Imagine a world without diabetes
I made a pretty bold statement last Monday. I said:
Maybe they’ll develop a diabetes vaccine someday… Any parent with diabetes or parent of a child with diabetes will tell you that they, themselves, would rather have the malfunctioning pancreas than their kids.
If I put words in anyone’s mouth, I apologize. If it appears that I said that I’d rather see a vaccine than a cure, well, then maybe I did. My words were pretty ambiguous on the matter, and today my thoughts on the whole vaccine-or-cure debate still are a little hazy. For the sake of people living with diabetes today, I’d love for
them us to be cured. For the sake of annihilating the disease for future generations, I’d love to see a vaccine.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Or, to elaborate on that statement, it’s much more comfortable not to get a disease than it is to get rid of it. Although my car can be repaired, I’d rather it not break down in the first place.
If and when a cure is found (and I don’t mean the cinnamon-açai berry-buckwheat tea “cure”), who knows how it will be administered? Maybe it will be a pill. Maybe surgical. Maybe it will be a long and uncomfortable process like chemotherapy is to cancer — and even that doesn’t always work. But even before it is cured, it has to be diagnosed. That could mean overall sickness or DKA, or maybe by the time diabetes is detected, it’s already too late.
I made the claim that a parent would rather have diabetes than their child (or children). I don’t know if that is true in all cases, but I do know that parents get awfully sensitive about the thought of their kids getting it. In her opening letter in the December 2012 Diabetes Forecast (not yet available online), Editorial Director Kelly Rawlings wrote about her son’s participation in a clinical trial to assess his susceptibility to the big-D and to help researchers learn to prevent it. It’s a short article, but mighty emotional from both mother’s and son’s perspective. (Kelly, if you’re reading this, thanks for writing it and thanks to your son for participating!).
Earlier in the month, Kerri wrote a wonderful response to those who ask if her daughter might end up with diabetes. She knows the statistics but would rather enjoy what “is” than dwell about what “could be.” Sarah worries about the possibility with her son.
We all do. And I think this is why we all would sleep a bit better at night knowing that our kids were not more “at risk” than their friends of non-D parents.
So, yeah, maybe I’m coming across as a little insensitive to my brothers and sisters with diabetes, and maybe even to the non-D parents of kids living on synthetic insulin. I’m not turning my back on you by any stretch. I would love to eradicate diabetes altogether, and I certainly still want a cure. But if I remove my own emotions and look at it from a broader perspective, I think a protective/preventative approach isn’t a bad one.
Imagine the next generation viewing Type 1 Diabetes in the way we think of smallpox or polio: extinct.
Imagine a world without diabetes.