"The Editor's Diabetes Update" Topic
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| The Editor ||13 Jan 2012 4:21 p.m. PST|
I pass this along in case it might benefit another TMP'er.
I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes four years ago, and as the course of the disease has been explained to me, normally it is possible to treat the disease for a number of years with drugs that basically stimulate your ability to cope with blood sugar – Januvia, Metformin, Janumet (which is Januvia plus Metformin), sometimes Actos (though it might trigger bladder cancer), sometimes Glipizide as a supplement.
In my case, I did quite well on the medicines at first – to the degree that I had to carry candy with me, in case my blood sugar got too low! Januvia makes me gain weight, unfortunately; all of them increase the amount of acid in my stomach, but not terribly.
However, in the last few months, my blood-sugar levels rose to "uncontrolled diabetes" levels (up in the 200s), and then last month abruptly climbed by another 100-200 points. So I've had to progress to insulin.
Now, one of my former doctors (retired now – nice older fellow) always used insulin as a sort of threat: "You better watch your diet, or it'll be insulin for you!" (Even though I was a pretty good patient!) So insulin (and "needles") were sort of a boogey man for me. Diabetics already have to do the finger sticks to test their blood sugar, which are merely annoying individually, but you get really tired of needle-pricks when you have to do it day after day after day
So I wasn't really thrilled about having to give myself insulin injections. However, they've set me up with these dispensing pens – basically, a syringe with a pen-type cap, and a dial on the end to set the dosage. There are disposable needles which screw into the ends when you use them. I'm on a long-duration insulin called Lantus, which means I store the pens in the refrigerator until I start using one, and that pen is good for up to 4 weeks or when it's empty (whichever comes first), and is stored at room temperature once you start using it.
Now, the good news is that these needle tips are so thin, you literally feel nothing when you inject yourself. Really amazing. Easy stuff.
Now, my endocrinologist is an interesting fellow who thinks he's starring in a medical mystery show – he gets really excited when he gets any lab results. Anyway – and the part I wanted to pass along – is that since the medicines only kept me off insulin for four years, he thinks there's a good chance that I'm actually what's called an "adult onset Type I Diabetic." Type II is the form of diabetes most adults get, and means your system has become "insulin resistant" (it's not responding to insulin like it used to); Type I (which used to be called juvenile diabetes, because it's the form most often diagnosed in children) is when you're not producing enough insulin. Apparently, if you come down with diabetes as an adult, they usually just assume it's Type II, but there is a blood test they can do to determine if you're actually Type I or Type II, and they're waiting for the lab results on my blood test to see the results.
Now, that got my endocrinologist thinking
as it turns out, I've had several health problems that showed up over the last few years – not diagnosed all at the same time, but the lab tests show that the actual symptoms started roughly at the same time. In my case, I was diagnosed with thyroid disease last year (hypothyroid – lack of thyroid), but my thyroid levels actually started to drop a while ago.
That means there's a possibility that these things are linked, as there is an auto-immune disease that can cause both. (I think it's autoimmune polyglandular syndrome Type II, but the doctor didn't say the exact name, that's what I gathered from Wikipedia
) Basically, in this disease, your immune system "goes over to the other side" (remember that old Cosby routine about tonsils?) and starts attacking your own body. So they want to make sure I don't have that disease, and they're running tests to check for the presence of particular antibodies which would tell if that's what I have.
So I pass all that along in case it might be beneficial to someone else. As for me, they're gradually putting me onto more insulin and less of the old medication, and my blood-sugar levels should be coming down to normal (and I should have more energy – and less thirst!)
I'll post a follow-up when the lab results come in, but apparently that might take two weeks or so (my phlebotomist told me the tests were rather obscure!).
And speaking of my phlebotomist – I guess there's always someone worse off than you are. She and her husband have a young child (I see the pictures on her desk), and he's the kind that doesn't much like doctors. Well, his eyesight was bothering him, and he went in to the eye doctor
and it turns out he has rampant diabetes, it has damaged his eyes permanently ("retinopathy"), and they've immediately put him on insulin to get his levels down (she told me his blood-sugar level is around 1,000 – which to me is astronomical, I was never close to being that bad).
So I've been pretty lucky with this diabetes thing so far – no wargamer wants to lose his eyesight, and fortunately I have no signs of retinopathy – and here's this younger fellow, much of his life still ahead of him, and he's got it way worse than I do.
Morale of the story? Regular doctor examinations. You've got to do it, and there's usually some way to get it done even if you're short on funds like lots of people are these days.
|Shagnasty ||13 Jan 2012 5:53 p.m. PST|
Hope things go well with you. I'm Type II and I am a very bad patient so assume Bad Things are in store. Since I, because of family history, anticipated dying at 59 of heart problems, the last 7 years have been kind of a surprise.
| Saginaw ||13 Jan 2012 7:27 p.m. PST|
Unfortunately, my family is susceptible to diabetes, too, as evidenced by my now-sainted Mom and my brother. I also realize that I really need to begin to change my diet. It sure doesn't help that I have a weakness for dairy products.
