An Uneventful Diagnosis

I was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 8, in 1973. I was lucky - it was pretty uneventful. My mom had been a nurse and recognized the symptoms. She brought me to my pediatrician who sent me to the Montreal Children’s Hospital right away.

The doctor put me on NPH and Toronto insulins once a day in the morning. I had to adhere to a strict diet based on food exchanges (see photo). I used glass syringes, which my mom had to boil every morning. I checked my glucose using urine and Clinitest tablets which fizzed and then turned a color – blue was good and orange was bad. My mom used color pencils to log my tests in a booklet (see photo).

I wasn’t very cooperative with my insulin injections at the beginning. Sometimes my mom and dad had to hold me down to give me my insulin. It must have been very hard on them.

Other than the once a day insulin shot and the special diet, T1D was not a big part of my childhood. I don’t remember having a lot of low blood sugars (probably because they were more on the high end). I didn’t carry anything on me during the day (like glucose or insulin). I wasn’t restricted from doing any activities. I would say that I had a pretty average childhood. I never felt different than any of the other kids.

In 1989 I went on multiple daily injections with Humalog. Prior to that I was only taking insulin twice a day (long acting in the morning and regular at breakfast and dinner).

I had a pretty good pregnancy with my daughter. I actually found that during my pregnancy my blood sugars were easier to manage. The issues that I had always had with the dawn phenomenon went away. My daughter was a born a couple of weeks early (which was planned) via caesarean section (which was not planned).

In 2014 I moved to a pump and CGM. I had been thinking about it for many years, but when you are so used to doing something one way, it’s hard to change. The pump made a huge difference in my T1D management, especially with the ability to give small doses of insulin and extended boluses. And I don’t think that I have had more then one day without my Dexcom in 3 years! See – you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

My daughter, who also has T1D, has a much more interesting diagnosis story. One day, when she was 11, she decided to check her urine using my Ketostix. I have no idea what made her decide to do this, but the stick turned purple and she came to show me. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, but I called her pediatrician the next day and she connected me with the Diabetic Clinic at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. I spoke with an Endocrinologist there who had us check her blood glucose periodically during the week. Most of the time it was perfect, but she had the odd out of range postprandial BG. The doctor told me that she would probably become diabetic, and that we would just continue to monitor her.

We had a long time to process it and T1D wasn’t new to us, so it didn’t shake up our family in the same way that it would impact those new to T1D. A whole year passed before she actually had to go on insulin. She has had T1D for 12 years now.

Through my 44 years of T1D I have seen many changes. I have seen the introduction of blood glucose meters, disposable syringes, carb counting, synthetic insulin, insulin pens, insulin pumps, CGMs, big data gathering and analysis, and I know that there are many more exciting things to come…


That’s the best looking log I’ve seen! Colorful!


I guess that’s where I got all of my organizational skills. I have been a logger all of my life. MySugr is my current tool.


I am really sorry about how hard it must have been for you. Being 8 is really a bad age to get diagnosed, I think, because if you get diagnosed much younger then you have done it all your life, and later you are more able to deal with it. I was diagnosed when I was 11, 2 yrs ago.

Can you actually see the difference in your BG?

I really liked reading about your story, thank you very much for sharing.

I log a lot too. I use MyNetDiary. But I often forget to log some things :frowning_man: And my room is not very organized at all, so I have not gained organization skills yet. I am not sure if it will help me :smiley:

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Hi @Kaelan. Yes, I can absolutely see the difference in my BGs since I started the pump with CGM. My last A1C was 5.9. If I had to choose one though, I think it would be a CGM. Being able to see your trends is very valuable and would work well with MDI too. It’s great that you log a lot. I often use my log to see what happened the last time I ate something. So, for example, I had a salad at a restaurant last night and I checked in my log to see how much insulin I gave myself the last time I had that salad and if it was the correct dose (based on what happened afterwards). It can be very helpful.


Thanks for sharing!

This is so true:

EH, my partner, wasn’t interested in the pump for 10+ years. Just started with the OmniPod in late November. Hopefully it’ll help him as much as it’s helped you!


Lisa, my story is very similar, diagnosed age 5 in 1965. But I didn’t save any logs, and I think we marked them as neg, 1+, 2+,3+,4+. I like your color log!!.

I agree that pump and CGMS made a big difference for me, and thankful that the DCCT study enlightened the medical community that getting lower BGs would reduce chance of complications. Before that, my recollection was that logging urine tests was only useful for the doctor to make decision on dosage change at next 6 month visit ! Urine tests were not used by patient to make changes in insulin dose or food choices.


