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I was seventeen. The MD couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. He thought I had an allergy. I was losing weight rapidly. I dreamt of ice cold water dripping from a glacier into waiting glass. I couldn’t get enough to drink and ice cold cokes were my mainstay. This was 1957. There were no diet cokes. I was taking in a lot of sugar.

Finally, I decided to research the symptoms myself. I checked out a book at the library. It didn’t take much reading to pinpoint my problem. I had diabetes mellitus. I told my parents and they called the doctor. He asked to see me on a Saturday. For the first time ever, he did an Ames Clinitest on my urine sample and it turned bright orange. It was now confirmed. He told my father this was the first time I had tested positive. It was a lie. He had never tested my urine before. He had treated me as an allergy case for months.

The first thirteen years of my diabetes I did nothing very special to control it. My mother never bothered with the Exchange System while I was living and home and I didn’t have time to think of such things while working and going to college. I avoided things that were sweet, but never thought about counting carbohydrates. That wouldn’t happen until decades later. I just shot myself up with NPH pork Insulin (usually one injection of 40 units per day). My urine samples were all over the map. There was no home blood glucose sampling then. While still in college, I was hospitalized for a serious hypoglycemic reaction in 1963.

After I got married my life settled down and control of my diabetes improved. There was one more case of hypoglycemic hospitalization in 1972. It would be the last. My wife and I attended classes in controlling diabetes and in the risks of having diabetic children. We did not get much encouragement but went ahead and had two sons. Now in their thirties, they may have escaped the disease.

Meanwhile my life went on without any deterioration in my appearance, weight or energy. Except for doctors and my closest associates, no one knew I was diabetic and I kept it that way. I was on the path to becoming corporate executive at Boeing. To my knowledge, I was never discriminated against due to my illness during my thirty years with the company. I felt charmed I had such a tolerant employer.

At the time of my retirement in 1995, I was on Humalog, taking about five units before each meal. I used 15 units of NPH as my basal insulin. I was still not counting carbohydrates, although was careful about what I ate and exercised. My A1C’s were in the low sixes.

My insulin Intake--In 2003 I started I started using Lantus as my basal insulin. It was a real improvement over NPH, almost eliminating night-time lows. Today I normally inject 6 or 7 units of Humalog before breakfast, about 4 or 5 units at lunch time and about 2 or 3 units before dinner. The amount varies based upon my estimate of carbohydrates, which normally total around 150 per day. Eleven units of Levantus is my basal shot taken around 9 pm. I try and operate as if I were using an insulin pump, calculating my bolus when I eat. I carry a 3.0 ml cartridge of Humalog and a syringe in my pocket. My most recent A1C was 5.9.


My Formula—As a minimum, I test my blood sugar before each meal and about 2 hours afterwards. I give myself a touch-up shot of Humalog if over 150 mg/dl. One unit will lower me 50 points in two hours. If, say, I am 70 mg/dl, then I may need to add carbohydrates. Ten carbohydrates will raise me 30 points within an hour. So my formula is one unit of fast-acting insulin to lower me 50 points and 10 carbohydrates to raise me 30 points. Every insulin-dependent diabetic needs to discover what his or her formula is.

Loss of Hypoglycemic Awareness—This is one of the worst effects of long-term insulin dependency. For instance, yesterday I tested 36 dl/mg and felt none of the trembling and edginess I would have experienced only ten years ago. For this reason, I have to test myself frequently—up to 13 times a day. It means packing a glucose monitor with me at all times and occasionaly setting my alarm at night to awaken me for a test.

I am 5’8” and have weighted 147-150 lbs. during the 55 years I have been a Type 1 diabetic.
Until about three years ago I was fairly active, hiking, fishing and going to the gym about three times a week. Due to life style changes, I now just go to the gym (about an hour each visit, three times a week). I have never enjoyed the gym much. I think it like medicine. I would prefer to be hiking, but that doesn’t fit in easily to my daily routine.

After more than 55 years with the disease I am living in Mexico and showing some effects of autonomic and peripheral nerve damage. For this condition, I take 600 mg of Gabapentina daily to mask the pain. It seems pretty effective. Also I take 1200 mg daily of Thiotacid, a product made by Bayer in Germany that may resemble Alpha Lipoic Acid in the USA. This pill is to reverse the damage to my nerves. I have been taking this pill for about six months. The jury is still out on its efficacy.

I’d be happy to share knowledge I have gained over the years.
 

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Welcome aboard! Always good to hear from an old hand . . . seems you've done this all pretty much on your own - can you believe your doc lying to your dad about it? <shakes head>

Make yourself at home here - we have some other long-time vets of the diabetes wars & y'all oughta have some big war stories to share!
 

