Hamilton Diabetes and Endocrinology Center patient has been living well with diabetes for more than 80 years

DALTON, Ga. – In 1934, Franklin D. Roosevelt was president, the Great Depression continued to ravage the U.S. economy and the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. In Columbus, Kans., a 2-year-old toddler, Frank Newby, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Life expectancy in the 1930s for someone with diabetes typically averaged 35 to 40 years of age.

Now at 85 years old, Newby, a Hamilton Diabetes and Endocrinology Center patient, says his greatest success with managing diabetes is, “Staying alive, and that all of my extremities are working just fine.”

At a young age, he chose to learn as much as possible to live a successful healthy life with diabetes. At age 7, he began learning the science behind diabetes, including the cause and effect relationship.

At the time of his diagnosis, treatment and management of type 1 diabetes remained in its infancy and was limited. Blood glucose meters did not exist, and a process known as Benedict’s testing was the only approved method of glucose testing. Disposable insulin syringes were not yet developed, so Newby used a non-disposable glass syringe and needle. Each day, the syringe required sterilization through means of boiling distilled water and sharpening the needle with a very fine pumice stone. Newby’s mother provided healthy meals and placed him on a strict dietary regimen.

Life expectancy in the 1930s for someone with diabetes typically averaged 35 to 40 years of age.

In the 1980s, Newby began using home blood glucose monitoring which revolutionized his diabetes care. He was able to administer insulin more accurately and precisely, knowing his exact blood glucose readings. Newby implemented insulin pump therapy approximately 15 years ago and now uses a continuous glucose monitoring device which is integrated with his insulin pump. Insulin pump therapy allowed him to enjoy a larger variety of foods.

Despite the multiple challenges Newby faced with diabetes, he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Kansas and later received his PhD in 1963. He has created an endowed scholarship fund for undergraduates in physical science (chemistry, chemical engineering, physics and material science) at the school.

Newby received a diabetes medal from the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, Mass., in 2010 for recognition of 75 years of “Exceptional Achievement in Living Courageously with Diabetes.” In 2017, he also received an “Outstanding Lifetime Achievement” award from the Joslin Diabetes Center for the 80-plus years of “Living Courageously with Diabetes.”

Newby’s advice to individuals newly diagnosed with diabetes is to avoid panicking and learn as much as possible concerning diabetes while working in conjunction with your health care team. Learning to count carbohydrates accurately and dose insulin continues to be the cornerstone of effective glucose control for Newby.

Newby lives in Dalton with his family and enjoys woodworking, drawing and sketching plans for his woodworking hobby. He also enjoys reading and expanding his knowledge regarding the evolution and development of improving technology and science. His primary goal is to remain physically active as much as possible and to continue his journey of living life successfully with diabetes.

“Dr. Newby’s dedication has truly been an inspiration to me as well as everyone within our practice,” says Brooke Green, NP-C. “It is my hope that Dr. Newby’s story will encourage and motivate individuals living with diabetes in our community.”