4th Annual Orange Out:

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Friday night came with great expectation, so we loaded in the minivan and drove an hour to watch a couple of basketball games. Not just any basketball game, an Orange Out and a spaghetti dinner fundraiser. This game was at the high school I graduated from. My shadow hasn’t darkened those doors in 23 plus years, all my memories of my awkward teenage self-seem old and musty now. Those memories at the time seem horrid, but now seem trivial at best; I even swore I’d never return. But why did I go back when I swore I wouldn’t; why did I take an evening out my unending busy life? For the very same reason I write this blog: Type 1 Diabetes.

Last night we attended the Central Montcalm Orange Out Basketball game and spaghetti dinner; a fundraiser for the JDRF. The girls’ varsity and boys’ varsity each played Chippewa Hills High School. Why do they do this fundraiser for the JDRF? There are a number of students at that school system with Type 1 Diabetes. One of the teachers and a d-dad wrote a guest post a few years back about their fundraising and diabetes awareness.

First up was the spaghetti dinner, it was good, and from the looks of the donation jar, they took in a few hundred dollars. They had a large raffle table set up with many items: autographed basketballs, sports memorabilia, and other donated items. They also sold close to 150 orange out game shirts. All the proceeds went to the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation).  Looks like early estimates that they took in several hundred in donations.

On the way in I stopped and talked with Nicole, her T1 son attends there and she heads up the fundraiser. We went to school together for a while, but I don’t really remember her, but now we’re fellow d-parents and fight for the same cause; a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.  It didn’t take long to see another d-parent Kari and her family. Her son is a good football player and was diagnosed a year and a half ago. The conversation quickly turned to hearing her son’s diagnoses story and life as a d-parent. I had never met her husband and don’t remember him from school, but I sure enjoyed meeting him; he is a nice guy and very tall like his son.

During the game I saw my kindergarten teacher, she even remembered me. She inquired as to what brought me to the game. I told her about the fundraiser and my family; she seemed a bit shocked that I had 2 kids with Type 1. She ask me what the JDRF stood for. I still can’t believe she remembered me; hopefully the memories of me as a student were good. I talked with a few other classmates, one knew I had one child with Type 1, but didn’t know I had 2 with Type 1.

During the introductions for the boy’s game, the brought out an honorary squad of starters, all 6 students have Type 1 Diabetes, and 2 from the school were unable to attend. During both of the games the announcer gave facts and statistics about Type 1 Diabetes. Here’s the picture of the lineup.

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Lady Hornets game recap:

The girls’ basketball team played a long and tall opponent in Chip Hills. They tied the game at the end and sent it to overtime. They played hard, but unfortunately they fell in overtime, losing 45-40. It was a tough loss but made the home crowd proud of their outstanding effort.

Box score:

Courteous of Central Montcalm High School. All rights reserved.

Courtesy of Central Montcalm High School. All rights reserved.

 

Boys’ varsity recap:

The boys’ varsity team took early control of the game and once again their top score Lane lead the way. Chippewa Hills was on their heels from the start. Central Montcalm Hornets won easily 53-40 but lost top score Lane Ledford to a broken arm. Our thoughts and prayer are with him and his family.

Box score:

Courteous of Central Montcalm High School. All rights reserved.

Courtesy of Central Montcalm High School. All rights reserved.

It was a fun night, but I’m always struck by the seemingly high numbers of Type 1’s in that area. This high school is in a rural farming community, the whole county is a farming community for the most part. The county has around 63,000 people and I’ve heard stories of similar number of Type 1’s in surrounding school districts. I’ll investigate further and find close to the exact numbers and if I can. A few years back a JDRF funding study showed that environmental factors can serve as a trigger for Type 1 Diabetes and autoimmunity. I’ll do a post very soon on that topic and provide the link to that study.  Where there is smoke, there is fire, so I plan to dig deeper.

