Profile for YogaO

I recently passed my 42nd diaversary, so I thought I would create this profile.

Yes, 42 years ago, I was officially diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic (T1D) by not one, but two doctors. Like many of you, I was assuredly a T1D, well before the “official” day. In light of what we now know about the onset of T1D, I most likely started on the immediate path to diagnosis the previous November (1972), when I was admitted to the hospital with severe flu-like symptoms while attending University as a freshman. My fever was so high, the staff was cooling me down with an alcohol mat that acted as a heat exchanger. I don’t remember the precise details of how long I was there, but I think it was at least 6 days and I couldn’t go home for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Fast forward through the rest of that semester and the Spring semester, where I couldn’t concentrate very well. As a result, the university let me know that I wouldn’t have to worry about returning for the following Fall semester (or any other semester, for that matter) due to my less than stellar academic performance.

When I returned home, I soon picked up a job working in a dinner theater and very late nights (aka - early mornings). I was going to start on my career as a thespian! You see, the waiters were billed as actors to the public. I was assured that I would soon have a real role in a real play, as long as I gleefully pitched in waiting tables, building sets, hanging lights, etc, etc. Well, it was really just waiting tables …

As the summer progressed and I found I was extremely thirsty and peeing a lot. A few of my friends got to the point where they would scout out the restroom locations before we decided to go out on my off days. They might have been concerned, but I was convinced it was all the weird hours and excitement of “Working In The Theat-a!!” Surely, I couldn’t be sick, could I?? (I know, you’re ALL saying, “Yes, you most definitely could, and please don’t call us Shirley!”)

Finally, I went to see a doctor at a clinic who sat me down and asked me to describe my symptoms. I don’t even think I got to describe losing 30 pounds, when he proclaimed, “Well, you have diabetes!” My stunned reaction (to myself) was along the lines of, “What? He didn’t perform a single test! I don’t believe it! I’m going to a real doctor.” I left the office and went home, where I immediately called my father’s internist. For some reason, he took the call. When I described my symptoms, he very calmly said this:

“Listen very carefully. You are in a dangerous position. If you can drive, I want you to hang up the phone and go to the ER right now. Tell them you have Diabetes Mellitus and that I said to admit you, stat!”

So, there you go, two doctors, one diagnosis!

The early days & years

Many of you are all too familiar with what followed. Learning how to insert a syringe into an orange, reading the ADA booklet(s) about diabetes, the discovery of insulin, the hope for a cure right around the corner, peeing on Tes-Tape or in test tubes, comparing colors, eating those gigantic, chalky, B-D glucose tablets (ugh!), etc. I was right there with you.

My doctor never expressed any concern for my living anything other than a normal, full life, except for taking 40U of NPH insulin daily (and only 1x/day, at that!). I became quite familiar with @DrBB’s “Eat or Die” schedule. Of course, this was all before meters. On one level, I thought all was fine, I was able to work, marry, have a family, get divorced – all normal things. On a deeper level, I knew that my control had to be pretty poor, since most of my very infrequent tests showed I was spilling sugar. Plus, in those pre-meter days, it was hard to exercise consistently.

MDI, ER Visits and Pump Nirvana(!?)

After some moving from Maryland to Florida and back, my doctor retired and I started looking for a real endocrinologist. I found a good one, no, a great one, who quickly made me aware of MDI, meters and carb counting, I:C ratios, etc. She always acted as my expert coach, but let me make the decisions on treatments. My long-acting insulin was still NPH, so I was still on the “Eat or Die” schedule, and I was starting to find eating to be an unpleasant chore. Did I mention yet that I love to eat? I was getting to the point where eating was just slapping on the feedbag, inhaling the food and moving on – UGH!

One day, my dad sent me an article from the WSJ that discussed insulin pumps. I initially dismissed it, but after waking up in the ER after a middle of the night hypo, I asked my endo if I should move to a pump (okay, I virtually insisted on a pump). We got the paperwork started shortly after I left the ER and met with a couple of pump representatives.

It was a MiniMed or Disetronic (now Roche) world back then, and since I was spending most of my free time on sailboats, I opted for the Disetronic H-tron Plus since it was waterproof and came with a “hot-standby pump”.

Pumping from nearly day 1 has radically changed my life. Suddenly, there was no more “Eat or Die” schedule. I was able to renew my love of eating, and delaying, skipping or adding a meal. Exercising has become available again. I no longer have to cart syringes, pens, vials, etc., around with me.

Most importantly, pumping allowed me to expand my horizons and to live my life as a person with diabetes, not as a diabetic person. Yes, I bring a whole plethora of tools with me, but the diabetes is more in the background (even while it is constantly on my mind) – certainly a bit of a conundrum!

Since pumping, I have raced sailboats all over the Chesapeake Bay, bought and lived on a wonderful sailing catamaran for five years. I sailed from Maine to almost all of the Caribbean Islands. My sailing also brought me to locations where I wanted to Scuba dive, so I got certified and discovered a beautiful world beneath the waves (in spite of my primary care doc’s reservations).

I now live in Central Florida in a great little town just north of Orlando called Mount Dora. I am semi-retired and work in a little coffee shop, plus I work free-lance as a photo assistant. I sometimes write or edit articles for local magazines.

The next adventure is in the works! My wonderful wife and I are preparing for a cross-country bike ride next year on recumbent tricycles. (@Judith_in_Portland, we will be starting in Portland!)

