Brenda Smith has been taking care of others her entire life. Now that she is in sight of her late 70s, she’s finally allowing karma to work its magic by paying her back with two — of many — blessings. One is small and the other is smaller. One considerate, the other convenient. Both are focused on keeping Smith happy and healthy, 24/7. The first is her great-granddaughter, Nadia — “8 years old, going on 21,” according to Smith — and the other is her FreeStyle Libre 2, an integrated continuous glucose monitor (iCGM) that helps her manage her type 2 diabetes. Both are key to her living her best life, nestled comfortably in the same California two-flat home that Smith first moved into with her parents at age 13. “It’s a house full of love and life,” she said. Home is Where the Hearts Are It’s also been a home of care and compassion, as evidenced by Smith spending almost 30 years caring for one or both parents within its walls, before they passed. “It wasn’t a job, it was an honor,” she said. “You think of all the time they spent on you.” But even her paying jobs were always uniquely focused on helping those who needed her many, varied skills. A barber by trade, Smith also spent years as a nurse in hospitals in Arkansas and Michigan before retiring. And for two decades she worked with Alameda County Social Services as a Medi-Cal Specialist, where she helped people get their health benefits. She is well-versed in the challenges faced by those with medical issues. Born into a family with a rich history of diabetes — her mother and grandmother both lost limbs as a result — she began taking medication in the late 1980s.