Forty years ago this month was a monumental time for me and my wife. I was in the Navy, had just been picked up for regular Navy, had been selected to attend Naval Postgraduate School (Monterey, CA), and we were making plans to move in August. We also had begun the application process for adoption. All of that was put on hold, though.
That all changed during February 1977. After extensive tests I was diagnosed as insulin-dependent diabetic. I began taking insulin shots once a day. My diet, which wasn’t horrible, changed. I wasn’t overweight, but they put me on 1200 calories/day. My weight went from 165 to 149 in the first month. Eventually they had to move my calorie intake to 2200 cal/day.
The first Navy lawyer I spoke with said that I would be out of the Navy within 3 weeks—get prepared. My doctor was much more supportive; he advised me to go through a medical board evaluation. Over the next 6 months I went through 5 medical boards (each at a higher level) to see what my status would be. Each board reversed the previous board’s decision. So first board (NAS Miramar): recommended full unlimited sea duty in the Navy. The next one (don’t remember specific command): No dismiss from Navy immediately. Back and forth for 6 months.
In mid August the final medical review board met in Washington, DC, consisting of five members: three line officers and two medical doctors. The vote: 3-2 approving me for full unlimited sea duty. That meant I was the first person in the Navy to serve on unlimited sea duty while still taking insulin. Many were shocked, although my wife and I had trusted whatever decision would be from God, we were relieved.
So how did we celebrate? Had a great evening out. We began packing for our move to Monterey at the end of the month.
Oh, I also had another kidney stone! Yep, when the Intelligence detailing officer (the one responsible for assignments) in DC called me, he had to call the hospital. He was shocked. He said something to the effect that why would I mess up all that everyone had done by ending up in the hospital??? Ah, sir, that was not in my plan of the day!
We moved a week later. I drove the moving truck, and apparently it helped the stone move, because that first week of orientation at NPGS I was back in the hospital (Ft. Ord Army hospital). Surgery was not successful. But the stone finally shot out two days later at 1 AM in the hospital. Got out of the hospital and began classes at NPGS that week.
The Rest of the Story
In 1980 I was serving at Fleet Combat Training Center Atlantic (FCTCL) as intelligence instructor. By this time God was moving me to consider seminary. In late December 1980 my wife and I agreed that I should do so. However, I had to serve another 1 ½ years because of NPGS commitment.
In the first week in January, 1981 I forgot to take an insulin shot. I checked the urine and it was ok. I went another day, and then another. I was due for a doctor’s check up (every month since Feb. 1977) that next week. He ordered the usual blood tests and my blood sugar was normal. The Dr. said, well, we might consider dropping your amount of insulin (I wasn’t on a real high dose to begin with). With fear and trepidation I told him I have not taken insulin in 10 days. I was prepared for the slap on the back of my head. Instead, he was enthusiastic and wanted me to go two more weeks, checking urine every day.
So in January, 1981 was my last shot of insulin. I have been insulin free since then, and blood sugar tests throughout the past 36 years have been normal. While I was still in the Navy I had to have monthly checkups. If the doctor was new, he began researching my records and claimed that they must have done the tests wrong initially. They wanted to explain how this could happen medically. My reply was: I think God healed me. Every doctor said, “That’s a lot more believable than anything I can do in explaining.”
That dramatic change allowed me to start seminary in September, 1982, without the worry of insulin and the complications of diabetes.
Yes, a lot has happened in the last 40 years. Thank God for all of that.