I’m going to start by being honest and telling you that I think Sarah Wilson is an idiot. Her whole I Quit Sugar bullshit is nothing more than a moneymaking scam, and I will never understand why she thinks her D-grade celebrity status gives her any credibility when it comes to offering health advice.

But today, she has gone from being just a misinformed fool to an absolute troll. Because surely, that can be the only reason she would write that autoimmune conditions are all caused by self-hatred.

Oh yes she did.

Read this. I really don’t want to promote her stupid rantings, but read it. Read the ridiculous rhetoric. Read the assumptions. Read the complete and utter lack of anything resembling evidence. Read that this thoughtless opinion was a result of watching a TED talk given by Dr Habib Sadeghi, a so-called ‘healer to the stars’.

In addition to telling the world that autoimmune conditions are a result of self-loathing (as a person with three AI conditions, I clearly despise myself!), she also writes about a magic talent she has. So magic, that I am unable to understand why she is not teaching at Hogwarts.

Apparently, Sarah Wilson has the ability to ‘spot at “autoimmune type”’. What’s an autoimmune type? Well, the type who ‘…have an intensity about them, a desire to impress. They’re always the ones at the front of my lectures, frantically taking notes. They have an air of “I’m not good enough as I am’. I know as I write this, many heads out there are nodding.’

No, Sarah, no. They are not heads nodding, you foolish woman, they are heads shaking. In shock and disgust and amazement that someone could be so stupid, and dismay and outright disbelief that someone with a megaphone gets to say such damaging things.

Helpfully, Sarah has given us the secret of how to heal ourselves from these pesky autoimmune conditions we have hated upon ourselves.

It turns out The Beatles were right – all you need is love. Self-love.

Yes. That’s right. Sarah Wilson tells us that all autoimmune conditions can be cured with self-love.

Now, I am the first person to say that we should all be kind to ourselves. We shouldn’t feel guilt for our health conditions or blame ourselves (or anyone else for that matter). And when I am feeling good about myself – when I feel emotionally robust – it certainly does make it easier to care for myself and my diabetes.

But no matter how much I like or love myself – and truthfully, I actually do think I’m a bit of alright – I cannot cure my diabetes. And it would be irresponsible of me to think that I could.

Sarah Wilson, please, please stop writing such rubbish. Please stop outright lying to people about medical issues. Stop using your wide reach to say such damaging things. Please just stop.

Ten years ago, I was waiting very impatiently for an arrival. My little girl was only three days from being delivered and I was counting the hours with a mixture of fear and excitement.

Her arrival would be the culmination of years of planning, hard work, heartbreak and promise. And her arrival would mean that beautiful sentiment ‘First we had each other. Then we had you. Now we have everything’ was coming true for our little family.

Pregnancy was also the time where I came to fully understand the concept of diabetes adding a degree of difficulty to a situation. The planning prior to even thinking about getting pregnant, and then the maintenance of impossibly near-perfect BGLs was relentless. For those years – and it was years for me – my life was all about numbers and charts and graphs.

Of course, I was lucky and all the planning and hard work was all worth it. The moment I first held our baby in our arms and looked into her perfect little face with her full cheeks and tiny button nose I knew that I would do it again in a heartbeat for her. All the planning meant that I had the best chance for a healthy pregnancy and baby.

This year, I have been on the Expert Reference Group for the NDSS Diabetes in Pregnancy Program. This program is looking to improve and develop resources for women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes planning to have a baby.

pregnancy survey imageAt the moment, a survey is being conducted to better understand the kind of information currently available and provided to women with diabetes about contraception, pregnancy and women’s health.

If you are an Australian woman aged between 18 and 50 years with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you can take place – and go into the draw to win an iPad Air! The survey will take you about 20 minutes to complete and is completely anonymous.

Click here to take the survey. You have until 30 November.

Women with diabetes deserve to have the best chance of having a healthy pregnancy and this work will go towards providing information and resources to help.

Want more?

