Lisa and Val,
Glad to know my great-aunt has inspired you.
I wish I knew more about her story, but she lives 1000 miles away so I don't see her often. She is my mom's godmother, so everything I know about my great-aunt I've learned through my mom.
I do know that she was diagnosed at age 16 in Havana, Cuba. (My entire family is from Cuba - they left soon after Fidel Castro took over). Because things were so archaic then, the most important "treatment" doctors taught her was to treat food like poison. "Only eat when you are hungry. Unfortunately because of your diabetes, food is bad for you. It will kill you." And although I don't think I could ever adopt that mentality (I live to eat!), it has worked for her. She has never been on an insulin pump - just does MDI. Because she is so afraid of eating, she has more issues with lows than highs. She has to wake up in the middle of the night to check herself because she has had such trouble with highs. She is very very thin. I actually don't fully understand her insulin regimen because it is so different from what I have experienced. But whatever it is, it has worked for her - she doesn't have any typical complications - sight, other organs, nerves - all are doing well for her age.
I think because she had the "food=poison" mentality drilled into her head for such a long time, she has an incredible willpower. I wish I had it!