Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Lilly the Insulin Doll

Have you heard of Lilly, the insulin doll? In the early 1920s the Lilly insulin company supplied free insulin to a group of children being cared for by Dr Elliot Joslin. At Christmas time, the children thanked Mr J K Lilly for the gift of the life saving insulin by sending him a personal letter. Mr Lilly was very touched by the letter, and he sent each child a new doll, and a new insulin kit. Each child named their dolls Lilly. There is a picture below showing Dr Joslin with one of the children.
The doll shown was created to celebrate the 77'th anniversary of the discovery of insulin. I could not find a picture of the original doll sent to the children by Mr Lilly.
There was also a much more recent attempt to have a "Diabetes Barbie" doll created. One of my Facebook friends was successful in getting that done. You can google "Diabetic Barbie" and see the result of that attempt.



Sunday, September 3, 2017

80 Years With Type 1 in the UK

This man received the HG Wells medal for living with type 1 diabetes for 80 years in the UK. "Mr Whittaker, 88, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was eight-years-old, was presented with the award by Diabetes UK." He was the first person to receive this medal. H G Wells co-founded the Diabetic Association, now known as Diabetes UK, with Dr Robert Lawrence in 1934.
The Joslin Diabetes Center also awards an 80 year medal in the US. I will be eligible for mine in 2026.

http://diabetestimes.co.uk/8971-2/#sthash.yddNnFEP.dpbs

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Cleveland Bros, Long Lives With Type 1

Type 1 folks who lived to a ripe old age are not so unusual now. Even in the early 1900s, just a few years after insulin was discovered, there were people diagnosed who lived into their 80's and 90's.
Bob Cleveland was diagnosed in 1925 when he was 5, and lived until he was 89.
Bob's brother, Gerald, was diagnosed in 1934 when he was 18, and lived until he was 93.
These brothers really inspire me. I was diagnosed in 1945, when I was 6, and have been type 1 for 71 years. The tools available and the knowledge for diabetes management are so much better now. When I read about people like the Cleveland brothers, it makes me feel I might live to be 100, or more. I need heroes, too. :)

Here is the story of Bob and Gerald Cleveland:
http://www.diabetes.co.uk/blog/2015/06/diabetes-legends-the-cleveland-brothers/

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Scar Tissue and Site Rotation

When I was diagnosed in 1945 at 6 years old, 71 years ago, I do not think my doctor knew that I should rotate sites when injecting insulin. My parents were so good about listening to my doctor, and we followed his advice without fail. We injected into the muscle on my upper legs for many years, and there were always very high blood sugar reports from the doctor's lab every six months. I think that was because we were not using different body parts and rotating sites. Scar tissue had probably formed on my very small legs, even though the animal insulin I was using required only one injection per day. By the time I was in my twenties I was using my upper abdomen, and my blood sugar reports improved. There was no meter for measuring my blood sugar at home until the mid 1980's, so the biannual reports from the doctor's lab was the only thing I had to determine how I was doing. A1c's were not available until 1980.
In the 1990s I had a meter and much better insulin. Several injections were required each day, and I was still using my upper abdomen. Eventually it became very difficult to push the needle into my skin. I actually had some needles bend, and had to get a different disposable syringe, reload and try a different spot. I had not been told that this might be scar tissue, no doctor had ever mentioned that. All of my doctors had been GP's and they knew very little about diabetes. No doctor had suggested alternating sites. Maybe my doctors in the 1990s assumed I knew about this since I had been type 1 for 50 years at that time. In the new century I was using basal and bolus insulins, and doing as many as 8 injections every day. The toughness of my skin in my upper abdomen made it necessary for me to start using my lower abdomen and upper legs. It was common sense on my part that caused me to make that change. My blood sugar tests improved significantly, but I still did not know it was because I had moved away from the toughness in my upper abdomen.
In 2007 I started using a pump, and things were going very well until I tried my upper abdomen. I got a 'No Delivery' alarm on my pump and did not know what that meant, so I called the Medtronics help line. After a long discussion it was decided I had scar tissue. That was the first time I had heard those words. A very young sounding lady at Medtronics made that diagnosis, but my doctors had never mentioned it. This made me very angry, and it has taken me a long time to stop feeling bitter about it. At least one doctor should have told me about site rotation. I have permanent scar tissue in my upper abdomen, and can never use it again. The skin will always be tough, and the insulin absorption almost nonexistent. I tried using my upper ab earlier this year, and saw very high blood sugar in the next few hours. I am presently using my lower ab and upper legs, rotating infusion set locations. If I don't change sets after three days I start seeing high blood sugar. That is because scar tissue is beginning to form there. I keep the sites about two inches apart, and change every three days. I have now had A1c's in the 5.5-6.4 range for almost twenty years. Finding someone who told me about scar tissue has greatly improved my control. I will never know how I managed to avoid diabetes complications for the many years that I was not rotating sites, and having so much high blood sugar. I have some neuropathy, but my overall diabetes health is very good. That almost seems like a miracle to me.
I hope that my online friends with diabetes do rotate sites, and use different body parts to avoid scar tissue.
The diagram below shows my A1c's, starting in 1980. The higher A1c's at the beginning were partially due to my scar tissue problems.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017