Gratitude, a gift to myself at the 35-year mark


#1

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on this day in 1984, 35 years ago. Diabetes has taught me much about life. While I hesitate to say anything good about diabetes, the nasty disease that it is, I do concede that it has brought me some useful insights.

It took me a long time to figure out how to live reasonably well with diabetes, 28 years to be more precise. But I discovered a low carb way of eating and that changed everything. Combined with an insulin pump, continuous glucose monitor, and active engagement with this community, I finally restored a semblance of metabolic sanity to my life.

One of the complications I’ve been forced to live with is gastroparesis, an impairment of the autonomic nervous system’s vagus nerve. This nerve connects the brain with the digestive organs, including the gut. Our immune system primarily is set in our gut and a healthy gut informs the brain about our sense of well-being.

The vagus nerve is used to conduct messages in both directions, from the brain to the gut and from the gut to the brain. It is this feature that makes it possible to improve the health of the vagus nerve. It turns out that laughing, feelings of human connection, and gratitude all work to engage the parasympathetic nervous system and promote vagus nerve health.

At the 35-year milestone, I’m filled with gratitude.

  • I am grateful to finally appreciate the significance of the health of this mind-body axis.

  • I’m grateful that I was diagnosed in 1984 and not 1884 or my life would have ended in my 30s.

  • I’m grateful that insulin was discovered in the early 1920s and has given me a second chance at life.

  • I’m grateful that insulin therapy allowed me to enjoy the birth of my daughter in 1985.

  • I’m grateful that I’ve been able to access important treatment tools like blood glucose meters, continuous glucose monitors, insulin pumps, and hybrid closed loop systems.

  • I’m grateful that I have access to the internet, a magnificent, and sometimes chaotic, rich source of actionable medical data.

  • I’m grateful that I joined TuD and gained the accumulated knowledge of a whole demographic that I couldn’t have met with any other way.

  • I’m grateful for the #WeAreNotWaiting community of like minded activists who used their smarts and initiative to take matters into their own hands and present the entrenched diabetes status quo establishment with an alternate view of diabetes treatment.

  • I’m grateful that the do-it-yourself community is infused with a pay-it-forward sentiment, a way of thinking that produces benefits for receiver and the giver.

  • I’m grateful that communicating about what I know best has meant developing a writing skill that brings me pleasure every day.

  • I’m grateful to all the scientists, researchers, and tech developers whose legacy I inherited.

  • I’m grateful for one TuD member who reached out to me and mentored me into adoption of the hybrid closed loop system, Loop.

  • I’m grateful that I’ve been fortunate economically and able to comfortably retire and enjoy the opportunities that life can give in the sunset years.

  • I’m grateful that I’ve finally learned that gratitude, happiness, and relaxation can materially benefit my physiology and enable a virtuous cycle.

I give a big thank-you to all the members of this community who have enhanced my life in so many ways. I also appreciate the opportunity that this community has given me to help others. It can be frustrating at times but the deep satisfaction I feel when I can engage here and improve somebody’s life means a lot to me.

Peace.


#2

I didn’t know you had gasteoparisis, Terry. That makes your flatline data all the more impressive. Didn’t even expect that would be possible for someone like you. Congratulations!


#3


#4

It was my gastroparesis diagnosis in 2012 that triggered my re-examination of every detail of my diabetes treatment. By the way, I traveled to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona to consult with doctors there about my ongoing digestion issues when my doctors in San Francisco could not shed any light on my symptoms. I had tested negative on one stomach emptying study. The Mayo Clinic doc said that the test I came up negative on was not a long enough duration.

That diagnosis caused me to do a major reset of my diabetes. I was determined to do everything it took to improve my health. I had just retired the previous year and facing declining health was not my life-long dream of retirement.

It was at that time I adopted a carb-limited way of eating after procrastinating about it for two years. I also adopted daily walking during that period. I eagerly read all the posts about carb-limits, often contentious in nature. I only lurked at that point and offered little, if any, comment.


#5

I can relate to the gastroprohesis, I was diagnosed in 2012. Had spent years struggling with my bg #'s (still do) hearing I was doing something wrong. In 5 hours my stomach didn’t digest that nuculer tuna fish sandwich. The pump helped so much bual bolus are the way with me. Unfortunately those 15 years fighting my sugar caused a lot of nerve damage that I struggle with always. Had to retire 2 years ago and I am only 57, was kicking and screaming not to, have worked for everything I had in life and lost most all except for family.
Anyway happy anniversary, hope you well.


#6

Medical professionals often fall into reflexively attributing poor blood sugar management as a failure with complying with the doctor’s orders. They simply fail to appreciate just how hard it is, the game we all play.

Sorry to read this but glad you have family to give you support.

Thank you for your well-wishes!


#7

Thanks, but hey I am still above ground and still working on staying there.


#8

Congratulations, Terry, for doing so well and having learned so much at your 35-year mark … and, for having such a positive, grateful attitude … and sharing such with all of us! It truly makes a difference and it’s much appreciated!


#9

Congratulations, Terry. You are a hero with all you do to help others on this site. I have learned so much from you. For this I am grateful.


#10

@Tapestry and @yeagen, thank-you both for your kind remarks.


#11

Happy diaversary!!!


#12

@Terry4, happy anniversary! I will celebrate my 35 year anniversary in about 6 months. We are 1984 twins!


#13

Thanks, @Rphil2!

@Edamame.Bean - I’ve met many people with diabetes who are from the class of '84. Looking back, I actually started experiencing symptoms about a year before. Doctors didn’t use the term LADA back then but I was definitely a slow onset. Thank you for the well-wishes!


#14

Happy Diaversary, Terry! You do so much to help people, what a gift. Thanks!


#15

I had coffee with a mutual friend, @Zoe, a few months ago. Your name came up in conversation. Thanks for your kind remarks! I always enjoy reading your posts and comments.


#16

Zoe is amazing! Grateful to her for starting the Type 1 women’s group that I attend.


#17

Congratulations, Terry4!

As to gastroparesis, I believe that every diabetic who has had DM for at least 15 years has it to some degree. No amount of vigilance nor pro-action seems to avoid it. I also believe that DM begins in the gut with changes in microorganisms. Don’t know whether correcting the gut bacteria can forestall the development of DM. Don’t see much research in that direction.


#18

I think that’s a good hypothesis and makes sense to me. Additionally, I believe that an inability to truly relax on a daily basis leads most of us to become sympathetic nervous system (the flight vs. fight tension) dominant and drive gut dysfunction, a source of many diseases.

I’m currently experiencing some positive health symptoms with a daily meditation practice and a breathing exercise intended to shift my consciousness toward parasympthetic dominance.


#19

I very much admire the manner in which you deal with health issues @Terry4. You exemplify all that is good at the tudiabetes forum.

I too dealt with gastroprohesis (some 30 years ago). It was severe, and in those days the standard treatment was Prepulsid (Cisapride). As long as you took it 20-30 min pre-meal, it worked like a charm.

Unfortunately, it was linked to multiple cases of cardiac failure in 2000 and pulled from the market. Fortunately for me, my gastroprohesis resolved itself and I no longer require any medications.


#20

Hi Willow,

I have had type 1 for 60 yrs. I show no signs of gastroparesis. I am very thankful that I haven’t had to deal with it.