The Panel Discussion at Animas on March 4th was GREAT.
Basically 4 people (3 pump users and a parent of a pump user) had the opportunity to talk about how pump therapy has changed our lives, and our family’s lives for the better, to 2 groups of Animas employees. They had the chance to ask us questions about life with diabetes, life on the pump, life pre pump, etc.
The panel consisted of:
Ashley Enedict, an RN and Clinical Manager for Dexcom, and has been a T1 for over 15 years, She wears an Animas Pump and we’d met before. A few years ago I wore the Dexcom on a trial bases when it first came out, via a program the company was offering through my CDE. Ashley helped me overcome my CGM tech fears. It helped that she wore a pump and a Dexcom, and understood all my fears, both real and imagined!
Ron DiNunzio: A T1 for over 37 years, Ron has had his share of ups and downs with the “Big D.” He’s managed to overcome some big challenges and is an UBER diabetes dude. The American Diabetes has recognized his work on a National level for his work in the Diabetes Community.
Ron is the founder of weekend-end program called Adventures For The Cure/Extreme Weekend for Children with Diabetes. I’ll be blogging about the Extreme Weekend for Children With Diabetes next week. But check out the link until then.
Don Plotts, Don is a parent of a Diabetic and works for Animas as the Manager of Sales Training. He first become familiar with Animas when he & his wife were shopping for pumps for their then 6-year-old daughter (who had been diagnosed at the age of 5) and is now 14.
Don started working for the company a few years after they chose Animas as her pump.
(On a side note, As a PWD, I always gain so much from a parent of a CWD point of view.
Don talked about watching his then 6-year-old daughter injecting her shots and how his heart ached every time he watched her. That made me think about my parents and what they went through – and reminded me of all the parents whose blogs I read daily.)
And then there was me, T1 for 31 years, pump wearer for 5 1/2 year. Currently I wear a Minimed 512 and am looking for a new pump. Full disclosure, Animas is currently on my “Pump Short List.”.
All of us were asked to attend by my friend Bill King, Manager of Patient & Professional Relations for Animas, T1 marathon runner and Animas wearer.
Bill I first met at the National DESA Conference in Colorado a few years ago, and have worked together on other projects since. Bill is funny, extremely positive, and a Sports nut to boot!
Between the four of us on the panel, we’d had over 93 years of D experience. We were asked to talk about our lives pre and post pump for Animas Customer Service employees.
All of us talked about the freedom that wearing a pump has given us. No longer are we slaves to the clock and are free from injection schedules; free from Lantus, and free to eat what we want within reason.
We talked about Normal – the “Holy Grail” for all diabetics. Ashley, Don and I talked about how we craved being normal as teens, and wished that the pump technology had been available to us then.
I discussed humor and how it helps me deal and own my diabetes on a daily basis & Ron agreed.
Those of us on the panel told the Animas employees about the days of urine testing in glass tubes and fuzzy blue pills. We reminisced about the days of strict diets and food exchanges and having almost everything tasty off limits.
We talked about the "Diabetes Police” and the guilt (financial, food, blood sugar, etc”) that accompanies being a person with diabetes. We discussed terms like “cheat,” “High,” and “being a bad diabetic.”
We voiced our frustrations on not being taken seriously by medical and healthcare professionals.
Don told the employees “Diabetics ARE experts on diabetes, so listen to what they have to say when they call. You might be the expert on Animas pumps and gear, but they are experts on Diabetes.”
I have to admit, I liked when he said that! How many times have we encountered professionals in the health & diabetes arena who think we no nothing about our disease?
The Animas employees wanted to know what Lantus shots felt like (I said something about injecting Orange Juice in your skin & watched as they squirmed). They asked what’s it’s like wearing a pump 24 X 7. We explained that while wearing a pump 24X7 does have it's own set of issues, the benefits of pump therapy are worth the occasional "Doorknob issues."
I shared my blog and private email comments that you sent me regarding life on the pump. I also read Penny’s comment out loud and everyone in the room got a little emotional.
After each session, several employees came up to me and said that they learned so much in the discussion and continue to learn more about the disease everyday. Many had family members who were diabetics and many employees were diabetic themselves. That meant a lot to me as a PWD.
As for me - I learned SO MUCH & am grateful to have had the opportunity!