My Diabetes Inklings

Who Am I?

Prior to the recent Australasian Diabetes Congress, Ascensia Diabetes Care held the second Oz Diabetes Social Media Summit with special guest, The Grumpy Pumper all the way from gloomy UK. It was a jam packed day full of discussions and a meter launch somewhere in there. I was most blown away by all the discussions that evolved from the program, which I felt actually out shadowed the launch of their Contour Next One blood glucose meter (link is to US website and not Australian version). #SorryNotSorry

It was incredibly thought provoking to hear Grump’s experiences on managing his foot ulcer. Particularly the reactions and passing comments that people would drop. There is so much stigma and blame when it comes to talking about diabetes-related complications. And it’s the biggest blow when healthcare professionals, who are supposed to be the most educated about it, and our loved ones, who are supposed to be unconditionally supportive, dish it out, some albeit unknowingly.

The conversation also shifted to our privilege of being at events like the Oz Diabetes Social Media Summit and the Congress. We get to chat with healthcare professionals, researchers and industry partners and help challenge stigma, change the way people with diabetes are talked about and how we’re represented.

For me, I wear most of those hats. I am a healthcare professional, a researcher, an educator and a person living with diabetes. There’s risk when stepping into too many boats. Lately it’s made me question who I am as a diabetes advocate. Sometimes it’s difficult to comment on certain topics to provide a different insight under a different hat. I get dismissed because I’m “different” and “not like the other” or they would forget of the other roles I play.

My recent “identify crisis” has reminded me that you don’t need to have diabetes to be a diabetes advocate. There are some amazing healthcare professionals, researchers and industry partners who are strong advocates for people with diabetes and the community.

I think, the critical thing is how you approach diabetes advocacy. Everyone has their own agenda and motivations for being a diabetes advocate. I think the most important thing is to always listen, observe and when speaking, be confident yet humble and respectful yet assertive.

Thank you, Ascensia Diabetes Care, for giving us the opportunity to have our own discussions while respectfully being part of the conversation. Oh, and also for your Contour Next One meter. It’s pretty spiffy and does good. Would recommend!

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At the Oz Diabetes Social Media Summit with some stellar diabetes advocates. Not a functioning pancreas between us, but lots of lived and professional experience. Catch up on the day on Twitter by searching the #OzDSMS hashtag.

Disclosure: Ascencia Diabetes Care invited me to the Oz Diabetes Social Media Summit, where food was provided, including a lovely dinner at Adelaide Oval. Thank you. They also provided us with a Contour Next One meter to play with. I was not asked or obligated to write about the event. My flights and accommodation were self-funded. My registration to the Australian Diabetes Congress was covered by a media pass as I was invited to run a Twitter Masterclass there. 

4 thoughts on “Who Am I?”

  1. Love your blog! Even though I don’t have diabetes (yet) I have advocated for better options and care for people with diabetes most of my career. It is about being respectful of each persons version of diabetes and their right to run it like they want to. We are simply conduits who work to keep decision makers and diabetes care service deliverers focused on continual quality improvement to ensure contemporary, respectful service or technology delivery! Love your work Ash!

    1. Thanks Jayne and you’re right, as healthcare professionals, we need to advocate for better services for our clients or patients. Whether this is advocating for the right language or a more efficient service or changing the work culture. Every little thing matters x

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