Hope is a strange thing for someone who has lived with diabetes for as long as I have.
Deep inside me somewhere.
But it’s dormant; smothered to sleep by decades of failed promises and premature excitement (usually involving cured mice).
Ed Damiano showed me something pretty amazing at the CWD Focus on Technology conference recently, and I felt a glimmer. It was like he had a bellows and was delicately nursing to life the embers of hope in me.
The Bionic Pancreas - the tagline on the website is “using mathematics to treat diabetes …five minutes at a time.”
This bionic pancreas is not a cure. It is exactly what it sounds like. A bionic pancreas. Which is kind of what we have now, but with a couple of weak links. We are one weak link, and our crippled glucagon response is the other (that last one is complicated, and beyond the scope of this post).
Ed and his team have created a system that uses existing technology (a Dexcom G4, an iPhone, and two Tandem tSlim pumps) to make a new decision about insulin and glucose dosing every five minutes. I won’t get into the studies and details here, it’s all on their website. But I will say that they are on-track (with an aggressive trial schedule) for commercialization in 2017.
The online publication, Insulin Nation, pictured above, has a lot of information in their story, and I encourage you to check it out. Ed has also been featured on a bunch of different websites and presents regularly. Just plug his name into Google and you’ll find more information than you can handle.
What really stoked the hope fire in me was the description of getting back to a normal life. To sit down at a meal and not think about the grams of carbohydrates, but to only need to tell the system if this meal is larger or smaller than average for you.
Can you even imagine?
And it’s almost here.
2017 is an important marker for Ed Damiano. That is the year that his son, who lives with type 1 diabetes, goes off to college.
If he’s willing to strap this thing onto his own child, I’m willing to give it a try too.
I can’t think of better way to close this post than to quote a friend of mine, Sean, who sat next to me as we listened to Ed.
But most of all I learned about hope. More specifically, about watching in wonder as dormant and forgotten hope is revived before your very eyes into something stronger and more vital than it ever was before you lost it.
Today, though, I feel like I have seen the future, and a future which is not at all far away. I have seen it in tremendous detail, for that is how it was shown to me. I have seen pictures, and data, and technology, and journal articles, and a device, and a patent, and–perhaps most importantly–the unbridled passion of a man who I KNOW will make it happen. I know this not because his passion is contagious (it is), not because his results are stunning (they are), but because he has already made it happen.
“If the rest of the world understood the inability to actually control this disease, I think we would get a little more empathy and little less blame thrown our way.”— George Simmons, The B.A.D. Blog
DisclaimerI am not a medical professional. Nothing on this site should be construed as medical advice. Your diabetes may vary. Contact your health care provider for specific questions.