62 Years Of Type 1 Diabetes....chapters 14-20

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62 Years Of Type 1 Diabetes....chapters 14-20


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Old 04-17-2008, 23:49   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Kingston, NY
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Diagnosed in 1945

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Default 62 Years Of Type 1 Diabetes....chapters 14-20

CHAPTER 14

This chapter is dedicated to my sons, David and Gary.

David was born in Monroe, NC on Sept. 21, 1966. He was a perfectly normal baby and he had a perfectly normal childhood. Things were a bit different with Gary. We were living in Richmond, VA west of the city in Tuckahoe Village. The village was a housing development that was built in swampy region. Tons of soil had been used to build up the area so houses could be constructed there. Days before Gary was due to be born we had a lot of rain. The roads leading into the village were at a lower level than the village itself. Some of those roads were covered with water several feet deep. The village had become an island. We could not get off our island. We found that there was a doctor in the village who agreed to deliver Gary if it was necessary. We were lucky though, the rains stopped the day before Gary was born and the water was not so deep. We made it to the hospital and Gary was born on Sept.9,1969 No problems after that. We had a few anxious hours before the rain stopped though.

I have been diabetic since age 6 and never thought anything about taking my insulin when the boys were present. It has been so long now that I cannot remember if they were curious about me injecting. They grew up with it and it was just a part of our every day routine. I tested my urine in the bath room and there was no glucometer for my testing my blood sugar until they were in their late teens. So there was very little evidence of me even being diabetic. I was running highs almost all the time and there were rarely any hypos. I must have seemed like a normal daddy with no health problems. In later years I discovered I had been running blood sugar that was much too high so I was not so healthy as I had thought.

When we moved to New York David was 3 and Gary was 11 months old. My birthday is Sept. 10, Gary's is Sept. 9 and David's is Sept. 21. Gary was 3 weeks premature and was almost born on my birthday.

When Gary was preschool age we noticed that he was very bright but there was something wrong and we could not identify it. He was having trouble in school. We took him to a center in Kingston where he was tested. He could not respond to written questions but showed very high intelligence when he responded to questions given orally. We were referred to an expert in learning disabilities. Mrs. R. said that Gary had learning disabilities and she told us she could work with him and enable him to correct these problems. She worked with Gary for two years. He began making better grades in school. When he was in high school he was such a great student that they kept yanking him out of classes and putting him in accelerated classes. He was extremely bright! Mrs. R. really knew what she was doing with Gary. We were so lucky to have the help of such an expert way back in 1976.

When David was very young he wanted to grow up and drive a fire truck. Later on he wanted to be a magician. He put on magic shows for us and his grandparents. He did very well in school and he was also placed in advanced math and science classes. He attended the community college where I taught and thought he wanted to enter the business field, then he wanted to be a doctor. He made B's in both introductory business and biology courses and was discouraged. He then decided that he would major in computers. Finally, that was what I wanted him to do in the first place. Does this sound familiar to anyone? He was an excellent computer student, straight A's all the way. He received his BS in computer science at Marist College in 1987 and then was awarded a research assistantship at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

Gary was much more into math and science than David and majored in engineering and took several computer courses too. He was the only person during his two years at the community college to make A's in general and organic chemistry and physics. He graduated from the community college with a 4.00. We were so proud of both of them. Gary joined David at Georgia Tech in 1989 and he majored in computer engineering. They both earned their MS degrees there.

David worked one year at the Center of Disease Control in Atlanta, in their computer center. Near the end of his first year there he was interviewed by a representative of a new group that eventually became known as webmed.com. He was put in charge of designing and implementing the basic vehicle that we know as webmd.com. He had 9 other computer people working under him.

Gary became an expert in information technology and is working for a pharmecutical research facility in the research triangle in Morrisville, NC. He loves his work.

David married a beautiful Chinese girl and they have a daughter Vanessa now 4 years old and a son Jason, now one year old. They live in Atlanta. They are a very happy family. Thank God that none of my children and grandchildren are diabetic. David is now 41 and Gary is 38. They have beautiful homes and happy lives. Gary is still single.

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When my sons were quite young I wanted to take them out west to see Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, the canyon lands and many other interesting sites. We had a family meeting and I gave my sons a choice of the big vacation that I had explained in detail, or they coluld choose a computer instead. That was the first PC released by Apple, before IBM had released its PC's. My sons had no difficulty deciding. They wanted a computer. We were very short of spare cash and we could not afford both a vacation and a computer. If they had not chosen a computer I wonder if that would have affected their futures. We were saving every bit of money that we could for their college education. Their majors in college were in computers and their lives have revolved around computers ever since. I am happy that I gave them that choice. Rats! I really wanted to go on that vacation.