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Welcome to the forum. You have a very amazing story. Your childhood Doctor had a lot of nerve lying to your Dad.

Have you ever heard about the "DPN cocktail" for nerve damage? If you would be interested in reading about it, this is an informative link.

Neuropathy Treatment « Diabetes Support Information Exchange

I hope you will visit often.
 

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Good to have you here, Dmex - I love hearing people's stories, and you have quite a history with diabetes alright. You've navigated it incredibly well, and in the dark compared to the tools we have today.

Thanks for sharing something of your journey.
 

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Welcome. I'm new here too, but there are a lot of smarter people here than me, and I have learned a lot in short while. I'm sure you have plenty of good things to share as well. While I have only been at D for 21 years, your story sounds a lot like mine. I started counting carbs about 10 years ago after a friend loaned me Dr. Bernstein's book. I have gotten pretty good at eating a lot of carbs, usually over 150/day, but still managing bg pretty well, with A1c's in low six's, with an occaisional 5.9. But then I found this site and after reading Blood Sugar 101, I have decided to cut the carbs back to no more than 50/day and try to eliminate after meal spikes above 140, which are routine (in fact 200to 250 is not unusual). I have already had one near heart attack, with stints being applied to one of my arteries, and I believe the eratic bg control is the primary culprit. I have no family heart disease history, and my blood lipids have been excellent by my doctor's standards for years. They have no answer, other than with diabetes there are risks of heart disease! There has to be an answer to every question.

Anyway, I am glad your here...
 

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Hello Dmex, you have been type 1 for a very long time, and you are eligible for the Joslin medal. The medal is given to type 1 diabetics for 50 and 75 years of diabetes. If you are interested look at the discussion near the top of the Diabetes forum. Let me know if I can help you with the application. it was great in June, 2011, to attend a meeting in Boston with more than 100 medalists, all of whom were type 1 for at least 50 years.

I was diagnosed in 1945, when I was 6. I am very healthy now and like to talk with other diabetics here and on other websites. There are many groups on Facebook too. I use an insulin pump, with Humalog.

Please join any of the discussions that interest you. I wish you good health in Mexico.

Richard
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello Dmex, you have been type 1 for a very long time, and you are eligible for the Joslin medal. The medal is given to type 1 diabetics for 50 and 75 years of diabetes. If you are interested look at the discussion near the top of the Diabetes forum. Let me know if I can help you with the application. it was great in June, 2011, to attend a meeting in Boston with more than 100 medalists, all of whom were type 1 for at least 50 years.

I was diagnosed in 1945, when I was 6. I am very healthy now and like to talk with other diabetics here and on other websites. There are many groups on Facebook too. I use an insulin pump, with Humalog.

Please join any of the discussions that interest you. I wish you good health in Mexico.

Richard


Thank you, Richard

And congratulations on your accomplishment!

I decided not to pursue the Joshlin Award when I reached the 50 year mark. I was a bit intimidated by the paperwork, and there is no one left to certify my hallmark. Further, I didn't know what I'd do with the medal. Hang it on the wall?

But you point out an aspect I overlooked: the value of meeting 100 other people that accomplished a half a century with the disease. That may have made it worthwhile!

I look forward reading your posts.

Saludos,

Dmex
 

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Dmex, I was not able to validate my diagnosis either, at least not by a parent or doctor. My sister and a cousin who knew me back then wrote letters mentioning the things they remembered. I included their letters with my application, and received my medal the following month. Even a couple of friends can write letters for you....anyone who knew you well enough that they can recall some things about your diabetes back then.
 

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Thanks for your interest

Dmex, I was not able to validate my diagnosis either, at least not by a parent or doctor. My sister and a cousin who knew me back then wrote letters mentioning the things they remembered. I included their letters with my application, and received my medal the following month. Even a couple of friends can write letters for you....anyone who knew you well enough that they can recall some things about your diabetes back then.
Richard,
You make a good point. I was made aware that one could use non-medical sources to attest to the the onset of the disease. I might have pursued this had I had more interest in the medal and not been living outside the USA. Seaching out suitable sources from 1957 becomes complicated when you are in a foreign land. I'm not unhappy that I don't have the medal. However, had circumstances been different, I would have enjoyed attending the ceremony. Thanks for your interest.

Saludos,

Dmex
 

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Welcome to DF Dmex, I am also a long sufferer of this disease and remember the very first low and all I have to do is eat!! The diagnosis is another story being very late and now this time of my life I have complications. 40 years and diagnosed 1971.
 
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