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A Long Silent Walk on a Tightrope

On June 16 ,in Belleville Ontario, a plaque was unveiled to honour the contribution of James B Collip as one of the team members that included Frederick Banting, Charles Best and John Macleod who discovered insulin and saved millions of lives and enabled people to live with Type 1 Diabetes. Having just received the Joslin Gold medal from the Joslin institute at Harvard, for having lived with T1D for 50 years, I was invited to attend the ceremony. Subsequently,the story was profiled in County and Quinte Living, Autumn 2014. Somewhat uneasy concerning the publication of the story, I am now pleased and proud that. it has been told. For my first 15 years of diabetes, I would tell very few people that I was diabetic! However my questions still remain . Am I doing it right? Should I check my blood sugar again for the 15th time today? Was I just lucky that I have made it this far? Do I have some protective gene inside me ? Or does my state of mind and attitude count for far more than we can imagine? Don't have the answers but what I do know is that I do not mind getting up in the morning.. And I truly look forward to each day and doing what I can to keep on going.

William Murtha
Brighton, ON, Canada

Discovering I was a diabetic.

On October 12, 2006, I was at work like any other ordinary day. I am a motorcycle police officer. While riding and doing "routine" patrol, I felt sick to my stomach and decided to head home. Then I really got sick, so I decided to go to the local hospital. As I walked into the ER room, I told the nurse I wasn't feeling well. They immediately put me in a room and hooked me up to various machines. The bottom line was, I was having a heart attack. During all the various blood tests, the doctor asked me if I was a diabetic. I told him I wasn't. He told me my blood glucose number was 356. I had not idea what that meant. I learned immediately, it was 3 times what it should be.

Prior to this, I had noticed I was drinking A LOT of water, really tired and getting up a lot during the night to use the bathroom. I just thought that it was because I was working in the direct sun for many hours at a time and was just replacing the water I was losing. I had no idea that this was an indication I was possibly a diabetic.

As far as I knew, I had no family history of diabetes. It was a complete shock to me!

Fortunately, I found out and started on a diabetes regiment, including a diet and medication.

I just celebrated my 8th year anniversary of surviving a heart attack and diabetes.

Every day I continue the fight to keep my blood glucose in check. As much as I hate to take the medicine and shots, I am a very lucky person to have discovered I was a diabetic before something tragic happened.

Don Cone
Santee, CA

Fighting the good fight

Growing up I always knew that I was going to become diabetic. My mother had Diabetes from a young age, and when she died of complications of her diabetes in 1991, my sister and I were constantly told that we would become diabetic. My fear of diabetes settled as I got older, by the time I was 18 I believed that the risk was over.

I was 19 years old, and still no thought or fear of diabetes in mind. After an argument I began to feel very ill, my sister insisted on checking my BS. To my surprise my blood sugar levels were very high and my sister called 9-1-1. I went to a small town emergency room. They did a blood tests, I will never forget when the nurse came into the room and asked me, “Did you know you have diabetes?” My response was, “I could have told you that.”

I had type 2 diabetes and could control it with diet and exercise. I was not given a glucose monitor, or even given a consultation with a dietitian. Three months go by, I become very ill, and I can’t eat without getting sick, and I could barely make it to the bathroom. In and out of consciousness, not sure what was going on, I wake up thinking it was a dream. I was in a diabetic coma for seven days, kept in the intensive care unit for another seven. Another fourteen days and I was discharged.

I have had diabetes for almost 12 years, I still battle with it. This was only my first battle with DKA and my diabetes the fight continues without understanding. Be thoughtful of those with diabetes, type one is not always type one. I have both type one and two, worst of both worlds, and yet I deal with it the best that I can. Stories are not always those of triumph, some are of constant battles, as long as we continue to fight eventually we will win.

Laura Ebare
Lewis, NY

T1D and Brittany

It's almost 2015 and my twenty fourth birthday falls on the second Wednesday of May. It is an undeniable truth that I have been born but it was not until June 29, 2006 when my life truly began. I was 15 and diagnosed with Type One Diabetes.

When I first opened my eyes that morning, I knew I was going to the hospital but for a different reason. I was scheduled for a long awaited deformation reconstructive surgery that was to change my life for the better and make life a little easier. Once in the pre-op room, a little easier became a diagnosis of a little harder. I had just completed the eighth grade and out of no where was being told that I have a major condition - a chronic illness I had been walking around with for more than seven months not knowing. Blood sugars spiking to 400 and higher, nurses and doctors were puzzled as to how I was even standing and breathing amongst them.

