Robert A. Dacey (continued)

During my years of service as a national patient advocate, I was one of the first diabetics to engage in-home glucose monitoring, while also testing the new rDNA-produced, quick-acting and longer-lasting insulins that were becoming available. Emerging technology was allowing for tighter BG control, along with more precise insulin doses. Oral medications were also tried, without much success. My endocrine system defined me as a statistical outlier and labeled me as a "complex patient." A specific brand of denture adhesive sent my daily BG beyond the upper limits. I was, and continue to be, a challenge for my physicians and their staffs. But, I'm also a dedicated collaborator with medical experts.

I believe in shared decision-making based on evidence-based medicine. My fingertips have taken many pokes from lancets.

But, the diabetes learning curve is long and personal. The ideas of self-managed care, and the "medical home" are still evolving. The health care landscape is evolving and changing rapidly, thanks to impressive technology and thoughtful new decision-making algorithms. Until a true and honest cure for diabetes is discovered and implemented, people from across all the age and demographic boundaries will become diabetic patients. Prevention of diabetes may be possible for some people, but that is yet another complex learning curve.


After 36 years as an insulin-dependent diabetic, I strive to stay ahead of the curve. Testing my BG six to eight times each day, even when traveling, is simply a part of a required routine. Adjusting the necessary insulin doses is a part of daily living, as is adjusting the desired daily high and low BG readings. My mind and body send me signals when there are sudden rises or drops in my BG status. I've learned how to pay attention to such signals, and to respond to them. I've learned what is required of me to keep my diabetes status as controlled as possible. Diet is important; swimming in the local hospital therapy pool three times a week is always on my agenda. Weight management has always been a core issue. Knowing when to contact my health care providers for advice and counsel is also a part of my personal learning curve. They know they're part of the shared decision-making team. We collaborate and cooperate, and I take responsibility for keeping all members of the team on the same page.

A key member of the team is my wife of 21 years, Jane, who must monitor her own health and medical status due to an artificial mitral valve that was implanted in 1976.

Although my drawing and painting have been curtailed due to diabetic vision problems, the record of my artwork can be found on my aging website, I continue to write on a wide range of subjects, which can be found on Google. And, of course, I'm on Facebook and Twitter, but not for marketing or advertising purposes. Just for the fun of it.

My advice to pre-diabetics, newly diagnosed diabetics, experienced diabetics, and to anyone who must live with one or more chronic medical conditions, is to pay attention to your own learning curve. Engage, educate, and enlist yourself and your team in the ongoing management of your health issues. Maintain paper or electronic personal medical records that can be shared with all your health care providers on a confidential basis. Strive to understand the evidence-based science that defines your condition, and be skeptical of advertised non-evidence-based treatments and "cures" for your conditions. The process can be a positive enjoyable part of daily living. Get on your personal learning curve, ask others to join you, including dLife, and enjoy the ride.

*NOTE: These are everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences. These personal accounts are not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

We are always looking for interesting/inspiring diabetes stories. To find out our current call for submissions or to submit your own inspirational story for consideration, check out Real People, Real Stories.

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Last Modified Date: May 18, 2015

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Brenda Bell
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