It is world diabetes day tomorrow. There is always a lot of talk about prevention, and obesity and how we can reduce the numbers of people developing particularly type 2 diabetes. There are mutterings about healthy eating and moving more, which is actually important for everyone, not just people with diabetes. This is all very well but I think we need to do more on this one day of the year that the world media takes a look at diabetes. Those of us living with diabetes have a lot more to say.
So here are 10 things to hope for on world diabetes day:
- That no child or adult should be unable to access insulin – it is freely available and children should not be dying because they can not access insulin
- That people with diabetes are more understood and there is a shift in the perspective that we all brought it on ourselves and anyway, it is easy to manage so whatever…
- That mental health and wellbeing becomes the key focus of diabetes health care teams and that there is less focus on whether you have got all the “right” numbers
- That technology improves to the point where we don’t have to second guess every move and can have the diabetes control we deserve when we work so hard to achieve it
- That people stop feeling ashamed, alone, guilty or scared about life with diabetes
- That the word compliance be removed from the diabetes dictionary
- That fear stops being used as a way to get people to look after themselves or make changes to our system, even when the changes need making and people need to look after themselves to avoid complications – eg you will have dead babies so don’t bother trying, your legs will get chopped off so don’t eat that chocolate bar, you will go blind so you had better pull great numbers, your child will die overnight unless you have all the latest technology – I am calling bullshit on all this fear factor crap
- That people with diabetes of different types stop fighting each other and stand together
- That research comes up with better ways for us to have easier lives
- That people realise life with diabetes can be wonderful and learn to live with it instead of talking about the “fight” against diabetes, the “struggle” and the “cure” as being what we are all looking for. We aren’t. I for one am looking simply for a life that’s good, diabetes or not.
This week I was lucky enough to be one of the 16 people chosen from 8,500 people to represent South Australia as an Australian of The Year Award finalist. It was humbling to stand beside such amazing finalists such as people living with extraordinarily difficult health conditions, those making a commitment to change the world after immense loss, those on the forefront of medical technology that is changing the world, people creating a voice for minority groups, and all focussing firmly on doing something for the world, rather than wallowing in their own pain.
Diabetes sucks. But life is good and most of all my wish for all of us is that we live a life we can love, with people we love, with something to do and something to look forward to. And that is all entirely possible even with a dud pancreas. Raise you glass with me tomorrow or make a nice cup of tea and a scone, and sit down to ponder all the reasons to be grateful for your life.
I would love to hear them, so please add your comments below and happy world diabetes day