Thank you, thank you, thank you Dr. Frederick Banting for being born (on November 14, 1891) and for working so hard to discover insulin along with your buddies Dr. Best and Marjorie, the dog. I have a lot of thoughts about insulin, but because I’d definitely bore you if I went on with all of them, I’ll just share a few. In a list format. Because I love lists.
1) To use the word “grateful” or “thankful” or anything like that in regard to my feelings about insulin feels like the understatement of the century. Prior to the discovery of insulin, children who were stricken with T1D seldom lived longer than a year after diagnosis. Dr. Banting’s discovery was literally life-giving serum as it replaced the hormone a body with T1D stops producing. It was live-saving in 1922, and it is still life-saving today, in 2017. How do you come up with a “thank you” for something that literally saves your husband’s life every day?
2) Insulin therapy is the only treatment for T1D, but there are an array of both injectable and oral medications to treat Type 2 Diabetes, the kind of diabetes that affects most of the patients that I work with. Far too often (in my opinion) insulin is used as a “last resort” treatment for people with Type 2 Diabetes. I hear SO often, “Oh, my neighbor (or whoever) has to take insulin because his diabetes is REALLY bad.” Inside I laugh and then cry a little, because really, are we now so astute at judging and labeling each other that we can include medical diagnoses, along with a level of severity? Come on. Using insulin as a treatment for Type 2 Diabetes is an attempt to replace a really, really important hormone in the body that just isn’t working the way it’s supposed to anymore, plain and simple. Different treatment regimens work for different people, and there is nothing bad or worse or anything about including insulin if it helps bring blood sugar numbers to target. Because I’ve had to stifle a rant about this several times already, I’ll direct you to Dlife.com, where there is a fantastic article that elaborates on the topic: http://dlife.com/diabetes-simplified-insulin.
3) How amazing is science? I mean almost a century ago a couple of guys were able to figure out how to extract insulin from dogs and cows and see it decrease blood sugar levels in another animal. That is nothing short of amazing, and I just need to say that science is awesome and I did not overtly love it in school, but man do I love it in real life. Do me a favor and help your children see science with vigor even when it feels painfully difficult, could you? I will do the same. Who knows what great discovery we could be inspiring.
4) I can’t talk about insulin without talking about education because education when initiating insulin therapy is a critical need. Access to education and support from a diabetes educator is so important at this juncture and throughout one’s efforts in diabetes management. Do I think so because I am an educator? Probably. Do I also think so because I have witnessed the power of education and support in Kevin’s life with T1D? Absolutely. Healthcare is edging out education these days. We can’t let them. If you are not getting the support that you need for your diabetes management, demand it. You deserve it.
5) Finally, since the point of World Diabetes Day is to spread awareness, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share a resource for assessing Type 2 risk. You can check out the American Diabetes Association’s Type 2 Diabetes Risk Test at: http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/diabetes-risk-test/?referrer=https://www.google.com/
6) I am going to celebrate World Diabetes Day by practicing insulin gratitude all day long. Maybe we’ll sing it a little “Happy World Diabetes Day to youuuu” song at dinner as Kevvo carb counts and doses. I will feel utter and deep gratitude as he carries out this irritating and cumbersome meal-time process. Thank goodness he has the insulin to do it with.