Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Mashup of Technical Sludge and Hope: Diabetes Style



Here's a newsflash for you: the future of Diabetes management and the hope for potential cures is an emotional topic. I know you're all shocked!

But sometimes as Diabetics living with the disease day in and day out, we get lulled into the technical sludge of recording blood sugars, making basal adjustments, and squeezing in at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. It's a job, it's a necessary evil, it's a chore. And facing all of the technical drama...

We sometimes forget to hope.

Last week I learned that parents of Type 1's never forget to hope. Yes, they may feel overwhelmed at times by such a time-intensive disease, with such dire consequences for less than stellar performance. But they rise above the trivialities of individual blood sugar readings and an extra sliver of brownie...they know what life is like without the burden of Diabetes.

                                 And so...

...they attend meetings (like the one last week at HudsonAlpha), they fellowship, they freely sign their children up to donate blood for research studies, they hope...collectively, as a team.

I thought about this aura of hope throughout the meeting while researchers described new ways to detect potential Diabetic candidates early. I thought about it that night, and the next day. And then I decided to engage in a conversation with one of my coworkers...to share my excitement about the technical aspects of the talk. While he does not have Diabetes, I thought he would share in my excitement since he has another disease that is being researched in the study. Instead, I was met with a politically correct form of hostility. He brought politics into the mix, and insurance companies, and how we as Type 1's are such a small percentage of the population, and by imposing these new blood tests on everyone we will be raising health insurance costs for the entire nation.

And as I tried to fight back, I knew it was pointless.

Someone I thought might be empathetic, was definitely not. To his defense, he really is a great friend, and even this little chat won't change that. However, my political views are simply that: mine. I don't like fighting about them, especially when the topic at hand was not meant to be political, but rather personal.

My excitement and hope built from the night before, was now completely null. And I realized this event was just a microcosm of the bigger picture. We are constantly fighting battles we shouldn't have to fight. Having Diabetes doesn't mean we are insurance megaminds, political activists, debate specialists, or avid public speakers.

Having Diabetes only means one thing really...that we deserve the right to be hopeful for a cure.