A little about me

I couldn't find an "introduction" spot here so thought I'd just write about myself here in a blog.
I'm 50, have had T1 since a week prior to my 11th Birthday... I was diagnosed on "The Sweetest Day", believe it or not, which fell on October 16, 1972. How ironic is that?
For the first 2 yrs I did great... then I became a teenager and things went downhill from there. By the time I was 15 I'd developed DR and started losing my already failing vision (I was born with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia so my vision was blurry from birth. It wasn't until I turned 16 and tried to get a driver's permit that I learned how bad my sight really was. From there went to an eye dr and was told I was legally blind.
By age 17 I developed a neurogenic bladder and have had an indwelling foley cathether since. The presence of the cath has caused multiple UTI and kidney infections over the years; seems I'm always on antibiotics.
Around the same time as I developed the bladder issues I started experiencing symptoms of Gastroparesis. I was put on reglan and compazine and had catastrophic results... I'm extremely allergic to both, and in the time I took it before they figured out it was the meds causing the problems, I developed Tardive Dyskinesia. I've suffered with this ever since.
Over the years, not being able to take anything for the gastroparesis that actually worked, the condition continued to worsen. Five years ago I had to have surgery to place gastrostomy and jejunostomy tubes in my stomach and intestine to receive liquid nutrition. As horrible as it was to go through and to deal with in the beginning, having these tubes placed probably saved my life. My diabetes has been better controlled the last few years then it was my entire life living with it.
I'm hopeful that at some point I'll be able to have a gastric pacemaker placed, and perhaps one day be able to have these tubes removed forever, but for now I'm living day to day and doing the best I can with what I have.
About 10 years ago I started losing the ability to feel warning signs that my blood glucose was low. It was frightening, as I could be walking around feeling fine and suddenly just drop, with a bg of 30. I started testing my bg multiple times a day out of fear it would bottom out without warning.
Six years ago a dear breeder friend gave me a little mini Dachshund as a gift. I've had Dachshunds for many many years, love the breed, and I show a couple of mine in AKC conformation. This one little pup, Maizie, ended up being a Godsend for me. Within a week of having her home she began waking me up in the night alerting to my low bg. I of course didn't realize at first that's what she was doing... I figurerd she just had to go out and potty. Soon as I'd stand up I'd feel dizzy and realize I need to test my sugar... and each time it would be low (about 65).
Maizie continued doing the for weeks, and also would alert during the day (I didn't pay as much attention during the day, and then she started becoming absolutely frantic trying to get my attention. I contacted a couple organizations that train Diabetic Alert Dogs and was told that one in 1500 dogs are thought to naturally alert, and that Maizie is a keeper (but I already knew that!). A trainer taught me how to shape and hone Maizie's alerting behavior and over time I taught her how to alert at specific levels... she now very accurately alerts when I'm between 75-90, and will also alert, I've found, if my bg is quickly dropping (it could be 150 and she'll alert... I'll test in another 15 or so minutes and it will be 90!). She's an amazing little dog... her nose sure knows!
I'd been taking Maizie with me to local stores that are very dog-friendly ever since she was a wee pup, so once I realized she was a Service Dog candidate I began doing public exposure and socialization with her in earnest. When she turned a year old I started vesting her to identify her as a Diabetic Alert Dog and she's been my constant little "nurse" ever since.
When I was 23 I trained with my first guide dog at Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Hts NY. Audrey was my heart dog... met her on Valentine's Day 1985. After Audrey retired I trained with Merlin (black Lab) and years later when he retired I got Gwendy (black Lab). She was only here for a few years when she developed a rare neuro-muscular auto-immune disease and passed away at age 6. I then went to The Seeing Eye in Morristown NJ for my Golden Retriever Nolte. Nolte retired young as well due to Canine Vestibular Disease, and he's living out his retirement here with me as a spoiled couch potato. My last guide was Karla, a petite GSD. She was a beauty, but didn't like the work, sadly. She retired after a year and a half and is now back with the wonderful family who raised her as a pup. I'm currently awaiting training with my 6th guide from TSE.
So that's my not so brief introduction. Glad to be here.
Karen Ann

Welcome to the community Karen Ann!

I'm glad to hear you are doing better and it's good to hear from you. Welcome!

So glad you are here. Wonderful friends wonderful information. You have been through so much and still strong. GOD BLESS YOU!!!

Hi Karen Ann, and Welcome. Yes indeed, Maizie is a keeper! Congratulations on training her to be a Diabetes Alert Dog. We do have a group called "Diabetes Alert Dogs."

I used to have a Mini Wirehaired Dachsie named Wendy. She developed epilepsy at about four years old, so I tried to be there for her whenever she had a seizure. She slept in an open crate next to my bed, and like Maizie she began to wake me up for lows at night. (Wendy's photo is on my Profile Page.) Now we have three Goldens, but unfortunately they don't alert, even though I can see in their faces that they know when I'm having a blood glucose problem.

It sounds as if your dogs have been a wonderful addition to your life. I don't know what I would have done without mine over the years for companionship alone. Best luck to you all!

Thank you all for the wonderfully warm welcome! I've visited this site so many times but never joined until now. So glad I did!


Welcome! I have gastroparesis. I have not taken Reglan or any other medicine, by choice. I do take one Immodium every night and be careful of what I eat and it seems to be working. I will have an attack maybe once a week compared to everyday, everytime i ate. I am pretty happy with the results. My brother died 3 years ago from diabetes and renal failure. He was not diagnosed with gastroparesis but his stomach was just like mine but worse and I think he was to the point where he would have to have tubing. He didn't want to beleive me but I know that's what it was. Anyway, I could go on and on.. Welcome

I'm glad you joined too KKM. Another dog person here, I have performance Jack Russells. My baby (almost 6), Terra, has taught herself to alert. Jumps up and down on and off the bed until she gets me to sit up - not always easy LOL.

Hope your new guide dog works out well! We raised 6 pups for TSE when my kids were younger, what a blast!

Welcome, KKM!!glad to have you here.

God bless,