The Protection Genes?

eye doc

I had my diabetic eye exam yesterday.

Nearly 34 years of type 1 diabetes and the doctor said he couldn’t see any sign of diabetes. Not a thing. Whew… I’d been given news of another year (actually two years since my last visit) without a complication from diabetes.

I felt relieved, but it was mixed with what my friend Scott Strange calls Survivor’s Guilt. Why have I managed to avoid complications even though my blood sugars and A1C’s aren’t always great (who’s are)? Why do others with a long history of BG’s much better than mine struggle terribly with complications?

It doesn’t make sense other than to demonstrate that there are many things about diabetes that aren’t understood.

My doctor talked about this during my appointment. He described doing research at the University of Minnesota where they saw many of the same things that studies such as the DCCT later proved, but that there seemed to be something more as well. He said that some people with diabetes seem to have some sort of genetic protection against complications (up to a point) that even today, many years later, they haven’t been able to figure out.

He told the story of recruiting a stubborn old guy into a research study back in the late 1980’s. This guy was in his mid-seventies and had lived with type 1 diabetes for over fifty years. Not a sign of diabetes related eye complications to be found. So my doctor asked him what his secret was. The guy’s response? Stay away from doctors and have at least two beers each day! Haha!

The point of that story (I think) is that during that period of time and with an attitude like that, how likely was it for that guy to have had low A1C’s?

Exactly. There must be something more.

*There’s a sticker on top of that computer monitor that says (yes, in all caps) “COMPUTERS FOR VRS USE ONLY – THANK YOU” What – were people browsing FaceBook while waiting for the doctor to come in?

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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