Letters to the Editor

Jan 1, 1999

When I read the letter from Katherine Smith of Wood River, Illinois ["Stop Covering Type 2 Diabetes"], I immediately felt that this woman needed to be properly informed. Diabetes, no matter what type, cannot be cured, and any research in the field of diabetes is beneficial to all.

Then, I realized that what she really needs is someone to whom she can vent her anger, frustration and fears. I pray she finds someone who can help her work through her feelings.

Jo Colville BSN, MA, CDE
Panama City, Florida

GEICO refuses auto insurance coverage if a diabetic takes 80 or more units of insulin daily. I was refused insurance on that basis.

GEICO claims this policy can be supported by study data correlating insulin amounts with seizures, presumably while driving. The matter has been under review by the Colorado Division of Insurance for the last three months without GEICO producing any information to support its claim.

I'd like to know if anyone else has been denied auto insurance on such frivolous contentions.

Paul Karvellas
Colorado Springs, Colorado

I was asked to join the American Podiatric Medical Association Resource Diabetes Advisory Group and attended my first meeting [in November 1998]. I was introduced as president of health and education of the MidAtlantic Region of the ADA. One of the other committee members, however, came up to me later and said he appreciated my work that he had read in Diabetes Health. I was flattered and surprised.

I thought you'd like to know that not only people with diabetes read your publication, but so do doctors and other health care personnel.

Neil Scheffler, DPM, FACFAS
Baltimore Podiatry Group

I thought [the story, "Herb Buyers Beware," in the December issue] presented the information in a way that helped to put it in perspective for your readers. I'm sure it's very confusing for many people, so the suggestion to do word searches on the Internet is very appropriate.

You illustrated some of the risks without being alarmist, which is helpful. And you pointed out that even FDA-approved, megabuck-studied pharmaceuticals are not always as safe as purported. More examples of these would not have hurt (Thalidomide, Fen-Phen, even sulfonylureas), but the point is, acceptance through the official channels is not necessarily bomb proof, comprehensive nor complete.

This predicament with both nutrients and medicines will probably never go away as long as we isolate components of foods and herbs.

Dave Hofstatter
Norfolk, Connecticut

The August issue of Diabetes Health inspired me to tell my story:

Three years ago, while driving to my doctor's appointment, I went into a diabetic hypoglycemic attack. The only things I remember from the trip are sirens and confusion.

From witnesses, I have pieced together the story. The cops stopped me and ordered me out of the car, but I was not able to respond to their commands. As a sheriff's deputy approached my car they pepper sprayed me, then the deputy pulled me out of my car and forced me to the street. I had cuts and bruises on my forehead, back and legs.

When I awoke I found myself in handcuffs, lying face down. The pepper spray made my face feel like I had a bad sunburn. After ten minutes, which to me seemed like hours, the fire department came and finally gave me appropriate medical attention. The paramedics came and took me to the hospital.

The experience was very traumatic. I now suffer from nightmares and have emotional problems. Yet, after all this, not one apology from the sheriff's department.

Scott Wilson
Ventura, California

I have had type 1 diabetes for 45 years and I am in excellent shape. I have never seen an article in Diabetes Health on the subject of Pycnogenol and retinopathy.

In 1982, I had laser surgery for retinopathy in my right eye and was told that the day would come for the left eye. I decided to research medicines or treatments that could possibly help retard the spread of retinopathy.

I discovered Pycnogenol was the number one substance prescribed in France for diabetic retinopathy. Then, I did a data search and found several technical articles regarding Pycnogenol and retinopathy.

Two years ago, my opthalmologist told me that the retinopathy in my left eye would soon need laser surgery, as predicted. I started taking Pycnogenol at the recommended dosage of 1 mg. per pound of body weight.

Four months later, my doctor said the retinopathy appeared to be shrinking. I continued the Pycnogenol regimen. Four months after that, complete remission.

Now, one year later, my eye checkups have been reduced to once yearly. My opthalmologist says it is probably due to the Pycnogenol.

I recommended Pycnogenol to a friend having retinopathy problems. One year later, her retinopathy is in complete remission.

My colleague's husband has cataracts but cannot have an operation due to his diabetic retinopathy. His doctor said laser surgery was imminent. He started Pycnogenol and now, six months later, has no more retinopathy and his cataract surgery is scheduled.

Why no news on this remarkable substance?

Thomas Peterson, PhD
San Francisco

Editor's note: Pycnogenol is the trademark name for the bark extract of the maritime pine tree, which grows in France. The extract is known for its antioxidant properties.

The Ann Wigmore Institute (AWI), nestled on a beach in Aquada, Puerto Rico, offers the ultimate opportunity for self-healing and personal development. The late Ann Wigmore, DN, defied medical odds by overcoming a terminal cancer diagnosis in her youth and lived to be 94 years old. AWI is an affirmation of Hippocrates' prediction that the doctor of the future will use no medicine, but enable the body to heal itself. The AWI program approaches the restoration of health and rejuvenation of the body through the consumption of living foods.

I visited AWI because I have type 2 diabetes and for six years took insulin. I was stressed out, overweight and my blood sugars were out of control. After attending AWI's program, I no longer need insulin shots. I've lost 30 pounds in eight months, exercise daily and refrain from cooked foods.

Indeed, there is sufficient evidence that food can make you well or make you sick. The AWI program rids the body of toxins through an established regimen including wheat grass juice, yoga, massage, colonics and classes in subjects like the inner workings of the digestive system and growing your own live foods.

My physician is Peter Lodewick, MD, author of A Diabetic Doctor Looks at Diabetes: His and Yours, and a Diabetes Health advisory board member. Dr. Lodewick commented on my success at the Annual International Medical Conference in 1995, saying, "Your attempts to keep your health preserved through what you have learned at the Ann Wigmore Institute appear to be totally in order. It is the rare individual who is able to maintain such good control, as evidenced by your HbA1c of 5.9%."

I do not believe I have to remain a "rare" statistic. The power to self-heal lies within each of us. We can tap into this power with more education and less medication and the courage to live by the AWI motto of "rejuvenate, reconnect and rebuild."

Laura Lyons
Tortola, British Virgin Islands


Editor's note: In response to last month's article on simultaneous pancreas-kidney transplants, "The Cure for Diabetes?" a recipient of an SPK transplant sent us a poem about her experience.

Sad Celebration

"We have organs for you!".. I heard them say..
O what a happy happy day!
My "Steel Magnolias" family..
Now would not be losing me!

What brought me more than my own joy..
Was the thought.. of my little boy
My transplant took place when he was five..
And now his mom would stay alive!

In thinking.. the "what" the "when" the "how"
I forgot the last.. it hit me now..
The one I forgot.. it was the "where"...
For now someone's loved one-- wasn't there.

A family had lost a loved one sweet..
Would I have a chance that we would meet?
I had the JOY. the great relief..
They had the pain... they.. had the grief.

A day of sun.. a day of rain..
My day of joy.. was their day of pain..
To "Kelly".. my tribute.. a commemoration..
On this day in June..our Sad Celebration.

by Jen Smallin
Minot, North Dakota

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Categories: A1c Test, Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Food, Insulin, Letters to the Editor, Type 1 Issues, Type 2 Issues

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Jan 1, 1999

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