So, I have Diabetes,....and about 10% of you do too.

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georgegassaway

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WARNING - This is a serious thread not to be trifled with, so no political jabs of any kind will be tolerated, AT ALL. You know the rules, this is NOT the thread for you to keep breaking the rules in (nor are any, really).

Hey, I have something else in common with Tom Hanks beyond just a love of Space programs…..

More importantly, while I expect everyone knows what Diabetes is, at least in a general sense, most probably think it won't happen to them. Well, I was sort of that way myself until last July.

So……

Hello, my name is George, and I am a diabetic…

Based on national statistics, since 9.3% of the US population has diabetes, and a greater % of men have diabetes than women, then about 10% of everyone on this forum does too (whether they know it or not). Also, statistically, many dozens on TRF probably do not know that they are already diabetic…. a doctor has not told them yet. Like I was……

In this thread before Christmas:

https://www.rocketryforum.com/showthread.php?121345-Merry-Christmas-and-Healthy-New-Year!

I mentioned this:

As some may know, last July my left big toe got infected. I had to have a minor operation on it, things turned out fine. But that situation finally got me on the road to better health, thanks to practical access to health care, under the Affordable Care Act.

I had considered saying more but chose not to at the time.

George, in your original post you credit the Affordable Heath Care Act for giving you "practical access to health care" and "on the road to better health." Could you elaborate?

OK, I figure it's time to say so. Some may have figured it out, reading between the lines, but some might have assumed something worse.

So, when my left big toe got infected last July, it was due to an injury in early April that had not healed over (Swimming pool had VERY rough bottom, that had worn the skin of both big toes down, almost to the bone on the left big toe. I did not know it had happened till getting out of the pool with blood on the floor). After a few weeks, it was not an open wound..... but it was not skinned over either. Then in mid-July it got infected. I ALMOST waited too long, another 2 days (or maybe even one more, it got much worse in the last 8 hours before I went to the emergency room) I might have lost the toe, or worse (could have lost the foot, the leg, even could have gotten infected so bad and complicated I could have died of it!).

Decades of no health insurance had "trained" me not to go for help unless things got desperate, and things got desperate (When I broke my little toe a few years ago, I wrapped tape to hold it next to the other toe. It healed fused "down" at about 30 degrees at the knuckle, but fortunately does not cause any trouble).

In the emergency room the blood sample they took came back with a blood sugar (glucose) reading of 240, and an A1C of 9.5. I did not even know the relevance of those numbers at the time, but they were WAY high. But the bottom line was, I had Type 2 Diabetes, and apparently had it for the last few years.

Among many issues, diabetes impairs blood flow such as to the feet (the blood is thicker than normal) and causes nerve damage so I did not feel as much foot pain as I should (not 100% numb, but not normal sensitivity. Which is why I did not feel the pain when my toes got all scraped up in the pool). Anyway, it affects healing which is why that wound had not properly healed and eventually got infected.

So, suddenly the infected toe was not the biggest issue. That was a temporary thing, taken care of by a cocktail of various antibiotics and 36 hours later surgery to remove a layer of infected bone in the toe (it does not even look or feel any different than before the injury other than a little incision scar, no missing chunk). And in a few weeks it healed up and wasn't a problem.

But diabetes does not go away. Not really. You have to try to control it. Some people do so well with diet and exercise that eventually they no longer need any medication…. but they still have to stay on top of it. So, I was put onto some insulin, 5 units a day which is not a lot, mainly to give other medication time to take effect, unless things went poorly. And was put onto Metformin which is a pill that helps to reduce blood sugar in several ways (reduces how much glucose the liver produces, AND helps the body's cells to absorb the reduced levels of natural insulin better. It also helps with weight loss. It's the most popular medication for diabetes). After 2 months, no more insulin, Metformin only. In late October, my A1C had dropped from 9.5 to 6.0, and three weeks ago it was 5.1. A normal A1C range for a person with diabetes is 4.0 to 6.0, so I'm right there.

