Today I attended the JDRF Type One Nation Summit in Pewaukee, WI. This was the first JDRF event I’ve attended besides the annual fundraising walks. In fact, I haven’t attended many diabetes-related functions of any kind….in addition to the JDRF walks, the only other things I have done is one ADA walk and in 2010 I attended the ADA Expo in Chicago.
It was exciting to attend and be able to see, hear, and talk with other people with diabetes, their caregivers, and medical professionals who work with type 1 diabetes. I was excited to see if I’d experience some ‘me too!’ moments – those moments when you connect, personally, with something another person is saying about diabetes, experiencing, etc – and I definitely had a few.
The morning started with a vendor fair, and I was excited to be able to speak with representatives for Tandem, Asante, and Animas (and to pick up some goodies, like World Diabetes Day shoelaces and a cute glucose tab tin shaped like a t:slim pump). I’m excited to see the updates to the Animas Vibe from the Animas Ping (besides the Dexcom integration) which include a ‘back’ arrow in the function screens, more controlled ability to enter a bolus without having to scroll, etc. They’ve definitely taken the Ping, which is a great pump, and expanded on that! I got to see and handle an Asante Snap pump, which has some nifty little features I wasn’t aware of – like a built in flashlight! The rep told me that they expect to have preloaded Novolog cartridges available by fall, so this fall I may request a 4 week free trial of the Asante Snap! I love the idea of almost instant cartridge/tubing changes – that’s a huge selling point for many people, I think.
The representative of Tandem was the person I was most interested in speaking to, as I currently use a t:slim pump. She told me that they expect the pump integrated with the Dexcom G4 to be available for sale in 2016. (Note: there is controversy surrounding this lately, as on their recent Q1 report call it was revealed that Tandem does NOT plan to offer an upgrade option to existing customers to upgrade to the newest pump – the integration with Dexcom goes beyond a software upgrade and thus if you want it you will have to purchase a whole new pump at cost. I have seen a rumor of a petition being developed for t:slim users who don’t agree with this business tactic – more on that later if it happens!) She stated that there are some pretty big software upgrades currently available for the t:slim – all new customers will get a t:slim that automatically has this new software included on it. Existing customers, however, are out of luck until the FDA approves Tandem to push these software upgrades to us via USB cable/the internet. She indicated that it likely won’t be until 2016 that we see this option available to us, which I was disappointed to hear….
The upgrade sounds pretty awesome! It includes the following updates/new features:
- even brighter screen colors/better contrast
- reverse correction boluses (you will be asked if you want to reduce a bolus if you are lower than your target, but above 70)
- ability to fill a cartridge prior to installing it on the pump (currently some people already do this – but it only works sometimes, only if you are using less than 300 units, and the risk of getting a cartridge error is high)
- ability to enter a manual bolus without first entering a carb value
- better ‘fill estimates’ on how much insulin is in the cartridge after initial fill, with more precise measures after the first 10 units have been pumped
- the pump history will now display TDD (total daily dose) for EACH day (not just today, 7 day avg, etc) broken into units and percent basal vs bolus
- better alerts for multiple/consecutive occlusions prompting users to change their infusion site after 2 alerts
- updated auditory notification/alert sounds
- after-bolus BG reminder can now be set down to the minute
- the ability to see your status screen WITHOUT having to tap 1,2,3 to first wake up the pump
- the time to prime tubing is reduced by 20%
I honestly don’t know what I will do when my current t:slim comes out of warranty in early September of 2016. If the G4 integrated t:slim is out, I’ll likely just go with that – but if for some reason it’s not, I will seriously be considering the Vibe or the Snap (note: I hate Medtronic (thus why I haven’t mentioned them) and won’t consider them, but I know others love them, and that’s fine).
ANYWAY….after the vendor fair I had my first sort of surreal moment during the keynote presentation. One woman at our table checked her blood sugar and took out glucose tablets. The woman sitting next to my husband changed the battery in her pump. I then had a high blood sugar and had to give a correction bolus. It was so empowering to not have a single person bat an eye, stare, etc. It was just ‘normal’ and I relished that feeling.
During lunch I had an exciting (and also surreal) moment when the Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator I saw every 3 months from the time of diagnosis at age 6 until I left pediatric care (after I graduated high school) came and sat at our table. We remembered each other almost instantly. I’m quite frankly amazed that she’d remember me – she’s been working with children with diabetes for decades and must have seen thousands of patients in her life, and yet right away she remembered me (and my dad, who was always the one at my appointments with me). It was touching to know that she is so invested in what she does that she remembers a patient she hasn’t seen in over a decade.
There was a lot of small talk at the tables between speakers/panels and much of it was ‘how long have you had T1?’ or ‘which CGM do you use?’ which was also nice – because it’s not something I can just go up to anyone and freely discuss. It’s very liberating to be in a room full of people who also ‘get it’.
I’m regretting not attending an event like this earlier, though to be fair there are very few that occur in Wisconsin!