Crime Scene 101: Check the Neighbors
If there were a murder in your town, a fresh body with no note, wheres the first place you would look to find out more? After the shock at the scene of the crime and the media frenzy putting everyone on red alert, who probably knows the most about what happened?
The neighbors, right?
They heard something. They share a wall. Hell, they might have even participated.
Now, I'm no private investigator or crime scene analyst, but I think there are some excellent principles at play in a crime scene that can and should be applied in finding more about Type I Diabetes.
We, as diabetics, are all too familiar with the scene of the crime. It's the beta cells with an immune reaction in the summer of my 8th birthday. It's like a fucked up game of Clue.
But in my twenty years of diabetes, I've never thought to question the neighbors. Liver? Like paté? And my spleen? Hasn't ruptured so we're good, right?
Doing my homework on just these two has opened my eyes quite a bit on the nature of the disease. I'd like to share what I'm seeing.
So here's the hood the pancreas has been hanging out in. You have the liver up top, the spleen at the tail end of the pancreas and the duodenum+jejunum (parts of the small intestine) at its head. Not pictured here is the stomach, which sits directly in front, between the pancreas and the screen.
And this checks out, no? The pancreas sits right by the stomach because as glucose is digested, insulin is released and blood sugar is controlled. The liver, in the penthouse, is busy doing a lot of things. Big organ, big responsibility. We've heard it deals with toxicity and detoxing but doesn't make too much noise and pays its rent. Weird but cool. Spleen is like a small but robust security guard. He's the clean-up crew. Filters the bad shit in the blood and makes sure the blood is acting right. Too many red blood cells, damaged or fighting etc, he knows how to handle it.
So lets interview:
2) At The Liver
Detective: What do you do?
Liver: I'm in waste management.
Detective: *cough* mafia *cough*
Liver: What was that?
Detective: Oh, nothing. Something in my throat.
Detective: So what were you doing the night Bowie's beta cells were murdered?
Liver: Well, just like any other night, I was busy filtering the blood, helping the stomach further digest the high-octane shit this kid eats, and making sure none of the toxic waste makes it's way back into the system.
Detective: Mmmm, that sounds like a tough job. Everything OK?
Liver: Yeah it's OK. It's full-time work, keeps me busy. I'm in therapy every other week.
Detective notices a collection of metallic, multi-colored storage boxes behind Liver.
Detective: What's going on with all those boxes back there? You dealing drugs, son?
Liver: Oh, those? Those are the vitamins and minerals I keep. Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Copper, B12, K... It's a full-time job keeping Bowie balanced.
Detective: Mmm, and what's that big rusty box in the back? It looks like a mess. I don't need to have the health department come by, do I?
Liver: Oh that! No sir, that's the iron store. I've been looking to shop this thing out for some time now. Our local recycling isn't working like it used to so I've been backed up. It's almost completely killed my Copper stock.
Detective: Any word on when that recycling starts back up? It can't be good having that rusty thing out in the open.
Liver: Management has been quiet on a long term solution. Luckily the spleen and a couple local organs and tissues have stepped up to help me in the meantime.
Detective: Couple local organs? Was the pancreas one of those?
Liver: Yes sir.
Detective: Take my card, we'll be in touch.
3) At the Spleen:
Detective: Mr. Spleen, I'm here to ask you a few questions after what happened at the Pancreas last night. Can you tell us anything?
Spleen: Hi, yes. I was on duty last night. I monitor blood cell traffic here, take care of the delinquents and non-conformist cells.
Detective: Were you busy last night? Notice anything out of the ordinary?
Spleen: Ordinary nights are hard to come by, recently. There are more and more degenerate blood cells every day. I do the best I can, but the works been non-stop. You know the kids these days, they don't work like they used to.
Detective: Mmm, you look a little beat up, These degenerate cells, do you suspect they had something to do with the Pancreas? Are they dangerous?
Spleen: Whose to say? They really aren't all bad. Oxygen delivery and wound healing, but all it takes is a few missing pieces and they lose it. They all carry around a little iron, which I know Liver is big on confiscating. But I'm running out of room to put it, and I know the neighborhood is getting a little upset about having to share iron-duty. That rust will get to you.
Detective: Mmmm. Thank you for your time. Here's my card, call if anything else comes up.
So what have we learned? The liver seems to be struggling managing his supply of a few important minerals. The spleen is busy with an uptick in rogue blood cells. How long has this been going on?
The more I think about it, do we, the diabetics, ever get a toxicology report on our beta cells? For most diabetics, we get the news they're dead, but don't hear anything more after that. Any details on the crime scene?
Don't you think that's strange?