Welcome to our JDRF Bay Area blog series, Diary of an Artificial Pancreas, written by 14-year-old Jamie Kurtzig. In each entry, she shares her day-to-day experiences living with the Medtronic MiniMed 670G closed-loop system, or Artificial Pancreas. Jamie, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at 19-months old, participated in a clinical trial for this system with Stanford University in the summer of 2016. She was able to keep the system and has been living with it ever since.
By Jamie Kurtzig
Student Hosting: I decided to be an admissions student ambassador, which means that I give tours to visiting students. I think it is so funny how just last year, I was one of those people shadowing at all of the diﬀerent schools. This really showed me how it might take some time to learn a skill like checking your ﬁnger or trouble shooting for loop, but pretty soon, you will be the one showing someone else how to do it! For example, I was having a diﬃcult time trouble shooting my loop last month, and I would always text my parents, asking them what I should do whenever it did the slightest thing, but now, I am teaching my grandma how to troubleshoot the loop too when she stays with me! Whenever you feel stuck on something, just be conﬁdent that you can learn it too!
One Walk: I am creating a Walk team at my new high school called “Marin Academy Cares”. I feel like leading the Walk really helped me to get to know more people at my school. I actually got help from 2 amazing seniors who lead the walk with me. Together we spoke at an allschool assembly! I was nervous to speak in front of everyone since I am a brand new freshman at school, but I am really glad that I did because more people heard about it and joined. Our team was small but mighty, and we all had a great time walking together in beautiful SF!
Congressman meeting: I am so excited to meet with my congressman today about the Special Diabetes Program (SDP) and how Congressman Huﬀman can help make a diﬀerence for people living with T1D. The SDP provides funding for research for ﬁnding the cure and prevention of T1D. During the meeting, we sat around a big table and told the congressman about our experiences in living with T1D. We urged him to renew the SDP and help keep rights for preexisting conditions. I think the meeting went really well and I am so hopeful that congress will renew this amazing program because it does so much good work.
Budz in Scrubz meeting: I mentioned earlier that I am a member of the Budz in Scrubz club at my high school for people who are interested in medical science. This ﬁrst meeting was a talk from a UCSF chronic traumatic encephalopathy (brain science) researcher. It was fascinating to hear what she does and how her whole job is to make important scientiﬁc discoveries. She was telling us a little bit about one of her favorite parts of being a scientist which was knowing something that no one else in the whole world knows. That would be absolutely incredible, I think. She inspired me so much and makes me want to be a scientist even more. At the end of her talk, I asked about how CRISPR was changing her work, and she said that it was completely revolutionizing her work and is a very promising solution to many medical science problems. Maybe one day CRISPR will cure T1D!
Albuquerque trip: I am so excited to go to Albuquerque, New Mexico with my dad! When we ﬁrst got to Albuquerque, we drove to the old town and I actually navigated! I had never really navigated before, but I think I will have to get used to this soon because I will be driving in less than two years (and I will get my learner’s permit in about a year). It seems so soon! The next morning, we woke up bright and early (actually it wasn’t bright yet) at about 3 in the morning (which was 2 in the morning with the time change). We were supposed to go in a balloon, but when we arrived, they said it was cancelled because the wind was too strong. I was so upset 😭 about this because it was my one and only weekend away with my dad in this whole year. I had never been in a balloon before, and I really wanted to ﬂy in my ﬁrst one today. They did announce that the balloons would inﬂate, but just stay on the ground. Even with this new information, I was still frustrated, but Dad and I did our best to turn it around. You might be wondering why I am telling you this. I am trying to tell you this because even if you are mad about something (related to T1D or not), try to look on the bright side and appreciate what you do have. I know that problems like T1D suck, but think of all of the silver linings and things you have like a home, a family, a school, and an electronic device (about 50% of people do not have an electronic device, so be thankful). Thanksgiving is coming up, remember to appreciate.