Saturday, February 27, 2016

Joslin Medalist Program

History of the 50-year medal:
"The Joslin Medalist Program at the Joslin Diabetes Center, in Boston, began awarding 25-year medals to people with type 1 diabetes in 1948. Eventually it became very commonplace for a T1D to live 25 years after diagnosis, so the 25 year medal was discontinued. There is still a nice certificate for 25 year T1D's, suitable for framing. Their 50-year medals began in 1970. This program has honoured over 5,500 people world-wide with 50-year medals since then.

After the first British citizen, Alan Nabarro, was awarded a 50-year Joslin medal in 1973, Diabetes UK created a 50-year medal of the same name. Closely following this, Diabetes Australia developed the Kellion Victory Medal in 1984.

In 2013, the Joslin Medalist Program partnered with the team of Diabetes Longevity researchers at the University of Toronto in order to facilitate the distribution of 50-year medals to Canadians with longstanding type 1 diabetes."

The following link gives the procedure for applying for the Joslin 50 year medal:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Lilly Journey Awards

The Lilly insulin company offers medals for 10, 25, 50, and 75 years of living with type 1 diabetes. The program is called the Lilly Journey Awards. The link below gives the procedure for applying for these medals. If you apply for a medal this is the only acceptable form of your phone number:
(***)  ***-****

 http://www.lillydiabetes.com/lilly-diabetes-journey-awards.aspx


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Break-up The Insulin Racket

In the US it seems that many many diabetics do the best they can with what little they can afford, or do without. This can certainly lead to serious complications, and even death.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

