  So in January of 2013 I got serious about my blog and converted my free WordPress.com blog into a WordPress.org blog.  It started out with barely any views, but now I average over 10,000 a month.  I started out strong, blogging on a scheduled basis, then I met a girl.  LOL!  A type 1 diabetic actually, and so I didn’t blog for a couple months.  The girl didn’t last, but thankfully the blog has.

In June I went to my very first diabetes conference in Chicago.  It was the 73rd Annual American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions.  I went to a #doc dinner party.  The coolest thing ever was when the food came to the table and everyone reached for their CGMs all at the same time.  It as hilarious.  My friends at the Diabetes Hands Foundation were a big help at that conference.  I’ll never forget that.  I met the leaders of DSMA as well, which was really cool, and met a few of the leading bloggers in the diabetes online community.  This happened on the weekend where I was suppose to be in Las Vegas with my Team Beachbody family, but budget prevented that trip, so I’m glad I got to spend it with my diabetes family and still had an awesome weekend.

In September I fired my endo, and at the suggestion of my amazing CDE started seeing a nurse practitioner.  Best healthcare decision I’ve ever made.  My endo was an idiot.  He was basically there to write my prescriptions and that’s it.  This NP though knows what she’s doing, and actually troubleshoots my diabetes like an engineer.  So I’m really digging that.  My A1C has stayed very level all year long, at 8.2.  Been trying like a madman to bring it down, and I know what I’ve got to do, I’ve just been stubborn.

Over the last year, I’ve received hundreds of comments on my numerous social profiles and my blog here, of people that are appreciative of the help I’ve provided them.  This inspires me to keep going.  The most dear compliment I ever got was from a 4 year old boy who knew I was type 1 diabetic like him, and while sitting on his mommy’s lap looking at her computer screen said “I want to be strong like him when I grow up.”  I still get a lump in my throat while writing this.  Whew.  Wow.  Yeah, that’s worth every minute I spend doing this.

In the last quarter of 2013 I’ve picked up the reigns of my Beachbody business, which I put down when I started focusing on diabetes advocacy.  I’ve still been using Beachbody workouts all year, but just haven’t been coaching very much.  I want to go back to doing that too, and using what I’ve learned to help more people, including non-diabetics, live long healthy lives.

Changes I need to make in the coming year?  I need to change what I eat for breakfast, because that’s where my blood sugars are the worst every day.  Right after breakfast.  So starting tomorrow, Shakeology for breakfast.  I would like to break myself of my diet coke addiction, although I’ve tried and tried in the past.  Maybe I’ll try hypnotism this year?  I also need to get to the dentist and eye doctor.  Something I always dread, and sometimes go for more than year between visits.  I don’t see myself getting any new diabetes toys or gizmos, but something could surprise me.

“This post is my December entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetescaf.org/2013/12/december-dsma-blog-carnival-3/‎

Driving With Diabetes RANT

vanessa-shaneI’m not going to make any friends with this post, but it’s important and it needs to be said.  I should warn you that this is a driving with diabetes RANT, and I’m pretty hot right now.  Am I the only type 1 diabetic that sits in his car for half an hour or more if his blood sugar is low, waiting for my blood sugar to rise, waiting until it’s safe for me to drive?  If my blood sugar falls below 80 mg/dl, I DO NOT DRIVE.  I take glucose, and I wait.  I sit, and I wait, I wait until I see my blood sugar has risen above 80 again, but I DO NOT DRIVE.  If you’re on my FB list, you’ve seen me post when this happens, and I sit there as long as it takes.  Whether it’s takes 15, 30, or 45 minutes.  It makes me so angry when I see diabetics posting about hypoglycemia while driving, like it’s no big deal.  Acting like they’re not even aware they did anything wrong?  Do you post on your blog, Twitter, or Facebook, when you’ve been drinking and drive home?  When you’re not sure if you’re drunk, but you might be, so you’re not going to post about it?  Hell no!  Diabetics have medical devices that PROVE they are unfit to drive, yet some choose to post it all over the internet when they do so anyway!  What is wrong with some people?!?!  Can you tell I’m hot about this?

When you drive, KNOWING that you’re hypoglycemic, you are worse than a drunk driver.  You KNOW that you have a condition that can impair your driving, and you’re making the conscious choice to drive anyway, because waiting for your blood sugar to rise is so terribly inconvenient.  Poor you.  You’re putting not only your life at risk, but the lives of everyone on the road, just like a drunk driver.  I understand that some people can’t feel their hypoglycemia symptoms.  I’m not talking about them.  That happened to me once 20 years ago too, where an unfelt hypo left me unconscious at the bottom of a ravine in my car.  Thank god I didn’t kill anyone.  That has never, and will never, happen again.  It scared the hell out of me, and so I never drive without knowing my blood sugar.  I’m talking about all the diabetics I see post about driving, while knowing that they are hypo.  I’m afraid to actually Google this topic.  It’s people like this that make getting our drivers license renewed such a pain in the ass.  I can only hope that their behaviors change before they kill themselves, or worse, someone else.

The online community loves to rally around causes.  I saw we rally around this one.  Responsible driving as a diabetic.  Before you put that car in drive, you check your blood sugar, and if you’re hypo, YOU DO NOT DRIVE until you’re not.  If you feel hypo while driving, pull over and check.  That picture up there at the top of the post is a picture of a young lady who was killed by a diabetic driver who plead guilty to driving on a suspended license (due to her lack of diabetes control), who admitted that her blood sugar was to low to drive.  That same woman had been in 3 previous accidents due to the same circumstances, but this time she killed someone.

 

PLEASE DON’T DRIVE WHILE HYPOGLYCEMIC

SAVE A LIFE!!!

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