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Empowering Thoughts

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Diabetes has taken over my life but in the most positive and challenging way I can think of. Dealing with this “chronic disease” on a personal level is one thing. But to be able to share and discuss it with a group of like-minded people is a life saver. This motivates me to not only take better care of my diabetes but also makes me reflect on the way I want to be treated as a patient. Subsequently, this helps me in becoming a better healthcare professional in the future. Living alongside diabetes has made me aware of gaps in helping young adults, like myself, manage our diabetes.

Recently I’ve been participating in #OzDOC chats on Twitter every Tuesday. There’s never a week I go away not feeling inspired or learning something new. Tonight’s topic focused on the topic of promised cures; what we have been told, what we expect, and what we hope to have. Personally, even if there is a cure, I would have to think really hard about it. My journey with D hasn’t been easy. But it has been fulfilling, and motivating. It has led me to my career pathway. Most importantly, it has led me to become a healthier and happier person. Where would I be without diabetes? I may not have found my passion in healthcare education. I would not have met all the amazing people through diabetes whom I call friends now. And I certainly wouldn’t be part of communities such as OzDOC.

What do I hope for in the future?

I hope for better self-management care plans, more support services, and more educated health care professionals (HCPs) who understand what it’s like to live with diabetes. I’m sure this can be transferred to other chronic conditions like epilepsy. HCPs need to empower patients to take their diabetes management into their own hands. I believe not many HCPa understand the importance of this. They may whinge about how patients never help themselves and whatever advice they give is useless or falls on deaf ears. But have they considered maybe it’s they way they speak to them? Many HCPs are also only concerned about the numbers on a page. Diabetes cannot be viewed and analysed from just numbers. You have to see the PERSON behind the numbers and condition. They are still human, they have feelings, good days and bad days. This is where support services come in for when we have the occasional bad day. In this day and age, people are turning to internet forums, facebook groups and twitter to connect, socialise and form support groups. People vent their frustrations, and others who understand what they are going through offer support and help. It’s accessible by everyone and anyone online, which is the beauty of it. People can start to take charge of their own health by finding out more information before going to see their healthcare team. At the end of the day, they will work together as a team to come up with the best management plan for themselves. This gives them power of their health and hands the responsibility back to them, giving them control of their life again.

Everything ties in so intricately that it’s impossible to have one without the other. So here’s to the future of better care for all, research and funds to back that all up!

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Pancreatically challenged, diabetes advocate, PhD student and dietitian - working to positive changes within the diabetes community and healthcare setting. Although diagnosed at age of 19 with T2DM, the type of diabetes I have is under constant debate. Finally pumping as of March 2014.

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