Candy Hearts Blog

It's a sweet adventure full of gluten free goodies!

Candy Hearts Blog - It's a sweet adventure full of gluten free goodies!

Dear New Friend (The one whose child was just diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes),

Your sweet child (no pun intended) was just diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I know you woke up today in the haze of this whirlwind, and I realize you may wonder if this is actually reality, or some weird dream-like state of consciousness you never knew existed. Whether you are familiar with what type 1 diabetes is or not, you are probably in shock and doing your best to take in the enormity of the situation without panicking.

In the coming hours, days, weeks, and months you will have information thrown at you from a million directions. When you turn to the internet, it’s possible you’ll end up tripping and falling down a rabbit hole you never saw coming. In this age of technology, there are a million people with a million opinions waiting behind every click. Unfortunately, not all of the information at your fingertips will be helpful — or accurate, for that matter.

2015 marks the 10th year since my daughter’s Type 1 diagnosis. She was diagnosed about three weeks after her 2nd birthday, and we’ve stumbled around this block a time or two. From being told to “suck it up” to a suggestion to try feeding her camel’s milk (because I always wanted a pet camel, right?), I’ve heard a lot of stuff on this journey.

With that in mind, I wanted to give you 10 useful tips (in no particular order) to help you figure out how to plant your feet in the right direction:

BUT FIRST!!!!! This is a long post. I mean…it’s been TEN years for us…so TEN tips adds up. I just want to say that if you don’t feel ready to read this right now, that’s okay. Type 1 diabetes is here. It isn’t going away. You can always come back to read this another day.

1) You will, no doubt, deal with a range of emotions as you go through the motions of adjustment…and beyond. I want you to know that it’s okay if you aren’t feeling “happy happy joy joy” every minute. It’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay feel frustration over the financial toll, sleep deprivation, and stressful impact type 1 diabetes will have on your family. Pretending any of that doesn’t exist won’t make it go away. Acknowledging the challenges doesn’t mean diabetes “wins”. It means you’re facing reality.

Whenever possible, face it – don’t fake it. Your emotions are validated. Justified. Heard. But you are also the parent, and that means you won’t allow life to fall apart either. You’ll do what needs to be done — even when you’re feeling down — because that’s how you roll.

{Further reading: I wrote this post detailing my emotional journey when we got to the 5 year mark — now we’re standing at the brink of 10 years, and not much has changed.}

2) There isn’t a magic cure. Well-meaning people will offer up all kinds of solutions to try to help your child. I say “well-meaning”, because I’d like to think they aren’t intentionally suggesting you try things that could kill your child. I won’t link to some of the outrageous propaganda here (because I don’t want to give them click stats, and also because I don’t want to send you down the wrong path), but cinnamon won’t cure your child…neither will any special combination of foods…or eliminating a food group altogether…or trying an exotic essential oil…or giving your child a variety of supplements…or trying a specialized exercise program.

Insulin is NOT your child’s enemy. Insulin is a hormone essential for life-sustaining function. Without it, people die. It is the ONLY treatment available for the management of type 1 diabetes. Remember, prior to the discovery of insulin, T1D was a universally fatal disease. No one survived…despite trying every herb, every oil, every diet, every exercise, every everything…everyone died. No one was spared.

Insulin saved your child’s life too.

{Sidenote: You’re child may enter something called a “honeymoon phase” after being diagnosed. For awhile, it might seem like diabetes has disappeared, but it hasn’t. I’m sorry.}

3) There will be no shortage of advice. Once you begin to integrate online, you will find there are as many opinions about every detail as there are details. Remember when you were a new mommy and got sucked into the vaccine debate? Or the breastfeeding debate? Or the cloth vs disposable diaper debate?

Yeah. Like that.

Do you change your lancet with every poke? Did you check ketones with every BG over 250? DO YOU — USE AN ALCOHOL WIPE FOR EVERY INJECTION????? The list is long, and the commentary is longer.

Here’s a tip: Don’t pay attention to any all of it. Do what works for your kid, and let another mother do what works for hers. Take what you find helpful, and leave the rest behind. That’s all there is to it. Pick and choose what (and who) you want to spend your energy on.

Along those lines, be aware that sometimes people will interject themselves into your crisis. And, make no mistake, right now — in the aftermath of your child’s diagnosis — this is a time of crisis as you adapt your new normal. There are some people who are just constantly in a state of drama. They come on strong, act like they know everything — been there/done that, and monopolize your time with their theatrics.  They’ll constantly compare your situation to theirs. They turn every conversation around to be about them, and they never stop to listen. Every day is a new dilemma for many of them, and you’ll grow tired of listening to all of their struggles while trying to balance your own.

You don’t have to make time for all that right now — or ever, for that matter. It’s okay to avoid them. Unfollow. Defriend. Block. Whatever it takes.

Catch your breath.

4) Ask for help. You are going to need someone who can check your child’s BG, count carbs, and help give insulin. You will need someone who can watch your child for an hour or two at some point in time. I know it might feel impossible right now, but be honest when people ask you what you need.

Sure you can always use help with dinners, and errands, and all that good stuff…but for the long haul, you will need someone to be willing to step up in this area. Tell your friends and family you need them to learn everything they can so they can help you take care of your child.

Not everyone will be willing, but someone probably will. You might be surprised who it is.

5) Technology is out there.  When it comes to diabetes technology, there’s a lot of information to absorb. From glucometers to insulin pumps to continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), there’s plenty to learn. While I feel inclined to tell you to cross those bridges when you’re ready, I also feel obligated to let you know that technology has, literally, revolutionized this journey for us.

#1 – The precise micro-dosing offered by the insulin pump helped us stop the horrible low blood sugars that were causing my little 2-year-old daughter to pass out repeatedly. {She wears the Animas PingHERE’S WHY, if you’re interested.}

#2 – Yes, she did begin carrying a cell phone at 9 years old. It was a game changer, and my only regret is we didn’t get one for her sooner. Putting a cell phone in her hand gave us a direct connection for the times we couldn’t be together…like, for example, when she was Toto in the school play and stayed after school twice a week for most of the school year; and that time she went to her 1st sleepover (which didn’t go very well, btw); and all the weekend services we’ve spent apart during church worship. These days, she goes to the park with her pals, rides her bike around the neighborhood, and calls me anytime she’s dealing with a BG issue she feels like she needs help with. I love that we have cell phone technology in this day and age of parenting — and diabetes management.

#3 – Finally, the peace of mind offered by her Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) is second to none. Dexcom measures the interstitial glucose levels using a very thin sensor placed just beneath the skin. It displays a glucose reading every 5 minutes, along with an arrow to indicate which direction the glucose level is moving. We’ve found it to be incredibly accurate, and would consider it one of the most important tools in our tool box.

