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New technology and therapeutic advances, many of which are discovered at TGH, can give diabetics greater freedom. But what does this actually mean to the average person living with diabetes? UHN staff member Rebecca shares her experience with diabetes and why these discoveries matter.
Diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the age of nine, I have been living, and thriving, with the disease for more than 20 years. My biggest challenge every day is to successfully manage my glucose levels, because the hard reality is that Type 1 diabetes can have bleak long-term consequences if not properly controlled.
This means constantly considering how what I'm doing, eating and feeling will impact my diabetes, and at the same time, how diabetes impacts these things too. When stress or sickness interferes, it throws a curveball into the "diabetes management" equation. There's no vacation from the disease—what I would give for one day without measuring, managing or meticulous planning. With that said, patient care has come a long way in just 20 years and I have great hope that very soon, diabetes will be a condition of the past.
Ever since the discovery of insulin right here in Toronto, this city has been a scientific hub for diabetes research. One of the most recent advances comes from Dr. Bruce Perkins, endocrinologist at TGH, who demonstrated that managing diabetes is most successful when combining the insulin pump with continual blood glucose monitoring. I am thankful for this technology as it played a fundamental role in my ability to have a healthy pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby girl—something quite rare 30 years ago.
I am forever grateful for the people who have dedicated their lives to diabetes research and patient care that helped me grow up without the potential life-altering and life-threatening complications. After a day of dealing with the stresses that diabetes brings, I'm so thankful to know that there is incredible work being done at UHN to advance the care of this disease.