I didn't have my surgery that day. Instead I was wheeled into an ambulance and rushed to a pediatric hospital in Hollywood, Florida. A reality check at fifteen, I learned how to manually do a job of my body in a week. A 24 hour job that most definitely has its inescapable good and bad days - mostly good though (; My A1C is currently 6.4 :)

With my new found responsibilities, knowledge and control, I was able to have my life changing surgery some months after my diagnosis. Two life changing experiences later, I could not be more pleased with life and proud of the person my Type One Diabetes has helped me be. Even with it being an everyday battle, I am happy and blessed to keep on keeping on. I'll always say that every card I have been dealt is an individually strong contribution to one hell of a deck that will not let even the craziest of shuffles shake her. With all the love I have in my life, I could not ask for a better cure.

Brittany Nicole Snyder
West Palm Beach, FL

Before, glucometers, injecta pens, 100 unit insulin, disposible syringes.

I became a type 1 diabetic a couple of years after Neil Amstrong walked on the moon. Control was by clinictest and ketone tablets. I don't know how my family got me to do 1st void and then second void a 1/2 hr later!!!! It was 5 drops of urine to 10 drops of water. This was done 4 times a day. Ketones was simple just 1 drop of urine on the tablet on the special little blocks of paper you got with the bottle.

Next was the needle So once a week the glass and steel syringe and the needles used to draw up and inject would be put into a saucepan with water and boiled for 10 minutes. The containers they were kept in were washed by hand with dis washing liquid. Metho was put into one container and syringes and needles were place in there with a lid on I, til they were once afain boiled up a week later. Each morning and night we would have to boil water to put into second container to rinse the metho off. On a tea towel the needle and syringes would be placed to air dry before I got the insulin out of the fridge to draw it up. No 100 unit insulin 20 and 40 unit insulin only so was pretty good at dividing back in those days. Never ever got infection and when disposable needles came out due to expense we would place syringe back in their wrapper and place them in the fridge to use for 2 weeks

We didn't count carbs but went with portions mine was 5 2 5 2 5 2. Extra portions before sport. Diet was very strict. I breed and ride horses live in the bush, do everything the same as someone without diabetes. I was never given any special treatment nor did my family spend sleepless nights worrying I could have a hypo in my sleep. So you really have it easy nowadays. How is it a struggle???? I've got through with out any hassles for 45 yrs

Bree Wills
Queensland, Australia

The discovery of my type 2

A few yrs ago I started getting these secondary infections, first was a sinus infection, then an ear infection, then urinary tract infections, then yeast infections, these all came one after the other, usually clear up then come right back.. when I was treating the yeast infection for the third time at home I read through the pamphlet that came with the medicine that stated if you had 3 or more back to back to see a dr.. cause this could mean more was wrong, one of those things that could be wrong was diabetes. I checked other symptoms where and I had them all, blurry vision, tingling in my hands feet, peeing all the time and ex-stream thurst, . I was still thinking there was no way cause I did not realize diabetes could be caused by overweight and my obsession with carbs. My blood glucose was 280 with fasting, she told me about the A1C and I left there waiting to here my official diagnosis in shock. Turned out my A1C was 9.5, and I had a risk from both overweight and genetics, , I am overweight by about 30lbs love my carbs. Dr put me on metformin 2000mg/d, I got obsesive about my diet and exercise, next visit my A1C was 6.5.. she reduced my meds and I slacked off on my diet a year later my A1C was once again 9.5.. back on 2000mg and watching my diet again and hope to be back down to at least 7 when I go back.. Its a see saw, you see what can happen, had a coworker lose a toe, my aunt has had two strokes, its scary, but that don't make it any easier to fight this battle but I will fight. . Educate people about there diet because I did not understand the connection, question your blood work if you have not been diagnosed, cause I as at the Dr regular had annual blood work was never told you are border line or you need to watch your carbs and sugar.

Angie Griffin Williams

Wilkesboro, N.C.

