Tandem Addresses if they are Next in the Animas-Leaves-You-Hanging Saga

Diabetes awareness monthIf you look up the word ‘aware’ in the dictionary, Webster writes, “….having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge; watchful, wary…..”
This is Diabetes Awareness Month and this day is World Diabetes Day—the 14th—–it is the ‘wary’ I would like to focus on.

Lately, I have struggled with my approach about the closing of Animas…..leaving tens of thousands of people to figure out…….what’s next?  How to continue their insulin pump with a new company.  I drew graphs, excel spreadsheets, and listed pros and cons with what the next steps could possibly be?

But I left the idea of ‘next steps’ as one thought kept coming back to me over, and over, and over again.  This ‘diabetes thing’ is a business.  Products made for diabetes management…..are…..INDEED a business.

To understand that; fully means to understand why businesses are in operation–and that is to make money.  There is NOTHING wrong with that and in many instances one of America’s founding principles….to make one’s own way.

But those of us with close diabetes connections should be well aware that in the business world we are consumers more than patients.  We are purchasers more than advocates.  I have seen diabetes products come and go but Animas was a real wake up call for me.

I called people to find out who would be next?  Do we as parents, as a person with diabetes, need to worry that Animas is alone or could it happen again to another device?  I started asking around. I came across David Kliff whose newsletter Diabetic Investor website states; Diabetes Investor is the premier subscription-based content publisher that provides real-time analysis of the business of diabetes – from pharma to med tech to devices and everything in between.
I know David and he has certainly a non-nonsense approach to the ‘business of diabetes’…his comment the day Animas closed down:
Today Animas has joined Deltec in the insulin pump glue factory and Tandem is getting ready to join them.

Wow!

So a man who makes his living advising people on what looks good and/or bad in the BUSINESS of diabetes states that Tandem will follow in the ranks of Animas.  Now, no one has a crystal ball but Mr. Kliff’s word’s on the heels of Animas closing are words to, at the very least, pay close attention.  For months and months Mr. Kliff had warned of the closing of Animas’ doors; and yet when it happened, the outcry of tens of thousands proved that they had no idea it was even coming.

This worried me as a parent; after all my two children are on the Tandem.  So I went right to the source and contacted Tandem and here is what their CEO, Kim Blickenstaff answered;
Tandem has heard misleading comments about our longevity in the marketplace, but what we focus on is bringing the future of insulin pump therapy to more people with diabetes. In addition to recently opening a new manufacturing facility in San Diego, we also plan to commence sales internationally in select geographies in 2018, and currently have a pivotal trial underway for our first automated insulin delivery product. We remain confident that our differentiated insulin pumps, the power of our Tandem Device Updater, and our robust pipeline will enable us to successfully execute our business plan, and continue to support our customers for years to come.”
Can that change tomorrow?  Perhaps. I surely hope not.

Diabetes Awareness Month!

I love everything blue, I loved speaking at a school today for diabetes awareness, I loved giving two families a tour this month of the Institute where they could see first hand what I know—-the promise for a cure is a real experience, I loved organizing Bounce Away Diabetes with Sky Zone on the 5th of this month, and I will love hosting Ryan Reed at the DRI this Thursday and witness him at Homestead racing next weekend.

But more than ANYTHING else; look back on how I started this column–World Diabetes Day.  The “wariness” and the “alertness” must always start with our own child, our own care.  There is so much happening so quickly—-stay up to date–ask a thousand questions and know what you are told one day, can change the next.

I’m livid that Animas is closing their doors in the manner they are closing their doors……but I also know beyond the blue, beyond the advocacy, beyond the wonderful people with us on this journey—-diabetes is a business.  And a business decision can impact us at any time.  Are we ready?

We are ready.  We can adjust.  Our eyes are wide open.  If we must change back to injections at any time, we can.  A broken escalator is still a staircase.  We prepare for everything.  We got this!  In this diabetes day and month, I ask…….do you…….’got’ this?
I am a DiabetesDad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

When Jimmy Kimmel Apologizes, Will Anything Change?

Jimmy KimmelBy now I’m sure you read the comment made by Jimmy Kimmel regarding the cookies he received from Kelly Ripa (“you are sweeter than diabetes”)?   Forget Halloween, the internet lit up like a Christmas tree with tweets and comments slamming the late night host stating that he should know better AND especial because he has entered the limelight of healthcare with issues surrounding his own child.

