Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Early Retirement and Diabetes

Early Retirement in 1997
In the 1990's I changed from animal insulin to synthetic insulin. I started gaining weight. Additional exercising and reducing my carb intake helped, but I was still gaining. I was a math teacher at a local community college, and my performance in the classroom was not good. I no longer enjoyed teaching, and I dreaded driving to campus each day. That made me feel very guilty. I had enjoyed teaching for many years, but with all the weight gain, and other symptoms, I was teaching only for earning a salary. My students deserved better, so I retired from my job in 1997. I was only 56 at that time. I had intended to teach until I was at least 62, so I would be receiving social security. It was difficult for Anita and me to face our financial obligations for several years. We had taken out loans while putting our two sons through college until they had their MS degrees. We also needed a new car, and we put that off for a long time.
In 1998 I weighed 242 pounds. That was a 57 pound gain from my initial 185 pounds in the early 1990's. I was averaging 130 carbs per day, and getting a lot of exercise. My internal medicine doctor diagnosed insulin resistance (IR) later that year. I had not heard of T1D's being diagnosed with IR, but online research let me know that it was not unheard of at that time.There was no other change in my lifestyle back then. My doctor prescribed Avandia, an oral med for helping with IR. My weight gain stabilized. My pants size had increased from 36 to 42 inches, and I felt miserable. With Avandia I lost 15 pounds.
A T1 with IR is called a Double Diabetic. You can research that term. That does not mean that I was both T1 and T2. I have taken both the Autoimmunity and C-peptide tests. I was found to be autoimmune, and I was producing almost zero insulin. That is very much to be expected with long term T1 diabetes. T2's are not autoimmune, and they produce a significant amount of their own insulin. So I was T1 with a T2 characteristic, but I was not T2.
I had four T2 older relatives. I think I must have inherited a gene that triggered my IR after my weight gain. Having that gene may explain my weight gain after beginning the use of Humalog insulin in the mid 1990's. I have two cousins near my age who became T2, but other cousins did not, even with weight gain. I think that those with T2 also inherited the gene which caused the IR to develop. At one time my sister gained weight, but she was never diagnosed with diabetes. She probably did not inherit the gene. None of my relatives are/were T1. I am the only T1.
I taught part time at the college after retiring. Teaching only a couple of hours each day was not a problem, and it helped our financial situation. I started using an insulin pump in 2007. Friends in the support group convinced me to use a pump. I saw an endo that year for the first time. She approved my using a pump. I had been T1 for 61 years at that time, and she said I deserved the opportunity to experience what a pump could provide. Pumping did greatly improve my diabetes management. My A1c was 5.6 before pumping, and 5.7 the first time after pumping. That was not an improvement, but it was so much easier to manage my diabetes. I had fewer highs and lows, and no extreme highs or lows like I occasionally had while injecting. Time in range greatly improved.
In 2010 an endo prescribed Metformin. That was a relief since the Avandia I had been using was suspected to be the cause of heart problems with some users. After two years on Metformin I had lost the rest of the weight I had gained. My waist was a size 37, and I felt so much better. I started with 2000 mg of Metformin, and gradually reduced the dosage to 1000 mg. Several months ago I stopped Metformin, and I am not gaining weight. It seems that my IR is not much of a problem now.
I feel guilty for stopping teaching when I was only 56. I never worked full time after that, and my last part time teaching was in 2004. We are doing ok now, physically and financially. We are in our 70's, and I will be 80 in September. I am so lucky to be T1 for 73 years, without any serious complications. I have neuropathy in my feet and legs, with numbness and a problem with my balance. That is my only diabetes complication at this time.
We plan to attend the Friends For Life type 1 conference in Orlando, in July this year. Maybe I will see some of you there. 

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