Profile for Terry4

Diabetes entered my life quietly. About one year before diagnosis, I took a tumble while downhill skiing. My ski came off, spun around and abraded my leg through my ski pants. That abrasion took months to heal. It made me wonder but wasn’t curious enough to pursue the issue. It did eventually heal but I just wrote it off as one of those unsolved but inconsequential mysteries in life.

The diagnosis

I was 29 years old that year. I ran my own small business, but my passion was life in the outdoors. I lived in Idaho and loved to camp, ski, back-country hike, bicycle, canoe, and white-water raft.

I sold my small business that summer, turned 30, and enrolled in a two-year electronics technical program starting that fall. With solid math skills, I started the program and excelled in my first quarter’s studies. Over the Christmas holiday I took to the slopes and thoroughly enjoyed my school break.

Returning to the classroom in January 1984 presented unexpected challenges. I was having a hard time understanding the concepts of transistor theory. My brain was like mud. It had been my habit to sit in the back of the class but I had to move to the front row to overcome some blurriness in my vision. I remember one day bicycling home from school and I was so tired when I entered my house that I just laid down on the floor and drifted off to sleep.

An insatiable thirst and frequent urination rounded out my classic diabetes symptoms. One of my friends raised the possibility of diabetes and I soon found myself in my doctor’s office. Blood was drawn, the doctor called with his diagnosis, and I ended up in the hospital. My doc was an internal medicine practitioner, but lucky for me, made the correct T1D diagnosis. Looking back I see that I was a slow onset of diabetes as an adult or LADA as it became known much later.

Early, archaic therapy

I started on a once per day shot of NPH insulin. My first hypo happened in the hospital and I drank some juice to treat it. BG chemstrips served as my first blood glucose test strips. These strips were read visually with a timed comparsion to a color panel on the side of the container.

The one shot of NPH insulin soon transitioned to two daily NPH injections. Not too long after that I started to add Regular insulin before meals. I graduated from my two year electronics program and found work with a major commercial airline in California. With that move came a change in doctors, my first time with an endocrinologist. That doc liked insulin pumps but I was reluctant at first. I tried my first pump in 1987 and have been on them ever since. Blood glucose meters became a main-stay of my therapy.

During these years I would strong-arm my therapy with increasingly higher and higher doses of insulin. As my insulin usage crept up, so did my weight. I was damned good at squelching the ever present hypoglycemia threat with suitable treats and the inevitable rebound. I took up bicycling as my main sport during this time. It kept me in great shape but I had some hellacious lows while cycling. I was lucky to survive some of these. I enjoyed cycling trips to Utah, Colorado, Oregon, Baja California, and Ireland. One of the appeals of cycling is that I could eat almost anything I wanted on my various excursions.

A complication and a new commitment

In the 1990s, the dot-com boom drove up rents to unaffordable levels in the SF Bay Area. That prompted me to take up sailing in 2001 and move aboard a 33-foot sloop-rigged sailboat.

I adopted a Dexcom 7+ CGM in 2009 and still use a CGM to this day. I retired in 2011 and started to experience some troubling digestive problems in early 2012. With a visit to the Mayo Clinic, I discovered that I had gastroparesis (GP) or delayed stomach emptying. This is one of the complications of long-term diabetes. It was my ultimate wake-up call.

I had started reading online and at TuDiabetes around 2009. During that period TuD erupted in raging debates about the use and value of low-carb eating to people with diabetes. I followed these debates but did not seriously consider such a radical change in eating until I faced the GP diagnosis. I knew from the findings of the Diabetes Complications and Control Trial that tighter BG control was often marked with fewer complications or slower progression of complications. I jumped into the low carb way of eating with both feet. I was not about to spend my new retirement faced with a parade of debilitating diabetes complications.

Low carb pays high dividends

Eating fewer carbs immediately paid dividends. I cut my insulin usage in half while drastically curtailing BG variability. I enjoyed more energy as I lost 25 pounds with little effort. With my CGM I could watch the drastic improvements in my average BG, the reduction of my standard deviation (variability), and most importantly the huge increase of my time in range. It’s not unusual for me to spend 90% of my time between 65-140 mg/dl.

As a side note, I was paired up with a hypoglycemia alert dog in 2010. I never had a dog before and Norm is a perfect fit for me. He’s a 58-pound Yellow Labrador Retriever. Not only does he alert to low blood sugar but his comforting presence surprises me. His companionship and emotional support rounds out my life.

If you have read this extended diatribe this far, I thank you. We all have a story to tell and I hope to see others write theirs in the near future. In the meantime, I will continue to participate here as I value this community!


I have to say that I have gastroparesis and when I switched to a low carb diet I noticed virtually all the symptoms eventually go away. I rarely have trouble in that area anymore. And, of course, my blood sugars and insulin needs immediately dropped as well when I went low carb. The challenge is to stick with it. Carbs are so tempting. :smile:

Thank you for your story, it is very interesting. :smile:


My GP symptoms have moderated but unfortunately did not extinguish. I’m glad to read you had better results. I can’t imagine my health today without the low carb intervention started three years ago.

I don’t find the low carb regimen too hard to stick with but I do allow some days when I consume more. Carbs are tempting but I’ve found they do not have the same allure they used to.

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Terry4, thank you for sharing. Your posts are thorough, thoughtful and inspire us to tame the beast, known as diabetes.

