I read this great post by a fellow diabetes advocate and it got me thinking about how so many diabetics are feeling frustration with the lack of emphasis there seems to be on finding a cure. So much goes into making new and better drugs and technologies, which is great but amongst the online diabetes community the consensus is, wouldn’t we all just prefer a huge and dedicated effort for a cure?
Lots of work is going into forces to help out type 2 diabetics and prevent more people from becoming diabetics. This is very important and I support this all the way. However, I do see why many fellow type 1 diabetics are frustrated with feelings of being overshadowed.
I think maybe there are too many and too few of us. Our numbers are great enough causing most people to have heard of type 1 diabetes or to have met someone with the disease. There are just enough of us sprinkled all over the place and this allows just enough exposure to the general public for all sorts of weird diabetes myths to arise and misunderstandings to ensue. Example: “So all you gotta do is give some insulin when you’ve had too much sugar and eat some sugar when you get shaky right?” (real quote by the way)
But there are also so few of us that most people don’t have an accurate understanding of our disease and we tend to become legends. Second true quote example: “OMG! You’re one of those diabetics that has a really tough time because you have to prick your finger like, 4 times a day! That must be awful!” (You should have seen her face when I said sometimes I prick 4 times in one hour) There also aren’t enough people suffering from type 1 for the entire country/world to bend over backwards to help/understand us. If there were a lot more type 1 diabetics I’m pretty sure there would be a large army handling the ordeal because our country cannot function with so many people suffering from something so serious as this.
We would like a win-win situation but we often don’t even get a win-lose. We lose when so many hold very inaccurate beliefs about us and we lose without a cure.
There has been a rise in type 1 diabetes and part of me is worried that our largest efforts to find a cure will happen if this trend continues until we are so devastated that there is no other option.
Perhaps type 2 diabetes will have us reach this point much sooner as it’s growth has been sadly remarkable in the past couple of decades. This will hurt us very much, too.
So what do we all do?
If you’re any kind of diabetic, work hard on your health. This must be a priority-honestly your health is your priority. Prove to people that your health- your life matters by being your own biggest supporter. Then, do whatever you can to educate family and friends. Chances are many of them don’t know what a day in life of you is like. Tell them.
If you’re not a diabetic, you have a mission, too. Chances are very high that you know a diabetic. Pick their brain, listen attentively, and take notes if you have to. Don’t forget compassion-you want it as well right?
If you’ve been diagnosed pre-diabetic, educate yourself on how to regain or maintain your health before you go down a dark diabetes road.
I don’t feel weird telling strangers without diabetes that they should learn a little about it because diabetes is huge. And for example, we’re told that diabetes doesn’t kill as many people as heart disease while the truth is many diabetics die of heart disease so those numbers aren’t accurate nor reflect the gravity of diabetes in all our lives. If the recent statistics are true diabetes is something we should all concern ourselves with.
Tips on educating yourself on diabetes no matter who you are:
-Hop onto DSMA live on twitter every Wednesday 8pm Central, here is the link to the enlightening chat between diabetics from all over the place. (At least here you can start some myth busting). Learn more about DSMA here.
-Read a few diabetes blogs (you can do a google search for diabetes blogs)
-If you go to an endocrinologist, write him a letter. Write him or her about things you don’t feel they are aware of-such as the psychological stresses of having diabetes (just an example). Also, if you find yourself confused about anything related to diabetes, ask your endo to clarify for you. Don’t keep these doubts locked up. Write down your questions and make your doctor take a few minutes to answer them.
-I used to occasionally wear a diabetes walk t-shirt to places like the mall, park, gym…and I was frequently asked about diabetes and just now it occurred to me that this is a great way to go about our day educating strangers about diabetes in easy to manage bits! If you don’t have any problems chatting up new folks get out your hat or t-shirt that mentions diabetes and then smile at people so you’re approachable. Works wonders, I promise.
-Join TuDiabetes.Org. This is a huge diabetes community that you can ask questions to in order to gain more insight about diabetes and find out a wide array of opinions in a short amount of time.
Disclaimer: Bounce off changes you’d like to make with your doctor. What works for one diabetic could be a costly mistake for you. That goes for everything you hear or read, anywhere. We fellow diabetics give you our opinions but not necessarily, facts.
-Last but not least, if you are or aren’t a diabetic, try judging less. This is an excellent way to support each other and it will allow for more healthy exchanges of ideas and information.
Anything else? I’m sure I missed plenty of other possibilities.