So, a few days ago my newsfeed on Facebook was blowing up with links to an article about a young Australian boy having been the first in the world to receive an artificial pancreas.
At first, my heart skipped a beat thinking...oh my God...what happened while I slept last night? Was it some sort of miracle? Had things progressed right along in the wee hours while I slept making this device I'd been dreaming about for nearly seven years finally reach completion and get the ok from the powers that be ensuring it's safety?
My second thought was.....no....calm down, Amy.....you know this game...you've played it many times before...stop and read the article first before you let that spark of excitement turn into a full blown raging fire. So, I clicked on it....and after the first few lines realized that it was merely a case of sensationalism. The title of the article proclaimed great things....and the actual content of the article turned out to be an explanation of how this young boy had received a wonderful new insulin pump that has the capabilities to shut off when his blood sugar was low. I was crestfallen, to say the least.....BUT....like I said...I've played this game before...I know how the media is...I know how things that seem too good to be true....likely are.
Don't get me wrong, I am ecstatic for this young boy to finally have such an amazing tool in his life with diabetes. It's a game changer for him, I am certain! It made me smile like only another d-mom can smile to see his little face sitting beside his loving parents. I love that his family can rest a little easier now that this device is in their hands.
My issue...plain and simple...is with the author of the article....more specifically, the person who thought the title was a good idea.
I know the term "artificial pancreas" can be open to interpretation. However, in my eyes...and the eyes of many who read those words....what was described in the article was not in fact an artificial pancreas...but rather an insulin pump. In my eyes, an artificial pancreas would be a device that is worn and has insulin as well as glucagon in it....it requires little to no input from the user to be functional...if the blood sugar drops too low, it will automatically dispense glucagon and if the blood sugar is too high, it will automatically dispense insulin.....essentially...it will function like a real pancreas...but....an artificial one because nothing beats the real deal, right?
I saw many friends share this article with excitement and hope and tears of joy. I saw them realize what it actually was describing in the article and their joy turned to sadness...to feeling that overwhelming sense of being let down again....and it hurt my heart.
So, I'm writing this on the off chance that any writer may come across it. What you do matters. What you do means something to so many. What you provide the world is important. Please take a minute to ask yourself if the words you are choosing are more for gaining readership and following the path of sensationalism.....or if the words you are choosing are more for providing a service...a voice...an accurate and truly honest description of something that means a lot to so many. I hope you will choose to go with the second set of words...not the shiny eye catching ones...but the real and honest ones...because THAT is what we as readers want to hear...that is what matters to us...that is what we consider meaningful.
To the writer of the article about the precious young Australian boy receiving a brilliant new device....I applaud you for sharing his story because he deserves it and we in the diabetes community love to read about members of our family making strides in this life. I just wish you had chosen a different title....an accurate one...one that wouldn't have let us get our hopes up only to be let down once again.
Words are powerful...we must choose them carefully.