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Grant Schampel grant at maroon.tc.umn.edu
Thu Nov 30 19:24:57 EST 1995

Ok; my reason for inquiry hits close to (right at) home.  I'm a
juvenile-onset (age 12) insulin-dependent diabetic of 37 years standing; I
think I've outlived most of my cohort.  I have various complications:
neuropathy, retinopathy (arrested with photocoagulation), slow healing,
cebrebral pedicle stroke; no nephropathy so far, no large vessel
blockage.  I have for most of those 37 years consumed a *lot* of
artificially-sweetened soft drinks.  You've no idea how agonizing
insulin-induced hunger (quite apart from hypoglycemia) can be; insulin has
been given to non-diabetic anorexics (not, I think, in anorexia nervosa,
but just sick folks who don't want to eat, like my own grandmother with
congestive heart failure many years ago) just to stimulate their
appetites.  Soft drinks alleviate that a little, for a little while.  I've
also been diagnosed (2.5 years ago, U of MN and Mayo) with CIDP (chronic
inflammatory demyelinating polyradicularneuropathy): an autoimmune disease
of unknown instigation, slowly demyelinating peripheral nerves, a *little*
like a peripheral version of MS or a slow version of Guillain-Barré, so I

What hard (non-anecdotal) evidence do I have for or against giving up the
artificially-sweetened soft drinks, which these days means aspartame (used
to be saccharin, before that cyclamate...)?  I'll ask the neurologists at
U of MN and Mayo too, of course; but I want to get as much information as
I can and make my own decisions.  Giving up even a little relief of the
constant hunger would be very hard (to say nothing of the effects on my
diabetic control); I make my living, and my fun, doing things that require
intense concentration.  Continually exacerbated debility and pain, with
unknown proportions of contribution from the diabetes and the CIDP, is
also very hard; I can barely walk or type.  (I had some stocking-and-glove
anesthesia, and some neuralgia, long before the CIDP was diagnosed, so I'm
sure some of the neuropathy is diabetic; I had a distinct exacerbation
after the trauma of shoulder surgery, which would have been a consequence
of an autoimmune process but not diabetes, so I'm sure some is CIDP.)

I'm between Scylla and Charybdis, with little evidence for choosing, and
they're eating me up.

Grant Schampel
Laboratory Information Systems, University of Minnesota Hospital & Clinic
Box 198 Mayo Bldg., 420 Delaware St. SE
Minneapolis, MN   55455-0392                  (612) 626-3539
Opinions are my own, of course; not my employer's official views

also GCSchampel at aol.com

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