My Life With T1, Part 14

My Life With Type 1
.........Part 14........
In 2002 I was in very good shape physically and mentally. I had my A1c under 6.0, and my blood sugar control was the best I had ever seen. I was enjoying part time teaching, and we were flying twice each year to Atlanta to see our sons, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. I had a temporary setback with prostate cancer in 2003, but recovered nicely after the radiation treatment, and two years of minor side effects. I kept up my exercises as well as possible after radiation treatment. I dieted, counted my carbs, and kept very careful charts of my diet and control. In late 2004 I felt great. I had lost 26 pounds, and had very good control. Cutting down on my daily carb intake, and exercising rigorously on my treadmill enabled me to lose that weight. My A1c's remained below 6.0. I taught my last class at the college that year. I felt strong and healthy.
I did a lot of work on my house to keep myself occupied. I painted the whole house, inside and out, replaced some interior doors, remodeled the master bedroom, and built a home entertainment center in my oldest son's former bedroom. That is where I sat to type these chapters, and post and talk to my friends. By 2006 I had finished my construction work, and I was bored again. That is when I started posting on the dLife website. Janis Roszler, the moderator there, is a CDE and a RD. She taught people all about pumping. She told me, online, that I should consider pumping even though I had good control with injections. Several friends on dLife started encouraging me as well. I liked the idea of only one needle every three days instead of 6-8 daily injections like I was doing then. I liked the freedom and convenience that a pump provides. I wanted to pump, so I asked Dr. B. and he said it was not a good idea. He thought it was unnecessary since I already had good control. He told me that several of his diabetic patients had worse control after starting to pump, and they had more hypos as well. He would not support me with pumping.
I called an endocrinologist in Poughkeepsie, and made an appointment for Jan. 30, 2007. That was about the time that I had left dLife, and joined Diabetes Daily (DD). I made friends there, and they also encouraged me to pump, to get still better control. The endo approved of my pumping, and sent me to get some blood tests required by Medicare. Something about the lab results did not meet the approval of Medicare, and they would not finance my pump. I was so disappointed, and thought that I would never get a chance to use a pump. The pump itself would cost me $6,000+, and the monthly supplies were also too expensive for my budget. The endo's office phoned me the following week, and told me that my secondary insurance would cover the cost of the pump, and all of the supplies. I was thrilled! The NY State Empire Plan was my secondary health insurance plan. All employees of the state were eligible to have that insurance. While I was employed the college paid all my premiums, and the coverage was for my whole family. After retirement our sons were no longer living at home. The college paid all of my premium, and we paid my wife's premium.
The lady from the endo's office asked me to pick a color for my pump and the order was sent out. I went to the diabetes education center at a hospital in Poughkeepsie and met my trainer, and a dietitian. They gave me a kit containing a manual and a CD. They told me to become thoroughly familiar with the Minimed 522 pump before the pump they had ordered arrived at my home. I had also ordered the book "Pumping Insulin" by John Walsh. It was highly recommended by my friends on the DD website. My friends on DD and on Janis Roszler's site were all cheering me on. The pump arrived in late April and I had one week to have a hands-on experience with it. I started pump training in early May. It went very smoothly, but my trainer was old-fashioned, and wanted to take it very slowly. She was very sweet, and we liked her very much, but four different trips for training was not necessary. We made a separate trip to talk with the dietitian about carb counting. The charts I took with me convinced the dietitian that I knew all that I needed to know to start pumping. Another wasted trip. It was all worth it though. I had to cooperate with my endo who insisted on all this training. Her office was in the same building as the diabetes education center. They all work together.
In the last week of May I was pumping saline solution just for practice. That solution put too much salt into my body, and I had a lot of water retention. I already took water pills for water retention. I called my trainer, and she said to stop pumping saline. I went in on June 19 to be hooked up with my pump. The endo looked at my charts, and read off numbers for my trainer to put into my pump. My basal rates, carb ratios, targets, insulin sensitivity factor, and all the rest. I went home full of enthusiasm and was really looking forward to the next few days. Later that day my blood sugar was over 300 and climbing. My endo did not want me to change anything without her approval. I called her that evening at her home. She had given me several phone numbers. She did not seem to know what to tell me. She had me change a couple of things, but it did not help. I decided to take over my own control. Before doing so I disconnected the pump and resumed injections for a few days until good control was reestablished. With my math and statistical background, my 61 years of injections, and the good control I already had, I should be able to do this by myself. I completely changed all the numbers in my program. After a few days I had much better control. Everything was going much better, but I started having trouble with the needles in my Quick sets pulling out of my body. Putting my clothes on and off, rolling over in bed, and other such things seemed to cause that problem. I started having very high blood sugar whenever this happened. I tested for Ketones every time my test was 250 or higher. I used injections to get myself back under control before reattaching the pump.
I told my friends on DD my problem and I learned about the Sure-T infusion set. It is made very differently and the needle is very unlikely to pull out of my body. I ordered a supply of the Sure -T's, and have been using them ever since. They are great! My control was much improved, and my analysis of my testing from mid July to late August showed control equal to the control I had before pumping. The lab visit I had in the third week of August was only 10 weeks after I had started pumping. I expected the A1c to be very high because of all the high blood sugar I had had during the beginning stages of pumping. I had an A1c of 5.6 before pumping. When I went to Dr. B's office in late August my Aic was 5.7. I was so surprised. The A1c covers the three month period preceding the lab date. I had poor control with very high numbers during the last 11 days of June and the first 10 days of July, but my control was quite good for the rest of July, and all of August. The numbers for the first month of the three month period covered by the A1c are not so influential in the A1c result, the numbers during the second month have a greater influence, but it is the numbers during the third month that have by far the greatest influence on the A1c result. My numbers were very good for the last 6 weeks of the period covered by my A1c test and that overshadowed the bad numbers preceding that 6 week period. That is why my A1c was so good.
I was very happy with pumping at that point. I was able to sleep late in the mornings. I could delay meals. I could vary my eating schedules, and eat very different types of meals without affecting my blood sugar. Counting the carbs very carefully, and pumping the insulin that my pump indicated to be the correct amount was working very well. The very rigid schedule that was necessary while still on injections was no longer necessary. I was unchained, and free to live like a more normal person. I had a machine that worked very much like a pancreas, and I was very pleased with my pumping experience.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Protective Gene for Type 1

"A Finnish study has now revealed two genetic mutations which seem to
lower the risk of contracting a diabetic retinal or kidney disease."

Based on these results, "it seems that the SLC19A3 gene has a role in the development of diabetic nephropathy and diabetic retinopathy. The results also help explain why some patients with type 1 diabetes are more likely to develop complications than others, says Iiro Toppila, the researcher responsible for analysing the data. However, further research is needed into the biological effects of point mutations."

In the secret medalist group on Facebook, one medalist made the following statement:
"I was told by Joslin that I have the cell that either slows or stops
the complications of diabetes. I am 60 yrs with type 1 and am 62 yrs
old."

The Joslin Medalist Study has examined 1000 people with 50 or
more years of Type 1 diabetes. The purpose of the study is to find
what makes the medalists different from so many other type 1
individuals who have had diabetes related complications. The study
began in 2005, and is ongoing. I participated in the study in 2009. In
2011, I attended a medalist meeting at the Joslin Medical Center. Dr
King, head of the project, announced that a large group of the
participants in the study have some kind of "inner protection" that
has prevented them from having any serious complications with their
eyes, kidneys, and nervous systems. He also said that the inner
protection does not protect our hearts, and that we should do our best
to have good heart health. Many medalists have had heart by-passes. I
have been type 1 for 70 years, and except for some minor nerve
damage, I do not have any of these complications. My heart is also in
good shape. Perhaps the protective gene, or cell, is present in my body,
and in the bodies of so many other healthy long term type 1 diabetics.
That gene is certainly present in the bodies of so many younger type 1
diabetics, too.

