I was reading a blog entry on TypeOneNation.org by Kady Helme recently, about her trial of the artificial pancreas. I was actually really excited to read it because I had imagined that wearing the artificial pancreas would be like not having type 1 diabetes at all. Especially after listening to Aaron Kowalski, JDRF's Vice President of Treatment Therapies at the Friends For Life UK conference in Windsor.
Anyway, it is a well written piece and not at all what I was expecting. I had a "stop-me-in-my-tracks" moment though as I was reading it, where Kady used a phrase that I feel encapsulates the big struggle we face every day in living with type 1 diabetes. The "struggle" that is sometimes there a lot or sometimes there only a little. She wrote; "It wasn't until I was without the AP system that I understood what a mental burden had been lifted. It was such a treat to have something monitoring my sugar levels every five minutes and reacting to it. I only really had to focus on T1D at mealtimes."
We have lots of daily tasks that we need to do to live well with diabetes and that's what most people think is the difficult part of living with Type 1. But really, the finger sticks and injections are just small things in the big picture. Its what's going through our minds as we continue on with our day beyond the time it takes to complete those tasks. The "what if's", the toing and froing of the guesswork, the checklist of questions we have to go through before we make a decision on how much insulin to take. Questions like; when did I last take insulin and what did I eat at that time? Have I been active this morning? What am I going to do this afternoon, is it going to be active? When am I having my next meal? Will I have time to eat?
Any treatment for type 1 diabetes that can lift that mental burden even just a little is as good as a cure to me.