67 Years Surviving Diabetes How I Did It
by William J. David, Ph.D.
In the United States, an estimated seventeen million individuals suffer from diabetes mellitus. Equally alarming radiates the reality that the number of individuals inflicted each day propels drastically. Indisputably, diabetes is a serious and crippling disease, if uncontrolled. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and as recently reported by the American Diabetes Association, the annual medical and lost productivity costs have risen to $132 billion.
The author of the book vividly describes a true story of personally living with type 1 diabetes since 1938. The seventy-four-year-old diabetic professor depicts sixty-seven years combating the challenging disease. Lucid accounts portray the skirmishes that were associated with this factual adventure. The author manifestly portrays the challenge of vainly seeking normalcy while burdened by the unrelenting demands from the illness. Diabetic-related experiences contributed physically, psychologically, and socially to who and what the author became. Some of these bitter encounters lie deeply repressed and mutely hidden in the unconscious mind, never to be remembered, while others are entrenched in his conscious memory, never to be forgotten. The author brings these subdued memories unrelentingly to the surface and vibrantly shares them with the readers of this book.
The adventures addressed in the book address four major objectives. First, the author describes the restrictiveness and outright dangers associated with diabetes that he experienced for more than six and a half decades. There were some delightful episodes, but unfortunately, most were blemished by far less pleasurable outcomes.
The second major purpose of the book focuses on how the author survived the many diabetic battles at different stages in his life. In these cruel and brutal encounters labeled survival, what were the challenges dealt him and how did he resolve them? His relatively long and active life, itself, stands to illustrate the fact that diabetic longevity is obtainable but not without grave consequences that actually lead to the third objective in the book.
The third point targets the monstrous impact that diabetes forced upon the author, his family, and others throughout his life. As a result, these fervent pressures, like overwhelming diabetic management, remained constantly vigilant during all phases of the author´s life. His extended survival speaks on behalf of his successful defense against the dreaded disease.
The last major theme emphasized throughout the book reviews the impact of technology on diabetes and the management of it. Based on firsthand experiences, the author skillfully compares diabetic management strategies, supplies, and equipment of the 1930s with the technologically advanced replacements we employ today. The author is particularly attracted to these scientific marvels in the treatment of diabetes because they are undoubtedly responsible for his continued longevity. Furthermore, he realizes that the growing hope for a cure will energize through continued, superbly designed research. Consequently, the author is pledging 50 percent of his profits from this book toward research and philanthropic organizations that target diabetes and vision problems.
These objectives are addressed throughout the book as they reveal the author’s story of surviving diabetes since 1938. Each chapter unveils various segments of his true adventure, particularly as it relates to the scientific advancements in diabetic control and management. A brief glimpse of each chapter follows.
Prologue: The author features a brief episode in his current life that dramatically portrays the motive and reasons for writing the story. In addition, the prologue establishes a theme for the narrative.
Chapter 1: In this chapter, the author depicts the suffering initiated by the onset of type 1 diabetes. It occurred over the Fourth of July holidays in 1938, an era when little was known about the illness.
Chapter 2: The author, at age seven, quickly learned the regimented routine associated with diabetes in his nine-day hospitalization. He describes the restrictions, diet, and materials that were employed in the regimented control and management of the illness in the 1930s.
Chapter 3: The struggle of a young diabetic is unveiled. The constant vigilance required for controlling and managing the illness with the crude instruments and materials harshly impact the author and his loved ones. The author’s relentless struggle for normality is realistically described.
Chapter 4: Because insulin-dependent diabetes fails to relinquish the unrelenting grasp on its victims, the author unveils his desperate battle for normality. A desperate measure for reaching a cure is described that constitute one of three important milestones in the author’s life. The author also discusses the numerous diabetic-related factors that impact his life as well as his family.
Chapter 5: Because of critical circumstances, the author portrays the need for taking almost total control of his diabetes. The situation developed as he strived for independence during adolescence. The struggle was particularly difficult because he attended nine different schools, as far away as California, before graduating from high school. Numerous encounters with diabetes resulted.
Chapter 6: Unbelievable episodes portraying the author’s struggle to finance his college education while continuously battling diabetes are unveiled. With only crude diabetic-management supplies and tools available during that era, a balance between food, insulin, physical activity, emotion, and guessing correlated to ensure the author’s survival. Numerous discriminations were encountered during this first year of college.
Chapter 7: During the next two summers, the author vividly portrays unique diabetic-survival strategies while a counselor at a YMCA wilderness camp. The diabetic-survival strategies include managing diabetes while navigating treacherous rivers in the wilds of Northern Michigan on four- and five-day journeys. The author continues the chapter by describing the saga of working his way through college. As the story unfolds, the author emphasizes, after twelve years with diabetes, that very few scientific breakthroughs relating to easing the control and management of his illness occurred.
Chapter 8: Marriage and the beginning of a family, as it applies to diabetes, highlight this chapter. At the same time, diabetic encounters continue as they relate to full-time employment. The writer also depicts the continuous story of completing his college education and the diabetic-linked driving force that led the author to pursue special education as a career.
Chapter 9: In this phase of the story, the author describes a rather tranquil segment in the author’s life. The major encounter with diabetes focuses on controlling high and low blood sugars while professionally engaged in teaching. In addition, dangers from infections are described. Professional accomplishments, while surviving diabetes, are revealed.
Chapter 10: After struggling with diabetes for twenty-five years, few significant differences emerged regarding its treatment. The author describes his strategies in controlling and managing diabetes while pursuing the doctorate.
