This morning I woke up at 4am with a low blood sugar. I treated it and went back to sleep until my husband woke me up at 5am. This is when he gets up to go to work and when I get up to write before the kids are up. My blood sugar was low again. I treated it, again. And then got to writing. I pricked my finger a third time by 8am to find out I finally was up to 150. I gave an insulin shot to correct that slight high. Only 8am and I’ve already met with 4 needles.
After 17 years with type 1 diabetes, I’ve had thousands upon thousands of finger pricks and injections. I’ve witnessed my loved ones worry over me. I’ve developed bits of anxiety and depression that make living with diabetes harder than it already is. I’ve watched people make not so good health choices and wondered if I’d still be worse off than them, while I often make better health choices. Some days I ask myself if all the hard work is worth it.
Today, on Diabetes World Day, I want others to know that I have Type 1 Diabetes and while I’m not a victim, I am suffering. I am not helpless, but I do deserve awareness, support, and a cure. Every day, people with diabetes die because they didn’t get access to insulin or other diabetes supplies. Every day, people with diabetes die because they didn’t get access to life saving information. Even in the United States. People with diabetes suffer because our society in general, is very ignorant about the disease.
Today, we ask for a little awareness. We want people to know what diabetes is, the difference between type 1 and type 2, and how it affects all of us, globally. We want people to know that we don’t want pity. We want a chance. A chance to live well with this disease and a chance to one day be cured. A young child shouldn’t have to be held down as his teary mother injects his arm with life saving insulin. A young woman shouldn’t have to worry that one day having children will not be possible. A man shouldn’t feel that he is any less of a man because of diabetes. And what all these people have in common is they don’t want others to judge them and think they don’t deserve help and understanding.
For those of us with diabetes, I think we should all walk the walk. Do we listen to others and their concerns? Their diseases? Their challenges in life? If we give empathy, we’ll get empathy. And we should unite together, those of us with different types of diabetes, because our cause will only be strong enough if we unite, not if we take a separate road. And lastly, we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves. There are people with diabetes who don’t have insulin. Those of us who do should cherish that fact and do our best to make decisions that will honor those who don’t even have a fighting chance. Take care of yourself out of self love but also because it’s a way of loving others. Others who can’t do what we can and others who are watching and learning by the examples we set.
We want those without diabetes to know it’s deadly. I want those with diabetes to know that you can live well. It’s definitely a balancing act. We are empowered patients and yet, we are in urgent need of help. It’s ok. We can be both. And we can spread the word.
To all my fellow people with diabetes, you can do this. Don’t give up. Never give up.