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It has taken 20 years since my diagnosis for it to sink into my thick skull, that I might just have a problem here.
My life up to last July, had been good. It still is, I`m pleased to say, but it could have been better. My blood sugar control was not brilliant, to say the least. The seriousness of the condition, had not struck me. OK, the Doctors etc. kept nagging, but no real suggestions as to what I should be doing. A nutritionist whose open handbag displayed the biggest bar of Cadburys Dairy Milk Chocolate whilst reciting from her script of "no no`s" for diabetics, for instance , did little to prepare me for the altered way of life in front of me.
At 51 years of age, you would think I would have had more sense......Wrong. I was as ignorant of diabetes as most others. No idea what type 1 or type 2 were. Hba1c was anathema to me. OK, I have Diabetes, so what? carry on.
The Food Police resided at our house anyway, in the shape of my dear wife, who always home cooked balanced meals using only fresh produce. I don`t drink alcohol, have not smoked for over30 years, I climbed mountains, rode my mountain and road bikes, I walked my dog for miles, (have you ever tried to tire a Collie by walking it? Believe me it is possible, but only just.) I should have been the picture of health,
and yet.....and yet....
.Life can be full of little surprises, don`t you think?
More meanderings in a day or two,
I really did not want to hear the words my ophthalmologist was saying to me, after my last round of retinal laser treatment, or Star Wars as he calls it.
The problem is a residue of debris inside the vitreous gel, following pre retinal haemorrhaging. it is taking longer to clear naturally than expected, and I may be referred for a vitectomy procedure, to replace the vitreous gel with a synthetic substitute.
I am not normally a squeamish sort of person, (indeed I have had several Lutensis injections to my right eye, which I was not looking forward to), but the thought of this seems to be more cringe making!
These eye problems have all followed my less than satisfactory blood glucose control.
I thought that I was doing OK, but self delusion over the last 20 years seems to be turning into pay back time.
I live with my wife and our two Collie dogs in a small farm cottage which is situated in very country position in Northumberland. My dogs and I roam freely around the 2000 acres of land and woods surrounding our home, and at 71 years of age I have always enjoyed country living. I have also been blessed with a relatively healthy and active life. My attitude was "OK so I have type 2. No problem, we eat healthily, grow our own veg etc., I`ll just carry on as normal."
Slightly overweight? not a worry, I am active and fit, I`ll live with it.
Keep on taking the drugs, I feel OK so I am OK. It will all be OK,.... won`t it?
No it will probably not be.
Fast forward 10 years..... Sudden collapse whilst returning home from a family visit to Southsea, followed by A & E visit and admittance to Cardio Ward. Subsequent diagnosis of DCM!!!
Medics muttering about a possible Heart transplant on the horizon. Early retirement forced upon me. That was a bit of a shock. Still I survived . Did not fancy a heart transplant. Bright side:- more time for my dog, I only had one at that time, and we were living in the Scottish Borders. immediate access to the hills and fantastic open country. More exercise opportunity. I am fit again, so it will be OK.......Won`t it?
It was for a few more years. Bg levels a bit high, it will be Ok, I get more exercise than most, and live a healthy life style. New Diabetic consultant, Kept Nagging me about overall blood glucose levels too high. must get them down, Blood pressure a bit high, must get it down. Cholesterol is good though. See I told you it would be OK, I live a healthy life style and eat proper food. OK so I transgress occasionally but I am fittish for my age I walk my dog and ride my mountain bike and cholesterol is low, it`s only type 2. No worries. I am indestructible ....aren`t I? Well no actually. Stupid perhaps, lucky probably, indestructible? ....definitely not.
Another fast forward....First eye difficulties appear. A visit to the Optometrist diagnoses blood vessel damage, a scotoma in one eye, and a sudden need for reading and distance glasses, then a cyst diagnosed near the optic nerve.
I did start to take testing bg levels a bit more seriously at this point, but Hey it`s only type 2, my problems are most likely age related! The odd high reading will be OK. Anyway I like some of these non healthy snacks or treats. They can`t do me too much harm, can they?
May07 2014, We have been enjoying our move to this cottage for 2 years now. My faithful Collie Meghan enjoyed it also, particularly enjoying encounters with the farm Collie, the outcome of which was a litter of 6 delightful mischievous beautiful collie pups. five of them perfect black and white replicas of mum and dad, but the sixth was white and black, and he had a wall eye, (one brown, the other blue). It was necessary to find homes for them, but surely I can keep the strange one , can`t I?
"One manic collie is quite sufficient" I was told in no uncertain terms.
Gwyn, (Welsh for white) is now my constant companion, with his mother Meghan. How on earth I managed to persuade the boss to let me keep him, I`ll never know.
But she likes him really.
I am now constantly trying to prove to my dogs, that I am the kind of man that they think I am.
Exercise is now at a greater pace and all should be well.............That was odd, why did I suddenly walk into that gatepost? It surely didn`t move. My left leg is dragging a bit, perhaps we should head for home, feel slightly sick, cant seem to balance properly. Can`t seem to get through the door without colliding with the left side door jamb, left foot won`t do as I want it to.
A&E again, same hospital different specialist. Blood tests, Neuro consultant, cat scan, MRI scan, "David, you have had a stroke. Probably Diabetes related. Your blood glucose is a little too high. We shall have to admit you."
Wonderful staff who lavished care and compassion on me for 9 days. 9 days which I spent reflecting on how I could perhaps have avoided this event. Physioed back to mobility, they evicted me eventually, back at home I was wondering what Megh and Gwyn would make of the new regime.
I lost a fair amount of weight on the ward and blood sugars came down a bit as well. Lots of physio during the rest of May , June and into July. Walking improving almost daily. Mountain bike a bit of a challenge though. How did this happen to me? I must try and take more control of the diabetes. Yeah right.
July 9th 2014. That damned gatepost just moved out and knocked me over!, I feel quite nauseous, left arm not responding as it should. quick trip back to A&E again. Same Consultant, another CAT scan, more blood tests.
"Not sure David what has happened, but it does not look too much like a stroke, probably a Hypo. OK for you to go home."
July 10th 2014 phone call from hospital, "Sorry, it seems that you have had a second stroke, based on the same area of the brain stem as the first stroke, How are you feeling? "A bit better than yesterday thanks."
To be continued.