And the bete goes on

Jody Rabhan
4 min readDec 31, 2019

My son’s pancreas is lazy. One year ago — just shy of his 17th birthday — it decided to fizzle out. This means that my son’s pancreas produces little insulin. Once he’s out of this “honeymoon” phase, his pancreas will secrete no insulin.

In medical terms, my son’s lazy pancreas is called type one diabetes (T1D). TID is an autoimmune disease in which insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system. So, people with T1D are dependent on injected or pumped insulin to survive. Not the most relaxing and carefree way to live.

If you’re going to be hit with this terrible disease, now seems like a good time to get it. After months of finger pricks all day and night to test blood sugars, we got our son the most up-to-date Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) that checks his blood sugar at 5 min intervals, 288 times per day. Both my husband and I — and our docs — can follow him and get real time updates whether he’s at work, school, sleeping, or buying yet another pair of overpriced sneakers. For emergencies, we’ve got baqsimi on board, a brand new pre-measured and ready to use dry nasal spray in the event my son is unable to swallow liquid or food because of hypoglycemia-related symptoms (severe low blood sugar), including severe drowsiness, unconsciousness, or seizures. This is quite the relief for my younger son, who wasn’t keen on the possibility of mixing and injecting his brother with the previous iteration of this emergency treatment.

After a year of injecting insulin, my son now has an insulin pump. Why? Because pumps offer benefits you can’t always get from injections: fewer needle pricks for starters. Every time you eat, and sometimes in between, you need an insulin injection. Over days, weeks, months, etc. that’s a lot of pricks. With a pump, and my son’s rad pump specifically, it’s a prick every three days. The pump provides continuous microdoses of insulin in the “background” and enables you to add more insulin around meals. The dosing is more precise and can allow for more time “in range” — that’s diabetes speak for within what is my son’s blood sugar range of 70–180. It’s tubeless, discreet, and pretty sweet. You fill it with insulin every three days, stick it on your body, and control it through a blackberry-type device. Their new touchscreen system is out, which looks more like an iPhone, and the…

Jody Rabhan

Social justice advocate at National Council of Jewish Women fighting for fair courts, abortion access, health care, gun safety, & everything in between.