Last night’s episode of 7.30 was rather confronting with some of the harsh realities of diabetes in Australia. We were introduced to one of Australia’s many diabetes “hotspots,” Blacktown in New South Wales. We were told that 40% of patient blood tests in the Blacktown Hospital emergency room showed diabetes. One third of those patients were unaware that they had diabetes, and another third were pre-diabetic.
We were introduced to a woman who ate her way to type 2 diabetes with junk food. We were told by the CEO of Diabetes Australia that one quarter to one third of hospital beds in Australia were filled with people suffering from diabetes complications. And we were introduced to an elderly woman who thought she had reasonable control of her blood sugar levels, only to be told by doctors that she needed to have her foot amputated.
Honestly, I just feel torn when I see these diabetes horror stories in the media.
Yesterday I wrote about how strongly I feel about not seeing the people around me develop diabetes. And how I am all for doing my bit to help prevent new cases of diabetes.
And then I see stories in the media like the one I saw last night. Stories that leave me stunned. Stories that leave me fearful. Stories that make me want to find a corner and curl up into a ball.
It doesn’t matter how average, how decent or how good of a job I feel like I’m doing. I see stories like these and all of that work is reduced to shreds. I’m beating myself up again. I’m thinking about all of the bad decisions I’ve made. I’m thinking about all of the potential damage I’ve done to my body. I wonder if I will be one of those diabetes horror stories, one day. And I wonder if there’s any point in trying.
But these stories are true. They do happen. Is it fair for me to attack them, or to pretend that they don’t happen in real life? I don’t know.
I guess all I’m trying to say is that there are people watching these stories who are already living with diabetes. Some of the people seeing these stories are trying their very hardest to manage, and stay on top of this rollercoaster of a disease. And horror stories like these don’t give them much of an outlook, or motivation to keep going.
Prevention is important. But support and encouragement for those already living with this disease is equally important, too.