When diagnosed, I weighed over 240. Three weeks ago, I finally hit my personal goal, 175. I guesstimate I used to weigh at least 350, if not more, in the 1990's, so 175 was half (or less) of my max. 175 is also in the middle range of healthy weight for a person of my height and frame size. When I saw an endocrinologist/dietician 3 weeks ago, and we reviewed my new eating habits, she suggested I actually eat some more carbohydrates than I had been. I might gain a little bit of weight back, I'll target 180 and adjust as needed.

The weight loss has many beneficial effects, of course. One simple one regarding the diabetes is that by going from 240 to 180, then the cells of my body can share 33% more of my natural insulin that the other 60 pounds had been using (and since bones do not use insulin, the sharing % is better than that).

In September, I took a 4-part class about diabetes, nutrition, exercise, and related issues. I had already learned some basic and important things in July, but the classes helped get some things in more focus.

Of course, when diagnosed, then I had to change a LOT about what I ate, and/or how I ate. No more Cokes (I LOVE Coke!). The Diet Cokes do not taste right. Closest I can stand is Diet Coke made with Splenda, but still the taste is off. I rarely have it. Before it happened, I had already started to drink Mio often, and was very glad to find out that Mio has Sucralose in it (Splenda is Sucralose), so no carbs. I even found out that if I use orange flavored Mio in carbonated water.... it tastes like Fanta. And I have always liked Ice Tea. So now, Lipton "Cold Brew" Teabags, and Splenda/Sucralose in place of sugar, and some lemon, Tea has replaced Coke and I have Mio too (There is also a Tea flavored Mio which is useful on trips).

Food.... well, thanks to the classes I realized I can actually have almost anything to eat, but it's a matter of portion size and making intelligent tradeoffs. Need to avoid too many carbohydrates, which either have a lot of sugar directly (like candy bars or cakes), or that the digestion process breaks down into sugar such as potatoes and rice and pasta. They even said, if I want Potato chips, have 10-12. Well, some can have that much self-control, but that is too tempting for me, so I just don't have any chips around. No candy. And I pretty much covered my new eating habits in the other thread, so re-read that if you want to know more.

But I'll add that I keep checking things out, reading labels closely to compare carbs and calories. But I was mainly focusing on the carbs, keeping those low have tended to keep the calories low overall. There are exceptions of course, various foods with very few or even zero carbs, I could gain weight by eating a lot of those. But I don't, mostly because now with the new eating habits I'm not trying to eat as much as I used to, wanted to lose weight and now need to maintain it.

Does not mean I've found a magic solution. I do get the munchies at times, and even eat more than I should occasionally. But in the big average it has worked out OK.

I had cut out all bread, using halves of soft taco shells for "sandwiches", as they have fewer carbs than one slice of bread. Then I finally checked out "Lite" bread which had even fewer carbs than the soft taco shells (and half the carbs of regular bread), so now when I have a sandwich its with real bread (12 grain). But I only use one slice, open-faced. I even have a slice of cheese*with some of the sandwiches, my discovery there was thinly-sliced cheese that I had ignored before this happened.

When going out to dinner, often I will have a REAL HAMBURGER! On regular buns. But instead of limitless french fries, its a side salad. And then I've pretty much used up my carb allotment for the meal other than some berries or such later at home as a dessert. Sometimes if someone else has french fries they will let me have three fries....which are not enough to be a problem but those three are plenty to enjoy and savor (I break them up into smaller pieces) rather than gobble down half a plate full, or more, as before. And that is part of the thing too, eating less but trying to enjoy the smaller amount. I even use a smaller spoon when eating soup, so it lasts longer, unless I'm in a hurry.

My competitive drive, as I usually focus on contest rocketry, also has helped with this. Twice a day, when I get up, and before dinner, I play a "game" with the glucose meter, checking my blood sugar levels. If they are a bit high, I try to figure out why, what did I eat , maybe too much of, to cause it to be high? So I learn from that, I have found out that for myself, my glucose spikes a high reading when I eat rice. I ate less rice, high again. I would have to eat so little rice as to not be worth eating, so I replace rice with something else (often Lite bread). And if the reading is a bit below my target average, I sometimes give myself the OK to eat a bit more, such as a thin crust pizza by Culinary Circle, which has the lowest carbs for the size of any I've checked, AND it tastes GOOD too! Also the low readings let me know what foods are working best, so I swap things around at times (Banquet has a cheap Salisbury Steak meal with two steaks, which is very low in carbs and plenty filling and tasty for a lunch).