Here is the link for the complete article:

Sunday, February 7, 2016

My Life With T1, Part 13

My Life With Type 1
........Part 13........
After retiring and teaching part time for a few years I was having good blood sugar control with A1c's below 6.0. Doctor B. would walk into his office with a big smile on his face and say, with his heavy Thailand accent, "nondibeetic". He would go over every line of my extensive lab report, and discuss anything that needed discussing. He had much blood work done every three months ever since I first became his patient in 1977. Almost everything in the report was good except for a few occasions. My cholesterol was 280+ one visit. I took several meds, and finally settled on Zocor. In Nov. 2007 my cholesterol had dropped to 128. I had bad reactions to Mevacor and Questran, but Zocor was much better for me. At the present time (2016) I am using Crestor. In the 1990's my kidneys showed some sign of hyperfiltration. I started taking Altace, which is primarily intended for lowering blood pressure, but it has a side effect of stabilizing the hyperfiltration in the kidneys. My kidneys have been great ever since. In early 2007 my blood pressure was 145. Dr. B. gave me a Rx for water pills, and prescribed Altace. I started experiencing dizziness with the Altace, and there were times I fell down. I started taking Lisinopril, and I reduced my dosage from 10 to 5 mg, without asking my doctor. My doctor approved when I had my next appointment. My blood pressure has been somewhat higher ever since. I test my blood pressure at home too, and it stays between 115 and 135. Dr. B. is the only doctor I have had who had extensive testing like this done.
All other blood tests had been great, with one exception. In August of 2002 my PSA count was 4.2. The previous year it was 3.0. This test is to determine the size of the prostate gland. Now 4.2 is a very low number, and would not normally be anything to cause concern. Dr. B., however, is very cautious on all matters. He sent me to a urologist who told me I was probably fine, but he had twsting done, just in case. The test did not indicate anything was wrong. The urologist still wanted to do a biopsy. His concern was not the number itself, it was that 4.2 was a 40% increase over the 3.0 from the preceding year. A 40% increase is significant. The biopsy showed I had cancer. After an MRI and other tests, it was determined that the cancer was totally contained in the gland. The little cancerous tumors were so small that they did not show up on the X-ray. They were microscopic in size. Dr. B's cautious nature resulted in such an early diagnosis that I did not have to have surgery to remove the gland. That is considered to be major surgery, when it is done. I had radiation treatment done in Jan. and Feb. of 2003. On each of 41 visits to radiology I received 6 jolts of high intensity X-rays into my lower abdomen to destroy my cancer. That is a lot of radiation. It worked perfectly, but there were very unpleasant side effects that continued for about two years. I developed anemia. Iron tablets helped. Damage was done to my intestines, but it was kept under control, and when the bleeding in my bowels stopped two years later I was in good shape. I was told that there was an 80% chance that the cancer would never return. I saw my radiologist doctor each year with good reports. After ten years (2013), he told me that he would not need to see me again. I learned that males used to be checked for prostate cancer in their early 60's. In the present day men should be checked by the time they are 40 because prostate cancer has been found in men who are in their 40's.
I still had a significant amount of overweight in the early 2000's. I bought a treadmill, and started strengthening my leg muscles. After several months I could walk a mile in 20 minutes using a 7.0 incline on the machine. By reducing my daily carb intake to 150 carbs and using the treadmill I managed to lose 26 pounds. I still needed to lose more weight, but I felt great, and I had to buy new trousers since my waist size was 4 inches smaller. I leveled off and stayed at that weight for several years. I was pleased I was not gaining more weight.
In 2006 I watched a dLife TV broadcast and heard them advertise the dLife website. I joined the support group on dLife on July 4 of that year. I really loved it. I made friends there. Janis Roszler was a moderator for dLife. She is a CDE, a RD, and has written three books for diabetics. I enjoyed her comments on dLife, and the help she gave the members there. I spent several hours each day posting on that site. I was giving much support and advice. Janis encouraged me to become an ambassador for dLife. There were four of us ambassadors then. We were not moderators but we were the ones most likely to welcome, advise and support the members as needed. By Dec. of that year the other three ambassadors were working hard at their jobs and, since I was retired and had more time, I did almost all the work the four of us had been doing previously. I did too much though. I was burned out, and I sent Janis an email. I was through posting there. I went back there occasionally to visit friends.
I wanted to join a new and larger site so I typed "diabetes support forums" on a search engine. The first site listed was dLife and the second wasdiabetesdaily.com. That was late Jan. of 2007. I had never heard of that second site, and I immediately joined. I was so impressed. It had so many wonderful features that I had not seen on other sites. I was really hooked. What a wonderful job David Edelman had done in creating this superb site!!! I felt so fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful group!
**************************************
In the early 1980's I was teaching a class in basic Statistics at the community college. All students in the nursing program at the college were required to take the Statistics course. I was the only teacher there with a degree in Statistics, so I taught most of the Statistics classes at that time. I taught many nurses through the years. In the summer of 198? I had about 10 nurses in a Statistics class. It was an evening class. I left my office and started my walk to reach my class, I had blurred vision, and I was very dizzy. It seemed to hit me so suddenly. I reached for my container of sugar in my pocket. It was not there. I recognized one of my students in the hall, and asked him to go to the classroom to tell them I would be late. I fumbled in my pocket for change to use the candy machine. No change. I had no one dollar bills to use in the machine. I should have gone to my class and asked for help but I was not thinking clearly. I went outside to my car. The parking lot was rather dark and my vision was so bad that I had great difficulty finding my car. I finally found and unlocked the car door. I knew I had a roll of quarters I used for tolls. I grabbed the roll and headed back to the candy machine. It was not in the same building as my class. My hands were shaking, and I dropped several coins. My vision was so bad that I had to feel for the coin slot. I managed to get several coins in the slot. I could not read the letters and numbers so I just pushed buttons and pulled knobs until something dropped. I felt something, but did not know what it was. I wanted candy but I had a big cookie with some sticky stuff between layers. I gobbled it down, and headed to the other building to meet my class. I was about 15 minutes late. I explained what had happened. The nurses were all over me for not asking them to help. A couple of them were perhaps in their late 30's, and had been nurses in a local hospital for years. They were at my desk, feeling my pulse and asking me questions. The class started late, but I have always bounced back from these hypos wery well. The class was about 2 1/2 hours long but it was Ok that evening.
Two days later I had a terrible hypo during the night, and my wife could not get me to eat anything. I was convulsing, and she called an ambulance. They were there promptly, and gave me a much needed injection. I was hospitalized for two days. One of the nurses from my class waited on me there. Another nurse from my class kept dropping in even though she was on duty in another part of the hospital. That was a weekend, and I was back in class Mon. evening. Everyone knew what had happened by the time I got to class. Those nurses took good care of me both in class, and at the hospital. That was the only time in my first 34 years of teaching that I had such help, or need of help, from my students.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Diabetes is the Leading Cause of...??

