Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Happy Birthday Sam!

Today is my oldest son’s birthday. I can hardly believe that he is turning 22. It seems like just a short time ago he entered this world, a squalling pink bundle of joy, amidst my wife’s shrieks of agony. It’s incredible how quickly the years have flown by.

He’s turned out to be a fine young man. His moral compass is set to true North and he’s looking to graduate in December with a Bachelor’s degree in economics, very possibly summa cum laude. He has great relationships with his professors and has insight into events that are wise beyond his years.

What a joy this journey has been. As I look back I can’t remember any significant periods of turmoil. I know what your saying, “Diabetes has clouded your memory Keith!”, but in all honesty it hasn’t. Yes we’ve had a few squabbles, but mostly it’s been smooth sailing. I credit most of it to the Lord’s guiding hand and that my wife and I have picked our battles carefully.

One battle I specifically chose not to have was over hair. During my teenage years my parents and I fought terribly, mostly over hair length. I wanted it longer and my mom, in particular wanted it short. It was the early 70’s. Things were in transition. In many circles it was about appearances. The older folks viewed longer hair as aberrant while shorter hair was viewed as good or ‘the norm’. Most of my friends had longer hair while mine wasn’t. It made for some nasty, tearful arguments and for hurt feelings. Bruised feelings don’t heal quickly. Unfortunately, when I was in my late teens my mom became mentally ill and then when I was 21, she died unexpectedly. I feel badly that we had never truly turned the corner from parent-child to adult-friend and healed those wounds.

I told my boys early on I had two rules about hair: 1) it had to be neat (relatively speaking) and 2) it had to be clean, after that anything goes. My oldest never cared too much about hair and his has fluctuated moderately with the current style. However, my youngest has gone from mid-shoulder length to buzzed, then to spiked and then to red, to green and to blue. If it had to do with hair, he’s covered the gamut. Does it matter? I guess it could, but if kids are being responsible, doing the things they should and have good moral character, why make it an issue?

I’m counting my blessings tonight. I hope I have many more years to watch these guys grow, revel in their accomplishments and most of all, enjoy their friendship.


Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Courage To Forgive

What does it take to forgive someone? … or, for that matter, for someone to forgive you?

Does a person have to ask for forgiveness? ‘Of course’, you say and I think you would be right. If someone truly seeks our forgiveness they will come and ask us to forgive them. The Bible even says, “If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

You would probably add, the person needs to have a repentant attitude and again I think you would be right. I’m not inclined to forgive someone if I don’t see some outward reflection that makes me think they are sincerely sorry. If they just turn around and intentionally commit the same act again I have to wonder if they were sorry at all or just playing a game.

Enter on the scene the latest public display of non-forgiveness – Imus. I don’t want to get into his remark… it was thoughtless. Yet, he has done both of the above: 1) he has asked for forgiveness and 2) he is sincerely sorry. Many still seem not to forgive him. It would be different if he lived a life of contempt and discrimination, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. I don’t know (or want to know) the intimate details of his personal life, but I would guess that under the veneer he is a regular guy filled with most of the foibles that regular people have. Yet because of a careless remark, sponsors are jumping ship right and left and kowtowing to the whiners.

Wouldn’t it be a nice change hear sponsors say, ‘You know, we all let our mouth get a little ahead of our brain occasionally, and this guy seems to be sincerely sorry. He has been good for our products and just because he had a brain failure, we’re going to give him another chance’, and stick with him.’

My what a courageous and refreshing change that would be.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Doing My Part

Sorry I've been MIA from the OC for awhile. We've been really busy and while I've had ample subject matter to post, the time factor has been lacking. I'll try to post more about the specifics later.

In a recent post, Amy over at diabetesmine posted that there are several hundred diabetes related clinical studies underway and mucho PWDs, yet most of these studies lack for willing participants.

Enter Keith - several weeks ago the local paper posted a notice requesting T1 diabetics who would like to participate in a gene expression study contact the local college of medicine. The lack of studies in our area of Tennessee is one thing I have missed tremendously since we moved from TX several years ago, so I called and volunteered.

I had a lenghty conversation with the supervising physician, and was still a little unclear as to the exact hypothesis of this study. It wasn't until today, when I went in for the procedure, that I think I understand.

Here's the lowdown: there are glucose transport proteins located on the side of the muscle cell wall, the one being studied here is known as GLUT5. A previous study has indicated that there are about twice as many GLUT5 transport proteins on the cell wall in type 2 PWDs as in the general population. This study ultimately attempts to determine if the increase in number is caused by elevated blood sugars (obviously present in both T1s & T2s) or do people who eventially develop type 2 have a previously elevated GLUT5 count and thus GLUT5 count can be used as predictor of type 2 diabetes.

I didn't ask this question specifically, but I can only assume that the researchers will look at the T1 muscle cells to see if the GLUT5 count is elevated. If so, I think the conclusion to be drawn is that elevated blood sugars are the cause.

The procedure itself didn't hurt, but it was more invasive than I had anticipated. I had to be absolutely still and waiting on the operation chair/table for two hours before the procedure (to allow the proteins to settle). That wasn't bad as I visited with the Dr for the first hour and occupied myself with some papers I needed to read for the second.

Heres where it gets interesting. The procedure itself involved sticking a 5mm diameter (yes, that's half a centimeter folks) muscle biopsy needle about 3" into my thigh (vastus lateralis muscle specifically) and taking a 100mg (1/4" x 1/2") sample of muscle. The Doc did a good job of deadening the area before making the incision and subsequent insertion, but when I saw the size of the biopsy needle I decided it was not in my best interest to watch. I occupied myself by talking with the research assistant (there to immediately freeze the extracted muscle in liquid nitrogen) who interestingly enough didn't want to watch the procedure either.

It was over in 2-3 minutes and they all raved about what a good sample it was. If you've seen Alton Brown's episode of Tuna: The Other Red Meat (sorry tuna lover's) it looked just like the raw tuna before he rolls it in sesame seeds and cooks it over the blazing hot chimney... I must admit I haven't viewed my muscle in quite this fashion before, but it did look nice.

I'm glad to have done my part in this, even if it was fairly inconvenient (I now have a couple of stitches in my leg to be removed next week). I will receive a nice little check, but that was not ultimately my goal. I invited the researchers to contact me again should they have more studies (hopefully not involving large diameter biopsy needles) and they indicated that they would.

The bottom line is we have got to get this diabetes thing, both type 1 and type 2, CURED and we need to work together to do it!