My diabetes diagnosis was in 1945, a few days after my sixth birthday. There was very little known about diabetes back then. The only rule my parents had to follow was to not let me have sugar. I could eat anything else I wanted. There was very little change in my life except for avoiding sugar, and taking one shot of insulin each day. There was no device for testing my blood sugar, and no information about carbs, and their effect on blood sugar. It seems almost a miracle that I have now lived for 71 years with T1, and have no diabetes related complications except for neuropathy. There are many other type 1 diabetics like me in the US who have lived with their diabetes for 50 years, and some for as much as 80 years.
Despite my having good diabetes health, there was so much I did not know about diabetes. My doctors in the early years knew very little about diabetes. In July, 2006, I watched an episode of the Dlife TV program. They mentioned that there was a Dlife website that offered support to diabetics. I joined Dlife.com that day. There were many diabetics of all types taking part in interesting discussions. There was so much information that was new to me, and it was easy to see this was the right place for me. How could I have gone 61 years, at that time, without all the things I learned on the Dlife website? There were several other websites that were also very helpful, and I joined several of them. I shared my knowledge with my new online friends, and they shared their knowledge with me. Some of the members on Diabetes Daily convinced me to use an insulin pump. I started pumping in June, 2007. My blood sugar is much more stable now, and I have fewer highs and lows. I have not needed assistance with a hypoglycemic episode since July, 2007. I felt that the education I received from the diabetes online community (DOC) was so good for me. I helped many fellow diabetics on several diabetes websites, and that made me feel good.
I joined Facebook in December, 2010. There seemed to be an endless number of groups there that were focused on diabetes. I am currently a member of about many of those groups. I truly enjoy assisting the more uninformed diabetics, and their families. It is so easy to see how valuable it is to all participants in the online discussions. Many of them are getting too little advice from their doctors, but they receive many replies to their questions online. Hundreds of parents of young type 1 children were impressed by my longevity and good health. They tell me that I have given them inspiration and hope for the futures of their children. My wife and I attended the Friends For Life (FFL) type 1 conference in Orlando, FL, in 2015.It is an international conference for type 1 diabetics, but the emphasis is on the type 1 children and their families. There I was able to meet many of my online friends. I was a speaker that year, and I enjoyed speaking to my audience.
My communication with my online friends, and the research I have done, has given me experience and much knowledge about type 1 diabetes. I have written a book about my life with diabetes, and have given talks to two local diabetes support groups in my part of New York. It would be great if I had the opportunity to become a motivational speaker, and visit many areas in the US.
It is a dream of millions of diabetics to have long, healthy, and productive lives. The DOC provides the support, education, and incentive to make this possible.