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That was then, this is now
Innovative treatments make managing diabetes easier
Sanford Diabetes Center who
trained Ferder. “The pump continuously secretes insulin, mimicking the natural action of the pancreas and decreasing both high and low blood sugars. Patients have more freedom with what and when they eat than they do with injections.”
Jim Ferder, who was diagnosed with diabetes nearly 50 years ago, said innovative treatment options like his insulin pump make managing the chronic illness much easier.
||When Jim Ferder was diagnosed with type 1
diabetes in 1962 at the age of 19, his doctor
came to his hospital room with three small packages. The
first contained a glass syringe, the second, a thick needle, and the third, a sharpening stone.
“The doctor told me I had to boil the syringe before each
use, and the sharpening stone was for when my needle
became dull,” Ferder said. “That was my introduction to
diabetes. We didn’t test our blood sugar or see a dietitian.
I took one insulin injection each morning that would have
to last until the next morning.”
Ferder, now 66, has seen an evolution in the treatment of
his type 1 diabetes, a lifelong disease that develops when
the pancreas no longer produces insulin. For the past eight
years, he has benefited from the latest in technology—
an insulin pump—and a team approach to care provided
by the Sanford Diabetes Center.
Before receiving the pump, the Bismarck man was giving
himself six to eight insulin injections a day. Now, he has
one needle poke every three days when he changes the site
of the pump. The pump, similar in size to a pager, is clipped
to his waistband. Insulin is administered through a small
tube placed just under the skin. The pump delivers insulin
throughout the day and keeps blood sugar levels in range
between meals and overnight.
“The pancreas gives us small amounts of insulin
continuously when we need it,” said Lyla Timm, a diabetes
educator at the
When he was up to eight injections a day, he decided it was time to
investigate the insulin pump and the services of the Sanford
|In addition to eliminating the need for injections, the
pump lowers hemoglobin A1c, a blood sugar measurement
that predicts long-term complications including heart
disease and stroke, nervous system disease, kidney disease
There is no ideal age for acquiring the pump, but there are criteria to be
met. Those on an insulin pump have to be willing to monitor their blood
sugars, learn to treat both low and high blood sugars and calculate their
own doses of insulin. Parents of younger children have to agree to take
on those roles.
Ferder describes the pump as a “miracle.” “I feel so much better,”
he said. “I am getting insulin 24 hours a day, so it is more like having a
When Ferder was diagnosed, he was told about potential complications.
“I was in denial and ignored the information that was available, which
wasn’t much,” he said.
At 39, he developed diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes
resulting from damage to the vessels of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue
at the back of the eye, which can result in blindness.
Despite three operations to attempt to save his vision, he became blind
in his left eye. When his right eye started causing problems, he could no
longer continue his job with the railroad and went on disability at the age
of 55. He had nearly 35 laser treatments and retains some vision in the eye.
“I no longer drive, but I continue with my woodworking hobby,” he said.
“Other than my eyesight, I’ve had no other complications.”
Family Nurse Practitioner
“There is so much involved with diabetes management, and patients
can get better support and education from our team approach to help
achieve better outcomes,” said Dawn Meier, family nurse practitioner
at the Diabetes Center.
The team of nurse practitioners, diabetes educators and dietitians works
in collaboration with primary care doctors. Educators provide knowledge
in caring for diabetes, dietitians offer nutritional management and nurse
practitioners adjust medication and identify issues that need to be
addressed by the patient’s doctor.
“Jim is taking ownership for his diabetes and realizing the day-to-day
choices he makes affect his outcome,” Meier said. “The benefits patients
reap from that effort they put forth for good control is significant.”
“I can’t say enough about the Diabetes Center,” Ferder said. “The entire
team and the combination of all the modern technology has made my life
so much better.”
Click here for more information on Sanford Diabetes Care Center or call (701) 323-5324.