A Dog, A Caring Heart……and a Lesson for All of Us!!!!!

Black LabIt’s just a cute black dog.  But what happened with this black dog is a very important lesson for all of us to learn.  My son was home when our dogs starting barking like crazy.  When they did not stop shortly after they started, Rob went to investigate what was causing the commotion.

A  black lab was in front of our house, investigating our front porch.  Rob could have just opened the door and said “Scat”, or “Get out of here”, so our own dogs would stop barking; but he didn’t.  He question himself as to why the dog was in front of our house.  He opened the door and the dog ran to the driveway and turned around.  Rob watched and waited. The dog stared back at him.  He stepped back inside the house.

The dog came back to the porch.

Rob took down Dusty’s leash (to which Dusty thought he was going out, only to be disappointed).  He went out on the porch and the dog let him put the leash on him as he scratched the dog’s ear.   A friend.  To make him feel more comfortable, Rob walked the dog a little bit so the dog would sense Rob as a closer friend.  After a little bit, Rob found no id collar on the dog.  He did find a rabies shot tag containing some information.  He called the hospital, and the service answered as it was after closing hours, he told the service the story, and shortly there-after the vet from the hospital called.

The vet asked for the rabies shot id tag and asked if it was a black lab and was convinced shortly thereafter that it was the right dog as a match.  Rob left his cell phone number and in a very short time a man called and stated he was the owner.  In just a few minutes longer, the man was in front of our house and picked up his dog.  The dog was missing for a few hours and they were looking for him diligently.

A great end to a story that could have ended a million different ways.  This one was a good one.

The questions I kept asking myself that made me, actually, very proud of Rob was why would he go an extra step?  If the solution to our own dogs barking was just to get the dog off the porch, he could have easily done that by just chasing the dog away, couldn’t he?

Sometimes the short-term answer to a problem does not answer the real problem at all, does it?  Sometimes it takes a little more effort to say, “Ahhhhh, this is the real problem”, and follow-up by taking the steps to solve the bigger problem at hand.  Don’t leave it, don’t put it off, take care of it.

In the end, a man and his best friend went away newly united.  That might not have happened had Rob not looked at the bigger situation and only took care of the annoyance of two barking dogs.  It may seem like a little thing to some but……..the owner certainly did not think so, of this we are positive.

He was very happy and so was the dog.

When I asked Rob about it, he really thought it was no big deal. “How else should it have gone down?”  How it should, could, and do go down in these instances, do not always align.  I just loved it was just how Rob thought it should be resolved.  ‘How else’, indeed.

Sometimes it’s not a ‘big turn’ that’s important, it need only be a ‘big turn’ to the person (or dog) it impacts…….even if it’s only one.   Going the extra step is a lesson always worth reminding ourselves……don’t you think?  Nice job Rob.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

You Can’t Take it With You…….So Don’t!!!!! You May Kill Someone Otherwise.

You can't take it with youI had the pleasure to hear Dr. Jay Skyler tonight.  Dr. Skyler is not just a superstar in the diabetes world, he is a superstar of superstars.  He is a Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Psychology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Deputy Director for Clinical Research and Academic Programs at the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI).

He also is an Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, University of Colorado at Denver.  Dr. Skyler’s career in diabetes spans over four decades, where his research interests have concentrated in clinical aspects of diabetes, particularly improving the care of Type 1 diabetes through meticulous glycemic control, psychosocial and behavioral support, and immune intervention.

Being involved with eth DRI, I am also fortunate to call Dr. Skyler both a colleague and friend as well.  When it was time for Q&A tonight, the discussion centered around organ donation and the shortage there in; I made a promise to the room when Dr. Skyler threw me the challenge, that I would write about it in my next article.  And here it is.

According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), almost 2,600,000 people died last year.  How many pancreas donors were utilized?  1200.

21 people die every day waiting for a transplant.  The question is not if you are a donor, the questions is, if you are not why aren’t you?

Every major religion allows you do donate your organs.  Yes you can have an open casket if you donate your organs.  One donation can save eight lives and impact 50 others.

Think about it this way……..
98% of Americans say they have heard of organ support donation, but only 30% know the essential steps to take to be a donor.