Years ago, I was involved in the development of Can I Have a Healthy Baby? a booklet about diabetes and pregnancy. In subsequent years, I was involved in the review of this resource. This year, the Diabetes and Pregnancy program has reviewed, revised and rewritten this booklet. It will be relaunched as Having a Healthy Baby and will be specifically for women with type 1 diabetes. The Type 2 diabetes version will be developed and launched in coming years. The new resource will be available electronically from 3 December 2014. Keep an eye out for it!

Today’s Friday music is dedicated to the three-days-away-from-being-ten-year-old. I thought this about her the day she was born and every single day since. Thanks Stevie.

DISCLAIMER

The Diabetes and Pregnancy National Develop Program is funded by the NDSS. I am a member of the Expert Reference Group. I do not receive any payment for sitting on this group, however it is part of my role at Diabetes Australia.

The other day, I, (possibly stupidly), weighed in on a Facebook conversation. A friend was taking a battering for having said that she really didn’t think that having diabetes was all that dire, and that she tries to focus on the positives.

My friend is a smart cookie and she certainly didn’t need anyone to swoop in to defend her. I just wanted to add my opposition to the growing number of people who were having a go at her for daring to say that, in her opinion and experience, diabetes is not that bad.

I frequently say that diabetes doesn’t stop me from doing anything. I acknowledge that sometimes, there is a little extra work that goes in – some extra forward planning. But diabetes hasn’t stopped me from much at all.

Is this one of those incredibly privileged-white-ivory-tower comments from someone who is living without diabetes complications and can access whatever care she chooses to manage her diabetes?

Maybe.

But does that make my experience and they way I feel any less important or real?

I know that I am very fortunate when it comes to the diabetes care available to me. And with my support networks and a healthcare system that provides me with affordable insulin and subsidised supplies. I know that all of this makes my opinion of life with diabetes different to many others in the world.

But, quite frankly, I don’t think that this is what those in this particular conversation who were complaining about how hard it is to live with diabetes were talking about. I don’t think they are talking about the problems with access to healthcare. The thing that kept coming out in the conversation the other day was how awful it is that people in the general community don’t understand what it’s like to live with diabetes each day; that they have to deal with ignorance about diabetes. Oh, and that they can’t be an astronaut.

I am not belittling or minimising how others feel about their particular life with diabetes. And at no time did I (or my friend) say that diabetes doesn’t suck. Of course it does – we all would love a cure and for diabetes to go away.

The thing that struck me was how my friend was expected to justify her positive feelings. It was almost that she was not allowed to say that she felt okay about living with diabetes. Or that her experience – her positivity – wasn’t as valid as those who don’t feel so good. When I jumped on board, I felt that I was treated the same way.

There is no right way to feel about living with diabetes. Some people feel okay about it and their experience is that it impacts minimally on their life. Others feel it is a great burden. Some of us oscillate between the two, depending on how we are coping and feeling at one particular time.

But no one has the right to say that anyone else’s feelings are less acceptable.

For the most part, I don’t think that diabetes has impacted all that much on many aspects of my life. Sure, if my beta cells hadn’t decided to run off to the Bahamas or wherever they have gone, I wouldn’t be writing this blog, but I’d probably be writing another one (about a far more interesting topic like, I don’t know, ‘baking with bacon’*). And I might not be working for a diabetes organisation, but I’m pretty sure I’d still be doing the same sort of work – just with a different focus.

I can be accused of looking at diabetes through rose-coloured glasses, or not really understanding just how tough it can be. I can be told that until I develop complications that make me consider how limiting this condition can truly be, I should just keep my happy thoughts to myself.

But it’s how I see it. My glass is half-full.

At least it is today.

*Note to self – register blog: ‘Baking with Bacon’.

Big Blue Test

Generally, I need a bloody good excuse to consider exercising. It’s been well-documented here on this very blog that I am exercise averse and would do pretty much anything to avoid donning a pair of runners to be physically active.

Little inspires me to keep fit and I really have never, ever understood the attraction of a workout.

However, guilt doing something good so that I can boast and be supercilious is a motivator.

Enter, the Big Blue Test.

