November Was National Diabetes Month, Here’s What My Pancreas Wants You to Know


Sheridan Daley, Writer

As November was national diabetes awareness month, I as a diabetic wanted to shine a light on various topics such as insulin costs and what it is like to live with diabetes. Before I continue, I’d like to provide a brief explanation of what T1D consists of. What being a type one diabetic means is that my immune system attacked my pancreas to which it no longer functions or as I say “my pancreas gave up”. Your pancreas releases insulin when you take in sugar and carbs in order to regulate your blood sugar but, as mine does not function I have an insulin pump that does that for me along with a Dexcom CGM (continuous glucose monitor) that tells me my blood sugar at all times via Bluetooth. Rather than the blood sugar meter and insulin injections I used to use.


I was diagnosed in 2016 at the age of 8 with type 1 diabetes, my life was instantly changed. I could no longer eat without taking my blood sugar or an insulin injection. Prior to being diagnosed I had practically no knowledge on diabetes except for a vague idea of type 2 diabetes and how it was often frowned upon. One of my first concerns after being diagnosed was that I would not be able to trick or treat again considering the only thing I associated with diabetes was that you could not eat candy. I soon learned that being a type 1 diabetic I can eat whatever I want as long as I take insulin for it. I strongly believe that if there was more T1D representation in the media and we as a society were more exposed to information about diabetes there would be less incorrect assumptions placed among diabetics, which is what world diabetes month is about. National diabetes awareness month focuses on spreading information about diabetes to those who may not be entirely educated on the matter. 


More times than not I am constantly explaining the difference between type 1 and 2 to people when they ask about my diabetes or if I have “the good or bad type”, which I don’t entirely blame them for. To be completely frank, if I didn’t have diabetes I would need to be educated too. This is a large motivation behind why I seek to educate those around me on my illness. Not just for me but for other diabetics. After telling more people about my Dexcom and insulin pump, friends and family are able to recognize other diabetics and their CGMs etc.


Since the 90s insulin prices have skyrocketed by 1100% putting many diabetics alike in hard times. I myself am very lucky to have insurance that covers the cost of my insulin but for many that is not the case. About 40 million people are unable to get proper access to insulin, which they need to survive. When insulin was first introduced in the 1920s Dr. Banting sold the patent for $1 saying “Insulin belongs to the world, not me.” Now, a vial of insulin without insurance coverage costs over $100. The Insulin for All movement works towards giving everyone equal access to the medication they need as diabetics. Groups and companies such as the Diabetes Leadership Council work with peacemakers and advocacy organizations to get insulin costs lowered worldwide. I will list below a few organizations and brands that are working to provide financial assistance to diabetics. With that said, my non-functioning pancreas and I hope that you were able to take away something from this article.


Diabetes Leadership Council

Endocrine Society

Lilly Insulin Value Program

American Diabetes Association

Diabetes Foundation Donation Program