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CHAPTER 15

After retiring and teaching part time for a few years I was having good blood sugar control with A1c's below 6.0. Doctor B. would walk into his office with a big smile on his face and say, with his heavy Thailand accent, "nondibeetic". He would go over every line of my extensive lab report and discuss anything that needed discussing. He had much blood work done every three months ever since I first became his patient in 1977. Almost everything in the report was good except for a few occasions. My cholesterol was 280+ one visit. I took several meds and finally settled on Zocor. In Nov. 2007 my cholesterol had dropped to 128. I had bad reactions to Mevacor and Questran but Zocor has been very good for me. In the 1990's my kidneys showed some sign of hyperfiltration. I am taking Altace which is primarily intended for lowering blood pressure but it has a side effect of stableizing the hyperfiltration in the kidneys. My kidneys have been great ever since. In early 2007 my blood pressure was 145. I was already taking Altace for my kidneys but it helps with blood pressure too. Instead of increasing my Altace dosage Dr. B. gave me a Rx for water pills. My blood pressure has been good ever since. I test my blood pressure at home too and it is always between 115 and 135. Dr. B. is the only doctor I have had who had extensive testing like this done. All other blood tests have always been great, with one exception. In August of 2002 my PSA count was 4.2. The previous year it was 3.0. This test is to determine the size of the prostate gland. Now 4.2 is a very low number and would not normally be anything to cause concern. Dr. B., however, is very cautious on all matters. He sent me to a urologist who told me I was probably fine but he wanted to do a biopsy just in case. His concern was not the number itself, it was that 4.2 was a 40% increase over the 3.0 from the preceding year. A 40% increase is significant. The biopsy showed I had cancer. After an MRI and other tests it was determined that the cancer was totally contained in the gland. The little cancerous tumors were so small that they did not show up on the X-ray. They were microscopic in size. Dr. B's cautious nature resulted in such an early diagnosis that I did not have to have surgery to remove the gland. That is considered to be major surgery when it is done. I had radiation treatment done in Jan. and Feb. of 2003. On each of 41 visits to radiology I received 6 jolts of high intensity X-rays into my lower abdomen to destroy my cancer. That is a lot of radiation. It worked perfectly but there were very unpleasant side effects that continued for over two years. I developed anemia that lasted almost one year. Iron tablets took care of that problem. Damage was done to my intestines but it was kept under control and when the bleeding in my bowels stopped two years later I was in good shape. I was told that there was an 80% chance that the cancer would never return. To date it has not. I learned that males used to be checked for prostate cancer in their early 60's. In the present day men should be checked by the time they are 40 because prostate cancer has been found in men who are in their 40's.

I still had that 57 pounds of overweight in the early 2000's. I bought a tread mill and started strengthening my leg muscles. After several months I could walk a mile in 20 minutes using a 7.0 incline on the machine. By reducing my daily carb intake to 150 carbs and using the tread mill I managed to lose 26 pounds. I still needed to lose 31 pounds but I felt great and I had to buy new trousers since my waist size was 4 inches smaller. I leveled off and stayed at that weight for several years. I was pleased I was not gaining more weight.

In 2006 I watched a dLife TV broadcast and heard them advertise the dLife website. I joined the support group on dLife on July 4 of that year. I really loved it and I was hooked. I made friends there. Janis Roszler is a moderator for dLife. She is a CDE, a RD and has written three books for diabetics. I enjoyed her comments on dLife and the help she gave the members there. I spent several hours each day posting on that site. I was giving much support and advice. Janis encouraged me to become an ambassador for dLife. There were four of us ambassadors then. We were not moderators but we were the ones most likely to welcome, advise and support the members as needed. By Dec. of that year the other three ambassadors were working hard at their jobs and, since I was retired and had more time, I did almost all the work the four of us had been doing previously. I did too much though and I burned out and sent Janis an email. I was through posting there. I go back there occasionally to visit friends. I missed Janis and so I joined her small diabetes site at DearJanis.com. It is a small but cozy group and I still post there every day.
I wanted to join a new and larger site so I typed "diabetes support forums" on a search engine. The first site listed was dLife and the second was diabetesdaily.com. That was late Jan. of 2007. I had never heard of that second site and I immediately joined. I was so impressed. It had so many wonderful features that I had not seen on other sites. I was really hooked. What a wonderful job David and Elizabeth have done in creating this superb site!!! I feel so fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful group!

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In the early 1980's I was teaching a class in basic Statistics at the community college. All students in the nursing program at the college were required to take the Statistics course. I was the only teacher there with a degree in Statistics so I taught most of the Statistics classes at that time. I taught many nurses through the years. In the summer of 198? I had about 10 nurses in a Statistics class. It was an evening class. I left my office and started my walk to reach my class and I had very blurred vision and I was very dizzy. It seemed to hit me so suddenly. I reached for my container of sugar in my pocket. It was not there. I recognized one of my students in the hall and asked him to go to the classroom and tell them I would be late. I fumbled in my pocket for change to use the candy machine. No change. I had no one dollar bills to use in the machine. I should have gone to my class and asked for help but I was not thinking clearly. I went outside to my car. The parking lot was rather dark and my vision was so bad that I had great difficulty finding my car. I finally found and unlocked the car door. I knew I had a roll of quarters I used for tolls. I grabbed the roll and headed back to the candy machine. It was not in the same building as my class. My hands were shaking and I dropped several coins. My vision was so bad that I had to feel for the coin slot. I managed to get several coins in the slot. I could not read the letters and numbers so I just pushed buttons and pulled knobs until something dropped. I felt something but did not know what it was. I wanted candy but I had a big cookie with some sticky stuff between layers. I gobbled it down and headed to the other building to meet my class. I was about 15 minutes late. I explained what had happened. The nurses were all over me for not asking them to help. A couple of them were perhaps in their late 30's and had been nurses in a local hospital for years. They were at my desk and feeling my pulse and asking me questions. The class started late but I have always bounced back from these hypos wery well. The class was about 2 1/2 hours long but it was Ok that evening.

