This past weekend I attended the EPIC Diabetes Conference. And although it was good, that word EPIC sort of oversold it. But, notice EPIC is in all caps. EPIC is actually an acronym for Encouraging Patients for Individual Care. I’m not even totally sure what that means, but whatever. They wanted to use the word EPIC and they made it work.
I thought it was going to be the same thing as the awesome Type 1 Nation that my friend Tanya Conovoloff (of JDRF) curates that I’ve gone to in Dallas for the last several years. This EPIC conference, however, was geared for both Type 1s and Type 2s and their families. I think it would have been better if they had two separate events, since the challenges and treatments of the two are so different. Anyone with T1 knows this is a thing. This lumping together T1 and T2, the fact that they’re both called diabetes, urgh. I am not alone in wishing that would change.
There were two morning sessions and then one more after a lunch break. Probably the best thing was saved for the end of the day when Dr. Ed Damiano spoke about the Bionic Pancreas (called the iLet, get it?!) that his company, Beta Bionics is working on.
Like he said, it’s not a cure, but it’s a great thing that is on the horizon for real in the very near future. No matter when you were diagnosed with Type 1, you were likely told there would be a cure within 5 or 10 years. It wasn’t true when I was told that 23 years ago, and it’s probably not true now either. So I’m always interested to hear about what is true and real, not some overly hopeful lie about how close they are to finding a CURE. This closed loop idea is pretty cool. And it’s REAL.
There seemed to be more Type 1s than Type 2s at the conference. I think everyone I actually talked to (actually just a handful of people tho) was either a Type 1 or the parent of a Type 1. Maybe next year, we’ll get our own conference and we can have sessions that are more specific to what we care about. And the T2s can have their own thing too, for the same reasons. I doubt they were be all that jazzed about a Bionic Pancreas, as we were.
It was a great event for someone newly diagnosed, for sure. A lot of basic 101 information. And for me, it was a nice way to meet some people in a new town. And to find out a little about some endocrinologists around here. Maybe not EPIC, but most definitely with the $10 it cost to go.