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  Back to DC 2004 Conference Report from Washington DC 2004

Report from Washington, D.C. 2004

Labor Day Weekend, a fabulous hotel in Georgetown, and some glorious weather on the mid-Atlantic coast provided the backdrop for the 5th regional Children with Diabetes conference. Focus on Pumping was held September 3-5, 2004 at the Westin Grand Hotel in Washington, D.C. Three hundred people, including kids and parents from a dozen states (and one family from England!), gathered together to learn the latest information about insulin pumping and diabetes management. The group was mixed, with approximately one-third being brand new to pumping (or just considering it), and the other two-thirds looking for information more along the lines of advanced pumping management.

The conference began on Friday afternoon with a display of the Quilt for Life. For the first time, the Quilt was displayed over a period of three days. It was accessible to the general public in the Promenade area of the Westin conference area, and many people visiting the hotel simply walked through to see the beautiful quilt squares made in honor of our children. The exhibitors shared the Promenade area with the Quilt for Life, and it created quite a bit of traffic!

Friday evening, conference participants attended a reception sponsored by Abbott Diabetes Care. The exhibits were open, most people had arrived in town (except for the few who were stranded at the airport by Hurricane Frances), and everyone was anxious to see all the new items the exhibiting companies brought to share. As with other CWD conferences, participants were offered the opportunity to wear insulin pumps with saline to experience the feel of the various pumps. For those who were brand new to pumping - or who perhaps wanted to try a different type of pump - this was a great experience! Animas, Smiths Medical MD, Inc., and Medtronic MiniMed all had 'trial pumps' out and about during the weekend. It was fun watching the children wear a pump for the first time - there were some very proud faces!

On Saturday morning, CWD Founder and President Jeff Hitchcock opened the day's educational program along with John Walsh with a session called Why We Pump. Jeff presented the efficacy data comparing insulin pumps with multiple daily injections (MDI), and stated that the evidence clearly suggests pumping is superior to MDI in managing type 1 diabetes in children. He stated, "If diabetes pumps were as sophisticated 15 years ago as they are now, my daughter Marissa would never have had a single injection." On that note, John Walsh followed with a historical perspective on diabetes and insulin pumps, taking the audience from the early days of pumps bigger than backpacks to the current pager-size pumps, to pumps of the future.

Endocrinologist Alan Schorr continued with a discussion of state-of-the-art technology, specifically on sensor technology. He shared some history behind the earliest versions of continuous glucose monitoring and brought the group up to date on the most current sensors being developed at this time. Many in the audience left the session with a very positive feeling that products for continuous blood glucose measurement for our children are heading in a very good direction; more user-friendly, less painful, and much smaller than early versions.

At lunch, Jeff Hitchcock spoke about computer security. With his presentation Protecting Your Computer System, Jeff demonstrated how a brand new unprotected computer would last at the most 20 minutes on the Internet before being totally compromised by viruses. He presented a review of junk email, spyware, viruses, and other computer attackers, and instructed participants how to protect their computer systems from this growing threat.

In the afternoon, participants divided into two groups. John Walsh met with new pumpers and those considering pumping. He explored the initial 'how to' steps in getting started with insulin pumping and then worked through some early problem-solving challenges experienced by new pumpers. Dr. Schorr met with the experienced pumping group to discuss some advanced pumping challenges, including tweaking basals and setting multiple basal rate profiles, pumping during times of insulin resistance or illness, pumping while participating in sports, and using a pump in conjunction with Lantus.

The afternoon closed with two very animated breakout sessions. Athletic trainer and CDE Gary Scheiner's Strike the Spike! session examined one of the toughest things for people with diabetes to manage - the after-meal blood glucose spike that simply refuses to come down. Gary discussed why these spikes happen, and he presented some management techniques for combating them. Crystal Jackson, in a session entitled Pumping in Schools - Strategies that Work, talked with parents about ensuring that insulin pump protocol is incorporated into their child's Section 504 plan in addition to whatever health care plan is required by the school system. Crystal provided parents with an overview of areas of diabetes care concerns at school and suggestions regarding language to use in the child's written care plans to ensure that school staff members understand insulin pump basics and can provide assistance in accordance with the child's own level of care.

While the parents were hard at work, the kids and teens were having a glorious time just being kids. CWD tried a new format at this conference. Rather than having specific sit-down classroom sessions for the kids and teens, the staff had a list of pumping and diabetes care learning objectives which they incorporated into 'normal kid-stuff.' So, the school-aged group had 3 rooms of activities going on at any given time - including Diabetes Jeopardy, arts-n-crafts, movies, games, and swim time! Pump care at the pool was a big topic. Many thanks and kudos to the kids' staff Melissa Ringley, Kim Kelly, Lauren Lanning, and Michelle Rago. They have a level of energy and a love of children that is wonderful to watch, and the kids had a tremendous time.

