Hi, I’m Phillip. I’m 57 years old, married with two adult children and was diagnosed with T1D on Melbourne Cup Day, 1978 when I was 15. I remember the date clearly because I was about to start exams and mum thought that by going to the hospital on Cup Day would mean I wouldn’t miss school! Well I did because I spent nearly 2 weeks in hospital while the staff taught me about managing my diabetes and teaching me how to give myself injections.
I work in IT and have always been a bit of a geek when it comes to technology, and so it was from day 1 with my diabetes.
About a year after my diagnosis, the first home blood glucose monitors were released. They were about the size of a house brick, had to be plugged into power and “warmed up” for 15 minutes before doing a test, and they were expensive. Fortunately, my grandmother was quite well off and had the foresight to recognise how this new technological break through would help me. She also recognised that as more people with T1D gained access to such technology the price would drop, and like all forms of new technology, it would improve (as we see today with the many types of BG meters now available). I have a similar philosophy.
Not only am I interested in tech, but I’m also keen on learning from advances in diabetes management to help me take better control of myself. When I met my wife, we decided to travel overseas for a bit. I read that multiple daily injections would lead to improved control, and to save me having to carry tonnes of stuff overseas, I discussed with my Endo about switching to insulin pens. Then about 10 years after that (approx. 2004) I got my first insulin pump. I’m now on my fifth pump. On top of that, I’ve been using CGM now for nearly 4 years. Each little increment in technology has led to an improvement of my control.
I got involved with DTRG about 2 years ago. I’ll admit it was for purely selfish reasons. They were calling for participants for a trial involving the Medtronic 670G. This pump was not yet available in Australia, but by participating in the trial I would get to see what all the hype was about. There were some early reports from the USA that this pump wasn’t as good as claimed. By participating in this trial, I would be able to see the truth for myself without having to lock into it for 4 years through private insurance. Needless to say, I’m now a 670G user.
I’ve now participated in 4 different trials with DTRG. Each trial has been very different, but each is about helping companies perform research and development to bring some new technology to the market to improve the life of someone with T1D.
I’ve personally benefitted from these trials. In some, the technology has helped me improve my control. For example, the current trial I’m in has seen me lower my HbA1c from 6.3% to 6.0% and my time in range has gone from 73% to 82%. In others it’s given me a look into the future to see what could be coming. However, the best thing for me is knowing that the little bit that I do can help everyone else with T1D.
I’ve found the staff very friendly. They also have one clear focus – your safety. 24/7 on call support is provided, and if anything looks like it may not be working you are told to stop and revert back to your usual T1D management processes.
With COVID, we’ve heard it so much this year, particularly here in Melbourne, that we’re all in this together. We have all been asked to do our bit to help. I believe this is the same with diabetes technology research.