Back in 1946

I remember when my family visited my grandparent's house for a family reunion in 1946. My parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts were all gathered in the living room and I was in an adjacent room playing with my cousins. The door to the living room was closed and their talking became so quiet. I pressed my ear to the door and listened. Someone asked my parents if I was going to die. None of my relatives knew anything about diabetes, but they knew it was very serious, and could lead to my death back then. My mother said she did not know what might happen to me, and that the doctor did not know either. The rest of their conversation is all a blur, but hearing that conversation left a permanent impression and a fearful memory that I will never forget. Playing with my cousins no longer interested me that day, or the next. At six or seven years of age, I knew something about death, and I was very frightened. There are many painful memories like that from my childhood, and I have revealed some of them in my blogs and my book. 

I do not remember my relatives saying they were sorry for me, or asking why I couldn't eat this or that. Relatives never talked to me about diabetes until I was much older, and even then it was just a quick "How is your diabetes?" and then the conversation changed. People we talked to, and even friends, were not told any details about my diabetes. I did not discuss it with my friends until I was in college. There was still little or no knowledge about diabetes in the general public for many years to come.

Now, in the year 2011, all the people in that living room have died, except for mother's youngest brother. Some of my cousins, younger than me, have also died. Old man Richard is still hanging on and healthy as a horse, after 65 years of type 1. Is this all a dream, or has it really happened? In ten more years I will receive my second Joslin medal, for 75 years of living with diabetes. If it is just a dream, I don't ever want to wake up.

Awesome Richard!! I have been T1 for 30 years and am aiming for the 50 year medal. I didn't know there was one for 75 years, but now I have something else to aim for once I get the 50 year medal. Congrats and keep up the good care and positive attitude!

Richard you are an inspiration.  I am on 35 years! 

Richard, you are such an idol for me! I want to be just like that someday, it's so amazing how you have beaten the disease and lived such a long life!! 

Yes Richard you inspire me. 55 and type1 for 21/2 years.

You're a real trailblazer, Richard.

You were part of the generation that first discovered diabetes and how to actually treat it, and you've been witnessed all the evolution since, and managed to overcome all the shortcomings in-between and still hang out with us who've been diagnosed in an age of endless possibilities.

Awesome stuff in that post.

I'm so glad I found Juvenation. Richard you are an inspiration! It's great to hear you can have a long healthy life even though you have Diabetes. I'm 53 years old and a complication free type 1 of 43 years. I'm glad to know I can still look forward to many more years of enjoying life.


Richard you are just awesome! I can't imagine the fear and worry your parents went through back then. Having a 3 year old with this disease myself, you are an inspiration to what his life can be. Thank you for putting your story out there for us!

Thank you friends! These websites have allowed me the opportunity to express these feelings to people who can relate. That means so much to me. I have kept so much bottled up inside me for much too long!! That is one reason I wrote my book.

Anad many more Richard!