Currently, I’m able to remotely monitor my daughter’s Dexcom data using Nightscout. This means I can see her numbers on my laptop, smartphone, and even on my Pebble watch (using an Android app) no matter how far apart we are! Ten years ago, the idea of being able to remotely monitor my daughter’s glucose levels would have been a dream come true…and now here we are. {Nightscout is actually a bit more complicated to set up than I’m making it sound here, but it’s pretty amazing and worth the investment of time.}

If you are a family of iPhone users, the Dexcom SHARE might be a great option for you. There isn’t as much set up required as Nightscout, and you can still remotely monitor your child’s glucose levels. Unfortunately, Dexcom didn’t make their remote monitoring software available to Android users (something I have a pretty big problem with — a soapbox I’ll rant on another day), so I can’t give you a firsthand account of the experience, but I think it’s going pretty well for iPhone users who have been able to use it.

Finally, have hope in the technology of tomorrow. In the summer of 2014, my daughter wore a closed-loop artificial pancreas called the Bionic Pancreas. She wore it for five days as part of a clinical trial, and it completely controlled her glucose levels — like, she didn’t count carbs, she didn’t correct highs, she didn’t deal with lows. It. did. eve.ry.thing. I’m not even making this up, people. I know it sounds very futuristic-scifi-the-stuff-that-movies-are-made-of…but it was real. She really wore it. You can read more about her experience with the Bionic Pancreas HERE.

Oh, and Encapsulation. You need to be excited about that too…it’s a little implanted device that would eliminate the need for insulin for up to 24 months.

Yeah. Read that again: “eliminate the need for insulin for up to 24 months”.

Good stuff is coming.

Get on board with technology.

6) Get involved. You cannot take a passive role in your child’s future. You have a very finite amount of time to shape tomorrow, thereby ultimately making a long-term impact on your child’s destiny.

One day your child will grow up to become an adult with type 1 diabetes. Their ability to carry health insurance, avoid discrimination in the workplace, access technology (as well as what that technology will be), and the ability live as normal a life for as long as possible will come about, because of  advocacy efforts that are happening TODAY.

There are organizations working very hard to secure a better future for your child, but it’s not just about tomorrow. Children today are able to access insulin pumps and CGMs because of advocacy organizations who have worked hard with the FDA and insurance organizations. Our children can go to school with protection under the American with Disabilities Act, complete with a 504 Plan (or IEP, depending on your child’s needs). Today’s children are benefiting because of yesterday’s hard work. It’s a circle effect.

You must become part of the momentum, because we need ALL HANDS ON DECK. Get involved. Start a walk team. Sign up to share your story with lawmakers. Offer to come to the office. DO SOMETHING…but whatever you do, don’t do nothing.

JDRF

ADA

Here’s a great article that highlights some others.

7) There are no bad numbers.  There are a lot of numbers. Many days are like a roller coaster…up, down, up, down…but there are no “bad numbers”. There are high numbers. Low numbers. And target numbers.

Let’s say a BG of 439 pops up on the meter. What do you do?

Frown? Scowl? Grumble?

Does your child think you’re frowning, scowling, and grumbling at them? Are they now worried that they’ve disappointed their parent because of something they have absolutely no control over? Their body doesn’t make insulin. Regardless of whether that number is the result of forgetting to cover something or not calculating correctly, the fact remains that…well…they’re 439 because their body doesn’t make insulin.

Listen…the last thing you want is for your child to tie that number to their self-worth. It’s a number. It’s a piece of data — that’s all. 439 simply means your child needs insulin. Period.

Fix the number, then objectively try to figure where it came from. Don’t lash out. Don’t hurl accusations. Don’t place blame. Just work together to problem solve.

Each number — whether high, low, or target — is merely a point of data on a graph. There are no bad numbers — just data. Use the data to make decisions about what to do next, but do not use the data to place any sort of value on your child.

Your child is so much more than a number.

{By the same token, remember these numbers are not a measure of your parenting either. Data! That is all.}

8) Doctors often don’t get it. You will be surprised how many times you encounter a doctor (or other healthcare professional, nurses included) who will ask you if your child uses insulin. Um, yes. TYPE 1 DIABETES infers the use of insulin, but it’s just not that simple. They will insist your child needs nutritional counseling or start an exercise program to “control their diabetes”. They don’t get it. THEY JUST DON’T GET IT!!!!! And you can educate them until you’re blue in the face, but they will probably just argue with you.

Truthfully, I didn’t really get it either. I was a nurse for 10 years before my daughter was diagnosed, and nothing in nursing school prepared me for this. I was SHOCKED when I learned what this life would consist of. I’m embarrassed to admit this…but I said that…and this patient taught me so much.

I don’t know how to fix the problem at large, but felt you should know so you wouldn’t be caught off guard. Most healthcare professionals have no clue about T1D, so don’t let them start making decisions about your child’s insulin until you’re confident they know what they’re doing.

{Further reading: No one should die because they are misdiagnosed or not diagnosed in time.}

9) Get on a 1st name basis with your school nurse. And your school’s custodian. And the cafeteria workers. And the front office staff. And the crossing guard. And anyone else who is willing to look out for your child during the school day. Love these people. You are on the same team. It takes a village, and they will be there when you aren’t. Everyone matters.

10) Your child was diagnosed, but everyone in the family is living with type 1 diabetes. This is going to be life-changing for everyone. Siblings will go through adjustments. Marriages go through adjustments. Family routines go through adjustments. In some ways, a bomb has just been dropped in the middle of your living room.  In other ways, the ultimate team challenge has just been presented to your family.

Everyone’s experience counts. No one is less important, and there’s most certainly a job for everyone. Youngers can help keep track of juice boxes, and Olders can help learn how to give injections. From learning how to check glucose levels to learning how to count carbs to learning how to weigh and measure food, there’s something for everyone.

All of that being said, sometimes it won’t be so hunky dory. Sometimes siblings grow tired of the extra attention your child with diabetes (CWD) is getting. Sometimes your CWD may grow tired of it too.

After ten years, I wish I could end this post by telling you that it gets easier, but it doesn’t. Sometimes it feels like we’re living life one number at a time, just waiting for the next result so we can make a decision about what happens next.

The insurance hassles, prescription battles, and BG rollercoasters never seem far away. There’s always a challege lurking around the corner. Just when you think you’ve found the perfect insulin dosages, your child grows — or has a test — or exercises — or whatever. There are birthday parties, and sleepovers, and swimming pools, and bounce houses…and nothing is predictable.