We left the boys’ game early because my little boy was getting very fussy. The whole family had a great time; even my dad joined us and enjoyed himself. This was the fourth annual Orange Out Game and we’ll be back for the fifth. Next year there will be a Type 1 playing on the girls’ team and should make the night all the more meaningful. I walk out of the school that night with a stronger connection with it than I could have ever imagined 23 years ago, a connection that will last a life time, the cause of Type 1 Diabetes.  I’ll defiantly be back again.

 

Godspeed

Tim Brand

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Looking back at 2014, and looking ahead:

So we made it, we survived 2014; it was a year of the highest of highs for me, and the lowest of lows. Through it all, friends, family and the Lord were there to celebrate and cry alongside me. How fitting would it be to look at 2014 in a stream of consciences; what is a stream of consciences you ask, you can google the definition. So here are my thoughts, in a stream about 2014. Disclaimer: no animals were injured during the writing of this post, however, a few glasses of beer were drunk, chips ate and none were gluten free.

Thee Artificial Pancreas, rebranded (no pun intended) to the Bionic Pancreas, made the national newspapers and social media news feeds. It was shared in everyone’s news feeds, shared in everyone else’s news feed, shared in groups, shared in pages and shared on blogs. Also it was shared by non-d friends on my wall because “we didn’t know if you heard about this yet” and “we wouldn’t want you to miss this story”. Oh, thanks, there’s no way I’d ever see it if you didn’t let me know non-d-person on my friends list (sarcasm intended). I read Diabetes Mine, Insulin Nation, Diabetes Daily, DiaTribe, well you don’t get the point, I don’t miss anything (most of the time), wink, wink.

Hey, let me tell everyone the story again; Dr. Ed (not a medical doctor) made a Bionic Pancreas, didn’t really make anything, just an amazing algorithm that works slick. He took a couple of Tslim pumps, a G4 Dexcom and an iPhone 4, loopy’d them all together and bam, Autobot Pancreas. Bill Woods, formerly of MyGlu, got to do a clinical trial, follow video link here and listen his gluttonous journey around Boston trying to break the damn thing (he didn’t). My blood sugar spiked (I don’t have diabetes) watching the whole thing unfold on social media.

I met Dr. Ed at Friends for Life conference (aka FFL). FFL is a really large meeting that goes on for few days where a bunch of people with kids with Type 1 Diabetes flock to Orlando Florida in July, it’s hot that time of year, but it’s inside and air-conditioned. Also, a bunch of people who come to the conference are adults with Type 1. I had a few people comment on my Facebook post that they couldn’t hardly wait to see me, when I saw them, all I got was an “oh, hi”, I was so confused. I did meet a twitter follower, she tweeted me that she just met my wife; it was cool to meet in person. I did see a lot of my buddies and got to meet some new people and make new friends, a bunch of them were from Chicago, awesome bunch of people; we’ll meet again.

I have to add, we drove 1200 plus miles to FFL, yes, I’m crazy. We’ll call it a diabetic road trip. We packed all 4 kids into a minivan, one six month old (non-d) 2 dkids and my oldest daughter also non-d. Lots of diabetes supplies, I repeat lots, and a bunch of other crap, that’s why I call it a diabetic road trip. Next time, we fly.

Here are a few more stories that made the headlines:

Inhalable Insulin was approved by the FDA, its insulin you inhale. Disclaimer: Bill Clinton can’t use it!

Breaking news, this just in, people do not change their lancets on a regular basis; this has caused a huge back supply of lancets. The meme is free of charge.

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More breaking news, researchers at Harvard did something with stems cells that they say it will cure Type 1 Diabetes. Once again, the ever so famous phrase was used; the cure is, quote “5-10 years away”.  A friend of my neighbors told us this same thing nearly 6 years ago when Audrey was diagnosed; she’s an eye surgeon, I’m sure she’s in the “know” on stuff like that, sarcasm intended. I really don’t want to see or hear from that individual again!

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The American Diabetes Association held its 74 Scientific Sessions in San Francisco this past June; they talked a lot about diabetus.

The JDRF announced the “go ahead” on it encapsulation program, it’s not a cure, but they, in a colloquial explanation, saran wrap beta cells to keep the killer t-cells from eating them. They do this in part because Type 1 is an Autoimmune Disease.

