Cliff Tener
Cliff and family I am Cliff Tener and this is my story.

I have been a diabetic for 35 years (diagnosed when I was 21 years old). My life has been a series of ups and downs (blood sugars and otherwise). First reaction to the news of diabetes was both of relief (knowing why I had been feeling so lousy) and shock (when I found out what I had to do to live a "normal diabetic" life). I was married at the time and she didn't find my changing moods and seemingly lack of dedication to my health overwhelming, so about one year into my walk with diabetes, she called it quits (divorce). Emotions were out of control and so was my diabetes. Of course at the time I didn't realize this fact, all I was trying to do was find myself, and a mate that would understand and level my life. During these early years we didn't have the finger stick blood sugar home testing or the fast acting insulin. We depended on exchange lists for diet, NPH (beef or pork) insulin and fasting blood sugar tests at the lab every three months. I did participate on basketball and softball teams, which was dealt with mass quantities of food to keep from having insulin reactions. Never the thought of cutting back on insulin but always eat to keep the calories up with the activity level.

Over the years I have found myself in the hospital fight the side effects of diabetes. Once for Ketone Acidosis, this was early in my diabetic walk (I had been a diabetic for about four years). I had gotten sick with the flu and made the assumption that since I wasn't eating I shouldn't take my insulin. WRONG! I found myself sicker than ever and with a blood sugar of greater than 600. This was my first encounter with an insulin pump, it was about the size of a medium tool box and was on a stand. The thing might have been big and ugly but it saved my life. The next several times that I found myself in the hospital was caused by foot infections. The announcement of a "Diabetic Foot" gets a lot of attention in the hospital. Even though the threat of loosing your life is slim to none, the threat of loosing a precious limb is great. The diabetic foot can occur when you least expect it. One time, I had taken snow skiing lessons over a six-week period with no ill effects. But one-weekend on the slopes in a rented boot rubbing a blister on my foot sent me to the hospital with a quickly advancing infection. Another time, I had what was known as a soft corn on the inside of my small toe. When I discovered it, I remembered that I had had one before and had worked my way through it with no ill effects. What I failed to remember was that the doctor had helped with the first one. Well he helped to the second one also as I had to have the tip of my pinky removed to save the foot. The "Diabetic Foot" is nothing to fool with, don't allow yourself to become that bad, do you daily foot inspection and report anything unusual to your foot doctor. You don't have a foot doctor? Get one! A valuable asset to your health care staff.

As the years went by, my search for an acceptable level of happiness and control of my diabetes continued. Happiness was the easiest to attain. Some 20 years ago, I met the love of my life, my wife Mona. She seemed to understand what I was going through and loved me enough to put her self through the ups and downs. With her extraordinary cooking and planning skills she has made a big difference in the control of my diabetes. In 1986, Mona presented me with my only offspring, a bouncing baby boy. As the years go by happiness has often hinged on control of my diabetes. In late 1999, I decided that the multiple injections with high BG A1C tests was not the best I could do, so I requested that I be put on an insulin pump and carb counting. These tools have made it possible for me to attain an HbA1c in the normal range for the first time ever. With the help of my family and the pump I have finally found happiness and good diabetic control.

Published August 6, 2000

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