Monday, May 17, 2010

Dream big: A cure for diabetes

Diabetes Blog Week ended yesterday, Sunday, May 16th, with the topic: Dream a little dream – life after a cure. I have decided to write on this topic for today’s Monday post instead of yesterday.

I rarely think about life without diabetes – only when others mention it. I have gotten so accustomed to living with it, and I accepted that I have diabetes a long time ago. I’ve had the disease since I was 3 years old, and so it’s hard for me to imagine living without it. I’ve already gone through my rebellious phase which as a diabetic means eating candy and junk food, not checking sugars, and trying to be like everyone else. But even in those days, I didn’t dream of a cure.

Now we’re being asked to dream BIG.

My dreams started meagerly, more questioning than actual dreaming. First thing that comes to mind: Okay, so yeah, I wouldn’t be wearing a pump. But wouldn’t I still have to check my sugars even if there was a cure? Does it just go away? Just like that? Would all of those complications that I worry about just vanish and disappear into thin air? What about all of the lab tests? Wouldn’t they (the doctors) want to see if it’s really working?

I received my JDRF chapter newsletter over the weekend, and as I read, I began to warm myself up to the idea that a cure is possible. Yes, I know that the JDRF has been talking about this for a long time. But in order to dream big, you really do need to think that the dream is possible, right? So I allowed myself to think of a cure as possible. Articles spoke about research for an artificial pancreas and regeneration, and the best medical minds of the world have gathered for a global pharmaceutical conference to find a pill cure.

So I pondered again: What would life without diabetes mean? And my dream widened. I would be able to do more physically: Exercise when I want and how much I want without the fear of lows and highs. I could go into a pool or the ocean and not have to worry about my pump sitting in a bag unattended, or how much time I’ve spent without it attached. I could eat almost whatever I want to eat whenever I want to eat it (I do still have celiac). Hey, perhaps some of the complications I’ve developed would reverse and my body would heal? I would be able to wear clothing and not see a bulging pump underneath my shirt. I wouldn’t have to prick my fingers or change my pump every three days. I wouldn’t feel guilty anymore for not using a CGM (I find the needle way too big and so I just don’t use it). I wouldn’t have to excuse myself and check my sugars when others are socializing.

I would feel free.

And that’s when reality hit again: Diabetes can feel so limiting sometimes. And you know what? I don’t want to face those limiting feelings daily. And so I don’t dream of a cure. I have simply accepted that this is my life.

And then it hit me: Do these limiting feelings pervade other areas of my life as well? They probably do. Dreaming the cure dream is a diabetic lesson in dreaming big; it’s about letting go of limiting beliefs in our diabetic lives. If we dream big, truly allowing ourselves to envision ourselves living the lives we want to live, then we can live big too.

Perhaps dreaming big, letting go of those limiting feelings, is actually the necessary step to living freely – with or without diabetes. Because when you dream big, you follow your heart, and nothing can be more liberating than that!


  1. Beautiful post. This week has been an incredible experience for, as the mother of a CWD. I can't tell you how insightful it's been to peek inside the hearts and souls of people like you...people who have walked this journey and have seen firsthand the changes in management that have taken place over the past few decades.

    I feel like this insight is a gift. I can only imagine what it must have been like for a mother in my shoes 30 years ago. Geez. What if SHE had the Internet? What if SHE had a blog and the opportunity to connect with so many others on this road?

    Social media might be changing the course of history -- or at least blazing new trails.

    Thank you for opening your heart to me.

  2. It can be limiting, but we do our best to limit those limits.