COLUMN: Who needs Superman when we’ve got Banting and Best

Ahhh insulin, we’ve had quite the ride, haven’t we?

by Katie Bartel

Ahhh insulin, we’ve had quite the ride, haven’t we?

In the beginning, I thought for sure you were my enemy, and just like the scared, little kid I was, I avoided you at all costs – health included.

Instead of me being your recipient, my mom’s plants were injected full of you. But after the plants had all been massacred, and I had been sentenced to Children’s Hospital, and was forced to accept your wisdom, our relationship gradually evolved into something that is now quite beautiful.

Some might even call it BFF-like.

And so today, dear insulin, I give you homage.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. I’ll be honest. Despite having this disease for more than 24 years, I had no clue that Nov. 14 was World Diabetes Day until just last month. It probably had something to do with the fact that I never really cared, and quite frankly I’m still kind of dubious about the whole “day” thing.

All day last Monday, the Twitter feed, blogs, even my own email were buzzing with people expressing happiness about this day. I don’t know how many times I saw “Happy World Diabetes Day” posted.

Really? Are we happy about diabetes? Really?

Diabetes, despite its many attempts, hasn’t ruined me. I’m alive. I’m healthy. I’m happy. But I’m not happy about this disease. So no, I did not say “Happy World Diabetes Day” last Monday, but I did say thanks to those super duper, totally awesome Canadian superheroes for the invention of insulin.

I do every day.

In 1921, 90 years ago, Dr. Frederick Banting and med student Charles Best discovered that insulin taken from the pancreas of cows could save the lives of humans. They went against the odds, fought to do the research when others doubted its importance, and even when they were given a tiny, decaying lab to work out of at the University of Toronto, didn’t back down.

Their discovery was like a miracle for us diabetics.

Before Banting and Best, before Humulin-R and NPH, Humalog and Lantus, Novorapid and Levimir (all insulins I have taken over the years), we diabetics were crammed into a hospital room and starved – like Third-World-country, hair-falling-out, belly-extended-starved – to enable us just a few more years on Earth.

Betting those weren’t exactly the most enjoyable years.

My life, while not always easy, has been nothing like that. I can eat chocolate, I can run marathons, I can have a love-hate relationship with the Grouse Grind. I can go to work every day. I can dream. I can live.

Thanks to Dr. Frederick Banting and Charles Best.

Insulin is not a cure, not even close, but it has given me, and thousands of others like me, life. So, for my parents, my siblings, my husband, my friends, myself, I give thanks to Banting and Best from the bottom of my healthy heart.

And apparently I wasn’t the only one giving homage to Canada’s superheroes on World Diabetes Day, which also happened to be Banting’s birthday. Have you seen Canada’s new polymer $100 bill that was unveiled? Front and centre, an old-school insulin vial.

Good job, Canada.

 

Katie Bartel is a reporter with the Chilliwack Progress.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers and COVID-19 contact tracers must stop, Chilliwack soccer club says

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

Gurkirat Toor has been charged after allegedly pointing a gun at another driver on Oct. 23 in Abbotsford.
Man charged after gun pointed at another driver in Abbotsford

Gurkirat Toor, 21, previously charged with purple-fentanyl bust

The Abbotsford Teachers’ Union stated that local teachers worked without heat on Friday as secondary principals’ and vice-principals’ were at a work-related retreat in Whistler. (Google)
Abbotsford Teachers’ Union says teachers left in the cold on Friday

Abbotsford School District disagrees, saying all buildings were set to 21C on Pro-D Day

The Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation held its inaugural Grand Gala in November 2019 at Harrison Hot Springs Resort. This year’s event will be held online. (Submitted photo)
Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation holds virtual Grand Gala

Second annual event takes place online on Nov. 20, raising funds for local hospitals

Abbotsford author Katrina Wiggins has been shortlisted for the Page Turner Award eBook Award for her young adult novel, Blind the Eyes.
Abbotsford author shortlisted for literary award for young adult novel

Katrina Wiggins’ book Blind the Eyes is about climate crisis and monsters

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

It’s been eight years since Gordon Spencer (pictured), and cousin, ‘Lil’ Bruce Mayo, were gunned down in a home in Langley, and Spencer’s widow is hoping someone who knows something will step up (file)
Eight years on and still no answers in Langley double murder

Wife of victim makes public appeal for people with information to come forward

Langley resident Shaun Nugent, who died in 2019 shortly after he saved a swimmer from drowning, has been awarded a posthumous medal for bravery by the Royal Canadian Humane Association (Courtesy Nugent family)
Langley man who died after saving swimmer receives posthumous medal for bravery

Shaun Nugent rescued woman from Hayward Lake near Mission in July of 2019

Most Read