Monday, March 27, 2017

Isolated With Type 1?

Did you ever feel isolated as a type 1 diabetic? I did for more than 60 years until I discovered the diabetes online community (DOC). Most of what I know about type 1 was learned online. It is wonderful to be able to communicate with other diabetics. The picture below depicts my place in the world of diabetes before I discovered the DOC.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Diabetes Mine, My 70 Years With T1

Here is the introduction on the Diabetes Mine page. It is one of the very best sources on diabetes reporting.
"We offer a unique mix of news, views, reviews, guest posts, interviews, videos, cartoons, Q&A and any other type of quality content useful for people touched by diabetes.
We provide a strong voice of patient/consumer advocacy for the diabetes community.
We aim to improve life with diabetes by acting as a catalyst for innovation."
Amy Tenderich, Michael Hoskins and William Lee Dubois are the hosts on Diabetes Mine. They write wonderful blogs.
In July, 2015 Michael asked me to write a blog about my diabetes history. Michael did a wonderful job editing and presenting that blog. Here is the result:



Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Four Brothers, Three are Type 1


Meri Schuhmacher-Jackson has four sons, and three of them are type 1. She has a super blog site called "Our Diabetic Life". Here is a sample of her writing. Great stuff!!
http://www.ourdiabeticlife.com/2017/03/the-avalanche.html

Monday, March 13, 2017

Feeling Guilty About Feeling Guilty

I was a member of the diabetes support group at diabetesforums.com (not on Facebook) a few years ago. Here is a blog I presented there in 2013. The link below shows the discussion with 19 replies made that year. (I'm not sure you can tap into that link if you are not a member there. Let me know if you can.)
For many years now I have been thinking about the past and the fact I knew so little about my T1 diabetes. My doctors did not know much either. There were no T1Ds that I knew back then, in fact there were no types when I was diagnosed in 1945. Types were identified years later. I lived in a rural area in south central Virginia for my first 23 years. Given those circumstances, maybe I should not feel guilty about my ignorance, however, I now realize that there were parts of the country where many newly diagnosed diabetics had very good doctors who knew so much about diabetes. I have seen many fellow medalists post that they were patients of Dr Joslin in the Boston area. Dr Joslin specialized in T1, and he even wrote a book about T1 in the years 1900-1950. That book can still be read online...very interesting. If I had read that book in my younger years, I would have had much more stable control. Some medalists have written about knowing about carbs, and weighing their food. I never heard about carbs and their effect on T1 control until the late 1980s.
Many days I feel guilty that I knew so little for so many years. Why? Well, I was in college 1957-63 and there were libraries where I could have researched T1D. Maybe Dr Joslin's book was there? I might have visited larger cities in Virginia and searched for a doctor who was more knowledgeable about my diabetes. I did visit a doctor in Richmond in 1970. He was the one who told me my life expectancy would have me die before I was 40. I was 31 at the time. HA! I hate doctors who use scare tactics!!!
My management in the 1945-1995 years left a lot to be desired, and I cannot help but feel guilty about that. There were things I could have done to learn more, but ignorance prevailed, and I did nothing. Well, I avoided sugar, and that was the only advice my doctors gave me during my early years. I ate tons of food, all kinds, but avoided sugar. I thought I was doing everything appropriate to avoid complications.
I joined online diabetes support groups starting in 2006. There were some T1Ds who had been on diabetes message boards as far back as the mid 1990s. Why didn't I know about them? More guilt. Some of my long term online friends have known about carbs and carb counting many years before I did. Their diabetes management was so much better than mine until the current century. More guilt. I felt so grateful to find so much wonderful information online and I have had much better control.
More recently I have forgiven myself for these feelings. I have been a T1D for 71 (edited) years, and the only diabetes related complication I have is some mild nerve damage. Even if I knew all the things I know now during my early years, I might not be any healthier. It is time I stop feeling guilty. Sometimes I feel guilty for having felt guilty in the past, but that is a forgivable kind of guilt. :)

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Avoiding Diabetes Complications

A few years ago the Diabetes Health magazine published an article stating that diabetics should maintain a good BG average and A1c, and avoid a roller coaster type of control. The roller coaster control involves having many highs and lows. That would involve data widely scattered above and below the average. Blood sugars that rise and fall on the path of a roller coaster are traumatic to the body. Experiencing this trauma over and over again for a long period of time can lead to diabetes related complications, even if the A1c is good. I will demonstrate with two examples.
Patient A has test results 40, 55, 65, 100, 135, 145, and 200. The average is 106, but there are numbers that indicate unhealthy highs and lows.
Patient B has test results 72, 80, 94, 100, 106, 120 and 148. The average is 103, but the data is more closely packed, and none of the numbers are undesirable.
Patient B is experiencing better control, and is less likely to have diabetes complications. The "standard deviation" (SD) is a measure indicating how closely the data is distributed above and below the blood sugar average. Patient A had much larger deviations from the average of 106. Patient B had smaller deviations from the average of 103, so the SD was much better. I try to keep my SD as small as possible, but it is difficult to do. My A1c's have been in the 5.4-6.4 range for almost 15 years (The graph below shows my A1c's for the years 1980-2015). When I have too many highs and lows, my SD is higher and I can feel neuropathy symptoms. I used to have some spots of retinopathy in both eyes when I had a roller coaster control, even though my A1c was good. My using an insulin pump helped reduce the number of highs and lows.
The purpose of this discussion is to demonstrate the fact that a very good blood sugar average can still involve diabetes complications if there is a significant number of highs and lows over a long period of time. Don't rely solely on a blood sugar average and A1c. Try your best to avoid so many highs and lows. A good average accompanied by a stable control is the best way to avoid complications. Proper dieting and well chosen exercise routines can help very much in reducing the highs and lows.
I have had A1c's no higher than 6.4 for almost 15 years, but I had the beginning stages of neuropathy and retinopathy about 12 years ago. My control had been tight, but it was necessary to make it even tighter. I stopped having so many highs and lows. After a few months had passed, the retinopathy disappeared. The neuropathy is still present in my feet and legs, but I rarely experience any pain. If I have high blood sugar for many hours there is sometimes mild pain during the night. I have been a type 1 diabetic for 71 years, and have not had any serious complications. I want to keep it that way!!

History of Insulin

The following link gives an updated version of the History Of Insulin from dLife.com. When you have finished the first part (video), click on additional parts in the right hand margin. There are many great videos here on insulin and diabetes. WARNING: There are some graphic scenes in these videos