There is always something inevitable if you live with Type 1 diabetes--you can always expect a new email in your inbox at least weekly describing some new cure for diabetes. I get emails from different companies, family members, and friends with the title “Did you see this?” or “Show your husband this!”. Granted, most people that send them don’t realize that that they aren’t usually cures for Type 1 diabetes, but Type 2.
After twelve years of being married to someone who has Type 1 diabetes and a spouse who has lived with it for thirty years, you start to develop a callous to every cure for diabetes that comes across your path. Several years ago stem cells were going to cure diabetes--and they did for a very short time. Years before that it was transplants. Years before that it was the creation of an artificial pancreas. Years before that...you get the point.
My husband and I have come to grips a long time ago with the fact that he will probably be living with diabetes for the rest of his life. But it doesn’t mean that we don’t take notice of the advances taking place in diabetes management. Insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors have made huge strides in portability and accuracy. Glucose meters are coming a long way in being able to decrease their margin of error. Meters are getting smaller, and more able to fit the busy lifestyle we lead. (Although we still can’t understand why you advertise such a small meter and then put it in the same size carry case as all the rest on the market. That kind of defeats the purpose of being small and compact. Especially if you’re a guy that can’t just throw it in a purse).
We are also excited that many companies are now looking to those living with diabetes as a voice for the community on how to further better their products and services.
We are grateful that diabetes management has come a long way. Living with diabetes is not easy, and it doesn’t let you forget it’s there, but it is able to be managed and you can live a great life. But deep in that little crevice of your mind that you try to tuck all of the comments you never want to utter out loud but are still there you wonder if there ever really will be a cure for diabetes. And then you wonder if there were a cure for diabetes, what would your life that has been so encompassed by diabetes for so long look like? Would you go through periods of grief? Would you actually mourn the loss of your diabetes in a way because it’s been such a part of you for so many years? Or would you find that life is only enhanced and you are able to accomplish those things that you couldn’t?
Why all this reflection? The other day something epic happened. While working on my laptop, my husband came over and told me to check out a website. A diabetes website. (This happens very rarely). Thinking I was checking out a new insulin pump or diabetes management tool I was surprised when I saw the title and even more intrigued as I read through the corresponding paragraphs.
The Diabetes Research Institute is working on a BioHub, a mini organ that is able to detect blood sugar and then release insulin at precise times. It works by replacing insulin producing islet cells. First round clinical trials have already showed that those with long term diabetes were able to achieve long term results. They are currently taken another round of clinical trial candidates. My husband has decided that he would like to fill out the 17 page questionnaire. That is a big step for him. He usually doesn’t like being the guinea pig.
While there are some major roadblocks to this intriguing therapy (having to take anti rejection drugs, availability of islet cells) I guess we’ll wait and see how effective this diabetes cure will be.