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It took me years to realise that there is often more than one illness making you sick

Clive is grateful for the proper treatment he is now receiving for his Type 2 diabetes.

I am a sixty-one year old male. I have had diabetes Type 2 for a very long time. If my memory serves me, it was diagnosed sometime in the 1970s. That is the simple part of the story. Although dignosis was made in the 1970s, I was told that it could easily be handled by diet and exercise. 

This was quite fine at the time as I was a police officer and most of my work at that time was Foot Patrol. My partner and I loved it. Outside, walking the street, meeting shopkeepers and householders alike. Talking with children and visiting the schools.  We had excellent exercise and good food and life was good.

In the early 1980s I was transferred into the Investigation side of policing. Off came the uniform and on went the suit.  Lots of sitting down at the desk. Paperwork, cups and cups of coffee and pints of beer or shots of whisky. Exercise went out the window and my whole lifestyle changed. 

A whole year or more was spent living like this and diabetes was forgotten about, diet was forgotten about and a whole, different lifestyle took over. Alcohol and cigarettes took over my life as it was easy to follow. 

Will power was at the lowest it had ever been and so, of course, my body paid for it.  I put the weight on. I suffered extreme loss of sleep and I was constantly stressed out. I loved my job and enjoyed it to the maximum.  I paid litle or no attention to my diabetes and neither did my doctor.  It was all but forgotten about.

I ignored my diabetes and now I am in real trouble

Clive

I was enjoying life so very much and continued abusing my health until 1989. That was the fateful day, or should I say afternoon, when my whole life was turned upside down and my life expectancy was shortened by a good many years. 

I suffered an accident which involved a very nasty fall on my back, onto the newly laid surface of a parking lot.  The upshot of this was considerable pain.  The details of the accident are unimportant.  The lasting PAIN is of the utmost importance. I went through two surgeries. The second one being Spinal Fusion of the L4, L5, S1 vertebrae.

I began taking mild painkillers to ease the pain.  I took on a life of being sedentary, hoping to ease the pain.  My weight increased steadily, although it was always up and down.  The ups were greater than the downs. I began to have other symptoms of unknown origin until I sat down with my doctor and had a long and in depth review of my history.  It was about 1985 when we hit upon diabetes again. 

This time I was referred to the Diabetic Clinic where I received education on foods and simple recipes.  There was no retinopathy or foot examination.  It was decided that I could still manage the diabetes by diet and exercise alone.  Who was I kidding? Diet and exercise alone.  I loved my food. I am a meat and potatoe man. I am a grazer and always seemed to be eating something or other, usually all the wrong stuff or the right stuff but in excess. I began to check my blood, but that became very haphazard or hit and miss.  Very soon  Diabetes was put to the back of my mind.

I was convinced that there was something very physically wrong with me and, more specifically, the nerve root was very damaged and as a result my body was reacting to that. I was experiencing pain in my knee, my ankle, my toes. I had pain around my kidneys. All of it, I put down to the nerve damage caused by the accident.

In 1990 and 1991 I had two surgical procedures on my back; both were supposed to stop my pain but neither did. I changed my employment but not my lifestyle and my pain got worse and my general health deteriorated to the point that in the year 2000, while driving home one day, the pain became so bad that my wife had to lift me out of the car and carry me into the house.  I couldn’t walk. 

Thus began another round of seeing specialists and examinations by whatever doctor I could find. Fortunately my time from work allowed me time to spend researching material on the computer. That was my first venture into the syndrome of Chronic Pain.

Two fairly serious conditions,  Type 2 diabetes and Chronic Pain Syndrome.  Each one on its own is quite serious, but both together is absolutely horrendous. The stress to my mental faculties became stretched to the maximum.  Clinical depression reared its ugly head and finally the dissolution of my married life and estrangement of my children. 

The medication that I was now on taking was Morphine Sulfate administered by a drug pump inserted in the abdomen and assisted by a remote control unit. I was receiving a constant flow of moraine and was able to give myself exra shots when the pain became unbearable.  Now I was a sicko and a druggy.  Useless to my family, to work and to myself.  Everything came to a head in 2009 when I left my family and returned to England.

Since arriving in England I have consulted with the premiere neurological centre in England, the Walton Centre, which is taking good care in treating and monitoring the Chronic Pain and I am registered with a very good GP who has been aggressively helping me monitor my blood glucose levels and treating my with other ailments associated with diabetes.  The worst one of these was neuropathy of the feet and legs. 

He referred me to the local diabetic treatment clinic where I was dealt with very nicely and they were very helpful and then I heard nothing more.  I have been receiving yearly retinopathy examinations and foot examinations. However, at each examination I told the staff that I had numbness on the soles of my feet and on the sides of my feet.  This seems to have ben ignored. I was receiving pediatric treatment but I found this to be of little use. 

I saw a different nurse each time I attended.  Finally I noticed that my feet began to swell, then my ankles and then my legs.  There were numerous vessels that began to leak a clear yellowish liquid which, although it did not hurt, was very embarrassing.  I was breaking out in sweats for no reason. 

Cellulitis was diagnosed and I was given creams and antibiotics. I then had a fungal infection of the groin and the mouth and a fungicide was prescribed.  My energy levels were down and my legs were extremely tired and weak and it was painful to walk due to the swelling of my feet.

Unfortunately I am a smoker and by accident the hot ends of a couple of cigarettes dropped onto my foot. I did not feel it until two rather large blisters had formed and I had two very large and deep wounds on my foot. I began an in-depth search of diabetes on the computer.  This I found fascinating as everything that I checked, other than Chronic Pain, all lead to be symptoms of diabetes.

Now comes the hard part in life.  With all the problems that the NHS is going through and the area that I live in as well as my not knowing my way around the system here in England, finding the right place to be and the right people to consult with has been a real challenge.  However, I am almost there. I have now found the best place to go for treatment of diabetes, the right hospital as recommended by staff and patients alike.

Thus my story is almost ended.  My life with diabetes has been clouded by Chronic Pain and the treatment of it.  All the different pain pills. Analgesics to narcotics, creams to anti-depressants have all served to mask my diabetic problems. 

The medical system in Canada, as well as England tend to focus on one ailment, usually the most prominent one, and leave the rest alone. Most patients still tend to regard the doctor with awe and do not question them enough or even ask the right questions.  They are often evasive when asked certain questions and fail to impart all the symptoms. 

The appointment times, usually 10 minutes per patient is ludicrous.  I haver spent less that 15 minutes with a doctor.  I have found that most doctors will listen to ALL your symptoms and certainly respond better if everything is written down for them.  When it comes to diabetes, complicated by other illnesses it is extremely important to let the doctor know everything that is affecting you. 

I say this, yet it took me years to realise that there is often more than one illness, disease, injury or symptom causing you to be ill. I left it alone and now I am in real trouble, but I am not too late now that I have recognized everything and I am beginning to receive the proper treatment.

Thus my story with diabetes continues.

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