Seriously?

If there are about 30 million people with diabetes, and if each person had 4 loved ones—that is 150 million lives.  150 million lives…..how many are organ donors?  No where NEAR that amount.  How many of you are?  How you can you have a loved one with any disease whatsoever and not be an organ donor?   That is not a challenge, it is a question I seek.

Click here and sign up today.

So if you are not an organ donor, become one.   WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?????? As they say, and truly meant, you can’t take it with you.

I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

Google + Dexcom??? Really???…..An Interview with Dexcom CEO, Kevin Sayer.

Google logoWhen I first heard that ‘something’ was happening between Google and Dexcom, my ears perked up immediately.  I’m such a firm believer that staying within your box, in anything diabetes, eventually leads to being confined to four sides, a bottom, and top flaps.  It’s crucial for any researchers, all researchers, whether for a cure or for technological advances; to open up the possibilities to investigate not just what you know; but to bring in people who may show you what you are not even thinking about.

So when given the opportunity to sit down, once again, and discuss some of the inside story with Kevin Sayer, CEO of Dexcom—I JUMPED at the opportunity.

It’s his kind of forward thinking that so many in the diabetes world need, dare I say must, learn; to truly bring so many ideas to completion.   Here is my interview with a true diabetes superstar, Kevin Sayer talking candidly about everything from FDA navigation to a recent deal with Google……yes, THAT Google.

DiabetesDad:
 How long did the process take with the FDA.
Kevin Sayer: There is a statutory 6 months review time. And in the middle of that process they can ask a bunch of questions which may or may not take you off the clock. And you have to answer the questions. For this process it took less than the six months, and that’s pretty record time. The FDA was very diligent in their review process of this watch thing.

DD: Is it Apple Phone first and the droid second–is that the FDA approval process or is that on Dexcom?
KS: No that is all on us. We have to get the software developed. And we submitted the receiver and the Apple app first. If we could do it all at the same time we would but honestly Tom, it’s our resources and we have to make sure each step is done right. It’s a learning process as well, we felt it better to learn the first platform, get it approved and move on to the second. I am not exactly sure but it may be a faster approval process because it is a software revision for the android, but I’m just not sure just yet how that will play out in the approval process. But I know our Android software development guys are working diligently.

DD: This question is actually from my daughter (who has T1D) “I am a Dexcom user and I do not have the Share System just yet, walk me through how I can use it in my iPhone, if I wanted to use it today.”
KS: Here is the process. We would love to be like a cell phone company and just give upgrades as fast as they do but we, truthfully, do not have that luxury due to the need for regulatory approval; so it’s a little tougher for us. So if someone does not have a Share system then the best route is to get a Dexcom G5 Mobile system. And so we have upgrade-programs for different patients who need different aspects within their warranty programs and most current users can go on-line and get involved in the upgrade program…..and go. The reason she has to buy a new receiver with the G5 Mobile is that the FDA wants each new patient to have a back-up device. The FDA is very cognizant of phone charging and people have their phones plugged in every day to charge, and they want that back up. Once she has the correct set-up, she does not have to actually use the receiver if she has the phone, but we are required to supply it for a back-up. She would go to the App Store and download the Dexcom G5 Mobile App to her phone and she would go from there.

DD: My daughter also asked “I am going to be nervous with just my phone, would my receiver still work and keep it if needed from her Share program, just in case?”
KS: For herself, yes; but the receiver will not share data by itself without the phone. We need the phone to send the data to the cloud for sharing with others. And that’s also the case with the Share receiver now. We understand the value of connectivity and the Share feature so we are working hard to improve those functions for future products. We are trying to cover every base as we move forward on connectivity.

