As a person who has lived long-term with diabetes, I see the ability to bounce back from adversity as critical to my success with diabetes management. Resilience is crucial to any long-term project and human happiness.
Yet resilience can never emerge without adversity. For us, diabetes has supplied that adversity, often more than we’d like.
Since I live alone, I now spend long periods unpunctuated with regular human face-to-face contact. I rely on long phone calls and a few zoom calls to mitigate my aloneness. It’s not ideal but reality can force us to adjust and wise adjustments define resilience.
I feel buoyed by two ongoing worldwide events as I hide from this pandemic: a SpaceX mission and Vendee Globe, a single-handed around-the-world sailboat race.
SpaceX just launched a crew of astronauts to the International Space Station a few days ago. That crew deliberately chose to name their space capsule, Resilience. In interviews the crew acknowledged the broader social context of pandemic, political disagreement, and racial justice as motivation for their choice of naming their mission.
In a press conference featuring the five astronauts this morning, their common acknowledgment of their respect for science seems poignant to me. It makes a whole lot of sense in this setting. Respect for science forms the basis for their immediate survival.
Science also provides the basis for our survival in this pandemic. While many things remain unknown about our future in the next year or two, I confidently see the product of science, a vaccine, will be our common lifeline. Even our crude tools to manage our time without a vaccine, widespread mask-wearing, keeping physical distance, and washing our hands all give a respectful nod to scientific reality.
The Vendee Globe sailboat race starts and ends in France and will take place over the next three months, starting just over one week ago. Single-handing a sailboat all the way around the world, particularly its course through the Southern Ocean, is built on resilience. The sailors, both men and women, all must be resilient as they must rely on their personal resources, both mental and physical, to complete this grueling challenge.
The last 37 years of my life since a T1D diagnosis, is built on the foundation of many scientific achievements: the discovery of insulin and the technology to produce it, blood glucose test strips and the meters to read them, insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors, and automated insulin dosing systems.
I realize that resilience goes well beyond the scope of science but I find the interplay between science and human resilience an inspiring one.