"QUESTION: How many of you believe that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, and amputations?
FACT: Diabetes is NOT the leading cause!!!
POORLY CONTROLLED DIABETES is the leading cause.
If your initial answer was "Yes", this might lift a weight from your shoulders. If you have good control, you would be no more likely to have those complications than a non diabetic."
***************************************************
The above message was given by Riva Greenberg during her interview ontudiabetes.org. She talked to us and answered questions on Friday, Feb 1, 2015. Riva is a dynamic speaker, and she was well received by the group listening that day.
I think this implies that complications are caused by the diabetics who do not take good care of themselves, rather than being caused by the disease. I have some disagreement with the message. The message certainly says that taking good care of ourselves is very important, and it is true that reduces the likelihood of the complications mentioned.
I have participated in the Joslin Medalist Study in Boston. The purpose of the study is to determine the factors that have enabled many type 1 diabetics in the US to live for 50 years, or more, and usually avoid the more serious diabetes related complications. 1000 long term type 1 diabetics have participated thus far.
In Dec, 2009, when I participated, the lady in charge of the examination given to me gave me some interesting information. She said some participants had not taken good care of themselves, but are healthy and complication free. Others have done their very best to have good control, but do have complications. These smaller groups of diabetics are the exceptions to the rule. The great majority of the participants, like me, have worked hard to have good control, and do not have any serious complications. So Riva's statements are not always valid, but they are valid for most of the type 1 diabetics in the US today.
What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

