The Kane Family

When their 8 month old daughter was diagnosed with diabetes, Brad and Nicole Kane were told an insulin pump wasn’t an option. Cadence was the second youngest child to be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in Alberta at the time, and her healthcare team didn’t know how to treat her tiny body. Both chiropractors, Brad and Nicole had some previous knowledge of diabetes, but Cadence’s diagnosis urged them to research and advocate for the best possible care for their little girl.

“Understanding diabetes is very different than managing it,” says Brad. “We thought we had an advantage because of our health background, but that wasn’t the case. As parents you have to step up, and that’s what we did.”

It was 2007 when Cadence suddenly got sick, and Nicole sensed something was very wrong.

“Mom-tuition is the next super power,” says Brad. “She was very insistent that it was not the flu.”

En route to the hospital the following day, Cadence was in and out of consciousness and fell into a coma by the time they arrived. “There were 10 – 12 doctors and nurses trying to save her,” says Brad. “She was literally seconds from death.” Four days later, Cadence woke from the coma, bruised from injections.

“They didn’t know how to treat a child who was breastfeeding. Everything from crying to diaper rash affected her glucose levels,” says Nicole. “Every step was a shot in the dark.”

Back home, Nicole spent traumatizing days trying to figure out what would work for Cadence. They were testing her glucose levels 15 – 20 times a day, and learning to interpret symptoms of Cadence’s highs and lows through her moods and behaviour. They eventually taught her baby sign language to help communicate.

With a total daily dose of only 3 – 4 units of insulin, Nicole struggled to administer small enough doses. And naturally, Cadence was resisting the shots. “For a while, Nicole cried every time she gave Cadence a needle. It was awful. Life became more about Cadence having diabetes, instead of her being a baby and us enjoying that stage of her life.”

Desperate to find answers quickly, Brad went online to find support and treatment options. “Through the online community, I discovered insulin pumps and Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM),” he says. “Pumps seemed to be the best option available for children on really small doses. For us, the pump was a necessity.”

“After meeting with representatives from all the different pump companies, we went with Animas and we’d never go back.”

Knowing there was no provincial health coverage available for insulin pumps at the time, Brad and Nicole knew they’d be paying for the device out of pocket. They interviewed a representative from every insulin pump company in the market. The ability to administer tiny doses was a top priority. They also looked at functionality, accuracy, how the menus and buttons work, whether the device was waterproof, and the availability and accuracy of CGM with each pump. They liked the colour screen on the Animas® pump, and knew the food menu would be helpful for Cadence’s grandparent. In the end, Brad says their decision came down to customer service.

“The way we were treated by the Animas® rep was incredible. He was warm and helpful. He brought us so much hope. He wasn’t trying to sell a pump, he was trying to help us,” says Brad. “After meeting with representatives from all the different pump companies, we went with Animas and we’d never go back.”

When Cadence started on the Animas® 2020, she was 13 months old and one of the youngest to ever use the pump. A few years later, they learned about the OneTouch Ping® insulin pump and meter-remote. “The meter-remote on the OneTouch Ping® was a revelation,” says Nicole. “I could dose Cadence without interrupting her play.”

They also purchased a Dexcom continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system. Between the pump and CGM, Cadence was finally getting stable blood glucose levels in the single digits.

Now eight, Cadence and her family reach out to other families who have kids with diabetes, and encourage parents to do research of their own when making decisions for their health.

“At minimum, our research let us know that there were other parents out there going through this too.”