miracle? no. cure? no. love? yes. #hawmc day 20

April 20, 2012

The prompt for today really set me off, and not in a good way. I don’t like to think about pretending there’s a cure for type 1 diabetes. I don’t find it cute or funny. My family and I didn’t know any better, back in 1980 when I was diagnosed with type 1, and we heard the doctors loud and clear when they said “they’re working hard on this, and there will be a cure for it in 10 years.” 1990 came and went, no cure. 2000, same deal. 2010…yeah, here we are. And still are, in 2012.

I don’t have any hope for a cure–a lights-blinking, sirens-roaring, crowds-cheering switch that turns my pancreas back to “ON” and makes it do what it’s supposed to do–in my lifetime. Maybe I did almost 32 years ago. But that hope faded away with each decade that it still didn’t appear. I’m jaded now. It’s been too long.

Google has 52.6 million potential results for “cure diabetes.” Examples of those results include: Bariatric surgery, cinnamon, 3 days in Europe with stem cells (sightseeing? partying? strolling the countryside? Those cells sure do like to get around), “diabetic food,” apple cider vinegar, and all kinds of so-called “natural substances” that sound super scary to me. I see this crap advertised everywhere: in the magazine kiosk in the checkout line, on the side of my Facebook page, in my spam email box, on TV and from the nutjobs who spam me (and everyone else) on Twitter. There are all kinds of wackos hawking lies and taking advantage of people in really dangerous ways, and I don’t want anything to do with it.

On top of that, there are those who think that if we diabetics–every last one of us–just ate less/better/differently/organic/vegan/low-carb/no-carb/low glycemic index, and exercised more/every day/at least 30 minutes/60 minutes/90 minutes/every day/aerobic/anaerobic/5k/10k/half-marathon/marathon/triathlon, if we just tried harder/cared more/loved ourselves/did it for our kids/did it for our partners/did it for our parents/listened to our doctors/listened to our parents/listened to the media, we’d be cured. The stigma, stereotyping and condescension that comes from this type of thinking about those of us with malfunctioning pancreata and autoimmune systems is painful. It’s everywhere (check out Kerri’s recent experience). And it hurts. It hurts because we didn’t do anything to deserve that kind of thinking and treatment. A part of our bodies doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to work. Our bodies attacked that part. If I could have stopped it, I surely would have. But I couldn’t. And I can’t do anything about that now. I certainly can’t do anything to reverse it, cure it, or make me “normal” again.

If I had a dollar for every one of those stupid Google results, maybe we really would have a cure. So here’s the part where I mention the Diabetes Research Institute, and Faustman Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, among others, that are working super hard in all kinds of insanely wonderful ways to get us closer to a cure. If I felt like hope would get us there, I’d send the hope their way. (Along with the $52.6 million, too). I’m all about the brilliant endocrine scientists doing their incredible research. I’ve just been burned too  long on this one so far, so instead, I’ll just be thrilled when they have results to share that can make significant positive changes in this body, in our bodies, and in this disease.

So if I won’t even pretend that there’s a cure, what’s left? It’s the love and support from my Type Awesome web: my partner A, daughter Ms. Diva, my mom, dad, stepmom, brother, sisters-in-love/law, brother-in-love/law, nephews, cousins. Friends IRL. Dr. WonderfulEndo and her staff. AND, what I’ve found and experienced from the Diabetes Online Community IS nothing short of lifesaving. People I’ve never met, who will ask and answer and check in and giggle and hold my hand and listen and care…all in the virtual universe of the #DOC. All of these folks are my miracle. It’s miraculous that we’re here, and even more miraculous that we find and have each other.

Cure, shmure. I’ve got d-peeps and a Type Awesome web of support and love.

This prompt is for Day 20 of the wego Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge: Miracle Cure. Write a news-style article on a miracle cure. What’s the cure? How do you get the cure? Be
sure to include a disclaimer 😉

dinner invites #hawmc day 19

April 19, 2012

People with diabetes are amazing dinner guests. We always know, or can check on calorieking.com or some mobile app, how many carbohydrates are in any food and beverage. We will bring, among other yummy items, the essentials: diet coke (or pepsi), cupcakes, bacon, holiday candy, and/or brownies. And we’ll mesmerize dogs, cats, babies, and toddlers with potential assortments of buzzes, rings, beeps, and psssts from various diabetes technology acting and interacting throughout the meal.

I would so love to have dinner with good girlfriends from Camp Diamont, the camp for kids with diabetes in Montana that I attended the last week in July every summer when I was 8-14. Amy Jo, my BFF from my first year and all the years after; Melanie, the girl who I was convinced hated me until we were counselors together and I found out what a badass person, librarian, and friend she is; Heidi, the “cool girl” who let me live with her years later when I did a summer internship in Seattle; Jodie, the fun, sweet, awesome girl from my hometown who later became the program director at Diamont; and Erika, the sweetheart from a small town north of my hometown who (I found out 20+ years later on Facebook) grew up with one of my besties in high school.

I would also love to have dinner with a few campers who have a special place in my heart, from my older years as a camper, and then from my years as a junior counselor and counselor: Jami, Kim, Kristy, Justine, and Mark. I actually got to see both Kim and Mark last summer, and have meant to blog about it ever since. It’s on my list. Seeing each of them last summer was a majorly major highlight. It was as if no time had passed–yet there we were, all grown up and such.

Then there’s the dinner with 5 of my good friends from when I was a counselor for several years at Camp Diamont: Bill (amazing camp director), Cathy (Type Awesome), and Mark, Melanie, Jodie, and Heidi (see above–we were counselors together too!). Being a counselor at the camp that meant so incredibly much to me as a kid with type 1 was such an indescribable experience. As a kid, it was such a relief and a joy to hang out with 100+ other kids and normalize all the mess that is type 1 diabetes. As a counselor, it was that same kind of relief and joy, as well as an honor and privilege, to get to hang out and perhaps mentor or role model for ones younger than me. I loved it. It gave me hope, for them as well as for me.

Sigh. I’m feeling really happy after writing and thinking about getting to have dinner with all of these wonderful d-peeps. Love to you all, Diamont campers and counselors from 1981-1988 and 1990-1995. Best. Times. EVER.

I’ll bring the diet coke and the cupcakes.

This prompt is for Day 19 of wego Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge: 5 Dinner Guests. Who are 5 people you’d love to have dinner with (living or deceased) and why?

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