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?


  1. I've had the whole spectrum - good, bad, and indifferent. It took the really good one, though, to accurately put the others in perspective.

    One of the endos that did not impress me was a doc who, on my first visit, wanted me to switch from animal-sourced insul to Humulin. Not a bad result, but the manner in which he did it - on the first visit "maybe next time we'll look into, what the hell, let's do it now!". This, as well as other behaviors led me to believe he was trying to force every patient into the same mold. It didn't sit well with me. Not until I went to the ER after a severe hypo one night did I get cared for by a different endo, and I quickly concluded "I want that guy!"

    The best endo is the one I have now. I had just moved to the area, and decided to call my pump manufacturer's local rep. He gave me the background on a few endos in my area. From that, I ended up with a guy who knows more about pumping and all its special features than anyone else I know. It's now the way I advise all pumpers when looking for a new endo.

  2. I like that reference, Scott. I could call my Medtronics local rep, but there are only four endos within an hour of my home, and I am have alredy tried two of them. Slim pickings here. I am glad you have found a good endo who knows pumps.

  3. I love Dr. Ponder from Texas. I bet that's who you mean! His facebook posts are some of the best D-education I've ever had from an endo.