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