CGM in the cloud is a dominate discussion in many Facebook groups. I ask my friends who’s a meteorologist, if he knew anything about it; he didn’t. I did find out that it takes a smart phone, Dexcom receiver; I’m so confused I’ll quit talking about it now.

My friend Melissa of Sweetly Voiced, apparently likes the Asante Snap pump, and wrote a review. Also, she did some d-parodies which she posted on her blog; check them out, there funny. I saw her at FFL, she thought my son was awesome, I agreed with her on that. Lastly, Amy of mom of an extra sweet inulin challenged girl talks about her daughters 6th d-versary; once again, she portrays the emotions of raising a child with Type 1 like no one else. I don’t want forget Tom of Diabetes Dad blogs every day, and wrote about everything, I can’t condense to one sentence, so check out his blog.

Maybe the biggest thing of this year for me was having a new born baby; he was born a couple of days after Christmas 2013. So much of 2014 was dominated by adjusting our lives to him and raising 2 little girls with Type 1. Having 3 girls, it was a great relief to finally have a boy; it was emotionally the best feeling because we had decided not to have any more kids after our 2nd daughter was diagnosed with Type 1. The guy has become a rock star on social media; his pictures get a gazillion likes. I nick-named him Scrunch, because he takes my JDRF hat off, scrunches it up and chews on it. I sure hope the cotton is GMO free.

My daughters both switched to the Tslim pump, I wrote a blog post about the story. That will be an ongoing story into 2015. Speaking of next year, things I’m looking forward to in 2015, one is my children’s book being done; the illustrator has had it for a while. I told her I wouldn’t rush her. I can hardly wait to see the finished product. I hope that it helps little kids with Type 1, that’s the goal! Another is getting back on the horse blogging wise; see previous thoughts about having a new baby and 2 girls with Type 1.

There are big rumblings about the G5 Dexcom getting submitted to the FDA early 2015. This excites me because having 2 girls with Type 1; I’ll take every advantage I can get. Hey, did I mention the Bionic Pancreas?  It will help having the G5 looped in with that, G4 is pretty awesome; G5 is going to be better. I’d say it helps pave the way for it for the Autobot Pancreas.

I almost forgot the ADA 75th Scientific Sessions will be in Boston this June. I really hope I can go. I’ll be excited to hear all those research updates. I went to the 73rd in Chicago 2 years ago. I really enjoyed the free food. I hope to run into the guys from Pancreum again, sounds like they’re moving forward with their Autobot Pancreas too.

I’d really like to hear more on immunology in the New Year! My girls do have an autoimmune disease. I’ve been reading about this researcher from Israel, there are some exciting things going on. Dr. Eli Lewis discovered some interesting things, he’s an immunologist. I’m a fan of immunology, big fan! I sure hope Dr. Faustman gets the funding for phase 2 of her trial. I think these 2 might hold important keys for the cure of Type 1 Diabetes. Key word is might, try to understand that.

It won’t take long and summer will be here, maybe I’ll write about Father’s Day like I did last year.  This time, it will be posted here, on my blog. Summer time will be fun, as long as I get the addition on my house. I have a need for more space; see previous paragraphs on having 4 kids. But summer time once again will be marked by our yearly adventure to Friends for Life. I hope we can make it. I want to see my buddies from Chicago again. That’s a cool crew.

It looks like 2015 will be full of things, hopefully fun things, not loaded with stress like 2014. Maybe I’ll be able to load up the family for a camping trip to the Two Hearted River. Get away from the business of life and spend time watching the kids play on the shore of Lake Superior. Fish the Two Hearted River with my dad and hear all his stories again. Let’s see how much time I have left over for that; maybe I should throw some other stuff in the crapper and do that instead.

That is all the thoughts I have left for you my friends. If this post doesn’t make sense, just imaging not getting any sleep for the last year, CGM’s going off, crying baby at night, piles of stress and all the other d-parent duties added in. I do hold down a full time job and work a lot.  What sums up 2014 the best for me, the song How Bizarre does; its driving me crazy every time I look around. That’s the year I remember, in a stream of consciences. What will 2015 bring? You want to know the rest, hey, buy the rights.