Two days later I had a terrible hypo during the night and my wife could not get me to eat anything. I was convulsing and she called an ambulance. They were there promptly and gave me a much needed injection. I was hospitalized for two days. One of the nurses from my class waited on me there. Another nurse from my class kept dropping in even though she was on duty in another part of the hospital. That was a weekend and I was back in class Mon. evening. Everyone knew what had happened by the time I got to class. Those nurses took good care of me both in class and at the hospital. That was the only time in my 34 years of teaching that I had such help, or need of help, from my students.

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CHAPTER 16

In 2002 I was in very good shape physically and mentally. I had my A1c under 6.0 and my blood sugar control was the best I had ever seen. I was enjoying part time teaching and flying twice each year to Atlanta to see my sons, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. I had a temporary setback with prostate cancer in 2003 but recovered nicely after the radiation treatment and two years of side effects. I kept up my exercises as well as possible after radiation treatment and I dieted and counted my carbs and kept very careful charts of my diet and control. In late 2004 I felt great. I had lost 26 pounds and had very good control. Cutting down on my daily carb intake and exercising rigorously on my tread mill enabled me to lose that weight. My A1c's remained below 6.0. I taught my last class at the college that year. I felt strong and fit and I was like a fish out of water.

I did a lot of work on my house to keep myself occupied. I painted the whole house, inside and out, replaced some interior doors, remodeled the master bedroom and built a home entertainment center in my oldest son's former bedroom. That is where I sit to type these chapters and post and talk to my friends. By 2006 I had finished my construction work and I was bored again. That is when I started posting on the dLife website. Janis Roszler, the moderator there, is a CDE and a RD and she teaches people all about pumping. She told me, online, that I should consider pumping even though I had good control with injections. Several friends on dLife started encouraging me as well. I liked the idea of only one needle every three days instead of 6-8 daily injections like I was doing then. I liked the freedom and convenience that a pump provides. I wanted to pump so I asked Dr. B. and he said it was not a good idea. He thought it was unnecessary since I already had good control. He told me that several of his diabetic patients had worse control after starting to pump and they had more hypos as well. He would not support me with pumping.

I called an endocrinologist in Poughkeepsie and made an appoitment for Jan. 30, 2007. That was about the time that I had left dLife and joined Diabetes Daily (DD). I made friends there and they too encouraged me to pump and get still better control. The endo approved of my pumping and sent me to get some blood tests required by Medicare. Something about the lab results did not meet the approval of Medicare and they would not finance my pump. I was so disappointed and thought that I would never pump. The pump itself would cost me $6,000+ and the monthly supplies were also too expensive for my budget. The endo's office phoned me the following week and told me that my secondary insurance would cover the cost of the pump and all of the supplies. I was thrilled! The NY State Empire Plan is my secondary health insurance plan. All employees of the state are eligible to have that insurance. While I was employed the college paid all my premiums and the coverage was for my whole family. After retirement the college pays half of my premiums for as long as I live and we pay the other half. It is a great insurance plan.

The lady from the endo's office asked me to pick a color for my pump and the order was sent out. I went to the diabetes education center at a hospital in Poughkeepsie and met my trainer and a dietitian. They gave me a kit containing a manual and a CD and told me to become thoroughly familiar with the Minimed 522 pump befor the pump they had ordered arrived at my home. I had also ordered the book "Pumping Insulin" by John Walsh. It was highly recommended by my friends on the DD website. My friends on DD and on Janis Roszler's site were all cheering me on. The pump arrived in late April and I had one week to have a hands-on experience with it. I started pump training in early May. It went very smoothly but my trainer was old-fashioned and wanted to take it very slowly. She was very sweet and we liked her very much but four different trips for training was not necessary. We made a separate trip to talk with the dietitian about carb counting. The charts I took with me convinced the dietitian that I knew all that I needed to know to start pumping. Another wasted trip. It was all worth it though. I had to cooperate with my endo who insisted on all this training. Her office was in the same building as the diabetes education center. They all work together.

