DS for Diabetes/Dan's Story

newwomanin2015

Well-Known Member
I posted this on another board a while back. Resolution of type 2 diabetes is one of the big reasons to choose the DS over everything else out there. Dan was my H and we were married for 38 years. I have moved on and now have a great life but I don't want his story to die with him!

Oct 24, 2012 at 12:35pm

Post Oct 24, 2012 at 12:35pm
Dan died almost a year ago and I thought long and hard before posting this. In the end I decided to go ahead because that's what he would have wanted me to do. I hesitated because I didn't want people to think the DS had anything to do with his death. He probably would have died sooner if he hadn't had the DS. He probably would have lasted longer if he would have done it sooner!

Back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth I had my DS. I'm a researcher and a reader from way back and I'm always looking for answers. My H was diagnosed with type 2 in the mid 90's. He most likely had it for a while before he was diagnosed. His family has a truly dismal history of diabetes and heart related issues. They all died from some consequence of diabetes. H was never MO. He was sometimes O but he fought weight constantly because of his family history. He knew becoming fat would be a disaster for him healthwise. After he was diagnosed, he did everything right. No carbs other than green veggies and daily exercise. He walked on that treadmill every day. He hated being diabetic with passion.

He developed the usual co-morbs. Hyperlipidemia, retinopathy, and neuropathy in his feet. He got his HA1C into the normal range with oral meds and strict control of his diet. According to medical science, he was controlling his diabetes perfectly. But his co-morbs just got worse and worse. He was seeing his future as being blind in a wheelchair.

I noticed with great interest that diabetes either went away or was much improved with the DS. I researched it constantly, looking for papers or any work done on the subject. One day I tripped over exactly what I was looking for. The DS had and was being done for diabetes in Europe. I found cases in Spain and Italy. One of the docs who figured prominently was Aniceto Baltasar in Alcoy, Spain.

Dan didn't hesitate. When I showed him the research and he read the papers, he immediately said yes. He wanted to have the surgery. His logic was that it was better to take a chance on having a normal life than to just keep on the path he was on. He was tired of going downhill with no hope.

I contacted Dr. Baltasar and as it happened, I had an appointment with Dr. Buchwald(my surgeon). I learned they were good friends and had even vacationed together. Dr. Buchwald told me he would let Dr. Baltasar operate on him or one of his family members with no reservations whatsoever. Then to my surprise, Dr. Buchwald offered to do Dan's surgery! It didn't work out financially/insurance wise, so we went to Spain.

Then another surprise happened and I ended up with 2 patients to care for. My sister decided to have surgery too! Dan had surgery on Valentine's Day 2004 and my sister had hers done a couple days later. Dan's BMI was 27 so Dr. Baltasar elected to do only the switch and do nothing to his stomach. Dan's CC was 50cm.

Dr. Baltasar told us, and my own research confirmed, that Dan would lose about 30lbs postop and then gain it back over the next 2 years or so. Dan's recovery was perfect and that's exactly what happened. Dan's diabetes went away completely postop. He never needed another dose of diabetes meds. About 2 weeks after surgery, he got up one morning and remarked he wasn't seeing well. His vision was blurry. We decided to wait a bit then call the doc. Then we figured out the only problem was that Dan no longer need glasses to see. His vision had gone back to 20/20 without glasses. His retinopathy was resolved. Years later, Dan's ophthalmologist confirmed he could no longer see any evidence of retinopathy. The neuropathy in Dan's feet improved somewhat but sadly, most of the nerve damage was permanent and he would live the rest of his life with foot pain. His lipidemia resolved as well and his cholesterol always tested low normal after surgery. Dan's lifelong problem with constipation also ended after the DS.

In short, Dan ended up with the best of both worlds. He could eat as he pleased, including junk foods, and not gain weight. And his diabetes was gone. High protein was no problem because he loved meat. Vites were no big deal because he was already used to taking every supplement known to man. His labs were always good and just to be honest, Dan ate like a horse! I think he was making up for all the years he did without.

