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The road to curing Type 1 Diabetes

From the moment of diagnosis, the road is rough, the learning curve is steep and the stakes are literally life or death. The map is less-than-helpful - paths originating from virtually every corner, coalescing at a center point (aka "diagnosis") and bursting back outwards - some paths cross and wrap around each other but others are isolated. And even with all of these roads, most of the territory is uncharted - how did we all get here and how will we all exit? Where are the obstacles we haven't found yet? Which passage holds the key to unlocking the solution?

On any given day I feel pretty isolated with this disease - I'm the only T1D in my group at work, the only one in mission control, the only one in my family. I go through the logistics of calling insurance companies, ordering supplies, changing sites and troubleshooting malfunctions mostly on my own. Even those pesky carbs really only get counted in my brain, no group think for a meal bolus here. But there is b…
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11 Books to Celebrate Apollo 11

"Twelve, 11, 10, 9, ignition sequence start. Six, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, zero, all engine running. Liftoff! We have a liftoff, 32 minutes past the hour. Liftoff on Apollo 11." - Jack King, NASA's "voice of launch control." He later said he was so excited that he said "engine" instead of "engines."

On July 16, 1969 - exactly 50 years ago today - at 9:32 am three men left Earth on an historic journey to the moon. Two of them reached the surface, 4 days and 250,000 miles later.

Since then hundreds of books have been written documenting the lunar trip, some by the astronauts themselves, others by diehard fans - some intended for the young and others intended for those who watched the mission in real time. I'm here today to present my 11 favorites on this, the Apollo 11 liftoff day! Drop a comment with your favorites!

Buzz Aldrin's Reaching for the Moon
A children's book with beautiful illustrations! I may be a bit biased - I got to meet Buz…

The Planning Shift

I am on the evening shift in mission control for the next few days. It's normally quiet - the astronauts are asleep (they run on Greenwich Mean Time), so our goal is to perform the final schedule verification and uplink any last minute documentation - it's lovingly called "the planning shift". Of course, we always have one eye on the data flowing from ISS to notice, what we engineers refer to as, "out-of-family" trends should they arise. 


I have listened to several astronaut debriefs once they're home safe on earth and one question that inevitably comes up, "Do you feel safe while you're sleeping?" I have never heard any answer but "yes" - they know teams around the world are dedicated to watching over their onboard systems and them 24/7. 
There are so many of us in the diabetes community on the "planning shift" - the quiet, behind the scenes minutia of the disease. 
This is a shout out to the parents of young T1Ds, vig…

How T1D is Like Mission Control: Toughness

This morning I rolled out of bed in a groggy haze - my alarm clock and the baby had gone off at the same time. As I reached for the monitor I heard (and felt) a muffled, "rip." The insulin pump site that had been hanging on by a thread had just ripped clean off my skin, and of course, there were 60 units left in the reservoir. Not to be outdone, just a second later the symphony of morning sounds continued - my insulin pump and phone app were alerting me of a low blood sugar. Par for the course, the wiener dog showed no mercy for my precarious situation - she chimed in with her own whiny chorus.

Toughness.

To many that description of my morning may seem extraordinary, but I'm here to tell you, diabetes doesn't take days off or give you a pass. Somehow it seeks out those moments when you are already weak from life in general and slaps you on the bum with it's two cents.

Toughness.

You see? Those alien worlds of T1D and human spaceflight really aren't all that d…

Type 1 Diabetes - IT life.

Nine years ago (9 years ago?!), I was still waiting for the black-box-doctors at the FAA to clear my Class III medical certificate - a requirement for my then-job flying on experimental Army helicopters. To 'pump' up my diabetes-dejected ego (ha), Dave let me tag along with him for his MH-47G proficiency simulator runs. That tiny taste into helicopter flight dynamics gave me so much appreciation for him - hovering is literally the.hardest.thing, I was tense the entire time and constantly felt like I was one small cyclic movement away from losing control. Even though I knew in the back of my mind we were in a (moving) simulator, my senses got lost in the weight of the flight controls, the movement on the screens, and the hard thumps when I hovered right into the ground.

At the end of the runs I asked him how he has the stamina to pilot this monster of a helicopter for literally 15 hours straight (these special ops versions can mid-air refuel). He sort of laughed, but his answer…

FAQ - But what do you DOOOOO?

I often get asked what I DO at work, other than fly the space station, because, well, I don't do that every day! There are about 30 of us or so that are certified so we rotate the shifts. This scheme gives us a chance to complete all the other tasks in our group. But what are some of those "other tasks" you ask?!?!



This week has been a good example of the variety -

On Monday I evaluated an ADCO trainee during his final simulation. This means I sat next to him and took copious notes about all of his interactions with various other flight control team members. This is one of the more intense "off-console" tasks we have to do. As an ADCO Specialist it is my job to evaluate the trainee using the "Flight Controller Performance Criteria" - basically a set of characteristics that define what a certified ADCO must possess.

On Tuesday I put together a plan for the upcoming SpaceX release and the associated simulations that we will perform leading up to the rel…

#happydiabeticchallenge - Blue Friday

Today is the final day of the MAY you be a #happydiabeticchallenge - Blue Friday! Generally I wear blue on Friday for diabetes awareness, but today as I sent commands to the space station from the backroom I couldn't help but notice that Earth was dressed to the nines in her gorgeous blues! I decided to repost an entry I made from 2014. Happy Friday friends!



I would really quite like, a trip into space, It’s such an adventure, it’s such a neat place. The Earth’s glowing texture, a feast for the eyes, The inky black heavens juxtaposed with sunrise.
The astro-thought hit me, when I was just five, Inspired me to learn, have determination and drive. Before understanding, the pile o’ paperwork, Astronauts, it seems, must be free of all quirks.  
Diabetes was a significant bump in the road, I got mad at the rules, I was going to explode. It was unfair and cruel, that fateful diagnosis, Even when the doctors said, “She has a great prognosis.”
“Why did this happen to me?” I would think, N…
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