Thursday, August 17, 2017

A (Belated) Tribute to David Mendosa

I still have some trouble coming to grips with the fact that on May 8, 2017, the Diabetes Community (D-OC) lost one of the Diabetes Online Community's true pioneers and I'd say founders: David Mendosa ( -- for the time being, anyway).  David passed away following a diagnosis of angiosarcoma in the liver -- which is evidently a type of cancer.  I think the fact that he passed away from something other than diabetes or its complications is a true testament to David's belief of living life to the fullest in spite of diabetes, which need not impede anyone, in spite of being dealt a pretty lousy hand in the proverbial card game of life.  He would have been proud that if something led to his death, it definitely was not diabetes.

David was out there online long before there even was a D-OC, and his wisdom and courage arguably paved the way for what has become a thriving virtual community of people with diabetes online, which is not limited to the U.S., but now has communities worldwide.  In the very early days of his ventures online, some of us knew him as "Rick" Mendosa, which was a name he used professionally when he first started writing about the formerly-taboo topic of diabetes, which was expected to be kept in the proverbial closet and not mentioned in public.  David changed all that, and he also legally changed his name to David in 2005.  I was fortunate enough to have met David several times over the years, and it was really an honor just to meet the man who paved the way for the D-OC before it even existed.  When he began, he was still living in California and he acknowledged that while he loved the climate in California, he later relocated to Boulder, Colorado in 2004, which he was quite fond of in part, because it was a college town with very open-minded people.

David had Type 2 diabetes, but he was a true reporter and dealt with only the facts, not the misinformation, rumors and innuendo about diabetes that was so prevalent online before him.  His accuracy and focus on diabetes of all varieties is something I really appreciated.  He also chronicled his experience with the very first FDA-approved GLP-1 inhibitor (Byetta) which he acknowledged did help him to lose a few pounds (but he was the first to acknowledge that it was not attributed solely to that, he and his efforts were a much bigger part of that, only that it helped out) whereas other Type 2 treatments actually inhibited weight management, and too many still do.

David was also a fan of low-carb solutions, which he felt made his life with diabetes (and many others) vastly easier, as he was fond of acknowledging that big insulin dosages can also lead to really big screw-ups, not to mention unwanted weight gain.  He was also quite candid about aging and the challenges that brought, but also the joys that brought, too.  Oh, and he was a fan of photography, too.

But there was far more to David than all of that, and above all else, he made a point of noting that no one solution is appropriate for everyone who lives with diabetes.  Finally, he was, like me, a fan of the science and facts, which I tried to build my own blog upon, and along with it, a formal acknowledgement that diabetes is an industry like others, which must be acknowledged for its plusses and minuses.  That also led me to the conclusion that regulators have a very big part to play in what treatment options are available, and that patients deserve a very big role in how that plays out.  But today, thanks to David's contribution, there's an acknowledgement that diabetes is first and foremost, a business, and diabetes has a well-deserved reputation as a growth industry. David was also the first to acknowledge that hucksters are targeting people with diabetes more and more with their scams and schemes, but I think because of him, there's now a perception that like all businesses, there are those which are ethical, and those which are not.  Sometimes it's a grey area, so caveat emptor.

I owe a great deal to David, and I like to think that I have kept my part of the bargain that David instilled in me, and hopefully added to the the role that we play in not only our personal health, but also that we can play an important role with regulators, too, even if they would prefer not to deal with us because it makes their jobs tougher to do!

That's not our problem, it's our obligation.  Please do not forget it!  David, thank you for your role in creation of the diabetes online community we know as of 2017.  You helped lay the cornerstone for this community, and you will be missed but not forgotten!

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