One Man’s Battle Against Diabetes
I meet a lot of people these days through the world of social media, and one such man I have a strong friendship with and admire is Stuart. I call him Sir Stuart even though he hasnt been knighted yet by the Queen. Stuart lives in a small town in Northern England, and I met him by following him on twitter because as a podiatrist I am constantly seeing diabetics and always strive to stay current. Diabetic foot ulcers are very serious and can lead to infections, amputation, or even death. Stuart is all about educating the public regarding every aspect of diabetes.
Stuart was a typical teen. He liked all sports and girls, and at the age of 21 was married and soon had a child on the way (first of four). He worked as an aerospace engineer and found out his mother was a type 2 diabetic.
Stuart was very interested in cycling during the late 80s and early 90s, and would cycle to work every day and up to 70-80 miles on Sundays. He ate carbohydrates for his cycling and weighed in at 190 lbs on his 6’1″ frame. He felt ill one day at work, but carried on, ate a sandwich at the early morning break, and felt better. After work, he went to his mothers house to ask if he could test his glucose levels on her test strips and, as you guessed, it was sky high. It tested at 648 mg/dL. Normal blood sugar at that time was up to around 120mg/dL now it is 70-105 mg/dL. He made an emergency appointment with his general practitioner and it was confirmed that he was diabetic.
Stuart was admitted to the hospital for observation and testing for 2 days. After reviewing the tests, the doctor told Stuart he had type 1 diabetes. Not knowing much about it at the time, he thought it was no problem; he would just take oral medication like his mother did and live normally. The next day the nurse came in and showed him how to draw up insulin, and he thought, Well, that was easy. Then she said, Go on then. Go on what? he replied. Inject it into your leg, she said. What, I want the tablets! he replied. It took him thirty minutes to get the courage to inject himself, and he hated it with a passion.
He was home the next day and had to inject four times. He felt angry he had diabetes and not the more easily managed type his mother had. He grew to hate meal times and would put them off as long has he could until he felt dizzy (known as hypo) and then inject the insulin. He quickly realized he had no choice other than to learn more about it and deal with this disease for life.
He learned as much as he could, counted carbohydrates, kept tabs on his blood sugar daily, and monitored his HbA1c levels. Frequently unable to take lunch breaks, he would keep snack bars with him at work, but as the years went by his glucose levels were starting to run high on a regular basis.
Stuart started back at the gym for 90 minute workouts and eventually got his glucose levels back on trackwell almost. Next, he and his family suffered a terrifying ordeal. On September 25, 2006, his son was late coming home. He called his sons cell phone and it was answered by a stranger who turned out to be a policeman, who told him his son was in a road accident. At the hospital, he saw his son on a respirator, face covered with blood, and being transferred to a Head Injury Hospital. Stuart had to rush home to get his insulin because he planned on being with his son overnight. It turned out to be six weeks in a city about thirty-five miles away. His son was given little hope. At one point, medical personnel sent Stuart from the room while they tried to save his son. A nurse came out shortly after and said, Do you want to see him? She saw the look on Stuarts face and said, He is okay. We resuscitated him. His son had a skull fracture, displaced jaw, elbow, pelvis, and shattered femur. Against all odds, his son stayed strong, and after six weeks of being in a coma, woke up with a look of terror on his face I will never forget that look.
Stuart was off work for four months until his son was transferred to the local hospital and then a rehab center. His son had to learn to eat, speak, and walk again. During this time, Stuart lived on junk food, and his diabetes was out of control. His blood sugar levels were off the charts due to the food, lack of exercise, and stress. He had to increase his insulin, but even that didnt help. It wasnt controlled until he agreed to go to a course called DAFNE, which stands for Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating. Over time, Stuarts blood sugar was under control again with his new eating habits and insulin.
In 2010 after being off wit with a back problem, he started to write articles for a small website on diabetes. Before he knew it, the website became quite big and he decided to make it into a dot.com which now gets thousands of hits daily and over 50,000 followers on twitter alone. I am inspired by Stuarts indefatigable passion and drive to educate people about this disease.
This is one mans story about the ups and downs of diabetes. To see the basics about this dreaded disease you can go to Dr. Bowmans website blog on diabetes.
You can get all the information you need about diabetes, diabetic foot ulcers, infections, diet, neuropathy, videos, and a whole lot more by logging on to Stuarts website, www.ami-diabetic.com or follow on twitter @amidiabetic. Dr. Bowman has yet to meet Stuart in person but keeps in touch with him daily and will try to catch up with him in England this fall.
If you are diabetic, be sure to have your feet checked yearly. If you suffer from neuropathy, then should be checked three to four times a year. If you get a diabetic foot ulcer or DFU, call Dr. Bowman right away at 713-467-8886 or got to www.houstonfootspecialists.com for information and an online appointment.
Tags: Diabetes, Diabetic Footcare, Foot Amputation, Foot Infections, Foot Problems, Foot Ulcers, Testimony