To start the year off, I asked Victoria, 13 years old and living with Type 1 Diabetes, to tell you about the adventure she has lived with the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal. Indeed, a couple months ago, Victoria and her mom Dominique accepted to take part to the Dr Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret’s researches.
The artificial pancreas : a glimmer of hope
I get chills just writing about it. Knowing that young people like Victoria contribute to such research, I am wordless. Here is Victoria’s story, in her own words (free translation) :
« When they offered me to take part to the research, I accepted on the spot without knowing exactly what i twas. Afterwards, I asked plenty of questions and I confirmed my response. It consisted to experiment the famous external pancreas. Hard to say no. To begin with, I was a bit afraid that it could hurt. I was also afraid of blood samples because I do not really like them. However, as time passed, I was less afraid. I even looked at the nurses insert the catheter on my arm and then collect blood. Everyone was saying I was courageous to look at it. What was less comfortable was the strips on my skin. I had blood samples every 30 minutes all three week-ends that I spent at the institute, and the last two week-ends, they were changing my pump basalrate every 10 minutes. I was kind of tired of always having someone after me. I had 5 mandatory activities per day : walking, video games, babyfood (I suck) and my nightmare was the treadmill for an hour. At the same moment, they were collecting blood every 10 minutes. After that, I was feeling dizzy. Meals were not so good : the same frozen meals over and over, calculated to the gram all three week-ends. Before going to bed at 9:00pm, I had a snack, always the same. They would also install me with a solution. At nights, they were still collecting blood samples and I would not even wake up. I had several hypoglycemia episodes at night, and my mom found it difficult as they would not treat them over 3.0 (54 mg/dl). It drove my mom crazy when they did not even treat an hypo on the treadmill (lol). The day after, I was not having breakfast. They were taking the continued blood glucose monitoring, the catheter and the solution and then I was doing the first blood glucose test after 24 hours. They gave me a snack and then my mom took me at McDonald’s for breakfast ! (lol). The last week-end, I had to wear two pumps and the continuous blood glucose monitor (CBG). One those pumps was filled with insulin, the other was with glucagon only. At a certain time, my blood glucose was dropping sot hey gave me three small glucagon shots and adjusted my insulin pump basal rate. My blood glucose level rapidly stabilized : we were glad. I can’t wait that the researchers find a way to combine the insulin and glucagon pumps : it could improve the way to treat type 1 diabetes by far. I am very happy and glad for having participated to such research and I hope this will help the researchers to find a way to better treat type 1 diabetes. »
Victoria’s story has touched you ? Please do not hesitate to leave your comments which will be forwarded to Victoria and her mom.
If you wish to learn more about the artificial pancreas, click on IRCM.
A special thank you to Victoria and her mom for their help in this research : Victoria, it was very courageous of you to take part to this research.
NB: Please note that this is a free translation of the blog post written earlier today.