DD: Could you explain your news release as far as Google actually playing a role in the Dexcom platform?
KS: Do you have a couple of hours?
DD: I always do for you, but I know you don’t have that kind of time.
(we both laugh)
KS: Tom, we started talking to Google and they announced a first subsidiary in a health care group. And they have made that a formal business platform with its own CEO (Andy Conrad) with whom I have been talking. Google is extremely good at managing data and figuring things out from data-point-of-view and very good at the miniaturization of devices. They certainly know more about cellular radios, and chips etc. than we do. We are very good at what we do, I have the best engineers there are but when we started talking with them we realized that they could open doors to us on things we just don’t know. The vision for our partnership with Google is to take our core sensor technology and make the transmitter disposable, to be very low-cost, and to be the size of a dime—and about the height of maybe two dimes. You would put on this ‘Band-Aid’, wear it for a period of time and dispose of it and just put on another one. That’s our ambitious goal. We gave ourselves a five-year window to work on this together. To make this device so inviting that anyone can wear it. Google also gives us the opportunity to address Type 2 (T2) patients with our great sensor technology. Many of the benefits that I just mentioned, smaller, disposable and low-cost will likely apply to the Type 2 patients that need to understand their glucose on a continuous basis…information they can never get from doing just finger-sticks.

We have needed a vehicle to help us go there and Google really wants to focus a lot on those markets. And also analyzing the data from the patients. They asked me when we sat down, “Do you know when a T2 patient has to go on Insulin?” I answered, “No” and they asked me if I knew how to detect that, and I told them no to that as well. We want to use sensors to figure that out. SO we look at comments like that and what THEY want to contribute to health care and it could be creating a secondary market for us. We look at our core business and our core patients and everything I said about making it smaller and adding analytics, it’s applicable to all. So what I think you’ll see as our Google relationship evolves is we will have a series of CGM products. This is going to take a lot of thought and research to serve and benefit people across the diabetes space. Google will be a wonderful add as we continue on trying to better serve those in this space.

We discussed my family a bit and the use of a CGM and Kevin picks up the discussion.

KS: Tom think about this, and this was our thought in this Google deal, more than anything else. I will tell you this was a long discussion internally and I have GREAT engineers. GREAT. And now I have Google coming in and saying we should look at ‘miniaturizing’ these things to levels that we could not have fully grasped. If we could put a Band-Aid on your son doing the job of our present transmitter….it’s all over. ………
DD: It’s definitely all over………
KK: ……..And when we looked at that if they can speed us up in getting us there and we can get there with them and their expertise, this is exactly what the community needs. So let’s just go for it……and we did and we are very exciting about all of this.

DD: How did this relationship come about, it’s not as if you run across each in the cafeteria.
KS: We were introduced, they have been studying diabetes for a long time. We did not know how seriously the meeting would go and talks started to go very quickly. And here we are, looking for a really good future.

DD: Thank you again for giving us some time.
KS: My pleasure.

Bravo Dexcom and Google.  Anything to help us deal with this disease, THAT much better, is a HUGE win for everyone.  These wins could never happen without two CEOs looking to at least try to find a synergy.  Listen up diabetes community: Take a page from Mr. Sayer and Mr.Conrad’s playbook in moving the dial forward.  We who live with this disease either ourselves, or through the eyes of loved ones; deserve nothing less.
I am a diabetes dad.

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

A Letter of Thanks from Little Reegan’s Mommy!

reegan sun glassesBefore there was a “Reegan’s Rule”, there was a family.  A family, who had all of the dreams any family does.  They are a family of faith.  They are a family of love.  I have never been through anything like what they have been through, and am not sure how I would handle such a tragedy.  I am not so sure I would be as full of love as they are, and have been, through everything they have been through.

In the time that I have worked with Reegan’s mom, the discussion started out as her needing help, it surely ended up differently; for Reegan’s Family helped us.  They taught us.  They taught us that grace by no means reflects weakness. They taught us that faith in what you believe is so much more powerful than defeat.  They taught us that pain can be used to drive an initiative as much as, or even more so, than knowledge.  They taught us that the word ‘no’ is not an option.  They chose to ‘not do nothing’.

Reegan’s mommy sent me the following which I humbly share with you.  I’m not sure if she visits the websites where this will be posted so please, and I hope you do, let them know your feelings by replying on this site so they can be sure to read all of your feelings in one location.  Here is the letter, to the diabetes community, from Little Reegan’s Mommy.

