Back to CWD Conference Report from La Jolla 2007

The San Diego Marriott La Jolla was the home of CWD's 24th conference, Focus on Pumping, held April 13-15, 2007. Over 250 people - mostly from California - participated in this weekend event. It was a wonderful mix of age groups, including quite a few grandparents. For about three quarters of the conference participants, this was their very first CWD event! We were so happy to meet all of these new parents and kids and to welcome them into our CWD family!

The conference began on Friday evening, as registration and the Exhibit Hall opened with a wonderful reception and social evening. There were 11 exhibit tables, and the representatives from the various companies spent the weekend with CWD families, discussing their insulin pumps and products, demonstrating new meters and data management systems related to pumping, and generally keeping conference participants up to date on the newest and best diabetes management tools available. Exhibitors included Abbott Diabetes Care, the American Diabetes Association, Angel Bear Pump Stuff, Animas, BD, Diabetes Mall, Disetronic, LifeScan, Medtronic Diabetes, Roche Diagnostics, and Smiths Medical. In addition, TrialNet representatives were on hand with information about participating in TrialNet testing and opportunities to do so on site.

Many thanks to Lisa Anstine, Julia Mattingly, and Mary Podjasek for staffing registration, getting everyone the correct t-shirt sizes (not an easy task!), and serving as the information checkpoint!

The conference was divided into several tracks for Saturday and Sunday, with the teens, tweeners, and elementary aged children all heading off to their own separate areas, the little ones going to childcare, and the adults having both general sessions as well as breakout sessions more specific to advanced pumpers and beginning (or considering) pumpers. Dr. Bruce Buckingham opened the conference with an informative and thoughtful perspective on Why We Pump. In a second session entitled Continuous Glucose Sensing, Dr. Buckingham discussed the concept of continuous glucose monitoring, current continuous sensing systems on the market, continuous sensors in development, and why this type of management is critical to people with type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Buckingham opened his presentation with historic information about how significantly the incidence of kidney failure and other complications have been reduced in the last two decades simply by the improvements made in blood glucose testing. He stressed that one of the most useful functions of continuous sensing is to identify trends in blood glucose both day and night. He also pointed out that we are just in the beginning stages of using continuous sensing, and that these systems will become ever more sophisticated (and hopefully more user-friendly for families and kids) as this becomes an accepted piece of diabetes management.

John Walsh presented Pumping Basics for those families who are just in the beginning stages of pumping (or considering a switch from MDI to pumping). As always, his excellent explanations helped many families understand what they would need to do in order to begin successful pumping with their child. In his Advanced Pumping Concepts session, John presented ways to address those very challenging diabetes management scenarios through the use of more advanced pump functions and dietary management.

Gary Scheiner presented two very pertinent sessions, Strike the Spike and Preventing and Managing Hypoglycemia. In these very informative and practical presentations, Gary discussed the mechanism of hypoglycemia (which affects all of us at some time and is tremendously scary), as well as the very frustrating post-prandial blood glucose highs which affect lots of our kids. He spent some time helping parents understand the concept of glycemic index and how that affects post-prandial blood sugars - as well as why it is important to use a food with a high GI when a person experiences hypoglycemia. As with his presentations in past conferences, Gary received excellent feedback from parents for taking some tough concepts and making them understandable in a way that parents could take home and apply.

Athletic Trainer (and pumper) Rick Philbin talked about managing type 1 diabetes in kids who are very active and involved in sports. His talk Exercise and Busy Kids gave parents some pointers on what to modify with their child's pumping regimen. Rick was also available throughout the conference (by appointment) to discuss individual protocols for athletic pumpers, and many families took advantage of this. Rick is wonderful in his capacity to help these athletes get past some of the hurdles of diabetes management to achieve excellent blood glucose control. Note that Rick also coordinates and authors CWD's Sports Corner, an online resource for athletes with diabetes.

