The Last Few Miles Are the Longest: Waiting for a Diabetes Cure

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The Last Few Miles Are the Longest: Waiting for a Diabetes Cure

You know the old adage — the closer you get to the finish line, the longer the distance feels. Week after week, when I sit down to figure out just what I’m going to write about, I fall into the same pattern: I sit down, I think for a bit, and then I do a Google search for “diabetes research.” And every week I see the same thing — article after article, piece after piece, sharing the news that a potential cure “may have been uncovered,” or may even be “in initial trial phases.”

It’s just such a tease! I have been waiting for the day that a diabetes cure “has been found, tested, and shipped to your local doctor’s office” for about 20 years now. I was diagnosed at age 15. I’m 36 now. In my imaginations of the future, I always figured by the time I reached 40, a cure would have been not only found, but implemented. There’s still time for that 40-year deadline, but the gap is closing quick!

It does seem that the research is getting more and more promising — that we may be on the cusp of that golden era when a cure finally becomes something more than a distant dream to organize walks in support of. The research is diversifying, and intensifying, and specifying. I’m reading about actual trials, even if they’re merely in lab rats, rather than hypothetical and vague ideas about things that “might work.” And I’m reading more and more of them, with multiple viable avenues being explored by various teams of researchers.

But that’s the kicker! As we close in, we all know it’s just going to get more excruciating to wait! Can you imagine what it’s going to be like waiting those last few years, when human trials are underway? When we all KNOW a viable cure (or, at the least, a substantially better, more stable, and less demanding form of ongoing treatment) has BEEN identified, but won’t be available for another few years?

Of course, there’s nothing we can do but wait. And waiting… Well, that’s something that we Diabetians know how to do. We know how to sit with something we don’t like, or sit with a situation that’s short of what we would have hoped for. We know how to do it with a fair amount of grace under pressure, too. And that’s kind of what I return to when this whole “we’re-so-close-to-a-real-option-for-a-cure” thing comes up over and over. It’s like one extended high blood sugar spike.

Who knows what the next 10 years will bring us. I still have a great deal of hope that by my 40th birthday the landscape will be very different. And I certainly believe that if I ever have children, they will live in a time when diabetes has been put behind us. In the meantime, all we can do is wait, and return to the moment. We can continue to live each day as it comes, meeting that day’s challenges, and learning how to handle tomorrow’s challenges just a little better.

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