Saturday, September 7, 2013

Self Produced Steroids After Surgery

 I had knee replacement surgery on Tues, Sept 3, 2013, and am home from the hospital. After the surgery my blood sugar went berserk. I had numbers in the 170-315 range for 42 hours, starting about 6 hours after the surgery. The hospital's diabetes specialist said that the body produces its own steroids after surgery to compensate for the trauma. In a diabetic's body that can cause high blood sugar levels. Insulin did not work well at all for me during that 42 hour period. Then my numbers started falling and my normal blood sugar levels appeared. That was so scary!!! I was concerned that I would never have good numbers again. This was my first experiencing this. Here is a quote from my Google research: "Your body naturally makes steroids by itself. When your body is under stress (caused by infection or surgery, for example) it makes extra steroids."

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

More Type 2 Than Type 1 Insulin Users

There is an estimated 30 million people in the US who have diabetes. (This estimate appeared several years ago, so I'm sure it is a larger number now.) Approximately 10% are type 1, and 90% are type 2. That means there are 3 million people with type 1, and 27 million with type 2. All type 1 diabetics are completely insulin dependent, so that's 3 million insulin users who are type 1.

The following link reveals that more than 40% of type 2 diabetics use insulin. That means there are approximately 10.8 million type 2 diabetics who use insulin in the US. So there are more than 3 times as many type 2 insulin users, when compared to the 3 million type 1 insulin users.

It should be pointed out that type 2 diabetics who use insulin are not usually insulin dependent. Many of them need basal insulin to avoid high fasting numbers, but they do not use bolus insulin. They still produce some of their own insulin and do not require both basal and bolus insulins. There are type 2 diabetics, however, who need both basal and bolus insulin. There are at least two of my online friends who are type 2, and use an insulin pump, as well as a CGM.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Joslin 50 - Year Medalist Study

The following is the 2012 update of the Joslin 50 Year Medalist Study. It may be of interest to many of my Facebook friends. I participated in the Study in Dec, 2009. I copied and pasted this report. The report says there have been 550 participants, but there have been more than 850 participants. I think that may be the only error in the report.

"50 - Year Medalist Study Background

Hyperglycemia is a major cause of diabetic vascular and neuropathic complications. However, a significant number of diabetic patients, known as the Joslin 50-Year Medalists, remain free from various complications such as nephropathy and proliferative retinopathy after 50 years or more of diabetes.

Joslin Diabetes Center’s 50-Year Medal Program recognizes individuals who have lived with insulin-dependent diabetes for 50 or more years to honor their accomplishments in diabetes management.

For the first time, a large number of individuals who have survived fifty or more years with type 1 diabetes are being studied to determine factors, which may allow them to be resistant to the ravaging effects of diabetes. With support from JDRF, the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston is currently studying Medalists from within the United States in an effort to identify these factors. We have been characterizing genetic, environmental, psychological and physiological factors, which may contribute to survival with extreme duration of diabetes. The Medalist population provides a unique opportunity to study individuals with extreme duration of diabetes.

In the first phase of the study, which took place seven years ago, we asked Medalists to complete an extensive medical history questionnaire and provide some laboratory data from their doctor. The results from these questionnaires and lab results provided the very interesting finding that close to 50% appear to have escaped serious complications, which occur in almost all diabetic patients by 30 years of duration. These complications include eye disease (retinopathy), kidney disease (nephropathy) and nerve disease (neuropathy). The results showed that as a group, Medalists have controlled their blood glucose levels very well for many years. In addition, hemoglobin A1c, a measure of chronic glucose control, does not seem to correlate with the various complications described above. These are very exciting findings which have been published in the journal Diabetes Care in 2007.

In the five years since the start of the second phase of the Joslin 50-Year Medalist study, we have studied approximately 550 Medalists with the support of JDRF. These Medalists traveled to Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston for the study. We have been examining the status of complications with respect to eye, kidney, nerve and heart function. Metabolic changes in blood and the ability to produce insulin in the Medalists are also studied. Genetic studies are underway to determine whether these extraordinary survivors have typical type 1 diabetes or a different, yet unknown type of diabetes. Data from over 500 people have been analyzed and have led to very exciting discoveries. These new findings have shown that most Medalists have clinical and laboratory findings consistent with “typical” type 1 diabetes. This includes genetic factors as well as other clinical characteristics, such as weight, high good cholesterol levels and relatively low body weight. The eye studies, which took pictures of the back of the eye, showed that about 40% of the Medalists do not have serious eye disease even after 50-80 years of type 1 diabetes and less than 10% of the Medalists have any kidney problems. From a complications point of view, these findings are very exciting since they showed that 40% of the Medalists have factors or genes, which are protecting the Medalists from developing diabetic eye disease.

