Very Old, Very Healthy Diabetic

...or die trying.
I was diagnosed in 1998 at the age of 33 with NIDDM or Type 2 diabetes. I come from a diabetic clan. I even married a diabetic. Are you on the diabetes road, too?
This is my goal: to become a very old, very healthy diabetic by day to day choices regarding eating, exercise and medical management. Walk along with me...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The debt we owe to dogs

I'm recommending a book for any and all diabetics to read. It's The Discovery of Insulin by Michael Bliss. (This may be the only time to ever do a search on the combined words "insulin" and "bliss". )

It is a great insight into the history of diabetes and the treatment of people with diabetes. The book does get a little dry, but if you've gotten your undergraduate degree, you've tackled worse, I'm sure. And I won't ask for a paper.

There were two main points that I took from this book.

One is that the first actual patient treated with the largely untested concoction that contained insulin was still alive in the early 1980s when this book was written. That's encouraging to me, that she could live, be relatively healthy, throughout all those years without meters, without testing, without quality control. Wowee!

Today is a very good time to be a diabetic. I'd much rather be a diabetic today, than 100 years ago, no matter what type.

The second main point is that this testing and the discovery of insulin relied so heavily on the medical experimentation on dogs. My vegan friends would be horrified at this, and, when one can test without killing dogs (and they killed dogs), I think one should test without killing dogs or other animals. But the testing on dogs allowed many, many human lives to be saved. I'm not going to offer an opinion on animal experimentation or on stem cell research. That's for others to decide.

Most dogs I know would willingly give up their lives for the people who care for them. Dogs are like that. Dogs are, in my opinion, the embodiment of the ideas of hope, service, and loyalty. Somedays, I wish I were more like my dog.

There is another story I know of, of dogs contribution to the advancement of medical knowledge, and that's the Vivien Thomas and Dr. Alfred Blalock contribution to heart surgery. Their story is told poignantly elsewhere. I would highly recommend learning more about it. There's a couple of DVD presentations I found at my library, including a movie entitled "Something The Lord Made" staring Mos Def & Alan Rickman. There is a non-fiction TV program from PBS entitled "Partners of the Heart." I would highly recommend them both.

The movie shows a scene of Mr. Viven Thomas, played so well by actor Mos Def, grieving over a dog who had had their surgical procedure, but who had died. I found it very moving. I know, I'm a softy. (We have three foster kittens from the Oregon Humane Society at home right now.)

Diabetics owe a great debt to dogs. Can you find a way to honor dogs for their service to humans, and specifically to diabetic humans? Even if you're not an animal person, if you're a diabetic, you have benefitted from the sacrifices of dogs. Could you adopt a dog from a rescue organization? Could you give a monetary gift to an organization that helps dogs? Could you open your heart more fully to dogs, even if you cannot have one in your life?

If you're able to, please do.

If you're really brave, you could even adopt a diabetic dog. Who better?


  • At 9:19 PM, Anonymous Megan said…

    Sounds interesting, I'll have to check it out.


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