When it comes to living with Type I Diabetes I'm impatient and frustrated. Since my first insulin shot in 1994 I've looked every day for the announcement for a cure. Sheila Thorne lived with it for over 80 years - receiving her first shot from the discoverer of insulin.
Before Dr. Frederick Banting made his Nobel Prize winning discovery a diagnosis of diabetes meant death - either from starvation or hyperglycemia. Luckily for Sheila Thorn, she was taken to see the pioneering doctor shortly after her diagnosis. He gave her a shot of the wonder drug way back in when Franklin Roosevelt was president. Mrs. Thorn passed away recently and according to a BBC article she was reputed to be one of the longest lived Type I Diabetics. She went from an era when insulin from cows and pigs was injected to the era of insulin pumps that many of us take for granted.
As I think back to what living with diabetes was like when I started that hapter of my life and compare it to the advances we have now, I am ashamed with my impatience when compared to what Mrs. Thorne lived through. I keep looking for the latest news and research ideas being investigated and I chafe at the glacial pace of treatments that will make diabetes a less debilitating and intrusive part of my life. From Mrs. Thorn we can learn two things. One is that we can live a long, fruitful life with diabetes. Part of that came from her parents. "My mother was particularly keen for me to be a normal little girl and not be seen as an invalid," she said. She must have taken that to heart. "Growing up, I never let diabetes get in the way of anything." We could all step back and think about that.
As for my impatience, Mrs. Thorne leaves another bit of advice from her 80 years of living with diabetes. "I've seen a lot of changes in the way people use insulin and these days I use an insulin pump to control my own condition." I can learn from both her patience and her willingness to stay in the front of using new developments to make the most of life with diabetes.