Letters to the Editor
Join the Fight for Insulin Choice!
I read with interest and some sadness the letter from Janet Walper in the January 1997 issue of DIABETES HEALTH. In her letter, Ms. Walper expresses her very real fears of being unable to continue working as a result of hypos that will occur if she is forced into using synthetic human insulin because of the withdrawal of animal insulin from the market.
Janet goes on to ask what she can do to help "the crusade" to maintain the current choices of insulins so that all individuals' needs are satisfied. I suggest for her to be vocal. Put pen to paper and write to government health departments, diabetes organizations and regulating bodies like the FDA.
I watched my daughter suffer as a result of using synthetic human insulin. When she switched back to animal insulin, warning signs before a hypoglycemic episode increased. Now she is happy and healthy.
For those who are happy and healthy using synthetic human insulin that's wonderful, but imagine how you would feel living with the constant fear that your health may be jeopardized by the removal of your insulin. My daughter lives with this fear.
It is surely time to unite. I support the need for insulin choices that suit the varying needs of all people with diabetes.
Diabetes associations around the world have been formed to help, support and represent the interests of all people with diabetes, including those who need animal insulin. The Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust in England, the Committee For Diabetic Rights in Canada (39 Clarendon Road N. W., Calgary, Alberta, T2L 0P2; or 5, 11020 One Road, Richmond, BC, V7E 1S5) and the Swiss Patients Association for Preserving Natural Insulin in Switzerland (Diabetes Center Linolenhof Clinic, 3012 Berne, Switzerland) are just a few of these associations. Their united support of this issue would put pressure on the pharmaceutical companies to continue the production of all insulins.
We are the people for whom these associations are formed. They should be encouraged by letters from us to act on our behalf.
I would like to say to Janet Walper and all others who share her concerns, "Put pen to paper; this issue is too important to ignore."
Please write to me for more information.
Co-Chairman of the Insulin Dependent Diabetes Trust
P.O. Box 296
Northampton, NM3 2BN, UK
Injecting Through Your Clothes - Don't Get Caught With Your Pants Down
I cannot believe what I'm reading - that you inject your needle through your clothing. I've been taught to cleanse the injection site with alcohol or soap and water. I've also been taught that the dyes in our clothing should not get into our bloodstream.
Injecting through your clothing is about the most idiotic idea I've ever heard. If my doctor told me that it was okay I would have to send her/him packing posthaste. I think you owe your readers an apology.
Leo J. Hutter
Scott King responds:
I am glad that you wrote to us. Injecting through the clothes is a convenient and common practice, though many doctors won't tell you to do it. This practice was widely touted by renowned physician and researcher Peter Forsham, MD. He led an outstanding career in diabetes at the University of Calif., San Francisco and trained many endocrinologists. He lived 71 years with diabetes and died at age 80. He took every shot through his clothes and wasn't afraid to suggest this to others publicly and privately.
It is also recognized that it is quite safe to inject without first wiping the area with alcohol or soap and water. There are several preservatives and antibacterial agents in insulin that make the risk of infection extremely low.
Massage Photo Offends
The Diabetes Center at Albany Memorial Hospital receives your publication and has shared sample copies with our patients. Both clinicians and patients have provided positive feedback regarding the contents of the newspaper.
However, we have heard several negative comments regarding a photo in the January 1997 paper. The photo in question appeared on page 16 in the article "Complementary Therapies - The Healthy Alternative?" All agree that the photo is in poor taste for an educational diabetes newspaper.
Was it absolutely necessary to expose the female patient simply to illustrate massage therapy? Many of our patients and readers find this to be offensive and disrespectful to women. In addition, many older individuals who are slowly learning about the benefits of message therapy often struggle with negative and uncomfortable feelings regarding unnecessary exposure in front of a stranger. This picture reinforces those negative feelings.
We are truly concerned about sharing your publication in the future if such practices are permitted. One would think that the contents would be reviewed for appropriateness prior to publication.
Elaine Massaro MS, RN, CDE
Manager, Diabetes Center
Scott King responds: We are very sorry the picture offended. Thank you very much for this feedback.
Activist Seeks Support
I am terribly frustrated that nothing seems to happen to get us closer to a cure for diabetes. I am frustrated that diabetes is still not widely acknowledged as the fatal disease it is. I am frustrated that there doesn't seem to be much I can do.
On the other hand, I try to remain hopeful that I can make a difference after all. I am asking you to do the same.
Diabetes is not taken seriously enough due to misinformation and the reluctance of many people with diabetes to discuss their disease. Despite this fact, there is a worldwide diabetic community out there. Some members of this community have finally decided to make their concerns, and their demand for a cure, heard.
To show my support for their campaign and raise public awareness I am going to wear a gray ribbon until a cure has been found. Gray is the color chosen to represent this movement, which reminds me of The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. People with diabetes look healthy and happy on the outside, but they are being crippled and slowly killed by diabetes on the inside.
If enough people do their part, we might have a chance to get things moving. And I might even see a cure for diabetes during my son's lifetime.