For me to say that the Artificial Pancreas will be a massive game changer for Type 1 diabetics would not be giving it enough credit. Just to be clear, the multi-fanny pack belt system is not a planned part of the finished product, and most of the components of that were running as a backup so there could be a flawless transition if something went wrong. So the end goal is in fact for the user to just carry the cell phone, but when Zach asked me if I would still want the Artificial Pancreas even if it meant I would have to carry a pouch of equipment all the time, my answer was without a doubt YES. I would have tried my best but the AP did a better job of controlling my sugars and keeping them between 100 and 120, and I didn't have to worry if I was making the right decisions. The last night that I was in the hotel, my sugar started dropping before bed. I can usually feel it when it starts to drop quickly and I definitely felt it so both Zach and I were convinced that I was going to need a juice box, but we held out because I've seen what the AP is capable of and wanted to see it do it's thing again. So I went to sleep. I knew if it started to drop too low an alarm would sound, so I thought I might as well get some shut eye in the meantime. 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep later, I woke up and had to ask if I went low and just didn't remember, because it was just that incredible. The AP knew that my sugar was dropping, and started to cut off my basal rate soon enough that I only dipped a little below 100 and stayed in normal range all night! The AP delivers insulin a little differently than the standard insulin pump. To deliver the basal insulin it gives a very small bolus every 5 minutes, and it adjusts the size and frequency of that very small bolus based on what it senses your blood sugar to be and how it is trending. With such small basal boluses it's possible for the AP to regulate the blood sugar in a human body before it becomes problematic, and if you have T1D you know that there are a million different reasons and variables that could cause your blood sugar levels to be problematic.
I returned home from Charlottesville Friday afternoon and in the two nights that I've been home, my sugar has gone low each night (last night it was all the way down to 41) despite going to bed with sugar levels that had been very stable between 140 and 150. I already knew what a difference the Artificial Pancreas could make, I had the amazing opportunity to experience it first hand over the course of both the inpatient and outpatient trials. But to experience both extremes of the spectrum in back to back nights where my sugar was perfect one night and then horribly low the next really hit home with just how important the Artificial Pancreas is. I don't know if I will ever be able to properly express how grateful I am for everyone who has had a hand in the development of the Artificial Pancreas, and everyone who has made my trial experiences so incredible. I can only hope that the data my trials provide helps to move the AP to market, because the sooner this is available, the sooner lives will change. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I have more hope than ever knowing that I won't have to do this all forever, just a little bit longer.