As many of you know, my younger sister, Maggie, has had T1D since she was four years old. Growing up with her, my goal was to cure diabetes. Unfortunately, despite promises that a cure is just around the corner, it remains a long ways off. Even as a very close sibling to my sister, I cannot understand what she goes through 24/7 - every day, every night - now and for the rest of her life. As she put it so eloquently:
"Already today I have checked my blood sugar 4 times, and before the day is over it will be 8. That means in the past month I have pricked my fingers and drawn blood 240 times, the past year 2,920 times, and for the past 18 years of having diabetes the grand total will be somewhere around 52,560 times. My permanently scar-tissued fingers show the proof." - Maggie
What is shocking to me is that this is only one part of the equation to living with diabetes. This doesn't even include the shots of insulin she needs to take to stay alive. Yes, she has used a pump, and yes she has used a CGM. Due to unfortunate technological issues with insulin overdosing and inaccuracies, she prefers to not use a pump. (Also, after having the set being ripped out so many times when she was younger, she figured she had to replace it anyways, so why not just use shots). And, in case you are wondering, these devices still involve finger pricking and lots of needles. Always needles. Everyday. Every night. For the rest of your life.
The scary part about diabetes are the insidious side effects and threat of death. Blindness. Amputations. "Dead in Bed". These are terrifying, and with life the way it is, no one wants to think about these things, but they do happen. Ask any parent with a child with t1d how many times they wake up each night to check their child's blood sugar. One girl I met who had diabetes never slept alone after she had a seizure from her blood sugar going too low. When you have diabetes, you do everything in your power to prevent these things from happening (and to stay alive). The fact of the matter is, it is EXTREMELY difficult to control your blood sugar, and there is no easy solution.
We started this project with the goal of developing a new technology that will noninvasively monitor blood sugar. Myself, Maggie and Kelly, my partner in this project, are fully committed to developing a monitoring device that will change the status quo of existing measurement practices. It is a very tough area to go into - many people have attempted, and for various reasons failed. It is extremely difficult technology-wise, however, I believe that we all have the power to shape the future. And if we set our minds to it, we can make noninvasive glucose testing a reality.
Please support us in changing the future. You are making a difference.