Recently we asked our Facebook community to tell us about people who have lived long and well with diabetes – people who have lived 20, 30 or even 40 years or more with the disease. Having received a lot of great responses, we’re privileged to present these favorites on the blog this week. We’re hope you’re as inspired by these personal stories as we are!
Name: Cyndie Gantt Owen
Age: 52 (diagnosed at 4)
Location: Silver Lake, Ind.
I was diagnosed type 1 diabetes in 1966 and am now 52. Fortunately I am in good health, thanks to my mom’s excellent care so long ago in the dark ages of diabetes management.
I have heart issues that began in 2008, partly due to family genetics and partly due, they expect, to my lifelong dance with diabetes. Other than that, I have no other complications and I know I am a very lucky girl.
My hubby and I have two kids: a 26-year-old daughter and a 23-year-old son who was diagnosed with type 1 at age 10. That rocked our world, but thankfully he is doing well!
We both use insulin pumps and they are life-savers. We’ve been waiting for, hoping for, a diabetes cure for a very long time, though.
Diabetes has given us a unique bond and understanding of each other, typically over the negative parts of our lives, such as: “I’m low” or “My set hurts…” We have our own type of fun though too, like giving each other a high-five for a good glucose reading after a tricky meal like pizza! Or laughing over the looks we get when one of us says in public, “I’m high. . .” The fact that he and I can relate to one another has offered a built-in support system. I would prefer that he and I have didn’t have this bond, though, if you know what I mean!
There have been so many advancements since my diagnosis, and so many more on the horizon that are exciting. The glucose meter was HUGE for me! Looking back at former testing options, I don’t know how any of us survived as well as we did. And then there’s the insulin pump. My life completely turned around when I obtained my first pump in 1995. It offered flexibility that I had never known, and I cannot imagine my life (or my son’s) without it.
My motivation for diabetes management is threefold:
* Because my mom took such good care of me in the beginning, I strive to continue her good work, out of my love and respect for her and all she sacrificed back then.
* Because I love my hubby and kids.
* Because I want to be as healthy as I can be, for me! On the days that diabetes does not play fairly (which is most days), I just remind myself I am stronger than it is. My friends and I like to say we are kicking Big-D’s butt.
If you’re new to diabetes, or a parent of a child with diabetes: Hugs! Although your whole world is spinning at this moment, you will survive. Find a buddy and support group as soon as possible.
Find an American Diabetes Association or JDRF walk to join. You will be amazed to see how many of us there are, and that you are not alone.