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: Alta Firman Getman
Age: 43 (diagnosed at 12)
Location: Seattle, Washington
I am 43 years old and have been living with type 1 diabetes for 31 years. My blood glucose levels were well over 1000 mg/dl and I weighed only 79 pounds when I was diagnosed. It’s been a long journey, but I am still going strong.
I have two healthy grown kids, I work out every day and I eat as healthfully as I can. It’s paid off because I am still complication free after all of this time! I have been a pumper for 16 years and have had a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) for just over a year. The combination has made handling diabetes much more manageable.
Being positive about my condition is the best way to handle all of the challenges of diabetes (and there are a lot of them!). I have my share of battle wounds but am living a healthy, strong life!
For me, the greatest improvements in diabetes care have been insulin pump technology and more recently the CGM. It is priceless to be able to see where your levels are trending so that you can make corrections before your levels get too high or low. Also, I went from 8 to 10 multiple daily injections before I went on the pump, so it definitely changed my life.
My main motivators for staying healthy are my kids and my fitness. Without stable levels, I would not be a healthy mom nor would I be able to work out every day. A strong, functioning body keeps me feeling good and helps keep my levels stable. After 31 years, I am still complication free and I want to keep it that way!
To someone who is newly diagnosed, I would say a few things. First, it’s okay to be mad, sad and tearful. It’s a grieving process for some, so allow yourself to go through that process.
Also, know that it WILL get frustrating because there are days that no matter what you do, your diabetes will still do its own thing. But you can’t give up. Diabetes will always be with you and giving up on it will only makes things worse.
Finally, try your best to stay positive. It’s okay to be down about it and grieve about it, but do it for a few minutes and then MOVE FORWARD. Being upset all the time will not make your diabetes go away (in fact, it could make it worse). It’s a part of your life now. Take control as best as you can – and when it doesn’t go your way, keep going anyway!