He Kept His Promise
Now that Reegan’s Rule has passed we have had a chance to think back over the past two years and are humbled at what God has done. Reegan was the joy of our family. Anywhere she went she lit up the room. You just couldn’t help but smile when she smiled. We prayed and fasted for two years and God sent her. Our family was complete. Before she became noticeably sick, she was playing around the house opening and closing doors. One of the doors on a cabinet closed on her finger leaving a bruise.

A couple of weeks later is when we had to take her to the hospital.

She was flown to Chapel Hill and we found out her sugar was over 1200. She aspirated that night and was placed on Life Support.

We cried out to God, please Lord we need to know you are in this situation. Send us a sign that you’re in the midst and that’s when we noticed it. The bruise she received earlier which was under her fingernail had turned into a winky-face.


At the time we accepted it as God saying; “I’m here and I am in control.”   Little did we know that this winky -face would be a symbol of things to come. Reegan fought through over 20 procedures for 6 weeks when God decided to call her to Heaven.

At Reegan’s fair-well, a dear friend of mine whispered in my ear, “We will start Reegan’s Rule to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

In my brokenness I heard what she said and those words started haunting me about 6 months later. All I could think to myself was, “God, if this has happened to us, it has had to have happened to someone else.”  We did not want anyone else to ‘walk through this”, so we started Reegan’s Rule Petition on Change.org and her page on Facebook.

We were amazed at all of the contacts from parents that had diabetic children that had the same story as us or very similar to it. God gave us that wink and it was a semi colon; which means something comes after this. This is not the end! And two years and 9 days after the day she passed. Her law was passed. Who but God?

As her parents, and family we want to say Thank you. Thank you to every parent who is fighting against diabetes. Thank you to each child who’s bravery continues as you fight. Thank you to those who are fighting for a law like Reegan’s Rule in your state. Thank you to every person who has signed her petition. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for us and given encouraging words. Without God and you we couldn’t have done it. We love each of you and pray blessings over you.
-Reegan’s Family

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



The World Series of Diabetes…….Are You Rooting for a Winner?????

world series ticketI am a NY Mets Fan.  To say that statement is an absolute and complete understatement.  Anyone who knows me, knows that my blood has three colors running through it.  Green for the NY Jets, and Blue & Orange for my beloved Mets.  In 1973, my sister, brother, and I slept outside Shea Stadium to get tickets and were at the game when we beat the Cincinnati Reds (sorry Jeff Hitchcock).  I ran on the field, I still have ‘Warning Track’ dirt in a small vile that I have kept all these years.

Yes, through all of the heart-ache and trials and tribulations, I have stood by and watched through ups and downs, getting close, missing, and a few times having a big year when we won it all.  This year, we had no chance to win.  In fact, the first team we beat to advance, was the Los Angeles Dodgers.  In April of this year the odds-makers had them as the second best odds in all of baseball to reach the world series at 8-1.  The Chicago Cubs, who beat the Mets 7 out of 7 games during the season were up next and had odds of 16-1 by the odds makers.  The NY Mets; they were at 30-1 to get to the World Series.

Guess who is going?

But my columns are not about baseball, they are about diabetes.  Sports are fun.  Serious. Exhilarating. Frustrating. And just magic when everything seems to be moving forward.  But they are, after all; a game.  Much on the line for a lot of people………business for sure; but still a game.

Our world of diabetes is by no means a game.  Our diabetes life has a World Series also.  It’s a cure.  That is the win.  That is the only acceptable pennant to fly over my heart’s field of dreams.

When things go great with my sports’ teams, it’s a really good and fun time.  I have stuck by them through the best and worst of times.  Does my belief in a cure deserve any less of THAT SAME dedication?

I get it.  It’s not here fast enough.

I get it.  There are things being done that may look promising but are not here yet.

I get it.  We’ve been hearing about it for some time.

I get it.

But deep inside me, as I celebrated our triumph in getting to the World Series last night, I knew that my feelings in the Mets were worth waiting for, it was worth the excitement.

You do not have to believe in my Mets.  You believe in what you choose to; or not.