So, I"m enjoying the food I'm eating. its not a tasteless mush or some humdrum boring stuff, or overpriced "diet food" . Well, the Lite bread is a bit costly compared to regular, but worth it. But for the most part.... it is mostly the same food, just less of it, tweaked in some cases.

Fortunately I am not at risk of dangerously low blood sugar, which can happen when injecting insulin. For me and for most people on Metformin alone, it helps keep the blood sugar from getting too high, but does not force it to get dangerously low like insulin injections can. I'd have to go a day without food to get dangerously low, and I won't be letting that happen! :)

I am very fortunate that my body still produces enough insulin that I do not need to inject insulin, and that the Metformin, diet, and exercise are working well. Others are not as fortunate needing to take insulin, and often a lot. And for those with type 1, they have no natural insulin production at all and must inject insulin so much that some have an insulin pump installed.

So, anyway, I've adjusted and things have gone well. In the bigger picture I am not only healthier in many ways now than when I was a teenager (other than the diabetes and age), the changes I have made should give me a longer life than I would have at the weight and condition I was. My doctor has been very pleased with my progress (I had not had a "my doctor" since 1968). My blood pressure had been "elevated" before the weight loss, but now it's in a normal range.

I am also no longer reluctant to get medical attention, because now I do have access to health care. Not long after getting the treadmill, my left foot was hurting, almost like a cracked bone somehow. I went to get it checked out the next day, not risking complications again. Fortunately it turned out to be a sprained ligament, as I'd worn house slippers on the treadmill rather than proper walking shoes. So, a few weeks later I was back to using the treadmill and no problems.

Below, some info, but I must admit it's not a great compilation. Biggest thing is that diagnoses of diabetes has increased drastically in the last few decades, as obesity rates have skyrocketed.

As I said, most probably think it won't happen to them. And some reading this, some day you may be diagnosed. I waited too long to do anything (well, i DID lose over 100 pounds from my max weight, but had not cut down on the carbs and sugary sweets). I know of some who have "pre-diabetes", that may not have made any changes either. Some with pre-diabetes may be on Metformin, but if they do not make changes in their eating and some other tweaks like at least some weight loss (any weight loss helps), they may only be delaying the inevitable.

So, this is the biggest reason I chose to disclose that I have diabetes. That some may learn from it and make some less drastic changes soon, rather than continue on and become diagnosed themselves eventually and have to make much bigger changes plus dealing with it every day from then on.

I also learned in the classes that some in the general public are very misinformed. Funniest but mostly saddest example was the true story of a guy who called off his engagement when he found out his fiance was diagnosed with diabetes. Because.... he did not want to CATCH diabetes from her! And ironically he became diagnosed with diabetes anyway (do I really need to say for the record that Diabetes is NOT transferrable person to person like a cold or other communicable disease? You get it due to factors such as lifestyle, high carb high sugar foods, obesity, and a wildcard of how prevalent diabetes may be among blood family members).

So, don't worry about me. I don't worry about it. I'm dealing with it, feel better from the weight loss, and things have gone well. If anyone wants to worry, use this as incentive to take care of yourself better in all ways, as well as encouraging loved ones and friends to do the same (without being annoying. Well, TOO annoying).

Closing on an up note, also attached is a pic from when I hit 175 recently, and finally got some new clothes to fit. Went from size 44 jeans last summer, from 48 in 2007 (was 54-56 jeans in the mid 1990's) to size 38, and from 2XL shirt (was 3 to 4 XL) to just "Large" (Can wear some Mediums but a little bit more comfortable to wear a Large).

- George Gassaway

dZL2DFW.jpg



Prevalence & Risk Factors
• 29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes, 8.1 million of whom may be undiagnosed*and unaware of*their condition.
• In adults 20 and older, more than one in every 10 people suffers from diabetes, and in seniors(65 and older), that*figure rises to more than one in four.
• 1.7 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in U.S. adults in 2012, and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is on the rise.


https://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/kbenfield/5_graphs_and_4_photos_tell_the.html

Number of millions diagnosed with Diabetes in the united States:https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/statistics/prev/national/figpersons.htm
fNumberOfPersons.gif
 
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I'm with you. Just found out in September. Nice birthday present. I didn't show any of the classic symptoms. I avoided sweets, but I ate too many carbs. I'm down 12 pounds from my first weigh-in, and I'm trying to get down to around 210. The cold weather has kinda messed with my exercise of late, but I plan to get back on the horse as soon as I can get out of the stable without breaking my neck walking the 'hood.
 
