Category Archives: Diabetes

Are You a Victim of Type 1 Diabetes?

About 20 years ago I went through a personal development course called Lifestream.  It was very profound at the time and provided me with a lot of tools.  The other day while going through some papers I stumbled upon this “poem.”.  It got me thinking about how I have dealt with my diabetes and my life.  Be compassionate to yourself as you read it and as you review your past, and perhaps current, approach.  There is great wisdom in the words.

The Difference Between Leaders and Victims

Leaders make mistakes and say, “I made a mistake,” and make up for it.  Victims make mistakes and say, “I’m sorry,” and do the same thing the next time.

Leaders say “I’m good, but not as good as I can be, yet.”

Victims say “I’m not as bad as a lot of other people.”

Leaders affect others.

Victims are affected by others.

Leaders would rather be admired than liked, and wind up having an abundance of both.

Victims would rather be liked than admired, and wind up having little of either.

Leaders respect others and try to learn something from them.

Victims resent others and try to find their faults.

Leaders stand for something and are willing to to fight for it if necessary.

Victims stand for nothing and either fight about everything, or nothing.

“There are essentially two categories of people in the world…leaders and victims.  Leaders are those whose purpose seems to be to inspire and motivate victims until they become leaders.  Victims are those whose purpose seems to be to criticize and resist leaders until they become victims.”

Ross Quinn

A diagnosis of diabetes can easily lead one to the path of being a victim.  Make no mistake, there is great pain, self pity, depression, resentment, anger, fear that comes with being diagnosed with a chronic illness that you did not ask for and did nothing to get.  So, if you fall in the category of being a victim do not be too hard on yourself.  Instead, be grateful to the people around you who have inspired you and who have helped to motivate you to at least be a survivor.  Life is not black and white.  Yes, you either fall in the category of victim or leader but because you are here you have the makings of a leader.  The universe would not have given you a chance if you didn’t.  So, don’t give up.  Keep searching for the ladder that leads you out of victimhood and you will begin to get a glimpse of the light of leadership.  I am still climbing…………One step at a time.  And to you leaders out there.  Thank you and forgive us victims for our parasitic nature.   We are in debt to you.

Type 1 Diabetics….You can live a normal life…….Rrrigggghhhhttt…

I was diagnosed over 31 years ago.  I was 14.  The message that the doctors and nurses gave me was that you can live a normal life.  All you have to do is take your insulin, eat good and test.  At the time I got it there were no blood sugar monitors.  No, I peed on a strip to see how much sugar I was “spilling.”  I wanted to believe the doctors and nurses.  My family and the people around me who cared for me wanted to believe them to.  The diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes is a shock to the system. It is a massive body blow that knocks the wind right out of you.  Nobody wants it.  Everyone wants to minimize its impact.  So, when there is a message that you can be normal you want to believe it.  Sorry.  I am here to tell you that you cannot live a normal life.  Not possible.  Not going to happen.  If you try you will be denying yourself the taste of truth.  And without the taste of truth life is bitter.  So get it out of your mind that you can live a normal life.  Normal is out.  However, you can live an excellent life.  You can live a happy life.  You can live a productive life.  You can live a meaningful life.  Give up the desire to be normal.  This has been a lifelong lesson for me.  You see I got the freakin disease when I was 14.  I was captain of my soccer team and hockey team and an A student.  I was popular at school and I had a lot going for me.  The one thing I wanted to be was normal.  I was the standard for normal.  Anything not normal to a 14 year old is abnormal or weird.  Normal is out.  Thank God….

The Insulin Pump

If you have been reading these blogs you know that I have had Type 1 Diabetes for over 31 years now.  I was diagnosed at age 14 and am about to turn 46.  I have only been on the insulin pump for 2 years.  Prior to going on the pump I struggled to attain A1C results below 8.  Now my A1C’s are between 6.1 and 6.4.   And I don’t have very many low blood sugars.  I was surprised to find out recently that not all people with the pump are getting A1C’s below 7.    I was also surprised to learn that 90% of Type 1’s are not on the pump.  I really should not be surprised.  I mean it took me 29 years to get there.  Nobody wants to be hooked to a pump.  Especially if it is not going to make a significant difference in one’s life.  I am here to tell you that from extensive experience with the disease and a really hard look at some of the significant issues that lead to balancing blood sugars that no other insulin delivery system comes close to the pump.  I want to outline these issues with the goal of persuading you to consider the insulin pump for your insulin delivery system.  The closest alternative to the pump is injecting one dose of Lantus combined with several injections of a short acting insulin (humalog or novolog) to cover meals and make insulin corrections.  Lantus is used as the basal and the short acting insulin is considered the boluses.  There are other insulins like Humulin N but these are dark age therapies.  The Lantus approach is called the “Poor Man’s” pump because it seeks to simulate the pump through multiple injections.  But it is so inferior to the pump that there is almost no comparison.  The thing is that the pump itself is not the answer.  Insulin dosage and delivery is but one aspect of controlling blood sugars.  I am sure that there are plenty of people on “The Poor Man’s” pump that are doing better than people on the pump because they have a better handle of the other aspects.  These other things are food intake, exercise, general health (especially one’s weight) and most important perhaps, one’s attitude toward the disease.  The last two years I have experienced a transformation that I have been seeking since diagnosis.  I struggled with understanding how to control my blood sugars.  I became depressed and reached times of wanting to give up believing that I had a limited impact on my success.  This created feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.  Looking back I see that I really never did give up and through the blessings of good fortune and support from others I have made it to today.  And today I am thriving.  I am in the best health of my life and I feel better than ever.  The insulin pump was the tool I needed to get over the hump.

