I have diabetes; diabetes does not have me! – by Ian Tonge

In this global postcard, we hear from Ian who was diagnosed with diabetes when he was only two years old. Times has changed since then, and with that, diabetes management and technologies. Ian reflects on these changes and the big changes in his life that has brought him here.

My name is Ian. I am 63 years old and have type 1 diabetes, diagnosed in times very different to the one we live in today. The rigidity expected from diabetes management was unrelenting and made it easy for me to push the boundaries as a very young child. These times were also when so much was missing from any form of effective management. It often caused people with diabetes diagnosed to have a future full of the promise of more misery. Even I was at a loss to understand how I managed to avoid such a future. 

One thing was for certain; I had always been determined to go out there and not allow anything to stop me from achieving my targets. Whilst I have always respected my diabetes, I wasn’t going to let it get in the way of my ambitions. 

Following on from my last retinopathy examination, I was delighted to be informed that I had the ‘eye-profile of someone without diabetes’! The consultant involved in this examination was amazed; apparently, he had never come across such a long-standing diabetic with zero complications and issues normally associated with such!

It was at this point that I decided I needed to tell my story to the rest of the diabetes world and beyond. This was drawn from a simple additional detail that made my story ever more amazing; please allow a short explanation here:

In 1985 I was involved in an accident I was never expected to have survived, diabetic or not. How many people have you heard who survived being out of their own car and being hit head-on by a car travelling at over 80 mph? It is less than a 1 in 10 chance you will survive when hit by a car doing 40 mph (~65km/h). Imagine that. 

Besides this, I have lived a fun-filled, exciting, enjoyable and successful life to this point. All I want to do now is to show others just how simple it has been for me to have such a wonderful life. Even when most has been spent attached to my type 1 diabetes. I believe that by sharing my memoirs, I will be able to show others just what can be done!