Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dear Doctor Banting, Best, MacCleod, & Collip

Dear Doctor Banting, Best, MacCleod & Collip:
I wanted to take a moment to Thank-You for giving me the gift of LIVING.
Because of you and your efforts, I've lived past the age of 8.
Instead of being yet another sad memory for parents who lost their child or loved one to an illness that offered no hope, I became a girl who not only lived but grew up to be a woman who is becoming.
Because of your diligence and hard work, I had many firsts.
My first kiss
My first love
My first heartbreak
Too many firsts to list without leaving so much out.
Because of the gift of your discovery, I was able to live and learn and continue to do so every day.
I became an Auntie multiple times and learned to love others more than myself.
I attended and graduated college.
I traveled to Europe and saw the wonders of Venice and Paris.
Because of you I was able to discover that I loved books, writing, performing, helping others manage their life with diabetes, and every shade of the color green.
I’ve swum with manatees, and I've climbed the Mexican pyramids on the longest day of the year.
I've worked at jobs I've loved, and I've worked in jobs I haven't.
I was able to see my niece perform on Broadway and cried tears of joy and pride.
And was incredibly grateful and proud.
If you never discovered insulin, I never would have met her, let alone watched her shine on “The Great White Way.”
I've been granted the gift of 12 wonderful nephews and nieces and have been know the joy of seeing each of them grow and become the wonderful & individual pieces of art that they are.

If you hadn’t had your own burning passion to save those of us with diabetes,
I never would have been able to discover my own passions.
I never would have lived, let alone blogged.
I wouldn't have a job helping others with Diabetes.

By your discovery of insulin, I was able to learn what I don’t like - which is also a great gift.
Reaching adulthood has taught me that I’m no fan of FOX News or MTV’s The Jersey Shore.
And that I prefer wine over beer, V-Necks over Crew Necks, and my GPS over a map any day of the week!
Because insulin was discovered, my father was able to have children, and my siblings and I were not only conceived but saved by your discovery - THANK YOU.
Thank you for not allowing my parents to lose three children and a grandson.
Thank you for giving my oldest sister the gift of motherhood 3 times over.
Thank you for allowing my nephew to graduate Berkley with honors and become a Professor of Literature.

Thank you for allowing both my t1 Aunts, my
and a t1 cousin to become mothers.
Thank you for giving every single one of my friends with diabetes the gift of living life and every single person with diabetes the opportunity to do so!
Thank you for my gifts of strength, tenacity, humor, and empathy. 
I strongly believe those traits were greatly enhanced by being a person who lives her life every single day with diabetes.
Sometimes I think in the bustle of life and looking for the cure, we forget that it wasn’t until 1922 that children and adults no longer died when being diagnosed with diabetes.
Up until then, diabetes was a death sentence.
Today diabetes a life sentence- and by “life sentence” I mean the ability to live life to the fullest EVERY SINGLE DAY.
I will admit, there are times in my life when I haven’t taken advantage of the act of living fully.
But now, I relish every moment big and small.
Little moments have just as much meaning as big ones – because I am here to experience them.

Do I want a cure in my lifetime? ABSOLUTELY!
I don’t want anyone else to be diagnosed with my disease. I don’t want another person to suffer mentally or physically because diabetes has entered their lives.
I am ready to say GOODBYE to Diabetes for good!

BUT I am so grateful for the gift of living that was given to me because of you all- 
I love you without ever having had the privilege of meeting you.
I think of you every day- and I say a prayer of thanks.
I want to live my best life not just for me and those I love, but for you.
You're the reason I'm alive.
To not live a great life would be a disservice to me AND you!
I will continue“becoming" and, not just for myself, but because really, who am not to?

I am the girl who lived and is now a woman who IS....and is BECOMING.
And I owe the fact that I am living to you all!
Kelly K

This letter was inspired by the above men - “ four horsemen of diabetes”. They saved millions of lives and without them, none of us would be here. Click HERE to read more about them.
But this letter was also inspired by a truly wonderful blog post written by Natural Born Cyborg that you MUST READ. Click HERE and check it out!


Kellys Blogs said...

K2. All I can say is amazing. Completely & utterly amazing. *clink*

Araby62 (a.k.a. Kathy) said...

Beautiful. I remember when I first read about Dr. Banting's museum online, this sentence from his son's dedication letter stood out:

"He received grateful letters from thousands of children with diabetes which he would read, late at night, with soft tears in his eyes. He knew insulin was not a cure."

I had friends in London, ON a while back and came close to visiting once...my message would have been a lot less eloquent: "Dear Dr. Banting--Type 1 diabetes, alive 27 years after diagnosis. No complications. THANK YOU."

Cherise said...


Penny said...

Thank you Kelly! Thank you for being YOU too and for helping out those who are new to this journey!

Jillavieve said...

Absolutely breathtaking! It brought tears to my eyes - it's so important for us to remember how "good we have it" compared to those who were afflicted by diabetes in the past, without the wonders of medical research and technology. Thank you for brightening my perspective of the D.

Mike LeBlanc said...

Thanks K2... It's exactly what I needed to hear right now. Thanks for turning my day around


Virtue said...

Thanks for the post and the shoutout :)


Rachel said...

Clearing of throat..... standing up.... arranging my pants..... moving my arms..... clapping my hands!

Bravo! Nicely said Kelly. I am also very thankful to them for my son's life!

Anonymous said...