In addition to the exciting findings regarding diabetic complications, the results from the Medalists have also yielded an unexpected finding regarding pancreatic functions. Surprisingly, over 66% of Medalists appear to still produce some insulin. This finding can be important and exciting since it suggests that some type 1 diabetic patients may still make insulin even after 50 years of diabetes. These findings have been confirmed through metabolic and post-mortem studies of generous Medalists. This raises the possibility that many type 1 diabetes patients have protection from beta-cell destruction. While our results so far have been promising more participants are needed to complete the picture of how 50-Year Medalists are able to defy the odds remaining free of complications and retaining some insulin production."

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Testing Type 1 Children At Night

I recently read posts made by moms of type 1 children. They are upset by a blog that appeared suggesting that moms are spoiling their children by testing them during the night, while they are sleeping.The blog was written by someon on the Diabetes Mine blog site. The quote stated that "“Yes, I think the new D-parenting style has created a generation of ‘spoiled brats.’”

In my opinion it is appropriate, and necessary, to test the children at night. I test myself at 1, and 4 AM as a 73 year old adult. If I don't I see occasional lows or highs then. Failing to catch one of the lows could result in a seizure, and not catching a high might cause keytones. I have not needed assistance with any highs or lows in many years because I test 12-15 times per day, including the nights. The more frequently I test, the more stable my control. My insurance no longer covers a CGM, so testing is very important.

Type 1 children have added complications of growth spurts, hormones, strenuous exercise, and irregular day to day schedules. I do not have those added factors in my situation, so I am more stable, but there are still some unexpected highs and lows. My schedule is very regular while I am retired. I usually eat, exercise, sleep and relax at the same times every day. That kind of consistency helps so much to keep my blood sugar in my desired range, but there are highs and lows that will sometimes occur when my schedule is disrupted. A child's schedule cannot be expected to be so routine like mine, so frequent highs and lows make frequent testing necessary...even at night.. I don't know why the blogger thinks it is unnecessary to test children at night, and that parents are spoiling them by testing then.

I have been T1 for 67 years, diagnosed in 1945, when I was 6. There was no meter to check blood sugar for my first 40 years. My mother had to rely on hearing me moaning and thrashing around in bed, across the hall from her bedroom. My hypos and seizures were frequent back then. I admire my parents for taking good care of me, and can only imagine the anxiety and worry they must have had, not having a clue when I was dropping low during the night. I am sure that my mom would have tested me during my sleep if there were meters available back then.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friends For Life....2013

The Friends For Life Conference for people with type 1 diabetes was held in early July this year. The conference meetings began in the year 2000, so this was the fourteenth year. It was created by Jeff Hitchcock, the owner of the website at http:/ Jeff has a daughter with type 1, and the FFL has done so very much for type 1 diabetics. People from other countries attended, it is an international conference. 
The conference is held in Orlando, FL in the month of July because that seems to be the only month that all children are out of school and can attend. Having the meetings so close to Disney World is very convenient. Many parents took their children to see the Disney attractions before or after the conference. 
This was my first year at the FFL, and it was one of the most valuable experiences of my lifetime. The type 1 people attending were divided into four groups: children, tweens, teens and adults. Discussions were held for each group. I visited several wonderful discussions on three of my days there. The speakers were well chosen and I learned much from them. There were more than one hundred discussions, and several were held simultaneously. Choosing which ones I wanted to attend was difficult. Food was provided in several buffets, and I ate too much. The carb counts for all items were provided so I was able to keep my blood sugar stable. I attended several special evening socials with wonderful meals: First Timers Reception, Grand Opening Ceremony, Family and Friends Banquet, Adults with Type 1 Casino Night, and Dessert with the Faculty. There were also special socials for the other groups.The closing keynote address was given by Will Cross. Will is type 1, and he has climbed the highest mountain on each continent. He has also hiked his way to both the north and south poles. His wife and children attended his  session. There were some type 1 celebrities present, mostly professional athletes. Kids had their pictures taken with them. I met Crystal Bowersox. She is type 1, and she won second place on the American Idol TV show several years ago. She sang some songs, and posed for pictures with the kids. 
This conference was so wonderful that I want to attend as often as I can. I met so many online friends, and my picture was taken with many of them. My wife and I are planning to attend the FFL conference in 2015. I am really looking forward to that.
All type 1 diabetics, irregardless of age or location, should attend at least one FFL event. It will be a very worthwhile experience.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Retirement and Living With Diabetes

I was employed as a teacher at the college level for 34 years (1964-1997). I had complications with my diabetes, and had to retire several years earlier than I had planned. Two years after retirement my health problem was resolved, but my former position was filled, and I was no longer needed at the college as a full-time teacher. After retirement I taught part-time for several years, and did a lot of carpentry work and painting on my home. My strength was gradually declining, and I had too little energy for strenuous activities. I felt like a fish out of water, and was very bored much of the time. Retirement did not seem to be as great as I thought it would be.

