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.

Turn of the Year

I snapped this photo as I was walking on the evening of New Year’s Day.

It was a quiet evening. The carpark a little further ahead at my local IGA was desolate. A cool and rather grey change had just swept through after a warm day.

It just summed up the general vibe of January perfectly.

After the craziness of December and the festive season, things have finally wound down. The world is back to normal once again, seemingly somewhat quieter. For me, this turn of the year seems to trigger a great deal of reflection on the year gone by, as well as ideas for the year ahead.

I’ve been mulling over the fact that I’ve been a part of the diabetes community for four years now. My life, my outlook on diabetes and my level of knowledge has changed for the better thanks to the sense of community I’ve found online since I began writing this blog.

I’ve been mulling over how much better I feel, physically, over the course of this past year. A combination of eating more substantially to meet my energy expenditure, and improving the quality of my sleep have left me feeling the best I have in a long time.

I’ve been mulling over how I need to shift gears and give more focus to my blood sugars this year. I feel that BG management has become a little too stagnant, and that I’m spending more time than I’d like coasting toward the upper end of my target range.

I’ve been mulling over how lightning fast some of the developments in diabetes technology are moving of late. I fully expect that we’ll see more exciting diabetes tech hit Aussie shores this year. More competition and more choice for people with diabetes is always a good thing, but at the same time I wonder how many will actually have access to these new tools.

I’ve been mulling over how relatively affordable insulin and other medications are here in Australia. No matter how much I whinge about missing out on government funding, or how many concerns circle my mind over money, it really pales in comparison to people in other parts of the world.

I’ve also been mulling over trying to focus more on the now. Not letting those little nagging doubts or what-ifs take over. Reminding myself that while self improvement is not necessarily a bad thing, I also need to acknowledge all of the little things I’m doing today and the achievements I already have behind me. (Thanks for this timely reminder, Rachel…)

So while I’m at it, Happy New Year.

I hope that 2019 is everything that you want it to be.