Wow have times changed.

For those of us who have been living with diabetes for a long time, we know how much things have changed in regard to its treatment.  I was diagnosed in 1981 when things were quite, quite different.  At the very beginning,  I didn’t test my blood glucose.  At all. And it wasn’t because I was being “non compliant”, it was because we didn’t have a glucose meter.    The method of testing glucose levels at that time was with urine.  I also didn’t take multiple daily injections throughout the day.  It was probably one or two, split up between morning and evening.  And as much as we know that things are not like that anymore, I came across something recently that reminded me of just that.  My mother came across this book that they had gotten for me, pretty soon after diagnosis.

It’s a workbook explaining diabetes in terms that are understandable to a child.  There were some fill in the blanks/Q & A’s that I had completed, God knows when, that was interesting to see.  But what really blew me away was reading this:

“Most persons with diabetes should attempt to get values in the range of 10%“.  WHAT??!?  Did I read that correctly?  The advice to people with diabetes was to aim for an average blood sugar of around 240?!  So all those years when my a1c was exactly that, around 10%, I was considered doing good? I assume that the different guidelines for controlling diabetes today, came from research.  And more of it.  And the advanced technology introduced from said research.  But to see this in writing, even so many years after my father’s generation of those living with diabetes, astounds me.  No wonder diabetes was once seen as a death sentence.  No wonder complications were inevitable.  No wonder the quality of life for living with diabetes was left to be desired.  I have to say that I am glad I am in the time now where the aim of a1c is 7% or lower.  I am glad I am in the time where I have the ability to monitor my glucose levels continuously with the help of a monitor.  I am glad I am in the time where I can control my insulin delivery more easily with an insulin pump.  And the times of diabetes are going to contiunue to change.  And for that, I’m very thankful.

11 thoughts on “Wow have times changed.

  1. Wow! Thanks so much for sharing this – coming across the “artifacts” of our childhoods with diabetes is always pretty poignant, and a good reminder of how far things have progressed.

  2. FWIW, when I was diagnosed in 2002, all the literature said the range of “normal” (aka non-diabetic) A1c was 3.5 – 5.0%. The labs my doctor uses all have “normal” reference ranges of 4.5 – 6.0%. I obviously aim to keep < 6.0% (reasonable for me, with diet-controlled Type 2), which equates to an average blood glucose level of 126 mg/dl — but if damage begins at a persistent level of 110 mg/dl, shouldn’t I be aiming to stay below 5.5%? And the “100 mg/dl is normal average” camp would say one should aim to be at about 5.0%.

    If all of these conflicting “standards” confuse you, consider what it’s like for the average PWD (generally lower-income T2, often with educational and/or language disadvantages)…

  3. Wow. Amazing. Now, if that was a multiple choice, I would’ve taken the first one… but it doesn’t seem like that was how the question was laid out and it was saying any of those three was OK… mind-blowing, indeed. Certainly does show how times have changed, especially since the advant of personal BG testing meters that we all have now.

  4. That is incredible. Caleb’s first doctor explained something simular – that 20 years ago 12 was the norm. So really, the difference of .2 or .5 from quarter to quarter when you are achieving 5s, 6s, 7s or even 8s really seems like nothing in comparison, doesn’t it?

  5. Wow! Makes me feel very blessed to be diagnosed a decade later. Still strange when I think back to what I was told when diagnosed. We are so lucky that people choose to study this disease. Look what a difference 30 years makes, maybe a cure truly is possible

  6. Awesome post and well said. I am thankful for all of the technology and very blessed to have it. big hugs to all of you that had to live without it all. I know it wasnt’t easy. I am thankful for all of you-your stories are inspiring.

  7. Amazing. But I understand. I was diagnosed in early 1986. I had a meter, but we tested only a couple of times a day and insulin was 2 shots per day. Things were soooo very different. Even though I’d rather have a cure, I’m so thankful for the technology we have to help us stay as healthy as possible.

  8. I loved this book! I had several editions of it over the years as I got a copy at camp, at least for the first few years. I had lost all my copies though, so last year, I mentioned it in a post, and someone sent me a link to a used copy on amazon. Now I have a copy again. Dr. Travis who wrote it was my doctor at the University of Texas in Galveston before I moved to Philly when I was 12, and I loved him. As Cara says, back then, most of us were on a couple of injections per day, using exchange diets, and BG testing was new and way less frequent. I think there were plenty of people who still relied on urine testing too. I think 10% is reasonable considering the tools we had and the recommendations for care. While things are clearly different for us today, I don’t think it’s all that surprising if you take it into context, but I guess that’s just me.

  9. Hi! Your sister just gave me the link to your blog and looks like you have a lot of info about pumps. I’ve been on a pump for about 10 years and they called tonight asking if I wanted to upgrade to the Revel. Your sis said she thought that is what you had so I wondered if I could ask some questions. Email me if that’s ok 🙂 Great Blog!

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