It would be difficult to find fault in 2017. It was an amazing, amazing year. In what certainly feels like the blink of an eye, a whole bunch of amazing things happened in the diabetes world.
In February, I ventured into a coffee house south of the river, where I met a group of total strangers with diabetes. Over the months that followed bonds were formed, some brilliant ideas were brought to the table, and events were held across Perth. A Young Adult Diabetes Committee quickly came to life.
It’s exciting to finally have something close to home that caters for young adults with diabetes, in the same way that kids and families have the Telethon Type 1 Family Centre. It wouldn’t have been possible without this group known as the YADC Legends, and of course the support of Perth Diabetes Care.
In April I attended Medtronic’s inaugural Diabetes Advocates Day in Melbourne, where I caught up with some new and familiar faces in the DOC. The day was over sooner than it began, but I was fortunate enough to hear some news on the progress of closed loop trials underway here in Australia. Hopefully this will pave the way for Medtronic’s 670G hybrid closed loop insulin pump, which communicates with CGM to regulate glucose levels, to hit our shores.
April also brought with it the announcement of the federal government subsidy of Continuous Glucose Monitors for those under the age of 21. It was a bittersweet announcement, because while it’s a win for kids and families, type 1 doesn’t magically disappear at the age of 21. It was also disappointing to hear that children in some age brackets would have to ‘prove’ their need for such a system, which is reminiscent of battles people face for health insurance coverage in the US.
Diabetes Blog Week rolled around again in May, which saw 100 diabetes bloggers answering a prompt each day for five days. It was my third year participating, and connecting with so many other people with diabetes from all over the world really reminded me of why I am a part of the Diabetes Online Community.
June presented me with an opportunity to join the team at Diabetes Daily as a freelance writer. This role has really challenged me, both as a writer and in thinking beyond my own perspective as someone living with diabetes. Massive thanks to Diabetes Daily for having this Aussie on the team!
Australia’s National Diabetes Week rolled around in July. While there were still some messages centred around complications, it was fantastic to see a theme that encouraged people to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of diabetes. This is what diabetes week should be like, every year!
August began in Melbourne with Abbott’s second Diabetes Exchange event, following on from the initial event where the FreeStyle Libre was launched in 2016. Once again, the planning and execution of these two days was superb. It was extremely generous of Abbott to reconvene this group of bloggers together once again, continuing conversations that were able to go beyond the product itself. Thanks for making me feel so valued!
Later in the month, I was an invited speaker at the Roche Educators Day (RED). It extremely humbling to meet so many passionate diabetes educators who had given up their day to learn from us. I was also able to put faces to many healthcare professionals I had previously only interacted with through the DOC. Massive thank you to Roche for having consumers involved for the first time, and for making us feel so welcome!
At the end of August, I was able to tick the ADS-ADEA conference off my bucket list thanks to the generous sponsorship of Diabetes Australia. I was thrilled to be attending sessions and acting as a consumer reporter at an event largely attended by industry professionals. I also realised that we still have a long way to go in getting others to see the value of having consumers involved in these kinds of proceedings. Thank you to Diabetes Australia for pioneering this initiative, and to Renza, Ashley and Melinda for fantastic company!
October brought with it the news that Animas would cease the manufacture of the Vibe insulin pumps in the US, with a view to eventually exit the market globally. It’s sad to see choice taken away from people with diabetes, moreso here in Australia where we will eventually be left with only two options – Medtronic and Roche.
Fortunately, a new entrant hit the insulin pump market in Cellnovo! I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at the Cellnovo system during the ADS-ADEA conference, before subsidised consumables finally became available through the NDSS in November.
December marked the end of weekly OzDOC chats on Tuesday nights. While it was bittersweet to see the space where I first found peer support online come to an end, the timing felt right.
As this little corner of the internet turns three, I just wanted to say a massive thank you for reading, commenting, getting in touch, Facebooking, Tweeting, talking to me or coming along to one event or another.
I continue to write and be involved in the diabetes space because of this resounding feeling of community that helps me not to feel so alone in all of this. You have all made my world a lot smaller today, and for that I am extremely grateful.
I’m not sure what 2018 has in store for me, but it sure does have big shoes to fill.
Wishing you a very Happy and prosperous New Year.