This week is Diabetes Blog Week! I’ve been so excited about this week because I participated last year and it was when I really learned about the Diabetes Online Community (DOC). I found so many new blogs and others found mine; it was a really fun week. This year, I will be participating again and I’ll be attempting to write a post every day between now and Sunday for DBlog week. Thanks to Karen from BitterSweet Diabetes for hosting this awesome week for a FIFTH year in a row!
Today’s topic: Change the World
Let’s kick off Diabetes Blog Week by talking about the diabetes causes and issues that really get us fired up. Are you passionate about 504 plans and school safety? Do diabetes misconceptions irk you? Do you fight for CGM coverage for Medicare patients, SDP funding, or test strip accuracy? Do you work hard at creating diabetes connections and bringing support? Whether or not you “formally” advocate for any cause, share the issues that are important to you.
The main thing that really fires me up is the American Diabetes Association’s slogan to Stop Diabetes. I can’t stop my Type 1 Diabetes. My immune system attacked my pancreas and there is nothing I could have done to stop it. I’ve written about this before but it still bothers me. People debate whether Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes should be called something different and I think the ADA does a good job of alienating the Type 1 community with their slogan, which could be one reason that people want the two to be separate (at least that’s why I wouldn’t mind seeing a change although I’m pretty neutral on the issue). However, that’s probably not really up there on the importance scale of changing the world. It more irks me than is important to me.
Getting back to the issue at hand though, I’ll have to be honest and say that this topic was a little difficult for me. I’m probably in the minority but I don’t really have an issue that particularly fires me up. I would love for everyone to get all the coverage they need. I would love for our equipment that we use to save our lives on a daily basis to be accurate. I’m not sure why I don’t get particularly fired up about one topic but I think it’s because I lived twenty years of my life just getting by with diabetes. I didn’t even know I could get fired up about an issue related to my diabetes. Joining the DOC really opened my eyes to a whole new world. I didn’t know people were so passionate about issues. I lived my life everyday hoping I was carb counting correctly and staying “between the lines” on my CGM graph, which was about the extent of my passion for diabetes and diabetes related causes and issues.
I was diagnosed when I was 9 years old with Type 1 Diabetes but school safety never even crossed my mind. I had a free pass to go to the clinic whenever I needed to but I was so afraid to be different or to have teachers think I was abusing the system that I didn’t take advantage of it. A doctor told my mom that it would be better to have high blood sugars than low blood sugars so I lived most of my adolescent life in the higher range, so I never really had an issue going low at school. Before reading dblogs and finding the DOC, I had no idea that Medicare patients couldn’t get CGM coverage. I hope this issue gets resolved soon because I can’t imagine a life without my CGM (although a life with a functioning pancreas would be even better). Before the DOC, I didn’t know that other countries were approved for better diabetes devices before the US. Before the DOC, I didn’t know how inaccurate test strips were. I think this is one issue that does fire me up some because I just didn’t know that they varied as much as they do. I did a post on test strip accuracy last July as part of the Strip Safely campaign and I do think it is very important.
No one issue or cause really fires me up but I will say on topic that does fire me up is the importance of the DOC. As mentioned above, if it wasn’t for the DOC, I wouldn’t even know any of these issues existed. Doctors sure don’t tell you how inaccurate test strips are or mention SDP funding. I lived a diabetic life in a haze, unaware that things could change. Before the DOC, the biggest issue that probably fired me up was having to go through airport security with a CGM. I have flown so many times now since getting my CGM that I am not longer bothered by the process.
The DOC provides so much support and so much information that it really is the most valuable resource in dealing with my diabetes. I think every single person living with diabetes should be a part of this awesome community. If I’m having a bad day, there is always someone to lift my spirits. There is always a ton of great information that people share on their blogs. There is always someone who is dealing with something similar to what I have gone through or what I’m going through. I’m pretty sure I can attribute my A1C that was Below Seven to the DOC because someone shared their high alert limit on their CGM and it was way lower than mine. Thanks to that person (or people-I can’t remember now), I found the courage to lower mine, taking baby steps from 200 to 190 to 180 and eventually I became more comfortable at 150 than at 200.
When I saw this topic, I was feeling really guilty that I’m not more passionate about a topic. I want nothing but the best for everyone, whether it’s great insurance coverage or a life without complications or puppy kisses. In the past, I haven’t really been a person to get out there and strongly advocate for one specific issue. With the DOC’s help, I’m slowly coming around to seeing what types of issues affect different people and seeing how I can help, whether it’s writing a letter to my Congressman or sharing blog posts to spread the word. I’m loving all the education and knowledge I receive from the Diabetes Online Community.
I look forward to reading other people’s posts on what fire them up. You can check out the list here.