Living with diabetes blog

A life not defined by diabetes

By Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. and Peggy Moreland, R.N. November 24, 2010

During this Thanksgiving season, I'd like to pay a small tribute to Gladys Dulls. Who's Gladys Dulls? She's one of the first people with type 1 diabetes to take insulin, following insulin's discovery in 1922. She's also one of the longest survivors with type 1 diabetes.

In November 1924, at the age of seven, Gladys became deathly ill and was diagnosed with diabetes. Gladys was instructed to eat meat and avoid carbohydrates in an attempt to control her blood glucose. At this time, insulin had just been discovered, but very few physicians had access to the new miracle drug.

Gladys' family scraped together enough money for a train trip to Rochester, Minn., and took Gladys to the Mayo Clinic. Gladys received her first insulin injection and has since taken 60,000 + more. By 2007, Gladys had been on insulin therapy for 83 years — longer than any person in history. Gladys didn't let diabetes slow her down. She got married, had a son, worked part-time for 30 years in a portrait studio, and was a snowmobile rider and hiker.

After doing some internet research, it appears Gladys passed away in 2008 at the age of 91. If anyone knows anything different, please let me know. Gladys attributed her longevity to her rigorous self-discipline. She said, "I am careful to eat the right foods and to not eat too much food." Genetics also played a role in protecting her against diabetes complications.

Here's to you, Gladys Dull, for the strength and courage to lead a life not defined by your diabetes.

Your thoughts?

Have a good week.

-Nancy

Nov. 24, 2010