I have seen several posts about whether it is best to be diagnosed at a young, or at an older age. I was diagnosed when I was barely 6, and cannot remember very much of my life before that. There were no "types" back then, all of us were given animal insulin, told to not eat sugar, and that was it. There were no other rules to follow. I was so young that it seems now like my life was just beginning back then. I feel that was an advantage for me since I was very healthy back then, without any complications. I tested my urine and took one injection before breakfast. I ate anything I wanted all day long, as long as it did not contain sugar. There was no more urine testing or injections until the next morning. Sounds simple, doesn't it? It WAS simple in the 1940s, and so much less trouble than today's management routine. I was never stressed about my D in the old days, because there were no complications.
I became stressed in the 1990s, 50 years after my diagnosis. I was forced to stop animal insulin and started using synthetic insulins. There was carb counting, basal/bolus control, testing many times each day, and MDI. What a lot of BIG changes! I adjusted to that, but I was also diagnosed with neuropathy, retinopathy, frozen shoulders, carpal tunnel, cataracts, arthritis, and a few other things. I was extremely stressed! I thought things were supposed to be better with the modern day devices, insulins, and knowledge about how we should control our D. I felt everything had backfired, and I was going downhill fast. I feared for my life!! Then I joined online D sites. like this one, and found others like me. My new friends convinced me to use a pump. That is what turned things around. My complications no longer bothered me because my numbers were much more stable.
I had gained weight during the years I was so stressed, and insulin resistance entered the picture. I am now using Metformin along with my insulin, I am not overweight, my health is great after 66 years of type 1, and I will live forever!!!
You are of course,Richard, a shining example of someone with D for 60 years who is doing so well. Nevertheless I am very grateful that though I am only a tad younger than you I have only had Type 1 for 5 years! Number one because the treatment back then was so much more primitive. The way you describe it it sounds easier and the current regimen more complicated! But no offense, but you might have been able to avoid all those complications if they had had the treatments available today back then! We are all different and some people did fine with those less sophisticated treatments and have either manageable complications (which are improved with good management) or even none at all. But I'm guessing many do not. It was like shooting in the dark and many suffered for it though it was far better than what existed the generation before that when people inevitably died of starvation or other serious problems (pre-insulin).
The second reason I'm glad I wasn't diagnosed till age 58 is life is hard enough when you're young and finding your way in the world and dealing with school, careers marriage parenthood and all the other changes, not to mention emotional turmoil many of us encountered in those years. I feel a lot more prepared to handle it all today. Not to mention I was diagnosed a month before retirement and so have the time to deal with it all and the learning curves involved in starting insulin and starting a pump. Then there are the way fewer years in which to accumulate complications. Honestly, I don't worry about complications very much at all! So yes, I think it is a lot easier to be diagnosed in adulthood. Oh yes and being diagnosed in the age of the DOC is monumental!
Having said that though I want to say how much I admire people diagnosed as children, adolescents and young adults because they have so much more to deal with and manage to juggle it all oftentimes with a great deal of grace!
You are right Richard, all the stuff now days would make you think it is easy to handle diabetes and it's not. I have many complications from my diabetes and without my insulin pump I think I would go crazy. It's bad enough dealing with all the complications and then dealing with the shots and adjustments.
You have seen all the changes over the years--- (not trying to say you are OLD :) )-- but you have experienced the changes as well and I allway enjoy hearing your stories and learning from them . You are living proof , you can live a good life as along as your willing to learn from others.
Thank you Richard,
Thanks Jeff. The pump was an answer to a prayer for me. I am convinced it is prolonging my life.
So, Richard, basically can we conclude that you now are less stressed on the pump?
There is just always SO much to keep track of, but technology helps a lot.
I was diagnosed in '74 and no, there wasn't much to do except use testape 4x per day and sick to the food exchanges.
Yes Kathy, the pump gave me more stable BG, and complications disappeared.
As I have said Richard, you are an example to the rest of us here. My early years, while they did not start as early as yours, dx 1975, still involved the once a day lente shot and stick to some semblance of a "diabetic diet" just keep off the sugar. Urine testing with the dreaded orange color and then the early days of blood sugar testing having to wait 1 minute and wipe the blood off the tape. Wow who would have thought we could now have an answer in 5 seconds? Or even better a continuous answer 288 times a day ? While the newer analog insulins and pens and super fine nano needles have made MDI a whole lot less painful there is still a lot of work in staying healthy with D. You just have to keep at it and savor each small victory along the way.
Yes Clare..."every small victory"...very well said.
So can assicoate with all u told us. I was diagnosed in the 70's though in a small town so things were pretty much the same there. U GO RICHARD!!!!
When I was diagnosed in 1961 at age 18, I had no idea what diabetes was, I just knew I felt so tired & was loosing weight, I'd previously been a bit chubby! When I came out of hospital I think I dealt with the insulin injections & clinitest tablets myself, I don't remember my mother ever giving me an injection or being taught how to. I can't even remember what sort of insulin I started on, I think it was before every meal & later I went to 1 or 2 shots a day. But in those days insulin wasn't as concentrated as now, I started with 20u/ml which later went to 40u/ml then 80u/ml until they settled on 100u/ml, so we injected a larger volume. I was given guidelines on how much to eat, like 2oz potatoes, 1 slice of bread etc. I do know that much to my schoolmates envy I got fresh fruit for lunch instead of the stodgy puddings.
I don't remember paying much attention to my diabetes, at university & later working. I was always going low & the only way to detect that was by how I felt or when my friends noticed that I wasn't making sense. It got more stable after I was diagnosed with celiac disease & went gluten free.
In the 80s I got my first BG meter. It was then I got my 1st side effect, retinopathy in 1 eye, that made me sit up & take notice, & I started to read about carb counting etc. I went on the pump in 2007, & my BG is better & I feel better, but it is more work & more stressful than the days of blissful ignorance. I guess I am one on the lucky ones, or I have the right genes, as apart from the retinopathy in one eye which has stabilised, I don't have any side effects that can't be attributed to general old age
Annabella, your background in the 80s sounds like mine in the early part of the new century. I also had retinopathy that stabilised, and my BG is much improved with carb counting and pumping. The new era of diabetes certainly has its advantages!