This is the fifth year the Diabetes Hands Foundation (DHF) is running this campaign which raises diabetes awareness and funds. Since it started in 2010, DHF has donated about $250,000 to charities helping people with diabetes. This year, the aim is to raise $35,000 which equate to 35,000 Big Blue Tests being logged.

In case you need a feel good reason to exercise – there it is!

BUT! There is no time to waste. YOU ONLY HAVE TODAY!

It’s easy, easy, lemon squeezy to take part in. There are only four steps:

  1. Check your BGL
  2. Exercise for between 14 and 20 minutes
  3. Check your BGL
  4. Log it – here. (Or, to be a fancy Nancy, get the iOS or Android app.)

Could. Not. Be. Easier.

By the way, exercise doesn’t necessarily mean running or walking or getting on a bike. Think out of the box. Gardening, vacuuming, walking the kids to school, washing windows can all count as physical activity. I know that I hypo anytime I so much as look at a vacuum cleaner!

And, ahem, for another out-of-the-box idea, a morning, afternoon or evening quickie could not only be the perfect interlude in your day, but also a nice way to log a Big Blue Test. Plus, it’s nice to do charity work with a loved one.

By the way, the Big Blue Test is for EVERYONE – not just people with diabetes. Those with working pancreata (it’s the plural – look it up) simply log their exercise. (And that’s ANOTHER good idea to consider the quickie idea – you get two Big Blue Tests for your buck! Oh, stop it. I said BUCK!)

What are you waiting for? Go!

I was driving to pick up my daughter from school last Friday afternoon, and could feel the pressure of the previous week lifting. World Diabetes Day was all but over. There was, of course, the matter of a 24 hour tweetathon organised by the clever Cherise from DCAF, but that would be fun and interactive. The official things were over. Done and dusted for another year.

The thought of picking up the kidlet and chatting about her day, and things we had planned for the weekend made me smile. I’d been distracted with the craziness of the week and we’d not had our usual long, meandering conversations. I was looking forward to hearing what she’d been up to and NOT talking about WDD.

She ran out of her classroom to greet me, a big smile on her face, her bag hanging from her back and her latest book in her arms. And off she went filling me in on the day she’d had.

After telling me who she’d played with and what she had done in PE and reminding me that on Monday her Italian Choir was rehearsing for an upcoming concert at a neighbouring school and that she would really like to go cherry picking soon and how Sooty would like a run in the park, she said, ‘I told Mr D that it was World Diabetes Day today. I wrote it up on the board at the beginning of the day.’

I looked at her, surprised at the direction her stream of consciousness conversation had just taken.

What’s that, darling?’ I asked.

‘This morning. When I got to school. I told Mr D that it was World Diabetes Day and he said I could write it up on the board. Then we had a discussion about it.’

‘Really? What did you talk about?’

‘Mr D wanted to know if there was anyone who knew someone with diabetes. Of course, I said I did. And so did A.’ She was referring to my beautiful neighbour Jo’s gorgeous boy who is in the same class. ‘And S – her grandmother has diabetes. Type 2 diabetes. She checks her blood sugar like you do.’

‘I was surprised that Mr D knows so much about diabetes. But then he said that one of his friends has type 1 – that’s why he knows about it. We spoke about the different sorts of diabetes. A and I were saying that type 1 is because the body stops making insulin. And we talked about pumps. Hey mum – can we go get iced chocolates for afternoon tea?’

Subject changed, we headed to our local café, sat outside and enjoyed the sunshine.

I looked across the table at my nine year old as she slurped at her iced chocolate. World Diabetes Day is about raising awareness of diabetes to people in the community. In her own little way, she had done that in her classroom. Just because she could. Just because mum has diabetes. I had a little advocate on my hands. And I couldn’t have been prouder.

My little advocate

The kidlet and her side kick.

 

A couple of weeks ago, I found a lump in my breast. This was the first time I’d ever noticed anything in my breast – any change or anything to worry about, and spent the next 24 hours catastrophising the situation, expecting the worst.

Of course, it turned out to be nothing, but I had a week of being majorly stressed and anxious about it.