We are all different in our ways. Our diagnoses, our experiences with doctors, medications, our ups and downs with BG…etc are all unique. What I can relate to is the process of learning. I have learned so much from your posts and others. Thank you! (I am still waiting for my pump. I am looking forward to being able to do extended bolus. For now, I do a version of the extended bolus, manually. It is called multiple injections after the meal.) I really would like to be able to wake up consistently with a BG around 95 to start and aim for 90 and then perhaps 85. That really would be “better” for me.

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Thank-you, @lh378. It makes me happy to read that my words have helped you. It’s why I am active here.

It’s been so long since I’ve been on MDI but I’ve often wondered about using Regular insulin as an MDI equivalent to the pump extended bolus. I believe that Bernstein adherents do that. Bernstein doesn’t like pumps. His pioneering efforts in the low carb movement contribute a lot to my health today.

Good luck with your pump adoption. Remember that it’s what’s between your ears that matters most. The pump really is just an electronic syringe. Knowledge, discipline, and a positive attitude really do drive the best outcomes, in more than just diabetes. Take advantage of every training and workshop that might be offered with your pump start. If you haven’t already, read Pumping Insulin by Walsh and Think Like a Pancreas by Scheiner. I just finished Sugar Surfing by Ponder and it’s worthwhile. You’ll soon be the pro!

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So, during the 20 years I was on the R/NPH regime, I took two shots in the a.m. (after a few years—big advance!—I learned you could load your syringe from two vials and do one shot with both insulins in it). And I was always given to understand the R was going to peak around noon, and the NPH around dinner time, and I ate to that schedule as religiously as a Benedictine observing the bells for daily observances, year after year. When I finally switched to basal-bolus MDI with lantus and novolog, that was night vs day different from what I’d been on. So the idea of using R as a pre-meal bolus insulin just seems really weird to me. As it is, the “rapid” insulins like humalog or novolog that we use now are, I find, frustratingly slow to act; the idea of using R instead just doesn’t seem workable at all. Though I gather it works for some people so I guess it’s just a YDMD situation. But for me the thought of going back to that stuff makes me almost physically nauseous.


Thank you, Terry for posting your story. You have helped me a bunch and I SOOOOOOOOOOOOO appreciate it. What a wonderful way to live…on the sloop! Inspiring, Yes.

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@DrBB - I don’t think my comment about using Regular was clear.

I currently deliver an immediate bolus with my pump to cover my meal carbs. Then I deliver an extended pump bolus (over time) to cover the protein and fat component of my meal.

Tonight’s dinner dose, for example, consisted of an immediate bolus of 1.55 units followed by an extended bolus of 4.3 units over a 3.5 hour period. It is this extended pump bolus that I hypothesize might be replaced with an injection of Regular since it has a similar action curve. I would also have to deliver a separate injection of rapid acting analog insulin to cover my carbs.

Thank you Terry for sharing your story.

I have was only diagnosed 2 years ago with Type 1 at the age of 37.
I have recently put on about 10kgs and have struggled to lose the weight…I think this is mainly due to me trying to avoid hypos by eating lots of carbs especially before exercising.

I have recently switched to a low carb diet which looks like it has started to work…but hypos are a problem…dreading my endo appointment tomorrow:(

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As you’ve read with my story, low-carbs helped me a lot, especially with weight. I lost 25 pound back in 2012, regained five of those pounds and have been weight stable for the last few years. Yeah, treating lots of hypos undermines weight loss. Good luck with the endo appointment! Hold your head high. You have nothing to be ashamed about!


Wonderful story, Terry. Thank you so much for Telling it–and so well. Outdoor adventures have always been a thread in my life, too, no matter what else was going on. For me it was things like family camping trips to the many lakes and rivers of Minnesota, and canoeing the Boundary Waters as an adult. Coming to Oregon in 1976, I discovered mountains and hiked around Mt Hood on the Pacific Crest Trail 3 times, once with our 9 year old daughter along.

Now we are working our way through the Creaky Knees Guide to Oregon—one can still be in our forests and along our rushing mountain streams—one just does it with very gentle ups and downs!..As a cyclist–are you familiar with our annual Hood to Coast Bicycle event? It’s quite a popular event here.

How wonderful that you have Norm. The training of all kinds of service dogs is magical to me, along with the animal therapy they do at hospitals and nursing homes now…

Thanks and blessings…I’m enjoying getting to know you here!..To @Terry4 from Judith

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Thanks, @Judith_in_Portland. Our tastes in outdoor venues have crossed. I spent three years as a summer canoe guide in the Boundary Waters in the early '70’s. I hiked a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail in California during that same period. One of my later adventures in the early '90’s was a mass bicycle trek from Portland to Ashland, camping along the way. I may need to pick up that Creaky Knees Guide when I move to Oregon next year!

Great read @Terry4 !

We developed T1 right around the same time…I remember trying to read my blood sugar off a visual chart. What a joke that was compared to the technology we have now, right?

I have three dogs, a cat, and a husband…not to mention 3 horses :wink: None of them are very good at figuring out when my bg goes low… fortunately, I’ve always been pretty good at sussing that one out. Like the time my husband and I were hiking Boynton Canyon in Sedona. I had only recently checked my bg with a glucometer (and it was 193) so when I started feeling a little light headed a half hour into the hike, my first thought was, “Is this what a vortex feels like?” My second thought, though, was, “Check your dexcom.” Thank the Heavens for a pragmatic inner voice, right? :wink:

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