Superpowers. I haz them.

It struck me the other day that I couldn’t remember the last time I got real people sick – you know a cough or cold-type situation. Yes, I get a flu shot every year but that doesn’t protect me for 12 months in a row or from some of the most common colds going around. I also work in an industry where I spend the better part of the day in doctor’s offices, sitting in the waiting room with sick people, touching the door handles on the way in and out, and shaking doctor’s hands.

And yet, nary a cold in years. I’ve had the occasional sore throat, but it never lasts longer than a day or so, often quickly cured by a good nights sleep and lots of fluids. It’s truly been too long since I had a real cold that actually knocked me out for even a day that I can remember. I wondered if I had really been that lucky and managed to escape all those germs in my day-to-day atmosphere.

And then I had another thought: if my immune system was strong enough to completely destroy all of my beta cells and render my pancreas useless, maybe I (and we, the Type 1s) also have a super-human defense against regular old colds! Perhaps the one gift of my overzealous immune system is that it can leap over the common cold in a single bound, destroy any germs in its path and zip right through those dirty door handles and handshakes. Could it be that my body’s defense is stronger than average, thanks to diabetes?

Probably not. I’m probably just lucky and practice good hand-washing technique. But wouldn’t that be cool if it was true? Super-human immune systems: bad for your pancreas, great for cold season.

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Comments

*chuckles* I had this topic with other diabetics and doctors before: Some say, we have the better immune system, proven by self-experience, others say we have a weeker immune system. No conclusion could be made and I guess it strongly varies from person to person. In your case I’d assume the sitting in waiting rooms probably keeps your immune system on its tip-toes. ;-)

Lexi, I agree with you!!! In the past 4 years, since I’ve been diagnosed T1, I have had maybe 2 colds, if that. Before that, I got sick at least 2 times a year…If I’m stuck with diabetes for the rest of my life, it’s the least my immune system can do to protect me from real people sickness :)

Or maybe part of your superhuman resistance to getting sick is yet another benefit of working out and eating a healthy diet?

I used to think the same thing, until a few weeks ago. I’ve had two week-long colds in two weeks. I suddenly looked at the calender and see that after 14 days of chest congestion, I’ll be playing trombone at church Thursday, Saturday and Sunday– without having touched it for weeks. joy.

Oh, wouldn’t that be nice. Unfortunately, if I get something as minor or superficial as a paper cut, I find it takes longer to heal than a non-D person. But we can dream…

I joked with my husband about this before. We’ve been together for 7 years and he was diagnosed 4 months ago. In those 7 years, I cannot remember a single episode of him being sick, not even a sniffle, sore throat, headache, nothing. I was baffled when we were told his diabetes could have been spurred on by an illness and his immune system went into overdrive, because he just has never been sick! Before diagnosis, he hadn’t been to a doctor in 12 years.

Is a puzzlement – and also, almost all the cold symptoms (runny nose, congestion…) are the result of the body’s histamine immune response, not the virus. That’s why you take anti-histamines to feel better – they don’t kill the cold virus, just suppress the symptoms. Having worked for decades in pharma companies making cough/cold remedies, the industry advice is “Left untreated, a cold can last seven days, but with medication you’ll feel better in a week.”

Lexi, I think you’re on to something. I rarely get sick since I was diagnosed.

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