Angie Williams
Wilkesboro, NC

Type 2

Hi my name is Andrea and I have Type 2 diabetes and I am 57 yrs old. I didn't recognize my symptoms right away. I was ALWAYS tired! I was ALWAYS thirsty. I work full time and I dreaded getting up in the morning to go to work. I couldn't wait to get out of work so I could go home and sleep. This went on for at least 5 months. I seriously thought it was because I was getting old. I had made my annual physical with my Dr.I explained my symptoms and she had the nurse come in and prick my finger. 350.! Still, it didn't mean much to me. She told me I was diabetic. She cancled my physical and we started discussing a plan of action. She put me on Metformin 2x a day. She set me up with a Diabetic nurse, and a nutritionist. She sent me to the lab to have an A1c done. it came back at 10.5. I changed my diet. I started eating lots of greens and low carb foods. I walk 15 mins in the morning, 15 mins in the afternoon, and for 30 or more mins after my dinner meal. I lost 28 lbs, and felt great. I went in early September to have my 3 month A1c done again and it was at 6.4! I continue to walk in morning and afternoon, Not so much in the evening now that the time change makes it dark out so early. I do have a elliptical machine that I am going to start using in the evening. I continue to feel good, and I am not tired any longer and can make it through the day feeling that I have accomplished something.

Andrea Ross
Westbrook, ME

my new life

my junior yr. old high school I was missing a lot of days because I was catching bronchitis every month. so I put onto academic probation during that summer I baby sated my two neighbors child. I never notice how much water I was drinking but I did notice I was loosing weight. I loved that after 5 yrs. of being over 200 I was finally losing weight even though I ate usual stuff. aka lots of snacks. then my senior yr. started and every was amazed about my weight lose they could believe how much I lost. my teachers thought I was purging which is totally gross. so one day when I came home from school my dad ask me about purging and he already knew I didn't do it but he got the call from my school nurse. at that time I was weighing 121 lbs. that's was almost a 90 lbs. difference. my mom just had surgery on her right arm and that day I was home sick with laryngitis so during that whole weekend I was sick and on Monday I was still sick so missed another day of school. that Tuesday I woke up feeling really weak and my head was just pounding and pounding so my mom asked me if I wanted to go to hospital and I told her no its just a head ache which I never had one that bad. then my dad came home and he saw me on the couch panting like labor breathing and he told my mom to grab me and he went flying down the road breaking any traffic law. when I got to kch aka Kosciusko county community hospital they thought at first I was having a panic attack but then my mom described how I was drinking water and losing weight. so then they did a sugar test and from that day Oct 15 2008 I was type 1 diabetic. I'm now on a pump and my A1c is doing amazing 6.9 I would never change my life if I could get that chance.

jennifer quillen
leesburg, IN

i keep fighting to survive

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 8 years old. I had been sick for awhile before finally getting diagnosed. By the time I was 18 I didn't plan to have kids because my doctor told me that the longterm damages of diabetes could endanger a baby's health. I got pregnant when I was 19 but I was in a very abusive relationship. My son was born perfect and healthy. When i got pregnant again I had a lot of problems with my blood sugar and got put on an insulin pump. I went into labor early and my daughter died. A year later i was pregnant again and my son was born. Fortunately neither of my sons have diabetes or any health problems. I was able to leave an abusive relationship and married the love of my life 3 years ago. Everyday is a struggle but I'm still here. Diabetes is a battle everyday. What works for one diabetic doesnt work for another. I hope a cure can be found soon so i can be free.

AutoFill Elizabeth Day
dayton, OH

they've always called me a miracle <3

I was 3 years old at the time. Enjoying the small things in life like children do, getting dirty and playing outside all the time. but soon after my mother noticed i was getting sick and loosing weight. The Dr.'s brushing it off there shoulders saying "Caitlen has the stomach flu". There was symptoms of diabetes every where though, i was drinking mass amounts, I would twirl and spin in circles which my dr later told us that children do that when their sugar is so far into ketoacidosis that your body is just trying to burn sugar out. I was a skinny child as is but when i got sick I lost 1/3 of my body weight, my mother told me i looked like a doll i was so small.

later that night my parents knew something wasent right. I was rushed to the ER by ambulance, when i got to the hospital they hooked me up to a GLUCOSE IV and it sent me into over load. when the finally caught on and checked my BG it was over 1000!!! I was in the hospital for a week and a few days. Even though I went though so much Ive learned alot from it. Because i was so young i dont really remember a diffrent way of life.

I am now 20 years old and have been a type 1 for 17 years, and every day is still a struggle. I now have a pump and it has worked out quite well for me.

-Well that my story thanks for listing <3

Caitlen :)

Caitlen
Jamestown, NY
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