As a teacher I did not earn a lot of money, but the fringe benefits were very good. My wife and I financed our two sons while they were in college, until they had MS degrees. We were heavily in debt by the time they graduated. Gradually we paid off our debts, and our financial situation was stable. There was too little money for traveling like I had always wanted to do. My wife did not want to travel, she was perfectly happy staying at home, and taking one trip each year to see our sons and our two grand children. I wanted to do so much more, but we could not afford it.

In 2006 I discovered a diabetes support group online at The support group there was a new found  hobby for me. I soon joined other diabetes websites, and made many friends. Sharing my diabetes experiences with others was very rewarding. I helped my new friends, and they helped me. I was the only long term type 1 diabetic in most of the support groups, with more than 60 years of diabetes. My friends encouraged me to write a book about my life with type 1. That book was published in March, 2010. I was pleased with the hours I spent each day with my friends. I joined Facebook in late 2010, and found many more diabetes support groups. The parents of diabetic children were encouraged to find a long term type 1 diabetic who had good diabetes health. In July, 2013, I attended the Friends For Life Conference in Orlando, FL. It was a wonderful experience. So many great discussions, pictures taken with friends, and great food! My wife wants to go with me to the FFL in 2015.

More recently, health problems began to emerge. My wife needed a knee replacement in 2009, and now (2013) I need both of my knees replaced. My wife and I have arthritis, which slows us down, and makes many activities difficult. We don't know how much longer we can make those flights to Atlanta to visit our children. Our sons are very busy with their jobs, and they find it difficult to visit us each year. We live in New York, so we are are not physically able to pack up all our belongings and move south to Atlanta.

Without the online activity and communicating with my friends, life would have become incredibly boring. With my good health, working out at the gym, taking long walks, and my online activities, I am very content. My wife is very happy tending her flower gardens, spending time with her hobbies, and communicating with the neighbors. We have been married 49 years, and we will celebrate our golden anniversary on May 31, 2014. Retirement is good, for both of us!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Support From The DOC

My diabetes diagnosis was in 1945, a few days after my sixth birthday. There was very little known about diabetes back then. The only rule my parents had to follow was to not let me have sugar. I could eat anything else I wanted. There was very little change in my life except for avoiding sugar, and taking one shot of insulin each day. There was no device for testing my blood sugar, and no information about carbs, and their effect on blood sugar. It seems almost a miracle that I have now lived for 67 years, and have no diabetes related complications except for some mild nerve damage. There are many other type 1 diabetics like me in the US who have lived with their diabetes for 50 years, or more. Many of them have received the 50 year medal from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. A study is being done on the medalists to see if the factors can be found that have enabled them to live so long without any serious complications. I participated in the study in 2009.

Despite my having good diabetes health, there was so much I did not know about diabetes. My doctors in the early years knew very little about diabetes. In July, 2006, I watched an episode of the Dlife TV program. They mentioned that there was a Dlife website that offered support to diabetics. I joined that day. There were many diabetics of all types taking part in interesting discussions. There was so much information that was new to me, and it was easy to see this was the right place for me. How could I have gone 61 years without all the things I learned on the Dlife website? There were several other websites that were also very helpful, and I joined several of them. I shared my knowledge with my new online friends, and they shared their knowledge with me. Some of the members on Diabetes Daily convinced me to use an insulin pump. I started pumping in June, 2007. My blood sugar is much more stable now, and I have fewer highs and lows. I have not needed assistance with a hypoglycemic episode since July, 2007. I felt that the education I received from the diabetes online community (DOC) was so good for me. I helped many fellow diabetics on several diabetes websites, and that made me feel good.

 I joined Facebook in December, 2010. There seemed to be an endless number of groups there that were focused on diabetes. I am currently a member of about 30 of those groups. I truly enjoy assisting the more uninformed diabetics, and their families. It is so easy to see how valuable it is to all participants in the online discussions. Many of them are getting too little advice from their doctors, but they receive many replies to their questions online. Hundreds of parents of young type 1 children were impressed by my longevity and good health. They tell me that I have given them inspiration and hope for the futures of their children. My wife and I will be attending the Friends For Life (FFL) conference in Orlando, FL, in July. It is an international conference for type 1 diabetics, but the emphasis is on the type 1 children and their families. There I will meet many of my online friends. 

My communication with my online friends, and the research I have done, has given me experience and much knowledge about type 1 diabetes. I have written a book about my life with diabetes, and have given talks to two local diabetes support groups in my part of New York. It would be great if I had the opportunity to become a motivational speaker, and visit many areas in the US. 

It is a dream of millions of diabetics to have long, healthy, and productive lives. The DOC provides the support, education, and incentive to make this possible.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

How Did Your Type 1 Diagnosis Make You Feel?

