Monday, April 9, 2012

This Is Real

For me, one of the highlights of the event was getting to meet with Lane Desborough and some other members of Medtronic's closed-loop team.  I first heard of Lane back when he was on DSMA live.  Since he's the parent of a child with Type 1 Diabetes, it's easy to see where his passion comes from.

Star Trek reference from Lane, for the win!

It really was a treat to meet Lane in person.  And after seeing his name on the schedule, I was looking forward to his presentation all day.  But we got a surprise!  Lane took all of us back into his team's workspace to show us around.  And we got to meet some other members of the team.

One guy was an aerospace engineer, another a mechanical engineer, and there some other kinds of engineers that I can't remember.  Smart people.

As I stood there, looking at all the materials on the wall and listening to these brilliant individuals explain some of what they do, I found myself getting unexpectedly emotional. Here I was, surrounded by fellow people with diabetes, meeting people who are working to make our lives better.

And it almost had me in tears.

Hope.  Hope it what it was.  Hope that all of our lives will be made better by a closed-loop system.  Hope that I will see an artificial pancreas in my lifetime.

 Some awesome kiddos I know back on Write Hope On Your Hand For Diabetes Day

Because this is bigger than Medtronic.  There are brilliant people all over the world, working for many different companies and organizations, with the goal of improving the lives of people with diabetes.  Whether it's the closed-loop system, glucose responsive insulin, or research towards a cure, all of these things are good and needed.  Knowing that there are people like Lane and his team out there, brilliant and passionate, gives me hope.  So much hope.

As I looked at all the material on the walls at Medtronic, it hit me.  Oh my god, this is really going to happen.  I will see a closed-loop system in my lifetime.  This is real.


At the end of Lane's presentation, we had to run back to the meeting room.  Things were running behind, like they do at events involving this many people.  But I lingered back, hoping to say a few words to some of the team members.

I wanted to hug them all!  But I settled for a handshake with two of the engineers.  One of them is the man who wrote the algorithm for the MiniLink transmitter.  Which was taped to my leg as I stood there shaking his hand.  Meta, right?

"I just wanted to say thank you," I said.  "Thank you for all you do.  I use your pump and cgm."

"Really?  Wow, that's great!" said the aerospace engineer, smiling.

"I'm sorry, I have to go, but thank you so much!"

What I should have said, what I wish I would have said, is thank you for giving me hope.

And if I ever see them again, I'm gonna hug 'em.  They'll just have to deal with it.

To see me looking ridiculous and other photos of the event, check out Medtronic's Flickr stream.

Disclosure: Medtronic paid for my flights, hotel, and transportation to attend the forum.  I chose to stay an extra day, and paid for all associated expenses myself.  I was not compensated for my participation in the forum, nor was I required to blog about the experience.  All thoughts are my own.  


  1. I love this post - that's exactly it. The hope that work like this brings.

    And thanks for directing them to that awful Flickr stream ;)

  2. What a great post, Jess. I agree - that seeing and talking to these people who have so much passion, energy and knowledge is so incredibly hug-worthy. Hard to say in words the experience of being there interacting with them. But you hit it head on, and that hopeful aspect is very well illustrated. Thanks for being a part of this and offering your thoughts, my friend.

  3. Wow! What a great post! I teared up thinking about all the people I love that are dependent on the engineering done by these guys & guys just like them at other pump & CGM companies. For that reason alone, I'd like to hug them all. :)

  4. You said everything perfectly! Those engineers are amazing and they give me such hope too!!

    PS: I had a total freak-out, brush with a star moment earlier this week when Lane sent me a Linkedin connection request. Pete was totally laughing at me because I was all "Oh my gosh, LANE wants to add ME to his network!! Oh holy crap!!" LOL

  5. hope! meta! tears! hugs! love it! :)