First Queensland family gets access to CGM

The first Queensland family to access government-funded Continuous Glucose Monitoring products says the Turnbull Government program will change their lives.

‘I’m just fabulous,” said Angela Grant, mother of four children including her youngest, Abby, now 12, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 19 months old. “This announcement is a game-changer for us.”

The plucky mum made the decision to get CGM for Abby, regardless of the cost, in the middle of last year when high school was looming. The transition to secondary school would mean Abby was less monitored in a bigger atmosphere at a time hormonal changes would affect her blood glucose levels.

Using CGM would also mean Abby wouldn’t have to set herself apart by finger-pricking in front of her friends.

Continuous glucose monitors are small wearable devices that can sound alarms and send warnings if glucose levels are getting too low or too high. The devices reduce the number of daily finger prick checks. They are most often used in conjunction with an insulin pump, which routinely delivers insulin.

“The CGM announcement means I won’t have to keep going into debt to keep my daughter safe,” Angela said in an emotional interview on Wednesday.

“When they announced it on April 1 I was worried it was an April Fool’s Day joke.

“I texted my diabetes educator to ask her if it was genuine. She rang me back, I was crying, and she sent me the CGM form that Saturday afternoon.

“I emailed the form to NDSS on Sunday morning and got a read receipt from them Sunday afternoon.

“My pharmacy rang me on Monday to say I could choose my funded CGM products as they were now available from the NDSS dropdown menu.

“I picked up the products Wednesday morning. Even the pharmacist at the chemist was happy. They all know what this means for us.”

The reality is that Angela can stop drawing down on the mortgage of the family’s Kedron home and will not have to go further into debt on her credit card to buy her daughter’s CGM products.

“It doesn’t mean a holiday for us. I don’t think like that. It means that I’ll have the basic means for my kids. All I want to do is be able to give them what they need to be the best they can be,” Angela said.

“I’ve been a member of Diabetes Queensland since Abby was diagnosed. I want to thank you and everyone sitting around you for getting this to happen. It will make a world of difference to us.”

Angela became a single mother when her husband left the family when Abby was five.

In the first year or so after diagnosis, Abby was in out and of hospital, averaging about one week every month in the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane. The difficulties with three other young children under six at home are hard to quantify.

“I’m Abby’s sole carer, 24/7. There’s no one besides me to care for her,” Angela said.

“There have been times I’ve vomited because of sleep deprivation, and parents with a child with type 1 diabetes know what I’m talking about.”

Angela said despite the unrelenting demands of Abby’s condition, she has three rules for her children.

“The first rule is to be happy, the second is they have to be kids, and the third is to let me worry about the adult issues.

“They know how to test Abby’s blood, but they are not her carers. They’re her brothers and sister.”

The Turnbull Government’s announcement on Saturday means that Angela’s worries just got significantly lighter.