I stumbled across the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge 2013 on Facebook and thought to myself ‘why not?’ and signed up for it and went back to writing my assignment. Then I started doing this…and that…and before I knew it, the day was over and I haven’t even had the chance to write my first blog post for HAWMC! So this task rolled over to my to-do list for the next day. However, the next day (yesterday), I had a meeting in the city, then I remembered I needed to get some stuff from the shops, then I had to work on my assignment…then….you get the drift. Rolled over to my to-do list for the next day (today).
Today comes by and I realised I have a week to catch up on! So I decided to do short sections covering each day I had missed and aim to write one post a day during the weekend. So here I go!
Day 1: Why Write?
I love reading and writing. From as long as I can remember, I read. When I was small, I brought a book everywhere I went. My favourites were the Nancy Drew and Babysitters Club series (I read them ALL), then I started getting into fantasy and sci-fi. My love for reading translated to writing stories about magical lands and having super powers. It was my escape. I also kept journals. I wrote about everything. The number of notebooks I have gone through were probably a tad excessive.
Soon I discovered online blogs. I started my first one after I moved from Singapore to Melbourne to keep my friends up to date with my new world and happenings. Over the years, I jumped blogs and sites, depending on what was popular at the time, and mostly wrote about life in general. I like observing people and writing down my thoughts as a way of venting and expressing my feelings. (I’m not very good at speaking!) I started a WordPress because I wanted to keep up with the times but I didn’t know what to write about.
After wafting around with some ideas and mostly writing things that I love (i.e. food), one day I had an epiphany to write about my diagnosis because it was probably the biggest change to impact me and my future (apart from moving countries). The more I became involved within the diabetes community, the more I wrote about it, the more it became part of me rather than some annoying chronic disease I have to live with. Soon, it became my passion. I want to share with the world that diabetes isn’t the end of the world and there are so positive things that could emerge from it. We just have to look and focus on them. Rather, it became a way for ME to encourage MYSELF that I can accomplish anything. It’s like giving myself a pep talk (seems less creepy because I’m writing and not talking aloud to myself).
I never expected anyone to read my blog (not even my mum!). So the fact that you are reading this…is pretty awesome! Thank you!
I am pancreatically challenged. The type of diabetes I have varies depending on which doctor you speak to. Some say I am type 2 because I have no antibodies and my c-peptide is still within normal range (just). Others would argue that I’m type 1 because I’m lean, fit, active, insulin deficient (my pancreas can’t produce a lot of insulin…we tried), and the only management plan that works well for me is basal bolus. I’m on at least 4 injections a day (pending on snacks), and metformin XR at night. My family history is not significant. Mum had GDM with my two younger sisters, no one in my immediate family has diabetes.
5 things I want people to know about my condition and activism:
- There are days I hate diabetes, not every day is rosy, even if my diabetes is well-managed.
- Anyone can develop diabetes. There are no exceptions. Consider including glucose checks with your health check ups at the doctor.
- Yes type 1 and type 2 are dramatically different typically, but not every case is black and white. Embrace the grey.
- I’m currently advocating for equal healthcare access to everyone living with diabetes. Check out the petition here.
- Yes, I can eat that slice of cake, thank you very much.
- Diabetes Australia – Everything you need to know about diabetes and advocacy specific to your state.
- Minding Diabetes – A quick and cute little survey to see how you’re coping with diabetes.
- Diabetes Counselling Online – Free online counselling for everyone living with diabetes.
- What Diabetes Should Call Me – If you live with diabetes and need a laugh out loud.
If I could do anything as a Health Activist, without the limitation of money, time or physical ability, what would I do?
I would start up an educational program or website for young adults with diabetes. It doesn’t matter which type of diabetes you have, you will be welcomed. We will go through the struggles of living with diabetes together, learn more about it and how to manage it together. The barriers between type 1 and type 2 will be broken down and any discrimination will not be tolerated. There will be education sessions on exercise and nutrition. There will be social gatherings where we can just hang out, as ‘normal’ people. We will be able to laugh at diabetes jokes. Maybe in this program, there will be a team mentor to help facilitate the group, and of course there will be specialised healthcare professionals working with the team.
That is my dream. The pathway to obtain that dream is slowly unfolding. I hope to be doing a PhD on diabetes self management in young adults with diabetes and hope to embed a bit of this dream in it. It will become reality!