It Is Done, My Participation In The Joslin Medalist Study

We drove to Boston on Sunday, just 2 days after Thanksgiving. Traffic was actually not as bad as we were expecting and we had bought a GPS which helped very much. Anita loves the GPS and the lady whose voice has an English accent. She named the lady Lola and we both love Lola. I know, “What ever Lola wants, Lola gets”, but this gal does not ask for anything. The perfect mate for an old geezer my age, eh?

On Sunday evening we met two of my friends from another diabetes site and we had a wonderful evening with them. A great meal too. They live in the Boston area. We went to bed at our hotel early that night. I was required to fast and also skip breakfast on Monday. A shuttle supplied by the hotel (Holiday Inn Brookline) took us to the Joslin Diabetes Center.

They took blood and used about 10 test tubes. Then they gave me a tall glass of vanilla flavored glucose. They called it a milk shake. YUKKK! They drew more blood every 30 minutes after that until two hours had passed. My BG was then 230+ at that time. More blood was drawn every 30 minutes until a total of 4 hours had passed since I drank the glucose. Then my BG was 343 and I felt sick. No way am I used to having highs like that! I was permitted to take some insulin after the last blood draw. I needed 20 units. The fact that my BG kept rising all through the 4 hour period showed that my body produces no insulin. We were told that some of the Medalists showed a lower BG at 4 hours than at 2 hours which meant that they were producing some insulin, even though they had been diabetic for more than 50 years.

It was believed that the Medalists who produced some of their own insulin would be the ones without complications. So why do I have no complications if I am not producing any insulin? We were told there were a few others just like me though. So there has to be an additional avenue through which a long term diabetic can have no complications (in my case after 64 years of diabetes), other than by producing some insulin. They don’t know what that avenue is yet. The Medalist Study continues until 2011, at which time they will have examined 750 diabetics, all of whom have had diabetes for at least 50 years. Did any of you realize there are that many of us long term diabetics in the USA? There are even more because some Medalists did not wish to take part in the study. Approximately 550 Medalists have participated thus far.

I was examined for neuropathy and sent to their eye center. I had a wonderful eye examination. Dr Shah is a brilliant opthamologist. It was the best eye exam I have ever had. My eyes are in great shape. The results of all the testing will be sent to my home in a week or so.

The purpose of the study is to see if they can find why some of us Type 1’s have lived so long with no serious complications. If the cause(s) can be found then a treatment may be developed that will enable younger Type 1’s to avoid complications.

I was too sick to drive home. We anticipated that, so we had reserved our hotel room for a second night. Lola guided us home on Tuesday morning. My only souvenir is a bad cold, the first one I have had in several years. Anita is coming down with that cold now.

It was all very worthwhile, we both feel that way. They really appreciated my participation. They paid for our first night at the hotel and for the gas we used on our trip.

I am now a member of a wonderful group, the Joslin Medalists. We plan to return to Boston in May, 2010 when there will be a gathering of all the Medalists who choose to attend. I hope I will get the chance to meet William Rounds then. William has had diabetes for 86 years and has joined our group. He is thought to be the person who has lived with diabetes longer than any other person on earth. He is my hero!

Glad Lola got you to Boston & safely home.

Gee, wonder if you got a cold from that sugar shake:) Have to say I was feeling ill thinking of that (bleech) & your 343.

Eagerly awaiting the results of their study. Fascinating what they’ll uncover.

Congratulations, Joslin Medalist. You’re our hero!

Wow, Richard, that sounds like quite an adventure!

Thanks for all that you do to support people with diabetes!

wonderful, Richard. Only a few more years for me to qualify. sorry you had to experience that high, all the blood taking, the yuk-shake, and the cold! I’ve never heard of William Rounds - 86 years! wow!