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’.

 

Year 26 Starts Today…..Some Tips We Learned Along the Diabetes Roller Coaster Roadway

rollercoaster roadwayNow listen carefully if you have been at this ‘diabetes thing’ for a few years and you are ‘losing your grip’.  Hang in there.

Today marks the beginning of year 26 since Kaitlyn was diagnosed in 1992 at the age of 2, with this monster called diabetes.  But take heart…..we have learned a ton and here are just a few morsels of education.

1. Education is the equalizer in diabetes.  Nothing levels the playing field like knowing as much as you can.
2. Don’t do nothing.  Every diabetes organization/movement/action is only as good as the people inside the organizations.  If we do not do for our own…..who will?
3. You will meet the most incredible people on earth in this journey, who are in the same battle as you.  Seek them out…..they are beyond amazing, inspiring, and dedicated.
4. Hang out with people who are smarter than you about diabetes……I spend/spent my life doing this.
5. It’s not all about one organization or one…..well anything…..do not be afraid to help/be-involved with more than one……open your mind.  Never stay with some place because it’s merely convenient.
6. Open your mind and ask a million questions because the smartest people you THINK are so smart……may not be as smart as they want you to think. (think about it)
7. If diabetes is the most important thing in your child’s life……….diabetes will be the most important thing in your child’s life………I always believed living life was the most important aspect of life itself.
8. Don’t ask……’if’ they can do something…….figure out a way ‘how’ to allow them to do something.  They should be limited by……….nothing.
9. If you hang around with naysayers…….you become one.
10. If you give up hope……..you are doomed. (if people say you should not think a certain way, see #6).
11. Blood glucose numbers are a gauge not a report card.  Learn, adjust, move forward.
12. Kids with diabetes are still kids……..never forget that.
13. Your kids without diabetes should not come in second in everything moving forward.  DO not just EXPECT them to ALWAYS understand (see #12). You’ll figure it out…..but only if you want to,
14. Glucose numbers are not as important as showing your child love.  And no matter how many hours you are awake, or the amount of tears you shed; if your child has T1D and you do not you do not know what it is like (and in fair response….and your kids will not know what it is like to be a parent either).
15. If someone is active in an organization that you do not agree with, do not look at as they are wrong and you are right, look at it as they are in the minority of people who ARE DOING something in the diabetes world…………and respect them for it.
16. If you think you know all there is to know about diabetes…….your stupid.
17. Do not waste energy on ignorance but also remember that you did not know until you had to either.
18. Remember how important your medical professionals are and that social media input does not always know the best way.
19.  Social media is an incredible highway of information.  Harness it, but never forget that ‘the someone’ giving you information can be as anonymous as they want.
20. Life is life.  We all have life dealt to us. We also are invited by life to live it.   Look for all of the most exciting things that life has to offer, and it offers so much. Take it one day at a time and let no one, nor one thing, stop you and your child from living it.

Dreams do not start when you go to bed, they start each morning when you start living them.

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

 

 

IRMA: WHERE TO POINT PEOPLE IN NEED OF DIABETES SUPPLIES

Hurricane IrmaBelow is a message I just received from Carol Atkinson of Insulin for Life-USA.  Please share it with people you know in Florida and pay close attention to help happening for those in the Fort Meyers area this weekend.  So if you have supplies, hear of someone in need, and/or have few bucks to share, help IFL—-please read and share:

“This morning IFL USA received a call from a physician (general practice DO) in Ft. Myers.  He was taking his dog for a car ride to enjoy a little AC as he was out of power.  He heard an interview on the radio (Editor’s note: Which was our good friend Joe Balavage, a diabetes dad and founder of a FABULOUS organization: Help a Diabetic Child who was on the Trey Radel radio show).  He came home and called to inquire if we could help.  He is working with his church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 1305 Broadway Ave, Ft. Meyers, FL, 33901) to host a help center this weekend for three days to assist in the community.  He will be there and will assist those with diabetes.  We are working to send him supplies.  Hopefully we can ship today with overnight delivery.

If you receive word from some in his area, please be sure to point them in his direction.
If you hear of other health care providers have them call us.
Have a great day.

 

Carol Atkinson
Director

(352) 327-8649″

If you cannot give supplies, feel free to give a donation to this incredible organization; during times like this—–their service is invaluable.
I am a DiabetesDad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Why Go It Alone……Ask!

Boat manIn addition to asking for help on social media when you come across a ‘hiccup’ in your diabetes journey, make sure you also ask for good and reputable websites to help you address a problem, or for that matter; any problem.

Little, if anything, has yet to be seen in this crazy world of diabetes and (no matter how small, or how large, you think your challenge is) chances are someone can say ‘been there, done that.”

