After All These Years: Maureen Murray

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When Maureen "Moe" Murray was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in1954, she was told that she probably wouldn't live to adulthood. Ifshe did, she wouldn't be able to get pregnant, and if by somemiracle she did conceive, she would certainly miscarry. Fifty-twoyears later, she's a dynamo of a woman who's disproved every one ofthose dire predications.

Maureen recalls that when she was diagnosed, "the medical knowledgewe had was terribly limited. Blood sugar swings played havoc with myemotions. I was a twelve-year-old with low self-esteem. I feltundeserving of any good and ashamed of who I was, so my firstthought at the time of diagnosis was 'I deserve this disease.'"

In spite of the dearth of tools and knowledge at the time, family andfriends constantly pressured her with advice on how she should bemanaging better, making her feel helpless and out of control. As aresult, she strongly believes that the emotional repercussions ofdiabetes deserve as much, or more, attention as the physicalconsequences of diabetes.

As time passed, Maureen married a supportive man and had two healthychildren. She moved from New Jersey to Florida, where she found anally in the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) at the University ofMiami. There she became part of an interactive support group thatenhanced her self-confidence, and she found "a wonderfulpsychologist who gently guided me to discover my self-worth andtaught me how to handle anger and cope with stress."

Maureen describes her blood sugar control on multiple dailyinjections as erratic. "The long-acting insulin was not working inmy body. No matter what I did, the insulin was doing its ownthing." She knew that "the steady drip of short-acting insulin wouldcreate a better balance in my blood sugars. Before the pump, I waslike a boat in a storm. I knew it would take a lot more effort tolearn the pump, but once I learned it, it was clear sailing."

Sheadds that she tests over 17 times a day and has a treadmill andworkout station in her home, a regimen to which she attributes herfreedom from complications despite 52 years with diabetes.

Today, Maureen is a grandmother of two, a recipient of the JoslinFifty-Year Medalist Award, and a proud participant in their study ofpeople who have lived long and well with diabetes. She's also apassionate advocate for living life to the fullest.

"Diabetes hasforced me to live a more meaningful life," she says. "It has helpedme to become a more compassionate person and to make better choices.I feel that I have succeeded. I believe in myself and I love mylife, in spite of diabetes." She has just one unfulfilled wish: "Myprayer now is to be around when the cure is found."

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