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Battle With Diabetes
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Kidney Failure
     When I was very young, glucose monitors did not exist.  The only way to monitor glucose (blood sugar) levels was to take a urine sample, put it into several test tubes and drop tablets into each tube.  After a period of time, I would have to hold up the tubes to a color chart.  The colors indicated whether or not glucose was passing through my kidneys.  This was an indicator if my blood glucose levels were ok or above normal.  When glucose levels are normal, no glucose shows up in the urine.  Years later test strips were developed.  I would urinate on the strip and matched up the color after waiting a certain amount of time.  One test strip was designed for blood glucose and the other test strip was used to determine if keytones were in the urine.  In both cases, you do not want either item to show up in your urine.  When home blood glucose monitors became available and affordable in the 1980's, this greatly helped with controlling blood glucose levels.  I believe it was 1982 when I got my first home blood glucose monitor.

     I was an active kid and kept my diabetes under control the best I could.  I was on a wrestling team with my church from first grade to fifth grade.  I participated in cub scouts and played various games after school with friends.  Kickball was our game of choice.  I went roller skating often with family and friends in the neighborhood. I rode my bike often to visit some of my elementary school friends who lived on the other side of town.  I went on yearly fishing trips with my Dad and his friends.  I spent a year as a paperboy delivering newspapers until we moved to another area.
     Here is a picture of me in my wrestling uniform.  I do not remember what year this was taken but I wrestled from 1974 to 1979.
     In 1978, I attended the second Harrisburg Diabetes Youth Camp in my area.  The camp was held at Beacon Lodge Camp in Mount Union, PA.  The camp was a camp for the blind at that time.  My parents were very happy when the camp was created.  They had to pay for the two weeks of camp but felt it was quite worth it.  I spent two weeks with other kids who were also dealing with Diabetes.  I learned how to give myself a shot while at camp.  My parents were not sure how to best teach me to do this on my own so it was of a great benefit to all of us.  I had a lot of fun and learned quite a bit about what types of foods were best to eat.  There were plenty of sports and social activities to keep us busy.
     This was the group I shared a cabin with at camp.  I am the one with my hand on my face.  We were such a happy bunch.  If I remember correctly we were late for an event because we had to pose for this picture.  The cameraman was running late and we were anxious to get to the game.
Harrisburg Diabetes Youth Camp - 1978
Beacon Lodge Camp for the Blind, Mount Union, PA

     I did well with controlling my glucose levels in elementary school.  Only 2 times did I go into hypoglycemic shock (low blood glucose) while in school.  All the teachers knew about my Diabetes and some kept graham crackers in their desks in case of an emergency.  I also had a roll of Lifesavers with me at all times.  I honestly do not remember having to ever use them.

     My family moved to a new area the summer before I started middle school.  I never had an incident where I went into shock while I was in middle school.

     Soon after starting high school, I began to have growth spurts.  I had difficultly managing my blood glucose levels.  Due to the sudden growth spurts. affecting my metabolism, it became increasingly difficult to determine how much insulin I needed to inject to handle my food intake.  With the help of a specialist, I eventually had my insulin adjusted and diet changed to bring my glucose levels back into control.  For two and a half years I had to constantly readjust the amount of insulin I had to inject.

     I did manage to keep my blood glucose levels in decent control while in college with only 3 episodes of hypoglycemic shock in four years.

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