No bells and whistles

Hi…Are there any T1’s (or T2’s) out there living a good life on R & N insulin’s and test strips? No bells and whistles (pumps or cgm’s).

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I don’t use a CGM or a pump, but do use newer insulins. Diagnosed in 1959 and doing great.


NPH+REG was my routine in 1985-95, before that Lente only.

I would say my last 5 years of it was pretty good, as long as I stuck to schedule.

But certainly more flexibility, and improved QOL and A1C with pump, cgms and faster insulins.

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I have one word for you @Marilyn6… SUPER INSPIRING. Sorry that’s two. Thank you!

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I see that this is your first post here. Welcome!

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Always nice to meet another long-termer. :muscle:t3:

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Thank you @Marilyn6… do you mind me asking which insulins, regime etc?

There are quite a few here, and several discussions related to Joslin 50 Year medal.

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Novolog and Tresiba. Total of about 19 units. On a plant based low fat diet. Ride an exercise bike 7-10 miles a day. Feel Great.


Welcome to our community!

Managing diabetes is a personal choice, and whatever works for you is what you should do. We wish you the best, and if there is anything we can do to help, please let us know.

Type 1, there are many long term type 1’s here. Richard has been a type 1 for 70+ yrs and there are a few of us who are in our 6th decade of living with diabetes. Many of us are newly diagnosed. I bet none of us treat our diabetes the same way. We all have found what works for us, or we do what works best for us at the time. Personally I have done it all.

What do you feel works best for you?

Welcome to TUD! I was on R/N from dx in 1983 to 2003. For my part… I hated hated hated it, because it was so restricting as to when you absolutely had to eat, inflexible about unexpected exercise, and unpredictable in other ways. It just made it really difficult to carry on a normal work life because crises and schedules in the real world don’t always allow for the kind of regularity it required. I just generally had a much higher level of anxiety about hypos that whole time.

All that said, it IS possible to live on it and some people are happy with it and don’t want to change, so more power to 'em. It’s certainly a lot cheaper if you’re having problems with insurance coverage. If you combine it with lots of testing and keep your Skittles handy, you can do ok on it. (Walmart Relion test strips are rated pretty well for accuracy and relatively cheap.)

when I finally was able to switch to analog MDI.

Welcome! And I am sure there are many out there that use the older insulin’s and are very happy with them. My thinking,if it works for you and your numbers are where you feel good, yeah!
Been doing this for 49 years and did the Lente single injection for many years before I went to regular and Lente. Didn’t start blood testing until the mid 80’s.
I will say over the years the changes that have come around recently have been game changing and very cool. Especially when you think how few options we had back in the 70’s.
So glad you are here and keep asking questions. We all have different treatment plans and we all do a darn good job of not forcing our treatment plan onto others. Each of us is so very different. What works for me might not work for you. Heck, what works for me right now, might not work for next month!


When I was diagnosed in 1984, I started on one per day NPH in the morning and soon added a bedtime dose. Within several months I started to use Regular insulin sourced from pigs. I found the NPH action peak around six hours to be difficult to live with.

In 1987 I started on an insulin pump and that improved the quality of my life.

If I ever went back on NPH + R, I would experiment with taking three NPH doses per day. Doing that would reduce the each dose size and hopefully deliver a more even action.

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I’ve heard of people trying multiple small doses to try to get it to flatten out and act more like a real Lantus-type basal. Dunno how well that works but I think however you do it, you want to have a big stockpile of test strips available and don’t stint on finger sticks. Back in the day I’m sure I should have been testing a lot more often than I did, but just wasn’t framed as a necessity—or at least I didn’t think of it as one—until carb bolusing made it a requirement. They mostly wanted me to have my fasting and bedtime #'s, but it wasn’t a thing where you had to test before every meal because the insulin you were taking to cover it was injected hours earlier.


Tresiba and Novolin R.
Test strips with Walmart’s Relion.
No other whistles…happy with these bells.
Started with NPH a bumpy ride.
Qualified for patient assistance program so my Tresiba is provided for me…a HUGE big deal for me!
I pay for strips and R.
10 units in all per day.

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That’s one of the ironic parts. Not only were the insulins we were working with far more difficult to use than today’s insulins, but we were told to only test four times a day (at least that was my regimen) rather than (before CGM) the 8-12 times many use these days.

I was diagnosed in 1991, but like @Terry4, I’m fairly sure I started on one shot of NPH per day. R was added in several weeks later. There is no dinner/evening shot mentioned in the first months of logbook records I have, so I’m not sure when that was added. I had a honeymoon period for two or three months, but aside from that my blood sugar control was considered “good” for the time. Somehow, I didn’t die in my sleep from a low, although I did have several scary episodes of not waking up in the morning and needing assistance from others (as well as at other points during the day, mostly late afternoon).

I wouldn’t go back to those days, no way. Eat half an hour late or miss a snack and you have a major crash, potentially to the point of passing out. Spikes so high after meals we were told it was “normal” to get to 26 mmol/L. Highly regimented diet where any deviation (exercise, eating out) required major interventions.

After about 15 years on NPH and R/Humalog, I was introduced to the freedom of Lantus at 23 and the pump at 25 and the CGM at 33. Of course, we still have to do some of that today, but now it’s just pressing a few buttons on my pump and watching my CGM and (mostly) staying within my target range of 4-10 mmol/L.


Yeah, it’s weird–my regimen was a combined shot of R/N first thing in the a.m., and I think I was originally told the R was to cover lunch and the N was for dinner, which doesn’t really fit the effect profiles at all. I didn’t keep my (very sketchy) log books and my memory isn’t that detailed, so I have no idea how I was covering dinner. Not very well, is probably the answer. I do seem to recall that I started taking a later shot of R at some point. I never got authorized to see a specialist for 20 yrs, so I was just going by whatever my current PCP thought you were supposed to do, and they mostly don’t know sh** about T1. I finally changed from university-based HMOs and was able to get a referral to Joslin, where the first words out of myt new endo’s mouth after looking at my notebooks and records were, “You’re not doing too bad considering your treatment makes no goddamned sense whatsoever.” That’s when I finally got switched to Lantus-Novolog.

You echo my experience to a “T”. Scariest crashes I ever had, not just for the severity but how fast they would come on. That very deeply conditioned you to interpret the sensation of hunger as a danger sign, any suggestion of it and the Find sugar! Eat sugar NOWWWWWW!!! alert starts going off. After 20 years that pavlovian response is pretty deeply burned in, even though the better insulin and tech has reduced its relevance. It actually came as kind of a shock to me, not all that long ago, when it finally occurred to me that sometimes the sensation of hunger just means you’re, y’know, hungry, and not that a giant sink-hole is going to open under your feet any minute if you don’t act immediately to stop it.

Again, exactly my experience–“freedom.” For me, Lantus was the great liberator from the R/N straightjacket; the pump was more of an incremental improvement. As for CGM, if you had to use R/N it would be a lot easier if you had one, but then you’d hardly be able to afford one if you’re already having trouble just covering the cost of insulin. Kind of a Catch-22.


I think that’s a universal opinion,. I refer to NPH as the devil’s insulin.


Yep, one morning shot R/N mix. Thank God! This scared 8 yr old wouldn’t have coped well with more than one shot using those thick needles in 1959. My dear sister still worries if I don’t eat by noon and 6:00.
Hard for her to remember that it doesn’t matter anymore.