For me, the end of the year is a time for both reflection and for looking ahead.
I could tell you everything that happened in 2011 that made it an annus horibilis and that I’ll be glad to be rid of it, but it’s done and dusted. Little I can do except learn and try not to repeat those things that led to where I am now and what I have to do in 2012 to fix the result of 2011. A bit cryptic but that’s how I’m going to leave it.
Instead, I’m going to list all the things I want for me and for the diabetes world in 2012.
- A cure for diabetes – that goes without saying!
- Dexcom 7+ to arrive in Australia and be affordable and insurance funded.
- Animas pump with integrated CGMS to land in Australia with insurance coverage.
- More government or charity programs for people who want pumps but can’t afford them.
- Wider testing for the 20% of misdiagnosed Type 2s, who really have LADA/Type 1 and would benefit from more appropriate treatment.
- Normal Blood Glucose limits for T2 diagnosis to be more realistic – current diagnostic criteria is that blood glucose has to be =>11 mmol/L (198 mg/dl). How many years are those people sitting in the 8s, 9s & 10s (144, 162, 180) before diagnosis? Possibly years after damage from blood glucose spikes has begun?
- Wider acceptance of low and lower carb eating for diabetes. I have, thus far, completely failed to understand the recommendation for high carb meals for people who can’t control their diabetes, when this is the very food that causes blood glucose to rise, more than any other food. “Healthy whole gains” aren’t the least bit healthy if they raise your blood glucose to unacceptable levels.
- Better education and support for the newly diagnosed. A 10 minute family doctor appointment simply doesn’t cut it. A dietician and diabetes educator who follow outmoded ideas that do more harm than good, don’t cut it either. Leaving people in isolated areas waiting months for an appointment with an endo, also isn’t acceptable. People who aren’t internet savvy are also at a huge disadvantage. All of this needs approving.
- An understanding that about 50% of protein and 10% of fat is metabolised into glucose and appropriate insulin needs to be factored in.
- Awareness that there are many people on the planet who can’t afford insulin and many who have died and will die without it. In 2012, I would like more support for and a spirit of giving to those organisations who assist people all over the world, who can’t afford insulin and other diabetes supplies. In the words of Tom Karlya, “I would like someone to give Ron Raab’s Insulin for Life every dime the man needs.” Well said! I have been an volunteer with Insulin for Life since 2003 and I know the great work they do. They need funds to offset freight costs to get supplies to where they are needed.
- When recipes are called “diabetes friendly” and all I can see is that they are low fat, and high in carbs, I want the ‘diabetes friendly’ term to be banned!
- A wish that the medical community would fully understand the distinction between all the different types of diabetes, and more importantly, that it and the media stop the blame game about what causes T2 diabetes because more and more they are being proven wrong. (Read: You did not eat your way to diabetes.)
- Stop the “you can live a normal life with diabetes’ nonsense. You can’t! Yes, you can DO almost anything you want in life, but not without dealing with a disease that needs to be monitored and treated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no time off, no holidays, no respite. That’s hardly normal!
- That ordinary people realise people with Type 1 diabetes and some with Type 2, need to eat and need to have insulin. The very things that keep us alive can also kill us.
- That technology is developed and made available to all those amazing carers of kids with diabetes so they can sleep through the night, not have to get up every few hours to monitor blood glucose, and not have to worry that their kids could have dangerous highs or lows through the night, let alone the juggling that goes on during the day with active kids. My hat is off to all those carers who take on their kids’ diabetes as if it were their own. They mostly don’t get any respite either.
- Some similar monitoring for teens and adults who manage their own diabetes so that we can sleep peacefully too. No more possibility of ‘dead in bed’. We’ve lost too many people in the diabetes community this way.
- That more restaurants would have some lower carb options for people who choose to eat that way. The penchant for sugar-laiden, high carb Asian-fusion food in this country drives me crazy! I can easily walk along an entire strip of restaurants where I live, and not find a single lower-carb thing on a menu that I’d prefer to eat. For that matter let’s include better menu choices for gluten-free for those who need it. I’m starting to see restaurant menu items that are labelled GF (gluten-free) or LF (lactose-free) and I congratulate those few restaurant owners, but how about LC (low carb)?
- More availability of sugar and fructose-free drinks without all the harmful chemicals. I’m thoroughly sick of drinking water or paying upwards of Au$2.40 for a bottle of it when in a restaurant, with no other choice than Diet Coke laden with caffeine and chemicals.
- The banning of high-fructose corn syrup (HFC). Luckily in Australia, not much is manufactured here with HFC.
- Painless blood glucose testing – not 8 times out of 10, but 10 out of 10, painless, accurate and non-invasive.
- Better blood glucose meter accuracy. The allowed 20% margin of accuracy just isn’t good enough. If my meter reads 4.5 mmol/L (81 mg/dl), I could really be 3.6 mmol/L (65) or 5.4 mmol/L (97). At 3.6, I need to treat a low, especially because I often can’t feel symptoms of being low until I’m much lower. At 4.5 I might have to watch for a low. At 5.4, I can go merrily on my way. With so much technology now available in such small packages, I can’t believe a more accurate meter isn’t possible. Let’s hope one arrives on the market in 2012, and gets to Australia before 2025!
- Better flavours in glucose tabs for treating lows, and that they’re available at any of my local pharmacies (which they mostly aren’t)! Half the time I can’t get them anywhere! Or I have to pay around US$9 for one of those awful glucose treatment tubes. Crazy! And no, I don’t want to treat with fruit juice or carry packets of sugar that end up all over my bag. I want pure , measured glucose.
- Technology like the iPhone’s Siri to be incorporated in a pump. “I’m going to eat one cup of salad with balsamic dressing, one medium steak and half a cup of steamed broccoli. How much insulin do I need?” It will know everything it needs to in order to make that calculation. No more fumbling with buttons or looking for items in a food database that you can only scroll through 4 or 5 at a time when what you want to eat starts with “W”.
- An instant treatment for anyone at risk of developing almost any type of diabetes so it doesn’t develop at all. Whether that’s the discovery of the trigger for Type 1 so that the autoimmune reaction can be stopped in its tracks, or the discovery of how to identify Type 2 risk very early in life, and a treatment to stop that too.
Sounds like I’m having a grumble. I suppose I am. Most all of these are issues I’ve written about here on my blog at one time or another.
I’m sure I could make the list longer, but I’m sitting here with 1 unit of insulin left in my pump and it’s only minutes before the alarm goes off, so I have to go do a site change.
I haven’t seen all that much progress in diabetes treatment in the 2.5 years I’ve been on an insulin pump, but I’ve definitely seen some awesome technology developed in the last 33 years. Let’s hope that continues a little faster! If a cure isn’t on the horizon, then at least some improvements in treatment would be very welcome!
What do you wish for in the diabetes world?
I wish everyone a very Happy New Year, and fabulous 2012!