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Wordless Wednesday: JDRF & YCDT September 12, 2012

Posted by laosita in diabetes.
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Hell yeah, we can do this!

Awesome ladies after the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, sporting You Can Do This Project bracelets.

Meeee!!! (Rhymes with Wheeee!!!) August 15, 2012

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Last night I swung by my local Walgreens to pick up some environmentally-sound bug killing supplies. I saw the JDRF $1 donation papers on the counter as I checked out.

Nice Walgreens lady: Okay, that’s $5.40.
Me: Okay. Oh wait, can I get this [JDRF donation paper]? (is she even allowed to say no?)
Nice Walgreens lady: Of course! Let’s see…okay $6.40.
Me: Great, thanks.
Nice Walgreens lady: Do you know somebody with…
Me: Meee!!! (Think shortened-version of the Geico pig that Whees all the way home).
Nice Walgreens lady: Well, even more reason to donate then.
Me: Yep. Have a good night.

I admit that simple things excite me. People who know me well would be the first to say it. But what a weird response to admittance of a chronic disease that demands your attention every second of every day for the rest of your freakin life. (Granted, I’ve thanked a police officer after he wrote my speeding ticket, but that’s beside the point).

I pondered my response, because what my brain thought clashed with the response my ears heard. I am not excited, thrilled or amused about having Type 1 diabetes. I think the response came out the way it did because I am proud, and when asked- happy to share. The nice Walgreens lady probably has little idea what I do every day to keep myself functioning, or of the people I’ve met through diabetes. She probably doesn’t know, she probably doesn’t get it, and she probably got more than she bargained for when she asked. My response reminded me to take a second and be proud of myself, to recognize that I work hard, and that although the payoff is invisible to outsiders, that result is part of the end goal.

But I Am Going to Tell You The Truth July 25, 2012

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A presenter who is a scientist is very different than a scientist who happens to do presentations. And by scientist I mean researcher, doctor, super-smart person. Dr Ronald Gill presented the research update at Saturday’s JDRF Reach & Teach U event. I immediately liked him as he said: I’m not going to tell you there’s a cure around the corner. But I am going to tell you the truth.

Thank goodness. Hope makes me tired, particularly in learning environments. FFL was an awesome experience and one that, at some point, I hope to have again. But if there was such a thing as too hopeful, you’d find it there. I respect the idea of hope and the ability to have hope for any length of time, but that’s not necessarily how I roll. I don’t remember not living with diabetes (except for one ridiculous self-scissored hair cut), and I’ve been lucky enough to have resources available to me so I can successfully thrive with this disease. I don’t believe a true cure exists in my lifetime. However, as the DOC has blogged before, a cure can mean something different for each person.

But back to Dr Gill, he eloquently expressed his knowledge regarding Type 1 diabetes research. To him, a cure means preventing the disease, turning it around after onset, plus a true cure. I hurt just a little bit when a mom to a newly diagnosed 8-year-old asked, well, how far away is this and aren’t they doing studies mostly on adults? It will be 5 years before he’s even a teenager.

I recognized the fear and blind hope in her voice. But the first thing I thought was, sorry Mom, I’m not sure what you’re waiting for in the next 5 years. I know CGMs, pumps and insulins will improve. But a cure, no way. (Dr G reported that studies are beginning to include more under-age subjects.)

Moving on to what I meant to share, Dr Gill described some top advancements.

  • Artificial pancreas. Pump/CGM working together without help from broken-pancreas person. Key issue here is safety (also the area that FDA is consistently held up on). For example, what if the CGM sends a 400 BG to the pump, the pump delivers 8 units of insulin, but you were actually 82?
  • Islet replacement and beta-cell therapy. I learned here about encapsulation. The cell must ‘hide’ from the immune system otherwise the immune system goes after it again. Polymers or even seaweed are possible options to encapsulate the cells.
  • Smart insulin. The insulin binds to a molecule (and is injected), as glucose in the body increases, the glucose tries to bind to this molecule thus knocking off an insulin which is then released to lower glucose levels (obviously that is not the scientific version).

JDRF did not ask me to write about this event. I attended this event using my own resources, and any medical statements in this post are written as I understood them. Do your own research or talk with a medical professional to review accurate scientific information- I barely passed Chem 101.