Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The light at the end of the tunnel

After finally getting a decent nights sleep in addition to getting to sleep in a little, I woke up to a text from my mom that was so heartfelt and full of love that I couldn't help but cry. Starting the day like that, I knew it was going to be a good one. The computer that was making great decisions about what to do with my blood sugars and insulin had made overnight decisions that were just about perfect. The doctor told me I stayed steady and almost the entire night, which is something that I try very hard to control, but it doesn't happen all the time. A little before lunch time I had the pods and sensors taken off, the IVs taken out, and new sensors put in for my second admission on Thursday. It was then that Molly told me that she had "the most awesome thing ever" that they were going to let me see later, and of course that had the wheels turning in head almost immediately because really what could be better than what was already happening?? But I knew I had to wait until Thursday to see so I tried to not think about it too much. At that point I got to leave the hospital and have a nice lunch outside in the beautiful 80 degree sunny weather with my dad before I went back to have my new sensors calibrated again. On our walk over to the restaurant, I said to my dad "Ugh, I guess this means that I have to start taking care of my own blood sugar again huh?". His simple response was so inspiring and comforting in a way that only a dad's words could be, "Eh, not for long." And I felt good because I knew for certain that he was right.

After lunch we headed back to Molly's office to have my CGM sensors calibrated. When we got there I was told that originally they were going to wait until Thursday, but decided to show me that awesome thing then instead. I was already having a great day, and I just about fell over when she brought out THE artificial pancreas!! No wires, no fanny pack, no computer on a rolling table. Just a cell phone. Now when I say JUST a cell phone, by no means am I trying to compare the greatness of this piece of technology to a simple cell phone. But there is was. No bigger than an iPhone and easily fit in a pocket or a handbag, was what has been previously called the "holy grail" for diabetics. I was able to watch as it worked on a simulated trial, see it suspend insulin as the blood sugars were trending low, fiddle around giving boluses, and watch it perform what an entire team of doctors, nurses, and technicians had just finished doing to me. I can honestly say that it is in fact the most awesome thing I have EVER seen! This tiny little cell phone sized piece of technology will be both a figurative and literal life saver for anyone who's life if touched by Type 1 Diabetes. Then came the real kicker, my dad and I got to meet Dr. Boris Kovatchev, the principal investigator and pretty much the mastermind behind the JDRF Artificial Pancreas Project (among many other things). I think it's pretty clear by the photo that I was beside myself. After talking to Dr. Kovatchev for a few minutes, I thought I was doing a decent job of holding myself together, but as I talked about how life changing this is my eyes swelled up and next thing you know everyone is scrambling to find tissues for both me and my dad to dry our eyes.

I know I keep saying it, but I just can't emphasize enough how lucky I am to get to be a part of all of this. I only have one more admission left in this trial and then it's back to managing it all myself. But there is a light at the end of this tunnel and it's brighter than ever.

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