Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Try before you buy

I hear a lot of parents ask if the Omnipod will be too bulky for their child. On an average adult, the all-in-one pump and infusion set is pretty unobtrusive. On a 45 pound child, however, it CAN be a little obtrusive. Some families have had very positive results with the Omnipod, but what's good for one patient isn't necessarly great for another.

But here's some good news if you're weighing options as you make this decion that has lifestyle AND financial implications: the folks at Omnipod will send you a dummy unit that you can try on to see if it works for you and your kid. For free.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Advice for Mom

My online friend Meme is a mom who has found herself in despair. On the juvenation.org site she asked, "Did you ever get a wake up call that made you take better control of diabetes. Or from day one, always stayed on course ?" She was questioning her will to fight, and Alayna another mom on this forum thread wished that she herself could be stronger. This is how I answered them:

We all get that "wake up call" upon diagnosis. Suddenly we have to be mindful of things we took for granted before. Then we get MORE wake up calls: The first really bad low. The blood sugar high you can't get down no matter what. The appearance of longer term complications. And despite all these wake up calls it's easy to lapse a few times since all we want is the normalcy that others without diabetes in their lives have.

How can **anyone** possibly stay on course from day 1?

1.) It's a crushing burden, and it's one that none of us asked for. But what you can do is keep fighting every day. Just do the best you can - because that's all you CAN do.

2.) Don't let the numbing fear of long term complications paralyze you from what you have to do every day. We all live with fear and panic on a daily basis, but I'll bet that you routinely exhibit a full measure of bravery to plow through those fears on a daily basis. Stay brave.

3.) It gets exhaustive, and it's easy to want to give up. Don't. Don't let diabetes win. You're stronger than that, and it's a marathon not a sprint. You'll have set backs but if you kep plodding along you'll be able to look back on the progress you've made despite this disease.

4.) Stay hopeful. Your bravery will pay off.

I wonder if you're asking how I can DARE to say these things to you (and anyone else reading this) with such certainty and without ever having met you face to face. It's easy. I have NEVER met anyone more brave, more determined or stronger than a mom who cares for a child with Type 1 diabetes. You moms inspire me, our kids and others through your arduous fight.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Kerri's Smile

My new online friend Kerri is a very prolific writer and is the author of the HUGELY successful and funny blog SixUntilMe (SUM). Last week she wrote a post about the diabetes things she likes. There were simple things that make me smile too. Like the certain boop boop beep sound that her pump makes. Or the fact that she never has to wear a wristwatch since her Medtronic 522 has one built in.

The one thing on her list that resonated with me the most was this one: "I like that the hope of the parents of kids with diabetes rubs off on me, and makes me feel good for even just a few minutes." It's important for parents to be hopeful. Sometimes it's hard. But when you connect with other parents who battle diabetes either in person or online, the hope is infectious. The hope also inspires you to get off your butt and do something to realize a cure for your child.

This afternoon, I got a newsflash that "UC Santa Barbara and Sansum Diabetes Research Institute scientists have demonstrated for the first time that an automated artificial pancreas system (APS) can safely and effectively maintain desired blood glucose levels in patients with type 1 diabetes." The results were presented today at the American Diabetes Association’s 69th Scientific Sessions in New Orleans.

This is a big step towards something that really approaches a cure. The artificial pancreas project (APP) is as much of a quantum leap in diabetes treatment as the introduction of the insulin pump. And it's something that the hope and hard work of scientists, parents and people with diabetes have helped to drive. I can't speak for Kerri, but research advances like this is a diabetes thing that makes me smile.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Canada's Diabetes Dream Team

On Friday, Sanford Health announced the formation of a research team to field clinical studies of a Type-1 diabetes therapy. The aim is to treat people with a cure that Canadian scientist Dr. Alexander Rabinovitch has used successfully on lab mice. Patients will take a combination of two prescription medications for a year, pills that Rabinovitch said work together to regrow insulin-producing beta cells.

The four scientists who make up the nucleus of this dream team are Da-Qing Yang, Paul Burn, Alexander Rabinovich,and Alexei Savinov. It's neat to see the international scientific community come together to help find a cure for diabetes. A little money helps to make it happen.

The project has been generously funded by a gift of $400 million from businessman T. Denny Sanford. In addition, Todd and Linda Broin of Sioux Falls donated $10 million last year to establish the position for the research director.

OK, maybe it was ALOT of money to make this group come together. Regardless, I'm glad to see it happen and hopeful they get positive results.