I've been a Type 2 Diabetic now for 15 years, was diagnosed in 2000 and spent a week hospitalized. I was falling asleep at work and my co-workers decided to take me to the ER. My family doctor started me on an oral medication regiment as well as diet. My sugar has been under control ever since. But it's a constant battle of being ever vigilant about my blood sugar levels and eating habits.
 
Congratulations on the remarkable lifestyle changes! There are lots of people who find it incredibly difficult to change their diet nd lose that much weight and keep it off. You've done really well. And like you said, those changes are going to improve your quality of life in other ways too, not just help with your diabetes.
 
Congratulations on the remarkable lifestyle changes! There are lots of people who find it incredibly difficult to change their diet nd lose that much weight and keep it off. You've done really well. And like you said, those changes are going to improve your quality of life in other ways too, not just help with your diabetes.

+1 I can't say it any better.
 
I love how you say don't go political, then credit the ACA for anything?? But I think YOU deserve the credit for the hard work, and diligence to mind your diet. Good work, Good luck, and Good health!
 
I love how you say don't go political, then credit the ACA for anything?? But I think YOU deserve the credit for the hard work, and diligence to mind your diet. Good work, Good luck, and Good health!

+1

My rates have nearly doubled... (and my deductible went up)
 
Glad you are on the road to healthy living. Good for you, not an easy thing to do.

Don
 
I love how you say don't go political, then credit the ACA for anything?? But I think YOU deserve the credit for the hard work, and diligence to mind your diet. Good work, Good luck, and Good health!

From the bar chart George posted in would appear that far fewer Americans were diagnosed with Diabetes during the period from 1981 to 1989 than are being diagnosed from 2009 to today. Hmmmmm?
 
Thanks for the post and the encouragement to others to be proactive about their health. Glad that you are on a path to better health and long fulfilling lifetime.
 
Thank you for telling your story George.

I was diagnosed in 2012 after many years of skirting the edges. I managed to get my A1c and weight down over the following months but over the past year and a half the numbers are back up again. My last A1c at the end of September was 8.6 and my morning fasting glucose tests are usually around 200 to 220 right now. They were a bit higher when I was on prednisone for some respiratory and middle ear problems. I'm quite frustrated with the whole thing and that the numbers are not good despite metformin and glimiperide several times a day.

I had to have a tooth out last year with the plans to replace with an implant; the surgeon now refuses to do the surgery until my A1c is under 7.5 so I just have a gap there now.

I'm glad to see someone having success with this whole thing. I guess the one thing is that there really aren't many obvious symptoms to deal with when my numbers are high like this except for the fatigue that comes and goes, so on a day to day basis it's not that terrible to live with.
 
Amazing story! I've worked with diabetes patients, and from what I see, your natural "competiveness" and your willingness to address it head-on, and make objective (and empirical) analyses of your habits and eating behaviors has really paid off!

Yes, as you have realized, diabetes wreaks havoc on small blood vessels and nerve endings, which is why you see so many amputations in patients with uncontrolled diabetes...your story should help a lot of people with understanding what can happen, and what they can do. Of course, their mileage may vary...
 
From the bar chart George posted in would appear that far fewer Americans were diagnosed with Diabetes during the period from 1981 to 1989 than are being diagnosed from 2009 to today. Hmmmmm?

I'm not going political...I'm goin' *Academic* :wink:

"Prevalence" is the number of people who have ever been diagnosed with a condition; over the years, if they don't die off as fast as they get diagnosed, you will see a piling up of cases.

"Incidence" is the number of newly diagnosed cases, so you are coming to an incorrect conclusion if you are basing that statement off the graph of prevalence.

