Friday, June 12, 2015

ADA 2015: Big Ideas, Small Revolutions

The ADA Scientific Sessions this year was a much busier experience for me as a nonprofit leader than it ever was for me as a participant, but the busy did not overshadow the buzz in the air over the innovation and research taking place in diabetes this year.

At times, I know we patients struggle with the acronyms and the drug class names (good lord, the drug class names), but one of the most interesting threads woven through this year's Sci Sessions for me as a patient was the exciting future of combination therapies of those crazy acronymic (is that a word I've just made up?) drugs - particularly SGLT-1/SGLT-2 combos and GLP-1/basal insulin combos. Combo therapies could make the tedious task of counting out pills or suffering multiple pens/needles or juggling complicated medication schedules easier for patients to manage their regimen so that they can meet targets and ultimately DO better while, at the same time, allowing patients an assortment of options they can tailor to fit their individual health goals. We are NOT a one-size fits all community.

Speaking of size, the talk of ADA 2015 in the type one market were the small startups with big dreams. Both Bigfoot Biomedical and TypeZero Technologies were among those representing the up-and-coming single hormone artificial pancreas (AP) solutions breaking ground in the space. What was once aspirational is quickly becoming operational! It may very well be that the next generation of innovation will come from new Davids rather than known Goliaths in the device industry.

AP solutions aren't one size fits all either though and it's glucagon's turn to evolve. The Bionic Pancreas team and their dual hormone (insulin plus glucagon) AP system continue to drive the conversation into the 21st century while companies like Locemia are striving to make glucagon a simpler, stabler hormone for us to administer, presenting data this week on the efficacy and safety of their nasal glucagon powder in pediatric patients. The "red kit" as we know it may someday sit behind glass in the museum of clunky diabetes delivery.

Some of the most interesting programs I learned about at ADA this year, however, are two programs that I feel they are all too quiet about - Community Days and Diabetes is Primary. In partnership together, Sanofi and the American Diabetes Association offer these two impressive outreach programs to the cities they visit each year for the Sci Sessions, bringing the benefits and resources of the sessions to those in the community. Community Days provides the hotel hospitality staff who serve the 18,000 guests descending on the city with time to attend organized events that educate them about their health and nutrition. As most diabetes care is practiced in the domain of the PCP, the second program, Diabetes is Primary, invites thousands of primary care physicians in the area of the conference to come take advantage of the vast resource in their own backyard to learn the latest research on diabetes for educational credit. I love the idea that these companies and organizations consider the populations of the big conference cities we invade when we come for these events because it directly addresses the issue of access - a particular pain point in the diabetes advocacy community.

Speaking of advocacy, I hope you are fired up and ready to learn for Diabetes Hands Foundation's 2nd MasterLab summit, coming up in just 3 more weeks. We are hard at work on a program that will inspire and empower you to become a more effective advocate. Register here and we will see you on July 7-8 in Orlando, FL.

And as for Sci Sessions...see you at 76!

Disclaimer: American Diabetes Association granted me a press pass and complementary registration for the 75th Scientific Sessions as a writer from All views are my own and do not represent the opinions of ADA or my employer, Diabetes Hands Foundation, both of which are unaffiliated with this blog. The media access and conference registration did not include travel or lodging costs, those being absorbed by my current employer, Diabetes Hands Foundation.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Asante MySnap - Review and Unboxing

As you may know, I have been using the Asante Snap Insulin Pump since my 30-day free trial in November of 2013. I thought they were cocky that I'd love it in 30 days, but I did, so it's been my pump of choice since Christmas Day 2013 when I unboxed my new red Snap (1.0).

Their latest product is called the MySnap and it's a user-designed color-customizable pump.

Using the MySnap designer, the user can choose from 11 different face and frame colors, as well as accents like patterns and colored button outlines. No two MySnaps have to look alike.

I chose a blue face with a blue frame. Shocking, I know.

They've made some respectable updates to their original product and I will outline them below.

Beyond the bright and beautiful colors, they've added a lovely high resolution color screen. THANK YOU! That was hands down the worst thing about Snap 1.0 and I've mentioned it in multiple places. It's 2014. I would like a nicer screen on a device I have to use everyday. (I'm looking at you next, Pebble Smartwatch.)

