It’s November 14 again… World Diabetes Day.
To many of us, the thought of that seems to be a mixture of “meh”, and “sorry… too overwhelming”. Blame it on a disease that produces more than its fair share of burnout, therefore burning us out before Diabetes Awareness Month is even halfway over.
I understand that. Regardless, I was kind of excited about where our cause was. Before our recent election, I had written a quite different blog post from what you see below. Now… well, this World Diabetes Day looks different.
Sure, in the last year, we’ve seen FDA approval of Medtronic’s Minimed 670g. I’ve already spoken with a parent that was so excited about her son’s clinical trial experience on the device she’s already looking forward to the sleep she won’t be doing without soon.
In addition to Medtronic, there are several groups working feverishly on true closed-loop artificial pancreas solutions. Bigfoot Biomedical, Type Zero, Beta Bionics, and several others had us all comparing possibilities and looking forward to our own restful hours spending less time managing our numbers, more time enjoying life (or getting shuteye).
Pause for a moment and consider how far we’ve come in just the past five years. I actually let myself imagine the kind of advances we might see in another two or three.
I was equally excited about the increased scrutiny being given to insulin pricing nationwide. The crescendo of outrage hadn’t bubbled up from nowhere. Diabetes advocates have been sounding the alarm on drug pricing for some time. It was great to see that other voices were finally taking notice.
Many of you are viewing this because you consider yourselves part of a larger online diabetes community that supports, coalesces around important issues, and encourages others living with our condition to stand up for themselves and help others to do the same. That didn’t come from nowhere.
In person events like the Diabetes UnConference, online happenings like the weekly DSMA Twitter chats, webinars from countless diabetes advocacy groups, a plethora of diabetes podcasts, and much more underscore the fact that ours is a community that has face-to-face gatherings and every social media channel churning away for the better good of all people living with diabetes.
And people are taking notice, like the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and countless device and drug makers that reach out to us for our input. Five years ago, would you have imagined patients having a real presence at both the ADA and AADE conferences? We, as patients and advocates, were making our mark.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had taken the time to convene multiple online and in person gatherings to help make patient concerns (and sometimes, patient and corporate concerns together) a part of their research on drug and device efficacy. That’s not where we were a few years back, is it?
But… we’re living in a different world this World Diabetes Day. In a little over two months, it’s quite possible that millions of Americans will lose their right to healthcare coverage. Millions of voters made a clear statement to say that they’re okay with that. For the record, I am not, and will never be, okay with that. My friends and I have been betrayed by half of America, and it hurts me to my core.
I will take solace today by joining the World Diabetes Day chat for a few hours on Twitter. But…
If you’re burned out on all the Diabetes Awareness Month / Must Do Something Because it’s November, I get it.
If you feel like you and your condition have been given the middle finger by half the electorate, I get it.
The truth is, we have a lot to be proud of this World Diabetes Day. But this one feels different. I don’t have answers or ideas for you yet. I’m still trying to blow air back into my balloon. But know this: I will never turn my back on you.
And: I support you… no conditions.