Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cure? Can It Happen?

For so many days of early existence into type 1 diabetes back in 2006, every single person familiar with the disease would often say two things to us.

1.)  Be lucky that you are living during a time where we have modern medicine.  Things are much better for people living with type 1 diabetes today, than 50, 20 even 10 years ago.

2.)  Don't worry.  A cure is right around the corner.

Neither thought made me feel much better. 

After all, we had to poke our child 10-12 times a day for blood sugar readings, count carbohydrates as carefully as we could and measure out teeny tiny drops of insulin into needle driven syringes - all to HOPE that what we did would work to keep our child safe.  It all seemed very barbaric and still very reminiscent of the care that Dr. Fredick Banting was researching back in 1922.  Why hadn't things moved along even further by now?

For that elusive cure, I didn't know how to even fathom that.  My own mother had been diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) during the 80s and I remember hearing the same thing for her.

Thirty years later, my mother still has not received her cure.

Despite my realism, I do remain hopeful.  For a few reasons.  I can't give up my faith in JDRF, ADA and the many researchers around the world who are making type 1 diabetes history every day.  Recently, Dr. Faustman released a new research paper which identifies pancreatic beta cell function through c-peptide in people living with type 1 diabetes for decades.  This is amazing stuff.  The kind of information that reminds us all that if our pancreas function is not entirely broken... perhaps we can do what humpty dumpty never managed and put it all back together again.
I also can not help but to be awed and disgusted by the rising number of new patients each year.  When our own diagnosis came in, we were the one and only at our elementary school... population of about 350 kids.  Today, the number has climbed to 3, while the population has remained constant.  My oldest daughter attends a neighboring middle school.  At her school, counting in grades 5th and 6th only, there are half a dozen students diagnosed with type 1.  That's enough kids to form a club.  Which sadly, they have in each of the grades.

There has to come a time when the numbers of new and existing diagnosis push forward more emphasis on finding a cure.  The drag on the nations medicaid/medicare plans are staggering.  The cost to keep one child alive and in good health while living with type 1 diabetes are astronomical.  Financially, our families and health care have put pressure on the NIH to further their research efforts.  After all, PWD aren't sheltered anymore or accepting less than the best care/coverage.  Instead we have formed DOC/parent/hospital groups so we can discuss options for better care.  We are demanding in finding the best out there for ourselves and for our loved ones living with type 1 diabetes.

And lastly, I will never give up simply because I have two beautiful little girls who are taking their cues from me.  If I let go of my faith, I will certainly crush theirs and that will never do.

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