We did so much for diabetes in 2008, but there is still work to do.
By Tom Karlya
December 2008 — It was that time again. The knock came upon my door.
"Come in." I said.
My guest spoke up. "I dreaded today - you wanted to see me. And I know why."
I turned away and looked out the window.
I thought a moment or two before I spoke. "Sit down, 2008. I have ushered in, and ushered out, every single year for some time. Each time a dismissal citing objectives not met; a cure for diabetes was not found."
2008 spoke up. "But before we start …"
"Hold on 2008. Before we even begin, I have something to say."
"I do not mean to interrupt but this was a tough year." 2008 pleaded his case.
I half-smiled at 2008. "I actually tried to find a way to keep you."
"Excuse me, sir?"
"I said I actually tried to find a way to keep you on. Look, I get it; it was a tough year. But I think your replacement has the table set to accomplish incredible feats. You actually set that table with many changes and new initiatives." Sheepishly, 2008 sat down. Slowly the words came out.
"So … I … can … st-st-stay?" I continued looking out my window as so many thoughts entered my head. There were the usual stories of complications from diabetes being on the rise with studies showing a jump in eye disease and still, findings of scientific advances in mice. I understand the significance of moving up the research ladder but as Dr. Norma Kenyon states about her daughter with type 1 – "She is not a mouse."
The drug companies had their share of good and bad and there was that Boston University study that stated increased physical activity may lead to reduction in type 2 diabetes - that was not a news flash for sure. The IDF continued lighting the world blue, which is nice, but it just seems there is more to that effort that could take off.
But there was more, much more good for diabetes in 2008. Just when you thought Manny Hernandez and TuDiabetes.com could not come up with something more creative; he comes up with something more creative. His philosophy of working with those who want to be involved and not focusing on those who don't has amassed over 6000 members to his incredible site in such a short time. Manny is a force to be reckoned with in the encouragement of how to make a difference. He will get his "Google Doodle" for diabetes awareness - bet on it.
Add to this electronic-social-business-mix: Amy at Diabetes Mine, Gina of DiabetesTalkfest, Kerri at Six Until Me, George, Scott, Sandra, Carey, the MEGA-Wonderful Fran Carpentier with her Diabetes, Day-by-Day blog found on Parade.com, and so many more in the social network circles. These considerations and one will find diabetes information is moving at warp chromatic nano (or whatever the correct terminology is according to Webopedia) speed in this electronic age.
Yes, there were advances in research as new sources of insulin producing cells have been found along with novel approaches utilizing stem cells. And finally someone may have directly linked a common genetic origin of type 1 diabetes to celiac, which could at the very least, explain the strong link between the two. And probably one of the biggest turn-around-about-faces in the history of government funded research, President-elect Barack Obama with one stroke of a pen promises to reverse the withholding of government funds for embryonic stem cell research.
And there were just incredible amounts of people who continue to help the so many diabetes organizations with record-breaking bike-rides, walks, and some very uniquely clever and successful events. Brenda Novak's online auction in the spring is worthy of a look-see; nothing comes close to that in both the uniqueness and successful categories. And how about the Sanchez family from Florida? As if raising over $110,000 in a fishing event wasn't enough, they intend on parlaying their connections further and to new heights and single-handedly attempt to surpass 1 million dollars in 2009, just from their efforts. Absolutely amazing.
Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...