Before Bill Goes Bionic


Woods Family

Wow, I am like a kid in a candy shop that can’t, yet, eat the candy. Today is the day I officially start the Beacon Hill Study (or Bionic Pancreas)! This afternoon, I get the CGM sensor inserted so it can be better calibrated for the Bionic Pancreas to do more accurate adjustments.

So, what am I thinking right now? Well, I am a bit anxious, nervous, and excited all at the same time. I can’t believe I really am getting my first legit break from my diabetes management in over 25 years! I actually feel a bit honored to be involved in such a small study of 20 or so participants. I also feel lucky to have the opportunity to share my journey with all of you in a way that I hope helps you understand the ups and downs. I’m proud that I made it this far and that my wife and kids, who will be staying in Boston with me a few days, can share the experience with me. I really would not have been able to participate if it wasn’t for them.

Bill and Kids

Before I get into some of the great suggestions the Glu community have made about what should I eat and do during my study period I wanted to reflect on something Anna Floreen mentioned to me about the trial. If you haven’t read her series about being bionic please do so here.

She said that one of the most unexpected things was that all of a sudden people “cared” when she started the study. She explained how even though her BG numbers had never been better, family and friends wanted to know how she was feeling. It was as if all of a sudden she was diagnosed with diabetes all over again. I remember her not really knowing how to take in all the usual interest, meaning, “Why does everyone care now?”

Well, what happened with Anna is happening with me. It is a strange thing to have family and friends interested in my diabetes. It’s odd actually. What is more curious to me, personally, is my inclination not to want to share information with them. Weird isn’t it? I have always had so much to share about my diabetes, as some of you know, but those topics aren’t enough to simulate water cooler conversations.

I am so happy my family and friends have so much interest and are brave enough to ask me what I am going to be doing this week but at the same time, just like Anna, I wish these conversations happened on a more regular basis. Diabetes is an everyday thing for me and it is how I make my living as well. I just wish my close circle could share in it more frequently. It would be like landing on the moon coming back to Earth only to have people ask how was the trip?  The trip was cake, the challenge of the journey not as many people are interested in. But hey, that’s why the diabetes online community and peer support is so important to me. We all understand the crazy journey you take with your diabetes management on a daily basis, and for that I am thankful for all that are reading this.

Bill and Will

Ok, enough of that, let me get to the fun stuff! I have been following a person who is in the closed loop portion of the trial now. Meaning they are all hooked up and their insulin and glucagon choices are made for them. They mentioned something fascinating to me when they posted a picture of what they were eating for breakfast. It was less of what they were eating but more about what they were drinking. Juice! That’s right, friends! They were drinking orange juice for breakfast just for the sake of enjoying the taste of orange juice! Sounds silly I know, but I haven’t drank juice in 25 years just for the taste. It was more to suck down as many carbs in the quickest amount of time to treat a low blood sugar.  To actually enjoy the taste of juice is a new concept. I have orange juice listed as number one on my “must have” foods or drinks list. Here are the top ten:

  1. Orange Juice – Large glass filled to the top is preferred
  2. Ice Cream Sundae – via several responders to my Glu post about what to eat
  3. A real margarita – I can have 2 alcoholic drinks per day, consider it done!
  4. Bagels – Though I have given these up for obvious reasons, I’ll take on the challenge.
  5. Pizza – Of course, this needs to be tested.  Thick crust or flat?  Hmmm…
  6. Fruity Pebbles – This one is my personal childhood pre-diabetes obsession.
  7. Pancakes with maple syrup – I can honestly say, I can’t wait for this one!
  8. Sushi – I’m gonna have fun with this one.  Which rolls should I eat?
  9. Onion Rings – Consider it done!
  10. Chinese Food – Oh you’ve eluded me for so long, I can’t wait for the payback.

I also wanted to try eating fast food for a full day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner from the most recognized burger and fry slingers out there! I am not sure if my stomach can handle it but I will try.

Several people in the Glu community suggested that I should try eating as I normally would. I think this is a great idea, and I will do that just to see how my every day eating habits will work with the Bionic Pancreas. It should be eye opening.

I wanted to thank everyone who commented on my earlier article and gave some great input on what I should eat. Hopefully my belly will be as happy as my blood sugars! Stay tuned!

Bonus scavenger hunt: Can you spot the insulin tubing in one of the pictures in this article?

By Bill Woods – GluBill

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