CWD mom and ADA advocacy expert Crystal Jackson presented Pumping In Schools: Making It Work. Crystal initially polled parents in her session and discovered that more than half already had a 504 in place for their child, and yet were still encountering challenges with diabetes management within their school systems. She encouraged families to be proactive and armed with knowledge as they continue to work with teachers and other school personnel. After her session, she was available to discuss specific school system challenges with individual families. Crystal is a wonderful resource for CWD families, and she suggested that parents with current challenges regarding diabetes management in schools should contact the ADA for further assistance and guidance.

In It's Not Just About Insulin Anymore, pharmacist Kim Kelly talked about some of the other pharmaceutical tools used in managing type 1 diabetes. He discussed the increasing number of kids and adults who have Double Diabetes - that is, type 1 diabetes combined with the insulin resistance of type 2 diabetes (often in conjunction with weight gain, lack of exercise, and less healthy food choices). If you did not get an opportunity to hear Dr. Kelly at this conference, make sure you catch this session at the next one! After his presentation, Dr. Kelly then spent the rest of the conference working with his favorite group of kids: the tweeners!

In response to feedback from other conferences, it was important to include some time talking about the emotional challenges of diabetes. No matter whether you are brand new to diabetes or whether you've been dealing with it for 25 years, it exacts an emotional toll… sometimes it's hidden and other times it is evident every minute of every day in everything we do. Scott Scolnick - a family therapist and wonderful resource to CWD - took both a humorous and serious look at this topic in How To Eat An Elephant.

Teen program coordinator Natalie Bellini took time off from her very busy schedule with the teens to present Sunday's beginning general session, Selecting an Infusion Set. Natalie is known at CWD conferences for her no-nonsense (and sometimes very funny) presentation style, and she discussed the pros and cons of all of the infusion sets currently on the market. There are a lot. She also demonstrated how each infusion set works and looks when applied. Most importantly, Natalie stressed the importance of site rotation with infusion sets. This doesn't mean side to side, using the same two spots over and over. It means moving the set to at least several dozen different places on a person's body ... even if you need to use a permanent marker on a belly, leg, or behind to grid it out. Natalie also spent some time meeting with parents of teens on Saturday evening in a one-turned-two-hour discussion called How To Talk To Your Teen.

The teen group numbered about 30 this weekend! Their activities combined a mix of some very serious discussion led by Natalie, Katie Daugherty, and Jim Vail, with some very fun hands-on learning activities. One of the highlights was a group analysis of several huge bags of junk food brought from the local food court by the teen staff. Exactly how many grams of carb, how much fat, and how many calories are there in that big old bag of fries or that 40 oz slushie? The teens were surprised! That, of course, led up to Sunday's outing to - yes - the same food venues at the nearby outdoor mall. Carb-counting by the group definitely improved over the weekend, and the teens demonstrated that they were quite good at this ... particularly with food court goodies! Many thanks to new Teen Staffers Nabil Elarbi and Jeff Schmidt.

On Sunday afternoon, for the last session of the conference, teens Sarah Loebner, Kelsey Martin, Monica Lanning, Maryam Elarbi, and Sam Billetdeaux served as the experts for the session called Beating Pump Anxiety: Meet the Kids. Any question was fair game, and the panel did their best to answer candidly. What's the scariest thing about pumping? What pump do you use? Why? Where do you put your infusion set? What do you wish was different about your pump? What do you do with your pump during sports? Do your parents test your blood sugar in the middle of the night? The teens were very well-spoken, as were the kids and parents in the audience who asked questions!

The tweener group - ages 10-12 - had a wonderful mix of learning and fun both on and off-site. There was a wonderful park just a couple blocks from the hotel that provided great play space as well as the opportunity for discussion about how to manage blood sugars when one is being so active and having so much fun! Tweener Program Coordinators Melissa Ringley and Kim Kelly led a rousing (truly!) game of Diabetes Taboo on Sunday afternoon. You need to see this to believe it - and it is so much fun and so informative… the kids really learn a lot (without recognizing sometimes that this is a learning activity)! Scott Scolnick also spent some time with the tweeners discussing the challenges of being a middle school student, whether you have diabetes or not. The kids did a really nice job of sharing their feelings and taking this interaction seriously.

