Thursday, November 2, 2017

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.  Ironically, the month long salute to the need for healthcare improvements and ultimately, a cure for T1D, culminates with a blue-ribbon wearing explosion on November 14th.  The irony for a mama of two with T1D, is that special day, happens to also be my birthday. 

Weird, right?

Since 2006, my BIG birthday wish has remained unchanged.  Each and every year, when I blow out the candles, I take a moment to think long and hard about what I hope to have come true.  In the early years, I wished for nothing more than a cure.  However, over time, I have adapted my desire to include things like:

"More acceptance"

"Less burden of care"

"No limitations"

"Long and healthy life"

This year, eleven years post dx, my wish has evolved to include perhaps the most simple desire of all. 


As I skim through the many T1D sharing sites, the news of November is National Diabetes Month is riddled with with hurt, fear and sadness.  While the reality is that in order to receive more funding for pediatric and adult research, often the news must reflect a call to action that shares the worst parts of living with an incurable disease,  this 'bad news stream' also damages the patient's ability to positively cope with the care required UNTIL there is a cure. 

For all of us, I want to remind the world of the many gifts that we can also celebrate while living with T1D.

  • Success in developing and creating insulin in 1922 thanks to Dr. Banting.  
  • Producing the first chemically synthesized insulin in 1963 thanks to Dr. Sanger.
  • Improving injection therapy to include the first insulin pen in 1985 thanks to Novo Nordisk.
  • Releasing the first insulin pump in 1992 thanks to Medtronic.
  • Performing the first islet cell transplant surgery in 2000.
  • Creating the closed loop pancreas project thanks to the University of Cambridge in 2013.  
  • Developing the iLet thanks to Dr. Ed Damiano in 2015.  
  • 2017 Medtronic's release of the next generation insulin pump and beyond..... the sky is the limit!  

These reminders of advancements in care might bring happiness and a reminder of why we also celebrate November is National Diabetes Month.  While we need to continually push to receive the funding necessary to find better improvements and ultimately, a cure, we also must take time to review where we once were and how much better our lives with T1D have become. 

Happiness isn't saying that we accept T1D as our fate forever, but it is the key to unlocking the positively of living life - no matter what - as fully and completely as we can. 

And with T1D, accepting happiness is almost as good as insulin.