My Life With T1, Part 12

My Life With Type 1
........Part 12.......
This chapter is dedicated to my sons, David and Gary.
David was born in Monroe, NC on Sept. 21, 1966. He was a perfectly normal baby, and he had a perfectly normal childhood. Things were a bit different with Gary. We were living in Richmond, VA west of the city, in Tuckahoe Village. The village was a housing development that built in swampy region. Tons of soil had been used to build up the area so houses could be constructed there. Days before Gary was due to be born we had a lot of rain. The roads leading into the village were at a lower level than the village itself. Some of those roads were covered with water a few feet deep. The village had become an island. We could not get off our island. We found that there was a doctor in the village who agreed to deliver Gary if it was necessary. We were lucky though, the rains stopped the day before Gary was born, and the water was not so deep. We made it to the hospital, and Gary was born on Sept.9,1969 No problems after that. We had a few anxious hours before the rain stopped though.
I have been diabetic since age 6, and never thought anything about taking my insulin when the boys were present. It has been so long now that I cannot remember if they were curious about me injecting. They grew up with it, and it was just a part of our everyday routine. I tested my urine in the bathroom, and there was no glucometer for my testing my blood sugar until they were in their late teens. So there was very little evidence of me even being diabetic. I was running highs almost all the time, and there were rarely any hypos. I must have seemed like a normal daddy with no health problems. In later years I discovered I had been running blood sugar that was much too high, so I was not so healthy as I had thought.
When we moved to New York David was 3 and Gary was 11 months old. My birthday is Sept. 10, Gary's is Sept. 9 and David's is Sept. 21. Gary was 3 weeks premature, and was almost born on my birthday.
When Gary was preschool age we noticed that he was very bright but, there was something wrong and we could not identify it. He was having trouble in school. We took him to a center in Kingston where he was tested. He could not respond well to written questions, but showed very high intelligence when he responded to questions given orally. We were referred to an expert in learning disabilities. Mrs. R. said that Gary had learning disabilities, and she told us she could work with him. She would enable him to correct those problems. She worked with Gary for two years. He began making better grades in school. When he was in high school he was such a great student that they kept yanking him out of classes, and putting him in accelerated classes. He was extremely bright! Mrs. R. really knew what she was doing with Gary. We were so lucky to have the help of such an expert way back in 1976.
When David was very young he wanted to grow up, and drive a fire truck. Later on he wanted to be a magician. He put on magic shows for us, and his grandparents. He did very well in school, and he was also placed in advanced math and science classes. He attended the community college where I taught, and thought he wanted to enter the business field, then he wanted to be a doctor. He made B's in both introductory business and biology courses, and was discouraged. He then decided that he would major in computers. Finally, that was what I wanted him to do in the first place. Does this sound familiar to anyone? He was an excellent computer student, straight A's all the way. He received his BS in computer science at Marist College in 1987, and then was awarded a research assistantship at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
Gary was much more into math and science than David. He majored in engineering, and took several computer courses too. He was the only person during his two years at the community college to make A's in general and organic chemistry, and physics. He graduated from the community college with a 4.00. We were so proud of both of them. Gary joined David at Georgia Tech in 1989, and he majored in computer engineering. They both earned their MS degrees there.
David worked one year at the Center of Disease Control in Atlanta, in their computer center. Near the end of his first year there he was interviewed by a representative of a new group that eventually became known as webmd.com. He was put in charge of designing and implementing the basic vehicle that we know as webmd.com. He had nine other computer people working under him.
Gary became an expert in information technology, and worked for a pharmaceutical research facility in the research triangle in Morrisville, NC. He love his work.
David married a beautiful Chinese girl and they have a daughter Vanessa now 12 years old, and a son Jason, now 8 years old. They live in Atlanta. They are a very happy family. Thank God that none of my children and grandchildren are diabetic. David is now 49 and Gary is 46. They have beautiful homes, and happy lives. Gary is still single.
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When my sons were quite young I wanted to take them out west to see Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, the canyon lands and many other interesting sites. We had a family meeting and I gave my sons a choice of the big vacation that I had explained in detail, or they could choose a computer instead. That was the first PC released by Apple, before IBM had released its PC's. My sons had no difficulty deciding. They wanted a computer. We were very short of spare cash, and we could not afford both a vacation and a computer. If they had not chosen a computer I wonder if that would have affected their futures. We were saving every bit of money that we could for their college education. Their majors in college were in computers, and their lives have revolved around computers ever since. I am happy that I gave them that choice. Rats! I really wanted to go on that vacation.
Pictures: 
David and his bride-to-be in 1999; Uncle Gary holding Vanessa in 2003; Anita holding Jason in 2007.