I’ve been to this rodeo, and in fact, been to it MANY times.  On more than one occasion I have even led the charge over a stupid statement or a knee-jerk reaction to something said/done stupid about diabetes in the news, media, television, movie world.  When Jimmy apologizes, and my guess is that he will apologize because he knows now that his statement hurt many people, a moral victory will be declared by the diabetes community and the community will move forward knowing that when our voices are unified, people will hear.  Jimmy just seems like the kind of guy that is sensitive to issues such as these and hopefully he realizes that many people who have a child with this disease or HAVE this disease themselves……..were hurt.  Shortly after he realizes that and apologizes, everyone will be back to their own lives waiting for the next needed public outcry.

I ask, “To what end?”

To clarify, if you are reading this, chances are that you are not even the ones to whom the article is aimed.  You’re active.  You support diabetes charities.causes/advocacy.  You are active in making a difference.  You want your voice to be heard.  It’s just so unfortunate that the silent majority are the ones that need to speak up.  But even they, perhaps, are not involved because they do exactly what we ask them to do, to live life to the fullest.  To be in the mainstream.  Many do just that…..live with their diabetes.

So the two-edged sword is always, who speaks up/does something and who just moves forward with a disease that always poses the question, “If we do not seek a change for the very disease that is so close to us…….who will?”

Also included in the consideration is knowing that before ‘we were touched’ by diabetes, what did we know, what did we care to know?  In truth, we didn’t because it was not important to us and now THAT IT IS we expect others to be sensitive to something that we, honestly, probably never gave a second thought to before it was so close to home.

So what do we do about all of this?  1. We raise our voices every time someone misses the mark.  I have discussed before about the ‘Razzies’ –awards given out for ‘worst acting/movies’ of the year…….they have become almost as popular as the Oscars themselves….Award shows have but one purpose—-to keep the people and whoever is giving out the awards in the limelight and hence, in the public consciousness.  Might we as a diabetes community consider doing the same; both good and bad in the diabetes world?

2. Don’t do nothing—-said it a million times and is a mantra of mine.  If we do not do something ourselves, who will?  Who would we expect to?   GetDiabetesRight.org is chock full of posters you can print and hang in your community, your school, your shopping centers, and anywhere else where the general public may see and learn……and this site created by Kim May and myself is surely not alone in this effort……so many more efforts exist for the sole purpose of ALLOWING YOU the opportunity to print something and hang something in your community to bring awareness to our word of diabetes.

3. Pick a cause within diabetes to give your efforts/time/donations.  A cure.  Better Management.  Eating Disorders.  Advocacy.  Female Issues. Family Education. Male Issues. College Issues. Camps. Providing for those in need; both abroad, and here at home. And there are more.  There are not just 2-3-4 diabetes organizations anymore; there are quite a few.  Some local, some national, some international….all doing GREAT STUFF.  Who do you want to help………figure it out……and help.

There are conferences, initiatives, efforts, gatherings, movements, events to satisfy what YOU WANT TO DO.  You can write, hang posters, walk, run, iron(wo)man, skip, jump, hop, fly a kite, hit a whiffle ball, discuss, meet, lecture and million other items……….and do you know what we lack…….enough people to get it all done.

So if you raised your voice at Mr. Kimmel, but that’s all you have done, that’s all that will get done.  Find a spot.  You can be rich, poor, fast, slow, smart, smarter, educated, street-smart and a million things in-between to find a place for your talents and efforts.  But the only thing that there is no place for; is to just do nothing.
Don’t Just Do Nothing.  Your call.
I am a DiabetesDad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

An Open Letter to the Remaining Insulin Pump Companies

letter insulin pumpsDear Remaining Insulin Pump Companies.

Hi.  In the diabetes community, I’m known by many as DiabetesDad.  I write a column such as this.  My heart belongs to my two children who have diabetes.  My heart belongs to the world around us who are on this diabetes journey.  Many people have diabetes.  Many have a child, or two, or three (or more) who live with this disease.

Many of us, have our ear to the ground.  We hear things.  We don’t know for sure, we’re just living our lives.  If you are with an insulin pump company, chances are you are a family person too.  You love your family and do not want any harm coming to them.

Neither do we.