To make the conclusion you are trying to make ("far fewer Americans were diagnosed with Diabetes during the period from 1981 to 1989 than are being diagnosed from 2009 to today you need to look at the chart at this webpage:
CDC Table of Incidence of Diabetes, i.e., newly diagnosed cases

...which wil take you to this graph:Number of New Cases of Diabetes.gif

...from which you can re-evaluate your conclusion.
 
I'm not going political...I'm goin' *Academic* :wink:

"Prevalence" is the number of people who have ever been diagnosed with a condition; over the years, if they don't die off as fast as they get diagnosed, you will see a piling up of cases.

"Incidence" is the number of newly diagnosed cases, so you are coming to an incorrect conclusion if you are basing that statement off the graph of prevalence.

To make the conclusion you are trying to make ("far fewer Americans were diagnosed with Diabetes during the period from 1981 to 1989 than are being diagnosed from 2009 to today you need to look at the chart at this webpage:
CDC Table of Incidence of Diabetes, i.e., newly diagnosed cases

...which wil take you to this graph:View attachment 255962

...from which you can re-evaluate your conclusion.


Ah ha! It's the old "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics" thing again. I'll try to be more precise in the future.

BTW, I'm still waiting for the OP to make an actual response to my original question which was to elaborate on how the ACA is any way to be credited with helping him overcome diabetes? (I too suffer from Type II Diabetes among other plagues, most of which were as result of my own bad choices in life.)
 
Ah ha! It's the old "Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics" thing again. I'll try to be more precise in the future.

BTW, I'm still waiting for the OP to make an actual response to my original question which was to elaborate on how the ACA is any way to be credited with helping him overcome diabetes? (I too suffer from Type II Diabetes among other plagues, most of which were as result of my own bad choices in life.)

I don't think there is any way to meaningfully get into that without opening up a discussion that will lead to politics.
 
I don't think there is any way to meaningfully get into that without opening up a discussion that will lead to politics.

The Affordable Care Act is political? Heaven Forbid! Oops, there's that word again....Heaven. My Bad. :eyeroll:
 
George, your desire and drive to change is admirable. Good for you.
I started changing things last June. I slipped back a bit for the past few months but I'm getting back on track.
Great photo!

Len B
 
I think that the point of the OP's message was to talk about (and warn of the dangers) of diabetes. This is an admirable and important goal. Let's try to keep this thread on that topic. If you want to engage George about the specifics of the ACA (which is, unavoidably, a political hot potato) please do so privately Via PM.
 
And with ever increasing numbers of morbidly obese children this is only going to get worse.
I read one article about this that was saying America is going to start seeing 30 and 40 year old men and women start presenting the kinds of diabetic symptoms/health issues usually seen in people in their 60s and 70s.
 
I'm on the other side of the diabetes wall. I was diagnosed with Type 1, which they used to call "juvenile diabetes," when I was nine months old. Yes, months.

At that time, we had only pig and cow insulin, urine tests, and no A1C. I am now 48, and I have an insulin pump, continuous glucose monitoring system, and portable blood-testing meter. My, how things have changed.

I have already outlived what the doctor told my parents to expect. I have no reason to believe I could not live to be 90.

I guess the point of my post is to say that, if you take care of yourself and take it seriously, you can control it, and live a long, relatively normal life.

Way to go, George.
 
For those who have had positive comments, and shared your stories, thank you very much.

I'm glad this can be useful for many people, and I'm learning more from you.

Before, I had only known well one person in rocketry who had diabetes. So when I was diagnosed, I contacted him and got some good info. I also found out a close friend has diabetes…. in mild form (he is not checking his glucose levels daily, I worry about that), he had not even told me until I told him about mine. I know that most people never mention it, but at a rate of about 10% there are LOTS of people that we all know who have diabetes and never mention it. And of course so many who do not know they already have diabetes.... yet.

I know I'm fortunate that it's not worse than it is in my case, and that I've not had as much trouble trying to control it as many others do (everyone's case is different, some a lot harder/worse). I realize that over time it may get worse and harder to keep under control, but that the more under control I can keep it now, the slower it will tend to get worse and harder to control later.

I sometimes think of a quote by Richard Pryor in "Live on the Sunset Strip", about when he caught on fire.

