Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

This is a wonderful video, showing several young children, and their everyday lives with type 1 diabetes. Sad, but joyful. These brave children endure so much, but they enjoy their lives!!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Early Life, Part 2

My Early Life With Type 1
............Part 2.............
My very different life began when returning home from the hospital. My strength was returning, and I looked much healthier than before I was hospitalized. Dr. Davis told us that I should not eat sugar, but no other instructions about an appropriate way of eating were given. My health was much improved because of the insulin I was using, and I was very hungry. We lived on our little ten acre farm, and we had cows, chickens, pigs, and a horse. There was a very big garden, and an orchard. We bought very little food at the grocery store, so processed food was rarely part of my diet. Our own milk, eggs, vegetables, and fruit were readily available. We had meat from the chickens and pigs. Mother canned so much food each summer and fall, to give us food for the colder months. Eating was good, but we did not know about carbohydrates. I ate all the same food that my parents and sister ate, except items containing sugar. Mother used saccharin to sweeten the pies, cookies and cakes that she made for me. I ate lots of bread, potatoes, and other things that were not good for me, but we thought all foods were okay, if they did not contain sugar. I helped my father with the farm work, and I was very hungry so much of the time. I ate big portions at every meal. We tested my urine once each day, before breakfast, and we did not know when my blood sugar was very high, except at that time of day. The insulin was a 24 hour insulin, so my injection before breakfast was the only injection each day.
The glass syringe and metal needles we used were kept in alcohol, and sterilized with boiling water on the stove once each week. We had our own well, and the water contained limestone deposits. After boiling, there was a white film on the needles and syringe. The deposit frequently clogged the insides of the needles. These needles had a much larger diameter than the ones used in modern times. Sometimes we had to push a small wire through the needles to unclog them, before I could take my injections. There was also some deposit of the limestone on the outside of the needles, and we had to use a whetstone and rub the needles on it to remove the deposit. If the deposit was not removed it was difficult to push the needle into my skin. The needles were almost three quarters of an inch in length. I was supposed to push the needle into the muscle on top of my legs, or on my arms. There was no fast acting insulin back then, and injecting into a muscle caused the insulin to be absorbed much faster than it is absorbed in fatty tissue. I was very skinny throughout my childhood, and so the needle did not have to be pushed very far into my skin. My father gave me my injections until I was ten. When I pushed the needle into my leg, it required a very hard push, and sometimes there was a popping sound. That happened whenever there was a little bit of limestone deposit near the needle tip that we had not noticed. It was nice that there was only one injection each day, but there were no fast and slow acting insulins like we have today, so the control of my blood sugar levels was not good at all. I saw my doctor every six months, and he tested my blood in his office lab. My blood sugar was always very high, and my urine sugar was usually high in the mornings. We were not concerned though. We did not know about the complications that might occur with my eyes, kidneys, and other body parts. One shot per day, one urine test, large portions of food, and no worries. We did not know there was any potential problem, and I led a rather normal day to day existence. Ignorance was bliss!! There were no health problems with my diabetes throughout my childhood, despite my very irregular blood sugars. I have often wondered why I did not have DKA back then. Was something protecting me? All the fast acting carbs I ate each day, without correction boluses like I take now, must have kept my blood sugar very high. The only times I had lows and hypos were when I got too much exercise, and sometimes during the night. My insulin was working during the night just like it did during the day, but without food. That would sometimes give me lows and seizures while I was sleeping, if I did not eat enough before bedtime.
At the time of my diagnosis we did not know about artificial sweeteners. A few years later our drugstore was selling saccharin. It had been used as an artificial sweetener since 1910, but we did not know about it until the late 1940's. It was about that time that Kool Aid made the scene in Roanoke. There were no artificially sweetened drinks until we had the combination of saccharin and Kool Aid. I appreciated saccharin very much. Mother made pies, cookies and cakes for me, sweetened with saccharin. They were delicious! That was a lot of carbs in those desserts, but we did not know they were a bad choice of food since there was no sugar.
My parents did the best they could for me during my childhood. Dr. Davis gave no instructions that helped. My parents raised me in much the same way that they were raised in their mountain homes. They did not drink, smoke or swear. They were good Christians, and kept to themselves. They bought land outside the Roanoke, Va. city limits so they could have a fam. They were raised on farms, and they loved that kind of living. That had a lot to do with the way I grew up, the development of my shyness, and my overall personality.
My mother wrote her own story when she was in her 80's. She only briefly mentioned my diabetes diagnosis. She did not say anything about the months leading up to my diagnosis, or the trauma in the months that followed. My parents were devastated by my diabetes, and not knowing how to care for me. The memories were probably too painful for her, and she chose not to include those details in her story. It is impossible for me to remember all that happened back then, but my parents told me all the details years later.
The first picture shows my father, me and my sister a year before my diagnosis.The second picture shows my family in 1945, several months after my diagnosis.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