Here is how the whole thing played out.

Friday night – 7.30pm
It was a warm night, and I was wearing a loose fitting top. I was on the couch, reading in the quiet house. The only noise was from the sleeping puppy at my feet.
 

I scratched my right side and stopped. I thought I’d felt a lump on the outside of my breast. I flattened my hand and, using the tips of my fingers, prodded gently. There was definitely a lump there. ‘There is a pea-sized lump in my breast,’ I said to myself. I couldn’t stop pressing my skin, trying to get an idea of what was going on under there. How long had it been there for? It wasn’t painful – was that good thing?

I’d never thought of my breasts as being a health issue before. Now it was all I could think about.

Saturday
Denial day. Refused to think about it which, of course, meant I thought of nothing else. My left hand was almost permanently attached to the side of my right breast, prodding at the lump, trying to determine if it was the same size as the night before. It was.
 
Sunday
I woke up and sprang into action, heading to the Sunday-morning drop-in clinic at my GPs. He wrote me out a referral for a mammogram and (if needed) an ultrasound at a private imaging centre. ‘Make an appointment for as soon as you can,’ he said to me, handing me the referral form. ‘More for your own piece of mind than anything else.’
 

He asked me to make an appointment to see him again on Friday, saying that it may not be necessary and I could cancel if I didn’t need to see him again. I nodded. ‘In most cases, it turns out to be nothing, Renza,’ he said to me, clearly noting the look of unease on my face. ‘Get it checked out. Okay?’

Monday
I called the imaging centre and was given a 10.30 appointment that had just come up after someone cancelled.
 

I had no idea what to expect – I’d never had a mammogram before. My mum refers to them as ‘boob sandwiches.’ It was a perfect description! After contorting my body into the most bizarre positions to get the image, the mammogram was over and I was told that I would also need an ultrasound.  

‘Is that bad? Why?’ I asked, panicked that it was because there was a problem.

‘You have dense breasts,’ I was told with no further explanation and I was too confused to ask what that meant.

I had an ultrasound and asked the radiologist what she could see knowing full well that you wouldn’t say anything. ‘Your doctor will have the results in the next day or so.’ Was all I could get from her.

Tuesday
Public holiday and I wore a gorgeous red spotty dress that fitted tightly across my breasts. I somehow felt the anxiety of the previous few days had lessened. There was nothing more I could do at this stage. I had found a lump. I had seen a doctor. I had been to have scans. Nothing more for me to do. But wait.
 
Wednesday
Let’s not discuss the ordeal of actually getting my results from the GP. But at 5.30pm, I had a call from the doctor I’d seen on Saturday who told me that the mammogram and ultrasound ‘looked good’ but I needed to see a breast doctor ASAP – ‘just to close out the investigation,’ he said. ‘I’ll cancel your appointment with me on Friday – I will fax a referral across the specialist now. Here is her number…..’
 

‘It’s okay,’ I related to the people I’d told. ‘Looks good. I just need to get the final okay from a specialist.’

Thursday
Called breast doctor. Another cancellation meant I could get in to see her the following afternoon.
 
Friday
Appointment with breast doctor. She was absolutely delightful as was the breast nurse who took my medical history. The breast specialist wasn’t really sure why the radiologist referred me to her as the scans clearly showed cysts. ‘Did you tell the radiologist you are in pain?’ She asked me. ‘No – I’m not in any pain,’ I said.

She told me that there was nothing to worry about at all. The cysts visible in both my breasts are hormonal and incredibly common. They could disappear. Or they could get bigger and become painful in which case I should call her and she would drain them.

I had questions to ask and she answered them very clearly and gave me a few things to read. ‘You can call me anytime you are concerned.’ She explained that I really don’t need to have a mammogram again until I am fifty and if I was to find any new lumps, I should see my GP and ask that I be referred for an ultrasound. ‘You have dense breasts,’ she told me. Again with the dense breasts. ‘A mammogram can’t see enough’.

