It Is Done, My Participation In The Joslin Medalist Study

By Richard157 Latest Reply 2009-12-04 13:08:34 -0600
Started 2009-12-03 19:16:37 -0600

We drove to Boston on Sunday, just 2 days after Thanksgiving. Traffic was actually not as bad as we were expecting and we had bought a GPS which helped very much. Anita, my wife, loves the GPS and the lady whose voice has an English accent. She named the lady Lola and we both love Lola. I know, "What ever Lola wants, Lola gets", but this gal does not ask for anything. The perfect mate for an old geezer my age, eh?

On Sunday evening we met two of my friends from another diabetes site and we had a wonderful evening with them. A great meal too. They live in the Boston area. We went to bed at our hotel early that night. I was required to fast and also skip breakfast on Monday. A shuttle supplied by the hotel (Holiday Inn Brookline) took us to the Joslin Diabetes Center.

They took blood and used about 10 test tubes. Then they gave me a tall glass of vanilla flavored glucose. They called it a milk shake. YUKKK! They drew more blood every 30 minutes after that until two hours had passed. My BG was then 230+ at that time. More blood was drawn every 30 minutes until a total of 4 hours had passed since I drank the glucose. Then my BG was 343 and I felt sick. No way am I used to having highs like that! I was permitted to take some insulin after the last blood draw. I needed 20 units. The fact that my BG kept rising all through the 4 hour period showed that my body produces no insulin. We were told that some of the Medalists showed a lower BG at 4 hours than at 2 hours which meant that they were producing some insulin, even though they had been diabetic for more than 50 years.

It was believed that the Medalists who produced some of their own insulin would be the ones without complications. So why do I have no complications if I am not producing any insulin? We were told there were a few others just like me though. So there has to be an additional avenue through which a long term diabetic can have no complications (in my case after 64 years of diabetes), other than by producing some insulin. They don't know what that avenue is yet. The Medalist Study continues until 2011, at which time they will have examined 750 diabetics, all of whom have had diabetes for at least 50 years. Did any of you realize there are that many of us long term diabetics in the USA? There are even more because some Medalists did not wish to take part in the study. Approximately 550 Medalists have participated thus far.

I was examined for neuropathy and sent to their eye center. I had a wonderful eye examination. Dr Shah is a brilliant opthamologist. It was the best eye exam I have ever had. My eyes are in great shape. The results of all the testing will be sent to my home in a week or so.

The purpose of the study is to see if they can find why some of us Type 1's have lived so long with no serious complications. If the cause(s) can be found then a treatment may be developed that will enable younger Type 1's to avoid complications.

I was too sick to drive home. We anticipated that, so we had reserved our hotel room for a second night. Lola guided us home on Tuesday morning. My only souvenir is a bad cold, the first one I have had in several years. Anita is coming down with that cold now.

It was all very worthwhile, we both feel that way. They really appreciated my participation. They paid for our first night at the hotel and for the gas we used on our trip.

I am now a member of a wonderful group, the Joslin Medalists. We plan to return to Boston in May, 2010 when there will be a gathering of all the Medalists who choose to attend. I hope I will get the chance to meet William Rounds then. William has had diabetes for 86 years and has joined our group. He is thought to be the person who has lived with diabetes longer than any other person on earth. He is my hero!

13 replies

Crashnot 2009-12-04 09:41:56 -0600 Report

The whole experience is uplifting, for all of us! I hope they start making enough connections that they can publish something in the coming year, and hope it's all great news by 2011. Thanks so much for making the effort and getting so much from it too!

ptsparkle 2009-12-04 09:38:53 -0600 Report

Good report Richard, glad you had a good trip. Who knows, the rate you are going, you might surpass Mr. Rounds.Keep up the good work.

John Crowley
John CrowleyCA 2009-12-04 09:33:21 -0600 Report

Richard, what a fascinating study. Thank you so much for sharing your experience here.

I'm so intrigued by the possibility that some type 1's continue to produce insulin. I can't wait to eventually read all the conclusions of the study. I hope there are lessons my son can learn from all this that will help him live as long and complication-free as you have.

Hinboyz3 2009-12-04 07:20:32 -0600 Report

Good job Richard I know you had a good time with the new friends, and Im glad your travels were safe and clear, you better hold onto Lola. You never know when you might need here again. LOL!! Thank you so much for the information I enjoyed hearing how things went with you.

sweething 2009-12-04 06:39:11 -0600 Report

Sounds to me you're a gold metalist on the Olympic Diabetic Team! Are they searching for the specific gene or genes responsible for the lack of complications and longevity? Not to downplay the hard work you put into to have good control. Good luck that you continue on many years!

Richard157 2009-12-04 09:01:45 -0600 Report

They are taking many things into consideration. Genetics, presence of islet cells and C-peptide, life style, etc. I am not aware of any attempt to isolate any particular gene but I don't know everything they are doing.

Thank all of you for your comments!

MarineMomX2 2009-12-03 22:34:49 -0600 Report

Congrats Richards. Your involvement in the study is sure to help in research going forward. We're proud of you for being a contributor!