In the last week of May I was pumping saline solution just for practice. That solution put too much salt into my body and I had a lot of water retention. I already took water pills for water retrention. I called my trainer and she said to stop pumping saline. I went in on June 19 to be hooked up with my pump. The endo looked at my charts and read off numbers for my trainer to put into my pump. My basal rates, carb ratios, targets, insulin sensetivity factor, and all the rest. I went home full of enthusiasm and was really looking forward to the next few days. Later that day my blood sugar was over 200 and climbing. My endo did not want me to change anything without her approval. I called her that evening at her home. She had given me several phone numbers. She did not seem to know what to tell me. She had me change a couple of things but it did not help. I decided to take over my own control. Before doing so I disconnected the pump and resumed injections for a few days until good control was reestablished. With my math and statistical background, my 61 years of injections and the good control I already had I should be able to do this by myself. I completely changed all the numbers in my program. After a few days I had much better control. Everything was going much better but I started having trouble with the needles in my Quick sets pulling out of my body. Putting my clothes on and off, rolling over in bed and other such things seemed to cause this problem. I started having very high blood sugar whenever this happened. I tested for Keytones every time my test was 250 or higher. I used injections to get myself back under control before reattaching the pump.

I told my friends on DD my problem and I learned about the Sure-T infusion set. It is made very differently and the needle is very unlikely to pull out of my body. I ordered a new supply of the Sure -T's and have been using them ever since. They are great! My control was much improved and my analysis of my testing from mid July to late August showed control equal to the control I had before pumping. The lab visit I had in the third week of August was only 10 weeks after I had started pumping. I expected the A1c to be very high because of all the high blood sugar I had had during the beginning stages of pumping. I had an A1c of 5.6 before pumping. When I went to Dr. B's office in late August my Aic was 5.7. I was so surprised. The A1c covers the three month period preceeding the lab date. I had poor control with very high numbers during the last 11 days of June and the first 10 days of July but my control was quite good for the rest of July and all of August. The numbers for the first month of the three month period covered by the A1c are not so influential in the A1c result, the numbers during the second month have a greater influence but it is the numbers during the third month that have by far the greatest influence on the A1c result. My numbers were very good for the last 6 weeks of the period covered by my A1c test and that overshadowed the bad numbers preceeding that 6 week period. That is why my A1c was so good.

I was very happy with pumping at that point. I was able to sleep late in the mornings. I could delay meals. I could vary my eating schedules and eat very different types of meals without affecting my blood sugar. Counting the carbs ever so carefully and pumping the insulin that my pump indicated to be the correct amount was working very well. The very rigid schedule that was necessary while still on injections was no longer necessary. I was unnchained and free to live like a more normal person. I had a machine that worked very much like a pancreas and I was ver proud of my pumping experience.

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CHAPTER 17

My previous chapter ended on a very positive note. I was very happy with my pumping but there were problems encountered later on that were very annoying. These problems were not due to pumping though. They were problems that would have occurred even if I was not pumping. Every time the seasons change the temperatures fluctuate and so do my blood sugar levels. Having to deal with this in October and November was difficult. I encountered highs and lows and I had much less control than I had in August. Much of my programming had to be altered until the colder weather of late November when the temperatures were more stable. I tend to need more insulin in colder weather and less in warmer weather. I have read that many diabetics have this problem but apparently there are some who do not have the problem. I imagine that diabetics who live in parts of the country where the temperatures are more stable the whole year do not have a problem with this. Diabetics in the deep south may not notice much difference in insulin dosages throughout the year. A friend in California told me that his dosages remain more constant but then the temperatures there are very stable. The temperatures here in NY can vary as much as 20 degrees Farenheit in a week's time.

In December I started having "no delivery" alarms on my pump. I changed infusion set and the alarms were still there. I called the Minimed hotline and a very young sounding lady talked to me for about 20 minutes. She had me give her a lot of information from my pump's memory and she decided the pump was not at fault. Then she asked what part of my body I was using for my infusion set placement. I had used my upper abdomen from the start. I had also used the same area for injections prior to pumping. I occasionally used my legs when injecting but it was my upper abdomen for many, many years. The young lady told me to start using other suitable body parts and let my upper abdomen rest. She thought I had scar tissue due to overuse of that part of my body. She was right! I started using my lower abdomen below the belt line and I had very fast and thorough absorption. No more alarms. I was amazed that a young lady who sounded like she might be in her teens could solve my problem so quickly.

There were still problems. The absorption was so fast that I had to change my programming on my pump again to combat the low blood sugar I was having. I had many lows in the 30-60 range for several weeks until I got the feel for the new absorption rates. I was using less insulin. It was not until February of 2008 that I had everything under control. That month was the best I had experienced since I started pumping. My average blood sugar for that month was 88 and my standard deviation was 27. That is a bigger standard deviation than I wanted but I have plenty of time for tweaking. I rarely have a high above 140 now. The discovery of my scar tissue has helped me very much.

I have decided that many of the big jumps from high to low blood sugar for perhaps fourty or more years prior to pumping were due to uneven absorption and scar tissue. No doctor ever told me that I should rotate my sites and use different body parts to prevent scar tissue from forming. I remember very clearly all those times it was difficult to insert the needles into my abdomen. The skin was tough from scar tissue, I am convinced of that. There were times when I hit soft tissue and other times when it was hard. I had never heard of scar tissue being a problem for diabetics. Why didn't a doctor ever tell me to rotate my sites? Even Dr. B. had never mentioned this. Did he assume I knew? He acted so surprised when I told him that I had this problem. It seemed as though he had never heard of this happening. I know that many diabetics have lots of ups and downs in their blood sugar levels, and many of them for unexplainable reasons. This may very well be due to scar tissue developed because of using the same region on thetr bodies for an extended period of time. Rotation of sites on a regular basis will prevent this from happening. Absorption will be complete and more even. This can prevent many highs from occurring when the insulin is trapped in an area affected by scar tissue and then, much too slowly, reaching the blood stream.