 

P.S. Remember, its 2015, that means another year went by, so we’re only 4-9 years away from a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.

Godspeed

Tim

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Happy 1st Birthday

Happy Birthday to my little boy, I can’t believe your one year old today. Love you so much unnamed

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Time for a change:

I don’t really know how to explain this simply, so I’ll just say it, we’re changing insulin pumps. By we, I mean my 2 little girls with Type 1 (suckyness filled) Diabetes. A lot of factors went into our thinking. It seems strange that such a big family decision goes into 2 things the size of a pager, but that’s our crazy life, dealing with Type 1 Diabetes, 24/7.

We liked the Pods, the girls have been on them for a while, but some things have changed. The main thing, their numbers have gone up, and on the 3rd day we battle highs. Maybe it’s the combination of insulin and the Pod (insurance limits us to only Humalog); maybe it’s just our girls physiology. But the bad looking sites and the skin irritation were making us re-think pump options.

There’s a lot of things we could try to overcome these problems, and we’ve tried a few. If we couldn’t change and had no options, we could grind it out and make it work, it’d take a lot of effort, but it could be done. However, we did the cut the cord program and paid out of pocket for the PDM’s from Omni Pod. That’s a great program too. So it was easy to get it through insurance since the Pod never shows up as a new pumps prescription. Maybe the biggest factor was Aud telling us she wanted her old pump back (her Ping). That sparked a discussion with my wife about a change.

We’re familiar with the Animas Ping and the Medtronic, but we wanted to take a look at the Tslim. To be frank, in the past I wasn’t impressed with Tslim, but we looked it over again and were impressed with what we saw. All our concerns and questions were answered. So we made the choice; we’re going over to Tslim. The girls really like them, maybe it’s the touch screen they like, but they liked what they saw too.

 They arrived yesterday, new and shinny.


They arrived last week , new and shiny.

 

Perhaps the biggest factor, and the one thing I try to keep in mind, it’s their disease, not mine. They will have to live with this disease for a while, barring a cure. I try to keep in mind that what I say can have a big impact on them positive, or negative. I try to make sure what I say and do will make a positive impact on them, because it will stick with them for a long time. They will deal with enough negative with Type 1; they don’t need me adding more. This is hard to remember in times of stress and busyness, but we as d-parents have to try to keep this in mind.

I think we made a great decision and I think we have great partners in the Tandem Diabetes team; we’re excited to get started. Being a d-parent is a crazy life, switching pumps can be hard, but we’re glad the girls are excited and it all came together. We’ll started them up on Friday so we have Christmas break to get used to them. So glad everything worked out and we’re able to have the time to adjust. By the way, it’s great to be back blogging again, missed you all, happy Holidays.

Godspeed

Tim

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It’s time for the Big Blue Test!

What is the Big Blue test? Let me tell you a little about a very important event for the diabetes community as a whole.

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My good friends at the Diabetes Hands Foundation started the Big Blue Test a few years back as a way to raise money. The Big Blue Test grants awarded this year will benefit two US-based initiatives (each will receive US$10,000) and an additional US$15,000 will support a project in the Dominican Republic.

 

Here’s a outline of what the Big Blue Test is:

The Big Blue Test is a program of the Diabetes Hands Foundation that rallies communities to experience the impact that small changes can have on their health. Taking the Big Blue Test is easy: See their site for details.

Since 2010, over 40,000 people helped themselves while helping more than 10,000 others. Most participants in the Big Blue Test experience an average blood sugar drop of 20%. Each Big Blue Test helps you and helps others, through a life-saving donation made on your behalf. This has translated in $250,000 awarded by Diabetes Hands Foundation in Big Blue Test grants in the past 4 years.  (some portions of this were copied from the Diabetes Hands Foundations Website)

 

Please help out this cause, as many times as you can. Post pictures online if you want, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or your favorite social media, just hashtag #bigbluetest. Thank you so much for the help and taking time to stop by my little blog.

 

Godspeed

Tim

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