It is….until it is not!

As most of you out ‘there’ are aware, Faustman Lab, more specifically Massachusettes General Hospital has received final approval for Phase 2 clinical trials of BCG injected into T1 Diabetics.  I have been reading some of the bloggings of other T1D’s and there are a varied amount of responses and hopes ranging from out right skepticism to unmanaged excitement about the trials starting. I am somewhere in the middle, trying to manage my emotions while wrapping my mind around the potential impact this will have on my life.

As some of you have read earlier in my blogs, I am in the middle of learning a new language. One that is very different from English and I have noticed a few things about this process that may be applicable to being able to appropriately deal with the changes coming or maybe better stated, might be coming. I am in the middle of learning the alphabet of this new language and my mind is starting to revolt and rebel against all of this new knowledge. It reminds me of when I was pursuing my master’s degree a few years ago. My mind warned me of impending rebellion if I continued to stretch it in my studies. Sternly pointing out I was too old to learn a new way of thinking and acting, asking why questions all during the two year journey. (Why do you think this was a good idea? Why are you hurting me, I thought we had an understanding? Why now?, and my personal favorite Why are you even doing this?) To which my best answer is, why not? Oh yeah, my brain loved that question!

I say all that to say this, in my new language studies my brain is asking the why questions once again and I think I have a good answer to this. Because it makes me aware of the ‘not yet known’. The brain resists change because the brain wants to make sense of the world around it. Stasis may be what the brain desires but likely is not best for the brain. Stretching and using your brain may be what prevents dementia in older adults. It may prevent bordom in younger adults, heck it may even cure cancer….okay back to reality. In my brain it tends to think things are always as they are based on the information I input and how it interprets this information (otherwise known as context). It resists new knowledge because it seems to think it has all the knowledge it needs to thrive, until it receives new knowledge.

I believe this awareness of knowledge with the context needed may be what effectively helps T1D’s manage the fear of the unknown. In my opinion there is no amount of knowledge out there that can adequately answer the why questions of life. But I am able to figure out the what questions a bit better. In the context of the new knowledge of these clinical trials, what do I know, better, about myself? What good might this clinical trial bring to the entire body of work in a cure for diabetes? A couple of age old ethical questions come to my mind. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” and “Who is my brother?” Does everything I do have to benefit just me or is there a greater good?

I have no idea what will come of these clinical trials, but I do think participating (at whatever level) in these trials will help me find the answers to these questions. And since I am a General Systems Theory kind of guy, I will be looking for these connections on this journey. I feel incredible sadness for the mothers of young children struggling for some hope for their young child fighting the ravages of this disease. Yeah I feel as though I need to be my brother’s keeper and for me, my brothers are the little ones who have this terrible disease. Anything I can do to help these defenseless ones contributes to the greater good!!! This, in turn, provides the answer to the what questions enough to propel me through the resistance to and fear of new information changing my behavior, thusly creating a better self in the process.

What good comes from conquering fear? Everything!

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