It’s never easy…but you will look back and see how far you’ve come…at 2 weeks, then 4…then 3 months, 6…then before you know it, at 1 year, 5…10… You will stand amazed at what you, your child, and your family has overcome. You will look around, simultaneously shocked at how fast the time has flown, and how slow it has crept by at the same time.

No…it doesn’t get any easier.

YOU, my friend, get BETTER!

Animas: Our Pump Choice (Updated!)

The Animas Ping.

Welp.

Here we are.

The end of 2014.

Which means we’re 4 years removed from the first time I wrote about why we’ve chosen the Animas Ping to keep the insulin flowing around here.

Sugar’s pump warranty expires this month – on December 27th, to be exact. As usual, this time always rolls around and I find myself sizing up all the pump options available.

Please Note: A lot has changed in the insulin pump industry in the past 4 years. I’m going to tell you why Animas is the right pump for us and the reasons we’ve ruled out other pumps. What’s important to me may not be important to you. Likewise, my reason for ruling out an option may seem ridiculous to you. In the end, we can only choose one. I have to rule them out somehow! I’m not here to list a comparison of every advantage and disadvantage of every pump on the market, but here’s a great overview and another great one if you’re looking for that.

**Animas — Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!  I’ll start with the obvious…

The Remote: Simply put – We love remote bolusing! I hate overnight corrections, but love that I can just push a few buttons and be done with it rather than having to dig out her pump to do it. I love sitting across the table at a restaurant, and zapping her with a pre-bolus while she’s still perusing the menu. I love that she can wear a dress and not have to worry about lifting her skirt to access the pump. I love that she can hang out with her pals at a party, doing whatever kids do, and I can bolus her from across the room without interrupting. I could paint a million pictures about why I love — and need — remote bolusing in my life. In fact, I love it so much that we haven’t been able to give up the remote in exchange for CGM integration now that the Animas Vibe is approved for kids.

The Pump Bolus: Yup. I love our remote (though I do feel it could use a makeover), but I love that we have the option to administer a bolus from her pump too. I can’t count the number of times the remote has accidentally been left at home, in a different bag, at school, at a friend’s house, etc, etc, etc. When you consider how long we’ve been using it, I suppose it really isn’t all THAT many times, but enough times to really appreciate the option of administering a bolus from the pump.

The Tubing: Yup. You heard that right. We *PREFER* having the pump – and the ability to perform all essential pump tasks – attached to her body.  Sugar has been pumping with tubing since she was 3 years old. It doesn’t get in her way…ever. Period. End of story. In eight years, the tubing has been the least of our concerns when managing type 1 diabetes. We also love that she can disconnect and reconnect easily whenever necessary.  Not to mention that she likes the camaraderie that comes with being spotted by (or when she spots) another pumper in the wild. At this phase in her life, she’s proud of her pump, and really doesn’t care who can see it – tubing and all.

0.025u Basal/0.05u Bolus: Using undiluted insulin, can you draw either of those doses up accurately in a syringe? No. You can’t. Even if you have a syringe with a half-unit marking, you’ll still be guessing. Over the years, we have come to depend on the precise micro-dosages that Animas offers for both basal settings and bolus delivery.

Insulin On Board (IOB): Keeping track of active insulin to avoid stacking is something I have always considered a key safety feature for any insulin pump. I refuse to attach my daughter to medical device that doesn’t keep track of the life-saving (and, potentially, life-threatening) hormone it is infusing into her body. Along those lines, I expect the pump which is infusing such an essential fluid to recognize when her BG is below target and adjust dosing to accommodate accordingly. Expect. Per-i-od. You’re automatically off the list if you don’t do both of these things.

Sites: Sugar uses the 6mm/23 inch tubing Insets. They’re easy to insert, easy to remove, and easy to disconnect in between. We rarely encounter a site issue. After 8 years, I have come to the conclusion that they work great for Sugar and any pump we use would have to be compatible with them. Because the Animas cartridge (which is super easy to fill without air bubbles, btw) has a luer lock, users have the ability to try sites from other companiesif they so desire. The tubing is not proprietary, and I really appreciate that. In the first 2 months of our pumping experience, we were trying to use a different infusion set and it was disastrous. We actually began using the Insets with a different pump…more on that later.

Waterproof: Sugar has been tubing on a lake, romping around waterparks, running through sprinklers, playing on splash pads, and caught in the rain with her pump on.  During the summer months, we usually disconnect the pump and store it in a cooler while at the pool, because her BG tends to drop during swimming. (There we go again with loving the ability to disconnect.) I keep it in a plastic bag and just toss it in with the drinks…there’s been a time or two that water has leaked into the bag.  Suffice to say that I was very glad her pump was waterproof during those times! (Sidenote: The Vibe offers waterproof CGM integration. Dude.  Like. That’s freaking awesome.)

There are a few more things we really like about Animas — like the fact that it uses a AA battery (preferably lithium, but a regular battery gets the job done too), and I can grab them while I’m at the grocery store. Or steal one from a TV remote in a pinch. Not that that has ever happened or anything — but those features are most important to us. So, let’s move on. Here are the reasons we ruled out the other options:

Asante Snap: Asante uses prefilled insulin cartridges to load the pump. While I think that’s pretty awesome, they don’t offer an Apidra cartridge and Sugar uses Apidra insulin.

Next.  {Asante has left the industry since I wrote this post.}

Insulet Omnipod:  The first thing you’ll notice about the pod is that it’s tubeless. That’s awesome…if you’re into that kind of thing. As noted above, we like having tubing, so there’s that. You can’t administer insulin from the pod itself, nor can you change settings, set temp basals, blah, blah, blah. If you misplace/forget/whatever the PDM, the basal rate will continue, so that’s good news. You won’t go into DKA, but you won’t eat without a shot either. Aside from those things, we prefer a smaller basal rate than the pod offers (0.05u) — and beyond that, the ability to program a temp basal for an even smaller amount. You can’t disconnect insulin delivery without removing the entire pod or change a pod for whatever reason without losing all the insulin it still holds inside.  You also have to change the pod when the pod decides. Sometimes Sugar’s sites slip into a 4th (or 5th) day…{don’t lecture me}…I don’t need the thing yelling at me because we’ve had such amazing numbers that I forgot about the site change until the pump reminds me that it’s out of insulin and needs to be refilled. The PDM remote often has to be directly next to the pod/practically touching the darn thing for successful insulin delivery (might as well just push the buttons on the pump, eh!?!), and static electricity interferes with pod function.

If all that weren’t enough reason for me, the Omnipod meter has a notorious reputation for inaccuracy. In fact, the integrated meter uses test strips that have been called into question for accuracy concerns since 2010. From late 2013 through early 2014, there was (finally) a big confused mess of a recall.  The strips were recalled because the Omnipod PDM was reading erroneously low glucose levels…unfortunately, the recall came too late for this young woman who died.

