The Invisibility of Type 1 Diabetes
Yesterday I shared Catherine’s story. One of the many type 1 diabetes parents dealing with, well, everything that you would expect (and more) from a young child with type 1 diabetes. A Continuous Glucose Monitor would be a massive relief for Catherine and her daughter, and would change their lives.
Seeing Catherine’s story on television, and the discussions that followed at home simply reminded me of just how invisible diabetes is. Not enough people are aware of what people with type 1 diabetes go through in order to manage their condition. People simply don’t see a lot of the aspects that we deal with in order to manage this disease. And our media certainly don’t give it a lot of attention, either.
Our media here in Australia spend a lot of time focussing on those “lifestyle” factors that may cause type 2 diabetes, in some cases. Which is fine. These are all serious issues, which can be prevented. I’m all for that. However, it just seems that I always hear about how we need to lose weight, how we need to eat less sugar, how we need to eat more fruit and veg, and how we need to exercise more. How this is an epidemic that will destroy the world by the year 2030. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating there. But Mum could even recall being asked if I was overweight after telling an aquaintance about my diabetes a few years ago. It just goes to show how little awareness there is of type 1 diabetes out there.
I’m not blaming anyone for this. I’m simply stating a fact. There’s little awareness of type 1 diabetes out there because it’s simply an invisible disease. It’s easy to spot things like excess weight, unhealthy food choices and lifestyles that are lacking physical activity in the world. It’s not easy, however, to spot things like glucose monitoring, carb counting and insulin injections. It’s not easy to spot sleep deprivation, frustration and stress from dealing with, and worrying about type 1 diabetes. It’s not easy to spot parents who have had to take time away from work in order to properly deal with a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. It’s not easy to spot parents concerned about how their child, and school, will cope with type 1 diabetes.
I say that we do a pretty good job of keeping it together when we’re out there among the rest of the world. We’re pretty strong people, you know.
And that’s where Catherine’s story comes in. She did a fantastic job of advocating for all of us type 1s, and helping to shed some light on the issues that we have to deal with behind closed doors.
I can only hope that this media attention will help deliver technology that will change the lives of many young families in Australia dealing with type 1 diabetes, and help make this disease a little less invisible.
I almost forgot my #DOCtober photo yesterday, so my last minute photo idea at 9pm was to change my Lancet!