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Ed Adamson

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Edward Adamson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in 1967 at the age of 5.  Other than injecting insulin, which has drastically improved over the past 40 years, he admittedly did not make much of an effort to manage his diabetes as a young man.  Uncontrolled blood sugars during his teens and early 20’s eventually led to kidney failure.  It was a slow deterioration beginning at the age of 18, resulting in a transplant in 2002 at the age of 35. 

Ed received a donated kidney from his older brother, which ultimately saved his life. “Today, it works like new because I exercise, watch what I eat and check my blood sugar regularly.”  In addition, he has received diabetes education at the UMass Memorial Diabetes Center of Excellence (DCOE), to learn as much as he could.  Dr. Laura Alonso praises him for working very hard at managing his T1D and keeping his sugars in a healthy range.

Ed first tried using an insulin pump in 2009.  Between the wires, skin sensitivity at the infusion sites and inconsistent readings resulting in low blood sugar, he decided to go back to giving himself needle injections.

In 2017, Dr. Alonso convinced him to give it another try.  She assured him that the technology had improved and promised to work with him and help any way that she could.  “She’s amazing,” Ed said.  “She spoke to me in a way that I could relate to, and shared success stories, so I agreed to give a pump another try.”

“His blood sugar is amazingly stable across the hours, both day and night,” says Dr. Alonso.  “Working with the technology has been a challenge that he embraced.”

DCOE Certified Diabetes Educator Sharon Chan, as well as his Medtronic rep, who also has T1D, have coached Ed to success using a pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM).  He became one of the first people to use Medtronic’s hybrid closed loop system, and he’s brought his A1c down “from the high 8’s to 6.9%” 

He calls Sharon [Chan] “persistent, helpful and efficient,” and credits her with always making herself available with education such as programming basil rates and carb ratios – but also helping by coordinating with the pharmaceutical and insurance companies to obtain supplies.  

“Science has proven over the past 4 decades that so much is now in our control.  The journey of living with T1D is a series of trials and challenges, and dealing with highs and lows,” he said.  “When my A1c dropped, it became a snowball effect of positive results, including my weight going down and energy level going up.”

Proving it’s never too late to make a change, Ed has a wonderful care team working with him at the UMass Memorial DCOE.  He’s is now taking advantage of available information, resources and technology.  As a father of 4 as well as a grandfather, the 52 year old is looking forward to many quality years ahead!  

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