72 Years T1D

Today (12/7) is my anniversary. Exactly one year after Pearl Harbor was the first day I was sick with T1D Type 1 Diabetes. I was 10 years old. Two days later Dr. Wright made a house call and decided I needed to be in the hospital. Since my mother didn’t know how to drive, Dr. Wright drove me and my mother to the hospital in his car. Shortly after arriving at the hospital I lapsed into a coma. Of course, insulin saved my life. I don’t have any records or recollections by my parents, but I think I was comatose for several days, and remained in the hospital for a month. That was 72 years ago, in 1942.
Lots of people have asked me how or why I have survived through all these years. I don’t have a magic answer for you. I take one day at a time and do the best I can. It’s been pointed out to me that I have a lot of determination, and that has been very helpful.
Another thing that has been helpful is exercise. When I was about 45 I started riding a bicycle and did that for 35 years. During those years I accumulated 106,000 miles. I have stopped riding currently because of soreness in my lower back, but hope to resume bicycle riding.
Back in the 1940s the insulin pump hadn’t been invented yet, so I used shots every day for 52 years. That was long enough to earn me a 50-year medal. Then in 1995 Dr. Levy started me on the insulin pump. My control has been much better using the pump. I am currently on my fourth pump – the Animas Ping. It was preceded by the Cozmo, 508, and 506. Since I’m on Medicare, they won’t approve a CGM. Their rules are not medically sound. My daily dose ranges between 35 and 45 units of Humalog insulin.
Since I am already 82 I’m not very optimistic about seeing a cure within my lifetime. But I’m keeping a close eye on the Bionic Pancreas that Dr. Ed Damiano is working on at Boston U. His goal is to get FDA approval by 2017, and that’s when I reach 75 years of T1D, so I’m hoping to be able to get a Bionic Pancreas in time for my 75th anniversary.
Unlike some of you who still claim no complications, I’ve been dealing with retinopathy for 50 years. It remained background until about 10 years ago, when one eye became proliferative. And I’ve got kidney problems. But I have no neuropathy and no gastroparesis. My hearing is still good. I’ve had chronic lymphocytic leukemia for 20 years with a white cell count around 60,000 but it never gets high enough for them to treat (80K). And I have colitis.
What was the biggest mistake of my life? I never got married, and have lived alone for more than 50 years.

You are certainly an inspiration!

Congrats!! You are an inspiration!! Hope you get back on the soon.

Back on the bike.

Congratulations to your 72th anniversary. You have seen many changes over the times. I wish people could inherit the experience of older people like you - instead of making the same terrible mistakes over and over again. But this seems to be a part of the "human condition". Like you I find biking very efficient for my BG control. You would like to ride in my hometown Münster. Here we have more than 500000 bikes on 300000 residents...