At any rate, as you can imagine, many users prefer to use a different meter…which means they lug around the PDM to operate the device and another meter to use for glucose testing. Blah.

The pod also involves more adhesive and more adhesive involves more potential for irritation, rashes, and skin breakdown. I’ve heard a plethora of stories about pods that malfunction (A LOT of stories about malfunctions, actually), pods that get knocked off, pods that leak, pods that just start screeching randomly at inconvenient times for no apparent reason…the pod just isn’t the right fit for us.

Next.

Roche Accu-check ComboI admit that I don’t know a lot about this pump. I do know that I’d have to use a specific meter to communicate with the pump in order to program a bolus, and there isn’t an option to manually enter the BG if I so desired. I’ve also heard both the set changes and bolus delivery rates take way.too.long. For now, that’s enough.

Next.

Tandem t:slim: I would say out of all the other options, this pump was probably the closest contender. Unfortunately, it doesn’t adjust insulin doses until the BG is under 70. Sugar’s target is 120. If she’s any number less than that, I want the pump to take it into consideration — along with IOB — and subtract insulin accordingly. Waiting until the BG is 70 just isn’t cool with me. You also can’t just deliver a straight-up bolus without associating it with a BG number or carb count…if I just programmed 1 unit for a cupcake and now she’s eating a second one, I just want to program 1 unit again. I don’t want to mess with the other stuff. There have been rumblings of concern about this pump administering incorrect basal delivery, and some folks feel the onscreen buttons are too small, causing frustration when it times out because your fat fingers didn’t seem to hit the right one after three tries. I’ve heard a couple complaints that it’s easy to accidentally enter a BG where you should be entering carbs — thereby potentially administering insulin for 500 carbs when you really just wanted a correction for a 500 BG. I guess there are also a zillion confirmation screens — that sounds as annoying to me as having to scroll up from 0.00u when programming a Ping bolus. I’m used to one annoyance, and don’t want to get used to a new one right now. Beyond those things, this post sums up a lot and I’ve heard a few other horror stories about using Apidra insulin in this pump. Not to mention concerns about (any) insulin overheating when charging this pump (it doesn’t use batteries). Then there’s that whole upgrade thing (or lack thereof) –> basically, Tandem refuses to upgrade current users as they develop and release new technology. When I talked to one rep, he described set changes as “I get it set up – go take a shower – then come back”, because, apparently, it takes a while to prime the tubing. Getting a complete set and site change done at 2 am in under 5 minutes with the Ping is frustrating enough. For now, my sanity couldn’t spend a second longer dealing with slow priming in the middle of the night — or any other time, for that matter.

Next.

Medtronic 530G with Enlite: Lucky for them, Medtronic ruled themselves out as a contender in our home when they sued Cozmo out of business in 2009 over a minute detail they considered to be a patent infringement. I mentioned briefly somewhere up there that Sugar started pumping with a different pump originally. It was a pump we really liked. Sadly, dealing with the mounting legal fees imposed by Medtronic, combined with the flailing economy was too much to recover from. Cozmo employees lost their jobs, and Cozmo pumpers everywhere were devastated — including our family. In true bully form, they’ve sued both Insulet and Animas over “patent infringements” in the time since as well. Interestingly, however, Medtronic had no problem infringing on patents involving transcatheter heart valves — and, hey…KARMA’S A BITCH. <— yeah, that says “ONE BILLION”.

I’ll probably hold this grudge forever, but generally don’t make a big deal about it, because we ended up switching to the Ping and have loved it ever since.  You keep loving your Medtronic pump, and I’ll keep loving you anyway 🙂

Rant aside, there are a couple things I don’t like about Medtronic’s insulin pump technology.  For starters, could the bolus be delivered any slower? Cripes. When I want to get a pre-bolus started, I want it started N-O-W. Not 5, 10, 15, 20, whatever minutes from now. They’ll say people have complained about Animas boluses stinging, because it delivers faster {about a minute}. 1) That has rarely/practically never been an issue for my kid, and 2) A shot delivers faster than any pump out there, so… Moving on, Medtronic pumps are also notorious for “motor errors”. Anyway, I’m not a fan of their proprietary-tubing-thing either. You have to use THEIR products, even if you find one elsewhere that works better for you. It’s not waterproof, and the screen contrast is rather poor in comparison to other pumps. Lastly, Dexcom consistently outperforms Medtronic’s CGM technology when it comes to accuracy and sensor comfort.

————————————————————————–

In the end, there is one other detail that influenced our decision to stay with Animas. Before I mentioned it, however, I wanted to demonstrate that Animas has earned our business based on their own merit and solid record of performance in our home.

Last month, Mr. Rose completed his Bachelor of Science in Information Technology/Information Management and graduated after 5 long years of schooling.  His shiny new degree comes with a career change…which means we’ll be facing some uncertainty about how our health insurance situation will be impacted.

animas supplies

Right now, we have everything we need to keep insulin pumping through an Animas device around here…and that security is priceless.

P.S. (There will be one big change with our next pump order. Sugar will be switching from pink to green 🙂 Awesome color options are another reason she loves her Ping!)

**DISCLAIMER: I HAVE AN EXISTING RELATIONSHIP WITH ANIMAS. HOWEVER, CANDYHEARTSBLOG.ORG IS SOLELY OWNED BY ME, MYSELF, AND I. ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED HERE ARE FROM MY OWN (CANDY) HEART. I WAS NOT COMPENSATED IN ANY WAY TO SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH YOU TODAY**

It Has Arrived: The Animas Vibe!

The Animas Vibe is the first insulin pump to integrate with the Dexcom G4 continuous glucose monitoring system.

Well, my U.S. friends…

THE WAIT IS OVER!!!!

(That is…it’s over if you’re 18 years or older, anyway.)

The long-awaited Animas Vibe received final FDA approval on November 25, 2014 and made it’s debut in the United States with a press release on December 1st. The Animas Vibe has already been met with resounding success internationally throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

The most obvious feature that sets the Vibe apart from other technology is the integration with Dexcom G4 continuous glucose monitoring technology. Studies have shown Dexcom to be the most accurate continuous glucose monitor available in the United States.

And, while that’s completely newsworthy all on its own, there are actually a few other features that make the Vibe pretty attractive as well…

** Animas has added a “Jump to Value” bolus — which means no more scrolling up from 0.00u!! With the simple push of a button, the suggested bolus will appear, and then the user can scroll up or down from that point, as desired.

** Have I ever mentioned how important I consider the “Insulin On Board” (IOB) feature? Because it’s a dealbreaker for me. I consider the IOB feature to be one of the most important aspects to an insulin pump.

