I was diagnosed at age 6 and am now 59. Trying to keep from losing kidney function 30% left. I remember the glass needles with the thick needles that could have a bard on it. I don't know if this happened to anyone be I was teased as a child because I had an illness that not too many people understood. Now things are more open and I don't mind telling people and discussing using a pump. I also remember not having too many different things you could drink: unsweentened iced tea, water and mile which we didn't know made your blood sugar go up. Remember No-Cal soda, and Fresca and some other sugar free sodas that started years ago. Now, either everyone is on a diet or drink sugar free things for health. Happy I'm still here. Would love to know how the guy that has had diabetes for 61 years. How does he keep under control. It can be very tough. Nice to meet other Type 1s. We have to stick together. Marion

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Hang in there Marion. Fight the good fight! 59 is young and you've still got a lot left to see!
Marion I remember the glass needles also and having to boil them and store in a jar of alchohol. The thick needles hurt and urine testing really did no good. I was always a plus 4. I was 12 and I hated meal time because I couldn't have anything that tasted good. My siblings and I lived with my grandparents, they were jealous of the extra sugar free food and attention I got because I was sick all the time. I remember missing 5 weeks of school and losing 40 lbs. My grandma was feeding me Gator-aid because it didn't say sugar on the label. I kept a constent yeast infection and felt so tired. The endless trips to the doctor and findly to the hospital. Things have really come a long, long way. I am so grateful for the research and all the technology. Let's keep fighting!!
You sound very much like me, though I was diagnosed at age 5, and am now 59 also. Fortunately the endo that Mom finally talked into taking my case in '58 or '59 after we moved into town finally took my case. Took him until '62 to find a method that worked for me, taking Phenformin (a long since banned relative of Metformin) plus medium speed (Globin, also no longer available) insulin only twice a day. That likely saved my life and kept me from developing complications through the teenage years when life tends to be crazy for diabetics, and so many suffer from it.

Remember all too well the glass syringe with 25 gauge needle we used to use before disposables started coming out in the '60s. Had my B-D whetstone always on hand to sharpen them (and remove the barb) when they got dull every year or so, and the little wires to feed through to clear out metal shavings afterwards. Finally trashed the whetstone in the '90s, my last momento of those days.

Also remember the diet sodas in the '60s, Tab and so many others, and how the FDA pulled cyclamates off the US market based on false tests that claimed it was carcinogenic. Later the Canadian government pulled saccharine off the market in much the same way based on other tests, so today you can buy saccharine here or cyclamates there.....

Now I've been using insulin pumps for the last 16 years and doing quite well, all considered.

I remember those well. Sometimes you would stick yourself and wow did that hurt. Thank god for pigs because I used to take insulin made from pigs. Did you get teased in school about the diabetes. Kids really didn't understand diabetes, I used to tell them how would you like to stick yourself and get blood tests on a regular basis. I thank god every year I still have my body parts intact. The only problem I have are my kidneys are only 30%. Have you had any problems finding a site for your canula. I have scar tissue and am having trouble. Do you remember No-Cal soda. I also remember no diet soda. You would have to drink unsweetened iced tea, water or milk. We didn't know at that time that milk your blood sugar. We also didn't know that carbs convert into sugar. All we were told was stay away from sugar. I wish they would find a way to bring back my kidneys or find a cure for diabetes.

Lots of people don't understand that Type 1 diabetics had no choice or way of preventing diabetes. I get so angry when someone says alcoholism is a disease like diabetes. I don't think so I can't get rid of my diabetes by stopping drinking alcohol. We all need to stick together and fight for our rights to get the supplies we need for pumps and keeping away complications. Enough moaning and whining, just live with it you baby
Hello Marion. I identify with everything you have mentioned in your post. I was also diagnosed when I was 6, in 1945. My father used a whet stone to remove the barbs from the needles. We were told to stick the needles into the muscle on top of my upper legs. How about you? Did you test urine in a test tube and boil the mixture? Do you remember sugar free Fizzies? Drop the tablet in a glass of water and it made a carbonated drink. It was very good!

My family was told not to give me any sugar, but everything else was OK. I ate hundreds of carbs, but no sugar. My blood sugar must have been way over 200 for most of my 40+ years before I learned I should follow a low carb diet. Why I did not have diabetes complications is a mystery. Now I pump and use a CGMS. I wish it could have been this way for all of my 64 years.
Hi Richard,
Your post re: "why I did not have diabetes complications is a mystery" just gladdens my heart to no end. I'm 46, and have had it for 33 years since I was 13. The complications I have are some neruopathy in my feet (but Alpha Lipoic Acid has eliminated the pain completely), and a diminishing of balance, which isn't at all noticable until I'm trying to do lunges or scamper across a moving sailboat. My doctor once said that he didn't understand why, but that some people just don't get complications regardless of thier bloodsugar control. I was always hoping I could be one of those people, like you. I was complication-free until the neuropathy set in about a year ago. While I guess I'm not one of the lucky ones that remains complication-free, I do hope that I can be one of those that at least the complications take thier long, sweet time getting to me! Hope you are well !! - - Mary
hi all i was diagonsed at age 11 i have been diabetic for 38 yrs it is a healthy way of life i have learned alot ove the years i remmber fresca and tab lol and yes urine testing was useless my best advice is everything in moderation and carb counting can and will change your life!!! i try to walk around the house 15 minutues after every meal sometimes more would love to hear from others things you have learned andshare with you and your struggles together we can teach and learn good luck everyone ((HUGS)) julie

