Type 1 For 89 Years

This is a link to the type 1 diabetes life of Lillian Stamps. The link is three years old, so she is now 92 years old, and has lived for 89 years with type 1. That is 16 more years than my 73 years with type 1. I need heroes too. Lillian is my hero!!

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 3, Lillian Stamps has defeated the illness by using insulin daily for the past 86 years. According to Dr. Kariampuhza, Ms. Stamps’ endocrinologist, she could be the longest living person with diabetes.

“Lillian was diagnosed around a time when different medications were being discovered to help with diabetes,” said Dr. Kariampuhza. “She had been put on every medication to help treat it, she was diagnosed at age 3 and insulin was discovered in 1921.”

Born in 1926, Ms. Stamps remembers her childhood as being a difficult one, where she was put on all different kinds of insulin that were newly invented back in the 20s. Her parents kept her insulin cool in the water well in the front yard because refrigerators were expensive.

“They didn’t have all the things to check your blood sugar like they do now,” said Ms. Stamps. “You used to have to test urine, and when it was blue or green that meant it was low and I would get to eat something.”

Ms. Stamps was given an award for living with Type 1 diabetes for 75 years and will be getting another one this year for 80 years - for recognition of exceptional achievement in living courageously with diabetes for more than 80 years, from the Joslin Diabetes Center, the world’s largest research center in Boston Massachusetts.

“Diabetes affects many organs, usually people will die due to the complications from diabetes,” said Dr. Kariampuhza. “I have nominated her and arranged for her to receive medals for living with diabetes for this long.”

Dr. Kariampuhza has written to the American Diabetes Association three times to nominate Ms. Stamps to receive a medal for 25 years, 50 years and now 75 years for being committed to her health and managing her diabetes for 86 years.

“I’ve been her doctor for more than 10 years, she is extremely committed to taking care of herself,” said Dr. Kariampuhza.

Ms. Stamps continues to use insulin and manages her health by eating well and is cared for by the staff at Brookdale Tyler East in Tyler. According to Ms. Stamps, the hardest years of her life were her teenage years, because she found it difficult and embarrassing to always have to say no to certain foods or drinks.

“I never was married or had children because they told me I wouldn’t live long enough to do any of that,” said Ms. Stamps. “I lived a normal life, and my favorite thing to eat is ice cream, but it has to be sugar free.”


So who said t1 diabetes shortens our lifespan?
The key is to keep your blood sugar under control.
Hey D, we got ya!

@Richard157, you too are my hero.
You inspire me. Thank you.

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Thanks to genetic resistance to the effects of hyperglycemia and the absence of genes often inherited along with the genes for diabetes which promote the development of complications on their own, some few diabetics can live as long as healthy people.

In this woman’s case, the reason for her long life was most definitely not good blood sugar control, since the only form of insulin available until 1936 was fast-acting, so patients would chaotically cycle between highs and lows throughout the day, depending on how recently they had injected it. So she spent the first 7 years of her disease with abysmal control. Truly long-acting insulin was not developed until in 1946 NPH replaced protamine insulin, so for the next 1o years of her disease her control would have been poor. Finally, patients did not start using home glucometers until the mid-1980s, and only these made glucose control really possible, since the old urine sugar tests gave little or no actionable information at all, so we can assume that this patient spent about the first 55 years of her disease in a state of poor glucose control.


Yes, @Seydlitz, and it was that way for me 1945-1985. No complications except some neuropathy. I know other long term T1D’s in the Joslin medalist group with 80+ years of type 1.

Annnnndddd She is still inspiring to the rest of us. T1since’81


My endo was talking with me about a study that he read. I have been diabetic for 42 with no complications. In the study that he read that there were three things that help to reduce complications. The three was high cholesterol HDL, the c peptide (sp?) showed a minute amount of insulin still produced, and tight control and diet. I have two of the three.

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Unfortunately Lillian passed away in 2016: http://obituaries.tylerpaper.com/obituaries/tylerpaper/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=177996671

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The key determinant of the rate at which diabetics develop complications seems from the latest research to be the genetically determined resistance of the patient’s DNA to damage from oxidation. This suggests that taking anti-oxidants and picking your parents carefully may be two things to do to avoid complications.

The following study covers these points, using the term ‘Medalist’ to designate those who have survived type 1 diabetes for 50 years or more, and ‘+C’ to designate those heavily burdened with complications and -C for those with few complications:

Cell Metab. 2015 Aug 4;22(2):239-52.

Preserved DNA Damage Checkpoint Pathway Protects against Complications in Long-Standing Type 1 Diabetes.

Bhatt S, et al.

The mechanisms underlying the development of complications in type 1 diabetes (T1D) are poorly understood. Disease modeling of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from patients with longstanding T1D (disease duration ≥ 50 years) with severe (Medalist +C) or absent to mild complications (Medalist -C) revealed impaired growth, reprogramming, and differentiation in Medalist +C. Genomics and proteomics analyses suggested differential regulation of DNA damage checkpoint proteins favoring protection from cellular apoptosis in Medalist -C. In silico analyses showed altered expression patterns of DNA damage checkpoint factors among the Medalist groups to be targets of miR200, whose expression was significantly elevated in Medalist +C serum. Notably, neurons differentiated from Medalist +C iPSCs exhibited enhanced susceptibility to genotoxic stress that worsened upon miR200 overexpression. Furthermore, knockdown of miR200 in Medalist +C fibroblasts and iPSCs rescued checkpoint protein expression and reduced DNA damage. We propose miR200-regulated DNA damage checkpoint pathway as a potential therapeutic target for treating complications of diabetes.