My Diabetes Family

Family. What would I do without them.

My own family have provided me with an exceptionally solid grounding to be able to live with, and manage my diabetes, really well. They have gone above and beyond to provide me with everything I need to manage my diabetes really, really well. A blood glucose meter, test strips, insulin, jelly beans, private health insurance, an insulin pump, consumables, food on the table, a roof over my head and good values, to name a few.

Sure, as I’ve grown older I’ve shouldered a great deal more of these responsibilities, but Mum and Dad have helped me out significantly. And have always made it clear that if I ever need some assistance, that I can come to them.

They respect my boundaries when it comes to managing my diabetes independently – and I know how hard that must be. I can’t imagine how they would feel watching me stare intensely into my pump, hearing the clicks of a lancing device, or casually placing a few orange glucose tabs into my mouth mid conversation. I can only liken it to my own feelings when I see members of my own family unwell – and I know I don’t like that one bit.

They’ve supported this blog, my diabetes adventures and taken an interest when I come home eagerly talking about what I got up to or what I have learned.

Over the years, I’ve also been lucky enough to find a second family of people. They’re affectionately known as the DOC in my mind (and that’s ‘doc’ and not ‘D-O-C’), but definitely spans the broader diabetes community as well.

When I first began actively using Twitter a few years ago, I never would have guessed that diabetes would become such a big part of my life through the people I’ve linked up with locally, interstate and even globally. People with diabetes, and people supporting other people with diabetes. I am so grateful for your conversations and your insights that continue to broaden my perspectives on diabetes and challenge my thought processes.

Largely, my diabetes family are the people who simply ‘get’ it. The people who are walking the same path that I have. The people who I can message, knowing that they’re probably thinking exactly what I am thinking. The people who have inspired me to continue to manage my diabetes in the best way that I can. The people who have made the great big world around me much, much smaller.

It’s World Diabetes Day, and this year sees the second of a two-year focus on the role that families can play in supporting a person with diabetes, from both Diabetes Australia and the International Diabetes Federation.

Cheers to #mydiabetesfamily.

Happy World Diabetes Day.

‘Tis the Season.

For any resident patron of the DOC, November 1st signals the beginning of Diabetes Awareness Month.

Diabetes month technically isn’t a part of our calendar here in Australia. We mark World Diabetes Day on November the 14th with the rest of the globe. However, technically our National Diabetes Week is observed every July.

Yet undoubtedly, it will still be pretty hard to avoid my social media feeds turning blue. Companies and orgs in the diabetes space will be launching campaigns to commemorate the occasion and raise awareness of their role in supporting PWD. Amplification of diabetes awareness throughout the DOC and beyond is guaranteed. It will be hard not to feel obligated to join in with the DOC and spread some diabetes awareness of my own, too.

Diabetes month usually culminates on World Diabetes Day on the 14th of November, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting. Banting discovered insulin, along with Charles Best and John MacLeod, the hormone that went on to save the lives of millions of people with diabetes around the globe.

World Diabetes Day always gives me a nice, warm fuzzy feeling, leaving me feeling united with my diabuddies near and far. In recent years it’s involved a 24 hour World Diabetes Day Twitter chat, checking in with some of my #OzDOC friends around the country, Diabetes Research WA’s annual ‘research reveal’ event, and time in the company of some of my tribe.

Above all, my friend Emily Vuong, who is one truly amazing diabetes instagrammer (@emilysdiabetes), will be running the New York Marathon this weekend and raising funds for JDRF Australia. Please throw your support behind her if you can.

In the midst of all of this amazing stuff, I still feel the need to remind myself that as a person with diabetes, every day is diabetes day. Every month is diabetes month. I have to turn up to manage my diabetes every single day rain, hail or shine. I invest a fair chunk of my spare time into diabetes, year round. I don’t have to go to any extraordinary lengths to raise awareness of diabetes, even though I probably will.

My next couple of weeks largely involve studying for final exams, ahead of a much needed break from uni for the Summer. I expect I’ll still be checking in here, as time allows.

So however you choose to spend November, just know that your worth as a person with diabetes is not a reflection on how much diabetes awareness you wish to raise.

Happy November.