Even Without a Cure, My Life Is Good

Meagan Esler

| Jun 11, 2012

If you have type 1 diabetes, you probably know that you're in it for the long haul.  No diet, nutrition, or exercise plan is getting you out of this one.  Our only hope for a life without insulin injections is a cure.  It's a wonderful idea, but I'm not holding my breath.    

I frequently hear people in the diabetes community describe how often they've been told that a cure is "only five or ten years away."  Friends and family are always forwarding me news about diabetes cure breakthroughs.  They're exciting and I appreciate them, but they are always in trial stages. While there do seem to be a lot of cured mice, the "cures" are never in the human treatment stage.  

After nearly 18 years of diabetes, a cure seems as much a fantasy to me as winning the lottery and vacationing with Bret Michaels on a tropical island.  I realized a few years ago that I needed to focus on accepting my diabetes and not rely on the frequent rumors of a cure.
Of course, if a cure should ever present itself, I want to be in good shape to accept it.  I try to remain healthy as the years pass by.  I was careless at times when I was young and felt invincible.  I never really worried about complications until I got a little older and had a few more years of life with diabetes under my belt.  I think about complications now, though, and I want to stay as healthy as possible.

If they don't cure us during our lifetime, we have to focus on what we do have. We have each other. There is a place for every single one of us in the various diabetes groups, be it online or local.  We have technology that gives us easier and better care year after year, and we have more flexibility with our diet than ever before.  When I was diagnosed, it was all about limitations, but now I can count my carbs and take my insulin without worry when I want something sweet.  

In all honesty, I sometimes dare to dream about the day they cure diabetes.  I'd love nothing more than to be here to see it.  I'll continue to donate and fundraise for a cure because, more than anything, I hope that someday it becomes a reality.  But for now, even without a cure, my life is good, despite the multiple daily injections, despite the low and high blood sugar extremes and the mood swings that generally accompany them.  Life is good despite my diabetes, and when "D" really gets me down, I'm thankful that I have you to lean on.

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Categories: Cure, Diabetes, Diabetes Cure, Diabetes Health, Diet, Exercise, Find a Cure, Type 1, Type 1 Diabetes, Type 1 Issues

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Posted by Anonymous on 12 June 2012

Meagan, you are so right. There is a lot of work-in-progress for Type 1 and it is like a soccer match with lots of players shooting at goal... eventually someone will score. Meanwhile I agree with you completely, you must stay fit & well to be ready for the cure when it comes. I am bringing up my son with that mindset as well. He is young and he knows that he cannot control when a cure may be found but he can control to a good extent, what his glucose levels are today or what his HbA1c level is over a number of months... You are as positive as ever Meagan.

Posted by Anonymous on 12 June 2012

After 45 years with Type 1 DM I share Megan's thoughts. I offer up to anyone who has DM to accept it and take the best care of yourself as you can. Be like a marathon runner, who prepares and prepares for the long haul. ou are know different just a few extra daily tasks.

Posted by Anonymous on 12 June 2012

My exact thought/words. It could very well be better BUT it could also be something worse. I've had the D for 30+years, although not thru teenage years, and am grateful it is not a life threatening disease if we choose to take care of ourselves.

Posted by Anonymous on 12 June 2012

When it comes to medical research we have all been duped. It consistently over promises and under delivers. A cure for diabetes will not happen in anyone's lifetime. I highly doubt we will even see a 'functional cure'; a treatment required (months, years, decades and etc). If you look at the pipelines for curative research(permanant or functional) there is very little to get excited about. Most, if not all, requiring blowing up one's immune system or blasting it with cancer influencing agents. These protocols will never be approved for healthy diabetics. Life may be more liveable with some better conveniences but in the end, it's still a constant, unrelenting struggle and the costs of maintaining this illness (thanks JDRF!!!!) are causing more stress which isn't healthy even for non diabetics.

Posted by Jerry Smith on 12 June 2012

Anonymous poster: I would like to have a dialogue with you. I do not have any idea what you are complaining about. Is it some sort of vendetta against JDRF? I have problems with JDRF's advocacy and their push for funding the artificial pancreas study. My objection is that this is a very long term project when there are causes they could advocate with minimal expenditures. The artificial pancreas requires a 'perfect' continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system. Medicare will not cover current technology because it is PRECAUTIONARY! CGM is precautionary because it only works when used with conventional BG testing technology. How about advocating for a change in Medicare policy NOW for CGM coverage and then proceed to the artificial pancreas project? An effective artificial pancreas would be great news but it is probably a generation or more away from cost effective implementation.

Posted by Anonymous on 12 June 2012

I agree there will never be a cure for diabetes. Let me rephrase that. I believe there is a cure for diabetes, but the manufacturers of diabetic products are paying someone off. May sound foolish, but I really believe this. This disease put me into bankrupcy.

