A New Hope
Continuing to fight in the New Year with all the hope we can muster.
By Tom Karlya
January 2007 — The annual knock came upon my door.
"Come in," I said.
"Hi Tom, I was anticipating this meeting."
"Yes. Quite frankly, I was warned."
"Interesting. May I ask by whom?"
"My predecessor. Last year received a good deal of feedback, and even though his case was pleaded, termination was the result. I was warned that it might happen again, this time to me."
"To be fair, this process occurs yearly and it's not really your fault. As long as diabetes exists, it is our job to usher out the old and welcome a replacement. We all need the hope that accompanies a new year. Please, sit down, let's chat."
"Was I that bad?"
"No 2007, you weren't. But that does not offer those of us who deal with diabetes every day much consolation. And I'm only speaking from what I know as a Diabetes Dad. I just cannot imagine what it's like to live with this everyday like those who do, those people we love a lot and are important to all of us."
"But I showed promise, didn't I? There were many great things like…….like….well the blogging community for one. Tu Diabetes burst on to the scene along with dLife's Blogabetes and the whole blogging community took their existence and kicked it up a notch. Not just the stalwart insightful sites like Six Until Me, and Diabetes Mine. The blogging community in the diabetes field has become a force to reckon with, being quoted ….well…everywhere. Not even to mention the communities that exist out there like in Myspace and Facebook. I did that, in my term."
"Undeniably, 2007. All of these have grown in exponential leaps and bounds. But….."
"And how about over 250 buildings lit up in blue around the world for World Diabetes Day? That was no easy feat. You asked for a united front and clearly the IDF had an incredible effort."
"That's also true but….."
"I'm sorry, I don't mean to ramble on but never before has one year done so much in bringing the issue of diabetes to the forefront. Education programs excelled in so many arenas: Jim Turner's one man show; The dLife Foundation was born and raised over $40,000 to help a diabetes center on Long Island in its first event; Fran Kaufman and the Discovery Channel presented a film dealing with the worldwide epidemic; dLifeTV had the best year ever educating the world about diabetes with even an Emmy Award Nomination; and even pharma companies partnered with so many great organizations; MY GOODNESS, EVEN AL ROKER GOT INTO THE ACT AND I EVEN GAVE JOSLIN A RACE CAR, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE."
Neither of us spoke immediately following the outburst. 2007 had a point. 2007 looked down at the floor and spoke in a whisper.
"I needed more time." 2007 looked me straight in the eye as a tear formed and rolled to its cheek. "I just needed more time. I wanted to be THE year, I really did."
Never before have I felt so badly. 2007 was a good year for the diabetes education in America, but while the much-needed attention was being given to education, the one main objective still laid dormant.
The silence between us was deafening. Finally I spoke.
"I admit that there were many items on the agenda and you certainly crossed off a number of them. But you have to understand that ever since that disastrous ‘Decade for a Cure,' we take broken promises very seriously. False hope does not sit well and the only thing worse is when no, or little hope, is given. I am afraid you are guilty of both."
"The inhaled insulin and the heart drug were two major disappointments. Many people were looking to these and when they failed, so did you, 2007. Outside of a few minor ‘hiccups' in the research world, advancements weren't what we expected."
"I know, the holy grail - the closed loop system. It's not there yet, although some advancement has been made. Same with more information on the body's ability to accept islet cells without rejection. But I'm afraid it's just not enough."
"Yes 2007, I am afraid it's time to let you go. I have talked with 2008 at length and our hopes are now in the hands of next year, your replacement."
No more words were spoken. 2007 got up, crossed the room, and left, closing the door behind it. I stared at the door. Sixteen years have walked out of my office, allowing the hope of a new year to enter. This marks the arrival of another new year for Kaitlyn, for us, and for millions more to entertain a new year of hope.
The hope does not die with each year that passes for me, but I always wonder if complacency is setting in elsewhere. It's the responsibility of all of us to stay involved in the fight to remind people, organizations, foundations, research centers, hospitals, doctors, educators, government, presidential candidates, elected officials, adults, kids, media, and anyone else who will listen that this is a disease that we must continue to fight with all the force we can muster. I look forward to the year that arrives that is the one we all have been waiting for. I'm a Diabetes Dad.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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