You do not have to believe in a cure for diabetes.  Perhaps the waiting is, and has been, too long.  Perhaps the promises were broken too often.  Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

But I stand behind the belief that a cure will come, the same dream I had since the first day I saw my daughter in the ICU at Stony Brook Hospital on September 26th, 1992.  And that same belief occurred when my son was diagnosed on March 20th, 2009.  You do not have to feel as I do, that’s your right.  In the world of the NY Yankees, and the New England Patriots; I’m used to people not seeing things as I do.

When you wait for something for a long time, it surely becomes so sweet when you taste that victory and it finally arrives.  I do feel that the World Series of Diabetes will one day be achieved.  A cure.  And any TRUE Mets Fan knows two distinct things.

AND

I believe, my kids deserve no less……do YOU?
I am a diabetes dad.

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

 

 

Tried CGM? Pump?…and Went Off…..YOU FAILED!!!!!……..Hmmmmm Really?

failureI have a friend; let’s call her K.  K has a son, let’s call him Z.  I have known K for a very long time and she was an incredible actress.  I thought nothing could ever surpass her talent, but it did, it was K’s incredible and wonderful heart.  She is an incredible mom and her family has become her life.  It’s not surprising in the least.

Recently K share a story about her son who was on a football team.  Z decided that playing football was not for him.  Despite the uniform, the money laid out, and the time invested, once Z stated and meant that he wanted out; K allowed him to get out.  She applauded her son for letting her know how he felt and she backed his decision.  Z no longer plays football.

Now to some this may seem a very easy choice.  But I also know parents who kept their child involved in things that the child absolutely hated.  “I need to teach them that they cannot quit something once they commit.”  Is their thought process.  This is a very fine line to walk and the discussion relates directly to our diabetes world.

Laying out money for an insulin pump and/or a CGM is a big investment in both time and money.  At what point are we doing what is best for our child and what point are we absolutely torturing our child?  Now it’s understood that our children may absolutely HATE checking blood sugar and taking insulin and of course we cannot ever stop that process no matter what, but………when it comes to the devices that our children wear, when is the decision a must; and when is it a cooperative decision with our children?

A tough line to draw in the sand….yes?

Okay.  So the decision has been made.  You are approved and you receive the device, your child wears it.  Tries it.  And after a given time………THEY ABSOLUTELY HATE IT.  Hate IT!!!!!!

What do you do?

IN actuality, I’m not asking THAT question.  That’s for you to conclude in your house.  My point is for those who come to the decision to remove the device and try managing without it.  It’s crucial that should/when that decision be made that neither you and especially your child, are ever made to feel as though you failed, and even more so, that your child failed.  I’m a HUGE FAN of both the insulin pump and the CGM.  But it’s easy to be a fan when I do not have to wear either/both 24/7.

My dear, late, friend Dr. Richard Rubin’s voice is very loud and clear in my head in these instances.  “It’s about choices.”  Discuss the choices ahead for you and your child.  If they are absolutely against it, forcing them could have an adverse impact for a long time.  Be careful.  I’m not going to even attempt giving you a formula for what works and what does not in these instances because it’s just so different with each person/family.  I am going to say that people lived very long lives without, and before, the addition of these incredible tools.

Not using one, or going on one and going off one, is not the sign of failing and do not let anyone tell you otherwise.  How you handle this situation will set the framework for the possibility of using a device in the future.  People, our kids too, can change their mind.  Allowing them do so, for or against, is a very important part of their management.  The only non-negotiable (outside of checking and taking insulin of course–and even at that, my friend Joe S. and 50 years with diabetes states that a ‘vacation’ to some days is worthy to do very carefully—-ask Joe about how to do that!!!!) was the wearing of their ‘alert’ bracelet or necklace.

Everything else became a choice.

For the most part we came to a mutual decision and even when Kaitlyn was pretty young, it went that way as well.  Easy?  Nope.  So the take-away here is defining what a failure IS NOT.  It’s not about deciding against something.  Just as K’s son, Z, made the choice that football was not for him.  Not a life and death decision surely, but how K let this play out was very important and a lesson to be learned.  It was handled perfectly.

Failure is staying in something that is just wrong.  How you define that is up to you and/or your child.  Think about it.

I am a diabetes dad.

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