On the Vibe, you can see IOB information right on the CGM Data Screen.  #swooning!

screns

** Animas has improved the interfaces for inputting and editing individualized pump settings such as carb ratios, targets, and insulin sensitivity factors,

All of that being said, there are a few bumps in our road to the Vibe…for starters, at this point you have to be at least 18 years old to access it. Sugar is 11. That means more waiting. Fortunately, however, pediatric approval is in the works, though no timeline has been given as to when we can expect it.

Waiting longer gives us more time to mull over the decision to exchange our remote for the integrated CGM…because the Vibe doesn’t use a remote.

I know.

I’m equally as heartbroken about it. I’ve known this truth ever since first hearing about the Vibe eons ago, but it doesn’t make it any easier for me. We love the remote feature of the Ping. It’s a difficult predicament for someone, like me, who wants both features, like, NOW.

Sigh.

Sugar’s warranty expires on 12/27/14. Stay tuned for an updated round up of why we have chosen to stay with Animas, and I’ll be sure to bring you more Vibe updates as they surface.

To close out this post, I wanted to share that I had an opportunity to ask Animas a few questions about the Vibe. I’ll post the questions and answers here, in their entirety:

  1. Can we still use the same Animas cartridges? Yes
  2. Does the suggested bolus auto populate? (Not necessary to scroll up from 0.00u – instead the suggested bolus shows up first, and then the user can scroll up or down from there as desired.)  The suggested bolus will not auto populate. However Animas has added a Jump to Value bolus populator feature to Vibe. When a recommended bolus is calculated, 0.00u will still be shown on the screen; but with a single press of the up arrow button, the amount recommended by the bolus calculator will automatically populate in the dose amount field on screen. The user no longer needs to scroll up from 0.00u to the recommended amount.
  3. There’s a burning question — particularly among parents — inquiring as to why the Vibe doesn’t have a remote? While Vibe does not feature a meter remote, Animas will continue to offer OneTouch Ping for patients and parents looking for that specific feature. Our goal is to provide people living with diabetes a range of products to meet varying needs, including CGM technology and meter-remote capabilities.
  4. We use the One Touch Ping remote and have a solid supply of One Touch Blue strips. If we were to switch to the Vibe, what meter options are available that would still allow the use of One Touch Blue strips? Along those lines, is there a meter that communicates with the Vibe to automatically insert and store glucose readings? Animas is offering OneTouch Verio® IQ Blood Glucose Meter at no charge with the Animas® Vibe™ System for eligible patients. OneTouch Verio® Test Strips are different from the One Touch Blue strips and are sold separately. In order to use the One Touch Blue strips you have remaining, you would have to use either the OneTouch Ultra 2 or the Ultra Mini meter.
  5. The Vibe is only approved for adults,18 yrs and over. Are plans for pediatric approval in the works? Where does that process stand at the moment? We are working diligently to offer this solution to children with diabetes but we cannot speculate on timing of pediatric approval for Animas® Vibe™ in the US.
  6. Aside from the obvious CGM integration, can you share some of the other differences between the Vibe and the Ping? A key difference is the jump to Value bolus populator discussed above. In addition, the Vibe offers an updated interface to simplify setting/editing of user parameters like insulin to carbohydrate ratio, target BG range, and insulin sensitivity factors.
  7. On a side note, since the Ping is still an Animas pump option, are there any plans to update the remote? We are constantly evaluating our product portfolio, listening to our customer’s feedback and looking for ways to improve on what we bring to market. However, due to compliance concerns we cannot comment on future development of the OneTouch Ping remote.

Here’s more information if you’re interested in updating to the Animas Vibe:

What does a patient need to do to switch from OneTouch Ping to Vibe?

  • Once Animas® Vibe™ is available in the US, we will provide an EZAccess Upgrade program, which offers patients who qualify the opportunity to upgrade to our latest technology, Animas® Vibe™. More details of the EZAccess Upgrade program will be made available when the program is launched.

 What does a patient need to do when switching from a different company to Animas?

  • If a patient would like to switch to either the OneTouch Ping or the Animas Vibe they should discuss this with their health care provider first.  From there they can determine which option works best for their diabetes management and contact Animas Customer Support at 1-877-937-7867.
**Disclaimer: I have an existing relationship with Animas. However, CandyHeartsBlog.org is SOLELY owned by me, myself, and I and All opinions expressed here are from my own (candy) heart. I was not compensated in any way to share this information with you today**

ATTENTION CANADA: This is cool!!!