I don’t think I could plan on this without my pump/meter and now with the addition of a CGM.

Oh and while I have over 42 years in with diabetes as my constant companion, I have over 61 years with a positive attitude on board.


It’s interesting to read your story as I think we’re about the same age. Fortunately for me I was diagnosed about 10 years later. It’s amazing how much the diabetes tech improved in that ten years. Home glucose meters and insulin pumps became available soon after my diagnosis. Living without current actual BG info must have been difficult.

Good luck with planning your cross country recumbent bicycle adventure. I rode a two-wheeled Easy Racer recumbent bicycle for several years. It was long wheel based with the small front wheel, full front fairing and riser handle bars. The gear shifter was in the handlebar grip. It had a motorcycle look to it. I loved the comfort and the speed. I was able to keep up with much fitter cyclists than me. It leaves your head, neck, and wrists in comfortable and natural position when compared to a standard bicycle. Will you be camping or motel touring?

You’re so right about the positive attitude. With diabetes, it makes all the difference.

@Terry4, thanks for taking the time to read my profile.

We are planning on mostly camping, but with a motel about every week, so my wife can have a long, hot shower. I still do sailor showers - rinse, turn water off, lather, turn water on and rinse, turn water off and dry. We also hope to take advantage of nice people along the way who open their homes (sometimes just their yards) who are part of, a community designed to help touring bicyclists (tricyclists in our case).

I had a folding small (2) wheel recumbent made by Bike Friday while I was living on the boat. Getting started from a dead stop going uphill in some of the islands was a bit too exciting (dangerous!), so I opted for three wheels when I came back to the states. Like your Easy Racer, it had a real “HOG” look to it, so I always had the motorcycle guys grinning whenever they passed.

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You’re a fantastic story teller, @YogaO! Thanks so much for sharing this. I LOVE your spirit of adventure!!

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Damn. You are indeed a fantastic storyteller Mr. Yoga! I might have written a 1-man show for you as I did for a colleague back in Ye Olden Days. Just keep me posted on your schedule and we can schedule some Funtime in PDX before you take off—carefully “calibrated” for your energy build! And we can pull in our very own (TuD and Portland) diabetic Blind Chef, Ricky Joe—you love to eat, he loves to cook—Yeah!

I loved reading about your intro to various “devices” that have become such an integral part of your life. I know about them, of course, as so many of us depend on them, but that was a delightfully readable story about finding and using them…When I finally gave in and got a meter at the pharmacy, I brought it home, put it under glass on a cheese tray and sort of stalked around the dining room table glaring at it for a couple weeks. Then I had my husband sit down with me to figure it out. Then I threw it in the waste basket where we let it lie for a week…Not happy with dx, me! Channeling my inner Cat, meow…

I also really loved hearing about the Docs that meant a lot to you. It took me a long time to find one and I get how key it can be…Blessings, my dear. I look forward to meeting you in non-virtual reality–or whatever we are to call it these days…Judith

Thanks for sharing your interesting and entertaining story @YogaO!

A delight to get to know you better @YogaO We were neighbors for about 10 years…I lived in Sanford. No longer, but I’m waving anyway :wink:

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Thanks for the very interesting story! Enjoy your next adventure, which sounds absolutely outstanding!

YogaO I’m there with you just 1-1/2 years short of my 50th diaversary. Only a year older than you.
I just had the dry mouth, drinking and pee symptoms and went to the Dr. for what my mother thought was a bladder infection back in the Netherlands.
The Dr. send and admitted me straight into the hospital with Diabetes Mellitus where I only spent 2-1/2 days. I could not go home and get PJ’s etc. straight to the hospital it was.
Some pills that evening and lots of lab work. Pills of course were useless so the next AM I had a fantastic experienced RN telling me I had to take shots. No orange practicing here. She gave me a shot in the upper leg after explaining how to fill the syringe etc… I didn’t feel it (she was that good) so I immediately thought I can do that and showed them the next day I could sticking the other leg. From then on I was on daily injections. The 12GA needles used in the sixties did hurt but you didn’t have a choice you just pushed thru when your mind said don’t stick me again. These weren’t the nice 31GA of today.
I never let the “disease” hold me down I did’t always what I wanted to do and sometimes being rebellious with the ‘no sugar ever rule’ at that time. Only to find out in later life that it is carbs and not just sugar and if you have to many carbs you could compensate with insulin.
I kept on sailing competitively, water skied, snow skied, rally driving and took many international vacations (moped, car, boat), always having fun explaining the medical paraphernalia to border patrols, but it never held me back.
Going from once a day to MDI and one kind of insulin to 2 kinds of insulin daily.
Remember the first “suitcase” sized home glucometer giving you results in 5 minutes, now I get results every 5 minutes from CGM and adjust my Animas pump (because it is water proof) with minute/small increments of insulin that is 5x stronger than the U-100.

I can’t remember any specifics as I don’t let this Type 1 consume my life and because I have fantastic insurance coverage I don’t have to worry about anything. I did have retinopathy in both eyes but again with today’s technology some laser treatment stopped that (I would have been blind in several years, 20 years ago).
I keep a very positive outlook on many years still to come in my life except I found out being in my sixties I can’t play games as hard as I used to, but neither can my “healthy” friends so it must be age.
Talk to you again on my 75th diaversary