I’m in New Jersey this week as I write this column. I walked outside my hotel this morning, and some helicopters were flying overhead. I looked up at them and as my gaze lowered, I realized I was looking at Manhattan from the New Jersey side, and directly across from me was lower Manhattan. The Lower Manhattan attacked, destroyed, and now rebuilt. I have no recollection of ever looking at Manhattan in this manner. As I have shared before, I spent a good deal of time down there from 9/11-9/12; 36 straight hours of hell is a good way to put it.
As I took my look away from across the river of Manhattan, a young lady came jogging by me. Clearly, on her leg was a CGM, and on her shorts waistband was an insulin pump with the tethered tubing going onto her body. I watched as she ran out of sight, making sure she did not have a hypoglycemic episode and collapse outside my Doubletree Hotel.
She went on.
Someone once asked me how long I would be ‘at this diabetes thing’? I’m sure my eyes fluttered extensively as I heard the question. I’m not really sure what the question means. To ‘stop’ at this diabetes thing would mean the battle was over. It would have been won or lost, but it would be the only reason to ‘stop’…..and losing is not an option.
Some friends were gathered lately and there was a missing ‘someone’ from the group. “Hey what happened to XYZ, are they still around?”
The answer came back, “It’s been years since they had been seen, they found a new job.”
A new job?
August is usually one of the most exciting times for our kids. Many have left high school and are about to head off to college or begin a career. In as much as we, as parents, are excited it cannot be understated to make sure a ‘half-an-eye’ is focused on our children. Not denying the excitement that they face, it is also met with enormous anxiety of the unknown. That anxiety raises exponentially if your child is also at this age while dealing with their diabetes.
There are millions of questions that we need to be patient with and need to make clear of the messaging that we are available if, and when needed, while balancing the notion of giving them as much freedom as possible to grow and mature. Excitement and hope are at an all time high but so are the unknowns that lay ahead.
14 Years is a long time. This is year 14 that I have bestowed the Lisa Award on some deserving people in the diabetes world. 14 years ago since my dear friend and wife of my Little Brother (from another mother but just as close as a real brother) Mark, has left this world. You did not know Lisa’s laugh, Lisa’s smile and staring death in the face. You did not know that Lisa was a one-of-a-kind woman who proved to the world that one person, just one, is all it takes to change the world; the Power of One. In memory of that voice that changed the world, I made a promise that I would give Lisa Awards each year to deserving individuals that understand the Power of One.
Since the day I walked away from my acting career, I have spent almost my entire professional life in the “diabetes space”. I made a promise to my two kids that I would stay at this until a cure is found. But cure is both a relative and loaded term.
I, too, was severely ‘duped’ into being told, and worse yet–convinced, about the five years syndrome until we would arrive at the cure.
In life we are faced with choices. I could have become enraged and left this diabetes world, or I could examine it thoroughly and understand what the future of diabetes could look like. And continually try to make a difference. I have been watching carefully the evolution of diabetes management tools for a long time. We did not go from one day not having a CGM to it becoming a most crucial tool in our diabetes toolbox. The same can be said for Insulin Pumps, Insulin and even meds. It was not the case that one day they were not here, and the next, they were. It was a progression.
I read the following statement recently: CGM technology has reached a point where it’s now the standard for glucose measurement.
Just in case you have been living in a luxury oasis somewhere, you probably know that a CGM is a Continuous Glucose Monitor. A device worn that checks an individual’s blood glucose constantly (different timing depending on the device).
Now whether you agree with this statement or not, it’s more important to understand the statement in relation to where we are now, as oppose to a time gone by. CGM is a new term, and new device, in the relative diabetes timeline of events. Kaitlyn was diagnosed on September 26, 1992, about 30 years ago. The FDA approved the use of a CGM in 1999. Without editorial, you now have a choice of devices to be used by a few different companies. It’s a fabulous management tool for each person’s diabetes tool box.