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We're Not Stuck

I attended a JDRF Research and Technology Update today. I'm not sure what I expected, but I was curious. I didn't expect to get fired up about the prospect of a cure.
I know, I'm asking all my friends and family to donate to the JDRF, which was founded and is dedicated to the search for a cure for type 1 diabetes. But I wasn't going to get my hopes up that it would happen soon. And I still don't believe a cure is right around the corner.
But one of the local JDRF Outreach Managers, Elizabeth Romero, speaking at the seminar, said something very simple that really hit home for me.
She noted that many of us who have had type 1 diabetes for a long time have become somewhat jaded. We heard when we were diagnosed that a cure was only a few years away, and we've heard that over and over ever since. It's been 36 years for me. That's how long I've been hearing and reading about cures around the corner.
Elizabeth said she understands that. And she said, "But we're not stuck."
She went on to point out many of the things that have come about partly because of the presence of the JDRF, since it was founded 40 years ago.
The essential thing is that there has been a lot of progress. We know more about diabetes now than we have ever known before, and next year we will know more. And the rate of progress is accelerating.
We're not stuck.
We don't have a cure yet, but we're not stuck.
So that's the good part.

The other part of this story is where it seems like we aren't making progress.
There was a pediatric endocrinologist on the panel of speakers, the only doctor in the group. He referred to multiple daily injections as "conventional" treatment, even though he said that it is better to have a pump. How long will it be before a pump is "conventional?" Why isn't it now, when studies show that people manage their blood sugars better on pumps?
Some parents of diabetic children expressed some frustration that they were having to wait for insurance coverage, and the doctor seemed to feel the delaying tactics were a good thing, that for some reason people should learn to deal with injected insulin before they were allowed to use a pump. He said that it was a "red flag" to him when someone newly diagnosed wanted an insulin pump.
To me, requiring people to get used to injections before teaching them to use a pump is like making them learn to drive a stick shift before they can use an automatic transmission, or maybe more like making them prove they can steer with their knees for a few months before you let them put their hands on the wheel.
I just don't get that.

All in all, I'm glad I went. I got another back-up meter, that may become my main meter, I like it so much, I met some great people, and I got a little bit fired up about the search for a cure.


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