I’ve spent the morning at a health professional symposium (#HPSymposium) coordinated by two diabetes organisations in Victoria.  The event brought together about 200 health care professionals interested in hearing from some outstanding speakers, including three speakers from the ACBRD.

To have people speaking about diabetes emotional wellbeing front and centre at a health professional conference is a breath of fresh air. And to have three inspirational speakers talking about the importance of measuring emotional wellbeing and providing strategies for interventions gives me hope.

Why? Because finally we’re talking about diabetes in more than just clinical or biomedical ways. We’re acknowledging the ‘living with it’ aspects and asking (demanding?) that these issues are considered.

How do we explain life with diabetes? How do we adequately explain it’s about more than numbers, monitoring, medication, food, attending doctors’ appointments?

We can try to represent this by adding up the number of injections, or BGL checks or pump line changes we do in a week, a year, a lifetime; but does that mean anything to anyone who hasn’t injected themselves daily, checked their BGL or stabbed themselves with an introducer needle to get a pump line in? (A stat from one of  today’s presentations – on average, a person with type 1 diabetes for 40 years will have had 3,500 hypos.)

I am supported by the most incredible family, friends and work colleagues, but do they really understand what living with diabetes means? And is it fair for me to expect them to? The way they show me their love, understanding and unconditional acceptance is perhaps their way. And that is more than enough for me most of the time.

What do I want people to know? It’s simply this: my diabetes is exhausting. But I am living a life of which I am proud. If you need to find a way to measure me – please look at the people in my life, the things I’ve achieved, the places I’ve been and the places I’ll be going. Please don’t look at numbers. They tell you nothing.

This is my Friday entry into this year’s Diabetes Blog Week. For information, click here. And I really recommend you do. Over 200 diabetes bloggers from all over the world are participating and it’s a great way to see what others with diabetes are talking about. Come back tomorrow for Saturday’s entry.

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