My Early Life With Type 1

My Early Life With Type 1 Diabetes

.........Part 1.........

In the beginning......

I was a very unhealthy child. I was born in 1939, in Roanoke, Va. I had several illnesses before my fifth birthday. Three different kinds of measles, and removal of my tonsils. When I was five I had chicken pox and mumps. While recovering from those diseases, I began showing the classic symptoms of diabetes. My parents took me to three different doctors, but they did not recognize my symptoms. There was no diagnosis. My excessive peeing and drinking so much water did not help those doctors to see the need for a blood sugar test. I had lost my appetite, and refused to eat. I just wanted to drink. One doctor prescribed a tonic that was supposed to restore my appetite. I still remember the tall glass bottle filled with dark brown liquid. It had a bad taste, and probably contained sugar. It was like the snake oil medicine that we have read about from the past. The tonic did not help at all. It probably made my condition worse. By the time we saw a fourth doctor I was very weak, and had lost a lot of weight. My ribs were very noticeable when my shirt was removed. The fourth doctor recognized my symptoms, and took a blood sample in his office. The sample was sent to a lab, and we waited a few days before we saw that doctor again. His office was on the second floor of a building on Main Street in Salem, Va. I struggled while walking slowly up the long flight of stairs. My father was carrying my three year old sister, and I was too big to be carried. My mother and I sat in chairs in the doctor's office while my father stood behind us , still holding my sister. I do not remember the doctor's face, or his words, but I saw my mother's face. She had a very pale and frightened look that I have never forgotten. My parents listened to the diagnosis. We were told that I had sugar diabetes. The doctor said I should be hospitalized the next day, and a different doctor would be taking care of me. I do not remember the hospital visit, except for the injections I was given, and the blood that was collected. I must have stayed in the hospital for several days. Insulin taken from pigs or cows caused me to gradually regain my appetite, and I stopped losing weight. By the time I was home I looked like a human being again, and my strength was very much improved. Almost all of what I have mentioned, thus far, I had forgotten. My mother and I talked about my early years many times when I was older, and I am telling you about our conversations now.

Dr. Davis was my doctor at the hospital, and my parents liked him. He was a general practitioner, and he became the doctor for my whole family. I saw him every six months , and he took blood samples. He tested them in his office lab while I was there. My blood sugar was always high, but I don't recall him ever mentioning any numbers. There were no meters for testing blood sugar at home until the 1980s, almost forty years after my diagnosis. We tested my urine at home, every morning. The procedure for doing that was very awkward. The first thing I did each morning was to pee in a cup.  Some Benedict's solution was placed in a large test tube, and several drops of urine were added. The test tube was placed upright in a container of water on our stove. When the water had boiled a while, the test tube was removed, and the color of the solution was observed. The original color of the Benedict's solution was blue. If the solution containing the urine was blue, after boiling, then there was no urine sugar present. If sugar was present in my urine then there would be colors...green, yellow, orange, brick red, or brown. Green showed a low amount of sugar, brown showed very high sugar. (See diagram below.)