Dan was thrilled with his surgery and had no regrets. He always said he would do it over again in a heartbeat. The results were exactly what he had hoped for.

BTW, Dr. Baltasar had done many DS for diabetes surgeries before and after Dan with 100% success. The DS for diabetes has been done in Europe since the late 80's. The US is just behind the rest of the world. Why? Who can say for sure but it is true that diabetes is a multi-billion dollar per year industry. And insurance companies don't want to pay for surgery. I once had the chance to discuss this with someone in the business and here's what I was told. The insurance companies say you will change providers every three years on average. So paying for your covered diabetes supplies is cheaper for them than paying for surgery. Sad, but probably true. Cheaper to maintain you with a chronic disease than to cure you. They play the odds, hoping you will change providers before you go blind or need to have something amputated.

Dan died of heart problems in January of 2012. It wasn't DS related. Most likely, he needed a stent and I believe he knew something was wrong with him. I think he didn't take care of himself because he was afraid of running up huge bills he couldn't pay. Dan had been laid off in 2009 and hadn't been able to find a new job. He was a Mechanical Engineer. But we will never know for sure.

I do think it's criminal that people die every day here for lack of healthcare. Not because it doesn't exist, but because it's not affordable. Dan was more afraid of the bills than he was of dying.

I have heard that, too, about the insurance companies waiting people out. I'm sorry you lost him. Dan sounds like he was a great guy.
 

Munchkin

Full of Fairy Dust
Just today I heard from Dr. Aniceto Baltasar, Dan's surgeon. He will be giving a talk at a medical school in Spain about the DS for diabetic patients. He plans to use Dan as an example. I sent him this post and offered to answer any questions or things he may have forgotten over time. Dr. B is a great man. He is pretty much retired now and hopefully he will send me an update on all his new plans. I also asked him is another doc who does the DS is taking over the clinica. We could always use another DS surgeon!
 

bearmom

Well-Known Member
I'm glad this got bumped up, and thank you for sharing. It was brave and kind of you.

This also seems timely as I'm concerned what direction many peoples healthcare is about to go, and cost may start dictating what some of us do, or don't do, for medicare care.
 

countryham

Well-Known Member
Thank you for sharing Munchkin. I was having some serious issues with diabetes also. But since having the DS in January things are improving everyday, I am no longer on Insulin or any other meds for diabetes. Still have the neuropathy but just had an A1C of 6.8 that is awesome for me. Haven't seen a number like that in many years. I lost my father and brother to diabetes.
 
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Munchkin

Full of Fairy Dust
Thank you for sharing Munchkin. I was having some serious issues with diabetes also. But since having the DS in January things are improving everyday, I am no longer on Insulin or any other meds for diabetes. Still have the nephropathy but just had an A1C of 6.8 that is awesome for me. Haven't seen a number like that in many years. I lost my father and brother to diabetes.
Just wait! It will probably get even better! Dan did lose some of his neuropathy but it didn't all go away. Best of luck!
 

KathrynK

Well-Known Member
I am so sorry. I am glad he had the time where he was able to eat what he wanted. I know the diabetic diet is tiresome because I had type 2 before surgery, and then never needed to be treated again. We need health economists to study the cost effectiveness of surgery, so future patients can get it earlier. Dan contributed to the evidence that surgery changes lives and you contribute to the DS community by reminding us to 'pay it forward.' Thank you.
 

DonRobbie

Well-Known Member
And insurance companies don't want to pay for surgery. I once had the chance to discuss this with someone in the business and here's what I was told. The insurance companies say you will change providers every three years on average. So paying for your covered diabetes supplies is cheaper for them than paying for surgery. Sad, but probably true. Cheaper to maintain you with a chronic disease than to cure you. They play the odds, hoping you will change providers before you go blind or need to have something amputated.
I had to self pay for bariatric surgery because my insurance specifically excludes it. They are still sending me mailings trying to give me a blood glucose meter and supplies.
 
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