Insulin Vial, 1923

Bottle of insulin with beige label printed in black and red rubber stopper
Author: Connaught Medical Research Laboratories
Place/Date: Toronto : Connaught Medical Research Laboratories, Nov 5 1923
Physical Description: 1 bottle 5.0 x 3.0 cm.
Scope and Content: Item is a 5cc glass bottle. The insulin is from Lab. No. 257-4, dated November 5 1923. The label on the front of the bottle reads: ‘Insulin 10 units – 5 c.c. vial. 10 units per c.c. Connaught Laboratories. University of Toronto’. According to the Connaught anti-toxin laboratories filling records for insulin this bottle was filled November 1, 1923.
Collection: Connaught
Digital ID: B10001
Location: Aventis Pasteur Limited Archives. Insulin Vials, Box 1
Source of Title: Title based on content of item.
Subject: Insulin – Early manufacture

Born With Diabetes

Born With Diabetes

I have a new friend who lives in the UK, and she was born with type 1 diabetes. I am so impressed with her report in the Facebook group called “The Insulin Gang”, a UK group. One of my favorites. She gave me permission to post her story here.

“I was born with diabetes. My actual type is the rare neonatal
diabetes mellitus, which again can be a factor according to the
consultants. My show off moment is that I made medical history by (1)
being born with DM and then (2) surviving past the first few months.
Then again 46 years ago was the medical equivalent of the dark ages
and the medics didn’t think it was possible for someone so young to be
diabetic, so they didn’t test me for diabetes. Because I was fitting,
they decided it was epilepsy and pumped me with more sugar (really
helpful that one). In fact I was on my way out when a doctor who was
diabetic herself decided she’d come to see the baby who was causing
all this bother and it was her who said test me for diabetes. Without
her I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t be here now. There was a paper
written in The Lancet when I was a baby.
I always needed to have a lot less insulin than was “normal”. I’m not sure if the medics got to the bottom of this scientifically but it was regularly noted and mentioned. That actually makes sense too, that there’s some (if a little) of my own home made insulin going around. Also I have seen a medical report that says too low hba1c is harmful, and there’s a range that’s just right. Sounds a bit like bears and porridge, too hot, too cold, just right.

My keeping me at that limit good hba1c range is always my goal (and happily I can do that). My reactions aren’t normal either, for instance most T1s get really high blood sugars when stressed. If I get too stressed then my blood sugars go too low – that’s why I use meditation and mindfulness to help with the stress management, which helps the diabetes. My paediatric diabetic consultant used to do talks about what “most” T1 children did and she used to think “and then there’s Louise”. I just think that I’m blessed having been born with NNDM because it seems to have helped me, for whatever reason that is. I do also give myself a huge pat on the back for owning my diabetes, working with my diabetes and having it part of me.

It is really nice for folk to actually take notice of my weird and wonderful background. I’ve had (idiot) doctors say that they don’t believe me – I put them straight – why would you make this up! . Thankfully all of my consultants have been good ones.”

The History Of Food

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth and populated the Earth with broccoli, cauliflower and spinach, green and yellow and red vegetables of all kinds, so Man and Woman would live long and healthy lives.
Then using God’s great gifts, Satan created Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream and Krispy Creme Donuts. And Satan said, “You want chocolate with that?”
And Man said, “Yes!” and Woman said, “and as long as you’re at it, add some sprinkles.” And they gained 10 pounds. And Satan smiled.
And God created the healthful yogurt that Woman might keep the figure that Man found so fair. And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat, and sugar from the cane and combined them. And Woman went from size 6 to size 14.
So God said, “Try my fresh green salad.” And Satan presented Ranch Dressing, buttery croutons and garlic toast on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their belts following the repast.
God then said, “I have sent you heart healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to cook them.” And Satan brought forth deep fried fish and chicken-fried steak so big it needed its own platter. And Man gained more weight and his cholesterol went through the roof.
God then created a light, fluffy white cake, named it “Angel Food Cake,” and said, “It is good.” Satan then created chocolate cake and named it “Devil’s Food.”
God then brought forth running shoes so that His children might lose those extra pounds. And Satan gave cable TV with a remote control so Man would not have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried before the flickering blue light and gained pounds.
Then God brought forth the potato, naturally low in fat and brimming with nutrition. And Satan peeled off the healthful skin and sliced the starchy center into chips and deep-fried them. And Man gained pounds.
God then gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still satisfy his appetite. And Satan created McDonald’s and its 99-cent double cheeseburger. Then said, “You want fries with that?” And Man replied, “Yes! And super size them!” And Satan said, “It is good.” And Man went into cardiac arrest.
God sighed and created quadruple bypass surgery.
Then Satan created HMOs.