The animal insulin was a 24 hour insulin, so there was only one injection each day, before breakfast. My urine test result determined the dosage. Urine tests do not always approximate the blood sugar very well. If I had not voided for several hours the test could show high sugar because of sugar that was present hours before voiding. In order to have a more accurate test I should have voided, waited awhile, and then voided again.That would have given a better estimate of my level at that time. We did not know how it should be done, so my morning dosages were inappropriate many times, I'm sure. If I ate frequently during the day, and did not get too much exercise, I did not have hypos. During the night I would sometimes have hypos. Some of those hypos became seizures. I would thrash around during my sleep, and my parents would take care of me. There was always a glass partially filled with water, and several spoonfuls of sugar nearby. During a seizure my teeth would be tightly clinched, my body muscles would be drawn, and I would be almost unconscious, not knowing anything that was happening. Mother poured small amounts of the sugar water on my lips, until I had enough in my mouth to partially awaken me. Then I would drink the liquid more freely. I was always drenched with sweat, and very weak after a seizure. My body was sore the next day. The sugar water caused my urine test to show high the next morning. I continued to have seizures for many years, but they occurred less frequently when I was older. There was never any effort made to call an ambulance. I don't know why. Perhaps it was because the nearest hospital was at least 10-15 miles from our house, and I doubt that the paramedics in the ambulance had glucagon injections available back then. Home care was probably the best solution. I think my mother saved my life many times during the years I lived at home.

Glucagon Nasal Spray

This is a glucagon nasal spray for raising the blood sugar level, when it is too low. It is not available now, but it has been very successful in many human trials.
There is another product, Afrezza, that is currently available, to lower blood sugar. It is an insulin spray.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Blogger Burnout

I have been trying to write a blog about things I encountered in my early life with T1D, but I cannot seem to get in the necessary mood for doing this. Every time I start, I feel bored, and cannot continue. I used to love writing blogs, and have presented many here, but I have not been comfortable in doing this for several months now. I think I may be experiencing blogger burnout. There is actually some discussion of blogger burnout on Google, so I am not feeling so guilty about it. I have been presenting topics that are important to me, new device info, other peoples' blogs, etc...but no original blogs since the one called "Trying To Avoid Diabetes Complications". You can scroll down to find that one.
Maybe I will be in the mood to write some original, new blogs after the holidays. I will let that be one of my New Year's resolutions....maybe.
Do any of you experience this kind of burnout?
I just realized that I have now written a blog about not being in the mood to write a blog. Does this count as a blog? lol

Monday, December 14, 2015

Insulin, Over The Counter

There are diabetics in the US who do not have insurance, and cannot afford the more expensive prescription insulins. WalMart sells some much cheaper insulins over the counter. This could save lives, but good blood sugar control is more difficult. I would not use this cheaper insulin unless it was my last resort.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Safe Insulin Injections

I did not know that I was supposed to use site rotation, and use different body parts, for many many years. Now I have much scar tissue on my abdomen, and poor absorption of my insulin. This article gives good information about the proper way of injecting insulin.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Great Advice, Great Endo

A Facebook friend, Laddie Lindahl, has written a great blog. Her endo gave her good advice by saying "Stop being so hard on yourself. Stop micromanaging. Stop obsessing over insignificant changes in health indices. Stop driving yourself crazy. Be confident that you are doing a good job." Hmmm, I wonder how far I would have to commute to visit this doctor.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Avoiding Diabetes Complications

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 type of control involves having many highs and lows, and 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 a shock to the body. Experiencing this shock over 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 160. The average is 100, but there are numbers that indicate unhealthy highs and lows.
Patient 'B' has test results 72, 80, 94, 100, 106, 120 and 128. The average is again 100, but the data is more closely packed, and none of the numbers are undesirable. Patient B is experiencing much better control, and is much less likely to have diabetes complications.
The purpose of this discussion is to mention 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 avoiding the highs and lows.
I had A1c's less than 6.0 for several years, but had the beginning stages of neuropathy and retinopathy. My control had been tight, but it was necessary to make it even tighter. I stopped having so many highs and lows, and after a few months had passed, the retinopathy disappeared. The neuropathy is still present in one foot, but I rarely experience any pain. If I have high blood sugar for several hours there is sometimes mild pain during the night. I have been a diabetic for 70 years, and have not had any serious complications. I want to keep it that way!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Boundaries/ Doctors and Patients

Does your doctor share information about his/her own life with you? Is it okay for doctors to socialize with their patients?
"Doctors are divided on how strict the boundaries should be. Some have firm rules against socializing with patients or revealing personal details about their own lives. Others say a closer relationship can build trust and make it more likely patients will follow medical advice."


Friday, December 4, 2015

Wonderful T1 Child Video

Look at this little type 1 girl, and watch her video. She is wonderful, and the video is excellent. smile emoticon


"Using a patient’s own cells – identifying them, isolating them, expanding them, and infusing them back into the patient – is an exciting new pillar for drug development."