Gaining an insight of personal experience is always a help, but also make sure you always ask if there is a website from a reputable source to help ‘walk you through’ any situation. Many, and I mean, MANY pages of useful information are within our social media highway and I have found that you can find pretty reliable information……..merely by searching.

Quite honestly, I lost count on how many times we went to the library the years following Kaitlyn’s diagnosis in 1992.  Countless days and hours spent looking up this or looking up that…….and now all of it is at our fingertips.  But always remember that because it’s easily accessible does not mean it’s necessarily, all, correct.  Check your facts and do not take someone’s opinion/experience as gospel.

Remember that this disease is as different from one day to the next as it is from one person to the next.  That said, the information is limitless to those who look for it.  So do not only speak to others on the various outreach; check what you hear.  But also know that information, moral support, and experience awaits you by only asking and verifying.

All of this can equal a more informative diabetes world for you, for your child.  Education is always the equalizer to this disease.  And it’s a disease that can be managed……and managed well…….look it up.
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Where Did Everyone Go?

wide eyed animalI still have a hard time understanding where people go after being active in diabetes causes for so long….one day…….poof, done.
“I am tired.”
“I cannot ask my friends for money anymore.”
“My kids are older now, let younger people take over.”
“I got so tired from broken promises…..it is all just a waste of time.”

BULL DINKIE.

So many times we tout that our children MUST keep at it, be vigilant, keep going no matter what.  What if when they turned 23 and just said, ‘no more’.  ‘I’m done.’  They can’t because they will die if they do that and do not think that they have not felt the burden of ‘doing diabetes’ 24/7.

For whatever reason you stopped…..look in the mirror and realize that it was a bad decision. No one says you have to take on the world like you used to, but no one says you should wither away and go away and do absolutely nothing either.   There’s room between running the largest event in the state and doing nothing anymore.  If we do not do for ourselves, ask yourself, “who will?”

We do not accept excuses from our kids, and honestly, they should not have to accept excuses from us……ever.  Why is any excuse bigger than the welfare of our kids and those like them?  Doing nothing will get absolutely nothing done.  So ask yourself where you fall on the spectrum………and get up off your comfy chair and do something.

Now.
🙂
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Not the Pain, but the Void………Left Behind.

blackToday, I saw the date in the lower corner of my computer.  August 22, 2017.  I started to reach for the phone because I knew, inherently, that the date was significant. I reacted because I had not yet called my dad to wish him a happy birthday.  “Oh, I gotta call……..”

But you see, I didn’t have to call, because dad is gone.  Dad passed away on March 16th 2009.  But at some point every August 22nd since, I have started to reach for a phone during the day.  The urge to react on what I must do, is just a tad faster than the realization of what is true and what is real.

It will,  undoubtedly, also happen during every baseball season as well because if it was one thing dad and I liked to discuss, it was baseball.  It is not a real ‘pick up the phone and start to dial’ and realize, “oh, he is no longer here”.  It’s just that quick second and the beginning of that motion and that thought.  The aftermath is that you start to realize, “wow, was I really going to call dad?”

It’s a time to reflect on who we miss.  Their smile.  What they may have said that made us laugh; made us cry. made us angry, made you inquire as to what they meant, and made us think.  And truly make us miss them beyond comprehension.   So many people come and go in our lives and they are taken in an instant, or are sick, or are here one minute and gone the next but at sometime or another the void they leave behind is both realized and immeasurable.

We do not really ever accept it, do we?  I was taught once……we learn to cope.

That void can be a reminder but more than anything else…….it’s just that……..a void.  We can try to fill it or push it away but at some point the void reminds us that one who filled it, is no longer here to do so.  Makes you want to hug someone today, doesn’t it?
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

Someone Dies……..it’s None of Our Business……..None. Period.

SunriseI find it absolutely astounding that when someone with T1D passes away…..from diabetes or something else, the questions begin about the cause as if someone has the right to know.  Here is the hard truth…..you don’t.  For whatever reason you think it is okay to soften;  the ask, the question, or the statement…..it’s not, it’s wrong.

Because when someone loses anyone in their family for whatever the reason, it’s their situation to deal with and theirs alone.  NOW HEAR ME PLEASE: If you think for one split second that you might learn anything by knowing the reason of another’s death then it is my strong suggestion that you educate yourself more for whatever the reason is that you think knowing about someone else’s death will help you.

There is just no soft way to present this but being straightforward honest about it.  It was wrong years ago, it’s wrong now, and it will stay wrong tomorrow.  Imagine dealing with something along these lines in your own home (God forbid) and someone asks, “I’m so sorry for your loss but is it okay to ask how they died, we are all so sorry.”  The answer comes across, “Well actually they committed suicide.”   Got your answer?  How proud of yourself are you right now?

Get it?

