Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Retirement and Living With Diabetes

I was employed as a teacher at the college level for 34 years (1963-1997). I had complications with my diabetes, and had to retire several years earlier than I had planned. Two years after retirement my health problem was resolved. I was diagnosed with insulin resistance, and I started taking an oral medication to help with that. My former position at the college was filled, and I was no longer needed as a full-time teacher. After retirement I taught part-time for several years, and did a lot of carpentry work and painting on my home. My strength was gradually declining, and I had too little energy for strenuous activities. I felt like a fish out of water, and was very bored much of the time. Retirement did not seem to be as great as I thought it would be.
As a teacher I did not earn a lot of money, but the fringe benefits were very good. My wife and I financed our two sons while they were in college, until they had MS degrees. We were heavily in debt by the time they graduated. Gradually we paid off our debts, and our financial situation was stable. There was too little money for traveling like I had always wanted to do. My wife did not want to travel, she was perfectly happy staying at home, and taking one trip each year to see our sons and our two grand children. I wanted to do so much more, but we could not afford it.
In 2006 I discovered a diabetes support group online at Dlife.com. The support group there was a new found hobby for me. I soon joined other diabetes websites, and made many friends. Sharing my diabetes experiences with others was very rewarding. I helped my new friends, and they helped me. I was the only long term type 1 diabetic in most of the support groups, with more than 60 years of diabetes. My friends encouraged me to write a book about my life with type 1. That book was published in March, 2010. I was pleased with the hours I spent each day with my friends. I joined Facebook in late 2010, and found many more diabetes support groups. The parents of diabetic children were encouraged to find a long term type 1 diabetic who had good diabetes health. In July, 2013, I attended the Friends For Life Conference in Orlando, FL. It was a wonderful experience. So many great discussions, pictures taken with friends, and good food. My wife went with me to the FFL in 2015. I was a speaker that year, and I want to do that again.
More recently, health problems began to emerge. My wife needed a knee replacement in 2009, and in 2013 I had one of my knees replaced. My wife and I have arthritis, which slows us down, and makes many activities difficult. We don't know how much longer we can make those flights to Atlanta to visit our children. Our sons are very busy with their jobs, and they find it difficult to visit us each year. We live in New York, so we are are not physically able to pack up all our belongings and move south to Atlanta.
Without the online activity and communicating with my friends, life would have become incredibly boring. With my good health, working out at the gym, taking long walks, and my online activities, I am very content. I also do a lot of projects keeping our home in good shape. My wife is very happy tending her flower gardens, spending time with her hobbies, and communicating with the neighbors. We have been married 53 years. Now, after 71 years of type 1 and at age 77, my diabetes health is still good. Retirement is good, for both of us!!

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