Diabetes Blog Week gets a little freaky this Friday . . and frankly a little uncomfortable if taken seriously. “If you could switch chronic diseases, which one would you choose to deal with instead of diabetes?”
Comparing chronic illnesses and wishing that you had a different one is a fool’s bet. At worst, you show yourself as failing to understand how difficult another person’s illness is. At best, you still have a chronic illness! You will still need to take medication or be watchful and worry about when your illness will turn more serious.
Instead, I’d rather have the kind of diabetes that some people think I have. No, I don’t mean the diabetes that people believe means I can’t eat delicious things with sugar. Nor do I mean the one that leads people to think there are things in my life I can’t or shouldn’t do. And it’s certainly not the kind of diabetes that somebody’s aunt “who didn’t take care of herself” had before she went blind, lost her feet,
became impotent, had a heart attack while on dialysis, and died. (All of those things are no laughing matter, of course, and can happen to anyone, no matter their A1c.)
No, I wish I had the “easy” diabetes. That’s the kind of diabetes where insulin is a cure, where having a pump means that I can do and eat whatever I want without worrying about anything, where using CGM lets me test my blood just once a day, and where “following the rules” puts my A1c instantly into the non-diabetic range. It’s the kind where following a low-carb diet, making out with Halle Berry, or eating cinnamon makes your symptoms completely disappear. It’s the kind of diabetes where simply preparing a few recipes from a “diabetic cookbook” is enough to ensure perfect glycemic control. It’s the same kind that is already cured in mice, and the same cure would be ready for me in less than five years. This diabetes uses technology and medication which are so inexpensive, easy-to-use, and reliable that the artificial pancreas is a flawless cure. It the kind of diabetes where islet cells are readily available for transplantation, anti-rejection drugs are foolproof, and medical professionals and drug companies provide everything pro-bono.
Obviously, this “diabetes” doesn’t exist at all, but, believe it or not, I’ve actually heard or read all of these things before. It sure would be nice if any of these were true, though. Some of them may eventually come to pass; I really do hope so. Others—like making out with an Oscar winner—probably will be just as mythical as any kind of “easy diabetes.”
So, I’ll be keeping this chronic illness instead of trading it for another. Besides, I have plenty of work left yet to figure out this one.
p.s. — Just in case you missed it, when talking about a mythical, nonexistent “easy diabetes,” I certainly don’t mean type-2 diabetes. That variety is just as hard in its own way as any other chronic illness. Don’t forget what I said in the first paragraph.