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Keeping my diabetes a secret...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Richard Vaughn, May 7, 2019.

  1. Richard Vaughn

    Richard Vaughn Approved members

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2018
    Messages:
    2
    Hello, I am Richard Vaughn. I have been type 1 for 73 years, and I have written many blogs about my early years following my diagnosis in 1945, when I was 6. Here is one of my blogs.

    When I was diagnosed in 1945, I was not actually ashamed of my
    diabetes. I did not realize what was happening. I was six years old,
    and my family was in charge. Later on it was obvious that people we
    knew were totally oblivious, they had not heard of the disease. Our
    relatives, neighbors, my teachers, and my classmates in school could
    not understand what was involved. People would stare in disbelief when
    I tried to explain my diabetes. Of course, explaining was very
    difficult since neither I, my family, nor my doctors knew much about
    it. I could not explain the highs and lows, DKA, carbs, and the
    possible complications since I knew nothing about them for so many
    years. My doctors gave no information except that I should take a shot
    of insulin each morning, and not eat sugar. It seemed like a simple
    disease back then. I got tired of seeing the doubtful looks on
    people's faces, and I kept my diabetes a secret for a very long time.
    My mother went to my school on the first day of classes for seven
    years, and had private talks with my teachers. Those teachers had not
    heard of diabetes, but I think they believed her. To prevent low blood
    sugar, I was not permitted to participate in gym or on the playground.
    I felt like an outcast, and I was ignored by my classmates because I
    was so different. I became shy and withdrawn. That was the most
    complicated part of my diabetes during my early years.

    In high school I was more mature, and I had less trouble with it, so I
    opened up with a few friends. I did not talk to my teachers, but I did
    not have lows during school hours. My blood sugar was high almost all
    the time, but I did not have any DKA, or did I? I don't think there
    was a way of measuring ketones at home, and there was no glucose meter
    for my first 40 years. In college I talked to some of my teachers, and
    they actually listened, somewhat. I had friends who were concerned,
    but they did not understand this mysterious disease very well. I
    didn't either, at that time.

    When dating I did not tell my girlfriends about my diabetes. It was
    not necessary, and I was afraid that they would not want to date me if
    they knew. I did not have lows, so that was okay. My lows occurred
    during the night, at home, or when I had too much exercise. After
    college I told my dates about diabetes, and they were interested. They
    listened, and wanted to help! I married one of those young ladies, and
    she has been a tremendous help to me for almost 55 years!!! Anita has
    helped me through many lows, including several seizures. I think she
    has saved my life several times.There were glucose meters in the mid
    1980s, and I finally knew my blood sugar numbers. I learned about
    carbs in the late 1980s, and started basal/bolus management in the mid
    1990s. My A1c's dropped from a high of 12 into the high 5's over a
    period of several years. (See the graph of my A1c's below.) How I have
    managed to avoid serious diabetes related complications is a mystery
    to me. I was not taking good care of myself for 50 years, because I
    did not know what 'good care' was. Now I am taking very good care of
    myself. My using an insulin pump in 2007 has eliminated my needing any
    assistance with lows. I am also using a Dexcom CGM, which is very
    helpful.

    I am not at all shy and withdrawn about my diabetes now. Maybe I am
    too open? I do not hold back because many online people tell me that I
    offer inspiration and hope for themselves, or their type 1 children.
    That is why I chose to be a speaker at the Friends For Life type 1
    conference in 2015, in Orlando. I am scheduled to do that again this
    year on Wednesday, July 17.
     

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