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[IPu] My story



Janette (and others),

Thank you (and Doris) for your informative messages.

My diabetes history is not unusual in most respects, with the possible 
exception of my being unable to locate a diabetic relative on either 
side of my family (apart from a great uncle who I class as a possible).

Here's a little of my history in any case.

I spent some years growing up in Southern India and have been back and 
forth between there and Australia ever since. From about age sixteen 
(while schooling in India) I began to get a series of boils. Whether 
this has any link to diabetes I'm unsure, but within a year I had 
returned to Australia and throughout the summer months of that year my 
mother became increasingly frustrated with her teenage son as he (me) 
became lethargic and generally even less likely to do much around the 
house. I began to lose weight and constantly drink fluids. My elder 
brother marveled at my incessant consumption of bread and butter.

When finally one night I began to vomit my mother suddenly made a 
realisation and mentioned the word "diabetes". The only time I'd really 
taken note of the word was when reading a novel in which the 
protagonists were trapped in a ski lodge and the young woman was 
diabetic. If they didn't escape to find insulin, then she'd die. My 
mother took me immediately to the local hospital. It was quite late, so 
apart from the emergency ward, the hospital was quiet. The doctor 
tested my blood and without delay informed me that I was in fact 
diabetic. I asked if I'd have to stay overnight. He said. "You'll have 
to stay here for a few weeks."

The next morning I awoke in a bed at the far end of a long room which 
ran the length of the hospital. There weren't many others there. It 
wasn't a ward for diabetics but as I later learned they did have a 
Diabetes Centre in the hospital. Soon they sent a woman up to see me 
with a series of books and illustrations. She began by showing me a 
sequence involving a frowning pancreas and some naughty looking islet 
cells. I asked her to bring me some real books on the subject.

The point where the whole food aspect of the disease hit me was 
breakfast that morning. I was given what to me seemed a rather modest 
hospital meal. After a while a nurse asked me if I wanted anything. I 
said I'd love some more toast. She came up short and told me that she 
couldn't give me more food as I was required to eat in strict portions. 
I've never been good with authority. I determined from that day on that 
I'd know enough about the condition myself that I'd never be left with 
my hand out for more toast only to be told no. If anyone was going to 
be in charge it was going to be me.

This approach worked well for the subsequent 15 years. I started on 
Actrapid and Protophane and mixed them in the syringe. Later I went 
onto the Novopen and took  Mixtard 30/70. I could feel hypos coming a 
mile away and through knowledge of their clear stages I never had a 
serious hypo and quite frankly, I never tested. My HbA1c results were 
good. Great on occasion. So much so that the doctors let me stay on 
Mixtard when they kept telling me it wasn't really designed for long 
term use.

Eventually my HbA1c results began to creep up from 6 to 7 and then 8. 
The endocrinologist recommended I change my regime. I was now taking 
Novorapid with meals and Protophane in the evenings.

Then came one fateful night in February of 2004. I awoke in the bedroom 
to find my wife looking stricken and two paramedics standing over me. 
She'd woken to find me having a seizure. The fit had had locked the 
muscles in my upper back and it was very painful.

Over the next few days I tested like a crazy man. A routine that I've 
kept up as my hypo symptoms, once so marked, are now almost 
nonexistent.

Soon I was put onto Lantus Glargine for the evenings and that's where 
I've been for the last year.

The problems I feel with this regime are that I find the results of any 
given injection can be variable. I'm never completely sure what my 
body's response is going to be. Lantus says it lasts 24 hours but I 
find 22 hours a better guideline for me. This usually means a high or 
an over-corrected low sometime in the late afternoon, early evening. I 
often find myself eating just before bed even though I'm not the least 
bit hungry but my levels are too low to risk it. Consequently I'll 
compromise on the high end of the scale. Lows are not uncommon and 
many-times unexpected. If I forget myself and eat a bit more than I 
should, it goes way up. It's exhausting. My wife can certainly attest 
to my moodiness.

Having said that, I feel my control is not too bad.

I attended a half-day Roche Accuchek paid question session last year. 
In my group of seven or so there was only one person, a young woman, on 
a pump. The meeting's coordinator placed a large plate of sandwiches on 
the table. The pump user was the only person in the group who looked 
pleased to see them. She ate a couple. No one else did. This impressed 
me. She seemed to have more carefree attitude to food than those of use 
who injected insulin.

Nonetheless it's taken me a long time to come around to the idea of 
wearing a pump. I made the decision not even knowing the extraordinary 
costs involved. I don't have private health insurance but I'm exploring 
some options hopefully open to me.

I'm generally very private about my condition. I was with my girlfriend 
(now wife) 6 months before I revealed it to to her. Friends don't find 
out until I've know them for at least a year or so.

It may be time for me to change that approach, which like Mixtard, 
Protophane et al before it, has served it's purpose. I'm determined to 
remain in control and cut no corners in my pursuit of the best 
treatment available. It seems clear to me that an insulin pump is going 
to be a part of that.

Regards,

Luke.



On 30/01/2005, at 12:36 PM, Janette Dunn wrote:

> Insulin Pumpers is made possible by your tax deductible contributions.
> Your donation of $10, $25, or more... just $1 or $2 per month is 
> needed so that Insulin Pumpers can continue to serve you and the rest
> of the diabetes community. Please visit:
>
>    http://www.insulin-pumpers.org/donate.shtml
>
> Your annual contribution will eliminate this header from your IP mail
>
> Hi Luke (and all),
>
> Under are 2 charts comparing Pumps and their features (now you know 
> wht's sold in AUS and likely prices).
> www.diabetesnet.com/diabetes_technology/insulin_pump_models.php
>
> www.integrateddiabetes.com/PumpComp.html
>
> I can provide contact details and phone numbers for all Pump companies 
> in AUS if you'd like.
>
> We have members using all the Pumps I listed as available here.  Not 
> sure if anyone has purchased
> a Danacare (Diacare Pump),  but I could locate users on the US list if 
> you'd like to email them and discuss pros / cons.
>
> Warm Regards,
> Janette
> ----------------------------------------------------------
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> help SUPPORT Insulin Pumpers 
> http://www.insulin-pumpers.org/donate.shtml
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