You can peruse Heather's post HERE. And Jen's post HERE.
I realize this is touchy.
But who am I to avoid "touchy"???? I like to dive into "touchy" subject matters!!!!
Some people are morally opposed. Others are strong advocates.
As a Christian/D Mama/T1D Advocate/Blogger, where do I stand?
To be honest, this isn't the first time I've been posed this question. From time to time over the past 2 years, I have received a few private e-mails from fellow D Mamas asking me to reconcile my endorsement of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and my position as a Christian who supports an organization that provides funding for ESCR.
Before I get to the nitty gritty of my post, there's a few things I'd like to explain.
1) The JDRF is an advocacy organization that supports a mission very close to my heart. Without the efforts of JDRF, children under the age of 8 probably would not have access to insulin pumps. (Sugar began pumping when she was THREE!!!). Chances are REALLY good that NO ONE would have access to a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) covered by insurance. The Special Diabetes Program funding would probably have already been chopped off the block, and the Artificial Pancreas Project would never become a reality.
2) I have never knowingly donated money raised by our family for JDRF to programs that support ESCR. As a donor to this organization, I/you/we have the ability to earmark where the money goes....and where it doesn't.
3) I think everyone has a right to their own opinion. If you're morally opposed, I believe you reserve the right to your position. If you are an advocate, I believe the same. At the same time, however, I do not believe that this, or any other hot topic, should create a divide. At the end of the day, we are all united. We want a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. I believe that we can disagree and still love each other unconditionally.
4) In the past 6-8 months or so, I have learned that I do not have to be chained by this disease. Yes, it remains overwhelming. Yes, I have moments of despair when it feels like I'm not being the pancreas Sugar needs me to be. Yes, I oscillate between ups and downs emotionally, much like the rollercoaster reality of blood sugars. But my heart knows it has already been rescued. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I take comfort knowing that He can handle the things I cannot. I can let it go. I can lay all of it at the cross and proceed with confidence.
5) I also believe that each of us may have a different definition of what a cure is.
For the record, my definition of a cure for Type 1 Diabetes looks like this:
No more finger pricks. No more carb counting. No more brain boggling over insulin. No more highs. No more lows. No more "pancreatic thinking". Sugar will be able to eat/drink something --> there's insulin automatically available to convert glucose into energy --> she moves on with life, never giving her pancreas a second thought.
During this process, none of her other organs are harmed. She doesn't develop another battle (such as cancer or some other horrible, terrible outcome) to fight. She does not have to take medications with harmful/uncomfortable side effects in order to maintain her quality of life. Sugar simply lives. Healthy, happy, and carefree with insulin/glucagon production to regulate her blood glucose automatically in order to prevent the harmful consequences of uncontrolled blood sugars.
My friends, my concern over a cure -- regardless of which research results in such -- goes far deeper than the lab it is created in.
I'm concerned about the complications unknown. I'm concerned about the long term effects of medications. I'm concerned about what the effects are if the autoimmune response is triggered for a second time, causing a relapse of Type 1 Diabetes to occur.
I'm concerned about rushing out to sign Sugar up for her cure without a hefty amount of long term evidence to support that, indeed, her quality of life will be enhanced instead of potentially making it harder. As I mentioned in Jen's comments, I have a hard time believing that, one day, this veil of uncertainty will be lifted and the grass will automatically be greener on the other side.
I mean the grass is ALWAYS greener, right?
It is my position that God is in control.
Heather quoted me in her post...
"In all things, I must constantly remind myself that I am an ambassador for Christ. Christ cared less about authority and more about people. The hurting, broken, fallible people. I care about these families and I trust that God is in control. In the end, it doesn't matter how much money the JDRF raises...a cure will only come in God's timing, using God's authority. It all belongs to him anyway."
Matthew 19:26 "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
This is the Bible verse our family walk team uses to inspire our journey in support of the JDRF.
I believe the Bible to be true, and I strive to live by it's teachings. I believe that, if the Word of God says that the impossible is only made possible with God, then that's all there is to it.
I have prayed for a cure. MANY mothers have. Many fathers. And other loved ones. And strangers too. If a cure is revealed, I believe it will only have been made possible with God's provision.
What if that cure arises from ESCR?
Once there is a substantial amount of evidence to support that the long term risks and complications would not make Sugar's life harder.....
I believe that God answers prayer. And, sometimes, answers to prayers are revealed in ways you might never expect. I do NOT believe a healthy, lifelong cure is possible without His hand. If Sugar's cure is found, I believe it will only be possible because He provided the knowledge, wisdom, and ability to make it happen.
Until then, I will continue to advocate for improved technology. Improved quality of life. Improved insulins. Improved health care coverage. Improved access to supplies. Improved support networks. Improved education. Improved legislation. Improved everything as it relates to Type 1 Diabetes.
I will continue to support the JDRF, because they support all of these efforts.
God is in control of both the journey and the cure.
I am in control of how I respond.