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“The Human Side of Diabetes – The Year’s Review of Diabetes”

Jul 2, 2004

As the end of the year approached each Network News Channel conducted their own review of 2001. Many started with the confusion of the election but all of them spent a great deal of time of the changes in our country since the attack of September 11th. I just heard a list of all the famous people who died this year. The world has really changed and I did not hear a lot of great things that happened this year. I should be sitting here very depressed and miserable but I refuse to end the year this way or begin the next year without hope.

I started to think of the changes in diabetes in the past year and how people are affected each day of their lives. This year started off fairly optimistic. I had heard the report of the Edmonton Protocol at the Canadian Diabetes Conference and was so impressed and excited about the potential for great change. I kept thinking this really might be “the” end of type 1 for so many people. Things like Nobel Prize and miracle flashed through my head. As the year went on I heard about new drugs and durable medical equipment that would offer new alternatives. Each new treatment is the encouragement, every person with diabetes needs to keep them moving forward.


Just last week I heard in a news flash that there was a new cure for diabetes. My husband often calls these to my attention and I am amazed that the diabetes community missed knowing about this before the local news channel.

I remember when we had three oral medications and Insulin to treat diabetes and young women with diabetes were encouraged not to plan on having children. I remember when young parents were told their kids would probably not get through their teens. I remember urine testing and the world of can’ts. You can’t do this, you can’t eat this, you can’t drink that and don’t even think of working there or trying for that occupation.

We have scores of meds now and what seems like a hundred alternative mixes or choices in treatment combinations. I read every new achievement or legitimate research study with the belief that we really have come a long way. I having been telling patients for a long time that things are much better and getting better every day. We have sharper, shorter needles and lancets, we have automatic pens and pumps and watches and tiny meters and smaller, better more accurate almost everything.

This is wonderful and very helpful but it cannot replace the most important things. There are really good people, health care people out there who are building, or have built the support that people with diabetes need. There are excellent clinicians, educators, technicians, scientists, and caregivers who are available for people with diabetes. It is these people who really offer the encouragement and hope for diabetes change.

We now have the tools, the skills and the knowledge to bring information, education and hope to the human beings who live every day of their lives with the disease process that is diabetes. It is such a complex problem but there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. So many of us are working on this that it really has to happen.

I cannot believe that this year will not bring more treatments, answers and hope for those of us who think about this every single day of our lives.

Keep the faith.

Happy New Year and best wishes for you and your family from me and my family.


PS. In my last article Betty Brackenridge’s name was spelled incorrectly. I apologize to my dear friend. The world knows who you are and we are lucky to have you.

Ginger Kanzer Lewis has been teaching people with Diabetes for almost thirty years. She is a Registered Nurse with a Masters Degree in Education from Harvard University and Certification in both Diabetes and Continuing Education and Staff Development. Ginger has spent over twenty years teaching educational methodology to health care professionals while working as Director of Staff Development or Education in Hospitals through out the North East. Ginger is the immediate Past President of AADE and is a well known national and international speaker.