Why Matters of Diabetes Ignorance Won’t Bother Me

I’m posting this with a little nervousness today (please don’t shoot me).

I won’t be bothered by the matters of diabetes ignorance that circulate around the diabetes community.

Am I saying that it’s okay to discriminate against people with diabetes? Absolutely not. 

I just don’t feel compelled to get angry about an offensive sign that was put up on the other side of the world, or a message written on a coffee cup. I wouldn’t personally feel compelled to speak up unless I felt that it directly affected me.

I will point out for those who remember, that I did write an angry post about the CrossFit debacle a year ago – something I am not proud of today. In hindsight, I simply don’t think it was worth my attention.

Being diagnosed at age 17, I see diabetes from both sides of the fence. I didn’t know the first thing about it before I was diagnosed. Thinking back to the days before my blog, I knew very little compared to what I do now. Even today, I’m still very much learning new things about diabetes each and every day. Last week alone, I had two conversations where I had to explain that I did not get diabetes from eating too many lollies (or in my case, chocolate).

These days, I actually love being asked about my diabetes. I feel very confident when talking about diabetes to others. I feel proud of the knowledge and insight that I can offer to help others better understand the condition I live with – something that wasn’t true two years ago. I don’t feel that anger would ever produce the same result.

I simply think that there are greater issues worth my attention. If the e-mails I receive each week are anything to go by, I would hope that my writing here brings to light the realities of life with diabetes. I would hope that others will discover the power of peer support that I did last year, and realise that they are not alone in this.

I guess another thing that bothers me is that lack of respect in each other’s different opinions towards these types of situations. Craig over at Insulin Nation penned this piece in response to one recent matter of ignorance, and to be frank some of the commentary I witnessed in response to his opinions were nasty. 

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My opinion on the issue of diabetes ignorance certainly isn’t the only one, or the right one. It is however, my own, and one which I hope will be respected. If you feel like the matters of ignorance are important to you, I’ll certainly respect that. (So long as you’re not a walker, of course).

No Clinical Need, No CGM For Me

Last week, the opposition pledged $80 million towards subsidising Continuous Glucose Monitoring technology if elected at the upcoming federal election in Australia. The pledge would subsidise Continuous Glucose Monitoring technology for people under the age of 21, in addition to those with a clinical need such as pregnancy or hypo unawareness.

It’s great to see a commitment from both sides, and hopefully these announcements will pave the way to access for the rest of us in the future. I am happy for those who may see a benefit should either successful political party honour their pledge. I congratulate those who have lobbied tirelessly for several years, even though it took a federal election for their efforts to finally be recognised by both major political parties.

The rest of this post, however, is completely selfish.

I am disappointed that I will miss out. Even though I’m not particularly interested in using a CGM, I still feel very much left out.

The political motives behind both of these announcements irk me. People have been lobbying tirelessly for several years to get Continuous Glucose Monitoring technology subsidised, and yet it takes a federal election for their efforts to finally be recognised. I’ve watched heartfelt current affairs segments, news pieces, and read social media posts over the last two years, with non committal responses all the while. Yet along comes a federal election, and suddenly both parties really care about diabetes.

So, I don’t have a “clinical need,” and will not qualify for a CGM. What’s to stop me from inflicting hypos on myself, or badly managing my diabetes in order to get one? Then there’s the issue of those young adults who will be able to access a CGM now, and then lose it as soon as they turn 21. Doesn’t seem very fair, does it?

I’m just a young adult trying to make my way in a very expensive world. Keeping myself healthy already takes up a large amount of my time, my energy and my income. I simply cannot afford to pay for what is essentially a luxury product. Just because I don’t have a “clinical need,” it doesn’t mean that this technology wouldn’t change the quality of my life.

As a person with a chronic illness, I am always reminded in the media of the burden I place on the healthcare system. Surely an investment in my health would be a step in the right direction. Surely having the option of using this technology would only motivate me further to manage my diabetes to the best of my ability.

Diabetes technology should be available for all who wish to use it. Period.

Sometimes I think that it looks better for politicians when they are photographed helping children or more visibly sick people, rather than ordinary ones.

But hey, that’s politics, I suppose.