Type 1success stories, 25 years and more with no complications

Hi everyone,
I am really at a very low point in my life. I am pump user for 6 month now and struggle to get disease under control. I need to hear some success stories for encouragement. I need to know that if I keep trying it is possible to live life without complications.

Hi Sophie,

I'm sorry you're feeling low. I've only had diabetes for 7 years so I can't give you personal testimony about avoiding complications but Richard157 has had diabetes for 69 years with no major complications. It is possible and it doesn't require perfection for the whole time. He once listed his A1Cs since the 1980s and the first ones were very high.

It's hard not to focus on the dark future that may confront us but a dark future may confront anyone. A slip, a new strain of flu, random violence can change anyone's life.

If you're feeling especially low right now and can't seem to get out of it, perhaps seeing a therapist might help.

Feel better,


I've lived with type 1 diabetes for 30 years now. While I cannot say that I am complication free, my complications are mild and respond well to more normal blood glucose levels. I have no unusual limits, walk 25-30 miles each week, enjoy a variety of lower carb meals, and generally am happy with my life.

I'm here to tell you that making an effort to keep blood glucose in control is worth it. Many years ago my blood glucose control slowly slipped and my numbers were trending higher. I felt a lack of energy, brain-fogged, and emotionally down. Two and one half years ago I started a lower carb diet, lost weight, cut my insulin dose in half, and started walking every day. Those lifestyle changes made a huge difference in how I feel and injected me with a sense of optimism. Nothing succeeds like success!

Life is not perfect but it is so much better than before. A good attitude combined with a good plan and persistence is a winning combination. There are, however, no guarantees in life. Keeping your blood glucose in a healthy range will not eliminate complications but it will reduce the risk of complications.

Diabetes can be a tough puzzle to solve. It usually can be solved. The most important factor in solving your puzzle is you! You can figure this out. Learn all you can about blood glucose management; there are many books written for the engaged T1D patient.

Become an expert on how your body works. Don't rely too much on what the doctors say. They don't live with this 24/7. you do. Good luck to you. I know it's not easy but you are worth the effort!

Diabetes nowadays is manageable by lifestyle. You can live a long life in spite of diabetes, if you strictly abide by your physician's advice as to diet, exercise and medicine. Don't panic, but be serious. That is very important. Stop smoking, eating meat and drinking liquor.

I would go so far to postulate that controlled T1 diabetics have a life expectancy that is very near to the general population. Still todays complications have the potential to reduce the quality of life that is for sure.

I am now complication free for more than 26 years. This is the result of hard work I must say. For me my effords have been rewarded so far and in general the likelyhood for complications will be reduced with better control. Still the likelyhood for complications is never that of the general population. This is because in healthy people the blood glucose is very tightly controlled. Thus I have problems with the classification of "success" and "failure". It is unfair to say that people with complications have "failed". More likely they just had too many periods of uncontrolled blood glucose aka very personal reasons. Or their bodies can cope less good with the negative consequences of glucose deviations. Very individual factors and we do not know how these factors will play out in the long run.

Every day we can try the best for us in the hope that it will be enough. The best that is achievable in our circumstances and capabilities. This is also a question of fairness to ourselves. Seen from that perspective the only "failed" diabetic is the one that does not even try to achieve better control. It might end with a defeat here and there but not with a failure.

No worries, Sofie. I have old man, diabetic friends who have been type one for forty years. One even had polio, and hes fine. Had a couple small heart attacks, but thats not real unusual. No complications. Treatment is getting better all the time. I am 21 years and am very confident that I will not develop any complications any time soon, if ever. Although, maybe I'll loose ten years life expectancy, I think my quality of life will be just great. No worries. Your gonna be just fine. Take insulin. Always work towards being a slightly better diabetic and a better person than you were five years ago. It will be a fascinating journey. P.S. My old, diabetic friend drank a lot of liquor, in his day, and still eats a lot of meat. And, I image he's done a LOT worse things than that. He's been to Tiajuana a bunch of times. LOL. He gives me hope.

Hi Sofie:

Please know that you're not alone and we have all been where you are. This can sometimes seem like an insurmountable hill to climb, and the thought of developing complication terrifies all of us. I've only been at this for 3 years, but I've had the privilege of meeting several long-term T1's who've led complication-free lives. As you will also see, there are many here on the site as well. They're my inspiration. Their advice as been consistent: remember it's a marathon and not a sprint; focus on the successes and don't dwell on the misses; and take it a day at a time.

I also find encouragement in the development of new, real technologies and treatments that will help relieve the burden of day to day management: improved CGM's, improved insulins and delivery mechanisms (inhaleables), improved complementary medications (GLP1-Agonists, SGLT2 Inhibitors), Pumps that communicate with CGM's that will ultimately lead to closed-loop systems (bionic pancreas). I find all these much more tangible than the old adage "there will be a cure in 5 years" and "we've cured T1 in mice."

