I get asked a lot about the different things we use to help us manage my daughters type 1 diabetes. And there is a lot of stuff! Meter, pump, CGM, a dog or 2, it almost borders on insanity 🙂 But see, here’s the thing. Even with all of this stuff, up until recently, the only way we could know what her blood sugar was at any given moment was if she was standing right next to us. And as a parent of a young child, we REALLY want to know what is happening with their BS when they are at school, at a friends house, in the back yard, or just down the hall. Is that too much to ask?
Just so everyone knows what our family uses to help manage this disease, here is the list:
1. Animas Ping pump, we love this pump as it can be controlled remotely from the meter making middle of the night corrections easy
2. Dexcom G4, we have been using this since December, and we LOVE it for helping us manage t1.
3. One Touch meters, our One Touch meter is integrated with the Animas pump
4. Major, the day shift
5. Raven, the night shift
6. Gatorade, Smartees, Juicy Juice, glucose tabs, etc.
7. Humalog insulin
That is an extremely generalized list of items we use. Not included are nutritional labels, Siri, apps, websites, Facebook, and several other things that we use on a daily basis. But up until recently, when Stella went to school or was away from us by more than 20 feet (about the extreme range of the Dexcom receiver) we had no way of knowing what her blood sugar was, or what direction it was going in. And as for that last bit, without the Dexcom, we would have no idea whether her BS was headed up, down, or was stable. We would just have a number. It would be up to us to guess how to proceed.
With all this technology, including having multiple things inserted into my daughters skin, the one thing we didn’t have was access to this data while she was away. In a world where we can set our DVR’s, our air conditioning, and remote start our cars all from a smart phone, this seems a little archaic. Especially considering the cost of most these gadgets can rival a quality late model used car.
A quick primer on the range of each device. In order for the meter to control the pump, I need to be standing right next to her. The Dexcom works within a 10-20 foot range. Major and Raven can work in ranges measured by football fields in ideal conditions. But beyond that? There was nothing.
Since April, we have been using CGM in the Cloud. What is that? Basically some people a lot smarter than I figured out a way to hack the Dexcom using an app and an android device to pull the data from the Dexcom and send it to a server in the cloud, which you can then access from anywhere. While your child is in school, at grandmas, at a friends house for a playdate/sleepover, or 3000 miles away at college. Pretty amazing really. And something that should have been available a long time ago.
While we were discussing it, we hit on why this is so important. Ultimately, a cure would be fantastic. There are some differing opinions on when that might happen, so until it does, it is all about making life easier with type 1, making it easier to manage, making the quality of life of the diabetic and family a little easier.
This does that. Amazingly well. As a parent of a T1, there are very few people that understand my daughters disease, the seriousness of it, the all consuming aspect of it. That includes friends, family, teachers, etc. So often times, unless an activity includes kids, we won’t go. It’s too hard to find someone we trust to watch our kids for a few hours while we go out on a date with our spouse, or even run to the grocery store without a child in tow. But with this technology, that world has been opened up again. We can go out to dinner, or go see an adult movie, and be able to monitor what is happening. If need be, we can phone in to the care giver and give instructions, and provide them with the peace of mind that they too aren’t being thrown into the deep end of the pool and forced to sink or swim.
While we love this tech, let me again reiterate, this is in no way a finished product. Set up can be difficult and overwhelming to the non tech savvy, it is not approved by Dexcom or the FDA, and it could potentially break your receiver’s USB port. And it only works with the Dex. If you would like to see more, please search out the CGM in the Cloud group on Facebook. If you decide this is something you would like to try, there are a lot of people in that group that will help get you up and running.
Once you do get up and running, there is a optional Pebble watch app that connects through Bluetooth to your smartphone. The cool thing about that is that you can have multiple Pebble watches reading the same data. Right now my wife and I both have one, and if we wanted too, we could add grandma, a teacher, a school nurse, or our daughter too. Pretty amazing.
For a lot more info, go listen to our podcast. We had fun. And I am reminded why I spend time behind the camera, not in front… 😉
And thank you once again for having me on Tami, I always enjoy talking to you!