Today is a glass half full day. Why? Because I want it to be a glass half full day today. It’s my blog… do I need another reason?
I was thinking last night of how far diabetes tools have come since my diagnosis over 24 years ago. See what I mean? Glass half full. I came up with twelve (okay, really, eleven). Check out this list:
1. When I was diagnosed in 1991, the number of glucose meters available to People With Diabetes was very limited. Today, even though they’re not always the best choices, there are many more glucose meters for PWDs to choose from.
2. And let me state the obvious: My first glucose meter took 45 seconds to give me a reading. Today, I get a reading in just five seconds. Very few things have actually saved us time over the years, so I think this is a lot bigger than many people realize.
3. Unfortunately, the cost of test strips has been, and continues to be, ridiculously high. But it’s a glass half full day today, so… moving on…
4. Continuous Glucose Monitors! Gotta love CGM technology. Real-time readings of how your BGs are trending? Who doesn’t love that? Glass half full, baby!
5. Insulin pumps. Hey, I know that insulin pumps were developed earlier than my diagnosis, but the prevalence of insulin pumps, and the technology in insulin pumps, has definitely improved over time. And…
6. I didn’t start on an insulin pump until just over five years ago. For the first 19 years after diagnosis, I injected insulin first with a needle that was, I don’t know, maybe an inch and a half long? Then I went to smaller gauge needles, then I went to shorter lengths, and now, of course, we have insulin pens that are easier to carry and actually contain our insulin too. There’s something to be said for reducing the burden of diabetes, and better insulin delivery devices via injection are another step in the right direction.
7. And how about that insulin? It’s come a long way since 1991. We have long acting insulin like Lantus and Levemir. We have more reactive shorter acting insulin (is that the term?) like Apidra, Novolog, and Humalog. And we even have Afrezza now, inhalable insulin, and I guarantee hardly anyone was thinking about that back in 1991. We’ve seen incredible improvements in our most necessary synthetic hormone over the last 24 years. Now if they can just find a way to make it affordable.
8. No list like this can exist without mention of the wonderful Diabetes Online Community. How many of us would be forced to live our diabetes lives alone, out of touch with the latest news, unable to communicate with even one other soul who understands what we go through on a daily basis? It is not in any way an understatement to say that the DOC has been a lifesaver for many, literally and figuratively.
9. Uploading, sharing, and analyzing your data. By the time I was diagnosed, I hadn’t even purchased my first computer. Today, I’m sharing information with my endocrinologist, and she’s uploading my pump information every 90 days. Many, many more are using Nightscout or Dexcom Share to provide real-time CGM data to their loved ones for peace of mind and added safety. Such a simple idea, such a huge advancement.
10. Apps! Apps! Apps! From bolus calculator apps to fitness apps to apps designed to help us tame the diabetes monster, there are more ways than ever to help us crunch all the numbers and do better than we might have done all on our own.
11. The number of gatherings and conferences about diabetes and for People With Diabetes has really increased, even since I found the Diabetes Online Community, let alone since I was diagnosed. Here’s to more chances to learn, meet, and grow at gatherings around the world.
12. We’re giving more, and in more diverse ways than ever before. We may not be any closer to a cure (or we may be closer), but Spare A Rose/Save a Child, Big Blue Test, JDRF and ADA bike rides, and much more have all helped to provide additional revenue and additional ways for all of us to invest in improvements in the lives of PWDs, and certainly, hopefully, a cure.
That’s a heck of a list, and I’ll bet I haven’t thought of everything yet. Care to add something? Turn on the glass half full side of your brain and think about it. What improvements have you seen since your diagnosis?