Will There Be a Cure for Diabetes?
This diabetes dad has hope.
By Tom Karlya
March 2011 — I was asked recently if I believed there will be a cure for diabetes. I thought that was a great question and not one where I should just say, "Yea, sure." It got me thinking about many things, including many different discussions raging around the Internet of late.
Let's begin on the correct platform. I'm a writer, it's what I do. I hope this column supplies the reader with food for thought. I want to elicit a response; I want dialogue; I want intelligent discussion from people who are aware that they don't know everything and are also willing to learn, because that's what differentiates a discussion from a debate.
My definition of a cure for diabetes is one that my children will be free from all the possible complications and day-to-day worries and management that they have endured since the day they were diagnosed. I want to get as close to where our lives were before they were diagnosed. I don't care what accomplishes that, and I also don't know how we'll get there. If anyone tells you they know, honestly, I believe they are misinformed.
I have done exhaustive work on finding out where we are and I have to be completely honest with you: If someone is saying that a biomechanical means is any closer than a biological one, I don't believe it. There isn't any proof that either will be here in three years, five years, or ever. The key word here is proof. And the word "here" means that people with diabetes, kids included, will be using whatever it is that works on an everyday basis. It's not phase I, II, or III in the research phases to completion, or even awaiting FDA approval. It means in everyday use.
Better technology to achieve better management of diabetes is not a cure. But hear me clearly: Both are equally as important, though different. Better care is not a comparative for a cure for diabetes. It is important for the work to continue to aid advancements in both venues. Anyone out there with diabetes deserves both, and nothing short of success in both is acceptable.
For me, the line is not blurry at all. Better treatments are always appreciated and expected for my kids. I don't care how great the advancement in treatment; it is not a cure. We can trace the "blurry line syndrome" as far back as the invention of insulin. Here was the headline in March 22, 1922's Toronto Daily Star:
The headline refers to the discovery of insulin. A cure? Well, to many who died before insulin came along, "cure" must've seemed like a good word to use. Insulin was a better treatment for diabetes, but the disease was not cured. My one defining difference in the definition of a cure is that we will be done; nothing more will be needed.
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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...