Type I diabetes is a chronic autoimmune condition in which the body is unable to produce insulin. Insulin is important because it helps bring glucose into storage when there is an access amount floating in the blood. Biomedicine definitely influence the illness experience mostly because blood glucose levels must be maintained at a pretty consistent level an individuals entire life, thus people with type I diabetes rely on biomedicine constantly to make sure this balance is in check at all times. Constant awareness of blood glucose levels is needed and there are hand-held devices that need to be attached to individuals with this illness at all times. It may not seem like a big deal to most people, but type I diabetes can definitely change a persons life. For example in the video “A Day Living with Diabetes”, the girl cannot just take a free cookie offered by the grocery store and eat it like her friends can. First, she has to log how much carbohydrates are inside the cookie. She must do this by looking it up inside her book that she must carry around with her at all times. Then she has to make sure that her blood sugar is stable enough at the moment to even eat the cookie. After she has taken these precautions, then she can continue on with her life and eat the cookie. This is important in our culture because most people are not aware of the nutrition that goes into eating a cookie, but this girl must be aware at all times. The treatment for type I diabetes changes the lifestyle for many people, and there is a sense of being ‘different’ from everyone else. When the girl’s friends want to go outside and play hide-and-go seek or tag for a few hours, she must stay behind for a few minutes and check her blood so that she does not pass out.
To me, the connection between belief and healing is all embedded within the mysterious mind of the human body. I think that when people know that they have an illness, they tend to focus on that illness more than usual and concentrate on the symptoms and on the pain. When patients believe that they are ‘being healed’ even if the treatment doesn’t exactly fix the problem, the mind believes that pain is going away and therefore the patient will feel better. For example, when I get really bad headaches, my first reaction is usually to grab Motrin or Ibuprofen. Usually as soon as I take the pills, my headache immediately starts to fade away, even though I know that it will take some time for the pills to ‘kick-in’. The main reason, I believe, is because I know that the pain is going to go away, and that boost in confidence will make me feel better.