There have been many things that my doctors should have known but did not tell me during my 62 years as a diabetic. In chapter 2 I mentioned that a low carb diet was used to help diabetics even before insulin was discovered and sold. It was therefore known in the early 1920's that a low carb diet was helpful to diabetics. So why didn't my doctor in 1945, when I was diagnosed, tell my parents that I should eat a low carb diet? Why were they told that I should not eat sugar and then never mention carbs? None of my four doctors during my first 35 or so years as a diabetic ever mentioned carbs to me. Did they not know anything about this? I eventually learned about the importance of carb counting in an article in a magazine. I mentioned this to Dr. B. and he looked at me with such a puzzled expression when he realized that I did not know about the effect of carbs on my blood sugar levels. He assumed I already knew. Perhaps some of my previous doctors made the same assumption. I think every doctor who has diabetic patients should hand out a pamphlet containing important facts about the proper care and treatment of diabetes. All diabetic patients should receive this pamphlet even if they have been diabetic for many years. I found out about carb counting in the 1980's but the foundation for this knowledge existed in the early 1920's. Why did I have to wait 35 or more years to gain this knowledge? If I had known during my early years I could have avoided much of my high blood sugar. I am so fortunate that I have not developed serious complications but what about all the diabetics who did develop terrible problems with their eyes and kidneys? How about the ones who had heart attacks, strokes and amputations because they did not know they were supposed to eat a low carb diet? I am sorry if I am using my blog to rant about this but it is something that has bothered me very much since the early 1980's when I discovered that counting carbs is so important. All this has occupied my mind and caused me much frustration for over twenty years. This is the first time I have written or talked about this to anyone. Thanks for listening!!!

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I want to take time out to brag on my wonderful daughter-in-law. She was born in Tientsin, China. She lived there with her parents and brother and went to a Chinese university. She majored in engineering. When she finished four years at the university she was allowed to go to the USA to continue her education. She was an excellent student at the Chinese university. She had to be very good to be allowed to go to the USA for graduate work. It is my understanding that only the upper 10% of those graduating from college in China were permitted to continue in our country. She attended Oklahoma State and majored in business administration. She had studied English in China. She arrived in the USA late and had already missed classes the year she arived. She was an engineering student in China and business administration was a completely new field of study, so she was in a different country, speaking a different language and majoring in a different disclipine. She was a super student! Nothing was going to stop this young lady. She earned her masters degree and interviewed for a job with a company that had an opening in Atlanta. A former aquaintance of David, my son, knew her in Oklahoma and asked him to meet her and help her when she arrived in Atlanta. He did so and they started dating. He brought her to our home for Christmas in 1999. She did not speak English very well but understood most of what she heard. We played a lot of monopoly while she was here. That seemed to help her relax. We were all together and got to know her that way. She was so thrilled by the ornaments on our Christmas tree. We gave her several of them. She and David were married on her birthday in April of 2001. The wedding was wonderful. We met her parents at the wedding. They were wonderful people. They did not speak English. Her mother came to Atlanta before the birth of their first child, Vanessa, in June, 2003. She stayed at their home for two years and was so much help to them. My son loves his mother-in-law. She might not speak English but they get along so well. She returned to China when Vanessa was two. Now they are back in Atlanta since Jason, my grandson. was born in March, 2007. They will probably be there for a year or more to help like they did with Vanessa. My son and his wife are so grateful to them for their help. My daughter-in-law is so precious! She is a wonderful wife to my son and mother to our grandchildren. We are so proud of her!!

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CHAPTER 18

When I was in my early 30's I worked so hard on the house we bought in NY. It was a fixer-upper and we got it cheap but the mortgage payments were still very hard to make. I was pulling a cedar post out of the ground one day and I did not realize that almost three feet of it were buried beneath the ground's surface. The ground was soft so I thought I could do it. I pulled too hard though and I heard something pop in my chest and there was a sharp pain. That scared me and I went to the ER and my heart was in great shape. They could not diagnose the problem. My chest hurt for weeks. Ever since that day I am rather restricted in what I can do. I cannot do any activity that stretches my pectoral muscle that stretches across my chest. I think that muscle was partially torn when I was tugging on that post. I cannot carry more than 50 pounds, lift weights or even hug my wife very hard without causing that muscle to hurt for days.