Both the tweener and elementary groups participated in Scavenger Hunts which had them scouring the hotel and exhibit area - and interviewing CWD and hotel staff - for tidbits of information, some relating to diabetes, some not! This was a very hectic and fun activity for the kids… and the hotel staff shared on Monday morning that this was a lot of fun for them as well. They loved interacting with our children.

The elementary age children, led by Lauren Lanning, Michelle Rago, Gayle Schurig, Brian Foster, Jo Stroud, and Tricia Stewart, enjoyed arts and crafts activities such as making conference picture frames and scrapbooks (including photos of your new CWD friends and autographs of faculty and friends), some very fun active time, free play at the local park, and interactive diabetes games. It was also very fun watching Miss Michelle and Miss Lauren trying to navigate the elementary group's obstacle course! And absolutely best of all - pool time on Saturday and Sunday afternoons!

The youngest conference participants - ages 2-5 - spent Saturday and Sunday with CDE and childcare coordinator Mary Babin and CDEs Linda Cooper and Heather Speer. They joined in many of the activities with the elementary age group, but also spent some quiet time and play time on their own!

While staff and parents did, indeed, fight low blood sugar challenges as a result of lots of active play in the pool and out, it was a great experience for all of us to discuss and handle these challenges together. It encouraged a lot of sharing regarding what works with temporary basals, infusion set adhesive, fast glucose, identifying impending lows ... and somehow the challenges just aren't that discouraging when you face them with friends!

Saturday night, thanks to the generous support of Founding Sponsor Abbott Diabetes Care, all of the conference participants enjoyed a wonderful and healthy Italian dinner (penne pasta, chicken cacciatore, sea bass, grilled veggies, salad, antipasto - yum!) and some well-earned down time. It was a great feeling to just sit and chat with new friends about all the ideas presented during the day. There was so much new information; somehow discussing it with others helped it make sense and sink in! After dinner, the younger kids changed into pj's and brought pillows and blankets downstairs to watch Cars and Peter Pan. A huge thank you to the many parents who volunteered to staff those two movie rooms and make sure that the kids were all ok and enjoying themselves.

The teen group sat together during dinner, and then headed off for an evening of glow bowling at a nearby bowling lanes. The glow bowling - bowling under a black light and set to rock music - was a lot of fun, and the teens came back exhausted at midnight!

CWD dietitian Mike Schurig once again spent months pulling together some great, healthy menus (and portion sizes and carb counts) for all of our meals and snack breaks. Mike even pulled together a wonderful gluten free buffet at each meal and snack time for those who needed them. It always amazes the hotel management and dietary staff that we spend so much time and effort on this particular facet of our conferences ... but it is probably the most important thing that makes families feel safe about spending the weekend at a CWD event. So, kudos to Mike for another job well done. And many thanks to the Marriott for following instructions down to the last letter!

CWD would not be able to hold conferences at all if not for the continued and consistent generosity of our sponsors. Many thanks to our Founding Sponsor for this event, Abbott Diabetes Care, and to the Supporting Sponsors, including Animas Corporation, BD, LifeScan, Medtronic Diabetes, Novo Nordisk, Roche Diagnostics, and Smiths Medical MD, Inc.. Their generosity in supporting the regional conferences and CWD families, as well as their passion for helping our kids and everyone with diabetes to lead a full and healthy life is extraordinary.

Finally, a big hug to the many parents, grandparents, teens, and friends, who helped out with this conference. You know who you are. We couldn't do this without you, and you have our most sincere thanks.

  Children with Diabetes: Focus on Pumping

Kids (and parents) had a wonderful time
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Dr. Bruce Buckingham opened the conference
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Kids were able to try out an insulin pump ...
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... while their parents learned pumping basics from John Walsh
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The CWD Elementary Staff kept the young kids busy and learning
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Teen leaders Jim and Natalie teach carb counting -- for mall food
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Gary Scheiner offered strategies for preventing hypoglycemia
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Green bracelets mean diabetes -- and many kids met others with diabetes for the first time
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Report | Photos: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | Event Announcement

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Last Updated: Saturday March 08, 2008 17:28:50
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