Dr. Stephen Ponder, a pediatric endocrinologist, started a discussion on his Facebook page about the effect that a type 1 diagnosis had on the lives of his type 1 Facebook friends. He invited us to reply and describe our feelings back then. Most of his type 1 friends are the moms of type 1 children, so I am posting about this here. My reply is unique because of my number of years as a diabetic, and is posted below:

I am 73 now, with very good diabetes health, but I was diagnosed in 1945 when I was 6. Years later my mother told me about the diagnosis and that the doctor gave no advice except that I should not eat sugar. For that reason diabetes did not change my life very much. I adjusted very well, and rather quickly. Having to take a shot once per day and not getting to eat candy and other goodies were the only day to day changes in my life back then. There were no finger sticks until the 1980s, testing urine each morning was painless. I did not know about the possible diabetes related complications until I was an adult, so I led a carefree life. This makes it seem like things were better then than now, but that is not the case. Many more type 1 diabetics had terrible complications with eyes, kidneys, etc back then and there were very many deaths from diabetes. It is not known why some of us from the early years lived so long and stayed healthy. I am not aware that I ever had DKA, and I never heard of it until the 1980's. I led a rather normal life without worrying about my diabetes.

I wish you parents of young type 1 children today did not have so many worries. The extensive knowledge available now enables you to know what can happen without good control, so you worry so much and watch your children so closely. That is good though, and it leads to good results. At the present time the life expectancy of young type 1 diabetics is almost as good as that of non diabetics. That is a very encouraging fact!!

Friday, June 7, 2013

My Experience With Endocrinologists

My doctors 1945-1977 knew almost nothing about diabetes. Living in a rural area in south central Virginia did not help. I was lucky to survive those years. In 1977 I saw an internal medicine doctor who knew a lot about diabetes, but he failed to give me some basic info that I needed, and he refused to write a letter permitting me to use a pump when I asked in early 2007. He had a few patients using pumps, and they were having more hypos than they were having before pumping. He did not want me to have that experience, so I started looking for an endocrinologist.

I saw my first endo in 2007. She thought a pump was a great idea, but she gave me many wrong numbers for my initial programming on the pump, and I had highs in the 300's. With the aid of the pump manual and the book "Pumping Insulin" by John Walsh, I reprogrammed my pump on my own and things were good a few weeks later. This endo did not impress me at all. She had been an endo for many years, but she did not seem to have a firm knowledge of things pertaining to diabetes. When she left the area I started seeing her replacement. My second endo was young and inexperienced. She had very little experience with type 1 diabetics. It was evident that I knew much more than her about my diabetes. She agreed to almost everything I said and requested. It worked well in that respect, but I wanted to learn from her, and that did not happen. She relocated to another city, and now I have a third endo.

My third endo really impressed me on my first visit. She took my pump and made notes about all my programming. Then she asked me to make a number of changes before my next appointment in July. I knew those changes would not work, they might for some type 1 diabetics, but not me. I did not say much to her except answer her questions. She knows so much about type 1 diabetes, and I was in awe of her knowledge. Most doctors think that all type 1 diabetics march to the same drum beat, and all of us can follow the exact same set of rules to get good control. My new endo seems to be one of those, but I have seen her only one time, so I will wait and see. If she agrees that my case is different, and that I know how to have good control without conforming to her suggestions, then we will get along fine. I will know next month. If I do not stay with this endo, there is no other in my area. I may have to give up on endos, and continue with my internal medicine doc, he is a good diagnostician and has helped me in many ways.

There are two endos on Facebook who have really impressed me in so many ways. One of them is in Texas, and the other in Boston. I would love to have one of them as my endo.

If you have read this blog, what experiences have you had with endos? Good, bad, indifferent?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Scar Tissue and Insulin Absorption

When I was diagnosed in 1945, 67 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. 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 very experienced 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 one and a half inches apart, and change every three days. I have now had A1c's in the 5.5-6.4 range for almost ten years. Finding someone who told me about scar tissue has greatly improved my control. I will never know why 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 mild nerve damage, but my overall diabetes health is very good. That almost seems like a miracle to me.

I have frequently advised pumpers to rotate sites, and not use a site longer than three days. Most of my friends who pump are doing that, but I have met online pumpers who say they are using an infusion set for more than three days. One pumper says he uses sets for as much as a week, without having problems. I did not think that was possible. To keep scar tissue problems from occurring, and poor absorption giving very high sugar results, I strongly advise all pumpers to rotate sites, and avoid using a site more than three days.

I feel so lucky to have avoided serious complications after experiencing scar tissue and high blood sugar for so many years. I wish I could meet the young lady at Medtronics, and give her a big hug! lol

Friday, May 17, 2013

Joslin Medalist Meeting, May 11, 2013

The 2013 Joslin Medalist meeting was held on May 11. There were more than 150 medalists present at the meeting. Every medalist has been type 1 for 50 years, or more. I was not able to attend because my wife was ill. She is well now. The link below connects to a video on Youtube. Medalists speaking at the meeting are shown. One medalist received the first ever 80 year medal. See him at the beginning of the video.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Mother's Day Poem

Mother's Day Poem to all you Wonderful D-MOMS!

