Three years ago, my life changed when I was received my first insulin pump. The pump has made my diabetes a little easier to manage and my life a little less restrictive. It’s the most expensive thing I possess and every day, I’m thankful to have it. And every year, when this little throwback pops up, I get slightly emotional as I’m reminded of the journey to get to this point.
The process for me to get a pump started with a suggestion from the locum endo at the hospital. They said I would be the perfect candidate for an insulin pump as I was motivated and only require small doses of insulin. It didn’t take much for me to fall in love with the idea of greater flexibility in my eating and exercise habits.
But since I was technically diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the endo didn’t realise that I wasn’t entitled to insulin pump consumable subsidies. Only those with type 1 diabetes and women with gestational diabetes were eligible for the NDSS subsidy. Without the subsidy, it made ongoing costs of pumping unsustainable for me as a student with type 2 diabetes.
So I started my quest to get an insulin pump, which involved multiple changes to my diabetes healthcare team, many additional blood tests, a reclassification in my diabetes diagnosis and a change in private health insurance. The fight spanned over four long years and I even started a petition and wrote to ministers in a bid to get the government to consider introducing subsidies for insulin pump consumables for people with type 2 diabetes.
To me, my pump is more than just a diabetes management tool. It also represents my resilience and achievements when it comes to advocating for my own health. It reminds me to be thankful for the tools we have to manage our diabetes. And it reminds me to be grateful for all the kind and amazing people who went above and beyond to stand up for me and point me in the right direction when I don’t know what my next step is.
In return, I promise that I will do what I can to fight for equality when it comes to access to technology and even basic medications such as insulin. I got really friggin lucky and I hope to pay it back through my advocacy efforts.