Anyone certainly has the means in today’s social-media world to relay to anyone, and for that matter, everyone; if they so choose.  But it’s their choice and we have no right to
ask.  Be there, offer a shoulder, a meal, offer to help in any way but when it comes to the specifics surrounding the death of anyone….online is the last place anyone should be asking anything about specifics.  Period.

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

What Do You Say to a Newly Diagnosed Family?

Two male hands; one reaching down to assist another hand reaching up with sunburst in the background

To this day it still happens.  The phone rings and we’re informed by a friend/neighbor/colleague/friend-of-a-friend that someone new is diagnosed with T1D and can we find the time to speak to them and/or their family?

Well the answer is…………………..always.

But it’s a fine balance to let them know that they are not about to lay in a bed roses and at the same time share that they should be limited by nothing.
Not everyone stays up all night, but people do.
Not everyone cries every day, but people do.
Not everyone feels as if the wind is sucked out of them forever, but people do.
Not everyone dies from T1D, but people do.

Where is that balance?

I always try to answer the questions they have directly and honestly.  I try to show them, by examples we have experienced or people we know, that they are able to grasp the seriousness of this disease, and also the limitless possibilities that are before them.

I try to educate them about social media and help them realize that everyone handles this disease differently, and that their medical professional is their number one partner with this disease, and that education is always the equalizer.

I try to keep it simple in our first phone call.  Upon diagnosis, as we all know, they’re not hit by a ripple, they’re hit with a tidal wave and it takes time.  They do not need to be fully educated about everything on our first call.  I try to explain that what they need to focus on is their child.  To stay in tune with their medical professional and although their inclination is to run to the computer, they should do so carefully.

This disease has as many similarities as differences from one family to the next.  There is no one solution for everything.  I explain this as best I can.  But I think the biggest help we can ever be is to just let them know that they are not alone.  That they can reach out any time.  That we have been where they now stand and we have made it through. I think THAT is the biggest help we can ever provide.

Being newly diagnosed…….well……it sucks.  But it’s nice to know that reinventing the wheel is not needed and that a friend is always near by.  We didn’t have that in the very beginning and once we had it, those people became some of the closest people to us, and 25 years out; some of those people are now my closest friends.

Those who know need no explanation, those who don’t would never understand.  I’m thankful for the peeps who mean so much to us and have been there, for all these years.

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

Why Live Life in Fear When You Can Live it to the Fullest

CWD Smile Face quitters winnersI heard this statement from a person at the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Conference in Orlando Florida this week.
“I refuse to let diabetes dictate what I do”.
I like that saying and I like it a lot.  It sort of summed up what thousands of people heard this week at this, the 18th Friends for Life Conference, sponsored by the Children with Diabetes.

When we first became active in diabetes causes after Kaitlyn’s diagnosis, I became the Executive Director of the JDF (now JDRF) Long Island Chapter.  At that time we were one of the handful of chapters chosen nationally to serve as an experiment for a new idea called a walkathon (that for years, was really only run by the March of Dimes) to help increase visibility AND revenue.  The JDF was doing walks before, but they were about to catapult to a whole new level of success.

When I became the Executive Director, the chapter was reeling from the death of a young man named Angelo Centano.   Apparently Angelo had many complications but he also had this incredible spirit, an incredible sense of humor, an incredible disposition, and an uncanny way to get things done despite his many physical limitations.  One day I found a note in my desk and it had a quote on it from Angelo.  It was a simple note, but a powerful note nonetheless:
Quitters Never Win, Winners Never Quit.

I’ll never forgot it.

There are many people who lost their battle against diabetes, many.   You have read about them and so have I, knew quite a few also.  Every single person, no matter their age, that I know who we lost to diabetes was ALSO living life to their fullest when they were taken.  They were not comfortable to just live life in a bubble or on eggshells, THEY LIVED!   I have also felt that the people who choose to believe that they can do ANYTHING with this disease do so and pay homage at the same time, in a way, to those who are no longer with us.

No matter what life throws at us (and make no mistake, we all have something), we cannot avoid how it hits us but WE CERTAINLY can get out there and make sure that we are not stopped…..and we shouldn’t be stopped, ever.  The only thing surpassing all of the incredible knowledge given this week at CWD, all of the wonderfully talented people who did the teaching this week, and all of the great times; is THAT sense of empowerment that even with this disease…….limitation is truly ONLY limited by your imagination.  It’s given to everyone…………………….by everyone.

Today many people said goodbye when they left Coronado Springs to the many, many new friends they all met, and the old friends they have known at this most incredible conference.  They inspire each other to do better.  The push each other to the limit to succeed.  They have instilled in each other the absolute belief that quitters never win and winners never quit………what are you doing to get back in the game?
I am a diabetes dad.
Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.