Some dot point facts:
- It’s National Diabetes Week here in the wonderful land of Oz.
- It’s about all types of diabetes. Every. Single. Last. Type.
- 280 people are diagnosed with diabetes each and every single day in Australia.
- All types of diabetes sucks.
- No one asks to get diabetes.
And now some dot point observations:
- There is no merit in changing the name of the different types of diabetes. None at all.
- I am yet to hear a decent argument about why we should change the name of type 1 diabetes to something else.
- Having said that, if you can incorporate the word ‘unicorn’ into a new name for type 1 diabetes, I might get on board. Although probably not. I just want a unicorn.
- Many health conditions have ‘types’ and ‘sub-types’. There are five different types of lupus. Can you name them? Can you tell me how they are different? If someone said they have lupus, would you be able to engage in a meaningful discussion about their ‘type’ of lupus? I know I certainly couldn’t – and my mum has lupus.
- Quite frankly, I don’t care what type of diabetes the 280 people diagnosed each day have. It is all diabetes and it is all a condition that is significantly underfunded, a condition which carries horrendous stigma and a condition which is crap to live with.
- What I do care about is that there is increased awareness about all types of diabetes. I care that more research dollars are thrown at diabetes. I care that more healthcare professionals know about diabetes and about diagnosing ALL types, quickly. I care that people living with all types of diabetes have access to healthcare and devices and medications and support.
- The whinging and whining and bitching and moaning that is coming from some circles is tedious. Especially considering the whinging and whining and bitching and moaning is being done mostly amongst like-minded people so nothing is actually being achieved.
And finally, a comment:
Last week, I sat in on MasterLab, a two day advocacy workshop run by the wonderful Diabetes Hands Foundation. In the room were some of the most successful, vocal, passionate, smart diabetes advocates in the world. These are people who take their cause to government and make changes for people living with diabetes, who raise awareness about living with diabetes and raise funds to help support people living with diabetes. They do it without fanfare and without accolades. They just do it.
How many times do you think there was a discussion about the different types of diabetes? How many times do you think parents of kids with diabetes in the room tried to say how much tougher they have it than others with diabetes? Or people with type 1 diabetes complaining that no one understands why it is more difficult than type 2? How many times do you think that type 2 diabetes was demonised?
Because those smart people in the room – the people who are respected and listened to in the wider diabetes space – know that there is no point in working against each other.
But you know what? I’ve been saying this for some time and there are people far more eloquent than I on the same page.
How will you share a unified patient voice for a disease as diverse as diabetes? (Type 1 vs. type 2, parent vs. child, etc.?)
DPAC has committed to the idea that diabetes doesn’t discriminate. We have no interest in promoting cross-type discord. There are benefits of numbers, passion, and reach in various parts of the diabetes community. We all benefit from all those skills. If an individual has an interest in raising their voice to help people with diabetes get access to safe and quality products and services in the United States, then we welcome them with open arms.
Divided we can be ignored. Together we make a difference.
And in her wrap-up of last week’s MasterLab, my friend Alanna wrote this brilliant blog post. And this closing paragraph:
We as a community need to stop putting our walls up. Nobody, not you, not me, not the president of the USA can advocate for change in diabetes care and treatment until we educate effectively. Defending your “type” and throwing the other under the bus is unacceptable behaviour, and is counter productive to creating positive change and a world without the financial, physical and emotional burden of diabetes.
I am calling on all of my readers, old and new to commit to never trying to defend your type, and only defending the human beings who are living with mal-functioning pancreases so we can really get to work.
The diseases are different in their origin but so similar in how they map out physically, and more importantly, emotionally, and I wish I had known that earlier. I wish I had been more supportive of my type 2 peers. I wish I had known how they felt.
I have lost friends because of my stand on this issue. I have had arguments with people who think that I should be using this blog and my voice to advocate for changing the name of type 1 diabetes or rallying against people not understanding the differences between the types of diabetes. I have had people challenge me and ask me what I stand for – what my diabetes advocacy is all about.
The answer is simple. I am against diabetes stigma. I am against building up one type of diabetes at the expense of another. I am for access to healthcare and devices and medications for all people with diabetes. I am for a unified community. I am for the wonderful #OzDOC community which is a beacon in Australia of unity within the diabetes world, and congratulate Kim Henshaw in promoting an inclusive, supportive and downright fun platform for all people with diabetes to connect.
It doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything or all be focusing on the same issues. It just means that we work together and are kind to each other. #TypeAll
Gorgeous new James Taylor CD made its way into our home yesterday. Angels of Fenway is a favourite given that I was there just a few weeks ago.