My Wish For the Diabetes Community In 2019

Let’s have more collaboration and less disconnect. Organisations, healthcare professionals, researchers, pharmaceuticals, industry, people with diabetes and people connected to diabetes. We are all doing amazing things. We all want the same thing, too! Imagine how much more we could achieve if we put our minds together and joined forces?

Let’s respect each other’s differences in the way that we choose to manage our diabetes. Two people will never be exactly the same, so why do we expect two people with diabetes to be? I don’t subscribe to the notion that one size fits all when it comes to managing diabetes. Whether that be pens, pumps, meters, sensors, needles, syringes, Twitter, Facebook, carbs or no carbs, we are all unique and can peacefully co-exist together.

Let’s remember that no one issue is more important than another. Whether that be insulin pricing, insulin for those less fortunate, funding for CGMs, funding for better healthcare services or greater awareness of diabetes. If it’s important to one person, then it’s important. Full stop. But by turning it into an ‘us against them’ scenario, we are marginalising other groups campaigning for equally worthy causes.

While I’m there, let’s put an end to the calls for greater distinction between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Yes, there are two (well actually, many more) types of diabetes. And yes, it’s important to know the differences between the two. But let’s also remember that nobody asks to get diabetes. This need to separate ourselves from people with other types of diabetes only serves to stigmatise people with different kinds of diabetes than us. We’re all in this together, right?

Let’s bring the voices of more people with diabetes to the table. Let’s see more people with diabetes talking to those in the industry. Let’s see organisations who are representing us, engaging with us. Let’s involve people with diabetes in all aspects of the research and development process, and not just at the launch phase. After all, how can people with diabetes not have a place in discussions that are about us?

Let’s celebrate the small victories (I’m the first to admit to being a glass half empty kind of guy…). Many of us don’t appreciate, for example, the research and development that goes into a product, or the advocacy that goes into securing funding from the government. Good things take time.

Let’s never give up on striving for more. Whether that be talking to your local Member of Parliament to advocate for better outcomes for people with diabetes, or challenging yourself to reach new goals in your own diabetes management. Energy spent complaining (and I’m the first to admit to being a serial whinger) is energy that we could be putting towards something productive.

Let’s never lose sight of why we all joined the diabetes community in the first place. To connect with other people just like us. To raise each other up on the tough days. To bask with us in the glory of our small victories. To know that we are never alone in what we are dealing with. Let’s continue to amplify the peer support that this community does best.

3 Comments

  1. tony sangster

    Hi Frank, I agree that there is need for greater collaboration but not in the historical and recent one-sided fashion. If you read Jennifer Elliott vs DAA * .and you have reason to believe that the contents are accurate, and that a well-known US physician was prepared to back an Aussie dietitian against her registration authority: then we have dietitians in public institutions ,clinics etc registered by DAA who have been trained, required and receive post-grad education via DAA . DAA control Uni curriculum via control of accreditation, de-register dietitians who prescribe low carb diets (and attempted to have one doctor de-registered recently) and control post-grad curriculum. Is it any wonder that many diabetics have not heard of Dr Bernstein or low carb diets.? Of course a number have but not everyone with diabetes is as connected as others. How many suffer at home with mounting complications and misery but for the sake of a better diet, a diet denied to them by dietitians (except private ones) via DAA.
    Collaboration is about openness on all sides. And gullibility nowhere. Why? Guess who sponsors DAA.? The afore-mentioned reference * mentions the food industry. Yes, why would a registration body for dietitians be blocking low carb diets. Think about it, low carb diets ——>
    no breakfast cereals —> less cereals sales – bingo!!
    Given this state of affairs, and assuming there is truth here, why would anyone in the diabetic community wish to collaborate with DAA. They do not even acknowledge or declare a conflict of interest in this matter.
    It is not the dietitains’ fault. They are stuck with this at the moment. Whilst in UK, one low carb programme has over 160 thousand members, with T2D > T1D. And NHS has added low carb diets to its health plan with a view to saving billions of UK pounds over the next 5 years plus!!
    By all means collaborate with those dietitians who will listen and express things off the record and respect them, but do not be deluded.
    Also note that the low carb diet experience in the UK also led to such improvements in control that T2Ds, in particular and numerically were being advised to lower medication doses, having medication ceased. That has not impressed Big Pharma. I know drug reps and respect them, and I kniw I would be here if not for insulin and its continued supply.
    But their companies are also about sales and profit. So are we going to cozy up to Big Food and Big Pharma? Big Pharma who in the USA are keeping insulin prices up and people are dying for lack of being able to afford it. And insurance companies using insulin prices to justify swopping peoples’ physician-recommended insulin over to whatever is the cheapest? Sorry folks it was Lantus last month, now it is NPH this month and due to a dip in the market it may be X the following one.
    Let us be wise and ethical in this. Some of us have tried low carb diets I am guessing and provided they have had enough support or learning may be satisfied that it is the best thing out. We need to hear more about the pros and cons. But it is primarily the people I mentioned above who suffer. Our collaboration is about first and foremost reaching to as many diabetics of all types and sizes and their GPs to show what is of there, to give them hope which, if appropriate, in the case of low carb, is reputed by UK to be low cost preventive care through better diet, weight loss, fewer drugs etc as a definite probability rather than complications as a certainty.

  2. Rick Phillips

    You know what? I do not sense that we have much to disagree about. Frankly, I am good with each person’s choice of technology, choice of diet, choice of whatever we choose. The DOC is big and diverse. We need to celebrate our differences and let the outcome be what it is.

    I will keep my 300 crab per day diet, and you can keep your Bernstein plan. You know who is right?

    We are.

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