A poem in memory of the author, Gary Hempleman, for all children with diabetes.

She walks down the hallway in silence so deep,
Keep watch over him, as her little one sleeps.
With meter in hand, she opens his door,
Making sure not to wake him as she crosses the floor,
She sits on his bedside and brushes his hair,
As he dreams of shooting baskets, without a "D" care.
She holds his hand softly; his fingers so small,
As she watches and wonders why "D" came to call.
While she watches him sleeping, so peaceful and warm,
The forces inside him fight a constant "D" storm.
Will he ever be free of shots and blood testing?
She sits and she wonders as she watches him resting.
The beep of the meter breaks the silence of the night;
A small drop of blood tells if everything's right.
The seconds count down to the final display,
I hate this damn meter; i want to throw it away.
The number is fine, one down, a lifetime to go,
As he turns in his sleep, will he ever know?
Why does this "D" happen to someone so small?
My son is my hero, but my baby most of all.
She turns at his doorway, looking back one more time,
It's a nightly routine of the very worst kind.
She walks down the hallway and time passes by,
As she sits in dark silence and quietly cries.
I have to stay strong, and for him i will fight,
We'll battle this "D" with all of our might.
I'll teach him to master and conquer this foe,
This "D" will not stop him, i promised him so.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

In Praise of Moms of Type 1 Kids

My Facebook friend, Linda Palmer, wrote the following blog today. I think that all the moms of diabetic children should have the opportunity to read it.

"As Mother’s Day quickly approaches, I thought today would be an excellent opportunity to talk about the lifelong influence a mother has on her children. I read stories every day on facebook from the Diabetic Online Community (DOC) about the sacrifice moms make for their Type 1 Diabetic kids. These are terrific moms who would walk on hot coals if they thought it would help. Each and every one of them would take on their child’s suffering if they could. They would trade places with them in a heart beat! That’s a mother’s love – and there is no substitute for it!

Today is NATIONAL TEACHER’S DAY but I want to recognize the mothers of Type 1 Diabetic children. They are so diligent, and in the process they are sleep deprived and frustrated with the disease, but they have their kid’s backs! They will be there if the world walks away. All moms are great, but the mom of a Type 1 Diabetic is a Super Hero!

God gave you these wonderful children
To love on with all of your heart.
They'll grow to be fine men and women
Because you cared for them at the start."

Here is Linda Palmer's Facebook page:

Friday, April 26, 2013

My Marriage, and My Diabetes

I was diagnosed in 1945, when I was 6. Nineteen years later I married a wonderful lady named Anita. We will celebrate our 49'th anniversary on May 31. We were married in 1964 when very little was known about diabetes. She knew absolutely nothing about it, and she had no relatives or friends with diabetes. There were no meters to determine my BG levels until the mid 1980's. She had to adapt to my having bad hypos and seizures, while keeping her cool and taking wonderful care of me. I knew I could depend on her, and she depended on me. Our love for each other is first rate. At the present time she cooks for me, tells me the number of carbs in my meals, and watches me so carefully. With all the modern day devices and knowledge about diabetes, I have not needed her assistance with lows or highs since I started pumping in 2007. My control is great. The bad lows I had in the past scared her so much that she still has me test during the night at 1 and 4 AM. I don't have bad lows at night now, but how can I say no? She probably saved my life when I was unconscious with lows many years ago. I do not complain, I test at night, and many times during the day to keep her happy. Now I have been type 1 for 67 years and I have good diabetes health. My wife has helped me to be in such great shape today.

In October, 2012, I fell and hurt my head. Bleeding on the surface of my brain was diagnosed, and surgery was performed for subdural hematoma. I recovered from that, but then X-rays on my knees showed that they both need to be replaced. My wife had a very hard time with all that has recently happened to me and she has been very stressed. She was very rundown and developed a bad cough that led to acute bronchitis. She is recovering, but she is having difficulty regaining her strength. We have decided that her stress over my health problems has led to her present condition. I am doing everything I can for her, and we hope that she will be strong again, so she can have a good summer. She loves working in the yard and her flower gardens.

Having Anita for my wife is the best thing I have had going for me during my life with diabetes. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Do Artificial Sweeteners Cause Cancer?

Have you heard that some artificial sweeteners may cause cancer? Do you avoid those sweeteners for that reason? 

Studies of saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, and other artificial sweeteners, have not provided clear evidence that they can cause cancer in humans. These studies are reported by the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

In the 1970s a study with rats showed saccharin was linked with bladder cancer. Further study showed this only applies to rats. It was eventually discovered that the amount of saccharin fed to the rats was very large. Smaller dosages proportional to the size of the rats may not have caused cancer. Human studies have not shown any evidence that saccharin produces bladder cancer. Saccharin was removed from the list of human carcinogens in the US, and legislation was passed allowing products containing saccharin. It is still banned in Canada and some other countries.