In my late 40's I began having pain in my arms and hands. I went to a neurologist and he had me report to the hospital for an EMG test. No one locally performed an EMG back then so someone from the Albany Medical Center, 50 miles away, came to Kingston one day per week to give EMG's at the hospital. As a result of the EMG I was told that I did not have carpal tunnel even though the doctor thought that was my problem. Then I was given a body scan after receiving a shot of radioactive fluid. The scan showed arthritis in my arms, legs, back and neck. An arthritis specialist told me that my arthritis was probably due to my diabetes. Diabetics are more likely that nondiabetics to have arthritis. The only thing that really concerned me was the intense pain in my hands and lower arms. A couple of years passed and I went to a second neurologist and the results were the same. The same fellow from Albany gave me the EMG and I was again told I had no carpal tunnel problem. About five years later I saw a third neurologist and that time a member of their staff gave me the EMG. She said I had a bad carpal tunnel problem and I had had it at the time that the other EMG's had been given. The fellow from Albany had not properly administered the test or his equiptment was defective. I was also diagnosed with ulnar nerve damage too. I had carpal tunnel surgery on my right wrist and the following year I had ulnar nerve transposition surgery. I was told by the surgeon that the nerve damage was so advanced that the surgeries would keep the damage from getting any worse but it would not reverse the damage already done. He was right. I have had pain for the ensuing years but it has not become significantly worse. I asked the surgeon if the nerve damage in my arms was possibly due to diabetes. He said it was possible but there was no way of knowing. Many things can cause carpal tunnel problems and other nerve damage. Diabetics are more prone to have nerve damage than nondiabetics.

I had cataracts removed from both eyes when I was in my 50's. I was also diagnosed with retinopathy then as well. The retinopathy shows up in little patches but then disappears in a few weeks. I have not needed laser treatment for that but I may in the future if it gets worse. I have breaks in some of the blood vessels in one eye at the present time. My eye doctor says that is probably due to my diabetes. It can not be treated by laser surgery because of its location. It will require conventional surgery. The doctor said I could wait until it gives me more of a problem with my eyesight. It is like looking through a wet pane of glass but it only bothers me when I am reading or doing close work. I have waited a year and it isn't any worse. These problems are almost certainly due to diabetes. Even cataracts are more likely among diabetics.

I was diagnosed with gout in May of 2007. The medicine prescribed for inflammation caused me to have very high blood sugar for several days. I stopped the medicine but continued taking the other medicine that reduces the level of uric acid in my joints. My blood sugar returned to normal and I am not having any pain from gout now. Excessive uric acid in the joints is what causes gout. I have experienced gout in my big toe and the heel of my right foot. No other joints have been affected thus far. Gout is more likely among diabetics.

So I have arthritis, carpal tunnel and ulnar nerve damage, cataracts removed, mild retinopathy, broken blood vessels in one eye and gout. I also have neuropathy in my left foot and nerve damage in my ears. The neuropathy was quite bad and kept me up at night until I got very good control of my blood sugar. Pumping tightened my control even more and I rarely have any neuropathy pain now. I have partial hearing loss due to the nerve damage in my ears but I am not using hearing aids. It isn't that bad yet. All the problems mentioned here, except for the muscle damage in my chest, are possibly due to diabetes. None of them, however, are all that bad. I can do almost anything I want to do, but with limitations. My arms may be somewhat weak but my legs are strong with a lot of muscle. I can walk 3 miles in one hour on roads with a lot of hills. That is my favorite exercise.

I have stated many times that after 62 years of diabetes I am very healthy and I have only minor complications. I have here discussesd my minor complications. I truly feel I am blessed and that I have very good health. There are very many nondiabetics who have health problems much worse than mine. I feel that my working so hard to have good diabetes control has kept me in very good physical condition. I therefore feel that diabetes may very well be partially responsible for my good health. Some people tell me that it is due to me having good genes. Maybe that is part of the explanation but I think all my hard work has been equally important in keeping me very healthy.

***************************************

I taught at a NY state community college and my pension is paid by NY state. My secondary health insurance plan is the NY State Empire Plan. Medicare is my primary health insurance but there are so many things that it does not cover. Medicare would not cover my pump and some of the supplies and it does not cover my prescribed medicines. It helps in the reduction of prices of doctor's office visits and hospital visits but Empire covered the pump, most of the supplies, the medicines and , in short, everything that Medicare does not cover. School teachers may not have great salaries but the fringe benefits here in NY state are great. There is a very big down side to the Empire Plan though. We must visit doctors and hospitals and labs that are participating in the plan in order to be covered in full. Outside of NY we are not covered in this way. The doctors and hospitals are not participants of the Empire Plan outside of NY state. That means we have to stay in NY for the rest of our lives to be able to afford our medical expenses. Our children and grandchildren live in Georgia and North Carolina. We are stuck in NY. We fly to Atlanta twice each year to see our loved ones. Our other son drives from Raleigh to Atlanta to be with us. It is expensive for us to fly and getting through the airports is hard on us. It would take almost 20 hours on the road to drive to Atlanta. We will not drive there anymore. We do not know how much longer we can make the flights. This is not fair!!! We see them on Webcam but that is a very poor replacement for being there. So whose idea was it to send my sons to Georgia Tech for graduate work? IT WAS MY IDEA! DOH!!! They loved the south and stayed there. They have wonderful jobs and we are so proud of them but we do not get to see them very often. I could have had them apply to northern colleges. The southern colleges are much less expensive and the state colleges are even more reasonable. Georgia Tech is highly ranked in computer education so that is where we sent our sons in order to be able to afford their educational expenses. I am afraid our grandkids will hardly know us when they are grown. This is one of my biggest regrets in my present day life.