‘Thank you for seeing me at such short notice,’ I said, as was leaving. ‘And thank you for being so kind and answering all my questions. You’ve really put me at ease. Don’t take this the wrong way – I hope I don’t have to see you again.’

She let out a loud laugh. ‘I hope so too!’ She said.

That’s how it played out.

But it was interesting to be dealing with a health concern that is outside of my usual area of comfort. I was stressed – really stressed – before each appointment. I had no idea what to expect and I was unsure of what the process would be.

‘Why do you have to see the GP again on Friday?’ my husband asked me at one point during the week.

‘I’m not sure,’ I replied. And I wasn’t. Why would I need to see him again if the scan was all clear? And if it wasn’t clear, surely I’d need to see a specialist.

‘If the scan looks okay, why are you seeing a breast specialist?’ he asked me after the GP had given me the results.

‘I don’t know.’ And I started to worry again, the relief I’d felt just a moment before when I’d been assured that the scans looked fine suddenly evaporating. Could it still mean that there was something more sinister than a benign cyst in my breast? My hand automatically moved to the side of my breast again, probing for the lump.

‘Will the breast specialist do a biopsy?’ a few people asked me.

I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know. Because I hadn’t asked the questions that I would have –that I knew I should have – because I didn’t understand this landscape. I didn’t know the questions to ask.

‘I’m out of my comfort zone.’ I told my husband. ‘I don’t know how this system works. I know diabetes. This? This I’ve got no clues about.’ I hated feeling this way. I felt out of control.

When I reflected on the week, I focussed on the positive – the good – outcome. I had seen every healthcare professional I needed to quickly – seeing them privately and being prepared to pay surely helped speed up the process. I had the answers I was looking for. But it was scary for a while there – because I had no idea how to navigate the system or know what to expect. I was stressed wondering what the lump was about and I was stressed trying to work out the system.

I take for granted that I have to operate within the healthcare system far more than I would like. But I have carved a place in the diabetes system where I am comfortable, confident and self-assured. It wasn’t always that way. I must have felt anxious one time. Surely?

Friday night 7.30pm
A week exactly to when I first found the lump. I was shopping in the city with my family. We ate sushi, we looked in shops, I found a dress to wear for World Diabetes Day. All without a care in the world about my breasts…

WDD2014

It’s World Diabetes Day and everyone is talking diabetes. Or so it seems.

Do we need another awareness-raising day?

Yep. We do.

We know the numbers. We know that diabetes is serious. We know that prevention is the key – prevention of type 2 diabetes (where possible) and of complications in those already living with diabetes. I could write how World Diabetes Day can draw attention to these facts.

But instead, I’ll tell you why I – a person living with diabetes – need World Diabetes Day.

I need today because it gives an opportunity to talk about real life with diabetes.

On Wednesday, (also known as ‘I hate diabetes day’) I spoke at the Austin Hospital’s Grand Rounds. Most hospitals have Grand Rounds – it is a learning opportunity for doctors and other healthcare professionals to hear presentations and ask questions about different medical conditions – sometimes outside their area of specialty.

Wednesday’s session had a World Diabetes Day focus – the lecture theatre was adorned in blue balloons and just about everyone in the room was wearing an item of blue clothing.

I gave my talk which consisted a discussion of the consumer-focused program we run at Diabetes Australia – Vic; how healthcare professionals can use social media to interact with people with diabetes and how PWD use social media to connect.

At the end of my planned talk, I looked around the room. I think my talk had been well received – I know that I am certainly different to the usual healthcare professional presenting and I also knew that the next speaker – the wonderful Professor Joe Proietto – was giving a talk on type 2 diabetes medication.

‘Just before I go, I want to say something,’ I said. I took a deep breath. ‘I hope you have enjoyed my talk. I hope that it has given you a better idea of some of the programs and activities available to be people with diabetes. I hope you are thinking about what your Twitter handle is going to be because I really want to see ALL of you in the Twittersphere next week!! But I just want to add something.’

I moved away from the lectern and stood in the middle of the stage.

