This week, the Glu team is prepping for the T1D Exchange Annual Meeting, our signature event each year to bring together patients, clinicians, scientists, payors, innovators, and advocates in type 1 diabetes. We are excited to have four patients participating on our patient panel on aging with type 1 diabetes, and are sharing their stories with you all week.
The second patient panelist is no stranger to Glu. Dr. Nicholas Argento of Maryland, or “Dr. Nick,” as he is known by the Glu community, is a clinical endocrinologist at a large diabetes-endocrine practice in Columbia where about one half of his patients have T1D. Nick himself was diagnosed at the age of 8, and has lived with the condition for nearly 50 years. Nick is married, has two adult children, and loves the Baltimore Orioles, “except when they stink, because then it’s too painful,” he says.
Nick recently told us about how much diabetes management has changed over his lifetime with the disease.
“When I started, disposable syringes had just been introduced, and there was no blood glucose monitoring, which made proper management of T1D virtually impossible.” Nick started on a pump in January 1982, and has used a Dexcom CGM continuously since the second it was available in Aug 2006. He uses T-Slim X2 and says he will add G5 to it once his G4 transmitter expires.
“I was one of the first clinicians to use CGM in a large number of patients, and it was like being Galileo with the first telescope. The learnings from it have been dramatic.” Nick adds that while the technology is important, there are so many other needs.
“My involvement with Glu has taught me a lot about different approaches and perspectives on T1D.”
Speaking of which, Nick is among, if not THE, most engaged member of the Glu community, chiming in anytime another user has a problem, celebration, or general observation, and participating in Question of the Day as well as reading Glu articles. We value Nick’s experiences, because we know he has struggled, just like all of us.
“Hypoglycemia has tried to kill me multiple times. I had hypoglycemia unawareness until starting on Dexcom, which has been a life changing technology for me, and for many of the people I see.” Nick is frustrated by other patients’ challenges in access and affordability, and he’s advocated a great deal for CMS coverage of Dexcom.
“Last year, I represented the Endocrine Society before the FDA to approve non-adjunctive use of Dexcom, which was a necessary step to get CMS to cover CGM. I was also in a pivotal meeting with CMS on the Dexcom approval,” said Nick. “Hopefully I was able to keep the focus on the dire risk T1D’s face with regard to hypoglycemia. Maybe it helped. We (the T1D community and its supporters) succeeded.”
Nick is also part of a working group representing the Endocrine Society, trying to update the CMS insulin pump requirements, which he says “are a little crazy.”
“Progress is slow, but I am optimistic,” says Nick. He also leads a walk team for JDRF every year, and have been active on Glu for the last four.
Nick’s words are always so comforting:
“Accept imperfection. Engage. Learn. Survive…Thrive. Never give up, never give in…you can do this,” he says, adding “We are many, we are one.”