This is my concluding chapter. I want to start by saying that I was never good about looking for more information about diabetes. I depended on my doctors to tell me what I needed to know. I assumed they always told me everything I needed to know. Of course there was very little knowledge and information about diabetes in the 1940's when I was diagnosed. This was still true in the 1950's, and to a large degree, in the 1960's. I coasted along and did no research in the libraries in the colleges where I taught. I never asked my doctors if there were books involving diabetes that I could read. If I had read available material in the early years I would have known that I should have followed a low carb diet. That could have given me much better control and I might have avoided so many years of terribly high blood sugar that led to the several complications I developed in later years. Those complications have all been minor but they have caused me some handicaps and much concern.
I acquired the habit of putting things off. I could have used a glucose meter a few years sooner than I did. Dr. B. suggested that I use one but I was comfortable with my urine testing and I resisted change. I had good health, I had no serious complications and I tested my urine and I did not see the need of finger sticks and testing my blood. After I started using a meter I felt like a fool for not starting sooner. Soon after insulin pumps became available Dr. B. suggested that I pump insulin. I was running a lot of highs and lows back then and a pump would really have helped me. But I was too stubborn and I refused. My body was so accustomed to running high blood sugar that I felt good and I did not feel the need for pumping. Since I had so many highs I rarely had hypos. If I had a lot of hypos and felt sick with highs I would have agreed to pumping. When computers and the internet became available I started researching diabetes and I joined diabetic support groups. I became convinced that I should pump even though I had good control with my injections at that time. Because of my good control Dr. B. would not support my pumping. I had to consult another doctor and I started pumping in June, 2007. If I had not been so stubborn I could have started to pump insulin at least 15 years earlier. Why did I put off making these changes that would have greatly improved my life and my health? I was very stubborn, content with my life as it was and I did not realize how much better it could be.
I hope that those of you who read my story do not make the mistakes that I did. If you are having reasonably good control of your diabetes don't assume that you should ignore newly developed technology, new medicines, pumping and the like. Research these things, ask your doctor(s) about them and ask the experienced diabetics online about them. Take advantage of new developments and don't put things off when they can give you better control and a better life without serious complications that might otherwise occur. I have only minor complications with my diabetes but any one of them could mushroom and give me major problems in the years to come.
Research has suggested that my having had Type 1 diabetes for 62 years without serious complications may be due to my having good genes. My doctors have stated that they have no idea why I have been so fortunate. I have my own theory. In my first chapter I mentioned that I had measles, chickenpox and mumps within a short span of time and the symptoms of my diabetes appeared shortly after those illnesses. I am convinced that these diseases attacked my 5 year old body and caused my pancreas to stop producing insulin. I feel that was the cause of my diabetes. Perhaps diabetes developed in some way other than through the genes from a relative with Type 1 is less likely to be associated with the complications that so many diabetics experience. This is just my own theory and I have no foundation for it. It is just my gut feeling. I used to have a doctor who said I had "something like diabetes" but not not the conventional diabetes. I think that might be true. My Type 1 diabetes has been very different, in many ways, from the Type 1 diabetes that I have read about and heard about from so many other diabetics.
I am blessed to have had a very wonderful and, in my opinion, very healthy life for 68 years. I am thankful for my wonderful family and I thank God for the fact that no other member of my family is diabetic.
The lines on ny face clearly show my age,
So take heed and listen to this old sage,
Don't spend your life like a bird in a cage,
Live large, take care of yourselves, that's the rage!
I hope you have learned from this old critter,
I ain't no prize but I never was a quitter!
Diabetic all these years but I'm not bitter,
I love my life and my wife and I couldn't be fitter!
I want to thank all of you who have read my story, or parts of it. I appreciate all the wonderful comments that so many of you have made.
Next Discussion: Type 2 Diabetes Across the Life Span »