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As many of you know, Russ has continued to battle Type 1 Diabetes for 52 years. The doctors believe it started at the age of 10. He was on the pump for several years but the pump was pulled off recently due to Russ's life threatening sugars. He is now on the insulin pen and needles. In the past, Russ was able to easily notice if his sugars were dropping or getting too high. But, due to his health complications, he many times does not realize if his sugars are dropping, which can cause him to fall or pass out.
Along with his diabetes, Russ struggles with his vision. He has no sight in his left eye, but continues to need special drops due to it seeping from time to time. His right eye continues to need injections to eradicate the lesion that currently resides in it. Although his injections have helped, he still has the lesion and his vision is impeded to where he has only limited peripheral vision. The doctors have to continue to monitor his eyes due to glaucoma and retinopathy. Due to his eye condition, he hasn't been able to drive for over 5 years.
In addition to his eyes, Russ also has neuropathy and gastroparesis. His nerve pain in his hands and feet, due to the neuropathy, is consistent even though the pain can vary from time to time. His neurologist provides pain management, but with that comes side effects like loss of balance and lower brain function. With his gastroparesis, he struggles with digestion. His stomach doesn't process food in a normal manner, and this affects his sugar levels. Due to this, he struggles with not being hungry many times throughout the day, which again affects his sugar.
Russ's family history has shown kidney issues, and he unfortunately hasn't been exempt. His kidney function vacillates between 10-15% and makes him extremely lethargic. The lack of function affects his sugars and can make it difficult to administer the correct amount of insulin needed for his food intake. His nephrologist continues to monitor to see if Russ should start dialysis (which filters the kidneys through a machine). Dialysis comes with it's own challenges, which include but are not limited to daily/overnight hook up to dialysis, lack of medical coverage, and possibilities of infection and side effects. Russ is on the Hershey medical transplant list for a kidney and has been for two years.
Through these experiences, Russ has become more dependent on others for rides to places, evening help, and a new normal. Continued engagement with others has made a positive impact on his life.
Now that you're all caught up with Russ's life, for the most part, stay tuned for future journal entries with updates.