This post is sponsored by Ascensia Diabetes Care Canada Inc.
One of my favourite summer traditions is visitor day at Camp Kindle where Diabetes Canada hosts their Camp Jean Nelson. The summer camp in Water Valley, Alberta for kids with Type 1 diabetes is the largest of its kind in Canada.
More than 200 kids get a week away from ‘being different’ to spend time with kids who understand what it means to bolus, pump, and test. They do the regular camp things like fly on a big rope swing, sing campfire songs, go on hikes, and stay up late – but they also do the regular diabetic things and, for a week anyway, the routine of managing a chronic illness is something everyone around them understands.
I brought my sons to camp with me this time, so they’d have a better grasp of why I care so much about supporting Diabetes Canada. When it came time for all the campers to test themselves before the barbecue lunch, I was offered a chance to experience what it’s like to test my finger and I challenged my kids to do it with me.
They couldn’t do it. Charlie was so scared by the thought he left the table. So I did it on my own – but even I couldn’t do it that easily. I placed the lancet at my finger and I .. just .. couldn’t .. click .. it. I was scared. I’d hover and then pull it away. I must have repeated the drill at least 8 times before I finally clicked my finger and squeezed a droplet of blood out to test.
I measured 6.7 (within the normal 4-7 range that non-diabetics experience), but it took forever for me to get the courage to do the simplest of tasks that diabetics have to perform on themselves every few hours, every day (yes even at midnight or 3am).
I understand what having diabetes means, but every now and again the reality of what living with the disease smacks me. Understanding what it is and then actually take time out to walk in the shoes of someone with a chronic illness are two very different things
That’s why every little step and innovation that makes diabetes management a little bit easier is welcome – especially for the older kids we met at camp.
Managing your illness is easy when a parent is doing everything for you, but once kids get into their older teens it can start to slide. Insulin is a hormone, and with all those ‘other hormones’ flooding through the body at that age, its no wonder they might not feel like wearing a pump, or properly checking their blood before a meal, or just going ‘on feel’ while enjoying time with their friends.
Time amongst peers at a place like D-Camps helps get them back on track and so does having a mentor with T1D like professional hockey player Max Domi who has partnered with Ascensia Diabetes Care to show that kids with T1D can still achieve their dreams, and by acting as a mentor to show how to responsibly manage his illness.
“I was diagnosed with diabetes at age 12 and it never stopped me from achieving my goals of being a professional hockey player,” says Max.
“The new My Patterns feature on the CONTOUR®DIABETES app is a game changer, it’s like I have a personal coach in my pocket – notifying me when I’m not on track and giving actionable advice on how to improve my blood glucose levels.”
The new My Patterns feature on the CONTOUR®DIABETES app was developed using a behavioural science concept – Information, Motivation and Behavioural Skills model for chronic diseases. This concept was pioneered by psychologist Dr. William Fisher from Western University who’s proven people with diabetes need actionable information, motivation to act and specific behavioural skills, to make changes to improve the self-management of their diabetes1.
My Patterns is designed to be used digitally, and when you’re trying to get digital natives to better manage their disease, it makes the information easy to access, understand, and act upon.
The new CONTOUR®DIABETES My Patterns feature uses test results from the meter to identify patterns in blood glucose readings, suggests possible causes of changes and provide guidance and personalized advice to help address it.
It allows patients to set reminders or use structured testing plans to help improve their blood glucose readings and will track their progress to see if the pattern improves over time.
This latest version of the CONTOUR®DIABETES app provides a smarter tool that can help to make self-management of diabetes easier. It can recognize 14 different patterns and use 11 different structured testing plans, with more patterns and testing plans will be added in the future.
It takes a village to help people living with diabetes. I’m an empathetic ally trying to raise awareness, Max Domi is a peer providing inspiration, while CONTOUR®DIABETES is providing the innovation to help make life with diabetes just a little bit easier.
Max Domi will be conducting a Q&A later this year! Please leave a question in the comments for Max for a chance for him to answer!
1 Fisher WA, Kohut T, Schachner H, Stenger P. The Diabetes Educator (2011) 37;1:85-94
This post is sponsored by Ascensia Canada Inc.