It’s World Diabetes Day!

insulin 1921 stampIn 1891 on November 14th, Frederick Banting was born. Banting and his colleague Charles Best discovered insulin in 1921. I’ve had type 1 diabetes for 34.5 years, and without the discovery of insulin, I would have long been dead.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the beta cells, which are the cells that make insulin. Without insulin, the body can’t get glucose from the blood stream into the cells. Slowly, the body starves as the glucose in the blood gets higher and higher. Beta cells also produce another hormone called Amylin. Amylin slows the rate of glucose entering the blood stream, making it a short-term regulator of blood glucose levels. My body attacks beta cells completely, so I also don’t have Amylin. Diabetes is one complicated disease.

I’m grateful I am able to wear an Animas insulin pump. I’ve worn a pump for almost 21 years. There’s nothing easy about living every day with type 1 diabetes. There are zero vacations from diabetes. The one thing I am grateful to diabetes for is the amazing community of people I have met as a result of having diabetes.

Today, November 14th, is World Diabetes Day. The whole month of November is Diabetes Awareness Month. In my life, having survived breast cancer twice, I go from Breast Cancer Awareness right into Diabetes Awareness. The color for Breast Cancer is pink. The color for Diabetes is blue. This month I’m wearing lots of blue.

When I woke up this morning, I realized my insulin pump was almost out of insulin. So my second diabetes act of the day was to change the infusion site and fill up the pump with more insulin. I change my infusion site every three days. That means in 20 years of wearing a pump, I’ve changed the infusion site about 2,433 times. Changing the infusion site means jabbing myself with a nice long needle, to get the catheter in, so it can deliver the insulin subcutaneously.

My first diabetes act of the day was testing my blood sugar. I test a minimum of 6 times a day. Some days I test as many as 20 times. Thankfully, now that I wear a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor, which measures the glucose in my interstitial fluid every 5 minutes, and gives me an excellent graph of the way my blood sugar is trending, I can get away with fewer finger sticks. Since my fingers have some serious callouses, after more than 32 years of blood testing, they are glad that I can test fewer times each day!

Red Rider for World Diabetes DayIn honor of World Diabetes Day, I decided to go for a bike ride!! I found one organized by the bike club I am a member of, Twin Cities Bike Club, TCBC. I got all bundled up and rode the 5 miles to the start of the ride. The day was super sunny and it wasn’t that cold. Amazing for November in Minnesota! I rode a total of 37.2 miles. And the bike ride was recorded on Fitbit!

I got a Fitbit two days ago and I’m participating in an exciting Fitbit/FitForGood campaign. You don’t even have to have a Fitbit to participate!! It’s a bit of a competition between the American Heart Association, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the American Diabetes Association. Each of the three will win money, and the organization that logs the most steps will win the most: $500,000. Second place will win $350,000. Third place will win $150,000.

You can enter and start today and help us Stop Diabetes!! The step counting goes from November 9th to November 20th. So far, the American Diabetes Association is in 3rd place, so we really need you to join!!!!!! 29 million Americans have diabetes. Please take action today and start stepping! Thanks!!

Worldwide, there are 415 million people with diabetes. It is a world epidemic. Awareness is critical. Hug someone with diabetes. Tell them they matter.

Mari Cycling Nov 14 2015
Happy World Diabetes Day to you from me!!



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4 thoughts on “It’s World Diabetes Day!”

  1. Your ride inspired me to do something similar for World Diabetes Day… I did a 15 mile ride in the chilly Chicago suburb.

    Tomorrow I’ll join two of my friends (and fellow Red Riders) on a 35 mile ride.


    • David,
      Glad you got out for a ride!!! I’m going on another ride in just a little bit today!!! This midwest weather is incredible!
      Go Red Rider right back at you!!!

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