I would like to put forward one perspective of many I have been contemplating.  All of my working career I have been involved in systems and procedure assessment and development along with the corresponding Training protocols to support the system utilized.  I am using my work experience and applying it to Diabetes management.  As a trainer I have learned a few things.  First, you can train 3 things;  you can impart knowledge, you can develop skills and you can enhance attitude or the optimal thought context approach to be applied to the task(s) at hand.  Second, it is critical to have a clear understanding of the primary objective of the system.  And third, we learn most effectively via metaphor or analogy.  The knowledge and skills that must be internalized and mastered to have success in the management of the disease are not overbearing but seem to be illusive without the proper thought context.  And the optimal thought context is only achievable with courage, discipline and a desire to excel.  Difficult characteristics to foster when one is knocked hard across the head with a diagnosis as serious as Type 1 Diabetes.  It took me 29 years to get there so I know.

The primary objective with Type 1 diabetes is a desired range of blood sugar readings.  My range is 80 to 120.  Of course, I am not there all the time but that is where I want to be.  If I am not in that range I take action to get back in there.  There are several metaphors and analogies I am working on.  To conclude this posting I would like to share one of them with you and show you why the insulin pump is superior.Think of yourself as an Automobile.  There are several types of Automobiles.  There are big ones and small ones.  There are fast ones and not so fast ones.  There are fuel efficient ones and there are gas guzzlers.  There are new ones and there are old ones.  Your body is the Automobile.  If you have Type 1 Diabetes there has been a malfunction.  Sorry, but that is the truth.  Specifically, the malfunction has occurred  with the accelerator.  The cells in the body responsible for the production of insulin have been destroyed.  The immune system has decided that they are foreign invaders and has attacked and killed them.  This malfunction is a fatal flaw.  Without insulin the body will die.  Without the accelerator the automobile is immobile.  It can’t get the fuel to the engine.  Insulin is the accelerator.  The food we eat is the fuel.  Your general health will determine whether or not you are a sports car or a beat up old Chevy truck.

So how do we use this analogy to understand and better handle our diabetes?  First and foremost, get yourself in the best shape you can.  Get to a weight that is ideal for you.  Exercise vigorously.  Drink water.  Take vitamins and supplements.  Get your lab tests every three months.  Second, use premium fuel.  Eat well.  If you drive a sports car you have to put premium gas into it.  It won’t run properly without it.  Third, fix the accelerator as best you can and learn how to use it.  This is where the pump comes in.  Remember, Insulin delivery is the accelerator.  The pump allows you to create an accelerator that is dynamic and state of the art.  You can adjust it any second of the day as opposed to “The Poor Man’s Pump” where you can press on it once with the Lantus injection and perhaps up to 8 more times with short acting insulin.  Last thought in this posting………….When you are driving you are constantly looking at the speedometer to check and make sure you are pressing the accelerator properly.  Check your blood sugar at least 8-10 times per day.  Your blood sugar readings are your speedometer.  You want to stay in a specific, predetermined range.  You are driving blind if you don’t check.

Type 1 Diabetes: A Spiritual Perspective

I am not going to get into an esoteric discussion of religion or spirituality here.  No, that seems to have been going on since the invention of humanity itself.  There is this camp and that camp and there is a growing movement that believes it is all poppy cock.  I am not part of that movement but I am watching it with curiosity and amusement.  What I am going to do is provide you with a sliver of perspective regarding type 1 diabetes.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 14 in 1976.  I had not been brought up with any real model of how the world works except that it revolved around me and my immediate family.  I soon came to realize that this model was not very workable and started to explore other possible ways of understanding “how it works.”  In college I studied the great philosophers and the great religions and have continued to study, explore and experiment throughout my life.  I have never been able to buy into any particular way of looking at our existence (like a religion or a cult) and have managed to stay in a low grade fever of existential crisis pretty much all of my life.  The acquisition of Type 1 Diabetes was a shock and it focused my attention on my mortality perhaps quicker than most get to think about it.  However, all of my study and exploration has not been for not.  I have come to a foundational understanding of the human condition that I believe is true and accurate and is supported by the latest science and popular ways of thinking that are expressed in books like “The Secret” and the movie “What the Bleep do we Know.”  I believe that the foundation of spirituality is found in the interplay between Fulfillment and Desire.  Two apparent polar opposites.  Our world is full of polar opposites.  And Fulfillment vs. Desire is the Grand Daddy of them all.   Continue reading Type 1 Diabetes: A Spiritual Perspective

Healing Type 1 Diabetes

As you know, if you have read some of these blogs, I have had Type 1 diabetes since age 14.  I am now 45.  I believe I am in the process of healing from the disease.  Notice I did not say I am curing myself.  A cure is coming and people are working on a cure.  I have realized that it is my role, my responsibility to heal not to cure.  This perspective has sent me down a few roads I would like to share in this post.  Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune deficiency disease.  The immune system is designed to attack invaders.  The deficiency is that it somehow decided that the cells that produce insulin are bad and therefore killed them off and continues to kill them off.  As I understand it this is one of the problems with stem cell implants.  The immune system still sees the insulin producing cells as foreign invaders and proceeds to attack and rid them from the body.  The result is catastrophic;  complete system failure.  Thanks to medical science the path of curing disease has been established and continues to progress. Injectable insulin allows the body to survive and blood glucose testing allows us to gain good control.   But why?  Why has the immune system wrongly identified these cells for termination?  I know that there are some medical explanations and genetic faults that perhaps allow it but why?  The answer to why is what has driven my healing process and I have a few clues.1.  I have concluded that there is part of me that does not want to survive in this form, at this time.  2.  I have concluded that there is an issue of addiction.  Think about it.  We need to inject, get our “fix” or be “hooked” to a pump.  3.  There is an issue of balance.  The result of the disease is an imbalance of a critical system in the body and the means to survive involves an ongoing balancing act.The cure will come only when the healing has begun.