The teens ... the teens ... the teens. Off they went, led by teen group coordinator Natalie Bellini! The morning was filled with soccer, football, and - what else? - shopping! After a wonderful BBQ lunch, they headed off on the Metro to see the sights of Washington, D.C. and the Smithsonian. At 4:00, they came back exhausted, happy, and trailed by parents Chris Tull, Neal Billetdeaux, and Jim Vail (who looked twice as exhausted and equally as happy).

Many thanks to sponsors Animas, LifeScan, and Novo Nordisk for the wonderful breakfast, snackbreaks, and BBQ on Saturday!

Sunday morning, bright and early, everyone gathered for breakfast. "How To Make The Toasters Work" was the challenge. It never got solved. Nonetheless, the eggs were good, the bacon delicious, and the coffee -- Starbucks.

Sunday morning sessions were opened by diabetes educator Natalie Bellini. Natalie's enthusiasm and humor were contagious, and most people did not want to leave her session at break time. She displayed literally every type of infusion set currently on the market and presented the different variables that affect why some infusion sets work for some people and very different infusion sets work for others. She reiterated that just because someone puts one type of infusion set in a parent's hands when they get the pump and says 'Use this,' it doesn't mean that is the best infusion set for the child. Parents should investigate different infusion sets and select the one that works best for the child and the child's lifestyle.

Athletic trainer and pump wearer Rick Philbin followed with Exercise and Busy Kids - Preventing and Managing Hypos. Rick discussed how exercise poses very specific challenges to pumpers, yet pumping is one of the best ways to manage exercise! He talked about pumping at different levels of exercise, from the child who has gym once a week in school, to the preschooler who rides bikes and scooters for hours each day, to the elite athlete in frequent competition.

After a wonderful deli lunch sponsored by Smiths Medical MD, Inc., parents met a panel of teen pumpers for a session called Beating Pump Anxiety - Meet the Kids. Psychologist and ADA President-Elect Richard Rubin moderated the session. Panel members included 17-year-old Marissa, 15-year-olds Trevor and Harry, 14-year-old Sam, and 10-year-old Monica. The kids talked a bit about their experiences with pumping and answered questions from the audience. All of the panel members presented their pumping experiences as pretty much a work in progress, with lots of trial and error, and learning what works best in which circumstances. None of them said they ever wished to go back to using injections, although Trevor shared his current experience with using Lantus and pumping together to address his challenges of being in the water for many hours daily (he surfs and body-boards). Dr. Rubin stressed that the teen years can be particularly challenging in terms of independence and communication, and that it's important to keep the channels open on both sides.

After a yummy snack break sponsored by Medtronic MiniMed, parents finished off the conference by meeting with faculty members for a question and answer discussion group. This was the time to get further information from John Walsh about his super-bolusing concept… and discuss particularly challenging school issues with Crystal Jackson. There were questions for everyone, and it was a great chance to put closure on some of the questions brewing since earlier discussions Saturday.

The school-aged group finished off Sunday afternoon with a magic show right after lunch (thank you to LifeScan for sponsoring this!) and a late afternoon swim in the Westin's outdoor pool. The teens spent the day playing football and soccer in a nearby park, and relaxed after the panel discussion with a movie in the teen room. Everyone was appropriately pooped!

It was a fantastic weekend for all involved, and the personal comments received by faculty and staff members suggest that this is a topic that CWD needs to repeat again and again to families around the country. Stay tuned.

As always, CWD could not hold these conferences without the incredible generosity of our sponsors: Abbott Diabetes Care, Animas Corporation, LifeScan, Medtronic MiniMed, Novo Nordisk, and Smiths Medical MD, Inc.. As well, many thanks are extended to CWD parents Lauren Lanning, Bernadette and Chris Tull, Brenda Hitchcock, and Ruth Mattingly for sharing their expertise and time with us for the benefit of all of our children. And last but not least, kudos to CWD Dietitian Mike Schurig for a job well done on the little green cards with the carb counts!

  Children with Diabetes: Focus on Pumping
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The Quilt for Life was displayed for the entire conference
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Teens posed at a fountain in Washington, DC
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Crystal Jackson spoke about pumping in school
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Monica, Sarah, and Allison playing 'people bingo'
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John Walsh shared advanced pumping ideas including the 'super bolus' to cover high glycemic index foods
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Shannon and Hunter have the same pump case
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Gary Scheiner taught strategies to reduce post-meal highs
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Kelsey tries out a pump with saline
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DC 2004: Focus on Pumping
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Last Updated: Friday January 07, 2005 16:54:50
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