I generally love this blog, and it is amazingly written. Many posts I feel I could have written myself from similar personal experiece. This is not one of them. Insulin is life support, there is little to be thankful for. This disease is so terrible for many of us (but we are brainwashed to think "it could be worse") that we sometimes have to wonder if the discovery of insulin was in fact a good thing. Think about it.

As for me personally, this disease has taken everything from me, despite my best efforts day in day out. I have never been able to do anything that I want to do(as in really live, I just watch from the sidelines) nor live without physical pain and illness on a daily basis. I'd rather have been left to go into a coma and die peacefully as a baby as opposed to living on life support waiting for a torturous prolonged death at a young age while life passes you by.

I have seen blind 30 year old T1 diabetics on dialysis, 5 year old T1 diabetics in comas from hypo seizures. You can't tell me anyone is happy to live this way. We poke, measure, and prod all day, and for what?

Coming from a long line of Type 1 diabetics, it would be foolish to have children. This madness stops with me. Insulin has created a sick family on life support that is dying a slow death. Natural selection would have let us die out. Instead, more and more Type 1 children are born to Type 1 parents. We can't whine for a cure if we don't help fix the problem ourselves.

As for insulin, sometimes the treatment is worse than the disease...

Kerri. said...

Anon - I can't imagine a world without Kelly in it. Or Kathy. Or Cherise. Or any of the other commenters on this post - people who are living with diabetes and who the world is better for having in it.

I'm very sorry that diabetes has affected you so terribly, both emotionally and physically. But not every life with diabetes comes with that kind of pain. And not every life that comes with pain is viewed as painful. I believe, after 23 years of living with type 1 diabetes myself, that a life is worth living, no matter what the struggle. That's my opinion, and while I understand that you don't share it, I think it's important that I feel this way about my own existence.

And just so you know, I'm six months pregnant with a baby girl. My first child. And diabetes be damned, her life will be beautiful.

k2 said...

Glad you liked it! *CLINK*

Thanks! I really want to visit- and when I do, I will leave a note of my own and look for yours because I know you will visit soon!

Thanks- it's how I feel!

Your welcome! The Journey is long and not always smooth, but diabetes or not, life is beautiful ;)

Insulin is not a cure, but we have come so far since 1922! I truly believe the world would be a much less beautiful place without those of us with diabetes in it!

I'm SO glad it helped!! Keep on moving my friend!

Thank you for the post and the comment!

Rachel -
Thank you!
I have no doubt that your son will do wonderful things with a cool mom like you watching his back!

I'm glad you like my blog, but I'm sorry you disagree regarding insulin & it's discovery.
Everyone is entitled to an opinion and I don't believe it editing out comments.
But I'm glad to be alive and feel blessed to have experienced all that I have. I know diabetes is rough and takes from us - I lost my sister to the disease. But I choose to find the gifts whenever possible, not just in diabetes, but in life. The gifts are there- but they aren't always easy to see!
I don't have a choice but to poke, prod, and measure in my life, so I do it!
My numbers are not always perfect, and I get frustrated, but I keep on going.
Diabetes has made me the woman I am. A tenacious, funny, empathetic and caring woman who appreciates all the little things-not just the big!
Insulin is life support in the sense it keeps us alive and I'm happy to be alive. I don't wish that natural selection had occurred because when I think of all the wonderful folks who wouldn't be around if it had, many of the people I love wouldn't be here. My world would be a less beautiful place.

I grasp for happiness and sometimes I get it.
Sometimes I don't- but I always strive for it.

I hope you continue reading and commenting and I hope that life gets better for you!
And if we ever meet in real life, I'm going to give you a big hello and hug!
Kelly K

k2 said...

Well said sister! Yes, life has struggles and we have no choice but to plow through the pain (love that line) to experience the wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Well said, D-tribe. I love this post, Kelly. You rule, once again! Very well spoken and inspirational, in my opinion. Despite all the headaches and hassles that comes with Living with the D, I too find it reassuring that I've been able to achieve my dreams in life up to this point at age 30. Yes, sometimes it's been a struggle, and I have seen and dreaded those horror stories... But that doesn't take away from trying to see the good. Appreciating what I have, and what I'm able to contribute to others' lives and society as a whole. And knowing that without insulin, none of that would be possible. I too worry about children that we hope to someday have (as I am the only son of a Type 1 diabetic who's now lived with this successfully with few complications for 51 years, and have now lived with this for 25 years myself). It worries me. But, it doesn't have to be that child's life. There's no guarantee either way, but I take care of myself (now) so that the possibility of my child being diagnosed someday never comes. We have a lot to be thankful for, diabetes or not.

Scott S said...

I have always said that the discovery of insulin was a "mixed" blessing. I am alive and reasonably well because of it, and for that, I am truly thankful. But the downside is that since insulin was discovered, the emphasis has profoundly shifted away from eradicating the disease to trying to control the disease instead because it's no longer viewed as so scary -- or in need of a cure. While I am thankful to be around because of insulin, I still wonder whether we might actually have found a CURE for type 1 diabetes by now if insulin had not been discovered in 1921. Instead, for the past 89 years, the focus has largely been on how to manage it, while cure-related research has had to struggle to get funding. I'm not sure that's really progress, more like a holding pattern. Just my un-requested $0.02!!

Arvind Ramaswamy said...

Kelly, Beautifully written and conveyed 👏🏼