They have also added IOB to the home screen, as Insulet Omnipod did with their latest update. This is crucial information that helps us make management decisions and I appreciate quicker access to it.

The left button (from a sleeping screen) can now function as a shortcut to Temp Basal. Very useful and I've used it already in my first week. I still have my right button set as a shortcut to the Bolus Calculator.

A cannula prime now resets the Pump Alert (site reminder). That's a nice touch.

What's missing from MySnap? I'm not thrilled with the lycra case they sent. My husband likes it, but once again, I feel it's man-designed. I've already scratched my screen using it because I'm a bit of a klutz, so I've gone back to my Tallygear G4 standby case. And it works beautifully.

They also took away the option for Daily Alerts. I had been using these as a stand-in for missed meal bolus reminders after my usual breakfast, lunch, and dinner timeframes.

I'm quite pleased with the product after using it for a week and will shush now let you watch me try to unbox it with a 2yo and 4yo.

Try Snap for 30-days by clicking here in the month of December and my beloved Diabetes Hands Foundation gets a donation!

Disclosure: Asante Solutions provided me with a complimentary upgrade to their new MySnap insulin pump controller. They do not provide me with supplies or other compensation. My views are my own. My review of their product is unsolicited. This blog is not sponsored by any entity or corporation. I am not paid to review diabetes devices - I'm just obsessed with telling people what I think about ALL THE THINGS.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Pale Blue Circle

Sagan described the earth as a
pale blue dot.
"On it, everyone you love, everyone you know,
everyone you ever heard of,
every human being who ever was,
lived out their lives."

I feel that same wonder
when I hold a vial of insulin in my hand.
How it looks like water,
and how, like water, everything I am depends on it.

It's like I'm holding my heart outside myself,
careful not to squeeze it too hard
or hold it too warmly.
Without it, I'd have died in an emergency room.
a ten year old girl.

Everything I love,
Everything I know,
Everything I've experienced as I live out this borrowed time,
I owe to these droplets of science swirling in a bottle.

To Banting, to Best,
To starving children who reached for the first syringes
with faith and hope.

All so that I could stand here today,
marveling at this solution.

A century later, children still die without it
in places my privilege has not reached,
who aren’t alive to argue for access
and need a voice,
but more than that,
a vial.

In their obscurity, without that access,
They wait for a hint that help will come from elsewhere
while we stockpile for ourselves.

We are all part of a pale blue circle,
hopeful children
to be preserved and cherished.

In my hand,
I clutch a drug that cannot cure,
could certainly kill,
and cannot be trusted,
but an elixir that means
another day of life for me
and a day less for those without it.

With reverence and fear,
I marvel at its fragility
and tuck it safely away,
overwhelmed at the responsibility
and the random chance of the universe
that I hold it
and they don't.

Contribute your photo to the #insulin4all tumblr page.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Strong and Simple Challenge

The Asante Snap Strong and Simple Challenge is a smart, simple, and quick way to share how their pump has helped make diabetes simpler for you.

For every video (1min or less) submitted, Asante will donate $25 to one of two charities - Diabetes Hands Foundation and Diabetes Youth Families.

If you use Snap or even if you're just doing your free 30-day trial of their pump, would you consider making a video and choosing Diabetes Hands Foundation (or the other fine charity, sure, but seriously, DHF)?

I made my video. On my iPhone. In my car. In a Target parking lot. (Because that's where it was quiet and where I could be childless.)

It's that easy.

Answer (1) how has diabetes made you stronger? and (2) how has Snap made diabetes simpler?

Upload your video here and view my video here.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

More Than a Number

I am more than a number.
 I am a child with dreams and determination.
I want to succeed. I want to be healthy.
 I am listening, learning, doing my best.
I'm staying active. I'm eating right.
 I am the victim of a system that fails my family,
fails to educate, fails to innovate.
I thrive in spite of the standards. I rise above the average.
In more ways than one.
I try new therapies boldly, but blindly. Alone. Terrified.
I sing, I teach, I shine. And I struggle.
 I am more than a number.
I'm a woman with dreams and determination.
 I find partnership. I discover community.
We are more than our numbers.
I am a woman, a mother, and I'm still listening, learning.
I rise and fall, ebb and flow,
knowing that there is much I don't know.
I am not a statistic.
I am a human being.
I am more than a number.
So are you.