It was announced that Animas is closing their doors. Sad as this is,  it happens in business sometimes and we understand that aspect of this world.  We have watched other diabetes companies over the years close their doors too.  The 100,000 plus people on an Animas pump must now look elsewhere for an insulin pump.  They will be looking for a new pump, they may be looking to you and your company.

We are just parents.  We are just people who live with this disease.  You are the corporate mavens in this world.  Deep down inside, you really know how soluble your company is.  The hardship of taking our child off one pump and putting them on another is excruciating.  No one likes change.  Our children will look to us and know that we are doing what is right for them.  But we do not know everything…………………………….

………so as a parent, I’m asking, pleading, begging to ask you to look inside your heart. If you have a gut feeling that your insulin pump company will not be here in the near future——please let us know.  Be honest, this is our children’s lives..  I ask every parent who is s presently on an Animas Insulin Pump and will have to switch to another pump company, no matter who that company is, demand a message from their highest ranking official what they believe the future of their company to be.  Let them know how painful this is and that you do not want to go through it again a few months down the line…….ask them to be honest with you.

Then choose your new insulin pump company wisely.  We are not stockholders, we are people.  Our future, and the lives of our children, are in your hands.  What will you tell us?

We are sorry to see Animas go…….we trust, as parents yourselves, you will not steer us wrong.  God Bless you.

I am a DiabetesDad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

 

Animas Insulin Pumps Going Out of Business

Animas 1I received the announcement listed below earlier today.
It is very straightforward.
It gives information what to do next.
Yes, it really sucks.

From Bridget Kimmel at Animas
I wanted you to be among the first to hear about some important news that was issued early this morning announcing our intention to shut down the Animas Corporation. This decision was extremely difficult and comes following the extensive exploration of all other viable options for the Animas business. With changing needs of customers, rapidly evolving market dynamics, and increased competitive pressures, it proved too difficult to sustain the insulin pump and glucose management delivery business. Patient care is our top priority, and we will work with our preferred partner, Medtronic, or our patients’ manufacturer of choice, to facilitate a seamless insulin delivery system transition. Patients can find more information at www.animaspatientsupport.com. We are incredibly grateful to our patients and health care partners for the trust, confidence and loyalty they have placed in Animas products over the last 21 years.

Take a breath, you will get through this……..one step at a time.
For whatever it’s worth…..Medtronic is not the only game in down….Of late, many people are looking at Insulet’s Omipod.

I am a DiabetesDad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

 

NEWSBREAK: Animas Vibe Receives FDA Approval for Children Ages 2 to 17.

animas vibe deviceI received the following email from Bridget Kimmel, Senior Manager of Communications & Public Affairs for Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Care Companies Animas Corporation & Life Scan, Inc.  I know people have been speaking about this device and I share with you what was sent to me without edit.

I’m pleased to share that FDA has approved the use of the Animas® Vibe® Insulin Pump and Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) System for the management of diabetes in children and adolescents, ages 2 to 17.

The Animas® Vibe® System was the first integrated system with Dexcom G4® PLATINUM CGM technology and is the only such system available in the U.S. for pediatric patients as young as age 2.

As an integrated system, the Animas® Vibe® System allows patients and their caregivers to view glucose data and administer insulin right from the pump, making it easy to fine tune insulin delivery to help manage their diabetes.  We know that effective glucose management early in life supports better health outcomes in adulthood; therefore, the Animas® Vibe® System is a great step forward in helping children and their caregivers in the U.S. take ownership of their diabetes. 

Expanding the global presence of the Animas® Vibe® System, along with providing solutions for children with diabetes and their parents, has been a top priority for Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Care Companies (JJDCC).  It’s been our goal as a company to not only develop the best treatment solutions available, but also ensure that every member of the diabetes community, including children, may access these tools.

For more details on the FDA approval, please view the press release we issued today here.

Orders for the Animas® Vibe® System are currently being accepted, with anticipated shipment to patients beginning this month. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me or give me a call at 215-688-6033.

I am a DiabetesDad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

 

 

Why Would This Woman Do What She Did??? A Video That Will Drive you to Your Knees.

Sandra StraussEmotional.

Do you get emotional?

Sandy is beautiful and in fact, when she smiles, she is downright breath-taking.  She’s the type of person that, upon entrance into a room, it becomes electric.