George Canyon, award-winning recording artist, hosts an evening of inspiration and entertainment 
to encourage living powerfully with Type 1 diabetes
BURNABY, British Columbia, April 23, 2012 /CNW/ – Today, country music star George Canyon, and Animas Corporation, announced that beginning May 14, they will embark on a five-day, five-city, coast-to-coast tour visiting cities from Newfoundland to British Columbia. The George Canyon & Friends Diabetes Heroes Tour will encourage adults and children living with Type 1 diabetes to live a life without limits despite their disease. George, who has lived with Type 1 diabetes since the age of 14, will be joined by four people living extraordinary lives with diabetes – including a WHL hockey player; Canadian National Para-Snowboarder; a university student who is earning her recreational pilot’s license; and a family therapist and diabetes nurse educator, who has personally been living with Type 1 diabetes for more than 50 years. Together, George and these Diabetes Heroes will provide an evening of inspiration and entertainment for those affected by Type 1 diabetes.
“When I was a teenager, there wasn’t anyone with diabetes that I could really look up to. So I promised myself that if ever given the means and the platform, I would try to be that person to kids who were just like me,” said Canyon. “This tour is a way to provide positive role models to children living with diabetes and to let them know that if they control their disease, they can live their dreams.”
Canyon, along with the Diabetes Heroes, will be traveling to the following five cities for a three-hour event each night:
  • May 14: St. John’s, NL – The Majestic Theatre, 390 Duckworth Street
  • May 15: Barrie, ON – Liberty North, 100 Caplan Avenue
  • May 16: Winnipeg, MB – Park Theatre Cafe, 698 Osborne Street
  • May 17: Edmonton, AB – John L. Haar Theatre, Grant McEwan University, 10045 – 156 Street
  • May 18: Prince George, BC – Prince George Playhouse, 2833 Recreation Place
The evening will begin with an opening keynote discussion of diabetes and family dynamics, followed by an interactive session with the Diabetes Heroes, and concluding with a performance from Canyon.
“George Canyon and the Diabetes Heroes are living proof that Type 1 diabetes doesn’t have to get in the way of achieving your dreams,” said Paul Flynn, Director of Animas Canada. “After the success of last year’s George Canyon & Friends Diabetes Heroes Tour, we couldn’t be more excited to bring this unique and inspiring experience to children and families living with Type 1 diabetes across Canada.”
Admission to these events is free. Seating is assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating is limited and reserved for individuals and families living with Type 1 diabetes, with a maximum of five (5) seats per RSVP. To reserve seats, register online at www.animas.ca/george2012.
To connect with the tour on Facebook and follow along with behind-the-scenes photos and video clips, visit www.facebook.com/gcfheroestour
This initiative is proudly organized and sponsored by Animas Canada, a division of LifeScan Canada Ltd.
About George CanyonBorn and raised in Nova Scotia, George Canyon got his first taste of international fame and music industry attention after competing in and nearly sweeping USA Network’s televised “Nashville Star” competition in 2004. Since then, Canyon has released six acclaimed, studio recorded albums; sold over 300,000 CDs and has won numerous music awards including two Juno Awards and multiple East Coast Music Awards, Canadian Country Music Awards and SOCAN Awards, as well as awarded with two certified gold records in 2011.
Canyon, also an actor, has appeared on the highly rated Canadian television series’ CBC-TV’s “Heartland” and Showcase’s “Trailer Park Boys” and has starred in many television programs and specials. He recently starred alongside Dean Cain and Luke Schroder in a made for TV movie, “A Mile In His Shoes” and has just completed a few more TV and movie roles with release dates in 2012/2013.
Recently, George was bestowed with the privilege of being appointed as the first-ever Colonel Commandant of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets by the Minster of National Defence, Peter MacKay, but if you ask George what his biggest achievement has been, he’ll respond without hesitation that it has been his work with children and families living with Type 1 Diabetes. Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at age 14, George has spent a great deal of time giving acoustic performances and inspirational talks to children with Type 1 diabetes and their families in Canada and the USA. He encourages these youngsters to pursue their dreams and gives advice on how to manage their disease, “If I can change a life or two and inspire a youngster to live a better life. That’s the kind of imprint I want to leave,” says Canyon. His dedication in his work with JDRF and raising awareness of Type 1 Diabetes has led to George becoming a national spokesperson.
For more information on George Canyon, please visit: www.georgecanyon.com and www.facebook.com/georgecanyon
About the “Diabetes Heroes”Joe Solowiejczyk, RN, MSW, CDE is a nurse, diabetes educator, and family therapist who has personally lived with Type 1 diabetes for 51 years. Joe travels the country sharing his expertise and insights on how family dynamics impact diabetes management, and offers strategies for living well with diabetes as a family.
Jordan DePape is a 20-year old centre for the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers who has been living with Type 1 diabetes since the age of 13. Jordan has never let his diabetes hold him back. In the seven years since his diagnosis, he had racked up one accolade after the other, including honours such as the league’s top forward, top point scorer for a rookie, Most Dedicated Player and Most Community-minded Player. Before joining the Blazers in 2010, he played for the Brandon Wheat Kings and was named to Team Canada West to compete in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Lindsey Carswell is a 19-year old college student attending the University of Guelph; however Lindsey is far from a typical college student. At the age of 15, Lindsey set out on a path to earn her recreational pilot’s license. As a person living with Type 1 diabetes, not only did she have to log her blood glucose tests for months and submit the results to Transport Canada, she had to demonstrate exceptionally tight glucose control before the medical board would issue her a certificate to apply for the license. Additionally, Lindsey has been an avid skier since the age of three and spent time as a children’s ski instructor in Banff, Alberta before heading to university.
Mike Fisher is a 25-year competitive snowboarder from Forest, Ontario and is a member of the Canadian National Para-Snowboarding Team. No stranger to hardship, Mike was involved in a motorcycle accident that left him amputated below the knee at the age of 18. Nearly a year later, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Mike’s passion for snowboarding has repeatedly brought him to the podium, earning 7 silver medals and 4 bronze medals during the course of 2009-2010 season on the Canadian NorAm Tour, a 4th place finish at the World Cup and a bronze medal at Canadian Nationals. He hopes to one day fulfill his dream of being in the Winter Paralympic Games.
About Animas CorporationAs part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, Animas is dedicated to creating a world without limits for people with diabetes through a wide range of products and tools, including the OneTouch® Ping® Glucose Management System, inset® family of infusion sets, and ezManager® MAX software. Animas, from the Latin word meaning “true inner self or soul,” has been committed since 1996 to meeting individual patient needs through the development of life-performance technology and unparalleled customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
To learn more about Animas and its products available in Canada, visit www.Animas.ca
About Type 1 DiabetesType 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. It can occur at any age, but most commonly is diagnosed from infancy to the late 30s. People with Type 1 diabetes must take multiple injections of insulin daily or continuous infusion of insulin through a pump to survive. There are over 300,000 people living with Type 1 diabetes in Canada, with the incidence rate of Type 1 diabetes increasing by 3-5% every year.

Anatomy of Her GlucoCoaster (Along with the Apidra 6 Week Review.)

Apidra has been going well.

Really well.
You might remember that I had a moment of crazy, and randomly filled Sugar’s insulin pump with Apidra on Thanksgiving night.  It was 2 days after her last endo appointment…which happened to fall right smack dab in the middle of a perplexing rut of blood sugar madness.
That’s always fun.  There’s nothing quite like showing up for your endo appointment with practically nothing except 400’s to show for the previous week.
Anyway, it’s been about 6 weeks now…which means we’re about 6 weeks away from our next endo visit.  In this pic you can see that her averages began dropping between the 60 day and 30 day marks.  I’m crediting the improvement to Apidra since the 6 week point falls in there somewhere.
851 finger pricks divided by 90 days = 9.4 tests a day.
In the past 6 weeks, we’ve rarely seen a BG over 300.  Since changing insulins, her overall average has dropped nicely into her ideal target zone of 80 – 150.  I do believe we’re seeing the proof in the pudding that Apidra is a more effective insulin for managing Sugar’s diabetes. Obviously the true test will lie in how well her numbers do over the long haul, but I’m definitely encouraged.
So, with all that being said…
Diabetes can be a flipping SHREW sometimes.

I present Exhibits A, B, and C – Z:
That was 2 days ago.
Since I’m a “seize the moment” type of girl, I snapped a picture to help me break down the zones, and get to the nitty gritty of how the anatomy of these numbers look from my viewpoint.  
GREEN LINE — The area just above this line tends to bring a little shakiness, along with hunger. The areas below this line, however, can cause combativeness, confusion, and loss of consciousnesses.  She becomes ravenous once she begins to recover, and often wants to take a nap.  If we cannot bring her blood sugars up quickly using fast acting sources of sugar, she’s at risk for a seizure, and her life could be in immediate danger.  She may require an emergency glucagon injection.  Before starting the pump in 2007, Sugar used to pass out from low blood sugars pretty regularly.  It was horrible, horrible horrible.  Thanks to the ability to program an intermittent ZERO basal rate into her regular pattern, keeping close tabs on Insulin On Board, and administering micro doses via her insulin pump we were able to put a stop to these horrifying episodes.

