Tuesday, November 25, 2008

name a disease that's been cured~

i've been thinking lately about cures.  
not just for type 1 (that one being my personal favorite, haha) but in general.  
unfortunately, i have yet to find one that has been cured.  some say smallpox, however, most diseases have been eradicated by vaccine, not technically cured once one has 'contracted' it.  this is why i'm starting to think 'they' (the great researchers we are all depending on) have invested so much in the idea of preventing type 1's onset in the first place through vaccine.
could you imagine that, though?  how many vaccines are we gonna subject our kids to?  i think in some people's minds, it is the only way, since (i theorize) we've never actually found a cure for anything. 
i am grateful our disease is manageable, though.  while letting it go would have led to me to a slow and painful death, many diseases that become 'managed' (i.e., the aftereffects of severe scarlet fever) have long-term results that effect one for life in a way that is unmanageable.  that really breaks my heart.  
so we watch and wait, but birdy's not holding her breath.  now i'm just waiting for my damn ankle to heal so can run again! 


Scott said...

There are a few, but surprisingly, not that many. Tuberculosis is one, and polio can also be included on the list (though time is really the only cure, they did have better treatments to make life with the disease more manageable following the introduction of vaccine for polio). Since the 1940's, medicine has shifted towards managing the symptoms of diseases rather than eradicating the cause, and that would be fine if medicine did a halfway decent job of managing those symptoms, but most treatments are as bad as the disease itself, or offer only marginal improvements over life with the disease itself.

In 2004, there was an interesting presentation on the subject of "why haven't we cured type 1 diabetes yet?" and the conclusion was "medicine has vastly under-estimated the strength of the enemy: the disease (type 1 diabetes mellitus).

Medicine tends to be a tad arrogant on this subject; they have not cured many diseases, and although their understanding has improved (slightly, they shoot from the hip more often when they don't really KNOW the answers), they continue to vastly under-estimate the burden of life with a chronic ailment.

The principle underlying the cornerstone of diabetes management is that more diabetes education will somehow (miraculously) improve a person's ability and/or desire to practice intensive insulin therapy which is grounded in the assumption that it is REASONABLE to expect a person to perform these acts every day for the rest of his or her life.

But one has to question why insurance companies and health care providers ponder why the rate for most diabetes complications as reported by the NIH continue to rise, in spite of concerted education efforts which began in earnest over 30 years ago. Author Deb Butterfield ("Showdown with Diabetes") once wrote:

"Perhaps the best test of these 'behavioral theories and strategies' would be to follow 1,441 non-diabetic people over a period of 10 years as they try to comply with the regimen of injections, restrictions and uncertainty that is expected of the diabetic population. The conclusion would, I'm sure, be that the regimen itself is unreasonable and that the co-morbidities of depression, eating disorders and family dysfunction are, after all, only human."


birdy said...

thanks scott! this is so powerful. i think it's important for people to be reminded of the level of difficulty of our disease management; as most have no idea, eh? i am always pleased to read of how you question the current medical system, etc.