‘I look okay today, right?’ I saw heads nodding around the room. ‘My dress is neat, my hair is clean. I have make up on and I know I have matching shoes on – I checked before I left the house. My lipstick is on straight. I just gave you a twenty minute talk, and I think it all made sense….I think? The words did form coherent sentences, right?’ More nods from the people in the theatre.

‘I look okay.’ I paused again.

‘But let me tell you how I am feeling. I had a terrifying hypo overnight and was awake for a good part of the night. I needed help to deal with it, and my daughter, when she woke up this morning, had to see me feeling pretty damn crap. My dad is sitting over in the corner there because I was just too tired to drive here from Brunswick, and he kindly offered to chauffeur me so I wouldn’t need to take a cab.’ I looked over at my dad and smiled. And then kept going.

‘Why did this happen? Well, I guess if we want to find a reason, we could say it was because before I went to bed last night, I didn’t check my blood sugar. You see, I just couldn’t be bothered. Now, before you think ‘how stupid’ or ‘serves her right’ or start to judge me, know that I had already checked my BGL about 15 times throughout the day and the thought of doing another BGL check was just too much for me. And I thought that I was okay based on the previous check and knowing that I had no insulin on board.

‘But you know what? It doesn’t matter why it happened and if I wasn’t telling you this now, you would never know. You wouldn’t know that I really would like to curl up under one of the seats and fall asleep; you wouldn’t know that I am still dealing with the hypo-rebound and my BGL is sitting somewhere in the mid-teens. You wouldn’t know that my arms and legs are heavy from being post-hypo-exhausted. You wouldn’t know that I kind of want to cry because today, my diabetes is other people’s problems. Not just my own.

‘Now, I’m not telling you this because I want you to feel sorry for me. I’m not telling you this because I want you to pity me because I have diabetes. It’s crap and that’s all there is to it. I’m telling you this because I want you to remember this story next time you are sitting opposite one of your patients who is living with diabetes – or any other medical condition for that matter – and they look all great. Don’t assume. Don’t ever assume that everything is all fine. Because I can tell you for sure that while I will be blogging about this to share with other people with diabetes, I certainly won’t be sitting in my next appointment telling my endo about it.’

I stopped again. The room was silent – no one moved.

‘Thank you so much for having me here today. And happy World Diabetes Day for Friday.’

I walked off the stage.

I love Joni Mitchell. And I love this song – Blue – which is, of course, perfect for today.

mySugr

There are some very clever people in the diabetes world and today I want to write about the incredibly astute and hip crew from mySugr who look for innovative and fun ways to help ‘tame the monster’ that is diabetes.

I met Fredrik Debong from mySugr at the first EASD Blogger Summit where I heard about his diabetes-focused start-up and saw first-hand some of the things they were developing. Fredrik kept saying that we need to bring sexy back to diabetes – he and his team do it incredibly well! (Seriously – have a look at them all!)

Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet others from the team – including Marlis Schosser, (who will forever be known as the saviour in the Pumpless in Vienna story I keep sharing in conference talks), and Ilka Gdanietz who has been at all three Blogger Summits. (Ilka is wonderful for a number of reasons, one of which is she shares my love of Nutella!) This year, Ilka gave us a sneak preview of some of the exciting things happening at mySugr headquarters. mySugr launched in the US last year and the team there is headed up by Kyle Rose and Scott Johnson.

The mySugr Companion app has been around for a few years now and I would really encourage you to have a look at it. As far as a logbook app goes, it is pretty damn perfect, and the version for kids is adorable! I guess that’s what happens when you have real people with diabetes creating tech for real people with diabetes. It just works!

But wait! There’s more.

Just this week, mySugr has launched their new initiative: mySugr Academy. The Academy will offer online training programs for people with diabetes and the curriculum has been developed by healthcare professionals and people with diabetes. The first course to be offered has been designed specifically for people with type 2 diabetes. Have a look at this teaser clip to give you an idea of what to expect.

 

Coming courses will be for people with type 1 diabetes.

mySugr is all about diabetes education and information, but it does it in an incredibly fun, interesting, accessible and cheeky way. It is groups like this – with a first-hand understanding of real life with diabetes – that make products that I want to use. Great, great stuff!

