She’s 92 years old with type 1 diabetes since the age of 11

I read this article this morning in the Washington Post, “Doctors said she’d be lucky to live until age 15. She’s now 92.” I love it; there isn’t enough good news around, but I have heard over the past few years, that those of us with type 1, if we take care of it, can live as long, or longer, than our non-diabetes humans. I too diagnosed in 1972 was told I’d have 15 years less to live, and I’m not counting on it.

My favorite part of this story is the picture above where we see Libby’s Dexcom, C’mon, a 92 year old woman who’s wearing a Dexcom and seeing the readings on her phone. You gotta love it. I loved the story enough to post a bit of it here.

Doctors said she’d be lucky to live until age 15. She’s now 92.

‘I’m quite happy and amazed to still be here,’ said Libby Lashansky, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was 11

Cathy FreeDecember 28, 2022 at 6:00 a.m. EST

Libby Lashansky, at home on Long Island in December, said she is believed to be one of the oldest people living with Type 1 diabetes. She was diagnosed at age 11. (Saul Brenner)

Libby Lashansky was 11 years old in 1941 when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and sent home from a hospital in South Africa with a blood-sugar monitoring kit that required her to boil her urine.

There is no cure for Type 1 diabetes, and doctors in her hometown of Johannesburg told Lashansky she probably wouldn’t live past age 15.

“It was upsetting to hear that, but I accepted it,” she said. “Year after year, I expected to die.”

Eight decades later, Lashansky, now 92 and a great-grandmother, has outlived the doctors who told her she would die young. She went to medical school, became a doctor, got married and had two children — milestones she was told she’d never achieve…

A recent study published in the Lancet medical journal found that in 2021 there were 8.4 million people in the world with Type 1 diabetes, and about 19 percent were 60 or older. Researchers who conducted the study also estimated that Type 1 cases could double worldwide by 2040.

Lashansky said she decided from the beginning that the best way to prolong her life was to carefully watch her diet but to also enjoy living…

Lashansky said she was told not to exercise, which is the opposite of what doctors tell diabetic patients today.

“I was told it would upset my sugar levels, but I didn’t want to be seen as different, so I did it anyway,” she said. “I played net ball (basketball), and I was the shooter so I wouldn’t have to run around as much…”

Monitoring her health is much more accurate today with a glucose monitoring system that attaches to her abdomen and gives readings every five minutes, she said, noting that she also uses an insulin pen because her doctor told her she is too old to use an insulin pump to automatically deliver insulin to her body…

When she married Benny Lashansky in 1957, she said she was told it would be too dangerous to her health to have children.

She ignored their advice and forged ahead…

Even doctors who haven’t treated her are stunned to learn that she has thrived for decades with a disease that once predicted an early death…As she approaches her mid-90s, though, she noted that old habits are hard to break.

“Two years ago, I had to buy a bottle of makeup and I automatically went for the smaller size, because I wondered if I would make it to the next year,” she said. “I’ve wondered that for years, and yet, here I am. Every day, I’m quite happy and amazed to still be here.”

For the full story and pictures, go here.

Lisbon IDF World Congress reception

Above some of the wonderful diabetes advocates who made the conference possible

I haven’t posted in three weeks as I recently spent 9 days in Lisbon, part of those attending the International Diabetes Federation World Congress and then 9 days in London in bitter cold temps, rain and trains, nurses and Heathrow baggage handlers on strike.

It was the first trip out of the country the husband and I have taken, and we both contracted major colds. Mine continues to lay me low, so this will be short.

In Lisbon at the conference I had the honor to be one of the facilitators of a group of 20 plus people with diabetes to learn what they do well and what obstacles they run into managing their care. It was a lively and eye-opening session. It may also become a journal article. In a second session I also shared, along with two other panel members, any wisdom I have about living with diabetes for five decades.

As the conference is over, I thought I’d share the Poster the husband and I submitted. A quick read that once again dispels this notion that we should tell people to control their blood sugar and their diabetes. Have a look, and I’ll try to get past this cold.