Chapter 11: The author describes new professional responsibilities upon completing the doctorate. Because of these changes, as well as personal modifications in his life, a new lifestyle is portrayed. These new adventures were continuously targeted by d
William J. David, Ph.D.
In 1930, the author was born in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he spent his developmental years. At the age of seven, type 1 diabetes suddenly struck and consequently plagued his entire life. The early years surviving diabetes constituted a continuous quest for normality while the silent and frustrating adversary constantly blocked this needed goal.
The choices of insulin, glucose testing methods, and the instrumentation during those early days of managing diabetes could only be described as crude. Since insulin made the scene a little over a decade earlier, the author uniquely experienced, firsthand, an evolution in the control and management of diabetes spanning sixty-seven years. His early experiences with the illness proved demanding, trying, and horribly confining. Because of circumstances beyond his control, the author assumed almost complete responsibility of his diabetes in his early adolescent years. It constituted a period of time when the management of diabetes with insulin seemed completely experimental. By the time he finished public education, the author became totally responsible for the illness and completely self-supporting upon graduating from high school.
Since the author became self-supporting after graduating from high school, he financed both his baccalaureate and master of arts degrees. He earned a bachelor of science degree in 1954 from Western Michigan University and a master of arts degree from the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor in 1958. With a graduate fellowship, the author earned the Ph.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1966.
Prior to his doctoral pursuits, the author served as a teacher and administrator in special education for ten years. He focused his efforts on emotionally troubled students. Prior to earning his doctorate, he served as assistant principal at Hawthorne Center, Northville, Michigan, and principal at the Pioneer School of Mendota State Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin. During these years, he was instrumental in forming what is now an international professional organization targeting such students. As a result of his concerted efforts, he was elected the founding president of the organization that is now called the Council for Children with Behavioral Disorders (CCBD), a division of the Council for Exceptional Children. While in Wisconsin, he was also highly involved in the development of a state element of the same organization (WCCBD), becoming the charter president.
Professional opportunities soon led Dr. David to different special education endeavors and responsibilities. However, through obtaining a grant near the end of his career, he returned to the field where his career first started, educating students with the emotional problems. Again, he proved instrumental in forming the Oklahoma chapter (OKCCBD) of the professional organization that he helped initiate. He, consequently, served as its second state president.
When completing the doctorate degree, the author engaged in university teaching, administration, and research activities. In addition to the required duties of his various university posts at eight colleges and universities, Dr. David published numerous research articles in national refereed professional journals, chaired several university special education programs, wrote and received almost continuous federal-government-funded grants over a span of twenty-seven years, oversaw several camp programs for students with special needs, consulted for numerous agencies, including the U.S. Office of Education, and proudly served on the Oklahoma State Board for Special Olympics. Dr. David also served in an adjunct role at many universities, including Fordham University and New York University. Early in his university career, he served as director of the A. Harry Moore Center at Jersey City State College. The center comprised a large day school for multiple disabled students, a summer camp, and the special education department at the college. While chairing several special education departments at several colleges and universities, Dr. David served on the Colorado, New Jersey, and Illinois State Department of Education’s Higher Education Council for Special Education. He also served on numerous professional committees during his forty-year career. He retired from active full-time university pursuits in 1993. Although peripherally blind from diabetic retinopathy, the author currently serves as an adjunct for Texas Woman’s University since his retirement.
The author and his wife, after living in many locations, presently reside in North Texas. He enjoys hobbies that include fishing, travel, gardening, and consulting. The four children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren dwell in the states of Texas, Colorado, and Washington. Consequently, annual Amtrak trips prove rewarding because they provide opportunities to visit loved ones as well as providing the opportunity for travel.
The seventy-four-year-old author’s conscious life proved overshadowed by surviving an invisible enemy called type 1 diabetes. Rather it be play, work, study, travel, or whatever as long as he can remember, a guarded vigilance against diabetes proved to be a continuous requirement. This constant guard duty, essential to a diabetic survival, may be responsible for some positive rewards. If a diabetic is to survive, they must learn successful strategies for addressing diabetic challenges. Facing the reality of these ominous diabetic issues, transfers to an inner strength for dealing with the issues that all individuals face. As the author resolved diabetic obstacles, he gained a sense of understanding and compassion toward others, especially those with special needs. This trait became cemented in the author´s personality. It is hoped that these unique personal experiences provide inspiration and hope to others, especially to diabetics of any age or of any form.
Professor David combines his diabetic longevity with a lengthy career targeting children with special needs to understand the concept that normality is clearly “how one views it.” For the author, the rigid restrictive life that is associated with diabetes became secondary, although not ignored. Success was fostered by resulting diabetic challenges, including related medical complications. Thus, learning strategies for surviving diabetes strengthened other nondiabetic challenges in his life. The word “disability” remained absent from his vocabulary.
In regard to diabetic management, the author painstakingly dealt with crude and restrictive strategies and equipment available to him in the early years of diabetic management. These techniques, equipment, and supplies appeared shockingly primitive when compared to the explosion of technological advances in the treatment of diabetes that we enjoy today.
When diabetic retinopathy struck thirty-one years of experiencing diabetes, hope and blessings from above came to his rescue in the form of technological miracles. These research marvels are viewed as they directly and personally affect the author in his battle against diabetes. Because of this awareness and his strong belief in the value of research, Dr. David is pledging 50 percent of the profits from the sale of this book to diabetic and vision philanthropic organizations. The primary focus will target research as it highlights the cure for diabetes.
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