For World Health Day in 2016, the theme is “beat diabetes”. Predominantly the campaign is aimed at raising awareness at the increasing incidence of diabetes worldwide, coupled with a focus on prevention of type 2 diabetes. Prevention is good and all but we also can’t forget about those living with diabetes and how we are currently “beating diabetes” in our own way. So in keeping with the theme, here’s what I’ve learned about beating diabetes and not letting it get the better of me.
Embrace the grey.
Doctors don’t always have all the answers. My diagnosis has always been neither here nor there. I don’t care what type of diabetes I have, as long as I have access to appropriate diabetes management tools for me. It is not right that access to services and management options are largely determined by the type of diabetes you have. I’m thankful to have found a strong and understanding diabetes healthcare team who fought with me to make life with diabetes slightly easier. More importantly, they helped me feel comfortable about the uniqueness of my diabetes.
It is not okay define people by their diabetes, let alone the type of diabetes they have.
Physiologically, each type of diabetes is quite different. Apart from that, is there really a need to be so nit picky about “types”? Any person with diabetes knows and understands how hard it is to balance living with an chronic condition with everything else in life. Everyone has their own challenges to deal with. We don’t need some elitist smartass making us feel bad for having diabetes or a certain type of diabetes. Your stupid comments only highlights your ignorance. Let these people go.
Make friends with people with diabetes for who they are, not because of their diabetes.
Early in my diagnosis, anyone with diabetes would almost instantly be my best buddy. I craved someone to talk to about diabetes that wasn’t a healthcare professional. But it never always worked out well. These days, I surround myself inspiring people who just happen to have diabetes or be connected to diabetes in some way. Diabetes may be how we met, but it certainly is only a small part of why our friendship continued.
Be nice to everyone, aim to make people smile and laugh.
Stop judging each other and offer support and kindness instead. Each one of us has the power to turn someone’s day around. I find this extraordinarily powerful. Use it wisely and use it for good. Be the change you want to see in the world.