July 25, 2014 will mark the 9th anniversary of Sugar’s diagnosis with Type 1 Diabetes.
Nine years of finger pokes, shots, pump sites, and managing insulin for every speck of carbohydrate she eats or drinks. Nine years of carefree childhood balanced with the burden of chronic disease. Nine years of trying to learn everything there is to know about an all-consuming diagnosis, while simultaneously fostering independence in constant preparation for the day she takes control of her own care. Nine years of overnight glucose checks, A1c’s, lab draws, quarterly office visits, 504 meetings, school training, and advocacy.
If you had told me, on July 25, 2005, that nine years later, the child fighting for her life in that PICU bed would embark on an experience to radically alter the course of managing Type 1 Diabetes forever…well, I would have just stared at you, blinking confused as if you were speaking a foreign language to me. Then I would have started crying (again).
But it’s happening.
Sugar has officially been placed as one of 2 eleven-year-old girls who will wear the Bionic Pancreas for five days as part of a clinical study at diabetes camp. Even better, the other eleven-year-old girl is one of her diaBFF’s, Ally! (Stay tuned — I’ll be sharing the story of their friendship coming up next!)
What is a Bionic Pancreas, you ask?
Engineers from Boston University have developed a closed-loop bionic pancreas system that uses continuous glucose monitoring along with subcutaneous delivery of both rapid-acting insulin (to lower blood glucose) and glucagon (to raise blood glucose) as directed by a computer algorithm. The bionic pancreas automatically makes a new decision about insulin and glucagon dosing every five minutes.
It’s five days of not having to think about how to respond to her blood sugar. It’s five days of running carelessly with the wind without the fear of hypoglycemia. It’s five days of enjoying food without calculating the number of carbohydrates on her plate. It’s five days of being surrounded by other children who face the same challenges, and five days of feeling “normal”. It’s five days of going to sleep without anxiety about the “what ifs“, and five days of waking up with a glucose level in range, ready to start a new day.
It’s five days of a life Sugar doesn’t remember, and five days of a glimpse inside her future at the same time.
(P.S. I’ll be documenting our journey as much as I can, so be sure to stop by again soon! Here’s the Candy Hearts Blog Facebook Page, where I’ll be posting links for regular updates.)