Captain Glucose—strange name for a superhero?
Captain Glucose is not your regular, friendly neighbourhood superhero who fights human or alien bad guys.
She saves people from attacks from within their own bodies.
People—children and teenagers whose bodies don’t produce insulin and thus are easy targets for many mischievous elements in the body to attack the body and often the mental and emotional health. Children and teenagers and adults with Type 1 Diabetes.
Just like me.
Living with Type 1 Diabetes since the age of seven, I am too familiar with the constant distress of trying to keep my blood sugar levels stable. And it is a lot more than blood sugar levels—the body reacts in ways that sometimes we don’t even realize are linked to diabetes.
Often I would be tired and demotivated, trying to keep track of all the big and little things connected to T1 Diabetes—trying to keep my body working. All while attempting to live the life of a regular teenager.
When people would see my devices—my insulin pump, my glucose monitoring device—they would have so many questions; some silly, some sincere. I wanted to give them answers in a way they’d understand.
For the longest time, I had been looking for an interesting book that could explain Type 1 Diabetes and how to manage it. However, I couldn’t find any—only textbooks and academic papers. There are plenty of books for T1D, but only textbooks—not something kids my age would read or people without diabetes would consider.
So I decided to write one myself!
The knowledge I gained from other people and some books in the initial years of my diagnosis inspired me to write my debut book.
I started working on the book when I was 15.
At first, I started writing my own experiences as stories. Then came the idea of making it a comic book—children and teenagers would engage more. Parents would like it too as there is a lot of information presented in a fun and entertaining way.
Thus was the start of Adventures of Captain Glucose – A Graphic Novel on Type1 Diabetes
Captain Glucose is a fictionalized version of me. She is a teenager, 17, and has had Type 1 Diabetes for a year now. Even though she is a superhero and saves the lives of others, she struggles with challenges in her own life and faces tough situations.
She realizes she had not been taking care of herself all the while engaged in saving others’ lives. Once determined to keep herself in the best physical and mental health, things around her got better.
You have to read the book to know how she succeeds in doing this. How she affects the lives of those around her, those who need her most, but also how she continues to keep herself motivated.
I have shared all my experiences with Type 1 Diabetes through this book—my journey of living with diabetes so far, the ups and downs, the good and the bad.
The book also takes a look at insulin—the only treatment for Type 1 Diabetes.
In 1923, discoverers of insulin, Frederick Banting, Charles Best, and Dr. Collip sold their patent for one dollar, hoping the low price would keep the essential treatment available to everyone who needed it. One hundred years later, people with diabetes across the world are struggling with the rising price of the life-saving hormone, many of whom lose their lives simply due to the high cost. Driven by capitalism and corporate greed, with little or no support from governments across the world, critical diabetes care remains out of reach for many.
According to the latest study published in Lancet on June 07, 2023, 101 million people in India are living with diabetes. In India, along with the high pricing of insulin, the latest devices for blood glucose monitoring and insulin delivery devices are unavailable.
I have been fortunate with the resources and passion my family has provided me and my brother (who also has Type 1 Diabetes), including devices and treatment from abroad, which helps us live a much better quality of life. Most in India don’t have access to these. Not just because of the high cost, but often because of the non-availability.
I know I cannot single-handedly change things, but in my own way, I want to bring awareness to issues around diabetes care, which is essential to increasing quality of life and literally saving the lives of people with Type 1 Diabetes.
In this book, I have aimed to provide a basic understanding of the condition, what the kids and teenagers have to go through, the pain and emergency and chronic health issues that they face, how to be kind and supportive toward your friends who have Type 1 Diabetes, and the challenges faced in order to obtain adequate treatment.
I also hope this inspires companies and governments to support us in our challenges.
Adventures of Captain Glucose – A Graphic Novel on Type1 Diabetes is one of the ways I aim to educate people in an entertaining and easy-to-understand way.
I hope you will read this book to understand more about Type 1 Diabetes, and more importantly, share it with your loved ones who are living with it.
To my fellow diabetes warriors, I hope this inspires you to live your life with a more positive outlook. And know that you are seen. You are not alone.