################################################## ################################################## ####

CHAPTER 19

Anita and I have been married for 43 years. I was diabetic for 18 years before we were married. She was only 20 then and knew nothing about diabetes. I rarely had hypos back then. I did not know about carb counting, there were no glucose monitors and there was no advise given by my doctors. When I became more educated about diabetes, I knew about carb counting and I had a doctor who knew a lot about diabetes. I started using tight control. I had hypos! I probably had two per week back then and about four per year when my control improved. When the hypos started in the early 70's my wife was very good about it! She did a great job!!! I praised her every time she brought me out of a hypo. She devoted most of her time to our two sons. Many years later the boys were in high school and they demanded very little of her time. She was a stay at home Mom and she had a lot of time on her hands. The boys went off to college and so I was the center of her attention!!! She became a chronic worrier about so many things, including my hypos, which were not so frequent at that time. She would stuff me with glucose tabs when I had a hypo at night until I began to come out of it. She usually fed me 10-15 tabs before I awoke. My BGL a few hours later was 300+. I could not talk her into using the 15/15 rule. I needed only 4 tabs most times. We argued but she refused to give in. She continued doing this. She is an extremely nervous person, especially concerning my diabetes even though I have very good control now. She wants me to test every 2 hrs. including nights. Once every hour when we are out and about traveling, shopping, etc. Every time I turn over at night she wakes me up and wants to know if I'm OK. I love her to pieces but she drives me crazy!!! I lie to her when I test and she is not watching. If I am 70, I say I'm 90. She worries needlessly if I am under 80, even during the daytime.

My wife did start to become overprotective after the kids left home. They have been gone for 18 years now. They live in NC and GA and we are in NY. We only see them twice per year. My wife heaps all her mothering on me. I have realized that for some time now but there is nothing we can do about it. Our marriage is wonderful and I understand she cannot help being this way. Is it possible to be loved too much? HA!

I started pump training in May of 2007. My wife attended all the training sessions with me. She actually said that she thought that I would do much better and she would not have to worry so much. It was a dream come true to hear her say that! The very next night after she said those words I had a rather bad hypo. It was the first one since Jan. 5 of that year. She still seemed rather optimistic though. I was encouraged about pumping and her optimism. Now I have been pumping for 10 months and I have not had any hypos that required her help since June, 2007. So why is she still worrying as much ever??? I still have to test every two hours, I still lie when I have a test below 80 and nothing has changed despite the fact that my control is very, very good with no hypos that require her help. Her worrisome ways will never end. I am convinced of that.

After retiring I wanted to travel and see more of our country and Canada. I wanted to visit the UK and other European countries. Anita hates travel and loves staying at home. She even hates flying to Atlanta to see our kids and grandkids but she loves the visit once we get there. I want to travel alone. I am very confident that I would be perfectly safe in doing so. Anita says she will not allow this! If I go she will go with me even though she does not want to do so. I can not enjoy a vacation with her with me because I would know she was not enjoying herself. We would both be miserable. I am destined to stay at home. I hate this situation. I can tolerate her mothering me and worrying about me but I want to travel. I worked hard for 34 years and we have a nice savings that would permit the travel. The only solution I can come up with is running away from home. I would stay away for a few weeks and call her three or four times per day. She would eventually forgive me. She would be at home with her three cats, where she wants to be. She would be very angry but she would understand, or would she? I have been planning this escape for several years. So why don't I do it? I don't do it because I love her so much and I don't want her to worry and lose sleep at night while I am away. I dream about this frequently. What would you do if you had this problem? It is not fair to me if I stay at home to make her happy and it is not fair to her if I take her along or run away on these dream vacations. We are getting older and I have to make up my mind how I am going to handle this. <sigh>

################################################## #######################################

CHAPTER 20

Many people who know me are of the opinion that I have broken a record and they have not heard of anyone having diabetes so long and having no serious complications. There are many diabetics who have had diabetes much longer than me. See their stories below.

Bob and Gerald Cleveland (combined) look back on 154 years of Type 1 diabetes. See the story below:
http://www.diabeteshealth.com/read/2....html#comments

Gladys C. Lester Dull was diagnosed with Type 1 in 1924 , just three years after the discovery of insulin. She is believed to be the longest living person with diabetes. Here is her story:
After All These Years: 83 Years of Living Well With Diabetes: Gladys C. Lester Dull - Diabetes Health

The Joslin Diabetes Center is located in Boston. They offer a medalist program for diabetcs who have been diabetic for 25, 50 and 75 years. See below:
Joslin Diabetes Center | Giving to Joslin

I have never been interested in a medal even though I have had diabetes for 62 years and thus qualify for the 50 year award. My reward is my good health and my great life, with only a few very minor complications. That is the only reward I will ever need.