Posted by AdaGene on 12 June 2012

I've been a diabetic since 1948 - 64+ years. I was told when I was diagnosed that there would be a cure in 5 years, and I should stay in good control until there was a cure. I am happy that as a child I strived to stay in good control by "fighting my enemy (Diabetes)". I continued the same practice as a teenager, young adult, and now in my senior years. I'm still waiting for the cure. But until then, I'll keep "fighting my enemy." Why not? So far, it has made me a happy, healthy senior citizen!

Posted by Purplecats on 12 June 2012

When I was diagnosed in 1981, I remember the medical people talking about a cure soon. 31 years later I really don't even think about cure. I hate to say that I have "given up hope" as that sounds so negative, but I do not believe there will be a cure. I choose to live my life to it's fullest. I take responsibility for doing the best I can to make healthy choices knowing full well that I am not perfect and sometimes I am better at my care than others, as are all of us humans. I would not choose to have diabetes if given a choice, but then that was never an option, so "it is what it is."

Posted by laforĂȘt on 12 June 2012

I always appreciate Meagan's posts. Informative, uplifting, honest. For the past 52 years I heard that a cure was just around the corner. But like you said, I don't hold my breath.In those 52 years I have seen incredible progress in the care, treatment, knowledge about the disease, and probably more is to be expected, particularly from engineers. From the fine needles they have created to the pump and so many other "little" improvements in between, they made the diabetic's life a lot easier. That's where hope lies.

Posted by BridieNZ on 12 June 2012

Thanks for your commonsense & well written blog Meagan. I totally agree with you in regards to the fact that we are in this for the long haul.
When I was diagnosed in 1957 @ 7yrs. old, "THE CURE" was promised within (the usual) 5 years time....I'm now 62 and gave up waiting and hoping years ago. Like yourself, I accepted my diabetes and have learned to live with it - never allowing it to stop me doing the things I wanted to do, kept myself diabetes-educated and just get on with life.
There are far worse conditions than Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes...I consider myself extremely blessed to have been given a disease which can be controlled and has 'opened doors' for me that I might not have even bothered to look through if it wasn't for my diabetes.

Posted by jlnhjm on 14 June 2012

There are lots of my conditions that I will never see a cure for; like my diabetes, I have had to learn to live with them and minimize their effect by taking good care of myself. I think you will find that people who self care well, as just another of those things you have to do, like your hair and your nails, will be the ones who get the most out of life. Remember, even without diabetes there will be something that requires a lot of your attention, life works that way, things you don't want to do, mood swings, tears, the whole situation of life. The best thing one can do is the best thing, care for yourself so that when you age, your body will still be there for you and life can continue to be fruitful.

Posted by Anonymous on 15 June 2012

I started this way of life at the age of 11.5 in 1952 and can vouch for the tremendous changes...glass syringe and stainless steel needle to boil each morning before my, at that time, once daily insulin injection. Insulin $1.59 per vial. However I've only learned of one Doctor who truly has good knowledge of the condition...from him (his boook) I've learned more from Diabetes Solution, in one reading, than any doctor I've been to. Carbohydratea consumed makes a great difference, most doctors are ignorant of this fact. Before starting on a total carb control of 30 gms per day I had weighed 212 lbs, within 6 months my weight 160 with much better blood sugar control...A1c between 4.5 to 5.7. Dr. Bernstein developed Type 1 at the age of 12....similar age but he did something about it by working for his medical degree.
I have heard of some progress being made in working for a cure however not at the people stage yet. I believe at the U of T med school work is being done towards reducing the process of the liver converting amino acids into glucose. Since this is a problem I have, though my blood sugar was 64 at 11:15 this evening I did take an injection of 6 units fast acting insulin as from all my past blood sugar tests for years I know the level will rise to 200 or more by 7-8 a.m. I do recommend the book I mentioned for self education and much better understanding of diabetes, type 1 or 2. James

Posted by Anonymous on 16 June 2012

Our best shot as a cure is to try and cure ourselves.

Read up on Diabetesforums.com, I am cataloguing my own self-experimentation with various drugs, and ultra-sensitive c-peptide tests (even long-term type 1s still produce some insulin, decades after diagnosis). It is possible to regenerate your pancreas, and there will be a cure. When? I don't know. But they cured HIV, they are making progress on cancers of all types, and they even have a universal flu vaccine coming out to cure the common flu and all its infinite variations.

Don't despair...people out there ARE doing something about it. Just waiting on the sidelines is not for me...but I'll be happy to share any progress I've made if I do manage to boost my c-peptides. Staying healthy is not the same as giving up hope, or being cynical. That helps no one.

Sure big pharma wants to hold onto their 17 B$ type 1 cash cow forever, but some people out there are actually researching a real cure because diabetes is a cost drag on the economy and health budgets. The drug manufacturers and insurance companies make tons of money off Type 1s, but there IS real research going on and there's plenty of reasons to be hopeful. If you are tired of waiting...sign up for an experimental study or three.

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