Type 1 For 74 Years

Sept 15, 2019, was my 74’th diaversary. Still no complications except for some neuropathy in my feet and legs. I hope the research being done on long term T1D’s in Boston will explain why some of us are so lucky to have lived so long, and be so healthy.

The neuropathy has caused numbness and poor balance. I fell down several times in 2018, and my podiatrist prescribed six weeks of physical therapy. In Nov and Dec of 2018 I learned several exercises that have helped me with my balance problem. I can do these exercises at home. I have not fallen down this year, 2019. The physical therapy has helped very much. It seems that most people with neuropathy in their legs and feet also have pain. I am not experiencing pain, just numbness and problems with balance. I had two serious injuries when I was falling down (a broken rib and subdural hematoma). It is so nice to be able to take long walks now without falling down.


Congratulations Richard. It is wonderful that you have done so well! It is great to hear that the physical therapy has helped you have a more balanced 2019!


T1D here for 53 years. Really impressed with the longevity of your success. Thought insulin was introduced in 1949 (may be wrong). What was it like in the very early days?


@rcarli, insulin was discovered in Canada in 1921. That was 24 years before I was diagnosed. It was insulin taken from cows and pigs. I used that insulin for many years, starting in 1945. I did not have a glucose meter for my first 40 years. I tested my urine for sugar.


Your enduring spirit is remarkable @Richard157 :ok_hand:

I’ve only been 56 years T1D, and my balance issues gave me no option but to use a cane starting 3 years ago. Dizziness and multiple falls.

I don’t have any numbness or diabetic neuropathy pain, and I suspect I’m seeing a side of Autonomic Neuropathy that many others experience.

My falls seem to be related to postural (orthostatic) hypotension. I’ve stopped taking the multitude of BP meds I was on for 25 years, and added electrolyte supplements to my morning meds.

Daily sessions on the treadmill have improved things dramatically. I’ve realized the older I get, the more important this is to my wellbeing.

Keep up the good fight :fist_left:t3:


Do you get something special for your 75th year?


Richard157, I remember my earliest days; testing urine with Clinitest in a testube (hoping it turned the pill blue or green and not orange), steel needles that we boiled and used for weeks, always running high blood sugars to avoid hypos and never thinking about the long-term complications and thinking I would never live to 50 if that long. Since you had it for 75 years, what were some of your earliest memories?


@Jim_in_Calgary, you and I are T1D’s, we have balance problems and we have experienced falling down many times, but I have diagnosed neuropathy, and you don’t.
We do have autonomic neuropathy in common though. That may explain our situations being so much alike, but different.

Article on timeline for insulin.

I also started on animal insulin, using Lente at first (1960s), and NPH + Regular animal insulin in 1980s.

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@rcarli, I never used Clinitest, my doctors never told me about it. I used Benedict’s solution and tested urine by boiling a solution with urine on a stove.
I remember starting school and not being able to play with other kids during play periods or gym because I had lows so frequently when exercising. I sat and watched. My diabetes was a very lonely experience throughout my childhood. I had very few friends.


@MM1, thanks for this excellent review if insulin history. I have seen several insulin histories, but this one is one of the best.


@mohe0001, the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston and the Lilly insulin company present 75 year medals. In Sept, 2020 I will apply for those medals.


Good show! We want it posted on line when you win your fabulous award!


I am a T1 for 53 years and feel VERY lucky with almost no side effects. My Endo told me that some of his patients have very good sugar control but have side effects on eyes and limbs while on being T1 for 10 years or less.


@DonR, at the Joslin Diabetes Center I was told that many participants in the medalist study admitted that they had not taken good care of themselves, but they did not have any diabetes complications after 50+ years of type 1.
There were also some participants who had taken good care, but they did have complications.
The study examined 1000 long term type 1 diabetics (50+ years) in the US. A large majority did not have any serious complications.
I participated in 2009, and I did not have any complications at that time, 64 years after my diagnosis. Now, I have neuropathy and other nerve damage in my body, but nothing life threatening at this time.

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You are an inspiration. I was diagnosed in September 1969, 50 years. no major complications. Thank you God. It’s good to hear of others who are still here and doing well. Thanks for posting. I get care at Joslin, and no one has patted me on the back for having this disease for 50 years. I hope you get your medal!


Hi @ame_e, thanks! You are eligible for the 50 year medal. I hope you will apply.

Thanks for letting me know. i will google it and see if i come up with anything. my doctor hasn’t said anything to me about it, but I see her in January. I wanted to throw myself a not dead yet party in September, but decided to skip it. have a good day.



You don’t need to wait for your endo visit.

Here is more info.

You can go to joslin web site and review details on how to apply. Getting a letter from parent or relative that verifies date diagnosed is requested, along with current doctors letter.

I got my 50 year from Joslin and Lilly a few years ago




Congrats, @Richard157!

I think physical therapy is one of the best values. I get consistent quality of life improvements with it.

I start a new round of PT on my feet tomorrow. The other two sessions over the last several years have all lead to increased range of motion and reduction of pain.