As teenagers, most of us did some reckless and irresponsible things. It's part of growing up, right? But if you're a teenager with type 1 diabetes, acting reckless becomes a bit more tricky. I had a reckless summer of my own ten years ago, right after high school graduation, when I traveled down south to spend a month with my mom. I hadn't lived with her since the age of 16, so I wanted to get to know her and my younger brother again. Unfortunately, I also used that time to take a break from my diabetes regimen. It had been only four years since my diagnosis, and I wanted to feel that even though I had a disease, I was still a normal teenager who was capable of an adventure.
One of the greatest technological advancements in diabetes care has been the insulin pump. For one, it gives you the illusion of being "normal" because you no longer have to inject insulin throughout the day. Instead, you "bolus" by pushing a button on the pump itself or using a remote control. It allows better glucose management because you can adjust your basal rate (the "background" insulin dose) by increments of one thousandth of a unit every hour. Especially when you're moving from the peaks and valleys of NPH or the restraints and hazards of Lantus, the freedom of living with an insulin pump is incredible. But pumps do not come without their kinks.
New York researchers have reported that obese patients with type 1 diabetes who do not respond well to insulin may be able to improve their blood sugar control by adding liraglutide to their therapy. Liraglutide (brand name Victoza) is an injectible GLP-1 analog* that was introduced to the US market in 2010 to treat people with type 2 diabetes.
Bariatric surgery, which alters or blocks portions of the digestive system, has produced long-term remission of diabetes symptoms in many type 2 patients. However, a small study of obese type 2 patients who underwent bariatric surgery shows that the longer they had diabetes, the greater the chances that their disease recurred after surgery. The retrospective study, conducted by Yessica Ramos, MD, at the Mayo Clinic Arizona, found that patients who had had diabetes for five years or longer were nearly four times as likely to experience a recurrence of the disease after the remission brought on by the surgery.
My insulin pump has changed my life. My A1C has improved, I've felt more energetic, and I've controlled my diabetes more effectively overall. It has been the biggest and best change in my diabetes treatment since I started on insulin a quarter-century ago.
The Year What a year I've had. From the spring of 2011 to the spring of 2012, my life changed utterly. There have been few years in my life more eventful, and few years that mixed joy and pain in such bracing amounts. With the year now done, I'm hesitant to draw any lessons--I just look back in amazement.
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