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[IP] Lions an Apex helped get her a pump


Living a `normal' life with diabetes
Friday, 23 May 2003

STAWELL - The Rotary Club of Stawell welcomed two special guests to their 
meeting last Monday, Debbie and Maxine Lewis.

Debbie and Maxine live on and run a horse stud and have not had an easy time 
in the past.

Maxine, now aged 19, spoke about the problems she developed at age 13 when 
she was diagnosed as a severe diabetic and treatment commenced.

The treatment and allied problems caused by the diabetes grew worse and by 
age 15, Maxine was falling into diabetic comas.

In fact so severe was the situation that a cold or an upset stomach could to 
tip her into a coma.

Near death on several occasions, Maxine's prognosis was not good. The major 
problem was that her blood sugar levels were unstable to the point of being 

Other problems were surfacing with probably blindness by age 20 and possible 
amputation of one or both legs a near certainty by age 22. This situation 
being caused by outer vascular problems related to blood flow.

Maxine has undergone several surgical procedures on top of all this, with a 
short life expectancy being the final part of the prognosis.

However, it is a testament to the human spirit that neither Debbie or Maxine 
gave up on the task of seeking to change this prognosis.

Debbie spoke to Rotarians of the constant attention and stress of caring for 
Maxine, not knowing if she was going to fall into a coma or not, having to be 
with her every second, that the existence for them both was not a life, as we 
know and understand it.

Added to this the girls had only been in Stawell for a short time and were 
not well known.

At this time Maxine was unable to move about and just to go to the 
 supermarket, she had to be taken in a wheelchair, as any excessive movement may
triggered problems.

It was in this medical climate that the Insulin Pump was discovered.

Maxine was spending some time on the internet establishing information about 
her illness and during one of these forays, picked up some information on this 
piece of medical equipment.

More enquiries were made and finally, contact was made via Maxine's doctor 
and the Rotary Club of Stawell.

A great deal of work was done by the club and medical people involved. The 
Rotary Club discovered that there was only one of these units between Stawell 
and Ballarat and that it was in use and that this piece of equipment needed to 
be worn or in use 99% of the time.

It was also discovered the cost was $6000 for this `cell phone' sized piece 
of equipment.

Support from the Lions and Apex clubs provided one quarter of the total cost 
and Rotary funded the remainder. The result was that after testing, Maxine 
went onto the pump. She was on it full time by the end of February.

The results have been outstanding, unimaginable by both Debbie and Maxine and 
Rotary members.

Maxine now leads an active life and is getting stronger every day.
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