LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

My Photo
Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Love and hate

Six o’clock. We lock the door behind the last patient as she leaves the clinic, and arrange the lobby chairs into a big circle. It is support group night. To get the group warmed up and get a conversation going I start off with a question. “What do you hate most about diabetes?”

Around the circle we go. Each man and woman taking a turn. Nothing unexpected. Fear of complications. Frustration about not being able to eat “everything” I want. Shots are a pain in the ass. Another hates the finger sticks. Neuropathy. When they all finish I ask the second question: “What do you love most about having diabetes?”

One man vehemently: “NOTHING!” The rest, however, gave it thoughtful consideration and all of them came up with something positive. I eat better. I take better care of my health. I lost weight. I exercise more. I value life more.

Oddly, none of them asked me for my answers. So I guess I’ll share them here. What I love most: it brought me here. To this job. To this mission. To this new life. I’ve got a quote from Fredrick Buechner on my wall: “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep joy and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Well said.

Another quote posted on my wall is from Dr. JoEllen Habas: “Diabetes is a pain. A pain in the neck. A pain in the finger tips. And a pain in the wallet.” And that, dear readers, sums up what I hate most about diabetes. The huge drain on my wallet.

Diabetes eats up slightly over one-half of my take home pay. It’s a weakly struggle to pay all my bills. I’m considering dropping my house insurance and my life insurance. My tires are bald, I’m way overdue for an oil change, and my car has never had a tune-up. I was feeling pretty sorry for myself until I read a comment posted under the August 1st post by “the m to the c to the a.” Get out the Kleenex and the Zoloft before you read it. I’ve got it easy compared to this poor kid.

OK, so now it is your turn, post by comment: What do you hate most about diabetes? What do you love?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy anniversary, baby

It’s been how long since I posted? Well, crap. I’ve taken on too much in life once again. But I HAVE to post today. It’s my anniversary. That’s right, it was one year ago today that the UPS man brought me a red label box that changed my life.

So I’m not sure what to say. I wanted to write some awesome, witty, deep essay. I’m sitting in my office watching the cows and the horses next door. Waiting for a awesome, witty, deep thought to come to me. Well, double crap.

My A1C is up. Why? No hypos.

My energy is good. Why? No fear.

My life is good. Why? Because even though I have diabetes I have an interesting, useful, satisfying job. (OK, so that really has very little to do with the Guardian, but I thought I’d throw it in there anyway.)

So today marks one-full year with Medtronic sensors in my body. With the exception of a brief few weeks last spring when I couldn’t afford them (read: nerve wracking weeks from hell) I’ve been wearing them 24-7 for a full year. No infections. No problems. No regrets.

Is my control perfect? Hell no. I get busy. I get lazy. I don’t try as hard as I should. When I worked in photography some of the best shooters had the most basic of gear, and there where some folks walking around with ten grand in camera gear that couldn’t take a good picture to save their lives. Moral of the story: the gear doesn’t make the man. The best BG monitoring system in the world won’t work if you don’t pay attention to it. We are not up to the closed-loop artificial pancreas. Lots of folks wearing pumps with A1Cs in the nines….

But I am safe. And that makes it worth the work and the investment.

I am now so used to continuous monitoring that I can’t quite remember or imagine what it would be like without it. What would it be like to actually have to take a finger stick instead of pressing a button? I considered dropping my pump recently, do to the chronic money trouble, and going back to SHOTS. I dunno….hopefully it won’t come to that, but I think if I have to choose between the two, I’d rather have the CGM with a FlexPen than have the pump with old-fashioned finger sticks.

So, I want everyone have a happy Thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for. Yes we have diabetes. But for those of us with T-1, we could have had it in 1892. Think about that for a moment.

We don’t have a cure; (By the way, you probably didn’t know this, but diabetes has been cured seven times. Of course, each time the big Pharma companies have kidnapped the researcher, shot him in the head, buried his body in a field and burned his research.) but we do have good treatments.

I have believed for a while, and I still maintain, that in 10 years the little BG meters will be obsolete and most of us D-folk will be using continuous meters. For those of you who hope that in ten years there will be no diabetes, I’ll just say that no doubt there will be more bodies buried in the field and we’ll all still be facing the same struggles and generating all those billions of profits.

That sounded more cynical than I wanted it to. I’m gratefull for big pharma. Thankful to them. Thankful that I get to watch my little boy grow up. Thanks Novo. Thanks Smiths. Thanks Medtronic. Have a piece of pumpkin pie on me. Lets see, crust is 10 carbs, filling is 15, the whipped cream is sugar free, now the honey….where did I put my PDA?


You guys finished the pie before I could count the carbs? Oh man, that’s just wrong…..