She does not ‘say hello’, she hugs you because she ‘means’ hello.  She speaks four languages, and she will share with you that she is a speaker, writer, marketing specialist and a girl who just wants to change the world.

About being the underdog, she writes:  I see underdogs as people with a burning desire to make a mark – who remain committed and undeterred in spite of the odds stacked against them, and who exhibit an indomitable spirit that inspires others. Underdogs have the boldness and tenacity to pursue a goal wholeheartedly, and deserve all the help and support they can get!

She also has T1 diabetes.  When I saw the video that I have included below, I not only cried, but I had to share it with you.  It is of one of the most gruelling undertakings a person can put themselves through.  It is called Tough Mudder which is described as hardcore events in a 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. 

What!!!!!!

Sandy tells you why she attempts it at the end of the video and it will pierce your heart.  You have to watch it to see if she completes it.   She was not alone in this undertaking and her whole team was made up of people with T1 Diabetes.

This is a video of my friend Sandy Struss. Enjoy.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VeEoIlUkTw

“….just a girl who wants to change the world.”  Indeed, beautiful.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

WOW!!!! J&J’s Animas Submits for US FDA Approval for the Vibe—reports Two Top DA’s

Animas VibeTwo very popular members of the Diabetes Advocates are reporting news that many of us have been waiting for some time to hear……..like two years.

I just read about the fact that the folks from J&J’s Animas have finally submitted for the FDA approval process here in the USA from Bennet Dunlap, a huge follower and ‘sharer’ of crucial diabetes information.

Bennet, a diabetes dad as well, shared the following information on a FB post:
http://www.ydmv.net/2013/04/animas-vibe-into-fda.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Shortly thereafter Michael Hoskins added that the folks of Diabetes Mine have also written about it and you can read that ‘News Flash’ article here.

This is great news that we all have been waiting for and I thank Michael and Bennet for sharing the information.  Seems there is still no timing on when the FDA will approve but for now, at least, the process is started and in the hands of the FDA, and that surely is a good start.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

 

 

“Every Time I Hear the Music, I Just Have to Dance.” A Wonderful CWD Lesson for ALL of Us.

A Ceilidh, by definition, is a traditional Gaelic social gathering, which usually involves playing Gaelic folk music and dancing and was started in Ireland and Scotland. It was probably made famous in the movie Titanic when Jack takes Rose to ‘his’ party in the deck below. It was the better party.

CWD had their version last night and our hosts in Scotland surely knew what they were doing making sure their American colleagues, in this diabetes battle, wore their kilts to perfection. The kids were dancing and so were the adults. What is the phrase? Ahhhhh yes, a good time was had by all.

My kids are both on an Animas pump, which is my fair disclosure. I ‘m not paid by Animas and I have met many people at Animas who, well, I just like. At the Children with Diabetes conference I met a person from Animas who mentioned a phrase to me that grabbed right at my soul. Aileen Durkan catches your attention as soon as you meet her. She has a warm smile and she connects with everyone who crosses her path, especially children.

She is the Ireland Regional Manager for Life Scan and Animas (hence my fair disclosure). She has a brother with Type 1 and she, like all of us, is driven to help this cause. I was one of the million people she got up on the dance floor. Now if you remember Titanic, this dancing is not for the weak-of-heart. It is fast, quick-stepped, and downright tiring. Now I’m not exaggerating when I tell you this women did not sit once all night. How she had the stamina is beyond my knowledge and comprehension. She was magnificent. When speaking with her she said, ‘Every time I hear the music, just have to dance.”

Every time I hear the music, I just have to dance.

What a fabulous phrase. Her colleagues informed me that Ms Durkan has that same music in her heart in everything she does and it is the children that receive that energy with her philosophy that every child deserves the best possible chance in life.

Ms. Durkan’s very existence is a lesson from which we all have much to take away. There is much to do in the diabetes world we live. We all look for the way to get things done and certainly life has thrown many obstacles in our way.

It is what we do with life’s challenges, how we handle them, that define who we are. We are given a choice on how we go about our daily battles with diabetes; to just do it, do it grudgingly, do it with anger, do it with rage, or to do it with music in your heart.

The goal is for a better life for our kids until a cure is found; and that is music to my ears and I’ll take a slice of that advice from Ms. Durkan……..I just have to dance.

I am a diabetes dad

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.