Monster-taming at mySugr HQ in Vienna.

Monster-taming at mySugr HQ in Vienna.

 

Today I hate diabetes.

I am completely and utterly sick of the World Diabetes Day messages that are scrolling through my screen. I am over looking at posters and diabetes empowerment messages and I cannot be bothered being involved in the activities that are all around me. I don’t want to talk about it – which is actually really unfortunate as I am giving a Grand Rounds talk at the Austin Hospital today about life with type 1 diabetes.

This morning I am hypo-fucked after dealing with a low that would not quit. This is the sort of low that mocks and teases and is just plain cruel. And when it finally passes, glimpses and flashbacks plague my mind for the coming days, reminding me how vulnerable and scared I feel.

I needed help to manage it – and I absolutely hate making my lows someone else’s problem. Eventually, after a jar of jelly snakes, raisin toast and two glasses of milk, my BGL started to resemble something respectful and I was able to change out of my sweat-soaked PJs. Despite being in something dry and under a warm doona, I was chilled to the bone and shivered for an hour before finally falling asleep.

Today, diabetes made me break a promise I’d made to my daughter – a walk to school with the puppy. But what made me feel even worse was the way she nodded her head in acceptance – and understanding – of why I was breaking the promise. I hate that diabetes is part of my daughter’s life because of me. I hate that she understands diabetes. I hate that she ‘gets it’ when I tell her that I can’t do something because of my stupid blood sugar.

Today I hate diabetes.

Today, I feel defeated. Today, I desperately want to not be living with this condition.

Yesterday, I took part in Diabetes Queensland’s WDD social media campaign that asks people to share what ‘type 1 diabetes for me is….’ (#T1D4MeIs). Here is what I came up with:

10676194_10152837799230789_7138623691002103065_n-1

Today, my poster would look a lot different. It would have just one word.

fear

Today I hate diabetes. I don’t feel empowered. I don’t feel ‘in control’. I just feel sad. And scared.

My Facebook and Twitter feeds are full of diabetes awareness campaigns and it is only going to get busier in the next few days. World Diabetes Day is a global event, and around the world there is much going on to help get people talking and thinking about diabetes.

My favourite campaigns are those that strive to shoot down diabetes myths and one that is getting some well-deserved traction this week is Walk With D.

The aim of Walk with D is to help people without diabetes understand what life with diabetes is all about. But more than that, it hopes to address the misconceptions within the diabetes community too.

Diabetes myths are rife. Every day, I hear things that are simply not right about what diabetes is all about. It frustrates me; it angers me; it infuriates me – never more so than when it is coming from within our own community.

I am filled with despair when I see people with type 1 diabetes perpetuating myths about type 2 diabetes with incredibly destructive ‘type 2 bashing’. I don’t know how many times I’ve said the words ‘No one asks to get ANY kind of diabetes’, but believe me when I say if I had a dollar every time I’d uttered that sentence, I’d be wearing a new pair of Manolos almost every week!

 
‘Even within the diabetes community, there are levels of misunderstanding, misrepresentation, and mistaken messaging, often creating a divide where there should be a bridge.’
                                                                                                                                                                                           – Walk With D website

Help stop the stigma!

As with any successful social media campaign, it’s easy to get involved with the Walk With D campaign. Share your story and use the #WalkWithD hashtag. Make it personal and make it real. Visit the Tagboard on the Walk With D website to see what others are saying about their real life with diabetes. And share. Share. Share.

And if you need more of an incentive to get on board, Lifescan Inc will donate 100 BGL strips to Life for a Child every time the #WalkWithD hashtag is used during November. Get tagging, good people!

Everyone’s diabetes story is going to be different – the diversity of our community is actually one of its strengths! But we can surely unite in our aim to have diabetes spoken about respectfully and with courtesy. Surely we can bond over the fact that diabetes just plain sucks. Surely we can walk together with diabetes, united, with our heads held high and our arms linked.

walk with D

Follow Walk With D on Facebook here.

And on Twitter here.

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