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Going Bionic: The Dropoff

I must have gone through her luggage three times that morning to make sure nothing had been lost since I packed (and re-packed) her bags a over a week earlier.

It was time to drop off our girls at diabetes camp for 2 weeks. Beyond that, it was also time to get them hooked up and ready to start participating in the 2014 Bionic Pancreas Summer Camp Study. Misty and I embarked on this journey after hearing Ed Damiano present at the CWD Focus on Technology Conference 8 months earlier. The nervous energy felt surreal after so many months of preparing, planning, and coordinating to make this trip a reality.

Bionic Pancreases

A table full of Bionic Pancreases

As soon as we arrived, there was paperwork to take care of, then a physical exam, and a meeting with the camp medical staff to discuss basal rates and bolus times and all the other stuff necessary to keep these kids alive.

Height and weight, blood pressure, temperature…then another weight check to make *ABSOLUTELY* sure (because the Bionic Pancreas delivers insulin and glucagon based on a person’s weight). A Dexcom insertion, a new meter, new strips, and a Spibelt

w collage 1

Then we had two hours to kill while waiting for the initial Dexcom calibration, but there was still plenty to do. Find the cabin, pick a bunk, unpack, lunch in the dining hall, swim test, visit the camp store, picture, activity selection…it was enough to keep us busy for 2 hours for sure!

Words really can’t accurately describe how beautiful camp is. Not only the accommodations, but the experience of being surrounded by so many adults with insulin pumps. The people in the dining hall, the people doing the swim test, the medical team. There were pumps everywhere.

Yes, camp is BEAUTIFUL.

w collage 2

And then it was time to give the study an official start time. Sugar was assigned to the second group of participants, which means she will wear the entire Bionic Pancreas system for five days, starting next Sunday. Ally, however, was assigned to the first group, which means she will wear the entire system for the first five days of camp.

Watching that countdown, knowing each of those girls were about to be completely controlled by a closed loop system was incredibly emotional. I’ll expand on those thoughts and feelings later, but Misty talks about her experience in that moment HERE.

When it was time to say good-bye, part of my heart stood still.

I know she will be a little more grown-up with more confidence, and more independence under her belt when I return to pick her up. And, while I also know this is the ultimate goal when raising each of my children, I couldn’t stop the tears from falling as I walked away.

In our last minute together, I held her close, felt her soft skin on my cheek, and nuzzled my face in her hair.

w and a 1

Good-bye, sweet girl.

I am so proud of you.

w and a 2

I’ll see you in two weeks.

This post is part of a series documenting Sugar’s experience in the 2014 Bionic Pancreas Summer Camp Study.

Further Reading:

Addy and Ally: A BIONIC Friendship

See more pictures HERE.

Category: bionic pancreas
  • Colleen says:

    Can’t wait to read all about it when she gets home!

    July 22, 2014 at 5:09 am
  • Lady Imp says:

    Ahhh, this technology is so exciting! I can’t wait for it to become readily available!

    July 22, 2014 at 6:01 am
  • katy says:

    Oh, oh, oh! I am so happy to read this and so sad I missed it!

    How was the GF lunch???

    July 22, 2014 at 6:35 am
  • Kim says:


    Your heart must be bursting with so many emotions. I’m so happy for Sugar that she gets to experience this!

    July 22, 2014 at 6:35 am
  • Karen says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us, and thanks to Sugar for being part of the trial. Love to you both!!


    July 22, 2014 at 7:28 am
  • Leighann of D-Mom Blog says:

    This is so incredible! I can’t wait for the bionic pancreas to be a reality. I’m so proud of your daughter for helping to pave the way to this new technology…and proud of you and Misty for taking this on.

    (Out of curiosity…what was the blue tape on the DexCom sensor?)


    July 22, 2014 at 7:35 am
  • Briley says:

    I dropped my friend off to work there four years ago and couldn’t help but admire how beautiful it is (I went to a different D camp in New England as a kid). I can only imagine how amazing it is as a parent!

    July 22, 2014 at 7:48 am
  • Trip Stoner says:

    Thank you for sharing about your daughters experience with the bionic pancreas. I think we all very excited about this trail and we all are crossing our fingers that it goes smoothly and effortlessly. This our hope, our dream…until there is a cure. Until we can turn type one to type none.

    July 22, 2014 at 7:56 am
  • Kerri. says:

    I love all of this – your family, your daughter, going Bionic, Clara Barton Camp … everything. Thank you guys for doing this.

    July 22, 2014 at 8:17 am
  • k2 says:

    Xoxo & CHECK!

    July 22, 2014 at 9:03 am
  • Kelley says:

    I love this post and hearing about the Bionic camp! Interesting that you it’s based on weight (makes sense) but what if you are on a diet and losing weight or vice versa gaining weight, I’m guessing the needs would have to change a lot?

    July 22, 2014 at 10:40 am
  • Heather Gabel says:

    I am so proud of you and all the work you do for your daughter. I teared up reading this. I was dxd at 11 and am now 23 and I would have given anything to have been given this opportunity. She is so lucky to be able to do this and to have a momma like you. Thank you for sharing and I am excited to read more about her reflections of the experience.

    July 22, 2014 at 12:24 pm
  • Keri Hiddleson says:

    Thanks for sharing this journey with us! I’m excited to hear all about her (and your) experience with this!

    July 22, 2014 at 3:19 pm
  • Stacy A says:

    So exciting cant wait to read all about it when she gets home!


    July 22, 2014 at 3:42 pm
  • Lesley says:

    So grateful for her participation in this exciting and important trial!

    July 22, 2014 at 4:25 pm
  • Mike Mack says:

    Wow! Diabetes camp was a lot less complicated when I went 40 years ago. I think my mom and dad dropped me off in the parking lot … period! I remember testing our URINE (this was still before the days of blood tests) in the middle of a baseball game. The guys went to the edge of the woods and peed on the test strip. I wrote about my camp experience at Camp Hamwi on my blog:

    July 22, 2014 at 4:42 pm
  • StephenS says:

    I am so, SO excited for you and your girl. I know this will be an experience you’ll be proud of your entire lives. And we’ll be appreciative of it too. Thanks to both of you for doing this. Good luck!

    July 22, 2014 at 6:35 pm
  • Misty says:

    OHHHH…seeing these pictures makes my heart happy, and excited, and sad. As much as I am thrilled that she is at this beautiful camp, and as much as I am excited to hear about her experience on the Bionic Pancreas…I still miss my girl. I feel so much relief knowing that she is there with her Bionic BFF!!

    July 22, 2014 at 7:33 pm
  • Chris says:

    This is incredible. I think you need to come back on my podcast to talk about this. I’ll be in touch. #check

    July 22, 2014 at 10:03 pm
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    Bionic: Still Alive!

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