Friday, May 13, 2011

D-Myths (D-Blog Week, Day 5): What I'll Be Doing Post-Cure

Today's topic for Diabetes Blog Week is Awesome Things Friday (see HERE for more). In February the #dsma blog carnival challenged us to write about the most awesome thing we'd done DESPITE diabetes. The topic challenges us to today, so we've been asked to put a twist on that topic and focus on the good things diabetes has brought us. What awesome thing have you (or your child) done BECAUSE of diabetes? After all, like Karen's blog header says, life with diabetes isn't all bad! (Catch my Diabetes Blog Week posts from Day 1, Day 2 and Day 3, and Day 4).

I just don't have it in me after a long week of work to approach that topic on a Friday night. Instead, today, I've decided to use one of the "wild card" topics, because even though I hate to say it, some of them are starting to sound a little on the repetitive side (I've got to call them like I see them). Besides I don't really think of anything I do in spite of diabetes as particularly awesome, because I don't really recall much of life before this disease. I remember bits & pieces, but the reality is that was 35 years ago and I was just a kid of 7 years old at the time.

The wildcard topic I'm going to go with: Let's PROVE some fun d-myths like #dprom (the prom for diabetics around the world), Sprinkles (the glittery unicorn of advocacy), or Bl├╝nt Lancet (the diabetic heroes of rock)! Choose one of these "d-myths" (or create one yourself) and take it someplace creative! Write about any "myth" or story-line you can dream up! Let's bring those "myths" to life!

Now, I've spent a fair amount of my blog content proving that there WILL actually be a cure for type 1 diabetes (someday), and providing evidence of progress being made towards that objective (see HERE and HERE for two such examples), even if it may be unaffordable if and when it does arrive. I really DO believe it will actually happen (someday), but I'm no longer convinced it will necessarily happen in my lifetime. The reason: I am 42 years old, and have spent 35 years of my life (or 83% of my life) living with type 1 diabetes. The odds are (and time) is kind of working against me.

But ... suppose all the cards did work out right, and one of the autoimmunity treatments JDRF investigated which failed today were re-examined, leading to a stunningly simple, inexpensive treatment for the autoimmune response that causes type 1 diabetes. With that major problem solved, a number of different regeneration and/or transplantation treatments would restore us to euglycemia for the rest of our lives, without ongoing treatments, costs or refreshers.

My D-Life, Post-D

What will I pursue? What will happen to the Diabetes Online Community that has brought so much joy to so many people living with diabetes? Damn good question!

First, let's note that I might be cured, but many people in the U.S. (and elsewhere in the world) will still suffer from type 1 diabetes (which is now a curable disease) simply because they cannot afford the $100,000 cure and insurance won't cover it unless you have a gold-plated healthcare plan. That's a function of the lame U.S. sick-care system, so for the immediate future after this cure is found, I will (and many others will) still have our work cut for us. JDRF Walks will still be to cure diabetes, but instead work to bring the cure to the many who cannot afford it. The good news: they remain as popular as ever, and they do a damn good job. Within 5-7 years, nobody (in the U.S. or Canada, anyway) diagnosed with type 1 diabetes will have to suffer because they cannot afford the cure.

By that time, I'll be in my early 60's, and approaching retirement. The good news is that I've planned pretty well for my retirement, so unlike much of the Baby Boom which is not well-prepared for retirement and planned to live on the equity in their homes, I should have enough to spend my golden years without too much worry about money. Yes, I will have to live on a fixed-income, but I should be well-prepared, and without a money pit like type 1 diabetes to worry about, I can spend my retirement years pursuing other causes with my time.

Top on my list will be working to prevent any chronic disease. Unfortunately, because medicine no longer cures any diseases, just treats them for perpetuity, there's plenty to do!

While some of the D-OC is still around to work on it, sadly, many have decided to become typical retirees, pursuing early-bird specials and moving to senior condo complexes in places like Florida and Arizona. But many retirees have been priced out of retiring in the U.S., so they stretch now their retirement funds further by moving to places like Costa Rica, many places in the Caribbean, the Philippines, etc. That's a reality. Fortunately, the internet exists in these places, so we still do periodic chats online (no longer weekly, but every few months).

While I work to prevent more chronic illnesses, time passes, and I'm getting old. I'm now a genuine senior citizen. Sadly, many of us are getting old. Some live with their children, others health is ailing for reasons other than diabetes. A few have Alzheimer's and no longer remember life before a cure, or even their families. They are still the minority. The rest of us reminisce about the old days before a cure, and before everyone had access to a cure. We still chat online, although nowadays it's video conferencing and we do it with our mobile devices which we wear like a visor.

Now I hate to think about it, but someday, we'll all die. But the days we complained about life with diabetes are happily a distant memory. We call them the "bad old days"!! But many of us still have "Sprinkles" stuffed animals sitting on our beds today to remind us never to let chronic diseases happen to anyone ever again!

1 comment:

Jonah said...

Oh, Scott... from your hands to God's Eyes.