Friday, November 16, 2012

No Fanfare Or Glory

Every few days.  Like clockwork.  I go through the motions, but don't really think about what I'm doing.

Filling another reservoir for my insulin pump.  With the substance that keeps me alive.

Insulin.  It's such a simple thing, so much a part of my life I don't even really think about it.

Except on Wednesday.  Wednesday was World Diabetes Day.  And the birthday of Dr. Frederick Banting, the man who discovered insulin.

I don't think of myself as a sick person.  As a person with a disease.  But as I stood there, drawing the insulin from the glass bottle down into my pump reservior, I was reminded that I am.

As much as I don't like to think about it, Type 1 Diabetes is a disease.  And prior to 1922, it was a death sentence.  The work of Banting, Best, and the other men involved have saved so many lives.  They saved my life.  The lives of so many of my friends.

A bottle of insulin is such a tiny little thing.  Not much fanfare, not much glory.  But when you think about it, it's kind of miraculous to stand there and hold a bottle of the substance that keeps you alive in your hands.  And to think about all the people who died before insulin was discovered.  And the people still dying today for lack of access. 

Without this tiny bottle of insulin, I would have died at age 10.  The last 20 years of my life--poof!--gone.  I am so thankful and grateful for everyone involved in the discovery of insulin.  I quite like being alive.

If you've not read the book Breakthrough, I highly recommend it.  It changed the way I look at insulin.  It's a lengthy and emotionally intense read, but completely worth it.  Dr. Banting and Elizabeth Hughes are forever etched in my memory.

So Happy (Belated) Birthday, Dr. Banting.  Thank you for being so doggedly determined, and refusing to give up despite the odds.  What you discovered keeps me alive each and every day.

Thank you.


  1. Indeed. Thank you. For all the people alive today because of his discovery. Thanks for writing this, Jess.

  2. I agree that the book is a must-read. Marjorie the dog! I'll never forget her. (At the same moment, I am not 100% sure that I got her name right.)

  3. Isn't it kind of mind-boggling how such a small bottle of "stuff" does so much for us?

    Powerful post, Jess. Thank you.

  4. Some people are bottle babies...and others of us are bottle adults. My only regret is that these bottles don't come with a cork like champagne, because every time I open one it's a celebration of life!

  5. So true that we just go through the motions with that amazing little bottle of liquid life. It's hard to think that there wouldn't be life without it.
    Thank you, Banting, Best, et al for your life giving work!!

  6. I love this post! I feel incredibly fortunate to have access to those little vials of life.