WHITE LINES — Coloring between these lines brings (me) euphoria.  I think she feels “normal” in this range…sadly, however, I’m not sure she really knows what “normal” feels like.  In this range, she’s upbeat, positive, and smiles almost all the time.

YELLOW LINE — Around the yellow line, she tends to feel a little lazy and distracted.  If she’s doing something that interests her, she acts pretty normal – otherwise, she’s easily bored.  She might drink a little more water, and tends to ask for repeated snacks, especially if she hangs out in this range for any period of time.  We don’t particularly like to see numbers in the 200’s, but they’re not something that cause much frustration unless we can’t seem to bring them down. We’ll try up to 2 correction attempts and then a site change, unless she’s continuing to climb – in which case, we’ll change the site sooner.

ORANGE LINE — Up in this range, she’s definitely thirsty and needing to use the restroom more frequently.  She has a terrible time concentrating, and her handwriting becomes pretty sloppy. She’s usually trying to eat anything she can put in her mouth, including a crumb or two from the countertop.  She gets emotional, and often starts crying for no apparent reason.  She’s easily irritated and often complains of a headache.  Sometimes she says her tummy hurts as well.  We’ll usually attempt a correction via the pump one time as long as no ketones are present.  If there hasn’t been a significant improvement within 2 hours, we’ll change the pump site using fresh insulin.

RED LINE — At this point, she’s downright cantankerous.  She wants to eat, drink, and stomp her feet.  She becomes incredibly emotional, and cries easily.  Her head hurts, her tummy hurts, her eyes hurt, her legs hurt.  She’s dying of thirst, and can’t seem to get enough ice cold water. She’s downright miserable, and usually needs to lay down to rest for awhile.  If she continues climbing, or stays in this range for very long, she’s at risk of DKA, which can progress to coma or death.  This area is managed with an immediate correction via injection, and a complete site/insulin change.
I don’t know what it feels like to have a BG under green or up in red.  Since she doesn’t wear Dexcom full time, I’m often wondering what direction her numbers are moving.  Assuredly, I would have changed her site on this day when she was 350ish and then climbed to 450ish. With those Dex arrows, though, I knew she was going to be okay.  
I see these sharp rises and falls, and stand in awe of how well she handles them.  You’d never know from looking at her that she was having a day like this.  After 6 years of witnessing how difficult some most of these ranges can be for her, I’m just amazed at how awesome she is.
More on our APIDRA experience…
The day we started.
The experience.
The trial end.
The 6 week review.
The verdict.

Genuine Fun

I’m not sure how to describe the feeling of seeing your children laughing, smiling, and playing…completely carefree.  Unrestricted by the weight of life, and befriending everyone who comes their way without a second thought.

It’s magical to witness such childlike joy…happiness…serenity.

Growing up introduces so much extra baggage.  There’s so much to think about.  So much to do.  So much to stress over.  The opportunity to bask in the glow of childhood is a welcome reprieve from the day-to-day grind of life.

Our local T1 support group held its annual Christmas party last weekend.

We added 5 new hand prints

There was a visit from Santa…
There was a bounce house…
And (gluten-free) cookie decorating…

Plus a BLUE themed ornament exchange…

The kids bounced and played the night away.  Moms connected with other moms…dads with dads…siblings with siblings.  Newcomers were welcomed with open arms.

For a night, no one noticed the meters beeping or random test strips on the lawn.  Finger pricks and juice boxes…highs and lows…no one judged the mound of icing on one cookie or the pile of sprinkles on another. We were all gathered together making the most of diabetes during the holidays.

My friends, it was a fantastical night.

I wish you all could have been there.

I’d like to extend a very special THANK YOU to Animas.  You might remember when I mentioned that Animas and I would be working together.  Well, my official Animas page went live last week, and they sponsored our Santa visit and bounce house as a way to give back to the local community I care so deeply about.  Thank you, Animas.  You’re an amazing company on so many levels.  I genuinely care about these families, we genuinely love our Animas pump, and I’m genuinely honored to share the exciting journey ahead!

Children with Type 1 Diabetes

Claire Duncan: Awesome.

One day my little girl with Type 1 Diabetes is going to become a big girl with Type 1 Diabetes. Yes, my friends…one day she’s going to grow up.  (GASP!)  As much as I’d like to keep her in the safe haven of my little nest, I have to admit that part of me is excited to see what adventures she will embark on.


I wonder if having diabetes will make her think twice before trying things that intrigue her.  I wonder if it won’t.  Like all of my children, I wonder what her future will hold…and I’m honored to be a spectator as she grows into the person she is yet to become.


Recently, I had an opportunity to interview an amazing PWD who is living life to it’s fullest, and pushing the limits when it comes to her life with diabetes.  From marathons to triathlons, it seems that NOTHING can stop Claire Duncan.  Not even swimming across the English Channel, facing 6 foot waves while managing an insulin pump, and getting entangled in seaweed…


Would you mind sharing a little about your T1D diagnosis story?

I was diagnosed with type 1 at the age of 23. I had just started my life as a freelance classical musician and It came as a complete shock. There is no history of diabetes in my family and I knew nothing about the condition and so I started to read as many books as I could find.  One common theme was the importance of exercise for weight-control, insulin sensitivity and avoidance of complications. I had no previous involvement with sports, but I started to run and built up one mile at a time. After about 18 months, I ran my first London Marathon to raise money for the British Diabetic Association.
When did you begin swimming, and how long did you train before swimming across the English Channel?

I started swimming at school but didn’t take it up again until I was about 30.  A few injuries meant I had to leave off running and so I started swimming and cycling, which lead to my participation in triathlon. I worked up through to Ironman distance, which meant regular 3 mile swim sessions in open water.
The challenge of the channel swim was to swim without a wetsuit, which I found quite daunting and very, very cold! I trained about 6 hours a week in the pool from January through until April. In April I moved to open water, starting in the Lido (100m open water pool) and moving to the lakes. I had to experiment with new ways to fuel. I used gatorade for pool swims and a product called isomaltulose for open water (this is a very low GI carb, which meant I could drink it before I got into the lake and it would slowly get into my system, so that I didn’t need to stash other forms of carbs inside my costume)!