I started using saccharin in the 1940s, after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Saccharin has not caused me any problems. The product known as Sweet-n-Low contains saccharin in the US, and I have used that sweetener for many years. 

Aspartame is found in many products, and has trade names: NutraSweet and Equal. It was approved in 1981 by the FDA. Tests have shown that aspartame caused cancer in rats, but only when the dosages were very high. It was suggested that aspartame might cause brain and central nervous system cancer in humans, however, this kind of cancer had begun to rise in the US in 1973, eight years prior to the approval of aspartame. The group most affected by increases in brain cancer were people age 70 and older. That group was not exposed to the very high doses of aspartame since it was first introduced. It was concluded that there was no clear link between aspartame and brain cancer in humans. 

I used to use a sweetener called Sucaryl, which contained cyclamates. It was found that cyclamates caused bladder cancer in rats. The FDA banned cyclamates in 1969, but further study showed that cyclamates was not a carcinogen. A petition was filed for reapproval of cyclamates. No final decision has been made, but the FDA's concerns are not related to cancer.

The discussion above involves the possibilities of cancer, but it seems that no currently used artificial sweetener has been proved to cause cancer. There are many reports that certain artificial sweeteners cause undesirable side effects, and some of them have been substantiated. Many people have stated that they have undesirable side effects when they use certain artificial sweeteners. This discussion, however, involves only the possibility of cancer. 

The following link gives a much more thorough report on the studies involved in this discussion.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Needles and Syringes,1940's-1960's

My father started giving me shots of insulin in 1945, when I was 6. When the needles were dull, he sharpened them with a "whet rock". We had our own well, and there were lime deposits from the rocks underground. The needles would be coated with these deposits after they were boiled, and they would occasionally become clogged. The opening in the needles was wide enough that we could push a very small wire through and unclog them. When the needles and glass syringe were being sterilized in boiling water on top of our kitchen stove, we would sometimes forget about them, and all the water would evaporate. Then there was a loud pop and pieces of glass would fly all over the kitchen. I don't think we ever got hurt by these flying pieces of glass, but it was a potential danger. Fortunately, we always kept a spare syringe on hand. 

The picture shows a comparison of a 3/4 inch long 26 gauge needle attached to a glass insulin syringe, and a 5mm 32 gauge (5/32 inch) pen needle attached to a Lilly Luxura pen. What a contrast when we compare the 1940's and the present day! I used the 3/4 inch needle during my early years. My doctor had my father inject into my leg or arm muscles at a 90 degree angle. I was skin and bones when diagnosed, so the injections were very painful. It was not necessary to push the entire 3/4 inch needle into my muscle, but most of the needle was necessary to get the needed absorption. Injecting into the muscle caused the animal insulin to be absorbed more quickly. The insulin from pigs and cows was not as fast as the fast acting insulins we have today, so having a faster absorption was helpful. In my early years I had only one injection per day, before breakfast. The animal insulin was a 24 hour insulin.

In 1955 there was concern about the infection caused by the use of glass syringes, and the worlds first plastic disposable syringe called the Monoject, was introduced. Unfortunately, doctors thought it was safer to reuse glass syringes after sterilizing them. In 1956 the plastic disposable syringe we use today was designed. Becton Dickinson did "extensive development trials and tests and in 1961 introduced it's first plastic disposable syringe, the BD Plastipak."

The link below gives more information on the history of syringes.

I was still using glass syringes and long needles from 1945 until the 1960's when disposable needles and plastic syringes became available. There are so many things about my diabetes past that I took for granted back then. I tell recently diagnosed diabetics about my past, and some of them look at me in horror and disbelief.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

What Do You Know About C-Peptide?

C-peptide was discovered in 1967. The first actual use of a C-peptide test was in 1972. In more recent times, C-peptide has been found to have an effect on microvascular blood flow and tissue health.

Type I diabetics typically have very low levels of C-peptide because most of their beta cells have been destroyed. This has been seen in the development of long-term complications such as peripheral and autonomic neuropathy. I have experienced both kinds of neuropathies, but neither type has proved to be particularly problematic after 66 years of type 1. 

C-peptide has been shown to significantly improve nerve and kidney function. It has also been reported to have anti-inflammatory effects as well as aid repair of smooth muscle cells.

"Several physiological effects have been observed in several Phase 1 and exploratory Phase 2 studies in almost 300 type 1 diabetes patients, who lacked endogenous C-peptide. Improvements were seen on diabetic peripheral neuropathy, nephropathy and other decrements associated with long-term complications of type I diabetes. So far, dosing with C-peptide has shown to be safe and there were no effects of C-peptide demonstrated in healthy subjects (who make their own C-peptide)."

