Monday 11 May 2015

D-Blog week: I can...

D-Blog week is the brainchild of Bittersweet Diabetes, and as it turns six years old. it provides another opportunity to hear from blogger voices across the world simultaneously.  I love that two people will see a completely different challenge from the same topic, and today's is sure to be a good 'un.  Today's topic is....I can...

When I was 12 years old I told someone who was asking me about diabetes, "Don't worry about me, there will be a cure in five years." I'd heard it spouted by Diabetes UK and blindly, fell for the line.  At the time very little was known about stem cells or even the causes of type 1, insulin pumps weren't yet routinely used in the UK, and CGM had yet to be invented.  Why I believed this wild claim with so very limited technological support for it ever happening, I will lay firmly at the feet of hope.  I hoped.  My God, I hoped.
By 22 that hope was all but lost, as I plunged into months of the worst burnout I have to this day experienced. My DSN, a fantastic woman called Sue Craddock, to whom I owe a great deal as she steered me back on track with careful words and constant support, referred to it as 're-diagnosis', due to the severity with which the reality of diabetes was smacking me in the gut.  "Please take me into hospital, I can't do this." I begged, after testing my blood and discovering I was 22 mmol before even having made it out of my pyjamas.  There was no cure.  It would never happen. It was lies.
By 32 another decade on and wiser, older, happily pregnant and still taming the diabetes beast as best I can, things have changed direction yet again.  Now, the technological advances and better understanding of the sheer complexity of diabetes has brought into the diabetes world a new term: Artificial Pancreas (AP).  While the AP isn't a 'cure' at all, if we're honest - it is a new ray of hope. The idea of a closed-loop system which could manage blood sugars on our behalf, and in most situations, is to me a dream come true.  I often ask when is 'good', good enough, because as a community we still hold on hope to stem cell research and islet transplantation, these were the hopes I'd clung to at 12, and those which had let me down by 22.  I still hope they will happen, but I don't let myself dream of days away from this life, quite the way I used to. 
But with the AP, tangible evidence is released almost daily in the form of human clinical trials, showing the literal steps which are taking place, bringing us ever closer to one of the most important technological breakthroughs since the discovery of insulin.  And at last, I can see a different future.  I can see that while a 'cure' might not be around the corner, if ever, there will be a time when I can sit with my friends from the diabetes community and enjoy a meal, day out or even just conversation, without our diabetes loudly interrupting our lives.
I can.

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