62 Years Of Type 1.......The End Of My Story


Many people who know me are of the opinion that I have broken a record and they have not heard of anyone having diabetes so long and having no serious complications. There are many diabetics who have had diabetes much longer than me. See their stories below.

Bob and Gerald Cleveland (combined) look back on 154 years of Type 1 diabetes. See the story below:

Gladys C. Lester Dull was diagnosed with Type 1 in 1924 , just three years after the discovery of insulin. She is believed to be the longest living person with diabetes. Here is her story:

The Joslin Diabetes Center is located in Boston. They offer a medalist program for diabetcs who have been diabetic for 25, 50 and 75 years. See below:

I have never been interested in a medal even though I have had diabetes for 62 years and thus qualify for the 50 year award. My reward is my good health and my great life, with only a few very minor complications. That is the only reward I will ever need.

I have not let any of my diabetes problems slow me down very much. I enjoy life to the fullest and never get depressed or stressed about my diabetes. I am a very humble, laid back easy going fellow and the lack of stress in my life has aided me very much in getting good control of my diabetes.

In my earlier years I was not very good about looking for 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 for 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 like 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 had insulin injections for 61 years. I started pumping insulin on 6/19/07. I have told friends that I intend to pump insulin for 61 years. Since I was 6 when diagnosed that will make me 6 + 61 + 61 = 128 yeras old on Sept. 10, 2067. I plan to have a whale of a birthday party on that date. You are all invited!!! Now, who is going to host the party??? LOL!

I want to thank all of you who have read my story, or parts of it. I appreciate the comments that you have made.

dear richard, i’m going to print out all of these chapters and let whom ever read them. these chapters have inspired me to do more in life and that i can do them. thanks so much for teaching me these chapters of life. i hope that i can finished my book so that you too can read it and give me some input on it as well. i will be following up on your blogs and discussions from time to time because data from you is worth reading and learning from someone who knows what he is talking about and i am blessed to have found you and your wife. take care and i’ll be popping up from time to time, god bless you so much…your friend, patti. soon to be last name will be GRANT so if you see me signing off as grant you’ll know it is me writing. PEACE

Thanks for sharing your life story, it’s really an inspiration… Though I am not Type 1, I understand now that it’s up to us how we could have a good control of our Diabetes… God bless you and you whole family…

Thanks Patti, congratulations on your marriage. Patti Grant! Sounds great. I appreciate all your comments on your story.

Your friend, Richard

Hello yda, thanks for your message. I am happy to hear that my story helped you.


Richard I will most definitely be at that party!!!

I’ll host it, I am only up a few hours from you in Central New York! :wink:

Richard, thank you so much for sharing all of this. In addition to having great knowledge, wisdom, and insight, you also have the other essential component - a good attitude!
My best wishes to you for many, many more healthy years ahead!

Richard…you are the man!!! One day I hope to break your record…but for now, congratulations on a long and inspirational life. Truly amazing!

Thank you for sharing your inspirational story with us!

Richard, you have led such an amazing, full life and your story is so encouraging! I have had diabetes since I was 7 and have always been in relatively good control, but regardless, I always worry about complications and the overall toll on my body. Reading about your trials with life and diabetes are really wonderful to hear! Thank you so, so much for sharing!

Are you thinking of starting a new career as a motivational speaker? You should :slight_smile: Thanks for sharing your story and your fantastic life-attitude.

2067: I’m there :wink:

Richard, I have read your life story here and on CWD. Very inspiring and uplifting, particularly to those caring for young children with Type 1. We can become wracked with guilt over mistakes, which we WILL make because we are not clairvoyant. What works one day will backfire the next. When we panic because a child is high and corrections are not working due to illness, growth spurts, whatever, it is reassuring to hear of the old timers who had no way to adequately measure blood sugar and were not even told about carb counting, yet there you still are, healthy and thriving. However, I do have a theory that all the high carbs in the “sugar free” treats your Mom used to bake were quickly burned up by all the exercise you had to do on the farm, hence, very little damage done. Then there is the residual C-Peptide theory, which makes sense to me. I would really enjoy it if you went into even more detail and wrote a book. I might be able to find even more reasons why you have done as well as you have. We need to study you and those like you, LOL. We will have to hunt you down and party in 2067, though I’m hoping you will be cured by then!

WOW 62 YEARS YOUR REALLY MY HERO!!! I love your attitude!!! I don’t know if I can host but please let me come to it!!! I’ve been a Type 1 since 73 and my older cousin who has now passed a few years back from the lovely compilcations that sometimes comes with this dease took her’s in the late 50! It’s soooo great to see someone who has survived for 62 years with no complications!!!

Hello Doris! Thanks for your comments. I hope you continue successfully with your diabetes. See you at the party. Lol!

Thank you! I hope to keep the good control I’ve got and had!!! Let’s have 1 great party!!! HA!

I love your story and hope to someday be able to write my own. I will have to wait till I am 81 though as I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 20. Here to another 61 years.

I am downloading and sharing your story with as many people as I can. You are an inspiration.

You truely are an inspiration Richard. Best of luck to you and your family and I really hope that I will also be as complication free as you are when I have had diabetes 61 years. Its only been 22 years for me!

I’ve been inspired by so many people. But nothing compares all this great people living through Diabetes for so much time. Im really great full for all this people. Mr. Richard you also inspire me, wow living for 62 years and not having n-e major complications. Its not even half of what I’ve been through. I wish i can be the next person living for too long with Diabetes and no major complications. =) Peace & Take Care Mr. Richard God Bless You!

It’s me, your online daughter…Patti. Just want to say I hope I can host your party it would be my honor to do so. Knowing you for almost a year and a half has been inspirational to me. God bless you, and your wife ( my online mom). Love to you two always, Patti

Hello SheyFey, thanks for your comments. I hope you will write your story someday.