Book – 61 years of Carb Counting

My Life with Diabetes – 61 years of Carb Counting

‘My Life with Diabetes’ by Tony Huzzey.
ISBN 078-1-907611-83-4 Price £9.99

This is a book by Tony Huzzey who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 12 years old – 61 years ago. IDDT can proudly claim that Tony has been a member of IDDT almost since we first formed and he is an inspiration to children and adults with Type 1 diabetes.

He has lead an enjoyable, successful and socially useful life which makes interesting reading in itself but he recounts his life with diabetes in a way that makes readers realise that his diabetes was just another facet of his life. It did not override his ambitions, his triumphs or his enjoyment of life. In the book he frequently suggests that parents of children with Type 1 diabetes should take note.

At 12 years old, Tony was treated by the famous Dr Laurence who himself had Type 1 diabetes. From the outset Tony was encouraged to ‘fight back’ by accepting personal responsibility for the maintenance of his own health and this he undoubtedly did! In 1950, the treatment of diabetes was very different from now and the overriding thing that struck me about Tony’s life was the relative simplicity of managing his diabetes successfully because he followed the rules and carb counting. I wondered if he followed the rules because of this simplicity which helped him to understand what was happening to his blood glucose levels and why. If so, are there some messages here for today’s treatment?

He managed his diabetes by the basic golden rules – twice daily insulin, carb counting and exercise. If his blood sugars were high, his first thought was not to inject more insulin which would have a knock on effect later, but to go for a walk or a cycle ride. Yes, the diet was somewhat restricted and not today’s philosophy of eat anything you like and match it with insulin – but it worked. He did not have to worry about injections at lunch time at school or at work, he ate similar amounts of carbohydrate at each meal and he used less aggressive animal insulin, so the pattern of his blood sugars was regular and predictable. And 61 years later he’s here telling us all about it.   

The book is well worth reading and perhaps provides parents of today’s generation of children with Type 1 diabetes with a different perspective of basic diabetes management, remembering that he did not have the luxury of blood glucose testing. Above all it shows how, with encouragement and self confidence, he led a fulfilling and happy life. Diabetes today must seem a huge burden to children, so much testing, so many injections and of course, the risks of hypos with tight control. Tony’s way may seem old-fashioned, but he does not come over as being under pressure in the same way that diabetes management seems to be to today’s children.

Note: If you would like a signed copy of Tony’s book, you can order it through IDDT by sending a cheque for £10.00 payable to Tony Huzzey to IDDT, PO Box 294, Northampton NN1 4XS.