Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Second honeymoon!

It’s not unusual for people with Type 1 diabetes to experience a period of remission in the months following diagnosis. It is thought that, once treatment with insulin is started, the beta cells of the pancreas may recover some of their function and start producing insulin again. This may last for months or even years, and will vary from person to person. Some may not experience it at all, but for those who do it can be time when blood glucose control becomes easier and remains more stable. This is because, even though it may only be in small amounts, the pancreas is responding to higher than normal levels by putting out a little insulin which helps to regulate things. Without this ‘help’, the person is fully dependent on getting the levels of injected insulin just right to counteract rises in glucose levels.

It may be that I am currently in this ‘honeymoon’ period, as I do seem to have pretty stable levels, and rarely hit double figures on my blood glucose monitor. I have no idea how long this may last. It is possible to have a test called the ‘C-peptide’ test which can measure the amount of ‘natural’ insulin a person is producing. C-peptides are a by product of natural insulin and as such are released in equal quantities to insulin. They are not present in injected insulin, so therefore provide an accurate measure of any remaining pancreatic function. The test is too expensive, however, to perform on someone like me who has been diagnosed and is already receiving treatment. It is used primarily to distinguish between diabetes types – Type 1 will not normally have much, if any, c-peptides, whereas Type 2 may be producing lots of insulin but suffering insulin resistance.

We’re in our second honeymoon, my pancreas and I,
It seems that we’re a pair again for many months gone by…
We separated for a while, about a year ago,
Oh Pancreas, how could you forsake me, when I needed you so?

I don’t recall when first we met, for I was very young,
We grew and shared our childhood games – those days were filled with fun!
And as the decades came and went, and I took you for granted,
I never thought our relationship would ever be supplanted!

But then last year in summertime, we hit a rocky patch,
That virus and your beta cells were not an even match…
As you began to fade away, I realised too late
How much you meant to me that day, and what would be our fate.

Now months have passed and I began to treat you with respect,
Please stay with me forever – there’ll be no more neglect!
To all of you whose pancreas may not be with you soon,
Cherish that relationship – enjoy your honeymoon!

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