Lastly, there is such a wealth of great advice from people who face the same struggles on this site. This is invaluable in optimizing your own treatment plan. Never hesitate to reach out and ask. We're all here to help each other.


Hey Sofie - don't be fooled by my cute looks ... I'm not as young as I seem to be in that profile pic. That was taken back when I was 6 years old when I was diagnosed with diabetes. It's had it's ups/downs - and I've been no angel - and I get depressed about things - whether it's diabetes or a pimple on my face or .... you get it. Life is a real bed of roses at times.

In away, for myself, diabetes has brought me work. I help mentor kids/parents of the kids (it's like - stop fussing over them so much that they rebel, yadda, yadda, yadda), adults, you name it, I do it according to what my Rice Krispies tell me to do in the AM (please note - haven't had those in eons - I'm not a breakfast eater - blah ... give me coffee!!!! ). Though at times I find that more of a struggle, and get depressed with not being able to fly over tall buildings and help EVERYONE.

Just take one day at a time, try to make something good out of each day (whether it be a good blood sugar reading, a pebble in a stream ....). Of course, there will be days when it's like F this, F that. As a woman we can blame it on hormones (sorry guys - we rule that area).

I've had a few complications - but nothing serious with what my age is now (old age you SUCK ... wait - I get discounts now). I don't let those affect me - if I do - I've cried alone - but then snap out of it with help from others that get what diabetes is all about. Out of one of my diabetic complications - I now have a beautiful left Dolly Parton boob (I think I posted that #dblog here - if not - on Diabetes1.org where I post occasionally) - that sometimes is annoying because it's NOT real/fee;s odd - but it's a little reminder of the fact that WE ARE SURVIVORS and it'll never get droppy like my other one :) . Later on you after you've got a few years under your belt - you'll be able to share stories with other people ... good/bad/whatever.

BTW, when I I post all over the big blue marble about diabetes - and other things (like my joy of fast moving vehicles - I've rewarded myself over the years with toys when I can afford them as a pat on the back that I've got another decade of kicking diabetes you know what). If I'd had what you have today with new technology always coming out (no more sharpening my needle on a stone - ugh ugh - me Stone Age woman), where the skies the limit for diabetics here online these days - to get together (there are 1,000+ groups on FB according to someone who posted on Kerri-Sparlings page the other day) - it's like whoo! whoo!

Okay - that's my bit - hope I didn't offend anyone - and no - not having a low - I've been having friggin' fun lately with ding dong blood sugars that are driving me more batty then ever - what can I say? No one will ever know that I'm being serious - except my Mum .... she always can tell by the way my eyes are darting around if I'm being "nOrMaL".

Me in one of my toys - a reward after over almost 50 years! Remember kids, speed kills, test your BG before getting behind the wheel, and make sure the passenger is the one take the selfies - and catching bugs at the same time ...

Hi Maurie,
Thanks for the words of support. No even though I hit pretty low point lately it is not a therapist situation yet. I got myself together and hopefully will see progress soon. I know about Richard and honestly it is stories like his that keep me motivated. I am sick and tired of everyone telling me about their relative/friend who had diabetes and died or got blinded. Just needed to hear some successes as well.
Thanks for sharing

Terry thanks a lot for sharing. Seems like you are doing great job. I am also trying I know that only I am the one that can get my bg under control. I am also considering lowering my carb intake which is 70-80 grams a day. I was wondering if you know or can reccomend books or guidelines for proper low carb meals?Doctors in my country are not much help and mostly I am the one doing all the research.

Hi Christopher ,
Thanks for responding. Yes, this web proved to be very effective means to communicate with so many great people. I am working to get myself back on track and success stories do motivate and inspire a lot, because all I hear in real life is how people die and have terrible complications. I agree pomp made my life easy. But honestly from the part if the world I come from even insulin pomp is a novelty and something people can rarely afford. So I always feel like I am on my own as far as management off my diabetes goes and rely greatly on the research I do myself. That is probebely reason I feel down sometimes but am working on it :slight_smile:

I've chugged along 30 years without any major complications. I have quite a bit of wild living (Meat *and* liquor!) under my belt too, although I will admit to cheating by exercising. I've always found it important to have hobbies and diversions. When I was a teenager and in my early 20s, I played in rock bands and partied a lot, then I kind of drifted into reading after work, gained weight, etc. then I switched to exercising and eating more consciously. All have been interesting diversions from diabetes although I suppose I'd have to concede that exercising has been the most rewarding, feeling stronger as I enter middle age, etc.

I have noted a few "concerns", the hair on my legs is falling out, which a doctor described as a minor complication. I've had a few wounds, generally on extremities, that have taken a really long time to heal. I've had 2x surgeries (umbilical hernia repair and excision of a cyst...) that went fine but a few scrapes have lingered and lingered. Then they went away. I have 3 bleeders in my eye. I was freaked out by one but the doc said "if you have a hundred, we'd laser them but 3 we just watch..." and that was about it.