I was not diabetic when there were glass syringes but my mom was. I remember her boiling the needles and syringes, and at one point, she dropped her syringes and they broke. Mom could not take her insulin for two days, until she was paid so she could buy new syringes. I was 5 or 6 when that happened, and it scared me so badly. Mom and dad did what they could; thank goodness, when I was diagnosed I started using plastic items. When plastic became available, my mom nearly ran to the store to get some. She said it was the greatest diabetic advance in the history of the disease.

rick phillips
This is a great topic for me. I read your post about your mom and the glass syringes which triggered a lot of memories for me. I was diagnosed at age 5. I urine tested 4 times a day with Clinitest and Acetest if warranted. The glass syringe was housed in a large test tube filled with alcohol. The test tube was housed in a glass bottle surrounded by foam. The glass syringe had steel attachments to connect the plunger with the syringe itself. It was always tricky getting the two to meet when they were taken apart to boil once a week. I probably did drop my share , but I don't remember not taking a shot because of it. I was lucky enough to have one spare. The stone was always nearby to sharpen the needle which felt thick. When I recount what we had I shudder. I was told I was lucky because it was the modern age (1960 ) and we had insulin. I remember my doctor telling my parents to go have me outside and play every day, no matter what. Which probably saved my life, since I am sure I burned up the sugar in my blood. I remember having my blood sugar tested once a year, and it was a big deal.I also remember the first time I had a plastic needle. Then later, plastic syringes. I also thought it was a miracle.I remember Fresca, Tab sugar free fizzies, sugar free pie from the bakery which tasted terrible. And of course No-Cal soda which I think I lived on. Which also tasted terrible.Tab came onto the market when I was 11, and thought oh maybe now I can be normal maybe other kids will drink that.
Fifty years later, life with diabetes is a lot better.
Melinda, my diagnosis was in 1945. My father had to sharpen the needles with a whet stone, and push a wire through the needles to unclog them. we boiled the needles in water from our well, which contained lime deposits. Small particles would collect on the needle tips and went unnoticed until I tried to push it into my leg muscle. The flesh would sink way down, and then it would pop as the needle entered my flesh. That was rough for a small child with skinny legs. I hope you did not have to experience that.
I did. I remember the needle going into my leg and yes the flesh would sink way down. Yikes. I haven't thought of thought in years. I got hollows in my legs from it, places where the flesh was hollowed out. When I went to Camp NYDA I saw it on other kids too. I thought it was also because t it came from the pork based insulin back then. I was on the Lente trio, Semi Lente, Lente and Ultra Lente all in one shot, with each one lasting about eight hours. I remember switching to NPH at 18 and immediately feeling more energized. I bet the Lentes were not so great for me.I injected on a 14 day rotation , and my parents had a picture of a girl with numbers on different parts of her body, arms legs and butt to figure out the next site rotation. I hated that picture.
Thank goodness we are in another era. Today I pump and at most get mildly annoyed at the tether of my Medtronic . Totally different than those shots, with the 25 gauge needles that always hurt. You are right, that was rough for a small child with skinny legs. That was me too.
Hello Marion,
I like my two siblings were all diagnosed in 1956 and 57. All three of us are still here but not without complications, but not too bad.

Sure I remember the glass syringes, sugarless emphasis, urine testing, etc. But I also remember that having diabetes didn't bankrupt you like so many diabetics without insurance suffer with nowadays. Back then there was no health insurance to speak of and our working class parents could afford all three of us diabetic children. The doctor used to come by the house for check ups, insulin was cheap, I could still buy insulin for $1.11 in 1969. I love the technology that has been developed but there's too many middle men, insurance companies included, sucking the affordability for many, especially those without insurance. Even with insurance diabetes is expensive if one wants to manage it with the best available. Diabetics should get some kind of tax break incentive like businesses that create jobs because we create millions of good paying even windfall profit jobs. Diabetes is now big business

One thing that has gotten better is the discrimination. My first job interview out of high school ('65) was with Pacific NW Bell telephone. I did well at the first interview and was invited back for my second interview which also was going well until the interviewer exclaimed "I just noticed that your application says you're diabetic. I'm sorry we didn't see that earlier, it's against company policy to hire male diabetics, not because the company doesn't want diabetics but our insurance company dictates we can't, SO SORRY!" Years later I even got laid off because the auto insurance found out I was diabetic and told the company that I was not allowed to drive company vehicles. That same thing happened with another job but when the insurance company refused to allow me to drive, the CEO, my boss who was also type1, told the insurance company to go to you know where, I got to keep that job and the insurance company lost a big client!
Score 1 for diabetics!




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