Finding the Good in Diabetes.

Yeah, diabetes sucks.


I would ditch it for the cure in a heartbeat (if only I had some faith in one…)

But after this post I shared earlier this week, I kind of felt like it was only fair that I balance it out with some of the upsides. Because, there have been a lot of silver linings to a faulty pancreas. I’m not allowing myself to talk about fellow people with diabetes in this post, because I think I harp on about my peers all the time.

Nutrition. Before I was diagnosed, I ate a lot of processed foods. Almost every day after school I would open a packet of crisps, pour myself a glass of soft drink or eat a plate of ice cream. Diet staples included sugar laden breakfast cereals, muesli bars, glasses of juice, sugar for my coffee, Nesquik powder and syrupy yoghurts.

Although I wasn’t overweight, I was a bit of a chubby kid growing up and always felt a little self conscious for it (ironically, now I have the opposite problem!). I still enjoy treats on a daily basis, because life is too short not to drink the coffee or eat the Cannoli. But I guess living with diabetes has made me far more conscious of what I’m putting into my body, and I have made a lot of changes to what I eat.

Confidence. Living with diabetes has taken me one massive step outside of my comfort zone. I can’t say that I ever would have dreamed of speaking about diabetes in front of my peers, let alone in front industry and healthcare professionals. Being my own advocate around others in managing my condition has given me a massive shot of confidence, that I daresay has carried through to the non diabetes aspects of my life.

New places. Diabetes has taken me to so many new places here in Australia, and to be honest I’m not too sure that I would have been open to so much travel if it weren’t for the places diabetes advocacy has sent me to.

No more charity guilt. I have to admit I always felt guilty for turning down a cold caller or door knocker asking for money, but now I can actually ditch the guilt because I know that there are charities and orgs in the diabetes community which I actually do support.

Self care. Living with diabetes has taught me to make myself a priority. I think I’m far more in touch with how I am feeling, and what I need to do to look after myself both physically and mentally. Whether that be preparing meals, putting on my trackpants and watching some Netflix, going for a walk in the sunshine, or going to bed a little earlier tonight.

A smaller world. Because the world is so, so big. There are geographical barriers including suburbs, cities, states and countries separating me from other parts of it. Yet the diabetes community has broken down all of these. Because it truly is a global one, with information and peer support available at my fingertips 24 hours a day.

A blog. I have to say I was always a little obsessed with the idea of blogging a decade ago, with the little archive tabs on the sidebar categorising past posts by months and post counts. Today I’m the proud owner of my own little corner of the internet, which definitely would not exist if it weren’t for my defunct beta cells.

Thank you, diabetes.

You may have taken away my functioning beta cells, but you most certainly haven’t taken away my ability to live without them.


  1. tony sangster

    I second your post, Frank. Diabetes has done all those things for me too. And with an gradual upswing in health services adopting a model of community and health consumer engagement (at least in name, the reality is still to be shown). Our doctors and other healthcare providers need to listen to our concerns about health services and ways to improve things.
    One glaring example is the outdated food pyramid and the relatively high carb diet foisted on us, and more particularly T2Ds. In UK diabetics have a similar problem with the NHS still pushing the Eatwell plate.
    To really see what has happened and still happening here to a lesser extent read Jennifer Elliots’ blog about how she was deregistered by the Dietitian’s Association of Australia (DAA) for promoting low carb high fat diets to T2Ds in 2015, despite clear literature evidence and clinician support for this diet.
    As Jennifer points out the DAA are sponsored by food companies (that’s right, Big Food) and has not declared a conflict of interest.
    So , we have Australian dietitians unable or afraid to prescribe a diet which is helping many T2DS and T1Ds in the UK (see the work of Dr Unwin, UK GP).
    And many diabetics in the UK are getting quite vocal about healthcare professionals who are not updating themselves ( in addition to the NHS).
    I am not saying the Low carb high fat diet is necessarily suitable for all (think growing children with diabetes, pregnant women with diabetes) but it has its place if you believe the thousands in the UK and doctors and others over there.

    • Thanks for your comment, Tony. I agree that more healthcare services need to be designed in consultation with the end users – in this case, actual people living with diabetes. The one org that gives me hope is the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes (ACBRD) – their work really champions the thoughts, feelings and behaviours around a number of issues that are important to people with diabetes – which is then used to support policy at Diabetes Aus.

  2. Rick Phillips

    I think this represents a growth. I do not dislike or like diabetes. Instead it is part of me. I suppose being part of me means I could not hate it even if I tried.

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