Type 1 for 76 years, life is good!

In 1945, when I was diagnosed, my family did not know that an early death for diabetics was very likely. I had to wait until I was in my 30’s to find that my life expectancy in 1945 was not so good. I might have died while in my teens, but I was alive and healthy at that time. A doctor in Richmond, Va, when I was 30, gave me a book that had a chart showing I might possibly live into my 40’s. I was told by a doctor in the 1970’s I was lucky to be alive, without complications, and I should prepare my will in case I did not live much longer. Very depressing!

In the meantime, my wife and I had two sons, and we had a good life in NY. I tried to not dwell on my life expectancy, and the forecasts of potential early death.

| have now lived with T1D for 76 years. My eyes and heart are in great shape, but I do have neuropathy in my feet and legs. My neurologist says the neuropathy is severe. Numbness, but very little pain. My walk is uneven, and I seem to stagger a bit at times, but I keep on taking walks, without falling down. Just chugging along.

I had difficulty emptying my bladder for several years. My urologist had me get an ultrasound to see if the urine has backed up into my kidneys, and caused damage. My kidneys are good. I am no longer able to urinate without a catheter. I have been using catheters for urination for six months. They work very well. Aggravating, but I am ok with this now.

We have had a lot of rain this Fall in my part of New York. Raking leaves is very difficult for me now. I am grateful for ALL seasons as they occur one by one, while I keep on chugging along, living day by day. Life is good!! :slightly_smiling_face:


@Richard157, It is great to hear that you ignored the doom predictors and lived a long life on your terms! Also glad to hear that you continue to adjust to the difficulties thrown your way. Your outlook on diabetes has no doubt contributed to your amazing resilience. Perhaps you have lived long enough to upgrade your rake to one of these babies! I bet you could even find neighborhood kids that would drive it around for free.


Hi @Chris, I would love using one of those machines, but my lawn is small and I don’t have a good place to keep the machine. For the time being my wife does the raking. HA!! She seems to enjoy it. She is also expensive, but she fits into our home easily. I think I will keep her. :laughing:


Smart man!


That’s the kind of attitude we should all have. I love reading stories like yours. I am type 2 for 31 years, but have personal friends who are type 1.

Just think yesterday was the 100th anniversary of insulin. That means it has was just 24 years before you developed type 1.

Keep on moving and breathing, loving life, Richard.


Thank you for sharing, @Richard157!!! Congratulations!


Another great, positive attitude that no doubt contributes to your well being. The seasonal changes we experience here in NY gives lots of opportunities to appreciate nature, too! So glad you didn’t take any of that nonsense on T1 longevity to heart over the years!


:rofl::rofl:. That is great, made me laugh. Keep chugging away Richard


Well done to you! Type 1 for 60-odd years here. When I was young you were issued with a miniature home chemistry set to do urine tests and packs of needles came with brass wires to use if they got blocked up - and you had to boil the syringe and needle every day so it was sterile. Still amazed that we survived at all… So far so good…
All the best.



I’m about to hit my 20 year anniversary and it always strikes my how much different things would have been even 10 years earlier. In 2001 I was immediately on lantus and novolog, had a onetouch meter, was offered a pump, and was using a sliding scale. I used one of those wired cgms in the first couple years of treatment too. Compared to boiling needles or titrating blood sugars my life has been a breeze.

My grandfather was diagnosed in the mid 1930s. He lived a long and productive life and was treated at the Mayo clinic a few times in his 70s. I remember his summary of the visits being “they complimented me on being alive”.


Keep on chugging! You give all of us hope and reason to keep at it! While I’m sure there “have been times”, your attitude is an inspiration!


@Richard157 I’m in a similar boat, very happy and fortunate to have the wife! 35 absolutely stellar years, not bad out of 44! :rofl:


Thank you for the inspiration and defying those predictions. Keep chugging with that positive attitude. Leave the leaves!

I hit my 51 year mark in October and plan to keep chugging too.


If I could envision the “best case” for Liam’s entire life, your story is it. You’re an inspiration to all the noobs out there. :slight_smile:


This is @Richard157. :slight_smile:

If Liam can grow up and feel like this song, I’ll consider moms and my work a success. That’s what we’re hoping for!


Thank you for sharing your story Richard!

Your story is very inspirational for most of us that mature Type 1 diabetics as I believed much of what your doctors told you. Now, I have newfound hope to make it well past being an octogenarian!

Thank You!


@Richard157, your spirit is so inspiring. I will share your story with my son, who’s now 12 and just had his first diaversary. He gets frustrated with his Type 1 sometimes and we don’t blame him. He’s doing really well, A1C at 6.0, and technology is helping us so much these days. We are so fortunate and deep inside he knows it, too. Stories like yours are what keeps people like my son and us parents upbeat, even when we’re up for the third time that night to feed. Thanks to technology that we even know he’s low.
Cheers, and Happy Thanksgiving. ~Andre


Hi @Andre, I hope that your son is healthy and enjoying the holiday season. My childhood was in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Diabetes management was very difficult then. Your son has access to technology that will provide good control and a long, healthy life. Good luck to you and your family.


Hi! This is awesome. I have a question. Was there ever a point during your journey where you weren’t taking care of your diabetes?


@sincerelyejay, I was diagnosed in 1945, when I was 6. My doctor knew very little about diabetes back then. I don’t think anybody did then. There was no way of testing blood sugar for my first 40 years, and none of the devices we are using now were available then.
For those reasons I was not taking good care of myself. Ignorance of the true nature of the disease made diabetes management very difficult. My first glucometer was in the mid 1980’s, short acting insulin started in the late 1990’s. My knowing about carbs and carb counting was also in the late 1980’s.