Feeling Guilty about Feeling Guilty

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Feeling Guilty about Feeling Guilty

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Old 11-20-2013, 21:56   #1
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Default Feeling Guilty about Feeling Guilty

For many years now I have been thinking about the past and the fact I knew so little about my T1 diabetes. My doctors did not know much either. There were no T1Ds that I knew back then, in fact there were no types when I was diagnosed in 1945. Types were identified years later. I lived in a rural area in south central Virginia for my first 23 years. Given those circumstances, maybe I should not feel guilty about my ignorance, however, I now realize that there were parts of the country where many newly diagnosed diabetics had very good doctors who knew so much about diabetes. I have seen many fellow medalists post that they were patients of Dr Joslin in the Boston area. Dr Joslin specialized in T1, and he even wrote a book about T1 in the years 1900-1950. That book can still be read online...very interesting. If I had read that book in my younger years, I would have had much more stable control. Some medalists have written about knowing about carbs, and weighing their food. I never heard about carbs and their effect on T1 control until the lats 1980s.

Many days I feel guilty that I knew so little for so many years. Why? Well, I was in college 1957-63 and there were libraries where I could have researched T1D. Maybe Dr Joslin's book was there? I might have visited larger cities in Virginia and searched for a doctor who was more knowledgeable about my diabetes. I did visit a doctor in Richmond in 1970. He was the one who told me my life expectancy would have me die before I was 40. I was 31 at the time. HA! I hate doctors who use scare tactics!!!

My management in the 1945-1995 years left a lot to be desired, and I cannot help but feel guilty about that. There were things I could have done to learn more, but ignorance prevailed, anf I did nothing. Well, I avoided sugar, and that was the only advice my doctors gave me during my early years. I ate tons of food, all kinds, but avoided sugar. I thought I was doing everything appropriate to avoid complications.

I joined online diabetes support groups starting in 2006. There were some T1Ds who had been on diabetes message boards as far back as the mid 1990s. Why didn't I know about them? More guilt. Some of my long term online friends have known about carbs and carb counting many years before I did. Their diabetes management was so much better than mine until the current century. More guilt. I felt so grateful to find so much wonderful information online and I have had much better control.

More recently I have forgiven myself for these feelings. I have been a T1D for 68 years, and the only diabetes related complication I have is some mild nerve damage. Even if I knew all the things I know now during my early years, I might not be any healthier. It is time I stop feeling guilty. Sometimes I feel guilty for having felt guilty in the past, but that is a forgivable kind of guilt.
I have been Type 1 for 73 years. My A1c is 6.2. I pump with the MM 630, and I am using the Dexcom G5.
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Old 11-20-2013, 23:00   #2
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Richard, thank you for this post. Much of what you said applies to me too. I wish I could have a mulligan. I'd do it so differently. In fact I've only started researching and changing my management in the last 7 years. I joined this forum in the last 6 months and have learned more than in the previous 38.5 years. I'm very lucky not to have had more complications but I've had several. I don't feel guilty, just stupid and complacent. And angry at endos who didn't know much more than I did.

Ah, well. I can only go on from here and deal with what is.

Thank you sincerely.



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Old 11-21-2013, 01:58   #3
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Richard, that doesn't sound like guilt, just sadness or regret. To me, guilt is when you know better but don't practice it. Yours is regret that you didn't know enough to research it harder, but truly help wasn't really around for you to access. You did well and luck was on your side and you've done very well with what you know now and are spreading what you do know...

Just my 2 cents,

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Old 11-21-2013, 02:08   #4
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I have been a T1 since I was less than 2 years old. Diagnosed in 1970. Back then Drs knew much less than they do now and I am not thrilled with what they know today. For the first 13 years of my life I did not even have a meter. They did not start to be mainstream until sometime in the 80's. Keeping great control was not possible without a meter, so I feel no guilt about my younger years. After 40+ years with diabetes and the last 20ish having a1c's consistently near 5.5, I thought I was doing well but my 5.5's did not come without numerous highs and lows. Since joining this forum almost 2 years ago, my a1c is now consistently near 4.5. I have much fewer lows and much much fewer highs. My sugars are not perfect but much closer and safer than they were before. The thing that I am most mad about is in 2013 Drs still know way too little about how a diabetic should control their sugars. I do not like that I know way more than any Dr I have ever been to and I have been to many highly regarded Drs. I will say that I am very happy with my current Dr. She let's me do what I feel is best
Hopefully one day Drs will finally learn how to teach diabetics the best way possible for optimum, safe glucose management.

Sent from Tony's iPhone


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Old 11-21-2013, 07:39   #5
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And you have done so much to help others. There should be no guilt, regret, sadness or remorse.

We are all so very proud of you. I think of you as a parallel of Dr. Richard Bernstein.
A1c ~ 5.4
Follow LC/HF diet since Aug 2010
Control only with diet/exercise. No meds.

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Old 11-21-2013, 08:19   #6
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You did what you could -- far more than most of us do -- with the info at hand. Back when you were in college, there was no Google. Poring through the libraries you mention would have been a huge project, with (I'm guessing) about the same chaff-to-wheat ratio we find today.

How many of us were active on any message board in the 90s? Personally, I would've had trust issues with any board back then.

Glad that you've been able to drop the guilt. Now it's time to drop the guilt about the guilt. The fact that you are here now, and inspiring others to boot, is a testament to your hard work and sharing. More than enough to make up for any shortcomings, real or otherwise.

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Old 11-21-2013, 09:22   #7
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Regrets for missed opportunities? Yes. - But guilt? Absolutely not.

How can you have any guilt for a situation when the information wasn't available to you.

I don't know what the US public library system was like in the 1950s and 60s and can only assume that it was on a par with the UK system. There, even small rural libraries could obtain almost any book in print for you but to borrow it, you had to know it was there. Without knowing what you wanted, you were out of luck.

As Shaylnne said, without the search engines like Google and Yahoo, finding information even with the internet would be next to impossible.

I was lucky. My diagnosis happened after that infrastructure was in place and with the help of my BH I was able to take control almost at once. Had it happened twenty years before, particularly here in France I would have been forced to dutifully follow the guidelines offered by the hospital with consequences I don't care to think about.

You remain an inspiration to many others on the forum and elsewhere and whilst you are entitled to look back and think "I could have done better..." no-one else would consider that you did anything other than a superb job in impossible conditions.

Well done mate!
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:58   #8
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Yes Richard, I am glad you are able to get over the guilt, you have no reason to feel guilty. As I stated in previous post, we just did not have the tools or knowledge back then to take proper care of ourselves. You have certainly been an inspiration to all of us here and you are definitely part of the reason I am better off today than I was even 2 years ago. Thank you!!

Sent from Tony's iPhone

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Old 11-27-2013, 07:02   #9
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Richard, you are a hero to us. Fighting this disease for 68 years is just an inspiration. Continue to touch others and spread the knowledge about this sickness.

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