I have not let any of my diabetes problems slow me down very much. I enjoy life to the fullest and never get depressed or stressed about my diabetes. I am a very humble, laid back easy going fellow and the lack of stress in my life has aided me very much in getting good control of my diabetes.

In my earlier years I was not very good about looking for information about diabetes. I depended on my doctors to tell me what I needed to know. I assumed they always told me everything I needed to know. Of course there was very little knowledge and information about diabetes in the 1940's when I was diagnosed. This was still true in the 1950's, and to a large degree, in the 1960's. I coasted along and did no research in the libraries in the colleges where I taught. I never asked my doctors if there were books involving diabetes that I could read. If I had read available material in the early years I would have known that I should have followed a low carb diet. That could have given me much better control and I might have avoided so many years of terribly high blood sugar that led to the several complications I developed in later years. Those complications have all been minor but they have caused me some handicaps and much concern.

I acquired the habit of putting things off. I could have used a glucose meter a few years sooner than I did. Dr. B. suggested that I use one but I was comfortable with my urine testing and I resisted change. I had good health, I had no serious complications and I tested my urine and I did not see the need for finger sticks and testing my blood. After I started using a meter I felt like a fool for not starting sooner. Soon after insulin pumps became available Dr. B. suggested that I pump insulin. I was running a lot of highs and lows back then and a pump would really have helped me. But I was too stubborn and I refused. My body was so accustomed to running high blood sugar that I felt good and I did not feel the need for pumping. Since I had so many highs I rarely had hypos. If I had a lot of hypos and felt sick with highs I would have agreed to pumping. When computers and the internet became available I started researching diabetes and I joined diabetic support groups. I became convinced that I should pump even though I had good control with my injections at that time. Because of my good control Dr. B. would not support my pumping. I had to consult another doctor and I started pumping in June, 2007. If I had not been so stubborn I could have started to pump insulin at least 15 years earlier. Why did I put off making these changes that would have greatly improved my life and my health? I was very stubborn, content with my life as it was and I did not realize how much better it could be.

I hope that those of you who read my story do not make the mistakes that I did. If you are having reasonably good control of your diabetes don't assume that you should ignore newly developed technology, new medicines, pumping and the like. Research these things, ask your doctor(s) about them and ask the experienced diabetics online about them. Take advantage of new developments and don't put things off when they can give you better control and a better life without serious complications that might otherwise occur. I have only minor complications with my diabetes but any one of them could mushroom and give me major problems in the years to come.

Research has suggested that my having had Type 1 diabetes for 62 years without serious complications may be due to my having good genes. My doctors have stated that they have no idea why I have been so fortunate. I have my own theory. In my first chapter I mentioned that I had measles, chickenpox and mumps within a short span of time and the symptoms of my diabetes appeared shortly after those illnesses. I am convinced that these diseases attacked my 5 year old body and caused my pancreas to stop producing insulin. I feel that was the cause of my diabetes. Perhaps diabetes developed in some way other than through the genes from a relative with Type 1 is less likely to be associated with the complications that so many diabetics experience. This is just my own theory and I have no foundation for it. It is just my gut feeling. I used to have a doctor who said I had "something like diabetes" but not like conventional diabetes. I think that might be true. My Type 1 diabetes has been very different, in many ways, from the Type 1 diabetes that I have read about and heard about from so many other diabetics.

I am blessed to have had a very wonderful and, in my opinion, very healthy life for 68 years. I am thankful for my wonderful family and I thank God for the fact that no other member of my family is diabetic.

The lines on ny face clearly show my age,
So take heed and listen to this old sage,
Don't spend your life like a bird in a cage,
Live large, take care of yourselves, that's the rage!

I hope you have learned from this old critter,
I ain't no prize but I never was a quitter!
Diabetic all these years but I'm not bitter,
I love my life and my wife and I couldn't be fitter.

****************************************
I had insulin injections for 61 years. I started pumping insulin on 6/19/07. I have told friends that I intend to pump insulin for 61 years. Since I was 6 when diagnosed that will make me 6 + 61 + 61 = 128 yeras old on Sept. 10, 2067. I plan to have a whale of a birthday party on that date. You are all invited!!! Now, who is going to host the party??? LOL!

***************************************

I want to thank all of you who have read my story, or parts of it. I appreciate the comments that you have made.

thanda, JT. and silvertiger like this.

Last edited by Richard157; 04-18-2008 at 01:59.
Richard157 is offline  
Old 12-23-2008, 04:12   #2
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 3


Default Thank you Richard

Wow, what an amazing story. It was truly inspirational. I was captivated by the reality of the wonderful life you have lead with diabetes for the past 62 years! I was amazed that my grandmother has been diabetic for over 35 years with minor (but a little more) complications than yours. She was not educated about diabetes like she is today until my diagnosis in 1999.

Congratulations on leading such a great life! I hope that I might be able to attain such great blood sugar control and amazing A1Cs (they seem impossible to decrease!) as you have had!

Thank you very much for sharing this story to the world.

JR023 is offline  
Old 04-07-2009, 08:22   #3
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 6


Default

i am amazed to see that there is someone who has been a diabetic for such a long time. it really makes me shocked.

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