Since the day I walked away from my acting career, I have spent almost my entire professional life in the “diabetes space”. I made a promise to my two kids that I would stay at this until a cure is found. But cure is both a relative and loaded term.
I, too, was severely ‘duped’ into being told, and worse yet–convinced, about the five years syndrome until we would arrive at the cure.
In life we are faced with choices. I could have become enraged and left this diabetes world, or I could examine it thoroughly and understand what the future of diabetes could look like. And continually try to make a difference. I have been watching carefully the evolution of diabetes management tools for a long time. We did not go from one day not having a CGM to it becoming a most crucial tool in our diabetes toolbox. The same can be said for Insulin Pumps, Insulin and even meds. It was not the case that one day they were not here, and the next, they were. It was a progression.
The picture I have included on this post was one of the first functioning insulin pumps. If the pharma industry tried to get our ‘buy-in’ on a pump that size, they would have gone out of business. What we were told was that this was important ‘proof of concept’ that a device could actually follow commands and dispense insulin.
The March 1949 issue of Popular Mechanics, states: “Where a calculator like ENIAC today is equipped with 18,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in the future may have only 1000 vacuum tubes and perhaps weigh only 1½ tons.” Oopsie! Hold and look at your cell phone, think this comment missed its mark? More like 11 ounces.
The ‘loonshot’ of computers as well as diabetes management tools is a fascinating study of how diabetes management has progressed. When insulin was discovered in the 1920s, the headline said diabetes cured; but it wasn’t, was it? When the artificial pancreas (haven’t heard the phrase too much lately have we?) was first conceived, tried, and functioning, ‘closest thing to a cure’ was touted, wasn’t it? But it wasn’t, was it? That said, these were major steps in making diabetes both manageable and everchanging with new management tools occurring constantly: better, quicker, smaller, more convenient, etc.
So somewhere in middle of all this, I was under the belief that my kids living with diabetes, would one day go from having it…….to not having it. But if management tools have taught us anything, they have taught us that the devices and meds impacting those with diabetes occurred by progression. The testing of urine by adding tablets in has long since given way to the CGM. Overnight success, 30 years in the making.
Do I believe a cure will come? Yes I do. But it will not be one day my two kids have diabetes, and the next day they don’t. It will be a combination of things both biomedical and biological that will allow my kids to go a short time without having the constant management they now have. And that management-minus-worry will then go a few weeks, then a few months, then a few years. It will occur as a progression. Just like the management tools. Would you not trade the present means of what is done to, perhaps, wearing/taking something and then doing it again in about a month? Of course we would.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, we have a long way to go. A cure, to me, would just be an elongated management tool/system/med/implantable-device/biological means that will allow certain lengths of time that my kids would not have to ‘worry’ so much. Science would then continue to widen that gap; two days, a week, a month etc. I don’t think my kids will have t1d on a Wednesday and it will be gone on a Thursday. But I do believe my definition of a cure has changed to it being a very useful management tool, a hugely successful management tool.
I could live with that………for now.
I am a diabetes dad.
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