Welcome to the second annual #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes Day, brought to you by Kelly Kunik, who would be pleased as punch (made with 100 percent juice) if you would share your thoughts on the subject, using the #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes hashtag. Write, share, and join us for the #IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes and #DSMA Twitter chat tonight at 9:00 eastern time here in the USA.
It’s an interesting paradigm: Diabetes is invisible to many, though it certainly is not to those of us living with it. At some point nearly every Person With Diabetes is reluctant or fearful to open up and reveal the challenges that come with managing blood sugar every single minute of every single day for the rest of our lives. Yet, it can be cathartic, rewarding, and yes, overwhelming to actually do that and tell our story to the world.
#IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes is not easy. It’s not “set it and forget it”. It’s not a series of rules or directives that will move us instantly to BG nirvana if we follow them all to the letter.
#IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes is a lot more involved than that. It’s dealing with insurance and doctor visits. It’s dealing with keeping our insulin warm enough in the winter and cool enough in the summer so it doesn’t go bad. It’s dealing with bad infusion sites, and continuous glucose monitors that can’t work in lockstep with our meters. It’s dealing with the thirst and sluggishness of high glucose, and the hangover feeling of low blood glucose.
#IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes means also living with the possibility and the fear of complications. A number of co-morbidities can result from living with this disease, and if we do experience one or more of those, it doesn’t mean that “this happened because we weren’t taking care of ourselves”. And you never have the right to suggest such a thing. Ever.
#IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes costs one heckofalotta money. Remember, we have to not only live with diabetes every day the rest of our lives; we have to also pay for the privilege. Prescriptions, durable medical supplies, insulin pumps, CGMs, and enough supplies for unexpected lows. In my country, it amounts to thousands of dollars out of our pocket every single year, for as long as we live.
#IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes gets even tougher as you get older. Here in the USA, people who have come to rely on CGM technology to help them avoid dangerous lows must give up their CGM once they reach age 65, or engage in a long appeal process to keep it, because our Medicare program won’t cover it.
#IWishPeopleKnewThatDiabetes needs more voices, and more support for those voices. In the past four years that I’ve been writing in this space, I’ve come across so many brilliant and helpful people that continuously raise the level of discussion and advocacy for those living with and affected by diabetes. But no one person can connect with every person via the information superhighway. So we need more voices, from more perspectives, in more places, to bring diabetes awareness and support to match the need for awareness and support among every segment of our health care systems, economies, and governments.
Your story is important. Share liberally. Thank you for being such an important part of this community.