On the plus side, I drink only fat-free milk, and limit my consumption of soda to one 8 ounce glass a day, with a quarter to half refill, sometimes. I also drink a lot of water, and do like to fill my glass up with ice when I have my soda. I'm also trying to cut down on my sodium content.
Bill, we're all praying that you'll have positive, healthy results from your recent tests.
|MahanMan ||13 Jan 2012 8:11 p.m. PST|
Best of luck in dealing with this, Dear Lea
Editor; this runs in my family also, on both sides (what fun!). In fact, my uncle developed it in back in Catholic school in 1961, so naturally the first thing the sisters did while he was in the hospital was give him a free 5-lb bag of candy from the school store
|charared ||13 Jan 2012 8:42 p.m. PST|
Bill, I've dealt with this for years
"Lantus Solostar" 100+ units a day
Not an EASY way to live a life
BUT given the alternative, it *could* be worse
Keep being active, keep being aware
Chaz "who's been thinking of creative wargame usages for the plastic "caps" that come with the needles."
|Rassilon||13 Jan 2012 9:34 p.m. PST|
Thanks for sharing your experience Bill
| Ditto The Abdominal Snowman ||13 Jan 2012 9:37 p.m. PST|
Morale of the story? Regular doctor examinations. You've got to do it
All the best Bill. Follow up and regular visits to a diabetic educator are really helpful and, in fact, essential, if you don't want to become complacent.
Shagnasty, do your best to be a better patient. I've experienced renal failure and have been lucky enough for a second chance at life with a transplant.
And here's something to put the fear of the devil in those who don't get checked. The three years I was on dialysis, there was a very nice lady who had a terrible fear of going to the doctor. She woke up one morning completely blind, blackness only. When she was brought to the hospital, she was diagnosed with diabetes. She must have had it a very long time because not only did she go blind, she had experienced renal failure. Diabetes, blindess, and off to dialysis, all in the same week.
Get yourself checked and for those of you with diabetes, follow up on your A1C (do they call it that in the US? It's the test you should be getting every 3-4 months to see how your sugars have been overall) regularly and visit the diabetic educator every year at least.
All the best, Bill and positive thoughts directed to you, Shagnasty, Charared, and anyone else. Don't mess around!
| The Editor ||14 Jan 2012 4:12 a.m. PST|
regular visits to a diabetic educator are really helpful
My doctor has already encouraged me to take another round of classes, once the lab results are in.
follow up on your A1C (do they call it that in the US?)
|galvinm ||14 Jan 2012 9:13 a.m. PST|
Been there, done that.
Got medicaled out of the Army in 06 with Diabetes, type II.
Everything I got started because of 4 herniated/ruptured disks in my neck. Had surgery, did'nt work.
While working on the neck problem, they noticed blood sugar was elevated a little too much. Going back to 2000. Then they noticed blood pressure was too high. Oh, did I forget to mention my perfect cholesterol level, which, because I was diagnosed as a Diabetic, was not so perfect anymore. In one day, I went from being healthy, happy and stupid, not even taking a vitamin a day to taking seven, yes 7 different kinds of medication, including Morphine everday. Have been for the last 6 years, and will continue until I go, I guess. Diabetes was a surprise at my age even tho my Grandmother and Mom both have it. Now I do the sticky thingy (loads of fun, I mean aggravation), dig out the BP cuff every once in a while, and actually eat salad. Not as active as I was when I was Active duty, but I do have chores around the house and 5 acres of land to keep up with. I have only gained about 5 pounds in retirement, so I can't complain about that. I am always thirsty.
There is a blessing in all this tho, I get/got to spend a lot of time with my daughters while they are in their teens/tweens. I would not trade it for anything in the world.
Good luck to all those on board who have it. I know it's a pain, but it does beat the alternative.
| Black Cavalier ||14 Jan 2012 9:36 a.m. PST|
Thanks for the info. With diabetes on both both sides of my family, including my mother, I've always kind of assumed I'd end up getting diabetes at some point. So any info is good.
| John the OFM ||14 Jan 2012 10:08 p.m. PST|
You need to get Paula Deen as your cook.
| Stosstruppen ||14 Jan 2012 10:33 p.m. PST|
John you tryin to kill him off?
|DontFearDareaper ||15 Jan 2012 10:36 p.m. PST|
Regular exercise is a great ally in the fight against diabetes. I have struggled with type II for over 10 years. The best thing I ever did for myself was dedicating myself to hitting the treadmill for a 2-4 mile power walk every day. I also cut out sugar and carbs as much as humanly possible. Its hard at first, but trust me after time you will lose your sweet tooth if you don't indulge it. My last A1C was 5.4 and my doctors have declared me in remission. Remission is not cured so I keep up the dietary restrictions and the exercise. Good luck in your battle with this terrible disease.
|Old Slow Trot||17 Jan 2012 7:37 a.m. PST|
I know that myself,Bill. Type 2 diagnosed since 2008. 16 units of Lantus before bed for me,plus Metformin 2x a day & Glimepiride(Amaryl) once per day. This morning's glucose read for me,127. Not the best,but far from the worst. Last A1C check-7 even.
|Old Slow Trot||18 Jan 2012 7:33 a.m. PST|
And today's morning read,119.