Have you experienced any medical issues as a result of diabetes in the 45 years you’ve had this disease? I’m curious as there are others who have had D for as long as you, who had the same archaic devices/practices of early D management, yet they seem unscathed after 20 or 30 years of having no clue really what their BG was on a minute by minute basis (many long hours/days of extended highs, severe, perhaps extended lows, etc.,

Wonderful story and, as a fellow OCD logger, I do love your logbook! :slight_smile: Organized logbooks with lots of nice colors are like fidget spinners, to me…they can keep me interested for hours. :stuck_out_tongue:


I admire all you loggers. I’ve always dreaded creating the blood glucose logs! I’m quite happy looking at CGM reports now :smile: But those require very little work!

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Very true for that time and before. The doctor said do this, and you did that and nothing else until the doctor told you to do something different (unless, of course, you were @Eric). Even with the first pumps, they were seen as the modern way to do injections, not as tools to achieve tighter control. The idea that the patient would unilaterally change basals or boluses was unheard-of.

@Lisa, that green Meal Planning book haunts me to this day. 3 Arrowroots! 14 grapes! How far we’ve come.


A post was split to a new topic: Do you use a diabetes logbook?

Yeah, that whole “Do this for several months until we tell you to do something different” thing lasted only a week or so. But it was my parents who took charge of adjusting when I was first diagnosed. Made no sense to have high blood sugar for months. It’s really not rocket science. Your urine test was high, so you should have had more insulin. You are eating more, you need more insulin.


I think it’s very different when you’re managing the health of your loved one vs. your own personal health. From conversations with my sister, it’s become very clear to me that the responsibility of being a parent can be very overwhelming. Perhaps my approach to logs would be different if I were a parent. It’s interesting how reflecting on the amount of work you do gives you so much comfort. I wonder if that’s just because you’re a T1 parent or if other T1s feel this way as well.

Despite my mathy background, I’m a bit of a free spirit. If I didn’t have diabetes, I imagine I would have spent much more of my time as a young adult doing rather irresponsible things. I’m not trying to say I’m limited by my diabetes, but my diabetes did force me to have a certain level of discipline to ensure that I’d always have access to the medication/supplies I needed. Diabetes without insurance is very expensive (as I’m sure you and any other T1 parent knows).


This was Erin and I for the first 3 months after Liam was diagnosed. It was only after we realized that our Endo team doesn’t give two sh*ts whether Liam stays over 300 for days at a time that we took matters into our own hands. We used to call every time there was some “high” or “low” event trying to figure out what they wanted us to do…once we realized that their advice sucked and they really didn’t care that we were jarred awake and forced to face the realization that if we want our son to be healthy both now and when he’s older, we just have to take on this beast ourselves and do our best to tame it.


So far I haven’t had to experience D without insurance and I hope I never have too…it’s plenty expensive enough WITH insurance. Before D, we never maxed our HSA and FSA contributions because we just didn’t encounter the costs…now with Sensors/Transmitters/PODs/Supplies, we max out our yearly contributions / out of pocket.

And honestly, this is my biggest fear…and what keeps me up at nights. What if I lose my job? What if I lose my insurance? It haunts me…we are a single income family, my wife is a stay at home mom (works much harder than I do)…so it’s a nightmare when I think about losing my Insurance.


Exactly! At some point, I realized that I have to have a stable job that gives me insurance, or I’m going to be in real trouble. The ACA might’ve helped a bit with this, but not enough.

Other countries have their own issues with healthcare, but most developed countries have at least some medical support system for people with chronic conditions like diabetes. For example, Netherlands won’t cover cgms, but your out-of-pocket costs for insulin and test strips are only $350/year (this is a self only plan with a premium of $100/month). While I love my cgm, I don’t HAVE to have it. I HAVE to have insulin and test strips.


Back then it DID make sense to most. Doctors said whatever caused destruction of pancreas beta cells, also attacked eyes, kidneys, etc, causing the complications. Your parents were very wise to know differently. Mine just followed doctors orders, as did most. There were pockets of people suspecting high BGs were cause, but until there was evidence, better insulins and BG testing, things changed slowly. Once BG testing was available (visual), I recall still only logging numbers to share with Dr at next appt. When switched to Reg, NPH, was told only to add 2 units Reg at meal time, if over 240. Never told to test after meals, since there would be no action to take.

Note that I was treated by a pediatrician until I moved away to college. Then I saw first endo, but really not interested in listening to him, in early days of transition to independence at college. And my body was so accustomed to high BG, that when I started using meters, 200 felt uncomfortable and I would eat to feel better.


That is amazing!

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I really don’t have many medical issues as a result of my diabetes. I have slow stomach emptying (some may call it mild gastroparesis, but it’s very manageable). I also have small microaneurisms in my eyes, but I have had them for about 30 years and they have not progressed at all (I have never had to have any treatments on my eyes). Otherwise, I am in good health (knock on wood).


@MM2 you are right. I am not sure what the doctor even did with all those pretty dots at the next visit. I think that they just checked to make sure that you were still alive. Although if you take closer look at the log you can see that the NPH doses kept increasing. Maybe my mom was a rebel!

LOL. Yes! And I seem to remember eating a lot of Social Teas.