I am on the plane to Houston to present today and a friendly cheerful man looks suddenly bruised when the flight attendent spills water on his laptop. “You know, if I did not have diabetes, I could make FIFTY times more than I am making. I normally eat VERY healthy ” he says as the last of the coke and pringles pas his lips. “But my sugar was low when I got on the plane’. He is taking state of the art therapy with Glargine Insulin and an ultra short acting insulin.
“Have you thought of having an insulin pump placed” I ask. In “Routine Miracles’ the unparralelled triumph from the point of view of the patient is the insulin pump. No more running into bathrooms to check a finger stick and inject insulin. Freedom, and the feeling of being ‘normal’ are the benefit.
“I am scared of breaking it” he says. “In my work and in my social life, people are always touching me and hugging me, I am scared it will break”
“You can always remove it” I say.
“I have the best eye doctor in the world. Besides laser treatment, I get avastin (Bevacizumab) injections once a month and it has kept me from going blind”
I pause a moment to absorb the grandeur of this advance. How exalted and wonderful to live in an era in which type I diabetes still can be managed to allow the ebulient Joe to travel to see a U2 concert in Atlanta.
Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) inhibitors are used, off label, to stop the progression of Diabetic retinopathy. Joe lives with Type I diabetes and we have a hard time absorbing or remembering that it is only in the last few decades that type I diabetes was not a death sentence.
The previous generation of physicians did not cure diabetes. Let us take a moment to absorb all the Hope and Goodness of a man who is alive, vibrant and hopping a fast plane to Atlanta to see Bono.
Joe is waiting however. He is waiting for one of use to cure his diabetes. Help me spread the news.