Hi Sofie,

I've had diabetes for almost 31 years and been a pumper for 18 years. I can say without any hesitation that without my pump, I would not be as healthy as I am today. At this very moment in time I am complication free. I never thought children would be in my future when I was a young adult. But, with the help of my D team and some "sticktoitiveness", I have 3 beautiful kids that make me smile every day.

I know my success has a lot to do with luck and maybe good genes. I admit that as a teenager and college student I wasn't as committed as I am now. But, I decided a while back that this ugly thing called diabetes was NOT going to rule my life.

As a very dear friend and member of Tudiabetes always says, it's a marathon not a sprint. So, good luck and know that you can do this.



Sounds like you are selling yourself short! Yes, there are "success" stories all over this site (and the world), but you have your own success story every day, just look for them and celebrate.

First, you are on a pump. Coupled with your meter, you have nearly a state-of-the-art set of tools to manage your condition. As you noted, pumps are a novelty in your area of the world and yet you have one. SUCCESS!

Second, when you test and are in-range ... SUCCESS! Cue the band, dance, give yourself a high-five, smile and laugh!

Third, when you test and are out-of-range, do you rage against the machine, despair over how unfair life is, how tough the disease is, how this high (or low) is going to lead to complications? SUCCESS! You are normal, because we all do this to some degree.

Fourth, after the angst over being out-of-range, do you take steps to correct it? Do you reason it out and take steps (including asking for help from your TuD community) to avoid the high or low in the future? SUCCESS! Cue the band, dance, give yourself a high-five, smile and laugh!

Some might accuse me of living in DE-NIAL, but I have recently celebrated 41 years as a diabetic, about 15 on the pump, nearly 1 with a CGM. I have some neuropathy in my feet, but there is no concrete evidence that diabetes is the cause. I just think that most of my genetic make-up is great.

I don't eat low carb, have reasonable, but not world-class A1Cs. I have some days where I am in-range all day. I have others where I suffer from peaks and valleys, but I don't spend much time there. I am covered in SUCCESS, I cue the band, dance, give myself high-fives, smile and laugh!

You can too!

Hi, sorry if I accidentally offended anyone having a complications. Certainly, that was not my aim at all. I do not think developing complications equals to failure. I was rather searching to get positive responding telling me that it all is possible as long as I keep trying. The reason I am wanting to hear out these people is simple, I hear more horrifying stories every time I tell someone I am diabetic. For some reason in my life I have met many people who either personally knew or heard of diabetics who died or got blinded, or developed some nasty complications. Even though I do know that most likely those stories refer to uncontrolled diabetes , it still gets me sometimes. Especially when my BG are not that well.
I apologize if by naming complication free life success it ultimately made someone feel they have failed. As long as we are alive no one has failed.

Thanks a lot, I am trying and will keep trying. Glad to hear that you are doing fine as well :)

Hey Anna,
To start off you do look absolutely great :) Thanks a lot for sharing your story. It is amazing that you are doing just fine after 50 years, that is impressive, I hope and wish everything will be good with you in the much more years to come. Seems like legitimate reward for the milestone :) I can certainly relate to many things you have mentioned and I am so grateful you shared them with me.
The best advice I have got here was to take one day at a time, which I am doing right now. I know getting back on track is not easy but I am certainly going to right direction.
Thanks a lot

Great to hear your story, I can relate a lot, though I am not a rock-star yet :) I like parties and hanging out with my friends, apparently I was doing too much of that lately, but I am back to sleeping well and getting myself on track. I hope all will be fine with you.

Hi Sarah,

Thanks a lot for sharing. I am a recent pumper and hopefully would be able to say the same positive things about it as you do. It is so nice to hear that you have three children. I also feel like that might not be an option, but I am anyways very young for that.

I am trying very hard to remain committed, it is not easy, especially in my age with so many temptations. Diabetes does SUCK but I am not letting it rule over my life.

All the best luck to you,

I'm 34 and have been type 1 since I was 6 years old. NO COMPLICATIONS! by God's grace! I'm thankful but I hear its not uncommon. we can live a normal life, somewhat, minus the constant pestering of checking and pricking and shooting and being tired and depressed and fearful. my A1C is currently 9, I know that's bad but I know I can get it down to my normal 7ish number. keep on keeping on girl. high blood sugars cause depression, serotonin is decreased, and can heighten the feeling of hopelessness when we are out of control. I'm a rebel at heart sadly and hate to live routinely but I have found in 28 years the more consistent I am with diet and exercise the better I feel and the better my bg's are. if off schedule or God forbid the holidays are here I just know I'm going to be higher for awhile and I just know I gotta ride it out and take more insulin. our bodies are well oiled machines! it can get very frustrating this disease but we have to try and have the mind set to control IT and not let IT control us. I have post traumatic stress from past episodes of passing out with lows so I tend to run higher but am slowly regaining control in that area and not being so fearful. slowly. keep coming here and hearing encouragement from those that are right there with ya! xo