62 Years Of Type 1.......CHAPTER 13


It was August of 1970 and Anita and I were in Kingston, NY, far from familiar surroundings in Virginia. People talked so differently! We walked into a little shop and the young woman at the counter asked “Can I help youse?” What did she say? I thought “youse” might be like a plural for “you”. So two you’s would be youse. I had never heard that word before.

I was nervous about teaching in a NY college. The students had had a much better high school background than most of my students in the southern colleges. High schools in the north are typically given much higher ratings than those in southern states. My fringe benefits package in NY was vastly superior to what I had in the south. In all the colleges in which I taught in the south the fringe benefits were very poor and almost nonexistent. During the beginning weeks of my first year teaching there there was a strike by the teaching staff at my college. I could not believe it! The best salary and fringe benefits I had ever imagined and the faculty wanted more along with higher salaries. I could not relate to any of that. I explained my feelings and my fellow faculty members seemed to understand but classes were not held while faculty picketed in front of the college. I did not participate in the picket lines. I just watched. Some of the faculty members were arrested and jailed for one night. The community college is a state college and striking by faculty is illegal in NY State. I was happy that I was not arrested but I was sorry for my friends who spent the night in jail. After a week or so the bargaining between the faculty and the county ended. Fringe benefits were even better and there were faculty wage increases of 20% retroactive for the preceding year and another 20% for the year in progress. The faculty won at the bargaining table, big time! I got the benefit of the raise for the current year and that was a big bonus that I felt I did not deserve. I did not participate in the strike in any way. If a faculty in a southern college even talked about striking, heads would roll and it would never take place. Things were sure different in northern states.

My years of teaching at Ulster County Community College were very enjoyable. My diabetes gave me very little problem. Dr. B. became my doctor in the late 1970’s and my diabetes control routine changed drastically. I started carb counting in the 1980’s but was not keeping any logs until a few years later. I had much lower test results with the use of a glucose monitor. I eventually adjusted to lower blood sugar and my diabetes health was improving. I had more frequent hypos though and that was a major concern. My A1c’s were taken in the mid 1980’s and they gradually improved. Dr. B. knew that I had frequent hypos and in the late 1990’s he had me use an NPH/Humalog mix. I had many highs and lows but better A1c’s because the high and low readings gave a good average blood sugar level and good Aic’s. I think I may have had A1c’s in the 7’s at that time. I eventually convinced Dr. B. to let me use separate vials of NPH and Humalog. That way I could take meal boluses with my Humalog and my carb counting could really help me. Dr. B. had hesitated to do this because he thought that my taking separate doses of Humalog would give me even more hypos. He was right. I had some very serious hypos and there were 3 or 4 visits to my home by the paramedics. On one occasion I spent a couple of days in the hospital. Dr. B. knew about the hospital episode but I did not tell him about the other hypos. I did not want him to take my Humalog away from me. My A1c’s were in the 6’s and still improving.

In the mid 1990’s I had a new problem. I had been gaining weight with these new modern day insulins. That had actually started in the early part of that decade. By the mid 1990’s I had gained 57 pounds. I worked so hard to keep my weight under control but I kept on gaining. I had been running a lot of high blood sugar and I had increased my dosage by 40%. My next A1c was much higher. Dr. B. had new blood tests done which showed I was experiencing insulin resistance. That is a Type 2 symptom. At that time I was a Type 1 with Type 2 symptoms. I was a “double diabetic”. My performance on campus was not so good in the mid 1990’s because of these new developments. I felt so run down and I bacame tired so easily. My energy was zapped after my morning classes. I still had afternoon classes and, on some days, evening classes to teach. It was just not possible for me to have any enthusiasm when I met those later classes. I had nothing left in me. My last good year was 1993. After that year everything went steadily downhill. I was 54 and I had intended to retire when I was 62 so I could start drawing social security. We were heavily in debt. We had put both of my children through 6 years of college. I taught lots of overload and summer school in order to finance their education but my earnings were not enough. We took out a second mortgage on our home and we borrowed money until we were not permitted to borrow any more. Our sons had their MS degrees and good jobs. That was very important to us. I struggled with my teaching until 1997. Then something wonderful happened. The county offered retirement incentives to retiring faculty members. I announced my retirement and I received 70% of my annual salary as an incentive. That enabled us to pay off all our remaining debts. I retired in June of that year and we were out of debt. A miracle just when I needed it. I still had higher than usual A1c’s and a roller coaster type of control. I continued part time teaching. We needed that extra money until I qualified for social security. I desperately needed to lose weight and get better control.

