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[IP] Musings on the weekend after Christmas...

What a year this has been!  I think back on just one year ago - and I 
remember getting up around 2:00 on Christmas morning to take my 
nighttime bg and possibly take a shot.  My wife had asked me what I 
wanted for Christmas a few weeks earlier and I had said that all I 
really wanted was to feel better and have a little time off from the 
constant pressure and constant feeling of failure with trying to 
manage my bg levels.  

This year I slept until 7:30 and got up with a decent bg reading... 
and felt great.   The boys got up a little after I did, and William 
was standing in the living room, looking at the tree and packages...  
I walked in and asked him what he thought.  He turned and with a big 
grin signed "pretty presents".   He will be three in January and has 
Downs Syndrome - he doesn't talk yet but instead signs using American 
Sign Language.  His fraternal twin brother walked in a few minutes 
later and told me to hurry up with my shower and get dressed because 
Mommy told him that we couldn't open presents until Daddy was ready.  

Breakfast was delayed for about two hours, when we went to my 
brother's house for breakfast with most of the rest of the family.  I 
got to spend time playing with my boys, not worrying about my bg 
because breakfast was on a strange schedule, and in fact from the 
time I checked my bg when I got up until just before we ate I didn't 
even think about it...  that's what the pump has done for me this 

This year I got to participate in the Christmas musical at church and 
even got to eat dinner after the evening service with everyone else 
at the potluck dinner, without having to eat before the musical and 
then just sit and watch everyone else eat later in the evening.  

What a year!  I started off having to quit something I loved doing, 
when I resigned my position as pastor of a small Baptist church 
because my health was failing - I just couldn't handle the 
complications of bivocational ministry and managing my bg levels and 
the schedule  any more.  My bg values were all over the map, I was 
depressed, tired, and didn't feel like playing with the boys much. 

On September 26, 1997 (my Assimilation Day) I started on my pump.  
Since then I've lost about 8 pounds, am actually taking more insulin 
than I was before and am not having the lows, highs and am eating 
what I want when I want to instead of living chained to the schedule.

What have I gained?  The same thing that I read in many of your posts 
on the list - a measure of control that I had not had before I 
started on the pump and a good helping of hope.  Hope that comes from 
feeling like I'm more in control, and hope that comes from finally 
having a set of tools that makes it possible for me to live a more 
normal lifestyle.   I still have to maintain the discipline, watch 
what I eat, manage my bg values and all that stuff that most of us 
are too intimately tied up with.  But now it's not nearly as 
opressive as it used to be...  I can actively work to maintain a good 
bg level even when an emergency comes up and my schedule changes at 
the last minute. 

This is the time of the year when many of us celebrate Christmas, 
some celebrate Hanukkah, while others just sit back and observe the 
rush.  For Christians and Jews this is the time of the year when we 
celebrate miracles - the birth of Christ for Christians and the 
Jewish holiday of the Festival of Lights celebrating the miracle of 
one day's supply of oil lasting many days until more became available 
when the Temple had been purified after being recaptured.   In both 
of these holidays the power of God acting is being celebrated...

I suggest that some of us have experienced a miracle this past year - 
the rebirth of hope in our lives as we have been given the tools to 
better control our diabetes.   I've seen this in my life as I have 
been able to spend more time with my boys and enjoy the holiday 
season like I haven't in fifteen years.   I've read others express 
similar wonders as they have gotten going on the pump.  

Maybe each of us should just give a short prayer of thanks, however 
belief and custom dictates or allows.  Give thanks for pump therapy, 
ask for a cure to be developed, and pray for all the people who are 
fighting diabetes - that they would all have access to decent medical 
care and appropriate tools to combat this condition. 

My prayer is that each of us would find our health actually improving 
during the coming year and that we would be able to encourage each 
other as we fight this affliction that we share.  I also thank God 
that I was directed to this list, where I've found so many wonderful, 
encouraging, upbeat and offbeat people.   

May each of you have a wonderful year in 1998!

Randall Winchester

* The views expressed here are mine and do not necessarily *
* reflect the official position of my employer.            *
* There's no guarantee on anything said here...
* If I say I understand something completely the only thing
* we can both be assured of is that I must have completely
* misunderstood something.