Daily Archives: November 14, 2011

Who needs Superman when there’s Banting and Best

Ahhh insulin, we’ve had quite the ride haven’t we. In the beginning, I thought for sure you were my enemy, and just like the scared, little kid I was, I avoided you at all costs, health included. But as we grew together, once I was forced to accept your wisdom, our relationship gradually evolved into something that is now quite beautiful. You could even describe it as BFF-like.

And so today, dear insulin, I give you homage.

Today is World Diabetes Day, and I’ll be honest, despite having this disease for more than 24 years, I had no clue that Nov. 14 was World Diabetes Day until just last month. It probably had something to do with the fact that I never really cared, and again, I’ll be honest, I’m still kind of dubious about the whole “day” thing. All day the Twitter feed, blogs, even my own email was buzzing with people expressing happiness about this day. I don’t know how many times I saw the phrase “Happy World Diabetes Day” posted. Really? Are we happy about diabetes? Really?

Diabetes, despite its many attempts, hasn’t ruined me. I’m alive. I’m healthy. I’m happy. But I’m not happy about this disease. So today, I will not say Happy World Diabetes Day. But I will say thank you to those super duper, totally awesome, Canadian superheroes (oh yeah, I’m totally giving Canada props here) for the invention of insulin.

In 1921 – 90 years ago!!! – Dr. Frederick Banting and med student Charles Best discovered that insulin taken from the pancreas of cows could save the lives of humans. It was like a miracle for us diabetics.


Charles Best (left) and Dr. Frederick Banting and pooch, one of their lab rats dogs (Source: University of Toronto archives)


The lab where diabetes magic was made. (Source: University of Toronto archives)

Before Banting and Best, before Humulin-R and NPH, Humalog and Lantus, Novorapid and Levimir (all insulins I have taken over the years), us diabetics were crammed into a hospital room and starved – like third-world country, hair falling out, belly extended starved – to enable us just a few more years on earth. Betting those weren’t exactly the most enjoyable years.

My life, while not always easy, has been nothing like that. I can eat chocolate, I can run marathons, I can have a love-hate relationship with the Grouse Grind, I can go to work every day. I can dream. I can live.

Thanks to Dr. Frederick Banting and Charles Best.

Insulin is not a cure, not even close, but it has given me, and thousands of others like me, life. So, for my parents, my siblings, my husband, my friends, myself, I thank you Banting and Best from the bottom of my healthy heart!

Yesterday’s trainer:

  • 3 p.m. BG before: 8.6
  • Temp. basal: -100 per cent (1 hour)
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • 4 p.m. BG after: 4.3
  • Temp. basal: +70 per cent (1 hour)