"Fire is inspirational! They should use it in the Olympics. 'Cause I did the hundred yard dash in 4.3"
[video=youtube;DlFEkkzBxlQ]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlFEkkzBxlQ[/video]

So, being diagnosed with diabetes was like "fire". Inspirational! Or, like coming too close to nearly losing a toe and possibly worse. GOT to do something about it! Not just the immediate situation (the infection), but the Diabetes so hopefully I won't have complications like that in the future. Stamp the fire out and quit lighting matches! :)

But, again, everyone's case is different. And some could be trying a lot harder and have not nearly as good results.

In my diabetes classes, there were a couple of people who definitely had things a lot worse, and had been diagnosed for years. One guy had a glucose level that was often into the 800's (incredible). Another one, one day he had a reading of over 350, went to his doctor the next day and passed out in the office with a glucose level of under 40 (under 70 is the danger threshold). But he apparently had multiple medical issues (plus being probably over 400 pounds), so diabetes may not have even been his biggest problem.

One thing I learned from his story, was that he'd fallen once in the gym and the gym did not let him go there anymore, so he was not exercising as much. The practical lesson I took from that was not the gym banned him, but that I did not get the impression he was getting much exercise by going to a gym to begin with, unless he truly went there every day, 7 days a week. But biggest of all, that he'd let his exercise needs be negatively affected by someone else. I found that walking worked best for me, but that would not work for winter. If I went to a gym….that would not be daily. And if I drove my car somewhere to just walk (like inside a big store or mall), that would be a waste of gas on needless driving. So I found a nice used treadmill for $100 on Craigslist (Cheaper over time than driving anywhere), so I can exercise at any time, day or night, regardless of weather (and can watch TV while doing it). I do not like exercise (few do), never did before, so at least it's more convenient to do, and it works for me.

- George Gassaway
 
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I'm on the other side of the diabetes wall. I was diagnosed with Type 1, which they used to call "juvenile diabetes," when I was nine months old. Yes, months.

At that time, we had only pig and cow insulin, urine tests, and no A1C. I am now 48, and I have an insulin pump, continuous glucose monitoring system, and portable blood-testing meter. My, how things have changed.

I have already outlived what the doctor told my parents to expect. I have no reason to believe I could not live to be 90.

I guess the point of my post is to say that, if you take care of yourself and take it seriously, you can control it, and live a long, relatively normal life.
Wow. Great post.

- George Gassaway
 
Yes - me Too... I am also a type 2 diabetic.

I was diagnosed about 20 years ago and am in complete control with medication. A couple of pills a few times each day, along with "diet" drinks and not too many carbs.

Un-diagnosed diabetes can lead to very serious health issues as George points out in his most excellent post. :)

Getting tested for diabetes is easy and painless. :cool:
 
I wish to thank the moderators for removing the personal attack from post number 21 of this thread. There is no excuse for that sort of behavior on this forum.
 
Good job George. I wished I could make the adjustment you did. You deserve a round of applause. I just found out I am prediabetic but I don't really know what that means. If I don't make adjustments, do I have three months, nine or more before I am diabetic? All I know is that I am suppose to make diet and exercise changes but don't really know where to start with that. I have been trying to reduce sodas and was doing good for a while but slipped and went right back to my old ways. I eat too many carbs and not enough of the green crap. Personally I am going to use this thread as a reminder of what I need to do to be around long enough to grow old with my wife. Thanks for posting. Btw, I could care less how you got your help. Just glad you got it.
 
I wish to thank the moderators for removing the personal attack from post number 21 of this thread. There is no excuse for that sort of behavior on this forum.

No excuse for trolling either, posts #9, #14, & #16.
 
Trolling is when you drag a fishing lure behind a boat to cover a lot of water in hopes of locating a school of fish. Any idiot can do that. Casting on the other hand is when you make specific casts when targeting a specific quarry, like a Largemouth Bass. It takes a master angler to entice an old Hawg Bass out from under a log. I'm a catch and release angler myself. :wink:
 
No excuse for trolling either, posts #9, #14, & #16.

Yep, yep, yep.

There was also another later message of his that got DELETED.

And now I know that someone who yesterday I thought was concerned about my health, actually had a totally different agenda for bringing it up, POLITICS.

- George Gassaway
 
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