Type 1, Just Being Human

Riva Greenberg has written a wonderful article. She has been type 1 for 42 years, and has published three books. They are very good books, and I enjoy reading them. Here is her article on “Just Being Human”.

“We all have little ‘blunders’ in day-to-day life, right? Leaving the cup of coffee on the roof of the car and driving off, locking ourselves out of the house by accident, forgetting the lunch date we made with a friend eons ago…these things happens, whether or not you have diabetes.

I recently had a funny everyday blunder in which I went off to record an interview for an article and realized much later that there were no batteries in the tape-recorder. It hadn’t worked properly during the interview and I couldn’t figure out why.

Later that night, I pulled out the recorder and showed my husband how when you press the power button nothing happens. Then I handed it to him. He began to look at it when he remarked, “It’s awfully light. Are you sure there are batteries in here?”


I disclose my error, foolishness, absentmindedness, laugh-inducing mishap for one reason: since life has become so increasingly fast, busy, frantic, chaotic, multi-task-demanding, haven’t we all noticed some lapses and spells of absent-mindedness?

Now ponder: how are we expected to perfectly fulfill the multiple and constant requirements of good diabetes management? Without any mistakes?

The daily list of diabetes to-dos is endless:

planning meals

counting carbs

taking your medicine, if on insulin calculating your dose before each meal and post meals for corrections

checking your blood sugar x times a day and deciding what to do about the numbers

deciding whether it’s safe to exercise, grab some glucose tabs or wait an hour

seeing your team of doctors

getting your lab work done

shopping for healthy food

preparing healthy meals

managing the tightrope between highs and lows

packing and carrying your supplies everywhere

always having fast acting carbohydrate on hand for a low

figuring out how to manage the time difference when you travel. I still haven’t cracked this one

explaining when people tell you you can’t eat something

explaining when people ask you to eat something they made just for you

hitting a rough spot, tough time, mysterious readings, burn-out and depression

knowing no one “gets it” who doesn’t have it

knowing it never lets up

knowing you have a responsibility each day to do your best, yet being human simple can’t always do it

wondering how that will impact your here and now and long term future

…and on, and on, and on, day after day after day after day after week after month after year after year after year after decade after decade after decade.

Now tell me what we do every day isn’t miraculous. And I’ll tell you when you falter, it’s human nature, like forgetting to put the batteries in your recorder.

When you notice you’re out of juice, just put your batteries back in, and turn the power button back on and let it be.”

I identify with every part of Riva’s list. How about you?

Joslin Medalist Study

Joslin Medalist Study

People with 50 or more years of type 1 are given medals by the Joslin Diabetes Center, in Boston. These people have to apply for the medal, and offer some proof of their being type 1 for that length of time. There is also a 75 year medal. I have the 50 year medal, and will be eligible for the 75 year medal in 2020.

In 2005 medalists were invited to participate in a study at the Joslin Center. I participated in 2009. Dr King, head of the study, stated that he hopes to find the factors that have enabled many long term type 1 people to live so long without any serious diabetes related complications. In 2008 the following article appeared in the Diabetes Forecast magazine. It mentions several discoveries that were made during the first three years of the study.

At the present time almost 1000 medalists have been examined. I will give more information about the study, beyond 2008, at a later date.…/o…/how-d-they-do-that.html

Man Lives 85+ Years With Type 1

William Rounds was diagnosed in 1923, and was diagnosed in the same year (only 2 years after insulin was discovered). The last I heard about him, he was alive and well in 2009. He was T1 for 86 years in that year. He was one of eleven interviewed who had lived for 60+ years with T1D. I was one of the eleven. The stories were published in Oct, 2008 in the Diabetes Forecast. That was the month that the Diabetes Forecast celebrated its 60’th anniversary.…/long-lives-lived-well.html