In the very late 1990’s Dr. B. told me there was a new product called Avandia being used in Europe. It was not yet introduced in this country because there was a chance it caused liver damage. By 1999 it was considered safe and I started taking Avandia tablets twice per day. In just a few days I started improving. My insulin dosages returned to normal. A few weeks later I had regained my energy and I was no longer suffering from depression. My part time teaching was fun and I was a good teacher again. I almost wanted to become fulltime again but that was impossible. My fulltime position had been filled and I would also have to give up my retirement income if I was fulltime again. I was happy, I felt great and I was really enjoying my retirement. My weight was my only big problem at that time.

In the early 1980’s we decided we needed mortgage insurance on our home. I went to a local insurance company and they told me it would require a physical examination. A very old semi-retired doctor had me fill out a form. He asked me for a urine sample. He tested the urine with the special tape used for that purpose and it turned a dark green. That indicated high urine sugar. He said he could not recommend me for mortgage insurance based on that urine test. He walked outside with me and we stood by my car. At that time I had been diabetic for about 35 years. He told me that I was very lucky to have lived so long without complications. He went on to say he had known another male diabetic like me who was doing very well but had high urine sugar almost all the time. Less than one year after he had seen the man he developed kidney failure and was going blind because of his diabetes. The doctor told me I should not expect to live much longer than I had at that time. He wanted me to prepare for dying. This reminded me of the doctor visit in Richmond, VA when I was told I should not expect to live beyond my 40’s. I paid very little attention to this doctor with his antiquated ideas. The next day I went to the local Metropolitan Life building. They called Dr. B. on the phone and they learned that I was doing very well after 35 years of diabetes and I had no complications. They offered me a mortgage insurance policy. We also got one for my wife. I wish I had gone to Metropolitan in the first place. The insurance policies gave us peace of mind. We never had to use them. Our house was fully paid for in August of 1995.

i’m learning so much from these stories and they stay with me everyday, you are still teaching. i’m ready for the next, you know i would of made an excellant student of yours. say hi to the mrs. for me and hats off to her as well. patti

Thanks Patti, you are the only one making consistent replies to these chapters. I appreciate that! It lets me know that someone is still reading them.


I had the time to read this chapter! I need time to read a book!!! and what a book! Thank you so much !

Thanks Mari, I am now expanding my story and adding much new material and pictures. I am going to try and publish this fall.

You are welcome Brigitte, I am pleased that you liked the chapter. There are 20 chapters in the story. You can go to the home page and find the link for the whole story near the bottom of the list of topics on the right hand side of the page.

I lost both of my grandparents within four months of eachother a year ago. I miss them so much it hurts, you have filled that void for me. Your stories are insprational and please keep them comming. I love to read your stories.

Life and living always amazes me. And your life seems so colorful…full of inspiration and wisdom. Thank you for sharing this to us. God bless…

Thanks ladies! Here is the link to my 20 chapter story.


I have replied to you before and was hoping to hear from you. I too, have many a fascinating story having lived in Kenya and the UK, and was diagnosed in 1954 (approx). I am now in New Jersey. I hope you can inspire me to write chapters too - hopefully it will help others.

Sheila, I have read some of your background in your other posts. I hope you will tell us about your history in Kenya. It sounds very interesting!!

Dear Richard.

What an inspiring story.

I have the same problem with massive weight gain are you still on the avandia ? I tried to add metformin to my insulin but I go comatose on it after 3 weeks. I tried avandia before going on insulin and it had not effect whatsoever on the blood sugar.

Hello Anthony. I have used Avandia for almost 10 years and it has been great for me. I am sorry it did not work for you. It sounds like you really needed the insulin. Avandia reduced my insulin resistance so I could take smaller doses of insulin. Good luck to you!

I know there are 20 chapters…but I take time to read each chapter and understand all the words ( there are always new words for me ). I will start to read next chapter ! Congratulations.

Dear Richard.

The avandia did not work because I did not have enough insulin of my own. But with external insulin and avandia who knows it could be good to reduce insulin resistance. Although heard it causes heart problems in some people. also hard on the pocket book at $5.00 a pill. But at 100 units of insulin per day it becames impossible to loose weight so some miracle is needed. I am trying to exercise 2 hours per day. This helps the insulin sensitivity a lot but hard to kep up when your older.

PS How much to you weight approximately and what dosage of avandia do you take

Anthony, I weigh 219 qnd I am supposed to weigh 185 so I need to lose 34 pounds. I am taking 8 mg per day og Avandia. I hope your health improves and you can lose some weight!

Thanks. I should also weight 185 and would love to weight only 219 which I did a few years ago. do you take the avandia in 2 doses or in one go?

I take the Avandia morning and evening, 2 doses.

Hi, Richard: Yes, I have read your earlier chapters. You are an inspiration to all. No complications after all these years and blood sugars not always under proper control, this is reassuring to hear, as well. Gives hope that if you keep in control most of the time, even if you cannot achieve 75 percent, just do your best, all can still be well in the end.