I've been thinking about this lately. I've read all of the Tagged posts. So interesting to read the similarities and differences in how people deal, what they do, what they think, about the very same questions! I hope I don't offend anyone by posting this. Really, it's not intended in a "nit-picky" or critical way. I'm posting more to raise up the hopes of some of you who sound so sure that a cure will not be found in our lifetimes. To be honest with you, I doubt the cure too. But, I don't let myself think about it much, because, really, I'm just busy living life as it is and not concentrating so much on the "what if" and "what then" thoughts. Anyway, here's what I want to say about the whole cure thing and the nature of diabetes in general....
IT'S NOT THE PANCREAS THAT'S WONKY. Scientists haven't always understood that. When I was diagnosed, it was assumed that my pancreas was the culprit. And then, about ten years ago, the thinking changed. The research showed something new. The pancreas wasn't the bad guy! The pancreas functioned just fine in most other things. But it just didn't produce insulin anymore. Someone finally realized that the t-cells were the nasty, little bastards! Those t-cells, who were supposed to be busy fighting the war with germs and viruses that invaded the body, turned traitor and killed off the beta cells in the pancreas. Just the beta cells. You have no idea what a break-through that was! It suddenly explained why "curing" diabetes with a pancreas transplant just didn't work well. In fact, in most cases, it made things worse. A person got a pancreas transplant and they lost the good, functioning parts of their old pancreas. If their body rejected the new pancreas, then they ended up in a really bad situation with a completely wonky, not-functioning pancreas. So, transplants were out. Islet cell transplantation started getting some notice. But if someone got an islet cell transplant, then they had to take non-steroid-based anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives. Know why that worked? Because those drugs suppressed the immune system so that those little traitorous t-cells couldn't do their nasty work. Stop taking those drugs and the t-cells go back to killing off the beta cells. So now we're back to researching again. Looking for something new, some new idea that doesn't suppress the entire immune system, doesn't take out the functioning parts of the pancreas. What to do, what to do? Well, here's where I give you some hope. You see, there's been some recent news articles that I've found incredibly exciting. Hope-filled, interesting. Reading them has been like watching a light bulb turn on, seeing the sun break through the storm clouds. There are two articles. They basically say the same thing, but one is a bit longer. One is from the U.S. about the University of Virginia. The other is about research in Canada. Definitely worth the reading. And I hope it will give some of you a little bit of hope!
Vaccine to Reverse Diabetes
How cool would that be? To go from poking teeny little fingers endless times each day, injecting insulin in its various forms and methods, to stopping by the doctor's office for a vaccine every few months? THAT makes me hopeful!