Definition of 'Cure' – as supplied by Merriam-Webster Dictionary
1. Recovery or relief from a disease
2. Something (as a drug or treatment) that cures a disease
3. A course or period of treatment
4. A complete or permanent solution or remedy
5. A process or method of curing
Well, that’s pretty broad, now isn’t it?
Since Merriam-Webster was not much help, here is my definition of a cure:
To push the re-set button. To go back to the way it was before diagnosis. To not ever have to think EVER again about the disease. To not have to worry ever again about a rising or falling blood sugar. To never have to poke another finger or inject insulin. To never count another carb or weigh his food. To have a completely disease-free son… perfectly healthy.
So, if that is my definition of cure…. Is it realistic to expect that it will happen? Let’s be honest here folks… I mean, really lay it all out and use our heads. No. It probably won’t. Because we are well-educated in this disease and because we understand the mechanism of how this disease works we know that it is not likely that we will see the above-defined CURE for our children. Now, don’t get me wrong – if it were to happen, I would be partying right along with everyone else and gladly eating my words. Hell, I would GIVE ANYTHING to see it happen.
What I do think will eventually happen is some sort of preventative measure will be put into place. So that future generations of children will not have to go through what our babies do. How fantastic would that be? How amazing that Sugar Boy and Sweet Girl may not have to worry about their own children or grandchildren going through and living with the daily burdens of the disease like Sugar Boy does now.
So, if I can’t have MY kind of cure, let’s go back and look again at what Merriam-Webster said, because I’m pretty sure that I just might be willing to settle for something different.
Recovery or relief from a disease. Lets break that down even further: RELIEF FROM A DISEASE. What does that mean? Well, we all know what relief feels like. Relief happens when the stress is removed. Whether the stress be mental or physical. What would ease the stress of Type 1 Diabetes? Less finger sticks? Less highs? Less lows? Being able to sleep through the night without worry of the unthinkable? Being able to eat anything and everything and not worry about what it will do to your blood sugar? I think so.
Something (as a drug or treatment) that cures a disease. Hmmm. This kind of goes with the next one…
A course or period of treatment. Hmmm, again. If you were to follow this definition you could say that insulin is a cure. Easy now! I didn’t say that!!!! I said, if you follow this definition you could say that insulin is a cure. I gave you MY definition above so put away the pitchforks and torches for a few minutes until I get through the rest of this, ok?
What would WE accept as a “cure” if we can’t have what I wrote above? Jeffrey Brewer, President and CEO of JDRF suggested, “Maybe a cure is taking two pills a day: one pill stems the autoimmune attack and the other pill regenerates beta cells. If that meant insulin independence and freedom from complications, that’d be pretty good, right?” I would take that! I would even utter the word “cure” for that.
I find it ironic that 88 years after the discovery of insulin we are willing to consider that freedom from insulin would be a cure. When 88 years prior a mother held her baby and thanked God for insulin… because it was their cure. It was the substance that saved her child from immediate and CERTAIN death by diabetes. And THAT was her definition of CURE. It was the discovery that came just in the nick of time… because another few months, weeks, DAYS.... that child would have been dead.
In the end I think I agree most with what Mr. Brewer had to say when he said this:
“At some point, we’re going to have a new problem of people arguing whether or not we have reached the cure. I look forward to the day when we are arguing about whether we’ve reached the cure.”