This month marks eight years since I started this blog. I began writing one month after Benny was diagnosed; he wasn’t yet two and life turned upside down. That first post was titled “Thank you.” After all this time, I’m still very grateful. Thank you for reading, commenting and all of your support.
I thought it would be a good time to take stock and think about some of my favorite diabetes finds and experiences over those past eight years. This is a longer post than usual, so thanks for sticking with it.
Eight favorites for eight years of diabetes blogging (a ridiculously incomplete list)
Pump technology changes: When we started pumping in 2007, we used the Animas 2020. We loved it immediately for the flexibility and precise dosing. The tubing didn’t bother Benny for a minute. When the warranty was up, four years later, we got the Ping, the next pump from Animas. It pairs the pump with a remote meter. We didn’t even know we needed the remote, but it quickly became one of our favorite features. Our warranty is up again this summer and Animas has another new pump, the Vibe. It’s the first insulin pump to integrate the Dexcom CGM. Which leads me to…
Using a CGM: We started using the Dexcom in December of 2013. There are so many incredible things about this technology. Knowing blood sugar trends, hearing the alarms when going high or low and numbers at a glance have given us a window into Benny’s diabetes. They’ve helped him get better control and afforded him even more independence. 8-10 finger pricks a day give you an idea of where you are in that moment and no idea where you’re going next. The CGM gives you a real-time continuous (every five minutes) reading of BG with an indication of where you’re heading (up, down or steady) and how fast. It’s a game changer.
DOC – The diabetes online community has grown incredibly since I started blogging in 2007. I’ve always like finding out what adult T1Ds have to say – it’s like looking into my son’s healthy (I hope) future. So I started reading Kerri’s blog, and found Scott Johnson and Kelly. I’m not much for message boards, but I liked being part of TuDiabetes, especially The Big Blue Test. Moira and Meri are always inspiring and Project Blue November is a new resource that’s growing. However, my favorite part of the DOC is…
#DSMA – Diabetes Social Media Advocacy: Every Wednesday at 9pm I probably lose a bunch of my “regular” Twitter followers. It’s worth it. #DSMA is a fast hour of diabetes-centered conversation using Twitter that usually includes humor and insight. It’s like walking into the diabetes-version of Cheers every week (ask your parents, kids).
Advice: Ask D’Mine, Wil Dubois’ advice column over at Diabetesmine is a must-read for me every Saturday. The questions he answers aren’t always ones I’d ask, but I learn something with every column. He helps people live with diabetes as individuals, not with a one-size-fits-all beige textbook answer. And I’ve bookmarked his column on T1Ds and drinking. Because it’s gonna happen.
Local connections: For a long time, we felt very alone in our part of town. The few families I knew with T1D kids lived about an hour away and no other child at Benny’s school had diabetes. At the end of first grade, another little boy was diagnosed. That fall, two other T1D children started at our school. I set up a dinner for the four of us and talked about it on social media. More families found us and the numbers grew. I started a Facebook group (Charlotte T1D Parents) so other local families could find each other. Online support is nice, but there’s nothing like connecting in person.
Camp: Our endo practice runs a three day camp for children ages 4-13 and we send Benny to the ADA week-long diabetes sleepaway camp around here. Benny says it’s the best week of the year. He always comes home having tried something new and having reached a new milestone. His experience at diabetes camp made it possible for him to go to same, regular sleepaway camp as his older sister later in the summer. First for two weeks and last year for one month, just like her. It’s wonderful to watch his independence and confidence grow. There is nothing like time away from your parents to figure out who you are and who you want to be. Diabetes or no, camp is great.
#WeAreNotWaiting: I will never forget seeing a tweet from John Costik with a picture of his remote blood sugar monitoring system. Costik had created a way to watch his sons’s blood sugar from daycare all the way across town on his computer at work. Costik and others who started Nightscout are pioneers in our community, along with Dana & Scott from DIYPS. Not in it for the money, making large parts of their codes and methods freely available, they are making us all look at our own information in a different way (More info here in a great write up from the Wall Street Journal). Meantime, the Dexcom technology keeps going forward, most likely pushed by this community. We use and love the Dexcom SHARE but part of it may soon be obsolete; the FDA just announced the latest step toward allowing the Dexcom transmitter Benny wears to beam BG numbers directly to our phones. Very cool.
Reading over this list makes me laugh a little. Eight years ago, I couldn’t have imagined I would ever have anything positive to say about our experience with diabetes. What’s next? Well, eight years from now, Benny will be off to college. That’s a completely different list!
All I wanted from this blog was a place to answer questions and explain what my family was going through. It has become so much more and it helped lead me to an incredible community. I am grateful beyond words.