"Newly diagnosed diabetes patients often get their C-peptide levels measured as a means of distinguishing between type 1 diabetes, Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY), Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adults (LADA) and type 2 diabetes."

The pancreas of a type 1 diabetic does not usually produce adequate insulin, so a decreased level of C-peptide is expected. Some secretion can still be present during the honeymoon stage for type 1 diabetics. C-peptide levels in type 2 diabetics are normal, or even higher than normal. Determining the amount of C-peptide in people who inject or pump synthetic insulin "can help to determine how much of their own natural insulin these patients are still producing, or if they produce any at all."

The results of a C-Peptide test can vary from lab to lab. So different labs may have different "normal" ranges. Doctors will sometimes evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. A C-Peptide value that falls outside the normal range may still be normal for you. The C-Peptide and blood glucose levels are measured at the same time to give a better evaluation. 

A normal C-peptide level may be indicated as – Fasting: 0.51-2.72 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) or 0.17-0.90 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L)

The 725+ participants in the Joslin Medalist Study were tested for their C-Peptide levels. That test along with a glucose tolerance test showed that more than 66% of these long term diabetics do still produce some of their own insulin. My C-Peptide level was less than 0.1, showing that my good health after 66 years of diabetes has to be explained by factors other than insulin secretion.

"Persons with LADA typically have low, although sometimes moderate, levels of C-peptide as the disease progresses and high blood glucose levels.
The most common MODY syndrome may also have normal fasting C-peptide results because the flaw in this case is in the secretion of insulin in response to rising glucose and fasting secretion is still near normal. Their postprandial C-peptide however is below normal with elevated blood glucose.

Low levels of both C-peptide and blood glucose are found in liver disease, a severe infection, Addison’s disease, or insulin therapy."

I have believed for several years that C-Peptide present in the animal insulins I used for 50 years may have protected me against certain complications. It may help explain the longevity and good health of all the Joslin Medalists. Today's synthetic insulins do not contain any C-Peptide. I have experienced several minor complications since starting synthetic insulins, but none of them have been particularly problematic. I asked Dr. King, head of the Joslin Medalist Study, about this. He said he does not think that C-Peptide is a factor in explaining the longevity and good health of the medalists. Maybe he will have changed his mind when the study concludes. 

The link below is my reference. It discusses C-Peptide in much more detail.

There is a company that has produced an injectable form of C-Peptide. Stage 2 trials have been held, and human subjects have been helped by these injections.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Upsetting Things People Say About Diabetes

I was diagnosed in 1945, when I was 6, and there was so little awareness of diabetes then. None of our relatives and friends had heard of it. When I was in my 30's two doctors told me I would not live past my 40's. When I told a few friends what the doctors had said, one of them said that my parents must not have taken good care of me while I was very young. At least they did not blame me, they blamed my parents. Now I am 73, have been type 1 for 67 years, and I have very good diabetes health. My parents took very good care of me. That is why I made it through my childhood.

I did not know about the possible complications that we can face until I was an adult. My parents did not want me to go to college.They thought my diabetes would make it impossible for me to do well enough there, and that I would fail. They refused to pay any part of my college expenses. I got a job and worked my way through college, and graduated with honors. My parents were proud of me. That meant as much to me as my college degree!

Do any of you remember things you were told or that you experienced that were very upsetting?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Warner's Cures, 1980s

I am always upset when there is a "cure" for diabetes posted online. I'm sure you are too! Cures for diabetes have been advertised for many years. H. H. Warner (1842-1923) had cures for many diseases, including diabetes. Look at the pictures of the bottle containing a Diabetes Cure. The suggested diet on the label is very good, but the content of the bottle was another "snake oil" sham.

Warner became a millionaire with his cures. There was no national health service in the 1880s, and buying a remedy from a chemist or apothecary was a standard practice. Warner had plants in Rochester, Toronto, London, Frankfurt, and Melbourne. Warner spent much money advertising, and his cures were sold all over the world. He made a poor mining speculation in 1893 and lost his fortune. Then he moved to Minnesota, where he spent the rest of his life in seclusion. The bottles containing the cures are very valuable now to collectors.

Monday, March 18, 2013

How Low and High BG Affects Brain Cells

A friend in another group presented these slides today. She attended a meeting and a Dr Metzger presented them at a FFL conference last weekend. The images left to right show three brain cells...the first image is a brain cell during low blood sugar, the 2nd is a brain cell during normal blood sugar, and the 3rd is a brain cell during high blood sugar. This seems to imply that the cells are more affected by high than by low BG! The graph shows IQ in relation to A1c. Very interesting!

Photo: A friend in another group presented these slides today. She attended a meeting and a Dr Metzger presented them at a FFL conference last weekend. The top image shows three brain cells...the first image is a brain cell during low blood sugar, the 2nd is a brain cell during normal blood sugar, and the 3rd is a brain cell during high blood sugar. I found it shocking to see the difference with the high BG! The bottom image is a chart showing IQ in relation to A1c. Very interesting!

