ONE: A heck of a T1D conference

I was fortunate enough this past weekend to be able to attend TCOYD‘s first ONE conference/retreat specifically focused on Type One diabetes. It was an amazing weekend, full of education, excitement, information, and a bit of fun to boot.

So. Many. T1s.

Seriously, look at all of these people- from all over the US (and Canada).

There are literally hundreds of people with T1D who flew or drove hundreds or thousands of miles to get together in San Diego for a weekend of education, empowerment, fellowship, connections, and camaraderie. The pic on the left is only 1/3 of the room.

Companies and organizations involved in education, empowerment, research, and treatment were also present- Tandem, Dexcom, Insulet, MannKind, Connected In Motion, Riding on Insulin, the Diabetes Research Connection, and others were present and showing off their products and services. Everything from weekend camps to inhaled insulin to opportunities to fund research was shown and discussed. Attendees also got opportunities to make new friends, socializing with people who don’t blink at offering a juicebox or glucose tablet when a CGM alarm goes off.

The Latest in D-Tech

Ed Damiano of Beta Bionics

Attendees got to hear presentations from a number of companies that are actively working on technological solutions to improve the lives (and glycemic control) of people living with T1D.

Representatives from Tandem, Dexcom, Beta Bionics, and Bigfoot Biomedical gave presentations on what’s in their product pipelines, and how they aim to improve diabetes care moving forward. Tandem’s remote-update capability will be a near-term paradigm shift in the pump space, enabling new features to be delivered to patients without the need to replace an expensive device. With shelf-stable glucagon on the near horizon, dual-hormone pumps are no longer just a pipe dream. CGMs will continue to get smaller, easier to wear, and more accurate, enabling not just better decision making by patients and care teams, but a host of devices driven by the CGM data.

Of particular interest was Bigfoot Biomedical’s unique approach/business model of “Insulin Delivery as a Service” – encompassing not just pumps (closed loop being the foundation piece), but also smart pens which can keep track of manual injections as well, and allow patients to migrate back and forth from CSII to MDI as their needs and desires dictate.

Inspiring Speakers

Kerri Sparling (SixUntilMe)

Attendees also had the opportunity to hear from a number of well-known peers and experts on a variety of topics related to living with diabetes. The big standout in my mind was well-known blogger, mom, and person with T1D Kerri Sparling, whose blog, SixUntilMe is a mainstay on my reading list.

In addition from luminaries and d-celebrities like Kerri, there were presentations and workshops on a number of diverse topics. Exercising with T1D is often a challenge, as the effects of different types of exercise on blood sugars can be tough to predict, and frequently calorie burn winds up being counteracted by a need to consume carbs to deal with exercise-induced hypoglycemia.

Diabetes invading the bedroom was another popular workshop. It can be something as innocuous as dealing with the devices we’re tethered to, or as complicated as finding solutions to diabetes-related physical complications which interfere with intimacy- both minor and major. If I could have attended ALL of the workshops, I would have. Every speaker/expert had insights to offer and amazing information to impart.

Riding the waves of T1D

Dr Ponder “neralizes” the crowd before his presentation

Probably the presentation that I heard the most buzz about was a condensed version of Dr Stephen Ponder’s Sugar Surfing workshop. Sugar surfing is the concept of dynamic diabetes management- using the amazing tool of a CGM to guide small corrections and anticipate changes, enabling patients to “ride the wave” and stay in their desired glycemic range.

Key to this approach is the idea of “glances” – quick looks at a CGM to check where you are, where you’re going, and how fast, and then making adjustments (or not) as necessary.

I won’t go into further detail here, but I will say that I have a copy of Dr Ponder’s book, and it’s become part of my personal d-management “canon” alongside the venerable classics “Think Like a Pancreas” and “Pumping Insulin”. Sugar surfing is a paradigm shift away from the “static” diabetes management techniques that most patients are taught, but it enables better stability and more time in range for many people than they are able to achieve with other techniques. If you’ve been diagnosed with T1D in the last 90 days, you can get a copy of the e-book for free from the Sugar Surfing website, and I highly recommend doing so.

Wrapping it all up

This conference was a first. The first TCOYD event solely focused on Type 1 and, the first place I’ve seen SO MANY T1s (along with a few Type 3s- those being spouses/supporters) all gathered together. It speaks volumes to the commitment and dedication of Drs Edelman and Pettus and ALL of the TCOYD staff that they were able to organize this amazing T1-focused weekend and have it be so amazingly informative and effective.

I’ll be at the next ONE; wherever in the country it happens to be organized, and I highly recommend to anyone living with T1D that they consider attending as well.