Marking 47 years with type 1 diabetes

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The diagnosis came February 1972 when I was 18. Spent 4 days in the hospital then went back to college, away from home, with insulin vials and syringes. Didn’t know much more than, “Don’t eat candy bars.” That was my diabetic diet. How far we’ve come.

Many call the date of their diagnosis their “Diaversary.” I call it, “Wow, what the f+&k! How amazing I’ve actually gotten this far!” If I had a bedpost, I’d add another nick to my notches for another year gained.

So far I’ve gotten here with few complications – diabetes complications. I have slow-growing cataracts (about 15 years growing), the occasional tingling in my calves (immediately helped by alpha lipoid acid, get it at the health food store), some hearing loss (not usually talked about in diabetes), but nothing much else I can think of. Don’t ask about the everyday decision-making complications. They never end.

I filed for my 50 year Joslin medal five years ago when I wrote this piece for the Hufington Post. The woman who runs the program encouraged me to do so. So, if you’re anywhere near the 50 year mark, why not get your entry in?

I don’t know where the husband is taking me to celebrate in 2022, but I realize this is a big one. Maybe crystal clear water and drinks with umbrellas, and nothing less, should mark this occasion. FIFTY YEARS WITH TYPE 1 DIABETES! Of course I’m thrilled to know Joslin now gives medals for 80 years!

Musing now, I recall something from when it all began. I was in the hospital while they were getting my blood sugar down. My hospital doc was so cold. He told me all the complications I was going to get and gave me two books to read about them. My father, having had enough of his attitude yelled at him, “Don’t you realize there’s a person in that body?” Thank you dad. Thank you dad. Thank you dad. Maybe that’s why 32 years later, I started working in the emotional aspect of living with diabetes.

So look up when you mark another year with diabetes. Stop, take a moment, and congratulate yourself for still being here. Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 9.09.18 AM.png

5 thoughts on “Marking 47 years with type 1 diabetes

  1. Congrats Riva! When a friend’s son was Dx’d at 6, a doctor told him he’d probably go blind and wouldn’t live beyond 30. Doctors like that should be fired. But good for your dad!

  2. I was Dxed at age 13 with type1 and was told I would be dead in 20-30 years. That was 41 years ago. I have zero complications and follow the ADA diet and use MDI with no CGM.

  3. Dx’ed also at 13, in 1966–they gave me the same story of 20-30 years until I went blind and lost toes, feet and legs prior to death by 45 of kidney failure. HA!! Did we show them!

  4. My diagnosis was in the summer of 1983, right after graduation from high school. I’ve written about getting diabetes instead of a car or more cash…I wasn’t sick, just feeling tired and thirsty. Mum drug me in and there I was. I was also told if I had babies,they’d be c section and much later, before my oldest graduated from high school (no c sections!), I was told I’d be blind and die before I saw grandkids. Almost makes you want to hate doctors!
    Congratulations on this milestone! It deserves celebration.

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