Way Back In 1946

By Richard157 Latest Reply 2011-02-06 15:10:27 -0600
Started 2011-01-12 13:16:07 -0600

I remember when my family visited my grandparent's house for a family reunion in 1946. My parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts were all gathered in the living room and I was in an adjacent room playing with my cousins. The door to the living room was closed and their talking became so quiet. I pressed my ear to the door and listened. Someone asked my parents if I was going to die. None of my relatives knew anything about diabetes, but they knew it was very serious, and could lead to my death back then. My mother said she did not know what might happen to me, and that the doctor did not know either. The rest of their conversation is all a blur, but hearing that conversation left a permanent impression and a fearful memory that I will never forget. Playing with my cousins no longer interested me that day, or the next. At six or seven years of age, I knew something about death, and I was very frightened. There are many painful memories like that from my childhood, and I have revealed some of them in my blogs and my book.

I do not remember my relatives saying they were sorry for me, or asking why I couldn't eat this or that. Relatives never talked to me about diabetes until I was much older, and even then it was just a quick "How is your diabetes?" and then the conversation changed. People we talked to, and even friends, were not told any details about my diabetes. I did not discuss it with my friends until I was in college. There was still little or no knowledge about diabetes in the general public for many years to come.

Now, in the year 2011, all the people in that living room have died, except for mother's youngest brother. Some of my cousins, younger than me, have also died. Old man Richard is still hanging on and healthy as a horse, after 65 years of type 1. Is this all a dream, or has it really happened? In ten more years I will receive my second Joslin medal, for 75 years of living with diabetes. If it is just a dream, I don't ever want to wake up.

15 replies

Susie624 2011-01-24 09:00:16 -0600 Report

It has been awhile since I have been on,but when I was I followed you story and kept up with you book about the study of your diabetis.I am very pleased to see that you are still here giving sage advice to all.Thank you for the help you was to me when I needed it.

tabby9146 2011-01-16 11:58:51 -0600 Report

you are an inspiration!!! you are proof that diabetics can live a LONG life. Aren't you the one that has had "no" complications???? When I was first diagnosed and new here just over two years ago, your posts helped alleviate my fears. Congrats!!

Richard157 2011-01-16 12:11:25 -0600 Report

I had no complications after 65 years tabby, but in late December, 2010, I was diagnosed with autonomic neuropathy. It is mild though, so I am OK.

Kelly H
Kelly H 2011-01-12 18:12:15 -0600 Report

You must have angels watching over you to be so healthy after all these years with Type 1, especially since you didn't get the education or the technology available today. And today, people like you can share their stories, their successes, their knowledge & experience with others with diabetes. I consider myself lucky to have diabetes when so much info. is available. I was diagnosed 30 years ago and just since that time I have seen many advances! My hope is to see a cure in my lifetime. Thanks for sharing your story.

tabby9146 2011-01-16 12:00:51 -0600 Report

I've often felt the same way, luckier these days with so much more info., and so much more food to choose from and snacks. Way way back years ago, when all diabetics were on a very very strict diet and now they say everything in moderation.

Richard157 2011-01-16 12:08:57 -0600 Report

Tabby, there was no strict diet in the 1940-1970 era, not eating food with sugar was the only advice I had been given. I am so lucky to be alive without complications.

CaliKo 2011-01-12 17:31:58 -0600 Report

It's real, and you can be proud of how well you have managed T1 for so many years, and especially when so many years were when so little was known. You are an inspiration and a blessing for us to learn from.

Next Discussion: cookbooks »