Being diagnosed with diabetes as a young adult came with its own, unique set of challenges. I had lived a ‘normal’ life for 17 years, and then all of a sudden I had this new condition that I had to find a place for in my life.
Nobody around me knew that I had diabetes, and it was difficult to explain such a complex condition to the people around me. In some ways, it was just easier to deal with my diabetes in private rather than having to try and explain what I was doing in the middle of another frustrating high blood sugar.
Today, I think my diabetes is pretty visible. Whether I’m talking with the pump in my hand, checking my blood sugar in the inventory office at work as someone comes to interrupt me, or walking back out again crunching down glucose tabs.
It’s fair to say that I have a pretty big interest in diabetes today. I spend a lot of my spare time writing here, freelancing over at Diabetes Daily, posting about diabetes on my social media, attending community events, as well as being part of a diabetes Committee here in Perth.
“Are you going with the diabetes group?” is now a fairly standard response from colleagues when they hear that I’m taking annual leave from work.
“What are you doing?”
I spent so long imagining people’s reactions to a finger prick or an insulin injection. Today, it often feels like they simply don’t take any notice. Those explanations of the condition that I live with don’t seem to have any effect when the same questions pop up again and again. Perhaps others are just sparing my feelings by not asking me what I am doing.
However after National Diabetes Week, it finally began to feel like those messages of awareness were getting through to the people who needed to hear them the most.
The response to my diagnosis story that was shared on Diabetes WA’s Facebook page last Sunday was phenomenal. The story that appeared in The West Australian on Thursday was absolutely huge.
Despite my repeated arguments of just how terrible that photo was, two colleagues at work pulled the newspaper out of my hands on Thursday morning, took it over to the photocopier and stuck it on the staff room wall at work. “It’s a really important issue that could affect the people you work with!”
Doing media is a really big thing, even for an over sharer like myself, but I couldn’t be prouder of the outcome.
After a big week spent raising awareness of diabetes, and hearing stories shared from fellow people with diabetes, my cup is well and truly overflowing.
This is what National Diabetes Week is all about.
Kicking off Diabetes Week with some of my tribe last weekend.