A couple of days ago we celebrated American Thanksgiving.

Every year, the same 25 or so children and adults come to our home for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Although I am the only one among the group who grew up in America, we are all always very thankful for this gathering and the special things in our lives.

Even though it can sometimes be hard to say gratitude and diabetes in the same sentence, I am thankful for many things it has given me: appreciation for health, the amazing people I have met as a result of this journey, those who are working diligently to find a cure.

And I am thankful that we have access to the current technology to manage my son’s diabetes.

When my son was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I was overwhelmed. I worried that he would miss out on a typical childhood experiences – having fun, playing with his friends and doing all the other things kids do that we often take for granted. I think every parent of a newly diagnosed Type 1 questions if their child will have a “normal” childhood.

Gratitude and Diabetes – Things To Be Thankful For

As I learned more about diabetes and became less anxious with the daily routine of care, I realized that it is a manageable condition. Life-saving insulin, coupled with available technology, allows my son to have a normal childhood.

So while I am very thankful for insulin, I am also incredibly thankful for that technology and the flexibility his insulin pump has given us. I am also thankful for how far the insulin pump has come.


Finding gratitude in the diabetic world

The first insulin pump – invented in the 1960s

This invention is a little older than I am, and has drastically improved over time. The first insulin pump was was the size of a very large backpack. Today’s insulin pumps are about the size of a pager (anyone remember those?). They have made diabetes management easier for many people.

Pumps have many advantages, including the elimination of several insulin injections a day and the delivery of insulin more accurately.

There are also some models that, when coupled with a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), suspend insulin delivery to avoid life-threatening low blood sugar.

However, many people think an insulin pump is a cure. It is not.

Even with an insulin pump, a person with diabetes still requires several blood glucose checks per day, changing of the insertion sites every 2–3 days, plus the need to accurately count carbohydrates and determine appropriate insulin coverage. The person with diabetes, or their caretaker, still has to be supportive and vigilant.

Recently in the US, a new pump was approved that the media labeled as an “artificial pancreas“. While it was a significant advancement to help people with diabetes maintain normal glucose levels, intervention and diligence will still be required. While it is not a cure, it is a significant innovation that will make life easier for people with diabetes to manage.

I am thankful that the future is bright for diabetics. Diabetes will continue to present its daily challenges, but at the present moment, insulin pumps and other technology have provided my child a flexibility not seen by previous generations of diabetics.

I am thankful we are living in this time of research and scientific development that have allowed my son and others like him to be kids. I am thankful that in their lifetime they will (hopefully) continue to see much more advancement.

What’s your take on gratitude and diabetes? Do you find it easy or challenging to find gratitude in the diabetes world? Let us know in the comments below.

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