I found the cold water hard to tolerate and I started in 55 deg water for 30 mins at a time. I found my blood sugars would rise due to the cold water shock and my hands would claw. I adjusted my basal rate to cope with the cold shock and solved the clawed hands by taping my fingers together for my longer swims! I swam with a “swim safety device” in the lakes, which is an inflatable dry-bag that I could keep hypo treatment in and use as a float if I felt hypo (I didn’t need to use it for this purpose but it made me feel more secure). I tried to swim 5 times a week with as many 6.00am starts as possible in order to experience the water at its coldest! My swims ranged between 1 and 2 hours each and sometimes I would swim twice in one day, so that I could simulate the idea of relay swimming.

What was the biggest challenge you faced during the swim?


There were 2 main challenges. The first was swimming in the big waves as the English channel is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, which meant we were surrounded by very big boats! A passing ferry would send a wake of 5 or 6 feet which would lift me high up in the water. The wave would then hit the support boat and bounce back and hit me again! I had swum in the harbour at Dover but I was not expecting the waves to be quite so big out at sea. After a couple of minutes I managed to calm down enough to swim with the waves and have the confidence not to try and fight over the top of them.


The other challenge was to try and keep my diabetes on an even keel. The adrenalin of the event made my blood sugars rise and I had to take small corrective bolus’ to compensate. I also had to swim harder than I had anticipated to get through the waves and to keep warm (the water was still around 55 deg). I also found that I didn’t want to eat as the swallowed seawater and rocking of the boat made me lose my appetite! Again, the joy of my Animas Vibe saved the day and a change of basal rates saved me from forced-feeding!


What’s next on your list? 
I want to return to triathlon. A niggling back injury means that running is hard work but I want to do some shorter sprint distance races. I need to work on weight-training to build more power and this again is throwing up new challenges with balancing basal rates! I am planning to race the London Triathlon 2012, which should be exciting in our olympic year!


PS — That’s a pretty nice Animas Vibe you have there.  We can’t get those in the U.S. yet.  How did you like it?

The Vibe is amazing! The CGM facility is a real bonus as I have not had the benefit of this before. Meter tests are great but it is only a result for that one moment in time. It has been so useful to join the dots and see trends during different activities and I have changed my basal setup based on the results. I took part in a triathlon with it the week after the channel swim and it was great to see what happens real-time during a race. It is also good to know that with the water-proof facility and the rubber skin, it is pretty bomb proof and I can get on with things without worrying about my pump.

    
Thanks for taking the time to share a little more about your amazing experience, Claire.  I’m completely inspired by your accomplishments, and excited to reaffirm that the sky’s the limit for my daughter!

Dive In!

At 2 am, take a dive into cold open water, full of jelly fish, debris, and heavy ship traffic.   Plan to swim a relay with a team of 6 people, and anticipate the entire event to take somewhere between 12 – 15 hours.  Weather and tide conditions will be unveiled along the journey, and the risk for hypothermia is very high.  You will not be permitted to wear anything that offers thermal or buoyancy protection. You might get seasick while out of the water, but a very precise nutrition plan will be in place, and you’ll need to adhere to it regardless of how your stomach is feeling.  You cannot be assisted by another person or flotation device at any point while you’re in the water, and an observer will be watching closely to make sure that all rules are followed to a T.


Now do all of that with Type 1 Diabetes.


On July 21, 2011 a 6 member relay team set off to cross the English Channel.  Three team members live with Type 1 Diabetes, and were sporting their Animas Vibe insulin pumps.  The team saw victory in 13 hours and 26 minutes!


I am honored to share this first person account from the team’s Captain, Mark Blewitt.


———————————————-




The Animas Channel Swim team of Matt Cox, Claire Duncan and myself, with type 1 diabetes plus Lorcan, Pawel and Boris started when we met up in the marina car park in the early hours of Thursday morning. It was a hive of activity and our specialist diabetes nurse, Vreni was there ready to accompany us on our challenge to cross the channel. Family and friends – Lucy, Deborah and Emma from Animas came down to see us off and the photographer was dispatched to record events for posterity. 

Description: Claire Duncan.MG4We started the swim just before 2am. It was dark and we needed two strong, experienced swimmers to lead us out to a good start. So out of the harbour, in the black of night, I was swimming first. I slipped into the inky sea with the aid of a “million candle” spotlight on the beach at Samphire Hoe, off we went. We learnt that seven escort boats were out at the same time meaning a busy day in the Channel. All had chosen our same start location with the hope of finishing at the Cap Gris Nez.

Once back on board after my opening stint, I managed to get a couple of hours sleep, whilst Lorcan and Pawel swam. Happily I woke up just in time to see Claire get into the water.  Claire looked very relaxed and had lovely effortless strokes – making good progress. Next into the water came Matt.  Matt was swimming breaststroke and the team were all in awe simply because as freestyle swimmers we all appreciate that swimming breaststroke is slower, colder and hence harder in open water.  At this point it should be noted that Matt’s namesake, Captain Matthew Webb swam breaststroke back in 1875 when he became the first person ever to swim the channel.  Little did Webb realize what he would be starting.

In between our turns in the water, we followed the team’s progress on the real time satellite maps, sending the Animas team on shore text, picture and location updates as often as possible.  We were making good progress and for a long while there was much speculation about whether we would finish in under twelve hours. 
During the course of the swim, the team on board the boat avidly listened to Claire and Vreni discuss diabetes management.  The non-type 1 members of the team know that channel swimming requires a fine balance between expending energy and intake of food whilst swimming.  The other team members showed their admiration that our metabolic condition does not stop us completing such challenges and competing in demanding sporting activities.

Matt was showing off his waterproof, real time Continuous Glucose Monitoring enabled, Animas Vibe pump, while Vreni lead a good discussion about what BGs actually are whilst Lorcan made good work of his second swim. We later had some unexpected excitement when Pawel came close to a very large, NYK container ship! Claire’s second swim was as relaxed as her first and Matt too executed a glide that Captain Webb himself would have been proud of.  As I prepared for my final spell in the water I knew this was the time to give it everything.
   
We arrived at Cap Gris Nez in 13hrs 26mins, a fantastic result! We’d done it!  We popped open a well earned bottle of champagne to celebrate and enjoyed a leisurely cruise back to Dover. 

We had a great time in the channel.  Thanks to Eddy Spelling and the Anastasia support boat crew.  Thanks to Jill our observer, Nick Adams and Kevin Murphy, Secretary of the Channel Swimming and Piloting federation (CSPF) for his patience in allowing us to make changes to the team at a late stage.  

I have had the pleasure of several relay swims over the years but I can honestly say this was one of the happiest I have been on.

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CONGRATS, ANIMAS TEAM!  
You are an inspiration and an incredible example that 
life with Type 1 doesn’t have any limits!

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