Be sure to click on the diagram to see that the A1c is represented on the horizontal axis, and the IQ on the vertical axis.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Joslin Medalist Study

There is a study of long term type 1 diabetics taking place at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. It is called the Joslin Medalist Study. The purpose of the study is to determine why so many long term type 1 diabetics have been able to avoid diabetes related complications. Every participant has received the Joslin 50 year medal. At the present time there have been more than 800 participants, and the study is ongoing.

When I participated in 2009, I was told that some of the participants had not been taking good care of themselves, but there were no serious diabetes related complications. Others had worked very hard to have good control, but did have some complications. The majority of the medalists, like me, have worked for good control, and have good diabetes health.

A few years ago it was found that some of the diabetics involved still produce some of their own insulin! The members of the study team were very surprised at this discovery. That could help explain their longevity and good diabetes health. Some of us do not produce any insulin, and we have good diabetes health. I made a point of that when I was allowed to speak to the audience in June, 2011. There has to be another explanation for the good long term health for those of us not producing insulin.

Dr. King made a startling announcement at the 2011 meeting. He said that there are an estimated 2000 type 1 diabetics in the US who have a special internal protection against complications involving eyes, kidneys, and serious nerve damage. He added that the protection does not help our hearts. Several participants have had heart attacks, bypass surgeries, and other heart problems. My heart is very strong at this time, with no problems.

I have given only a partial report here. The links below will enable you to explore further. The Joslin medalists meet in Boston every two years. This year we will meet on May 10 and 11. I have some Facebook friends in the Boston area, and a few of them will meet with us in the evening on May 11. If anyone who reads this blog is interested, be sure to contact me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Favorite Diabetes Books

I am listing my favorite diabetes books, and others that are very popular among diabetics. If you click on these links, and then click on the books, you can read portions of each book. 

(1.) Riva Greenburg is a wonderful author of diabetes books. Here are her two most recent masterpieces. Note the dates. Riva and I have communicated in emails and on the phone. She is a wonderful person. There is a link on the book page that tells you some impressive information about Riva. Her most recent book, "Diabetes Dos and How Tos", was published in January, 2013.

Riva's previous book is called "50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life: And 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It". This book dispells the 50 most common myths that tend to rule the lives of diabetics, "....such as: “You have to be fat to get diabetes,” “Eating too many sweets causes diabetes...."

(2.) Gary Scheiner has written a very popular book called "Think Like A Pancreas". The book gives a practical guide to managing diabetes with insulin. It is completely revised and updated. (Jan 24, 2012)

(3.) Ginger Vieira, has contributed so much to the diabetes world. A former record breaking powerlifter, and a very wonderful author of two books. Ginger Vieira has lived with Type 1 diabetes and Celiac disease since 1999. Today, she is a freelance writer, and Wellness & Diabetes Coach in her own business at

Ginger's most recent book, "Emotional Eating With Diabetes", is a guide to overcoming the many challenges around food that can develop in a life with a disease that revolves around what we eat.

Ginger's previous book is called "Your Diabetes Science Experiment". It is written for people "....who want to gain a deeper understanding of how the basic science of the human body impacts your blood sugar levels and your insulin needs."

(4.) John Walsh and Ruth Roberts have written books that are widely used by insulin dependent diabetics. Using Insulin gives you "everything you need for success with insulin".

Their book "Pumping Insulin" is for people who are using an insulin pump. This book helped me very much to learn the finer points of pumping. It is very widely used by many diabetics.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Awakening from Keto-acidosis

HISTORY OF DIABETES : Awakening from Keto-acidosis

After developing a refined insulin scientists went to a hospital ward with diabetic children, most of them comatose and dying from diabetic keto-acidosis. This is known as one of medicine's most incredible moments. Imagine a room full of parents sitting at the bedside waiting for the inevitable death of their child. The scientists went from bed-to-bed and injected the children with the new purified extract - insulin. As they began to inject the last comatose child, the first child injected began to awaken. Then one by one, all the children awoke from their diabetic comas. A room of death and gloom, became a place of joy and hope. Photo Credits- Library and Archives Canada
Read More--->
HISTORY OF DIABETES : Awakening from Keto-acidosis

After developing a refined insulin scientists went to a hospital ward with diabetic children, most of them comatose and dying from diabetic keto-acidosis. This is known as one of medicine's most incredible moments. Imagine a room full of parents sitting at the bedside waiting for the inevitable death of their child. The scientists went from bed-to-bed and injected the children with the new purified extract - insulin. As they began to inject the last comatose child, the first child injected began to awaken. Then one by one, all the children awoke from their diabetic comas. A room of death and gloom, became a place of joy and hope. Photo Credits- Library and Archives Canada 
Read More--->
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